Barnfield Does Balsa Sandwich... Sort of

Thought you guys might like to see my latest project.  

Years ago I gave up my slip in Haleiwa as I was too busy with kids, business etc.  Since there is a 10 year waiting list, slips are near impossible to get.  So when my name came up recently, I had to get a boat in the slip asap!


This is leaving the Waikiki Yacht Club.

[img_assist|nid=1047307|title=J/24 Leaves Waikiki|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]


while I had sailed this Yacht quite a bit, it did need some love and new paint!  No problem… I can do that easily…

Little did I know, that there were more problems then I had counted on, lurking under the skin















Under the makeshift work tent… no problem… it will survive for the couple of weeks it will take

[img_assist|nid=1047308|title=Home under the blue Tarps|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]

[img_assist|nid=1047310|title=Danny Nichols Taping Off Deck|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]Danny Nichols was gracious to give me a hand on several tasks like stripping all the hardware off the deck etc.

Here we are glassing the hull and deck together.  Normally molded boats come from the factories with the seam caulked and bolted together… they always leak!  My solution is glassing them together.  Amazing how dry it make them inside!

Hey Bill you got me in with the Sandwich bit...

When I was a kid I had a friend whose dad began building a boat about that big in the yard...It took long enough for the fence to be replaced around it. Last I saw it was still there, and I never heard more of the promised trip to Fiji.

Here's hoping yours gets out there...

Hey, want some pinstripes?




I thought it might raise an eyebrow or two…  Actually the hull and deck are constructed with end grain balsa core so… I wasn’t really lying. :slight_smile:

Sadly, previous owners of these Yachts regularly move deck hardware and fail to patch the holes or they don’t keep existing hardware caulked well.  Water gets into the core and rots the Balsa!  Depending on how bad the problem is… they aren’t even worth trying to fix.  This one had some issues along those lines!

[img_assist|nid=1047312|title=Circular Sawing Out Deck Skin|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]


Ha!  That’s a great story.  One all to common I am afraid.

Oh… it will.  It will take a disaster to stop me now.  This has been a difficult saga so far but it hasn’t beat me yet! 

That would be cool!  Planning any trips to Hawaii soon?


Let's take it for a ride towards Changes & Silvas, we take Coles dad's boat down that way and catch all sorts of great stuff.  Can we take your too...maybe, please,,,can we!.....can we troll off the back?   No blood...i promise, and i'll clean and process all the fish we catch!

Yeah Sure!  Lets go!  It takes about 10 to 15 hours to get from Haleiwa to Honolulu… where’s Changes & Silvas!

As noted previously, the balsa cored deck had rotted i places from water intrusion.  Someone had previously repaired this spot with Plywood.  BAD IDEA.  When it gets wet it delaminates and strong as it may seem at first, thin, disconnected layers of wood are useless for securing both sides of the deck skins, not to mention the hardware that should be attached.  This particular spot was where the primary winches were attached!

[img_assist|nid=1047324|title=Deck Recore Plywood Removal|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]

The last layer of plywood which is stuck to the bottom deck skin has to be removed and only time and a sharp chisel will do. Even then it is easy to poke through the thin interior skin![img_assist|nid=1047322|title=Deck Recore Plywood Chisel|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]

Yuck, so pretty on the OUTSIDE...


Well Bill, no I had'nt had any plans to go to Hawaii, but of course if you're offering!




Bill, the lines on that boat are beautiful. But you project is screaming out for this tool. It will save you so much time.


I got one last year for fathers day, and I have used it for so many things since then. It will precison cut wood, metal, fiberglass, pvc, etc, then it will grind, and sand from rough down to 800 wet and dry, with profiles for grooves and stuff. For small boat repairs, it would be the go to unit.




PS, lovin' my penetrator



Bill Is that an old Craftsman chisel you are useing in the picture. My first set of chisels was a set of Craftsman. I loved those chisels! They were stolen from my house in1973.

Exactly!.. check out this next lovely problem I stumbled on…  This is the Primary Bulkhead totally hollowed out by termites!

[img_assist|nid=1047338|title=Bulkhead Termites|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]

You should come Josh, I can’t offer a place to stay but I have a shop full of tools that we could have fun making some boards together with!

Yup, that tool would have helped, especially for cutting out the bulkhead from the hull.  Talk about an itchy job!!  Doing it with the grinder and a cut off wheel blew the dust around too much, even with Danny Nichols holding the Shop Vac right there to suck it up.  In this photo the bulkhead is on the left and the hull is on the right.  I am cutting through where they were tabbed together with matt and glass.

[img_assist|nid=1047340|title=Bulkhead Removal|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=480|height=640]

Mine, is all polished out.  Gotta make the fin still.  Just cut the template out of masonite a couple days ago.  Will transfer to G10 shortly and foil it up.  John’s design has deeply concaved sides.  Then I will shoot some photos and take it for a spin!

Sorry, I overlooked your question above.  You have a good eye!  Yes that is a Craftsman Chisel.  Probably from around the 70s.  The set has held up well and does the job as needed.  I don’t like that the plastic handles get a weird white mold on them though.  Do yours do that?

Here is a photo of the Recore from rotted Balsa to Divinycell.[img_assist|nid=1047461|title=Deck Recore With Divinycell|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]

I eventually had to sand off all the Gel Coat to locate all the rotted Balsa and make sure everything got fixed.

[img_assist|nid=1047462|title=Deck Gel Coat Removed Bow|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=480|height=640]We, Danny Nichols and I, also glassed the hull and the deck together at the seam to eliminate all leaks.  Typically these are just caulked and bolted together and always leak

The rainy weather has been a big problem getting this thing into the painted stages

Hey, its getting along! I imagine you'll be quite proud the day that lil' boat unfurls fresh sails...

Off to some outlying island with secret waves...with a stowaway or two...






Aloha Josh

Yup, slowly coming along!  Proud may not be the right word, more like relieved… Ha!  Speaking of fresh sails, that’s one of the reason I bought this one.  It had a brand new suit of North Sails.  

Sadly, there are few spots let alone secret spots here in Hawaii anymore that require a sailboat to access them.  Roads and airplanes go most everywhere these days.  But I do know of a couple of spots…

Here’s a little history of The Hatches.  Worn, Cracked and Tired. Seriously needing help!


[img_assist|nid=1047470|title=Hatch Rear Before Restoraton|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]


Stripped for restoration


[img_assist|nid=1047471|title=Hatches Rear Stripped for Restoration|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]



Reglassed With Carbon Fiber

[img_assist|nid=1047472|title=Hatches Rear Carbon Fiber Glassing|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]



New Slider Guides Made of G10

[img_assist|nid=1047477|title=Hatch Rear G10 Slider Guides|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]



Test Fit of Rebuilt Hatches and Slide Guides on New Tracks Before Paint

[img_assist|nid=1047473|title=Hatches Rear Test Fit Before Paint|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]






[img_assist|nid=1047474|title=Hatches Rear Primered|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]



Non Skid Application - Paint + Grit


[img_assist|nid=1047475|title=Hatches Non Skid Application|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]



Gloss Finish Paint in Yellow




[img_assist|nid=1047476|title=Hatches Rear Gloss Finish Yellow|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]

I’m stoked for ya,nice set up and great work!

Hi Bill.  When I worked for Dennis Choate, using marine ply as core material in high load areas was common praxis.  All the holes for fittings, however, were drilled oversize, then taped underneath, filled with resin, then drilled out again.  This was to isolate the core.


Anyways, great project.  I hope someday to do the same with an Olson 30 or Olson 25.


If you start getting discouraged about the amount of work you’re investing…think of this- ain't going for half-measures with the hatches...sheesh...

The little hobby took over the lam bay I see. (There's no way thats the airbrush bay, with no "gun-colour test" graffiti! It unnaturally tidy too...I mean, what are ya!?)


I did a lot of sailing as a kid and had a foray on an Ocean-racing yacht, so I know the buzz.

Shame about the secret spots though.


Thank you

Aloha llilibel03

Thanks for the encouragement, great photos.

I understand about the marine ply, sadly few ever properly double drill and seal the holes.  In fact that is what killed my rudder!  Delaminated the whole skin.  So now I am having to build a new one.  Which of course, is going to have the holes sealed.  I have already done the one for the Tiller.  Still have to do the gudgeons.

This is the old Rudder, you can see that the water leaked all the way down and delaminated the skin!

[img_assist|nid=1047555|title=Rudder Delaminated|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=480|height=640]


New Tiller Laminated & Foil Bands Cut

[img_assist|nid=1047556|title=Rudder Foil Bands Cut|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=480|height=640]

Foiled and Sealed

[img_assist|nid=1047557|title=Rudder Foiled &amp; Sealed|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]


Carbon & Kevlar Lamination

[img_assist|nid=1047559|title=Rudder with Carbon Fiber &amp; Kevlar|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=480|height=640]


Tiller Bolt Hole Sealed




Good luck on your dream project.  Post some pictures if you ever get going on it!

[img_assist|nid=1047558|title=Rudder Tiller Bolt Hole Sealed|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]

Actually Josh that is the spray booth.  I have been remodeling the shop after 22 years and it recently got freshly painted!  That’s why it looks so nice.  The wall of racks is the drying area.  Normally there is a curtain there to protect the boards from overspray and trap the heat for drying.  I haven’t put the new curtain back up yet.  If you saw the other wall you would see a bunch of spray guns and gallons of paint.

Cool… I am surprised how many on Swaylocks have sailing experience.  I guess it makes sense, but people here are so myopic about surfing that they don’t do anything else.  It is changing as we age but I am often amazed at how many things you can do on the North Shore and how few people do any others then surf.

Sorry for the late replies everyone… been busy and then my laptop screen went blank on me.  I think the LCD screen died… Luckily I have Apple Care so it should be covered.  I am using my wife’s iMac and it isn’t loaded with all my usual programs and photos so posting photos is a bit more of a chore.

More photos coming when I get a break