1927 Matthews "renovation"

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by anti-q8, May 4, 2007.

  1. anti-q8
    Joined: May 2007
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    anti-q8 slightly insane.

    Hi, I just acquired a 1927 Matthews 38' cruiser. She's been on the hard for about 3 years, and has several popped planks and a few cracked frames. I plan to replace them with laminated frames, but is there an easy way to do this with one-part adhesive? I guess most polyurethane adhesives (like Gorilla-Glue) expand too much, but I've not found anything similar. I've never worked with epoxy, so I'm just hesitant to try it and mess things up.

    Also, once planks are back in place, should she be soaked prior to caulking her seams?
     
  2. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    Hi, and welcome. I'll leave the first question to the many folks here with that knowledge. I learned to caulk open seams first, then soak the hull for a day or two while hanging in the straps. The idea is that the flexible and compressible caulk will function like a gasket between two flanges. Swelling of the wood from water absorption is like tightening down a nut or bolt.

    The last time I dealt with a wood hull was 30 years ago, however. New componds might have made for different practices, so I'll look forward to comments from others. There is some great knowledge here.

    You've got a boat well worth whatever effort it takes. good luck!
     
  3. anti-q8
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    anti-q8 slightly insane.

    Charlie -

    Thanks. I was a little hesitant at first, but it was either try or watch her get cut up. I couldn't do it. I think she'll come back though, with a lot of sweat equity.

    Tom.
     
  4. Wayne Grabow
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    Wayne Grabow Senior Member

    I don't know anything about renovating boats as large as you have, but I can tell you that working with epoxy is not difficult to learn, and it is a great adhesive. I can't think of a one-part adhesive I would trust for laminating frames.
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Replacing frames and hanging planks aren't easy tasks. Laminating the frames will be the easiest part of the job. Resorcinol is a traditional adhesive that is truly water proof, but it requires close fitting joints and lots of clamping pressure to work well. Plastic resin (like Weldwood) is also a typical adhesive, but isn't completely water proof, though has been used extensively for generations, with paint or varnish as protection. It too needs tight joints and high clamping pressure.

    There are many different types of adhesives, all with interesting properties. With the advent of epoxy, many of these have been dropped from use. Epoxy is gap filling, strong, water proof and can be easily modified to suit conditions and applications. It's not difficult to use and is the "wood butcher's best friend" as some filler, epoxy and paint can hide the worst of sins.

    I would strongly recommend you have the boat looked over by a boat carpenter or even a surveyor. These structures are quite complicated and not easily understandable by the backyard restorer. It's very likely that other issues will need addressing, as 80 year old boats usually have considerable levels of prior repair, damage and wear.
     
  6. Busman1965
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    Busman1965 Junior Member

    Since the boat is good and dry, after being layed up for 3 years, you might think about covering the hull with glass. I have done several very old wood hulls with fiberglass (epoxy not polyester), and they are still going strong decades later. Epoxy is easy to work with, its much easier than other glues.
    One advantage to a full epoxy/glass bottom is the strength and rigidity it gives an old wood hull, if done properly. My own 1928 salmon troller has 6 layers of very heavy glass on the bottom, which has been on for 10 years, and is still like new, and does not leak a drop........not a bad thing for a 79 year old hull! Also, it keeps the old teredo worms out, and reduces the electrolisys in the fastenings, if done right.
     
  7. anti-q8
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    anti-q8 slightly insane.

    I have thought about glassing it, and I'm definately leaning in that direction, but I think that with my limited budget at this time, it's going to have to wait for another year. My biggest goal this year is to see if I can at least get her to a point where she can go in the water next spring.
     
  8. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    The experts, who have fiberglassed thousands of bottoms successfully (with polyester!) claim the boat should first take up and then allow the surface alone to dry, rather than glassing a very dry boat. This lets the planking remain unstressed once the boat is in the water. The inside surface should definately be sealed to limit rapid moisture transfer so that the planking can adjust gradually and stay flat.

    I don't see a problem with a polyurethane glue and it may be better on white oak if that is what the frames will be made from. I would seal the frames afterwards with epoxy.
    I gather the frames are steamed, as you mentioned laminating. You could steam white oak easily by researching how it's done. It's not that difficult, and a lot cheaper and quicker.
    An alternative would be sawn frames if their bulk doesn't interfere with furnishings. Though heavier, they wont matter where a few frames are involved. They can be lapped and bolted/screwed and are stronger than steamed, and so easy to do.
    I assume this isn't batten seam construction, but you haven't said.

    Alan
     
  9. anti-q8
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    anti-q8 slightly insane.

    Sad news. The boat proved to be too far gone, and was cut up. I apologize to all who love old boats and hate to see this happen to them. It broke my heart.
     
  10. TollyWally
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    Always sad but many times inevitable. While undoubtedly not environmentaly "PC" I prefer the dignity of flame.
     

  11. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    No need to apologize. Your desire was good, but we can't always do what we want. The unfortunate fact is that a full restoration sometimes costs more than a newbuild. There will be another project, if you want one.
     
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