A.J. Mathews, AY MON, #605
The original sole in Ay Mon (605) was very much on its last leg. Freshwater had found its way into the cabin from an alteration to the ice box. The new fangled drain caused some rot to the dark mahogany? sole.
I decided to "fix" the whole thing. Using a half of a plank of 5/8" Teak and Holly marine plywood, I first traced the perimeter of the original sole using some butchers paper.
After I had my pattern, I pulled up the sole to find that there was a 1/2" plywood sub floor underneath. With this still in good condition (I believed it was coated in resin), I cleaned off all of the glue and what remained of the 1/4 plywood that the factory had used for the sole (incidentally, had I known the construction, I too would have used no more than 1/4 plywood)
Next, I cut out the perimeter of the plywood and used sanders, jigsaws and planes to fit the bevel caused by the curvature of the hull. Once this was accomplished (I cut and fit more times than I care to remember), I cut out the access hatches, trimmed, framed and finished them in 1/2" teak stock then put a few healthy coats of epoxy resin all over it (sanding and faring between coats).
I then strategically drilled and countersunk holes into my new sole to allow the through bolting of my new sole to the existing sub floor. This bolt pattern would also provide a mounting point for the stringers to hold up the access ports. the stringers were also coated with resin to prevent water from letting to the wood.
Prior to assembly, I smeared 3M 5200 all over both the sole and the sub floor the drew the two together by tightening the thru-bolt (I used 1/4-20). When the whole thing had cured, I laid six coats of satin finish polyurethane to properly finish the sole.
The result? I have a very sound sole that even my 240 LB frame can't hurt. As it is well sealed, I don't believe there is a chance that dry rot will ever invade my sole again. The sole should last until they put my boat in a museum some 80-100 years from now.
When I rebuilt/replaced my sole, I covered the whole assembly with not less than two layers of epoxy before I attached it to the sub floor. The edges of the plywood were beveled to follow the contour of the interior of the hull, which made sealing them both necessary and prudent. After the plank was attached and set, I put six coats of a quality satin finish urethane that has stood up to traffic quite well. Those final coats keep the epoxy sealed and take up all of the wear. I have not found it necessary to re-coat in the sole in the 19 months since I completed the project.