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Foam Core

Have questions about fiberglass, gel-coat, or core repairs well as composite questions?
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Ken Chaffee
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Foam Core

Post by Ken Chaffee » Nov 12, 2014 7:06 pm

How difficult is it to replace the balsa core with closed cell foam? Can some-one give me a step by step? The balsa on my boat is good from the dash forward. I plan to replace up to deck. If I go with foam should I remove the complete core? Is the foam core as strong as the balsa?

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Surface Scratcher
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Re: Foam Core

Post by Surface Scratcher » Nov 16, 2014 12:27 pm

Hi, your questions are more complicated than they appear. As I understand foam and balsa are essentially installed the same. But why foam? Because It doesn't rot...as fast. :cry: If not sealed properly it'll hold water (weight) and ultimately rot, just like wood. ...just sayin. ;)

As far as only replacing part of the core, I can only think if two possible issues. If you can slide a blade between the wood and the glass, it's not bonded anymore, so continue removing. Secondly, I would be concerned about using a butt joint where the old meets new, as it might be a little weak.

Here's a link to a foam recore by ccRick... viewtopic.php?f=13&t=85.

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Re: Foam Core

Post by alaskastreamin » Dec 25, 2014 4:42 pm

Balsa vs. foam is sometimes a heated topic. I like both and depending on how forces are applied, each has it's strong points and weaknesses.
Poor lay-up practices leading to water intrusion gave balsa a bad name. It wasn't the balsa's fault. Foam is more tolerant of getting wet and not turning to mush. In a "nut shell", the core material is used to separate two skins of fiberglass to create a rigid panel . Use what makes you feel good. I use Balsa.

Here's a Viper rebuild thread I wrote for Mark Casper. It explains how to and why with lots of pictures. It's a good read and will get you familiar with the process. You may not need to split the hull and deck. I'm sure you will not have any more damage than I had.

http://hydrostream.org/ArticleArchives/ ... rResto.htm
Ron Pratt
Sitka, Alaska
Viper/ 2.5L 200 Merc (SOLD)
1991 "the last" Virage/ 15" 280

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Re: Foam Core

Post by MinnetonkaBoater » Dec 31, 2014 8:46 am

When I worked at HydroStream, I was taught that the purpose of the core was to separate the layers of glass. That way it gave strength and rigidity similar to an I-Beam.

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