Newbie needs a clue ot two...

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Ben Biron, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. Ben Biron
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Northwood New Hampshire, USA

    Ben Biron Junior Member

    Hello,
    Picked up this $75 trailer load of firewood and was thinking that before I take the chainsaw to it, I should probably try to identify it and determine if it's worthy of fixing up. It's about 15 ft LOA and a beam of 79" (VERY roomy). There doesn't seem to be any kind of identification on it besides the Atwood streering wheel. Anybody recognize it? Is it a home made boat? There is a significant amount of delamination of the glass, and some punky plywood along the top but other than that it seems good and solid. I'd appreciate any inputs as to it's "worthyness" for repair/restoration. And, if it is worth fixing, where do I start?
     

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  2. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Just don't!
    Your wallet and wife will be forever greatful. There are too many crazy boat-fixers in the world already :)
     
  3. Ben Biron
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Northwood New Hampshire, USA

    Ben Biron Junior Member

    Well, that's certainly "elementary my dear Watson".... Having read a lot of the posts here, I'm aware of the cost, effort, time, etc., but you should be no more concerned about mine than I am.

    It's clear to me that this is not a great boat but I'm looking at it as a decent one that, based on it's scale and relative simplicity, would work well as a first project for me. Could you perhaps recommend a book or two on the subject of bringing this old boat back to life? May very well be that by the time I get past the first few chapters this boat will be crackling in the wood stove... but everything I've ever learned has started with an oportunity to do just that.
     
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  4. charmc
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: FL, USA

    charmc Senior Member

    Ben,

    You just said the magic words, showing a degree of awareness and insight that distinguishes you from the simple minded folks who think that typing 'PLEEEEEEEAAAAAASE HEEEEEEEELP ME!!!!!!!!" is the best way to get assistance.

    From your photos, my guess is that the boat was originally a homebuilt, probably from an inexpensive set of plans. While it's obviously no frills, it looks like a decent design and reasonably well built, plywood over sawn frames. The main problem appears to be that it is dried out and weathered. You might be lucky and have few problems with rot or similar mold. With the dryness, check for delamination. Plywood is made of several thin layers of wood glued together under pressure with the grain of each layer at angles to each other layer, which gives it its strength. Delaminating takes place when heat and very low humidity cause the glue to evaporate over time, so the thin layers become separated. If the original layers are intact and there is no rot, you'll still need to focus on seams to prevent leaking. If there is rot, however, the project becomes a lot more work ... but you'll learn a lot more. As you suggested, the major benefit to you will be a decent boat and a new set of skills. That might make it worth pursuing.

    There are hundreds of books on the subject. Here is one:
    http://classic-runabout.com/restore.html It's pretty advanced, but still good info.

    Try going to the very top of this page. Under the topmost Boatdesign.net logo is a row of links. One is to the Boat Design bookstore. Once in there type boat restoration or runabout restoration in the box on the top left (I think it will say yacht design when you first bring up the page). That will link you to several good books on restoring old wood runabouts.

    Good luck, and keep us posted with photos as you progress. Specific questions will almost always be answered here; there are a lot of knowledgeable people willing to help.
     
  5. Ben Biron
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Northwood New Hampshire, USA

    Ben Biron Junior Member

    Thanks Charlie.
    The boat is definately dried out and weathered, and I'm wondering if there's anything I should do to it right now that may prevent it from getting worse while I figure out and prepare the next steps?

    Here's my plan:
    1) Roll the boat over onto a snowmobile trailer so I can remove the fiberglass, which is actually peeling off in quite a few places, using a heat gun and a flat putty knife.
    2) Starting at the bottom and centerline, and working outward and upward toward the guhwhales, remove any sections of plywood planking that are punky or otherwise delaminated, and if it comes off reasonably easy, I would like to rip it all off and start with new (marine plywood, 1/4" thick).
    3) Refab and replace any sawn frame members (they all look good from inside the boat but I suspect a nominal amount of weeping has occured here and there)
    4) Replace the plywood planking, epoxy coat, and fair it up.
    5) Maybe, cover that with 1/8" Mahogany Veneer (read a good thread on that somewhere in here)
    6) 6 oz Glass the bottom and sides for abraision resistance
    7) 7-8 coats of varnish
    8) Roll her over and strip the inside areas of all old varnish, and sand smooth
    9) Cover the front and rear decks with kitchen countertop type veneer
    10) 7-8 coats of varnish on the insides

    In between, I'll be making new seats front and back using the originals as a template. Will probably use regular PT plywood here and a good House Paint

    I just ordered "Wooden Boat Renovation: New Life for Old Boats Using Modern Methods" by Jim Trefethen and should have it in hand by the weekend.

    I appreciate the helpful hints along the way and I'll keep you posted on progress and headbangers.
    Ben
     
  6. charmc
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: FL, USA

    charmc Senior Member

    Warning to Ben

    Ben,

    Some alien or a Third World hacker has sabotaged your post. Items 1-8 and 10 show a high degree of thoughtfulness and a good plan. I'm not certain if #5 should come after #4 or be a part of #4 (laminate before finish coats of epoxy), as I've never done laminate work on a boat, and I'd stick to Marine grade paint or varnish for the cockpit seats, but your plan shows a fair grasp of the basic job elements.

    The hacker is trying to sabotage your credibility, however. He/she put a crazy step in # 9 that is completely at odds with the others. :D . Your suggestion for finishing the hull would work as well on the deck and cockpit sole.
     
  7. Ben Biron
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Northwood New Hampshire, USA

    Ben Biron Junior Member

    You're right, #9 sux.... since the plywood here looks really good and solid, I may just laminate that with the 1/8 thick Mahogany. Something is haunting me. What's the best way to take off the top trim along the gunwhales and bow? Drill out the bungs and get to the screws, but is it likely to be epoxied down as well?
    Thanks,
    Ben
     
  8. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    Trying to get to the screws is an option. However, don't be surprised if when you get to them, they are too corroded to move. Few metals get along well with wet wood; home builders don't tend to use the ones that do. If the resin holding the sheathing to the hull has debonded, I wouldn't be surprised if the glue (if any) under the gunwales is equally weak.

    I agree with Charlie that you appear to be on a good track here. The repair procedure you've outlined looks sound and, while labour intensive, should yield something that at the very least puts the local fishing skiffs to shame. Ditching the countertop veneer, of course.

    The epoxy you use for the rebuilding, and how well you use it, will be a key factor in determining whether it's still a boat at the end of it all. Pick a system that is well proven in this type of work, and be sure you understand- and follow exactly- the measuring, mixing and curing directions.
     
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  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Some simple tips and tricks.

    Old fasteners will always be a prick to remove. The heads break off, the slots strip as do the threads. Why bother. Grind the paint and sheathings away from the heads, center punch and drill for a bolt extractor, then use the "easy-out" on each. Many will be in punky wood, don't even try, just bang a "cats paw" under the head and rip the thing out. The fastener hole in the frame will have to be repaired anyway, so don't tease yourself trying to remove them cleanly.

    Often times on these old power horses, poor blocking, badly fitted trailer supports and other things cause them to develop a "hook" in their aft run. On some designs this hook is designed in, but this craft looks like a double wedge, moderate V hull which shouldn't have a hook. Make all attempts to remove this hook as it will kill performance. This usually involves jacking up her stern and slowly forcing down the hook, usually along the keel. This has to be done slowly or you'll break her back. It often takes months to remove a substantial hook. From about midship and aft, the keel should be dead nuts straight, no dips, humps or hollow areas at all. Stretch a string and check this "run" area and make it smooth and flat.

    Remove and replace all planking fasteners. Frame holes may need restoration too. Monel is the best, but damn expensive, marine bronzes are also very good and slightly less costly. Stainless is an option if you remain in fresh water, but it should be 316 or better if 316L. Mild steel will work, but even if hot dipped they'll eventually rust and weep orange stains everywhere. Brass has no business on a boat except to hang a picture on a bulkhead.

    Use polysulfide in the underwater seams (3M 101 or similar) not polyurethane (3M 5200 or similar).

    Sheath in Dynel or Xynole for much better abrasion resistance then regular 'glass. Use epoxy for your sheathing and all glue joints you don't want to have to worry about again or are highly loaded. Consider epoxy bonding all fasteners and hardware, especially under the LWL. Do not bond the rubs (bottom or topside) just bed in polysulfide and bond the fasteners. You'll ding these up and have to fix them at some point.
     
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  10. Ben Biron
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Northwood New Hampshire, USA

    Ben Biron Junior Member

    Thanks Charlie and Par. I have a feeling that yanking fasteners will be a bear. From what I can see on the rear deck, the fasteners are about every 2 1/4 " apart. Should I expect to see the same on the plywood planking?
    I'll be hauling over to a freinds barn in the next few days to get started on it. I'm hoping to be able to comple steps 1-3 and maybe step 8 this winter (gets darn cold in that barn), then do all the epoxy/finish steps in April/May when the temps are up a bit higher. Before I roll it over to remove the sheathing, should I put any bracing inside to help maintain strength and shape, or should it be OK as is? Also, should I treat the wood with anything to prevent further drying out?
    Ben
     
  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Your furniture, dashboard, deck beams and aft deck area will hold her pretty well, so skip the braces. If you discover the futtocks (frame pieces) aren't well attached to the gussets or floors, then some bracing would be necessary to keep her from "opening up" as you remove planking.

    Build a strong back, which is a bit like a ladder sitting on top of a few saw horses. Make this a reasonable height so you can get under it when necessary. The strong back should have arms that reach up and attach to the floors, stringers, frames, whatever's handy. If you plumb the arms to the frames, you'll have an easy way to measure things, assuming the frames are perpendicular to the LWL.

    On a small boat like this, I'd modify a trailer so I can flip the boat, rest it on the trailer with the supports holding her where I want. The trailer can be moved around the shop where the tools, electricity and work areas are, which is fancy.
     
  12. Ben Biron
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Northwood New Hampshire, USA

    Ben Biron Junior Member

    My plan was to flip it onto my snowmobile trailer but I hadn't thought about making up a strongback. I supose it would be nice to be able to get under it if I have to inspect things along the way.

    So, how about applying some type of protection to the wood that's exposed and quite dry? I'm thinking that a couple more months in the barn wouldn't hurt much compared to the risk of applying some preservative that will ultimately muck with the finish work. Are there schemes that would prove to be effective but nondestructive? I've read a few things but keep finding other contradicting opinions warning of potential issues. Seems like the best one so far was simple anti-freeze. Any recommendations?
     
  13. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If the wood is kept out of direct sun light and dry, it will be fine for a fairly long period. Don't put anything on it, you'll just have to remove it or other wise deal with whatever later. Keep it well ventilated, dry and covered and you'll be at the same place you are now, in a few months when you can get to it.
     
  14. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    Well said.
     

  15. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    That boat reminds me very much of the boat I learned to drive in at the age of 8. I cant be sure but it really looks like a Yarecraft built in Great Yarmouth Uk in the 50's

    I would'nt get exited about my recognition but wow it certainly looks like it. The transom well is right and the bow had that beam across it ,Even the steering wheel seems familiar, and ofcourse that rounded back end.

    I have photograph of me driving it at with a 18HP evenrude,--I think.

    Im afraid the photo is in Uk at my parents house.

    I do remember that Yarecraft went bust. Long time ago.

    I wonder what google would bring.
     
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