First Post - Restoration of mahogany ply jet boat from 1974.

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Skookum, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. Skookum
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Location: Canada

    Skookum Junior Member

    Hello all, greeting from the Yukon Territory. I am looking for a bit (or a lot) of input regarding a project I am about to start. I have some experience with this boat as well as a couple others in the past, part of me is shaking his head at all the other parts of me that are even considering getting into this.

    That being said, the boat was given to me by a friend in 2007. His Father built it in 1974 with the help of another fellow. They built two boats of the same design, one @ 24 feet (mine) and another @ 20 feet. It is plywood construction and has a single layer of glass cloth currently covering the outside. The existing glass is poorly adhered in my estimation, we put it over a beaver dam in 2007 and stripped off two strips about 2" x 6 or 7 feet. We actually used it for a few more trips after this and the glass stuck so maybe it is on there better than I think....but I digress.

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    It is powered by a 350 CU. Chev with a Hamilton 753 (3 stage) jet. When it was given to me, my friend was about to cut it into pieces and take it to the dump as it had been sitting in their business compound since 1993. I looked around as best I could and could not see any real reason it could not be put back into the water with a bit of work.

    The reason it had been sitting for so long was they had built a big cabin on it and after the completion of the cabin, which was a heavy affair, they discovered it would no longer plane. It was basically abandoned.

    So....the son of the builder gave the boat to me. My son and I proceeded to tear the cabin off and also tore the floors out to get a look at the framing and better judge if there was enough rot to stop the show. After ripping out the floor we discovered that they had filled the cavities under the floor and between the frames with two part expanding foam. This foam was saturated with water....literally sopping wet...all of it. I thought this was going to be the straw that killed the camel but after we ripped all the foam out I was quite surprised that there was very little rot to be found. A very small area in one chine gusset at the transom as well as a bit larger area in one of the chine gussets of one frame roughly half way up the boat. To this day I am semi convinced that some aspect of the foam acted as a preservative.

    Having lightened the whole mess by many hundreds of pounds we found that the engine was seized. After adding a mix of two stroke oil mixed with some tranny fluid and some diesel into all the cylinders and trying to turn the motor by hand it finally came loose after four days.

    After rebuilding the rochester carb, changing the oil and greasing the jet we put it into the water. With the exception of a base gasket leak it ran pretty well....it did 42 miles per hour. I think it was still accelerating but started to porpoise in a manner that suggested it would continue to do so until it self destructed. It cruised fine at 35 MPH.

    After stopping in the middle of the lake for a celebratory round of back slapping, the engine would not turn over. It was locked tight and I thought it was seized. After pulling the plugs and trying the starter it fired water out of the plug holes under great force. The exhaust manifolds were rotted from the inside.

    After replacing the base gasket of the carb and with the addition of some new exhaust manifolds we subsequently put about 800 miles under her that summer in nine different lakes....she virtually never missed a beat except for an oil leak having developed from a rotted out oil pan.

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    After that summer I pulled the engine out and as these thing go that is where the boat has since sat.

    I have recently decided to try and reglass the hull and repower it as well....if you are still with me, I am looking for some advice.

    I am not sure wear to start. I know the jet will have to come out. I am assuming that any rot inside the boat will have to be addressed before flipping the thing over to glass the hull.

    I got a great deal yesterday for a huge roll of glass matt and a not much smaller roll of glass cloth from the widow of a boat builder who passed away in 1996. It is my aim to cover the hull in a layer of matt, spend some time faring that out and cover it again in cloth.

    I am concerned about stripping the old glass off and prepping the hull properly for good adhesion of the new glass.

    I am hopeful that there may be some salty types of a like mind here that would enter into a dialogue to steer me right in this endeavor.

    I know this post has gotten a little windy so I will leave it as is with the addition of a couple more pics.

    Any and all help / input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Bob

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  2. Skookum
    Joined: Apr 2015
    Posts: 22
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    Location: Canada

    Skookum Junior Member

    Wrong section of forum

    It occurs to me that this post is likely in a wrong section of this forum.

    How might i get it moved to the "restoration" section?

    Anyone?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2015
  3. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    Flag the moderator.......
     
  4. Skookum
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Location: Canada

    Skookum Junior Member

    Thanks
     
  5. Canracer
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: Florida

    Canracer Senior Member

    I sent a note to the moderator. No big deal probably, wouldn't worry to much about being in the wrong thread.

    By the way, nice boat, nice truck, and nice trailer.
     
  6. Skookum
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Location: Canada

    Skookum Junior Member

    haha. Thanks. A couple of my friends say I got a thing for polishing turds.
     
  7. Skookum
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Location: Canada

    Skookum Junior Member

    So...as an idea of the worst I have been able to find.

    The first full frame forward, port chine area. Frame and gusset are rotted out as well as a small area of the ply (two plys in an area about the size of a dinner plate, one ply an area about the size of a saucer.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Shot of the bad frame from aft of it.

    [​IMG]

    My thinking here is to bring the whole area down to clean wood, degrease as a precaution, rebuild area using resin and glass matt and then actually sister on a new frame forward of the existing one. The frame in question is the termination on the engine mount stringers.

    The following shot is starboard chine area at transom. The lower edge of the frame has some rot which I have more or less dug out trying to gauge the extent of it.

    [​IMG]

    Thinking of pulling the gusset here to make sure to wood behind it is solid, building the rotted out area with glass matt after degreasing and installing a new gusset.

    One more shot to assist in the general "vibe" of the project from inside the boat.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Skookum
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Location: Canada

    Skookum Junior Member

  9. Skookum
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Location: Canada

    Skookum Junior Member

    Spent part of the day opening up the bow. No idea how to proceed from here.

    I would prefer to section the stem and graft on a new portion to replace the rotted areas, then sister on either side. This may not be possible as the eye bolt area seems to be an issue.

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    The are where the eye bolt goes through has rot.....assuming this will preclude using any of the stem above the eye bolt as a result.

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    So the stem is looking pretty fubar.
     
  10. Canracer
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: Florida

    Canracer Senior Member

    I wonder what your goals are with this boat. It looks almost like a work-boat and I think you should patch it together best as possible. The black mold is obvious but is there dry rot? You'll have to have a "stab around" with something sharp.
     
  11. Skookum
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Location: Canada

    Skookum Junior Member

    I guess my goals for this boat would be to bring it to a sound / safe / functional operating condition.

    I have poked about it fairly well a few years ago finding the frame and transom rot I have pointed out. I plan on going over it again looking for deal breakers but really now that the bow is open there is not many places that can escape inspection.

    This thing is 44 years old now. It was used on and off from 1974 to 1993-ish. It sat in a compound from 1994-ish to 2007 and was used that summer extensively; it performed very well. Then I pulled the motor in the summer of 2008 and shortly thereafter I drilled a series of holes in the hull to prevent standing water from collecting. It sat from summer 2008 until two weeks ago when I decided to revisit it after a stroll of the docks in nearby Alaska. My wife and I decided to walk the docks and by the time we were back at the car I had decided to try and address this thing by either writing it off or fixing it. So far it is still fix it mode.

    The boat was originally built as a collaborative effort between a master carpenter and a welder. Both sucked at glassing. Even so....after 44 years much of the boat appears sound.

    I would like to put it sound again. Reglass it in a proper fashion and perhaps squeeze another decade of sporadic summer use.

    It doesn't have to be the pinnacle of boat building prowess. I just want a runner. So I envision sistering where I can, replacing where I have to and making it a little fairer than it is now.
     
  12. Canracer
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Canracer Senior Member

    I think you might have got 10 more years out of it without fixing a thing. :) (Okay, maybe not.)

    New epoxy and glass can greatly increase overall strength. There are epoxy suppliers on this forum that can offer you a much much better price than retail (avoid retail.)

    You have a budget in mind?
     
  13. Canracer
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: Florida

    Canracer Senior Member

    Maybe it's rude to ask something like "how much are you spending?"

    My point is, this will take lots of epoxy and glass to do the entire hull. You might consider patching the obviously bad areas instead of re-glassing the entire boat.
     
  14. Canracer
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: Florida

    Canracer Senior Member

    It's hard to be sure just by looking at a picture, but the stringers look very solid.
    [​IMG]
     

  15. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Just looking at structural elements will tell you nothing about them, except the condition of the paint (or lack of it). You'll have to "thump" around and poke with a scratch awl, to get a real idea of what's going on.

    Wholesale epoxy will be in the $60 (USD) range, if buying small quantities. Full retail, from the major formulators (West System, System Three, etc.) will be twice this or more.
     
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