With the keel, outer stem and splash rails released, and having cleaned all of the 5200-like material out of the bottom plank seams, our attention turns to the transom.
The transom is two planks that have been fixed to both the topside and bottom planking, but also to a series of frames. Individual frames run along the bottom, sitting on the bottom planks, across the top and down the sides of the transom. A pair of inverted “V” frames stiffen the transom’s center.
Upon initial inspection RJ and I were troubled by what appeared to be very poorly conceived and executed repairs to the center and port frames. The “Dutchman” attempted at the bottom of the pair of center frames not only created a powerful water trap, the rot growing there propagated and destroyed the bottom bow – “beau”.
Part II continues chronicling our woeful discoveries.
TotalBoat Thixo Wood 2.0 is the current and much, much improved generation of Jamestown Distributor’s wood-colored thickened epoxy adhesive that has a rich, dark brown finish, blends well with many different woods.
We have achieved even closer color matches in our conservation projects by mixing small amounts of the same Interlux Interstain being used in each project as we prepare each batch. For example removing countersink bungs is absolutely not an exact science. Not matter how careful we are, all too often a bit of the countersink edges comes out with the bung leaving a ragged edge behind. If Gorilla or other waterproof wood adhesive is used when inserting new bungs, those ragged edges, even if just slightly ragged, leave a light circular glue line behind. Glue simply will not take stain. (We did some testing trying to mix a bit of stain with the glue, but the results were worse than awful. Ever tried to mix oil and water? Now you know what happens when you try to get Gorilla or other wood glues to mix with stain.)
Making Dutchman patches invisible present similar challenges. Left behind all too often are the hated light glue lines.
With Thixo Wood 2.0 and a bit of stain, our bungs and Dutchman repairs are almost invisible. We’ve had similarly positive results wherever gluing wood or filling gaps is required. Uncertain and hugely difficult dispensing bedeviled the original formulation until we began sitting tubes in front of the pellet stoves that heat the shop.
Even then we could not be confident that the required 2:1 ratio would be dispensed, and only knew for sure that it was not 24 hours later when the material was still soft to the touch.
Happily Jamestown has improved the formula. Thixo 2.0 dispenses in the correct proportions reliably, and, while heating it a bit helps, it is markedly easier to dispense from a standard caulk gun—even in cooler conditions.
Yes, some reviewers have commented that it is a bit pricey, but in my world, rarely do price and cost vary together. What will it cost you to remove those bungs and Dutchmen, and the halos they sport if you attempt executing such repairs with wood glue? Viewed within this context, Thixo Wood is a bargain.
Thank you for the many requests for a video-taped Dutchman “clinic” that follows John through the process of fabricating and executing Dutchman topside repairs.
As several earlier ’46 Brightside U22 videos have illuminated, John begins by inspecting every square inch of the topsides, marking any spot or area requiring cosmetic attention/repairs with blue painter’s tape.
The Dutchman begins with cutting the channel or slot in a plank using a plunge router, or what is the female component of the Dutchman. A key to achieving an invisible Dutchman is that the slot run with the grain to the maximum extent possible.
After cleaning and carefully defining the slot’s edges and shape using hand chisels and selecting a piece of old mahogany having color and grain properties similar to the plank being repaired, John fabricates the plug, sanding on it until it fits perfectly.
It is subsequently glued in place using Jamestown Distributors’ TotalBoat Thixo Wood 2.0 to which a bit of the stain we will use on the hull has been added.
As we detailed in the last video, stirring stick “stitches” that will hole the plug in place, are secured by wood screws passing into countersinks from which those securing the plank have been removed.
Twenty-four or so hours later, the Thixo Wood 2.0 has cured, the “stitches” are removed and John fairs the plug to the plank with a wood chisel. He leaves the blue painter’s tape in place as a depth guide for his chisel.
Finally the tape is removed, screws are driven home into the countersinks, bungs are inserted and glued in place using Thixo Wood 2.0, and the area is ready for sanding.
We hope to have the topsides and transom sanded, and the hull flipped upright sometime next week.
Following this morning’s video update on the Dutchman repairs John is executing on the port topsides of the 1946 Chris-Craft Brightside U22, he reached for a heavy, 1-inch chisel and began shaving each repair and its associated TotalBoat Thixo Wood 2.0 two-part squeeze-out until it was fair with the topside planking.
He then ensured there will be zero voids in the seam around each Dutchman.
John release the bungs using a Rota Broach, which increased the diameter of several countersinks, so, rather than using Gorilla Glue, which is cures blonde, he used the same tinted Thixo Wood 2.0 as the adhesive.
He will shave the bungs fair using a Japanese cabinet makers saw, at which time the port topsides will be ready for final longboard sanding.
Once he has completed Dutchman repairs on starboard and sanded it fair, we will flip her over and strip the decks, covering boards et al, sand these surfaces fair and be ready for bleach.
So … you have the slots dadoed and the Dutchmen shaped and trimmed to a perfect fit, all 14 of them on the port topsides in our 1946 Chris-Craft Brightside U22.
Using Jamestown Distributors’ Total Boat Thixo Wood 2.0 two-part epoxy, it is now time for gluing them in place. (We rely on Thixo Wood for all such applications. It contains wood fibers, mixes easily, and issues from the 10 oz. caulking tube in a hue that mimics unstained mahogany incredibly well. (We do add a bit of Interlux Interstain Filler Stain while mixing, which ensures that it disappears when we stain the hull.)
That Thixo Wood 2.0 delivers incredibly strong bonds seals the deal for us.
But how are all those Dutchmen secured in place while the epoxy cures? Standing before you is the broad, smooth expanse of the U22’s port topsides. The bottom paint has been applied and cured. These Dutchmen must be clamped tightly into their slots for a permanent repair.
I will ask again, “But how? Ever resourceful, John released selective bungs and fasteners around each Dutchman and then reached for paint stirring sticks and longer #8 wood screws.
As you see in the clip, after he carefully masks the topsides around each slot, John applies the Thixo Wood 2.0 to the Dutchman and drives it home with a rubber mallet. He then secures each Dutchman with a series of “stitches,” having first placed a sheet of wax paper between the Dutchman-epoxy surface and the wood paint sticks.
The repairs are allowed to cure for at least eight hours, at which time all the stitches are removed.
New silicon bronze screws are driven home and bungs are glued into the countersinks that were released for stitching purposes.
With the wax paper released, John will next carefully chisel each Dutchman, which are fabricated to be proud of the topside surface, until it is fair with that surface.
Now final sanding can begin, followed by flipping her upright.
Once we have stripped the decks and covering boards, bleaching, staining, sealing and, yes, varnishing (!) will follow.
For now John still faces executing five or so Dutchman repairs on the starboard topsides. In the end, though time-intensive, insisting on using a Dutchman strategy, allows us to save every plank on her topsides, transom, decks and covering boards. Every plank that someone replaces is a bit of originality and history lost forever. We save old wood boats rather than transforming them into new “old” boats.
We have two goals for this video: provide an update on our 1959 17’ Chris-Craft Deluxe Sportsman preservation project, as well as an, albeit compressed, clinic on topside Dutchman repairs. As is clear in the clip, the bottom painting milestone has evaporated far into our wake. Applying five coats of Interlux 2000E Epoxy Primer – barrier coat – was followed by applying three coats of Pettit hard Racing Bronze Enamel.
Why three coats when Pettit recommends only two? We always sand the first coat thoroughly, even to the point that the 2000E “ghosts” through over much of the bottom. Yes, doing so costs time and, on this boat, an extra quart of bottom paint, but sanding also improves adhesion and results in a flatter surface.
The entire subject of the pros v. cons of employing Dutchman repairs to preserve the maximum-possible amount of original planking is much like asking five economists to predict next year’s inflation rate. You get at least seven conflicting forecasts and explanations for same from the economist, and at least as many from those taking various positions on the Dutchman.
Simply put, since we are preservationists first and foremost, we have and will continue reaching for one of John’s magically-disappearing Dutchmen whenever doing so saves a plank.
As is clear from this clip, John is saving many planks on both port and starboard for this classic 1959 Chris-Craft’s topsides.
The first starboard-side Dutchmen covers 5 screw holes that were driven through the topside plank and into the block added behind the damage, and the longitudinal splits in the plank that appear to have resulted from tangling with a dock and losing.
1. Since the backing block was left flat, rather than shaped to the curvature of the plank, the “fix” results in severely distorting the proper shape.
2. Our first task was blocking the planking out from behind so that the contours match those on the port – undamaged – side, and so it can be faired to that original shape via careful sanding.
3. This Dutchman repairs the screw holes and the two splits in the plank.
4. Excising material to create the female side of the Dutchman is accomplished with a combination of a router followed by detailed hand-chisel work.
5. A template is then fabricated out of cardboard, and then used to rough out the Dutchman.
6. The Dutchman will initially be thicker than needed, both to provide a proud surface for clamping and then to sand in so that it is fair with its surrounding planking.
7. The inner side of the through-and-through splits will be secured with TotalBoat Thixo Thickened Epoxy adhesive when the Dutchman is applied and wedged into place using a SMB-original clamping system.
8. Glaze both the Dutchman and its female counterpart with Thixo, put the Dutchman in place, and clamp aggressively.
9. Once the adhesive between the Dutchman and the plank has cured, remove the clamps and sand the patch fair.
10. You are now ready to bleach, stain and varnish the topsides.
The Lake Champlain Chapter of ACBS organizes a series of workshops hosted by wood boat shops in the region each winter. It gives us an opportunity to commiserate that, in Vermont we have 9 months of winter and 3 months of hard sledding – our boat season.
Snake Mountain Boatworks’ workshops place a premium on doing something hands-on that has potential to add value for everyone in the room. Last winter we had folks donning gloves and testing a variety of paint and varnish strippers. This year, and in response to all the questions we have had about invoking a Dutchman repair to preserve the maximum possible amount of original wood during a preservation project.John La Fountain leapt into action and prepared Dutchman projects to repair rotted and separated wood in the stem of the 1953 22’ Shepherd Utility, and splits, random fastener holes in a topside plank of the 1930 16’ Dodge runabout we are preserving.
The Dodge Dutchman repair is presented here and in the clip that follows immediately below. We will post the Shepherd stem/knee Dutchman clinic soonest.
Yes, these two clips are long by YouTube standards, but I lost the story when I edited it down to under 3 minutes. So, grab a cup of whatever, sit back, and enjoy the next 16 minutes or so.
What a nice way to end the week! John has continued working on the Dutchman repair to the 1953 Shepherd’s stem. I hope you will agree as you view this clip that he’s made some solid progress. We filled the cavities around the original carriage bolts with Jamestown Distributors Thixo Thickened Epoxy, which we will allow to cure over the weekend.
Then John will use the same adhesive to bond the stem and knee components of this Dutchman repair to the native surfaces, securing them temporarily in place with wood screws. 3M 5200 will be applied on the two elements’ joining faces.
Once the adhesive has cured and the screws have been removed, John will complete his final sanding-in process and drill new carriage bolt holes from the inside out.
Yes, surfaces will be sealed with CPES prior to being glued in place.
We are doing a Dutchman repair workshop this Saturday, and hope to have some interesting content uploaded next week.