false keel

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kenowens
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false keel

Post by kenowens »

Hi. When I was installing a rudder shoe on my Pearson Triton hull 554, I discovered a false keel filled with foam. Should I open the keel or the false bottom inside the boat to access this area to layup glass? Thanks, Ken.
PXL_20210609_192304410.jpg
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Last edited by kenowens on Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
CapnK
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Re: false keel

Post by CapnK »

Hi Ken -

I've seen owners of Tritons, Ariels, and A-30's all talk about the same thing.

Personally I would like to get rid of foam down there, because it's been my experience that even closed cell foams will absorb water, given immersion and enough time. I'd fill the area with a stiff paste of resin, microballoons, and milled glass. That should fill the area and give at least as much, if not more, structural strength than the foam has been doing.
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kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

Thanks. The foam in the false keel is open cell and soaked with water as you said.

Have you heard of anyone opening the false bottom of the bulge and removing all the foam?

This would allow me to layup glass inside the false keel to compensate for grooving the hull for the shoe.

I could also open the side of the keel but I prefer the later.

Thanks again for your comments. Ken.
Last edited by kenowens on Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

kenowens wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:02 am Hi. When I was installing a rudder shoe on my Pearson Triton hull 554, I discovered a false keel filled with foam. Should I open the keel or the false bottom inside the boat to access this area to layup glass? Thanks, Ken.

PXL_20210609_192304410.jpg
CapnK
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Re: false keel

Post by CapnK »

Both ways would do it, but from the top is probably easier in the long run. One thing to be cautious of is that when filling in a large space like that, or any time when you have a large amount of resin in one lump, the amount of heat generated during the reaction between resin and catalyst can be quite considerable. There are ways to control that, however.

One easy way would be to do multiple, smaller pours into the cavity, over a period of days. Great, if you aren't in a hurry.

You could cool down the resin ahead of time to create a slower & cooler reaction, but I am not sure if there are guidelines to follow on that.

While I generally like to use epoxy resin in refitting/repairing because of its much higher secondary (mechanical) bonding characteristics, I think for doing this job I would use polyester or vinylester resin. The bond isn't so important and should be sufficient. More importantly, though, you can limit the catalyst used in order to make a very slow, but nice and cool, hardening reaction and cure. Bonus: it's cheaper. :)

Combining all three of these - small pours, early in the day before it warms up, using an 'ester resin and minimal catalyst - would probably be the very best way to do it.
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atomvoyager
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Re: false keel

Post by atomvoyager »

I haven't done this job myself yet but I'd agree that poly resin is best here and I'd want to add some fiberglass inside where you cut away the keel for the shoe. Where did you source the bronze shoe? I'd like to do that on my boat and thought I might need to build a shoe from a stainless pipe welded to tangs.
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

Thanks for the reply. Pete at Port Townsend foundary cast it for me from a mold he already had. It was not designed for the Triton but is looks bomb proof. The angle of the straps don't match my hull exactly so the forward end was resesed deeper exposing the void in the hull. I will lay up glass on the inside to compensate for the shoe notch as you suggested. I'll send you a picture of the mold when I get to my computer. Ken.
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

The yellow RF-10 pattern is the one Pete used to cast my Triton's shoe.
1.250 rudder fitting lower and gudgeon 1.jpg
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

Hi everyone. I enlarged the hole under the rudder shoe slightly and probed up through the foam at 45 degrees. At 18 inches, the probe hit the underside of the false bilge. I welded a short extension on an 18 inch dill bit and drilled a hole at this angle. The bit emerged under the aft end of the battery box just beneath the companion way. To gain access and apply glass, I will have to remove the engine and the false bilge top between the engine mounts. Ken.
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Re: false keel

Post by atomvoyager »

On my Triton and the one I refit recently there is no false keel with foam or if there is it is small because I have about 28 inches from cabin sole to bottom of bilge. Apparently you have a shallow bilge version with a large foam fill area. Both of these are 1963 east coast Tritons with hull numbers in the upper 300s.
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

On my East Coast Triton (Hull number 554) it measures 20 inches from cabin sole to the bottom of the bilge. There is only room for the bilge pump at the bottom and then the bilge slopes up to the stern tube.

The picture below is from the engine bay looking forward under the battery box showing the slope of the false bilge. If you look closely you can still see the drill bit piercing the false bilge through 18 inches of foam.
PXL_20210612_184642550(1).jpg
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Re: false keel

Post by atomvoyager »

From an earlier thread on Triton keels someone explained the false keel that is supposedly only found on pre hull #382 external ballast Tritons so yours must be internal with no false keel. If yours is internal ballast, either the factory or a previous owner must have added the foam and some glass above it. The good news then is that you have a very solid keel instead of the added false keel.

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=5792&p=48743&hilit ... eel#p48743
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

The ballast lifting u-bolts protrude through the glass in the forward bilge. So my Triton is definitely internally ballasted. I suspect the foam was factory installed during layup since I can't see any tabbing on the false bilge bottom.
Last edited by kenowens on Sun Jun 13, 2021 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

After removing the battery box and the aft section of the cabin sole, I cut through the resin-rich bilge cover with a multitool. The glass was about an inch thick at the bottom and half an inch thick at the top. Here is the opening between the inboard engine mounts. After digging out the foam, you can see light coming in though the holes where the rudder shoe straps will be located.
PXL_20210613_204402369 (1).jpg
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

By the way, the foam smells strongly of diesel which must have entered the false bilge through its many surface cracks. The top of which seems to be pure resin. I am leaning towards removing the false bilge entirely, glassing as necessary to strengthen the shoe area, not filling the space with anything and painting.
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Re: false keel

Post by atomvoyager »

If it was my boat I'd cut out the remaining false bilge bottom, apply fiberglass and thickened resin as needed to support and seal the rudder shoe area and paint it all with white epoxy barrier coat Interprotect 2000e. The reason I use that in bilge, cockpit lockers and chain locker instead of a single part paint like Bilgecoat is because it goes on easily with a short nap mohair roller and is tough against chafe and water and can be glassed over in future if you decide to make further repairs and modifications such as adding an integral water tank into the otherwise useless aft bilge area. Two coats applied a couple hours apart covers well.
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

Sounds right. Thanks for all the advice.
Last edited by kenowens on Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

The view facing aft between the engine mounts of false bilge removal project. It turns out that the remaining lip of false bilge surface can be snapped of with hammer and a chisel. I don't think I could do this if the false bilge surface was part of a hull/false keel joint.
PXL_20210615_225837189 (1).jpg
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As a newbie, I still want to make sure that there is no joint and the hull was made in one piece. On the exterior, I scratched off the bottom paint above a spot where the hull/false keel joint would be but there was no sign of a joint. On the interior, I washed an area that I ground where the surface of the false bilge was (center of the above image and sightly to the left) and I am trying to make sense of what I see. I was expecting the woven mat from below to continue above the joint. Maybe it is hidden by resin the factory used to cover the foam in the false bilge. Below is a zoomed in shot of this area. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
PXL_20210615_225728221 (1).jpg
PXL_20210615_225728221 (1).jpg (31.32 KiB) Viewed 156 times
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atomvoyager
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Re: false keel

Post by atomvoyager »

What we know about the construction history of these newer boats with internal ballast plus your own observations on the exterior confirm you don't have a false keel situation so that disappearance of the woven roving in the photo could be thickened resin on top of the roving. If concerned you could grind into a small area and see what you uncover and then add some glass over it. Or just add a couple layers of glass to the area anyway to help compensate for the glass joint you removed. In any case, you might as well add some glass in the lower bilge around the shoe and carry it up the sides as high as you want.
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

Hi. I am trying to decide how to prep/layup glass inside the bilge to cover the holes I caused by mounting the rudder shoe. One issue is the glob of thickened poly resin above the holes seen in the image below. This glob provides a solid mounting point for the lower gudgeon (which I will not be using) but is in the way of getting glass on the hull surrounding the holes. Should I remove it? If so, any ideas on how to get rid of it? The forward edge of it is only two or three inches athwartship, making it difficult to get a grinder in there and it's three or four inches fore and aft. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
PXL_20210617_230323111 (1).jpg
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atomvoyager
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Re: false keel

Post by atomvoyager »

If that glob of thickened resin is truly in the way and you can't just layup fiberglass over it then if a chisel is too short to reach you could take a long bolt or piece of rebar and grind a chisel point in one end and go at it with a hammer. The other option might be to apply thickened epoxy on the end of a rounded paint stick and fill the hidden area below it and then apply fiberglass over that, preferably before it hardens if possible to avoid air voids around another irregular blob of thickened resin. But either way it doesn't matter if you have some small voids since you will be sealing them in with layers of fiberglass anyway.
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

Thanks for the comments. Glassing over the resin globs sounds right. However I had to figure out a way to prep them as they were covered by what I call peanut brittle. The peanut brittle is formed when the foam adhears to the resin. You can pry it off with a screw driver but it's tough. The resin globs have so much tecture that is is virtually impossible to get the stuff off. Below is a top-down view of the lower glob showing the stuff. A clear patch of resin can be seen in the middle where I chipped off the peanut brittle.
PXL_20210618_195844150_2 (1).jpg
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After chipping away at the stuff, I thought why not sand blast it? I made a cheap DIY sandblaster from youtube. It is made from a harbor freight blow gun that cost a few bucks and has a notch that I filed in it to allow sand to enter. Sand is placed in the bottle, it is then capped and rotated around the nozzle to allow gravity to push the sand in the notch. Fire up the compressor and you are in business. The thing actually works!
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Here is the upper and lower resin globs after sand blasting
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PXL_20210618_215006662 (1).jpg (35.03 KiB) Viewed 82 times
Last edited by kenowens on Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
kenowens
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Re: false keel

Post by kenowens »

For the past few days, fresh water has been seeping from the foam around the lead ballast into the aft end of the keel where I want to glass. Any ideas on how to speed up the drying process?
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atomvoyager
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Re: false keel

Post by atomvoyager »

Maybe someone else can give you an idea but meanwhile you could drill a hole inside and outside in likely spots and if it doesn't drip out fast enough drill more holes in other spots. Maybe try compressed air for the outside hole or a vacuum on the inside one. You could also try a moderate amount of heat under the keel after drilling. If you still have a slow drip you can build a temporary dam to stop the water getting to the aft area you want to work in or if the leak is slow enough, block the water with towels until the glass repairs cure. Should only take a few hours and then you can seal the entire bilge after the leak stops.
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