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TOPIC: How to rebuild a wood boat?

How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69811

  • jepstr67
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As you know, I plan to restore my families Larson boat we had when I was a kid. It is rather a wreck, but the hull is solid. The deck and cabin are a rotted mess. I will need to make a lot of new wood. Does a guy just remove, trace, and duplicate pieces or is there a better method?

I may rebuild it exactly as Larson did, however, there was always a tragic flaw in the Larson cabin cruisers. They brought the deck up to the cabin wall rather than setting the cabin wall on the deck. This caused a rotting problem all around the base of the cabins on most Larson cruisers. It would not take much effort to build it the other way, so I just might.

I have enough money to buy tools, even big ones like a planer, but I do not have enough money (I'd guess 50K from past experience) to hire someone t fix the boat. If you have restored a wood boat, what tools beyond the basics (table saw, router....) did you find valuable?

Thanks,

Todd

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69814

Todd, it is amazing what I have used for woodworking tools in boat restoration. I have basic tools...Band saw, jig saw, and various electric sanders. What I find most enjoyable it use are my hand tools. I love the hand planes, the small saws, chisels and sanding blocks. I find these the most satisfying to use.
I have a close friend in the business and he has a planer, and he uses that frequently, but he uses alot of the hand tools. Good luck and enjoy the ride of the restoration process. Is this the boat that was purchased at the Michelsson Auction?

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69841

documentation. in this age of digital pictures,there is no reason not to take pics of every little detail on whatever you are about to take apart. as far as tools,if you will be using them alot,get quality. i like sanders that can be attached to a small shop vac for dust control. it will also increase the life of the sandpaper. multitools are useful too,although i am not a fan of the one from harborfreight. a heat gun and scraper are good for removing the buildups of paint and varnish. this can cut down on sanding time. my main tools for woodworking are the jointer,planer,table saw,radial arm saw,and drill press. a router table is nice,but not totally necessary. a good jig saw can do much of what you would use a band saw for. another thing to consider,tool collecting is a nice hobby too. :laugh:

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69844

Not much else I can add to this but a LOT of CLAMPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A router is always handy too, plunge type.

Bob

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69867

All advice is dead on. And Bob is correct. You can never have too many clamps !!! Get some pipe clamps too. The beauty about pipe clams are.... you can endless lengths and bend the pipe for that perfect custom clamp.

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69875

Yes, basically replicate what is there.

Today there are better adhesives and sealers and these can be used in vintage boat restoration.

Use traditional marine spar varnish. Do not use polyurethane.

As for tools, previous advice is correct. I use lots of hand tools. Some hand planes and chisels and brace were my grandfather's so it is always fun to use his tools. I don't even have a band saw, so you can get by without one. Of course I have table saw, and jig saw and circular saw and many sanders, and a router, and electric and battery operated drills.

Andreas

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69889

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Sounds like the only thing I'm missing is the planer. As an only child, working alone is common for me so I discovered the use of many clamps early on! :)

The only thing I'm still fuzzy on is the use of bedding compound. Is this still used in boat repair, or is there a new material that has replaced it. (I don't have dad around to ask anymore :( )

Thanks,
Great advice on the photos first. Especially since no 2 wood
Larson boats are identical!

Todd

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69893

my experience is with lyman boats and i have not found any bedding compound in their construction except under deck hardware on some older boats. i think 3m 4200(semi permanent) and 5200(forever)along with silicone gasket material has replaced it. i tried to find some several years ago and it took some hunting. skipp

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69894

I certainly would not recommend 3M4200 or 5200 for bedding compound on anything you ever want to remove or take apart. Certainly NOT for hardware installation. Dolphinte is a good bedding compound.

If you want to stick two pieces of wood together, yes 3M5200 is one solution. It's as much an adhesive as it is a caulk.

If you want flexible caulk that can be removed, use BoatLife Life Caulk or similar.

Andreas

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69934

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My biggest rotting concern right now is where the deck meets the hull. The top cedar strip all around the whole boat is rotten. The rest of the hull is very solid and it even seems the oak ribs are fine at the top. I want to figure out why, where and what caused moisture to hang out in that area and not dry out quickly. There must have been a way for it to soak into some unfinished wood at that point. Not that it is likely to rot out again in my lifetime because it will live in a boat house now, but still, I want to cure the problem.

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69973

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Todd, When I rebuilt my Century Sabre I had to make every frame in the bilge area. I did this by carefully removing the old ones, rot and all and making a patern. What type of wood are you going to use? White oak is the most rot resistant, mahogany on the topsides. If you are looking for a long life I would suggest buying some CPES, clear penetrating epoxy sealer from Steve Smith. The stuff is a two parter that is like water but soaks into the new wood and prevents water infiltration. He also has some glue called oak and teak or something like that. If you just need to patch a bad portion he has a product called Fill-it which is made for marine repair, another two parter. That stuff works like bondo but is easier to sand down and will not shrink up.
Google Steve or I think "doctor rot" and you probably will find what your looking for.
Cal

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69988

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There might be a few Oak pieces that need replacing but very few. Most of the damaged deck and cabin wood is mahogany. Of course the hulls on Larsons are cedar strip.

Good info on those products. Thanks.

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #69996

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Here's a link. I used three of the products and although they are a bit pricey they are well worth it and easy to use, get the job done with no waiting.
www.star-distributing.com/smith/products.html?gclid=CNO-686o3bICFQcaOgodTCEAUQ
Cal

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #70002

I've built two boats: a 16.5ft kayak and a Glen-L runabout. Both are done in epoxy and fiberglass. I know it could be blasphemy here with classic restorations. But, I can tell you this, after several years, I have never had a leak and I won't worry about rot for years. The Glen-L has two bilge pumps and they have NEVER been used. I do test them as a pre-check before I go out...just in case. As someone who has built two boats, I'll agree whole heartedly with the clamps, clamps, clamps suggestions. For sticking pieces together permanently, thickened epoxy is the only way I would go, but I'm not restoring a classic boat. I also have used Boat Life caulk where I have deck hardware and I have one area with some 5200. But EVERY piece of wood is encapsulated with clear epoxy. My Glen-L is built with solid Mahogany frames and has different types of marine ply as well as Mahogany throughout the interior and a tiger striped maple dash. It is all encapsulated with marine grade epoxy. I used a lot MAS because their slow hardener dries clear with no amine blush. I have also used West and Glen-L epoxy as well as some Glen-L Six-10 epoxy. I keep a tube of Six-10 in my repair kit. You would never know my boats have fiberglass over the wood. I even took my Glen-L to an auto painter to have it clear coated so I don't have to varnish it every couple of years.

BTW, you can varnish over the epoxy and, as a matter of fact, you have to add something with UV protection over the epoxy or it will deteriorate. My kayak is all varnished over the MAS epoxy with Interlux Schooner varnish.

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2011 MALAHINI LAUNCHED 28 SEPT 2011


Lake Chatuge, GA

Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #70017

didn't hacker boats advertise total epoxy encapsulation? and didn't they have to do a lot of bottom replacement due to premature failure for rot? something about difference of expansion rates causing hairline cracks that permitted moisture in but didn't allow it to escape.

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #70037

talltales wrote:

didn't hacker boats advertise total epoxy encapsulation? and didn't they have to do a lot of bottom replacement due to premature failure for rot? something about difference of expansion rates causing hairline cracks that permitted moisture in but didn't allow it to escape.


Yes, Morgan HackerCraft in the 1980s and 1990s had catostrophic failures. They also used non-durable wood species like black ash. They rotted in just a few years. The magical elixser to prevent rot in anything was a myth.

Andreas

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #70205

Epoxy use in a wood boat is asking for failure in due time. Please note that I am not referring to CPES, (Clear Penetrating Epoxy by Smiths) Epoxy Wood moves due to many forces,(humidity, wave pounding) and epoxied wood will eventually pull the grain apart with eventual failure. Then water/moisture will steep in an Voila, rot spore. Once it has started, there is no magic potion to make it go away. The wood needs to be replaced with new wood.
Read Don Dannenbergs book on runabout restoration and it explains it all very well.

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #70217

Well I certainly can't argue about what lasts longer. There are too many woodies out there that are 50-100 yrs old. Many of those have been restored at least once, but they are still out there and floating.

I'm not so sure that humidity could be a problem with epoxy though. I just don't know how humidity would get into the wood when it is basically sealed in plastic. Mine also has a thick coating of clear coat. But as we all know...water finds a way and it will get into whatever it's touching eventually. At least I don't have to pre-soak my epoxy boat ;)

I'm pretty sure the modern builders are using a lot of epoxy. That includes high end boats like Stan Craft and Hacker.

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2011 MALAHINI LAUNCHED 28 SEPT 2011


Lake Chatuge, GA

Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #70222

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Ok, here's another .02 FWIW. Wood has pores and over time what was once filled with water/sap etc dries out and opens those voids for moisture. CPES fills some of those voids but over time the wood dries out more and more. If you encapsulate the wood on both sides bottom and inside bilge you are on a road to rot. If you put a screw in the frame to attach anything you are compromising the encapsulation. Once water gets in it will be impossible to remove and the rot begins. If you glass the bottom, do not glass the inside because you will need the wood to breath and dry.
A problem I have had with my woodie is that I used 3M 5200 when I put the bottom planks on the battens, worked great the first year but over the dry winter layup a bottom plank dried and actually split the plank because there was no "give" and flex from the 5200. Century boats have a batten and plank bottom but there is an option to put a double bottom in place.
Dannenberg's boat should be your bible for the restoration.
Cal

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #70228

Cal,
Interesting you should say that because the Miklos brothers have been doing 5200 batten bottoms for years without using the inner layer of Ply like Don uses, at least that's what Frank told me. I think the key is how far apart you keep the planks. The bottom on the Resorter I bought had the bottom done in 5200 supposedly but two of the planks did what you said, split in the middle. When I initially mentioned it to Franks he mentioned what I said about the spacing. I have to investigate it further with him since I'll be starting on it soon.

Bob

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Re:How to rebuild a wood boat? 6 years 11 months ago #70229

Bob, Cal pointed it out well. Read Dannenbergs book and it will explain alot of what you are thinking. I would even call Don. He will explain how you can do it properly for he has done alot of bottoms on alot of brands of boats over the years. I have Chris Crafts and Centurys for wood boats and have used 5200 on both bottom styles. The Miklos family is well versed in the techniques of Century bottom replacements and would be another great resource. A close friend of mine who has been in the restoration business for over 30 years actually prefers Sikflex as it is a bit more plyable than 3M 5200 in his estimation. I also am a firm believer in the CPES on all wood as it is a penetrating epoxy. (Soaks in) Regular epoxy does not have that quality and the epoxy coating is actually stronger that the wood fiber itself. The wave pounding will move the bottom frames ever so slightly and eventually cause frame failure, broken fasteners and ultimately bottom failure. This will most likely happen before the rot will take the bottom.
I am not trying to sound like a know-it-all, but rather from what I have read, used and experienced. Read up, ask questions and then make your own decision on how you want to proceed. All part of the process...

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