Filling gap above bulkhead

I bought a used Chesapeake 17 LT. I just discovered that, for reasons that pass all understanding, the buildier left a gap of about an inch between the top of the forward bulkhead and the deck. (This discovery occurred during my first pool session with the boat and not out in the Atlantic, fortunately!)

Should I apply patches on one or both sides of the bulkhead? Anyone got any other tips for this job? I've done a fair bit of filleting in building an MC 13, so I'm familiar with that process.

8 replies:

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RE: Filling gap above bulkhead

got any pics? My first inclination would be to cut a piece of ply to fit the gap, then install with thickened epoxy. Use scrap cardboard to get the right shape first. Or, just scab on an oversized piece of ply with the correct deck radius so it overlaps the existing bulkhead a little bit. Not as neat, and you'd have to work around existing fillets, but would still get the job done. Good Luck  Dave

RE: Filling gap above bulkhead

Definitely scabbing on a piece of plywood would be the best bet. If you have the template for the deck radius you could use that or make one using the outside of the deck to form the radius.  Epoxy this to the bulkhead and the fillet the remainder.

This should give the water tightness you need.



RE: Filling gap above bulkhead

Thanks. The suggestion for photos was useful ... and mildly disheartening. This bulkhead looks like something done in a cave lit by candles. Here's a view from the cockpit:…translations/100234 Note the apparent attempt to  fix the gap from the forward hatch compartment. There's still a small gap there about the thickness of my thumb. 

In addition to the gap, I now see a possibly suspect joint at the port side of the bulkhead. I'm wondering whether it might not be best to bury this monstrosity entirely behind a new one from the cockpit side, rather than try to fill the gaps seen and unseen?


RE: Filling gap above bulkhead

Here is another way to go: working with the boat upside down on a pair of sawhorses, spread epoxy-saturated fiberglass tape or cloth across the gap on one side. After it hardens, but within 24 hours, fill the gap from the other side with very thick epoxy. Then tape or cloth over the other side. I once filedl a one inch gap in a hull panel this way and it never failed in the 12 years I had the boat. -Wes

RE: Filling gap above bulkhead

Thanks, twofootartist. This sounds like the way to go.

RE: Filling gap above bulkhead

If you are going to do the fiberglass sandwich method, fill the gap with a loose fitting piece of okoume. The epoxy won't be sagging as much under it's own weight and the fix should be lighter and neater. 

RE: Filling gap above bulkhead

Thanks! Lighter is always better, except in anchors and beers.

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