FAQs

Q: I have a ding in my rail. how do I know if it leaks?

A: open the vent if your board has one of those, put board into a cool place overnight. Next morning, as the sun starts to get warm, close the vent, set the board into the sun, and, as it warms up, brush dishwashing detergent onto the suspect crack. If there are bubbles, you got a leak. (as the air inside the board warms, it expands, and will escape by whichever means)

 

Q: I have a ding, how do I know if there is water in there?

A: tape clear plastic sheet (Saran wrap, etc) over the suspect ding. Set board into the sun. If condensation appears on the plastic, you have water in there.

 

Q: I have a ding, it leaks, it has water in there, now what do I do?

A: set the board into a warm, well-ventilated area, providing extra airflow if you can (fan). With a larger wound, you can increase the surface area by twisting a paper towel into it, fanning out the top.

Or you can bring it to me for vacuum-drying.

 

Q: why is it so important to get all the water out?

A: the ingredients of your board are waterproof, but not necessarily vapor-proof. As the board warms, pressure within increases, causing water-vapor to form, which can migrate through minute imperfections in the laminations, causing bond failures and other unpleasantness.

 

Q: my board has a vent plug. Should I open it when I'm not sailing?

A: YES!!

The difference between external air pressure and internal board pressure determines the exact thickness of the board. As the external pressure fluctuates every day (typically cool early mornings with high pressure, then thermal low mid-afternoons), the board will first compress, then expand as the day wears on. In a thick, high-volume board, this change can amount to 1/4" or more. Picture such cycling going on once a day, 365 days a year. Picture the EPS foam core fatiguing and slowly separating into chunks.

Much better to open the vent between sessions, to eliminate this cycling!

 

 

 

Q: I have a delam on deck right next to my mast box. Why can't I just inject some Epoxy in there?

A: Unless you have the extruded EPS foam (do you?), then the injected resin will travel through the channels between the foam beads, taking the path of least resistance, which may or may not be where you want it. It also has the disconcerting propensity to puddle, generating much heat upon curing, which makes for interesting stalactites in great voids. Very artsy, but not meaningful, structurally speaking. Click here for revealing photos!

 

Q: On the subject of "drying out" a board. Do you have some suggestions there. Being a woodworker by trade, I am aware of vacuum kilns, that can remove free moisture from wood. I wondered if that same method could work with foam/glass items

A: YES! But both vacuum and kiln aspects need to be approached with utmost caution, since EPS foam has vastly smaller compressive strength than a piece of lumber, and since many of the ingredients in composite watertoys are thermoplastic (Divinycell etc). But judiciously applied, and monitored closely, you can "boil" water out of your soggy craft. As a matter of fact, most days, I have a couple of boards gurgling away in the background, and my neighbors have become used to the sight of me putting ear to board to hear how wet they still are...

 

Q: a large area of glass eventually delaminated on the rear area behind the seat. I am thinking that it could be re-attached with a vacuum bag setup.

A: I have found that vacuum-bagging such a delam is a real crap-shoot (you never know just where the injected resin ends up), and adds much weight, besides. Much better, in my opinion, to just cut the delam away and re-glass. 

 

Q:  I'm in the process of repairing some cracks in my '00 Naish wave board with West Systems, and my question is, how deep should I sand? 

A: until you have removed all compromised material - wherever that may take you.

Q: I've lightly Dremel-sanded the areas until the paint is off, to a brown colored core which looks like the skin of the board.

A: that would be the Divinycell PVC, so you did go through the outer fiberglass and/or Carbon

Q: Is that deep enough? 

A: yes, if the Divinycell appears to be holding together. You can safely ignore hairline cracks and such, but need to go further if the Divinycell seems to be lifting up from the inner laminations.

Q: I've glassed the repairs in my Naish twice now, sanded, then spray painted. Out of pinholes in the repair small amounts of moisture are escaping. 

A: this means that not only you have water in there, it also means that your repair is not tight.

Q: Should I cut away (again) the repair area and wick it out with a rag?  Should I keep
it in the sun, hoping to evaporate it? 

A: yes to both - airflow actually is more effective than warmth to get rid of water.

Then - remove your vent screw. Wait until at least 3pm, later on a really hot day. Fill whatever cracks and pinholes you have in the substrate, then glass over with a medium-fast Epoxy (105 West w/ 205 hardner, for example). Don't skimp on the resin! If the cloth appears dry anywhere, dab on more Epoxy. Hover, until the surface remains shiny everywhere, indicating a generous amount of resin. Let cure overnight.

By the time the next day warms up, expanding the air in your core and trying to push moisture past your repair, it has all set up hard enough to resist.

Sand judiciously and refinish.

 

Q: I was wondering what is the easiest/safest way to remove a traction pad from a Surftech and will I lose any paint?

A: a torch? no, no, no!!

with your fingertips, worry at a corner, peeling it up a bit, which exposes the glueline. Take a single-edged razorblade and gently slice at the glueline while prying the pad up with your finger - its like skinning a critter. If you are patient and go slow, you will leave the board intact, with, maybe, a few bits of pad attached. To remove the last bits, rub at them with Goo-Gone or other sticky remover. Just make sure to completely wipe it off before long, lest it softens your paint!

 

Q: I am a Eastcoast Cape Cod sailor who, over the years, has done minor repairs on
my own with Marine-Tex (with good results from what I can tell).  I am just
curious what is your view of Marinetex, would you recommend its use?

A: sure, Marinetex is good for temporary patches. Its just a bit messy, and
hard to mix well in the field, and has no strength, so, for permanent
repairs, you really need to replace it with "proper" laminations of Epoxy
plus an adequate reinforcement such as fiberglass etc