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Replacing a boat bottom

Posted by Northstorm62 
Replacing a boat bottom
February 03, 2021 05:05PM
I own an older wooden drift boat built from one of Jason's plan. The issue is that the bottom is wood, fiberglass, epoxy, and graphite. It's heavy. I'm getting older and sometimes fish solo. Is it worth the time and energy to remove the old bottom and replace it with a composite one? Or ought I just try to sell it and start from scratch on a new boat. Any thoughts are welcome.
Re: Replacing a boat bottom
February 03, 2021 08:48PM
I replaced a bottom once, on an old balsa core boat I built in the late 80s. Balsa was like an early version of Plascore but not as good because it soaks up water. I was able to save an old boat that would have been headed for the dump.

I put visqueen on the inside bottom. Then 2" foundation foam on top of the Visqueen. Then fitted side to side 2x4s on top of the foam and screwed through the sides of the boat into the 2x4 ends to hold all that in place. Scribed a black cut to line on the outside of the boat with a fat sharpy pen. The rented a water feed concrete saw to cut through the thick fiberglass on the outside of the chine.

Took the boat bottom off and replaced it with Plascore. I used that boat for another ten years before cutting it up and hauling it to the dump. My problem was a water-logged balsa bottom. It sounds like you have a good boat but it's a bit too heavy.

You could try to make a lighter boat, perhaps even with Plascore sides as well as bottom. Is it worth it? I'm 72 and still enjoy boat building. I just don't work at it very hard any more. If I didn't enjoy the designing and building I'd probably buy a one man pontoon boat (a big one--I don't much like the little ones). But I do enjoy the process. So I make'em instead of buy'em.

My next project will be an aluminum hull, hand welded over a male mold, with oiled all-wood interior. With perhaps no fiberglass at all.
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