Sealing the Keel Well

Vacuum Bag on Aft Portion of Keel

Vacuum Bag on Aft Portion of Keel

Water was trapped in the ballast area of keel, below the keel sump. I ground away some waterlogged glass laminate at the end of the keel then placed a 2′ x 3′ vacuum bag with peel ply against hull, layer of polyester breather cloth, then polyester film sealed to hull with plumber’s putty.

Pickle jar serves as liquid trap preventing liquids from damaging vacuum pump.

Pickle jar serves as liquid trap preventing liquids from damaging vacuum pump.

A pickle jar serves as a moisture trap collecting fluids forced from the keel. It was important to begin the vacuum process before glassing in the keel sump. About 48 ounces of liquid was removed in 3 days. When fluids quit coming out and the vacuum still on, it was time to begin the sealing process, thinned epoxy pulled into the cracks of the ballast seal in the sump. This worked quite well as thinned epoxy (10% acetone) was readily absorbed into cracks in the keel sump.

Epoxy sealer drawn into keel via vacuum.

Epoxy sealer drawn into keel via vacuum.

When the sealer began to pool in the well, I added two layers of 1708 fibreglass to bottom and about 4 to 5 inches up the sides of the keel recess under the engine. Notice a paint brush taped to a 2 foot wood pole. My arms are not long enough to reach way down in there so the handle extension was necessary. The epoxy is not pigmented to facilitate full saturation of the glass for a good bond and waterproof liner.

 

Adding white pigment to epoxy resin.

Adding white pigment to epoxy resin.

Pigment is added to the resin while applying the smooth layers of fibreglass tape for a nice finish.

 

The last picture shows the completed job with a nice white waterproof keel well ready for a new bilge pump to be installed.

Finished waterproof keel well

Finished waterproof keel well

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