25ft Gaff Cutter restoration - newbie - some advice

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Gadflyjack, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. Gadflyjack
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Gadflyjack Junior Member

    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum and undertaking my first wooden restoration....

    This is a 1937 Gaff Cutter built by Anderson Rigden & Perkins in Whitstable, Kent. ( Carvel build).

    In general all the planks and frames look good and apparently she underwent a major rebuild in the 1980's. Been standing on the hard for at least 2 years with no cover and found as seen.

    so... questions from a beginner!

    i) the inside had about 2 feet of dirty water mixed with diesel/oil, my plan is to pressure wash the entire inside using detergent(?) to clean and get rid of the oil. (it's very oily in there!)
    anythings i should worry about here?

    ii) pressure wash the deck then sand back and treat with oil?

    deck looks 95% in good condition, looks to have 2 layers, the bottom layer looks like fibreglass then the teak deck planks have been laid on top - anything i should be worried/think about?

    iii) remove all external paint, see what the planks really look like and take it from there....
    any opinions on the best method to get the old paint off? (orbital sander? flame? other?)

    given that the overall hull looks in pretty good nick, would i be better of just light sanding, filler then repaint (port side near chain plates has a lot of filler missing from bolts - see pic)

    anyhow... I appreciate any input :)

    cheers for lookin.
    Shane
     

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  2. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    What exactly is the construction method and material for the hull, decks, etc.? You say the deck is fiberglass with teak planks. How thick is the deck under the planks? Is the deck cored? With what material?
     
  3. Gadflyjack
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    Gadflyjack Junior Member

    Hi Alan,

    to be honest I'm not sure on the method other than it says carvel on the certificate. not sure what the hull is made from yet.

    the deck under the planks is about 1 inch thick (layered in glass) and the teak planks on top about 1/2 to 3/4 inch.

    in this close up pick you can see the very top layer is the teak and then the next layer is fibreglassed (poss on ply?)

    cheers
     

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  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The best advise you can be given right now is to hire a surveyor to look her over completely. I see lots of issues and making the decks look pretty are the least of your concerns.

    Don't take a pressure washer to the boat. It's not a concrete driveway and this is the fastest way to ruin a wooden surface. I see things that the surveyor will. I see iron sick planking and hardware fasteners. I see a slight hog, some things going nasty on the post side hood ends, the garboard and broad strakes are leaking badly, the list will likely be quite extensive once all is inspected properly.

    Paint is best removed chemically or by scrapping. Sanding is a last resort in this regard as it's a finishing technique or a heavy material removal technique (read 24 grit on a belt sander).
     
  5. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Who knows how that deck was done. PAR is right about the survey, which will cost money, though not as much if the surveyor stops after ten minutes and says, "Are you sure you want me to continue?"
    That would be bad news, but not as bad as discovering the same thing after several years of work.
    Be smart. I've personally thrown good money after bad, as I'm sure PAR has, and most everyone else here who works on boats at one time or another. Ask yourself what your time and commitment is worth, and then find out how much time will be needed to bring the boat back. If you knew you had 2000 hours ahead of you, how would that affect your decision whether to rebuild?
     
  6. Gadflyjack
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    Gadflyjack Junior Member

    Thanks for taking the time - much appreciated...

    Par - I hear you on the pressure washer, any other ideas on getting the oliy crap out of the bottom 2 feet inside the boat?
    could you explain 'slight hog' ?
    hardware fasteners - are you talking iron bolts?

    Alan - I like the clear way you look at things (I don't think I'd take it on at 2000hrs, but I am willing to put a lot of time and effort in!)

    I got the boat for next to nothing. I was looking for a project that will help me to learn more about wooden boats and do as much of the work as possible myself. (without taking on a daunting task.)
    would you say that 'iron sick' along with leaking strakes and bad hood ends could be major issues?

    My feeling is that overall she's a sound base to start on and learn from without being a complete rebuild....
    I agree on the survey, so i guess I'm gonna find out:?:
     
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Nothing personal Gadflyjack, but with your experience level you can't tell if this boat is sound or ready to be completely disassembled and rebuilt. As a general rule, you don't get "basically sound" yachts for "next to nothing".

    Leaking planks aren't all that big a deal, but they usually are signs of other issues, like wasted fasteners, broken frames, etc. Iron fasteners in boats are the most inexpensive route to take during construction, which suggest the life span she was intended to have. They literaly are the death nails to many old yachts as they damage surround wood and push things apart as they rust away. This means not only do they have to come out, which is a daunting task when they're very far gone, as they appear they might be in some spots, but that the holes they live in also need to be repaired (read more daunting work).

    All boats of that size should have a garboard plug(s). Remove it/them and the bilge will drain to within a few inches of the bottom, if she's been blocked up properly (which she doesn't look like she is). Then shop vacuum out the remaining water. Naturally, keeping her covered so sweat water doesn't get down into her is the logical next step. Once her bilge dries a bit, you can use degreasers and a scrub brush in the bilge. A 50/50 mix of bleach and water will kill spores, mold and mildew as well. At this stage you'll see she's got a fair bit of rot, likely on frame ends, bilge stringers, maybe portions of the stem, gripe, stern post, keel, etc.

    Get her drained and sponged out, then carefully inspected by someone well known for surveys of this type. Ask him for an honest assessment, not what he thinks you want o hear. Many surveyors will offer you the information you want to hear, just by the conversation they have with you about the boat. From this they decide if you want a negative or positive assessment of the boat. This isn't what you need. Ask for a no holes bared, blunt and completely frank assessment. At this point expect the surveyor to ask for payment up front, which is normal, as he knows you're probably not going to like what he finds. It's extremely unlikely you've found a 3/4's of a century old yacht, in basically sound condition, for next to nothing, but who knows, you might have gotten lucky.
     
  8. Gadflyjack
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    Gadflyjack Junior Member

    thanks Par. that's a real concise and clear description of the way forward...
    you've also given me a deeper idea of what might be going on behind the scenes...
    I've gotten most of the water drained out and a cover on.
    Now for the degreaser and i'm looking out for a surveyor...

    would it be good sense to get some of the paint off in the areas you've mentioned (marked blow - if I've got them right?) to give the surveyor a better idea of what's going on?
     

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  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    No, you don't have to "prep" the boat other then remove everything that isn't nailed or screwed down. The boat should be naked and offer access to every area. Cushions, tools, anchors, etc. should be removed.

    If you get a favorable survey (don't get your hopes up) the first thing that should be down is the boat blocked and cradled properly, particularly with sufficient keel support., possibly with an eye toward reversing any hog. Next is a cover that will protect it from the elements, so she can dry out to a degree. A tarp usually doesn't get the job done unless it's tossed over a frame work that will permit the rain and snow to shed off her easily and not pool, where weight and leaks can do damage.
     

  10. Gadflyjack
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Gadflyjack Junior Member

    cheers Par... boat is now nicely covered and I'm searching for the right surveyor....
    updates Soon (ish)
     
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