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I’ve been looking for a small enough skiff that can be powered by a 15hp or 20hp tiller to fish inlets and the seaside area of the Eastern shore. My goal is a super simple layout with small front and rear decks and as much cockpit space as possible. I rarely sightfish and I’d rather be in the boat than on top.

The rebuild will use poly resin and composite materials, except for the hull which I will core with 1/2” balsa. I am rebuilding this hull on a budget and this is the only “big ticket” item on the build, and it’s considerably cheaper than Corecell.

The boat is a 14’ Wenzel. I cut out the rear deck and benches, and removed all of the foam. Most of the foam was dry, but a couple sections in the middle bench were completely saturated. Once everything was cut out and ground down, I began tearing out the transom. It wasn’t as bad as some I’ve seen, but it was still a pain taking it out because the outside transom skin is so thin you don’t really have anything to pry against.






I use a lot of Carbon-Core products and I had a leftover piece of 1.5” that I used for the transom. Bedded the core with putty and once it was dried I glassed it in with a couple layers of 1708.



I have to sand the old gelcoat down and then I’ll add a layer of 3/4oz csm to the hull and then bed the core. I’ll add a layer of 1708 on top of the core.
 

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Cool project! Are you at all worried that the balsa will take in water with the polyester resin?
No. I’ve rebuilt boats that were cored with balsa and without any screw holes the balsa was perfect. And this was on 30-35 year old boats.
 

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I’m comfortable working with wood and poly even though there seems to be a massive fear here of these two materials used together. Honestly, if my leftover materials weren’t composite I would source plywood for the bulkheads and decks.
 

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I’m comfortable working with wood and poly even though there seems to be a massive fear here of these two materials used together. Honestly, if my leftover materials weren’t composite I would source plywood for the bulkheads and decks.
All the legit old timers say if its done right wood will last longer than you'll own the boat.
 

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Ground off the old interior gelcoat and got the hull prepped for balsa. I precut all of the core first, and then numbered each piece. Once the hull was wiped down with acetone, I used a notched trowel and spread the putty in the hull. Backside of the balsa is wet out with resin and then it gets rolled into place. There aren't too many complex curves on this hull so I didn't need to vacuum bag it.

After the putty kicks, I go back and sand the balsa on the hull sides to try to smooth it out. All of the edges get radiused to help the glass lay down. Blow everything out and mix up another batch of putty that will go around the edges to make a better contour for the glass. I also think it makes a good solid perimeter around the core to prevent any water intrusion.

The layup on the balsa was a layer of 3/4oz csm and a layer of 1708. I really think the layer of csm help when working with balsa because the balsa wicks up a certain amt of resin.





I'm going to put it in the water this week with weights to get a new waterline so I can set the stringers to the correct height. The hull itself is already far more rigid/solid then it ever was.
 

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All the legit old timers say if its done right wood will last longer than you'll own the boat.
The TRANSOM (of all places) on my Hobie skiff is original 1985 and made of balsa. Still dry as a bone. And I can say that with confidence as I've had alot of the outer skin off
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was able to splash the boat to establish the waterline. I have an old 4hp evinrude that I put on just to putt around which got me 6.5mph on the gps. Made sure the new deck height will keep the hull self bailing and used a laser level to set the height. I glassed in a single foam stringer down the keel with two layers of 3408 triaxial. Still undecided if I will add another set of stringers.
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Discussion Starter #11
Not too much left. I still need to source a door for the front bulkhead and paint the outside. I have some seafoam gelcoat which I might paint the hull with.


The deck is 3/4" honeycomb material with two layers of 1708 on the bottom and a single layer on the top with another layer of .75csm.

The front bulkhead is also honeycomb, but the top edge is replaced with coosa so I can make a radiused edge. Deck paint is gelcoat with nonskid sprinkled on the horizontal surfaces after the 1st coat, and then a final coat over everything once the first coat has kicked.


Im going to flip the hull tomorrow and begin sanding/filling the outside.


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I like this set up. Can you explain a little bit more on how you set up your self bailing deck. I have a johnsen skiff that I would like set up like that.
 

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I like this set up. Can you explain a little bit more on how you set up your self bailing deck. I have a johnsen skiff that I would like set up like that.
I had initially set the stringer height to be self bailing based on marking a waterline. After looking at the stringer height, it was pretty close to where the chine is at near the bulkhead, so I raised the stringer height to match.

I only did this because the stringer height and chine were so close that cutting the deck out would have been a pain at the initial height. It’s hard to explain but as the chine makes that slow transition up toward the bow you have to undercut the deck to make it sit tight. In order to bypass all that I just set the deck on top of the chine.
 

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The boat is just about done. I painted the hull down to the waterline with interlux brightside. Its a one part paint, but I dont think you can get a better paint job for $45 in paint and rollers. I still need to mark a new waterline and add bottom paint. Still on the hunt for a 9.9-15hp, but the 4hp works for the time being.


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The motor is definitely offset on purpose. It gets a little tight in the back of the boat with it centered and without a tiller extension.
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Nice job. With the one part topcoat paint,future touch-ups will be easy. What did you prime it with? What are you going to use as a bottom paint?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Nice job. With the one part topcoat paint,future touch-ups will be easy. What did you prime it with? What are you going to use as a bottom paint?
I didn’t prime it. I sanded the gelcoat down to 220 and put on two coats. Rolled with a foam roller and tipped with a badger brush. The first coat gave pretty good coverage, only a few spots were thin. This was my first time rolling and tipping, and while this one part pint doesn’t have the shine and gloss and leveling of a two part paint, I still think the cost and ease of application far outweighs 2 part paint. Esp on a little skiff.

No idea what I’ll bottom paint with. I’d like to go with vc performance epoxy as I’ve heard you can leave it in the water for up to a month without issue, which is as long as it will ever be in the water at any given time.

Alex
 

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The boat is just about done. I painted the hull down to the waterline with interlux brightside. Its a one part paint, but I dont think you can get a better paint job for $45 in paint and rollers. I still need to mark a new waterline and add bottom paint. Still on the hunt for a 9.9-15hp, but the 4hp works for the time being.


View attachment 66616


The motor is definitely offset on purpose. It gets a little tight in the back of the boat with it centered and without a tiller extension. View attachment 66618 View attachment 66620
Sweet build man. Thank for you documenting all of this. I just picked up a wenzel yesterday. My LOA is 13'. So.im.unsure if I have the same.model as you. But do you happen to know what the measurement is from the gunwale to the deck? Your build is alot like what I want to.do.
 
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