The Answer To Last Week’s Puzzler

Clearly I was looking for a leak in something, but what? The hard part is figuring out what the plumbers' putty is for. Plumbers' putty is like plasticene -- it isn't very sticky but you can mold it into any shape.

I was looking for the leak in my fiberglass sailboat, along the seam where the decking meets the hull. I removed the drain plug and put the hose from the pump into the hole, sealing around the hose with the putty.  Then I squirted the organic oil soap along the seam, pumped air into the compartment, looked for the bubbles, and circled the leak with a pastel. (It has to be some kind of oily marker to stick to soapy fiberglass.) 

Once I found the leak I washed the soap off with the bucket. (It has to be organic soap because I was rinsing it off directly into Puget Sound.)  I sanded down the leaky seam with the sandpaper and spread the missing item --  marine-grade flexible epoxy sealant -- with the popsicle stick. 

Hopefully I got all the leaks.  I haven't had a chance to float test it yet...


Comments (2)

  1. Jonas Grumby says:

    I once witnessed this being done The Wrong Way. Some kids suspected a leak in the hull of their bluejay (which is about a 14′ boat). So they got the boat up on a couple of saw horses, and started filling it with water, hoping to see where it would drip out of.

    Well, the weight of the water broke the hull before they found out, at which point it was obvious what their problem was.

  2. Eric Lippert says:

    Wow, that is wrong in so many ways. Water weighs 8 pounds to the gallon, one kilogram to the litre — rather a lot when you pump a few dozen gallons into the compartment…

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