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Old 02-19-2009, 04:51 AM   #1
TTFishon
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Question How long does fiberglass last?

I'm going to look at a fiberglass boat that's fifty years old. He said his dad restored it. I'm going to look at the transom. What else should I look at?
Is there a blue book for boats?


Last edited by TTFishon; 02-19-2009 at 04:55 AM. Reason: adding another question
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: How long does fiberglass last?

Fiberglass is pretty durable, but there are typically wood stringers and a wood lining in the transom that can be subject to rot.
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: How long does fiberglass last?

I'd look at the entire boat, not just the transom! seriously, crawl underneath it, inside and out. if it has a cuddy crawl in there as well. you can't be too careful. There is a site nadaguides that will give you some idea of values. Personally with the number of boats on the market I would look for something newer myself, unless you are after a vintage boat specifically. I think it is safe to say that given the state of the economy, that this is a buyers market.
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: How long does fiberglass last?

I own a fiberglass boat that is 52 years old. It is still in good shape! Have fished it in the bays and most trout lakes in oregon. As some have said, I would be more worried about the wood components. I bought my boat 20 years ago for about $300. Including trailer. You should be able to pick it up pretty cheap. Good Luck!
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: How long does fiberglass last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TTFishon View Post
I'm going to look at a fiberglass boat that's fifty years old. He said his dad restored it. I'm going to look at the transom. What else should I look at?
Is there a blue book for boats?
It depends on the brand and model of the boat, and of course how well it was taken care of during the last 50 years. Just like old cars, some boats are classics and worth restoring, and some aren’t. My boat is a 45 year old Glasspar Seafair Sedan. I had to restore the transom and the rear half of the floor. Almost all old fiberglass boats had wood transoms (sandwiched between fiberglass) and wood floors (with a layer of fiberglass over the wood). Most old fiberglass boats had wooden stringers (between the hull and the floor). I got lucky with my Glasspar because sometime around 1962 or 1963, Glasspar began making their boats with hollow fiberglass stringers - very good design and nothing in the stringers that could rot. If the boat that you are going to look at has wood stringers; unless they were restored already, there is a high probability that those stringers are rotten. It is a huge job to restore wood stringers because you have to remove the entire floor to get to the stringers.

I recommend that you order the boat restoration book "Runabout Renovation" by Jim Anderson. Google it, I just did and Amazon has 17 copies (used ones for only a few dollars). Great boat restoration book with an entire chapter just on rebuilding a rotten transom. There are some transom rebuilding tips in the book that most people wouldn't know about that will make the results come out perfect. There are also chapters on replacing the floor and wood stringers. The book was written in 1992, before the use of marine epoxy resin for boat restoration was widespread. Epoxy resin is better for boat/fiberglass work because it bonds to wood much more permanently than does polyester resin. So anywhere that the book recommends polyester resin; substitute "epoxy resin." I recommend using the West System marine epoxy resin with the metered pumps that take all of the guesswork out of mixing the two parts (the metered pumps cost around $15.00 for both pumps). Fiberglass Supply (an hour east of Portland, in the gorge at Bingen, Washington) has a huge selection of all kinds of fiberglassing materials at prices you can't beat.

Check out the FiberGlassics web site for lots of information on old fiberglass boats:

http://www.fiberglassics.com/

A very good boat restoration web site is the “Forums” section of Boat Designs:

http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/

There are clubs for many brands of old boats, and those clubs are the best way to find missing or damaged parts.

Here are a few photos of my 1964 Glasspar Seafair Sedan. This is my only boat and it gets lots of use!





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Last edited by Waterfish; 02-19-2009 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: How long does fiberglass last?

Thanks for the info. I checked it out this evening. The boat looked pretty sound, but the wife didn't know much about it. I'm going back on Saturday to talk to the husband. Hopefully everything works out because it's exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks for the tips and the links.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: How long does fiberglass last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TTFishon View Post
Thanks for the info. I checked it out this evening. The boat looked pretty sound, but the wife didn't know much about it. I'm going back on Saturday to talk to the husband. Hopefully everything works out because it's exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks for the tips and the links.
I will be interested to hear what brand, model, and year it is. Take some photos and post them here.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: How long does fiberglass last?

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Originally Posted by Waterfish View Post
I will be interested to hear what brand, model, and year it is. Take some photos and post them here.
Will do. PM sent.
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