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Thread: Flotation foam in a 20ft Skagit

  1. #1
    Administrator Helmar's Avatar
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    Flotation foam in a 20ft Skagit

    Its been awhile since I have posted anything going on here but, I just got done foaming a 1958 Skagit Express.


    Some times when I explain how I do things, I tend to forget some of the details and the importance of them.

    One Big one is if your doing anything structural on your boat, like gutting it and a build back up, I feel its really important to make sure you have the stern setting up off the floor on blocks and then a block up under the keel just before she turns up to the bow.

    If your doing anything on a trailer you really have to watch it for any twisting or any cupping under the hull. Make sure she is resting in a natural position.

    What I do on a trailer or even on boat dollys is I take a spinning laser and setup on the transom. Level it with the transom or take dead on measurements from port and starboard chine edges to make sure your dead on. Then shoot down the keel to get my center line.
    From that point, I use that spinning horizontal line to measure up and down from.
    I flip it to Vertical and then make my measurements port and starboard.
    This way I know for sure how it seems that Every boat that comes out of the mold is off by at least 1/2" Minimum. Never have found one dead on.
    I have seen some of the Bell Boys off by at least 1" too ;-)

    Anyway, I do this to get the floor down on any cross frames. Skagits use the fiberglass stringers and I have found some of those that need shimming by at least 3/4" from port to starboard in the cabin area.

    The spinning laser will help you do what I call a dead nut measurement when your replacing stringers on some of the other boats that had the wooden stringers. Dorsetts used MDO plywood for there stringers !!
    Most all of your boats, you can determine the height of at least one of the stringers and for the most part the keel stringer.

    Some of the Bell Boys did use (19ft and up for sure) used Half Rounds as there stringers on the hull but did Cross frames to support the flooring.
    Again, with the spinning laser, you can must measure down from your laser line to know what Flat or level is going to be.

    Another thing I don't think I explained very well is the importance of having a Large amount of what I call, Blow holes when foaming.
    We did Blow one deck up off the stringers and it was a Awful mess to clean up as we use the closed cell Adhesive foam by Fiberlay.
    I will use simple green concentrate and just pour that into a bucket with a big scrub brush and scrub down the whole hull that us under the flooring. That way once you put your floor down, you know the foam is going to stick to everything.

    I will attach some photos of the process that I use and I use a hole saw to drill out the holes every 16" apart up between each stringer.
    After you pour a few holes, you might find that 16oz is quit enough. If you get too much in one hole, she will blow out that and work her way forward.
    Some times if I get too much in, I will put a cover board down to help force it up hill to the next hole.
    Almost forgot, You need to jack the boat way up in the front so the foam will run back to the stern in each hole. Just keep moving up. No voids this way.

    Anyway, this has been the best way I have found to install the flotation foam.

    Almost forgot. That bucket of what I drilled out for each hole, those will go back into the foaming holes.
    I use a Japanese flat saw that I lay down on the deck and saw up the foam that blew out of the holes.

    Once get those plugs going back in, I will show you the process I use. Once those are glassed into the holes, I think lay down some 6oz fiberglass cloth that covers the floor.

    Helmar
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Helmar Joe Johanesen
    1959 Skagit 20ft Offshore, 1959 Skagit 16ft Skimaster,
    1961 17ft Dorsett Catalina.1958 Uniflite 17 ft
    Outboards: 2.5 Bearcats, 3 50hp White shadow Mercs
    2 40hp Johnsons, several smaller Old kickers for a total of 12

    Our Sister club
    http://www.goldenstateglassics.com

    Oh, and Where is Robin Hood when you need him??


  2. #2
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Kelly's Avatar
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    Man that's a great looking boat!
    Good info for those that want to go the foam route. I know it's been a debate for years... foam, not foam. I wanted the added flotation piece of mind as well as sound dampening. My Uniflite would at times get a little noisy if the water had some chop to it.
    1958 Skagit 20 Express Hardtop
    1958 Skagit 20 Express
    -PNW Craftsmanship


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  3. #3
    Supporting Member Supporting Member bruceb's Avatar
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    Hey Helmar- Excellent write-up on foaming process, a reference for all who plan to go this route. Like the idea of scrubbing the under floor area with Simple Green, there are lots of stuff growing in boat bilges- moisture begets bacteria, mold ! Better adhesion=great idea !
    Know how hard it is to take pics while you're in the middle of doing a project that involves wet, sticky adhesives. Almost need a second set of hands to take the pics !
    No question about the sound deadening, have ridden in 20' express models with and without, clearly a quieter ride.
    Many thanks for this posting, the work on the floor panels and foam looks first rate, keep up the fine craftsmanship.....

  4. #4
    Nice write up! The photos, especially the exterior shots, are a good aid to those who are unfamiliar with the concept.

    I'll add some experience.
    With the blow holes on the 404, I ended up capping them with a small 2oz measuring cup as the foam started to come out. It allows less foam to come out of the cavity, and forces more of the foam up towards the next hole. It does require a helper and it was the perfect task for a 13 year old son when I did it.

    Same as you, the left overs went into the next set of holes as small pieces.

    It is best to pour on a warm day, but if the weather is cool or cold, you can heat up your A and B parts in hot water to aid flow. It also maximizes the expansion of the material.

    On my 404, the stringers are rectangular and glassed into the hull. The center stringer sits higher than the rest of them. Rather than shimming things up, I laid the ply onto the stringers naturally to put some draining into the deck.
    John Forsythe

    '59 Bellboy 404 - Pretty Girl
    Past Affairs:
    '61 Marathon - Jammie Dodger

  5. #5
    Administrator Helmar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBronze View Post
    Nice write up! The photos, especially the exterior shots, are a good aid to those who are unfamiliar with the concept.

    I'll add some experience.
    With the blow holes on the 404, I ended up capping them with a small 2oz measuring cup as the foam started to come out. It allows less foam to come out of the cavity, and forces more of the foam up towards the next hole. It does require a helper and it was the perfect task for a 13 year old son when I did it.

    Same as you, the left overs went into the next set of holes as small pieces.

    It is best to pour on a warm day, but if the weather is cool or cold, you can heat up your A and B parts in hot water to aid flow. It also maximizes the expansion of the material.

    On my 404, the stringers are rectangular and glassed into the hull. The center stringer sits higher than the rest of them. Rather than shimming things up, I laid the ply onto the stringers naturally to put some draining into the deck.
    Thanks John. I do tend to forget some of the details so good comments for sure !!

    Just a quick add to that is, I have done these in colder weather and Yes, heated up the shop as well as put a propane forced air heater under the hull to get that warmed up. Then had the foam in the house to keep it at room temp too.
    Helmar Joe Johanesen
    1959 Skagit 20ft Offshore, 1959 Skagit 16ft Skimaster,
    1961 17ft Dorsett Catalina.1958 Uniflite 17 ft
    Outboards: 2.5 Bearcats, 3 50hp White shadow Mercs
    2 40hp Johnsons, several smaller Old kickers for a total of 12

    Our Sister club
    http://www.goldenstateglassics.com

    Oh, and Where is Robin Hood when you need him??


  6. #6
    Administrator Helmar's Avatar
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    More Foaming of a Skagit 20 foot boat.

    This was my next stage. Drilled down into the foam just enough to install the plugs back in.
    I prefer using the Fiberfiller to glass those down in.
    I did that this morning and just checked and it kicked off real well so in the morning, I can hit it with the sander, vacuum it out and then I will put the glass cloth down.
    I had 52 plugs to fit and then glass in.
    I normally put in a cabin inspection area right as you step into the cabin. In the hull down both sides of the keel stinger, I put in 1" PVC that will take any water in the cabin down though the pipes into the bulge to be pumped out. Should have a picture of that to share too.

    You will also see were this transom build up is a little more tricky due to the tumblehome that Skagit has. Here you will see how I held things in place for layup with the first layer down with fiberglass matt.

    Thanks for the comments guys I am old school. Each one of these old girls I do, I treat them as if they were Mine.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Helmar Joe Johanesen
    1959 Skagit 20ft Offshore, 1959 Skagit 16ft Skimaster,
    1961 17ft Dorsett Catalina.1958 Uniflite 17 ft
    Outboards: 2.5 Bearcats, 3 50hp White shadow Mercs
    2 40hp Johnsons, several smaller Old kickers for a total of 12

    Our Sister club
    http://www.goldenstateglassics.com

    Oh, and Where is Robin Hood when you need him??


  7. #7
    Supporting Member Supporting Member McSkagit Tim Jones's Avatar
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    Great write-up. You do nice work, Joe!
    Captain Tim (McSkagit) Jones 1959 Skagit 31 Saratogan

    http://www.closeencountersecotours.com

    Pay it forward.......take a kid for a boat ride

  8. #8
    Great info, how many gallons of the fiber foam is it taking for the Skagit 20' floor? That is my next step currently. Thanks.

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