Is my NE Dory junk?

I knew I had epoxy problems when building, but I didn't know they were this bad..  I don't know what to do and need ya'll to be completely honest.  Is my NE Dory junk?  I've read many places about the pro's and con's of epoxy encapsulation and when water intrusion occurs when everything is encapsulated, it will not able to dry out... kiss it goodbye.  Soo.. is there anything I can do?  You all probably know how much work (and $) it took to finish it.  

A small section by the bulkhead where the rot is the worst, is starting to delaminate on the hull exterior too.  Am I screwed?



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RE: Is my NE Dory junk?

   Hey Giggin,

Want to start off with what a nice job you did on this boat. I followed your blog with pics and it is very informative for anyone building that particular craft. As far as the damage on the boat, you stated that you knew you had problems with the epoxy during the build. Can you please describe the issues you had so the boat building community can better help you with the repair.


RE: Is my NE Dory junk?


   I had terrible orange peeling on my second coat of epoxy, I never found out why but I think it may have been the particular sanding discs i was using. I also used a tac cloth for wiping sanding dust after the first coat, which may have also been the culprit. I thought I had resolved the problem but maybe I was wrong.

 When I cut  the bulkheads for the inside rails, I did not epoxy the tops of the cut until the interior rails were on, so I mashed as much epoxy in there as I could, this may very well be the culprit of the delaminations as the rot is worst directly around the top two laps.

 It seems that the discolorations appear to be near the bottom of the lap joints, which may be caused by oversanding the epoxy at that joint with the orbital (although I realized this and handsanded near the joints for the last coats of epoxy).  Also, the manual didnt state to fillet the lap joints so I brushed the epoxy into them; in hindsight, maybe a small fillet thickened with wood floor would protect better against any intrusion, as I did notice small gaps where the epoxy may have been insufficient. 

As obvious as it may be, my advice to anyone currently building would be to take there time and cover all possible bases of things that may go wrong and follow Johns manuals to the letter. Whether the build takes a month or two longer than estimated, sustainability in such an investment of both time and money  trumps that time on the water (so you don't end up like me!)  I didn't think I was cutting corners at the time but I also know I could have been more patient.  Also, an extra $500 for the canvas cover may seem like a lot ot money, however,  in comparison to the value of  time invested in the buld,  it is pennies (I was using a big box store blue tarp until recently).

I was looking forward to putting a sailkit on this winter, but now am I unsure if it's a feasable investment (I don't even know if the boat  can be saved). 


RE: Is my NE Dory junk?

Tough finding out after so much work and spending that the result is les than you'd expected.

I built a 14' inland scow 45 years ago over common plywood bulkheads, strip-planked  with clear redwood then 'glassed with stinks-to-heaven polyester. Had to weigh about 400 pounds but with 120 sq. ft sloop rig it'd plane pointing upwind. Lasted about six years before inevitable rot took its toll.

I have to wonder if part of the problem you're seeing may not have been made worse by that bigbox tarp? Those things're cheap but trap moisture underneath unless care is taken to permit changing the air underneath. Canvas breathes, even when treated with water repellant on the outside so is by far a better choice for cover when these hand-made crafts must be stored outside better shelter.

RE: Is my NE Dory junk?

   Wow, so sorry you are having this problem.  I read your blog with great interest as I am also building the dory.  I understand and agree with your concern about not applying epoxy to the top of the bulkhead, but It sure seems like the blackened wood in the middle of the lap would not be due to that.  I can't imagine the wood beginning to turn so quickly and quite a distance from the top of the bulkhead simply because the bulkhead cutout was not encapsulated completely.   BTW, is it happening on the outside of the boat? 

You do state you had issues when applying the second coat so it is safe to assume whatever is going on may spread, so in my opinion, the best bet, may be to remove all the epoxy...yea, I know, this is the last thing anyone wants to do.    Just my opinion, but I see no other alternative, short of scrapping the boat, which you certainly do not want to do.  There are many videos on Utube which provide instructions on easy [that's a relative term] methods to remove it.  Good luck and keep us posted.

RE: Is my NE Dory junk?

Is it possible that the back half of your dory was filled water for a period of time? It looks like standing water was in the boat for a long enough time to find every little micro-gap in the epoxy and soak in. If something like that happened, I think your boat will still be just fine.  

The best way to fix it would be to strip the inside down to bare wood, let everything dry out, and then restore it. . . . That's a lot of work so I'd be tempted to keep using it for the rest of this season, then sand off all the varnish, add a couple of coats of epoxy, and then varnish or paint.

Your biggest problem is the delamination. The glue in the plywood is not water soluable and I don't think there has been enough time for serious wood rot to weaken anything. So what has caused the cracking of the plywood? And how can you strengthen those cracking and delaminating areas? 

Thanks for posting about your problems. You've given me the incentive I need to go out to the garage and make sure I sponged out all the water after yesterday's excursion in my dory.

Best of luck in your repairs.

RE: Is my NE Dory junk?

   Great news guys!

I did a little digging on those delaminations, it does NOT look like rot.  The plys underneath look dry.  I'm thinking it was from strapping it down onto the trailer.  I tend to strap it down tight because I'm a boat newbie and the fear of it falling off the back.  My thoughts: strapping it down too tight = the sides flearing outwards and downwards = too much pressure on the bulkheads causing the sides of the plywood to delaminate.   Well, that's great news.  

More good news, the color of the plywood is not nearly as bad today.  I'm not sure why; but I left it sitting in the sun all day to dry out after washing it and it looks much much better.  



My plan is to apply a thickened epoxy into every nook and cranny that appears to be a problem for the time being to seal it.  Aesthetics is not a priority at this point, I just want to save the craft.  During the off season I can deal with the sanding, re-epoxying, re-varnishing.  

RE: Is my NE Dory junk?

I don't even think anything was necessarily your fault. Straps can stretch when they are wet and tighten when they dry (or vice versa). Thus you might have had the right strap tension when you put the boat on the trailer, but if it sat in the sun (or rain) in your backyard, the straps themselves could have cause too much tension.  

RE: Is my NE Dory junk?

   Bingo, I did leave the boat strapped to the trailer for a few days, not realizing it could be a problem.  I just came back in, I basically caulked alll the joints where the laps meet with thickened epoxy, put a lot of thickened epoxy into the delaminations to seal them.  I also put thickened epoxy into every stitch hole even if it looked adequately filled, many did not.  Hopefully, we will be OK.  It's not very pretty, but if it floats I'm happy. 

Thanks again for all your help and calming me down a bit.  When I found this I was so frustrated I wanted to take my sawzall to it :)

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