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Repair, Tools & Materials

Boat Repair in the Age of Plexus

Historically, fiberglass boat hulls and decks were molded separately, and then bonded at the deck seam. Bulkheads were added either with polyester or epoxy putty, and then taped into place with fiberglass tape. The putty should hold, if well done, but it could crack if twisted hard or subject to impact, and the extra taping […]

Choosing the Right Boat Glue

Any time I start researching glues, I can hear the voice of Old Man Parker from the classic film “A Christmas Story,” ringing in my head:“You used up all the glue on purpose!” And each time, the chemical engineer inside me wants to ask, “What kind of glue would fix Mr. Parker’s treasured stocking-leg lamp?” […]

Are Boatbuilders Expecting Miracle Glues?

Don’t ask an adhesive to do more than it can. If a bolt breaks, we accept it as deterioration or faulty design, not a defective bolt or the fault of bolts in general. And just as there are good and bad applications for bolts, there are inadequate adhesive joint designs. • Avoid bonding materials of […]

Bottom Paint Removal Decision Time

However you choose to use your scarce time, we’ll wager that you’d rather not spend it removing bottom paint. If you are an owner of an older boat with a decade of accumulated hard bottom paint that is flaking and cracking, now is a good time to start weighing your options for removing the old paint. Should you do it yourself, or hire the professionals—or a bit of both? Our experts break down the different approaches to removing old antifouling and the compare the estimated costs of each.

Making Your Own Workshop Filter

It all started when I needed to make a number of large cuts inside the house and outside of the confines of my shop....

Making the Dinghy Decision

Spring and fall on the Chesapeake Bay delivers cruising at its best. Last fall, we were ready to go, the crowds were gone, along with the heat and humidity. Last on our predeparture list was a quick check of the inflatable dinghy. Sadly, the old Avon had become a deflatable, and Plan B, our favored […]

Non-Skid Ten Years After

Boat decks take a beating from sun and salt that eventually take their toll on factory-molded nonskid. Once nonskid loses its grip, resurrecting it...

Caulking Gun Shootout

Caulking guns might seem like simple implements— lever, a spring, a notched shaft, and a few extra flourishes and what was once a slab...

Wood Ash Absorbs Odors Best

The media serves several purposes in a desiccating toilet. It provides visual cover, draws moisture away from the solids (good wicking and coating are...

Get a Survey, Set Priorities

Here we go again. Apparently enough time (32 years) has passed since I last bought a 50-plus-year-old boat and began restoring it that I’ve...