Seafarer Wood Bulkhead Replacement

Norcoastal

Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
22
Reaction score
5
Points
3
Age
62
The bulkhead between my cabin and helm on my 1988 Seafarer is completely rotted as I’m sure most 1988 Seafarers are. Has anyone replaced the bulkhead with mahogany with a gloss poly over it like the big boys?

Those of you who have replaced the rotted bulkheads, can you post some pictures of how you replaced them and describe what you did?

This is my first Grady project so I’m still learning.

Maybe Starboard would be better?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Fishtales

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Messages
5,866
Reaction score
595
Points
113
Starboard isn't structural, I'd skip on that. I'd go with either marine plywood or exterior grade plywood. The latter is likely cheaper in todays market and will last the duration of the boat. I'd cut to size, screw to what you can either tie into existing structural elements or cleat in to hold and then glass the entire piece (all sides overlapping existing glass).
 

SmokyMtnGrady

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
1,727
Reaction score
269
Points
83
Starboard isn't structural, I'd skip on that. I'd go with either marine plywood or exterior grade plywood. The latter is likely cheaper in todays market and will last the duration of the boat. I'd cut to size, screw to what you can either tie into existing structural elements or cleat in to hold and then glass the entire piece (all sides overlapping existing glass).
Hey Fishtales, why wouldn't you first build the panel and glass it ,then install it ? plywood likes to absorb water through the edges with capillary action of the grain of the wood. I think at a minimum you would want to at least coat or encapsulate the panel in resin , getting the edges really well, then glass it in? What do you think?
 

Norcoastal

Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
22
Reaction score
5
Points
3
Age
62
Thanks for the reply’s. I’m sure this is a very common issue with many old Grady’s.

I‘d like to find out what others have done with pictures. Also, my idea of solid mahogany, that may be an option and it could look great...
 

SmokyMtnGrady

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
1,727
Reaction score
269
Points
83
Thanks for the reply’s. I’m sure this is a very common issue with many old Grady’s.

I‘d like to find out what others have done with pictures. Also, my idea of solid mahogany, that may be an option and it could look great...
Mahogany will last longer than you or I and boat put together. Stain it and put a nice urethane spar coat and you're in business.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PointedRose

leeccoll

GreatGrady Captain
Joined
May 18, 2019
Messages
979
Reaction score
340
Points
63
Age
57
Location
Reno NV
Model
Seafarer
Marine grade plywood, epoxy the edges and bottom where water can deteriorate it.

Then you can either paint or laminate a veneer of you choice on it to finish. I painted my with oil based enamel to match my trim.

Use the old bulkhead as a template to cut the new.

20191214_160406.jpg20191218_163211.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Holokai

Norcoastal

Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
22
Reaction score
5
Points
3
Age
62
Wow, that looks great. You just used a jigsaw to make those cuts? Really well done. I was considering starboard but I’m concerned about rigidity.
 

glacierbaze

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
1,065
Reaction score
165
Points
63
Age
72
Location
Chapel Hill and Pine Knoll Shores, NC
If you don’t trust your self with a jigsaw, and you still have good edges on the original pieces, you can clamp or screw them together and use a flush trimming router bit to finish cut your new panels. I would rough cut it a quarter inch outside the line with a jigsaw, and then router the finished edge.
That’s what I did for my anchor locker replacement lid, when I installed a windlass.
 

Attachments

  • DA2F51D1-A2B2-4C34-89D7-D1E5666E3A70.jpeg
    DA2F51D1-A2B2-4C34-89D7-D1E5666E3A70.jpeg
    1.7 MB · Views: 14
  • D21223C9-33C4-42E1-833F-5AA73898D8C6.jpeg
    D21223C9-33C4-42E1-833F-5AA73898D8C6.jpeg
    1.4 MB · Views: 13
  • Like
Reactions: PointedRose

DennisG01

GreatGrady Captain
Joined
Sep 1, 2013
Messages
4,470
Reaction score
480
Points
83
Location
Allentown, PA & Friendship, ME
Model
Offshore
On my 2000, I am getting a brown stain weeping out from underneath the portside bulkhead, but I can’t find where it is coming from. Mine has about a 4“ x 1/4“ baseboard glued and screwed to the bottom.
Sounds like wet wood - that will give off brown-stained water.

This wasn't always done (if ever?) from the factory, but any wood that is used should have (as noted above) the edges fully saturated, multiple times, with resin. At minimum, the wood should NEVER be put down such that it touches the deck. There should be an air-gap so that the wood, even if it gets wet, will continually dry out. Installing wood tight to a surface is just asking for trouble.

If yours is tight to the floor, you "might" be able to save it by trimming the bottom edge to leave about a 1/4" air gap.
 

glacierbaze

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
1,065
Reaction score
165
Points
63
Age
72
Location
Chapel Hill and Pine Knoll Shores, NC
I agree Dennis. But I don’t know whether it is coming from washing the deck, or dripping down from above. If it is from washing down, I could caulk the joint, and hope that it will dry out. If it’s coming from above, The caulk would just create a dam.
 

DennisG01

GreatGrady Captain
Joined
Sep 1, 2013
Messages
4,470
Reaction score
480
Points
83
Location
Allentown, PA & Friendship, ME
Model
Offshore
I agree Dennis. But I don’t know whether it is coming from washing the deck, or dripping down from above. If it is from washing down, I could caulk the joint, and hope that it will dry out. If it’s coming from above, The caulk would just create a dam.
Without seeing it, it's tough to say, but if I had to guess... the water is wicking up from the floor. If it was dripping from above, you should be able to find obvious soft spots. Do you have an oscillating tool? You could cut the bottom 1/4" off while still on the boat. Me, I'd rather leave a 1/4" gap than caulk. Caulking won't allow it to dry and it's also possible that a small area of the caulk fails and again allows water in. The gap shouldn't be an issue with water getting into the cabin since the cockpit floor should have a built-in lip.
 

Fishtales

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Messages
5,866
Reaction score
595
Points
113
Hey Fishtales, why wouldn't you first build the panel and glass it ,then install it ? plywood likes to absorb water through the edges with capillary action of the grain of the wood. I think at a minimum you would want to at least coat or encapsulate the panel in resin , getting the edges really well, then glass it in? What do you think?

Yes, can do that if desired. May be better. I think either way you do it, the repair will stand the test of time for the hull.
 

Kevin Hawes

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Age
63
Model
Voyager
I am replacing mine right now since boat is down for total boat drain and bilge and water line replacement, I am using 1/2 inch birch plywood and use laminating resin with styrene thinned and coating the plywood until it will not suck up any more then without the styrene going to apply 2 mat and 2 cloth layers of glass to all edges and front and back of panels so they will total encapsulated then going to finish with 2 part paint to match boat, I cut the panels 3/16 short on all edges to make up for the glass buildup, will set bulkhead back in with caulking between floor and bulkheads.
 

blindmullet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
239
Reaction score
37
Points
28
Location
Florida
Model
Explorer
Some of the wood veneers today are pretty impressive when coated. With that you could use any composite depending on your comfort level. The debate is long on which epoxy is the most UV stable but you could opt for a urethane.
 

Norcoastal

Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
22
Reaction score
5
Points
3
Age
62
I’m debating now what’s the best to do. I’m now leaning towards 1/2“ marine ply with 1/4“ starboard, but that could change tomorrow. I’m thinking that because the cabin has some wood the inside would be natural
 

DennisG01

GreatGrady Captain
Joined
Sep 1, 2013
Messages
4,470
Reaction score
480
Points
83
Location
Allentown, PA & Friendship, ME
Model
Offshore
So the thought is to put the starboard on the outside? I wouldn't bother. Actually, you run the chance of water getting between the wood and SB. Honestly, it would be a waste of money. Marine ply is better than exterior grade PT ply. Saturate the edges and outside with epoxy. The outside is now fully waterproof, but also will take paint nicely. Still leave a small gap under the bottom edge. Do whatever finish you want on the inside... use the epoxy again... stain it... poly... whatever you want.
 

Norcoastal

Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
22
Reaction score
5
Points
3
Age
62
I’d really like some sort of plastic on the outside so it’s easy to clean and stay nice for a long time.

This isn’t as easy as I thought.

All I know is that I made a real mess