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  1. #1
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    Default 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    I just started the restoration of my 85 VIP Colt, a 14’ 4” tri hull. I bought it in “lake ready” condition for my birthday in August last year. I was content considering I didn’t pay much, but I found out it’s much worse than I originally thought. Up until yesterday I figured the work I’d need to do was more or less superficial. I learned yesterday that “lake ready” has a broad meaning depending on who you ask.

    I had planned on filling holes, painting the top shell, and maybe putting new carpet down. When I pulled up the old carpet I found the main deck and the casting deck were both rotten. When I stepped into the storage hold in the casting deck, the deck actually felt wet. There was so much damage I had to tear it out. It was rotten to the core and holding water.

    When I pulled the deck I found the stringers were rotten too. In fact they’re so rotten in some places there’s nothing left but the fiberglass shell that once coated them. Someone attempted to reinforce the stringers with “sister joists” if you will. They ran what appears to be treated lumber along what was left of the stringers.

    One problem with this effort is that the sister stringer under the forward casting deck plugged the hole that was there to allow water to drain back to the bilge. That entire compartment was full of stagnant water which is what was causing the deck to hold water.

    Beyond the significant water damage, there was no foam or flotation of any sort under the deck. One good stump (very common if I bring this home to Louisiana) and I’m sunk, literally.

    So, my efforts have now greatly expanded. I rolled the boat into the garage so I can give up sleep and still work on it. The deck is gone and waste management was magnanimous enough to pick it all up this morning. I began scraping off the old glue and the old carpet from the fiberglass just so there won’t be anything below to rot or hold water anymore. I’ll have the fiberglass pretty much clean by tonight.

    Here’s where I start needing the collective genius of all you guys out there. Once I have the hull clean and I’m convinced there are not holes or fiberglass to repair, I need to know a few things to get started.

    1. What do I do about replacing or reinforcing the stringers? Do I need to rip everything out and lay new ones and resin/glass them? Do I leave the treated lumber in there and let them stay “reinforced?” What’s the proper way to handle rotted stringers like this?

    2. The deck was screwed down into the outer stringers with wood screws so now the resin and water seal is compromised. Are they too compromised? Can I seal over them and be ok? Do I need to replace them too?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

    Some Pics...

    Here she is as she first sat:


    Some of the wood rot:


    Rotted casting deck:


    Rotted deck:


    And the rotted stringers:

  2. #2
    Commander drewpster's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Now that you have the deck up best advice is to grind all the old stringers out and replace them with new. This includes the side stringers and any other cores that are wet. I bet when you get into it, you will find that all the stringers are toast. Its some extra work but since you came this far might as well keep on goin''
    Its not terribly compllicated, you just need to learn some glassing skills and have the gumpshun'

  3. #3
    Commander rickryder's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    drewpster has given the advice that all of us will give you..... take it all out. Check your transom for any rot. Build new stringers out of plywood and glass them in,install flotation foam (you can use the blue Dow insulation from Home Depot) and install a new deck. Pressure treated wood IMO is not good because of the wetness of it.

    Were here to help you along the way! Make sure you have the proper safety gear,a good respirator,tyvek suit, gloves,and eye protection.

    A 4 1/2" angle grinder with a cutting wheel for removing old stringers and a 36 grit wheel for grinding glass clean.

    As for the outer stringers you will need to check if any water has gotten in and rotted them....if they are good you can fill the holes from the old screws with 3M 5200 quick dry and be fine.

  4. #4
    Moderator ezmobee's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    I applaud you for moving quickly past the denial phase and on to the proper repair Good luck with your project. I like those little old bass boats and it looks like a great fishing platform.
    1976 18' Starcraft SuperSport 90HP Evinrude
    Restoration thread http://forums.iboats.com/boat-restoration-building-hull-repair/18-starcraft-supersport-restoration-357767.html
    1966 16' Starcraft Jupiter 85HP Johnson
    Restoration thread http://forums.iboats.com/starcraft-boats/ezmobees-1966-jupiter-338633.html sold

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    You know, I thought about being upset about it, but that gets me nowhere. The man who sold me the boat is a good man. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I can only presume he had no idea either. So, it is what it is. I want to use this sucker at a camping event for our Children's Ministry soon. I may as well get on with the repairs. Besides, I rather enjoy this sort of thing and I have the opportunity to make this exactly what I want it to be!

    So, here's one question. Is there any difference between using plywood for the stringers or hardwood? Does either offer any benefit over the other? I can get some 1x4 or 1x6 in several species and shape it down. I'm have no preference either way from a woodworking standpoint. I just want to do what's best for the boat to get the best results.

    Also, there's a channel of sorts that the original stringers sat in. Once I get these cut, should I wrap and glass the bottom, then sit them in the channel, and then glass the top? It seems the most thorough means.

    Thanks for all the help!

  6. #6
    Lieutenant Commander Cadwelder's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    You need to use plywood rather than hardwoods, it'll last longer and easier to work with. You can leave a bit of a lip of the old stringers, but it makes it more difficult to grind and you'll have to grind it all well so the new glass will adhere well. Personally I always grind them out to the hull. Take plenty of pictures (for reference) and measurements as you go, so when it comes time to install the new you don't go "Hmmmm, now was it here or over here"

    You'll find mixed opinions on the type of plywood to use....the best is marine grade, but AC exterior will work as many on here have used it. Post some pictures and keep the questions coming....there is nothing you can run into that can't be answered here.

    Good luck
    A good brand of engine is one that runs

  7. #7
    Supreme Mariner Woodonglass's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Check out this thread for some pics and helpful info. http://forums.iboats.com/showthread....hlight=parrisw

    If your stringers are 1 1/2 inch material you can use Douglas Fir but Ext. Grade ply is probably better.
    www.***************** is a good source for your supplies. I agree with CW grind out all the old glass and apply new. Bed your stringers in PL Polyurethane Adhesive. Get it at Lowe's or Home Depot. Make sure and use a Respirator, NOT a dust mask, Goggles, gloves, etc. All the safety equipment. This stuff is NASTY and WILL damage your lungs. SAFETY FIRST!!!!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadwelder View Post
    Post some pictures and keep the questions coming....there is nothing you can run into that can't be answered here.
    Thanks for the backup! I love knowing I have a place to go to get questions answered. I know I'm going to have them! This is quite the undertaking, but I'm looking forward to the challenge!

    I have a local supplier for marine grade ply here in Dallas (where "local" is quite the vague term ) I think I'll work the weekend to get things prepped and then pick up the ply on Monday.

    I do have a couple other questions while I'm on this phase. There is an elevated area in the hull between the main stringers a few feet behind the main console. It extends back to the transom. Where it meets the transom it narrows. The elevated narrow part is in the center and extends around the plug. It then recesses a bit on either side. It seems to me this would interfere with water draining from the hull. There is also a small hole in the front of this elevated portion that may allow water into the hull though I'm not sure anything is leaking in. I don't see how there's much I can do about it, other than glassing over the hole, but I wonder if you can help explain it.

    Also, there are stringers under the gunwales that extend from the transom to just shy of the console. There's a narrow channel on between them and the hull. At the transome, these are sealed with foam. Should that be allowed to drain? Does being sealed in the back cause a problem?

    The raised area in question:


    A closer look:


    The blocked off side stringers:

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodonglass View Post
    Bed your stringers in PL Polyurethane Adhesive. Get it at Lowe's or Home Depot. Make sure and use a Respirator, NOT a dust mask, Goggles, gloves, etc. All the safety equipment. This stuff is NASTY and WILL damage your lungs. SAFETY FIRST!!!!
    Forgive my ignorance... What would the PL stand for in your post? I do have a respirator but I need to get some gloves. I have far too much faith in my own ability to glue appendages together...

  10. #10
    Supreme Mariner Woodonglass's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Its just a brand name

  11. #11
    Commander drewpster's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    My guess from the pictures is that the raised area is a hull stiffener in the plaining area of the hull. This area gets allot of pressure as the boat moves through the water. If it has a wooden core, that wood is also most likely rotten. Hopefully it is built up out of fiberglass in which case you can simply work on top of it. Other wise I recommend you replace it.
    I am also guessing the hole is for drainage, (limber hole) or possibly a thin place in the glass that has rotted away. Hard to tell.

    It certainly wont hurt anything to remove some of the foam blocking drainage from the side stiffeners.
    "Your results may vary"

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    I'm with ya. Guess I could've googled that one and saved face just a little bit...

    I'm gonna go get the ply today. I'm planning on going with the marine grade ply unless it just costs too much. I've not worked with this place before and I have no idea how their pricing is. But, I've heard the edges are much easier to work with when working with marine grade wood because it's built to not have voids along the edges when it's cut. I kinda like the sound of that.

    Looks like I'm also gonna make a Home Depot run to get new filters for my respirator, a suit, and a new grinder as that's one of the few tools I actually don't have. There's a West Marine nearby too. I can get resin and glass from them for a decent price I think. I'll do some price matching first though.

    Here are some more questions for you guys as I get started...

    1. Will polyester resin do for the work with the stringers? I know epoxy is stronger, but it's harder to work with and more expensive.

    2. I figured I'd glass the stringers first for strength, install them, and then resin/glass the seams. Is this the right approach? Should I just install the bare wood and glass over it once they're installed?

    3. Is there a particular type of glass tape I should use? I've seen biaxial and unidirectional and such. Does it matter which one I use?

    I want to do this right, but rebuilding this thing was not exactly in the budget. I don't want to cut corners, but I don't want to go overboard if I don't need to. (No pun intended...)

    As for the hull stiffener, oh man what a can of worms… I’ll have to do some looking tonight to see how this thing is built and whether I’ll need to rebuild it. Man it’s a good thing I enjoy working on boats!!

    Thanks for the support guys!

  13. #13
    Lieutenant Commander Cadwelder's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    #1 Yes polyester resin is just fine (your boat was built from it orginally)

    #2 You just need to pretreat the wood with resin first, then install them and glass them to the hull, you need to fully encapsulate them and tab at least 6" or so past each side.

    #3 I don't use tape very often since it's just never fits my applications. If you're stringers are say 6" tall, then you'll need material at least 24" wide (6" tab each side + 6" hieght both sides + width of the stringer. I use 1708 biax for this but you can you cloth and matt together, either is okay. I usually do two layers of the 1708, keep in mind the stringers are an important sturcural componet of your boat.

    The hull stiffiner (not sure what you're referring to here, pictures would be good), but bottom line if it's wood at this point, replace it.
    A good brand of engine is one that runs

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Thanks for the info! Here are some shots of the deck alleged deck stiffener. I'm finally getting the hang of posting pics!

    The hole in the front almost appears to be damage more than a planned hole, but I'm not sure. I'm also gonna try to get in touch with Caddo Boats. They took over VIP some time ago. Maybe they'll have some information too.

    The deck stiffener:

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Just picked up a new grinder and some safety gear from Home Depot at lunch. I'm at a point where I can grind out the old stringers and get to work on the new ones. So, I'm looking at fiberglass options now.

    A lot of people have directed me to US Composites for materials. With regard to the thickness and strength of the fabric, what would I need to buy to get an appropriate level of protection? Cadwelder, you mentioned you use 2 layers of 1708 biax. What combination of materials would I need to use to get that sort of strength based on what USC has available?

    http://www.*****************/cloth.html

    I promise soon I’ll be off to the races on this and I’ll stop bugging you guys so much! I’m trying to learn what I can from other posts as well. I just want to make sure I’m doing this right!

  16. #16
    Commander rickryder's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    USC has biax http://www.*****************/specialty.html
    use the 435 resin http://www.*****************/polyesters.html

    In my resto thread you will see pics of how I did my stringers. Feel free to ask plenty of questions.
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    Resto Thread 210 Horizon http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=458229

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Awesome! Hopefully tonight I'll do some final measurements, get some biax and resin on order, and start grinding the old stringers out. I can't afford to lose momentum or I'll never get it done!

    I've been reading through your thread Rick. There's some great information and great pics there to go by!

  18. #18
    Commander rickryder's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    I'm happy my thread helps you out! Take your time and wear all the safety gear anytime your around that glass and resin.
    <img src=http://i54.tinypic.com/2v1ax76.jpg border=0 alt= />
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    Resto Thread 210 Horizon http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=458229

  19. #19
    Commander drewpster's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    What I described as a hull stiffener is a section added to the original hull shell to make it less prone to flexing. I could not tell by your original picture but it looked to me to be just forward of the transom. If it is, that area of the hull is where the boat rides when it is at speed and on plane. My theory was that the manufacturer added some strength to this area by glassing a couple of flat wooden plates to the inside skin of the boat. (stiffener) You can find out what they are made of and if they are rotten by drilling some shallow test holes using a 1/4" or so drill bit. Dry wood shavings= good core, wet/black or soft wood shavings= rotten wood core, fiberglass dust= yippee! leave it alone.

    enjoy
    drewp
    "Your results may vary"

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by drewpster View Post
    You can find out what they are made of and if they are rotten by drilling some shallow test holes using a 1/4" or so drill bit. Dry wood shavings= good core, wet/black or soft wood shavings= rotten wood core, fiberglass dust= yippee! leave it alone.
    That's a great idea! I'd not thought of drilling into it to test it. I'll put that on the plan for tonight as well. With any luck, I'll get nothing but dry wood and seal right back over it. Here's hoping!

    It is the section just forward of the transom. There is a narrow section at the transom where the drain plug is. It gets wider as it moves forward and stops just around where the boat would plane. Sounds like you're on the right track. I just hope I don't have to replace it too!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    By the way, I've been over your tri hull restoration too. Lots of good ideas to go by. I really like the LED lighting!

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Given a hectic Easter schedule, I've not had much time to work on the boat. But I got in there today and did a fair bit of cutting and grinding on the stringers. I got the bulk of the stringers from the console back to the stern. I got the hull stiffener cut out from the hull. That turns out to have been about four square feet of 1/2" plywood glassed down to the hull (with no drainage).

    Here's my plan. I'm going to replace this wood and glass it down as it was before. But, in order that there is some drainage, I thought of ripping a short length of pvc in half and placing it open face down to the hull, laying the wood around it, and glassing the whole thing down. I'll let the pvc run just shy of the bilge so water has way to get out so I don't get myself back into this mess again. I'm on sort of a mission to keep water on the outside of the boat. I'm getting closer to that goal.

    I have to ask this though. I've priced marine grade wood and exterior treated ply. My finances dictate I don't use marine grade. No worries. But I have to ask... Does anyone know of any sort of suitable composite equivalent to using plywood?? It seems to me if I put something in there that doesn't rot in the first place I'd likely be better off. I ran into an employee at Home Depot the other day who decked his boat with composite deck material. Does anyone have any opinions on this?? I can say with some confidence I don't want to have to do this again...

  23. #23
    Commander rickryder's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    IMO composite deck material will be too heavy.... Go to the local lumber yard and ask if they have underlayment plywood. No voids between the plys and exterior grade glue. A coat of resin then a layer of 1.5oz csm will seal it up.

    You have to understand that a properly sealed piece of ply will last many years if it's not left sitting in water..... Our boats get in this condition from neglect and I know that after a full blown restoration you will be keeping her covered and dry
    <img src=http://i54.tinypic.com/2v1ax76.jpg border=0 alt= />
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    Resto Thread 210 Horizon http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=458229

  24. #24
    Lieutenant Commander Cadwelder's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    http://www.coosacomposites.com/ Check this out for your deck....now it's expensive, but lighter than plywood and the rot situation isn't there, plus there is no need to cover the back side with CSM before you install it. Really it's only big drawback is PRICE. I'll let you decide, just thought I'd give you the option since you asked.
    A good brand of engine is one that runs

  25. #25
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    Default Re: 85 VIP Tri Hull - First Restoration

    Ok. After a year and a half of working two jobs, I’ve stepped down from one and will hopefully have more time to work on this. I can’t say I regret not having it ready right now since the heat index has been 110+ all week!

    I have a design question. Have a look at these pics from Triton and Tracker. Note the folding jump seats in the rear deck. This is how I want to design my casting deck. It is the best way I can see to keep such a small boat versatile.

    Here’s the problem. Every time I look up a jump seat, I get results for pontoon furniture. I’ve not been able to find these sorts of seats prefabricated anywhere.

    Does anyone know where I can find them? Does anyone know what the technical term is I need to search to look for them? I suppose I can fabricate some on my own, but I’m hoping to find them prebuilt. Any help would be appreciated.










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