1954 Penn Yan Captivator Aristocrat: How to replace the Transom

1954 penn yan captivator replace transom

We are almost there. Beginning with two raw boards yesterday morning, Joe and RJ have fabricated all the parts to Captivator’s new transom.

We allowed the glue in the tongue-and groove joint between the two transom planks to cure for 24 hours before removing the clamps.

Today they fabricated the interior transom frame using oak for the bottom bow and two side frames and Honduran mahogany for the center frame.

The individual oak components and the transom blank were cut to shape using the old material as patterns.

What cannot be patterned simply are the bevels and continuously-changing radii of the transom blank’s ends and the oak framing that runs up the hull sides. Sanding in with a belt sander is both tedious and exacting, and requires continual test fitting.

With the individual components fitting well, RJ and Joe assembled the new transom temporarily before final fitting ensues.

Once we have an excellent fit, the components will be released, final sanded, bleached, stained with Jel’d stain and sealed with three coats of CPES.

Sometime early next week Captivator’s new transom will be in place, bedded in 3M5200.

1954 Penn Yan Captivator Aristocrat: How to Fabricate a new Transom

1954 penn yan captivator fabricating transom

Happily for her and her owner, we have been saving the last Pattern Grade Honduran mahogany plank from an order I made ten years ago for just the right application. It had been held in inventory for over two decade at the many small furniture shops that fell victim to the Great Recession of 2008-2009. The planks had been sawed, stickered and begun air drying a decade or so when purchased by the shop’s owner.

While our 1954 Penn Yan Captivator Aristocrat is losing her original transom, her “new” one will be fabricated using wood that is almost as old as she is.

It took a bit less than a nanosecond for us to agree that we will use that plank for Captivator’s transom planks and center frame member.

The original transom planks were glued up employing a splined joint – grooves cut in the two mating surfaces are joined by a thin strip of mahogany, aka the spline. However, we will mate the two boards using a tongue and groove joint.

Why? Joe, who spent years managing a commercial precision woodworking – custom window and door design and fabrication, has experience with, and has tested, both mating systems. His experience argues for the tongue-and-groove rather than the splined joint as stronger and better able to survive flexing and expansion/contraction cycles.

Joe cut the tongue in one and groove in the other soon-to-be transom plank using a table saw. Two pieces of scrap from the same planks were used for setup.

Finally, once they had been run through the jointer, Joe and RJ will set up a half-dozen pipe clamps, with three spaced along each side of the plank. Wax paper will be laid beneath the joint and copious amounts of Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue will be applied to all surfaces. (https://www.amazon.com/Franklin-Titeb…)

Even though Titebond stipulates an 8-hour dry time, we will wait a full 24 hours before breaking the clamps down.

We will focus on her bottom once we’ve installed her new transom and its associated framing.

Happily, our worst fears, that we’d discover extensive garboard rot beneath the keel, did not happen. Despite the open seam along both sides of the keel-garboard joint, there was nothing but a tiny bit of rot way forward where the keel and stem join.

That said, once we have tightened fasteners where needed, sanded the bottom fair and applied three full coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer to both the keel and bottom planking, keel installation will be upon us.

We will treat the keel installation exactly as we do when installing external bottom planks in a True 5200 Bottom. Fifty-Two-Hundred will be troweled into the entire area beneath the keel, and to an about 1/8″ thickness. Then, as we sink the fasteners from the inside out,, we will be certain that the entirety of the mating surfaces are entombed in 5200.

We will clean the squeeze-out with Interlux Brushing Liquid 333 and then wipe the seam down with acetone, which will accelerated the curing process.

Then the real fun begins as all the seams between Striptite planks must be caulked using Interlux Seam Compound For Underwater Applications.

Why not 5200? Once cured it will not compress. Any drying and shrinking of the planks either breaks the adhesion, as we saw with this bottom initially. Any soaking-up and subsequent plank expansion threatens crushing the planks.

1954 Penn Yan Captivator Aristocrat Releasing the Transom (pt 2)

1954 penn yan captivator releasing transom

Part II continues chronicling our woeful discoveries.

Not only were our worst fears, implicitly expressed in Part I of this pair of clips, confirmed, I was blown away by the fact that the bottom “bow,” pronounced “beau,” were not only severely rotted, they were also quite wet. Honest! She has not been in the water since last fall, has been in dry cold storage since then and, yet, the bottom bow pegged our moisture meter and more.

As soon as we release the bottom transom plank and the framing, RJ will begin fabricating a new one. Replacing the transom’s interior framing was not in our scope of work, as we hoped against hope that the dark wood we observed during our initial observations might “only” be a bit of surface rot.

Not! This situation adds complexity to our project elsewhere as well. The two transom frames running behind the topsides are secured by copper nails driven from outside through the topside planking and into these frames.

Sadly the forward of the two courses of fasteners run through topside planking that is finished bright. We will do our best, but now fear that stripping and finishing the topsides anew has been added to the SOW.

RJ will fabricate and then he and I will temporarily install the bottom plank, the one we have just released, first, which will ensure the hull retains its proper shape.

1954 Penn Yan Captivator Aristocrat: How to Release the Transom

1954 penn yan captivator release transom

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.

1957 Lyman Runabout How to Mock Up Helm Station Seating

1957 lyman runabout helm station seating mockup

Our 1957 23’ Lyman Runabout’s owners asked us to replace the unworkable, basic helm station seating and storage she was originally fitted out with in Sandusky, OH, with the optional center pass-through alternative.

It will offer a flat floor from the engine box to the firewall, two storage lockers, one behind each “bucket” seat, and additional storage beneath them.

Where to begin? Fortunately the two seating configurations share interior seating pedestals. John began there, shaping and fitting each seat and locker, including the shelves within and the door he will fabricate and install. That door will be fitted out with the traditional Lyman anchor cutout.

John’s ability to imagine and then translate his ideas into a concrete, three-dimensional reality is at least inspiring, if not just a bit intimidating!

1959 Chris Craft 17′ Sportsman Engine Install Alignment is Cricital!!!

1959 chris craft sportsman engine install align

Frustration dominates the shop this afternoon. Why? Whoever last stuffed this 283 into her bilge failed to align the engine and driveline properly, or even at all.

As is clearly evident in the video, we now understand why her original prop shaft was so badly scored and had actual, almost inch-wide grooves worn into it. The shaft log is worn completely out of round as well.

The shaft log can be used, but the prop shaft will be replaced with a stainless one.

You simply cannot just drop the engine onto its mounting wedges, crank down the mounting bolts and then bolt the mating faces of the transmission and prop shaft couplers together with a long ratchet handle. Yes, you can force – distort – them until they appear to mate by reefing on the coupler bolts.

But all you have really accomplished is initiating destruction of the strut bushing, the prop shaft, and the shaft log, while also visiting potentially high-wear forces onto the transmission and engine.

Once properly aligned, and before any bolting begins, alignment is a hands-only process, with the wedges being tapped this way and that, and the engine being teased laterally back and forth until it is impossible to insert a 4 mm feeler gauge between the coupler plate faces when the latter are held in place by hand.

Repeat all the way around 360 degrees while holding the plates in place. If the feeler gauge can be inserted anywhere, the engine is not properly aligned.

Spin the prop shaft and its coupler. When correctly aligned, inserting that gauge remains impossible.

That the original prop shaft was polished along the section passing through the shaft bore as well tells us the latter was bored slightly too small, so we cleaned it out using a Forstner bit on the drilling shaft John fabricated to open the bore until the prop runs without touching any wood once the engine is aligned.

Yes, alignment is a slow and at times incredibly frustrating process, but oh is executing it properly critical to achieving rated horsepower output as well as to the long run viability of your engine and driveline.

John, who spent decades building high-performance engines for mud racers, knows of what he speaks on this front.

1940 16′ Lyman Yacht Tender Bottom Priming!

1940 lyman tender bottom priming

Susan, our 1940 16’, Cypress Lyman Yacht Tender’s bottom has reached a critical milestone. Reconstruction followed deconstruction that included releasing the keel, garboards and keelson was followed by fabricating and installing a new keelson.

As of this morning everything is back in place. The keelson and keel were installed bedded in 3M5200. The garboards were secured to the keelson using #6 x 1” Frearson head silicon bronze wood screws. 3M5200 was applied to the seams formed where the garboards and first strakes meet. Then RJ and I, happily with RJ running the clenching iron inside the hull, clenched the seams from transom to bow.

The bottom was faired using four applications of 3M Marine Premium Filler and sanded between coats. John hand sanded all of the strakes, garboards, keel, gripe and stem by hand until the bottom was absolutely fair.

We then applied the fourth coat of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer from the waterline down. Why so much? Three coats were applied ahead of the Marine Premium Filler, but with everything sanded between coats, applying the fourth coat post-fairing buys additional insurance against water absorption and accumulation attacking paint adhesion and thereby facilitating rot.

From the Smith’s Web site: (CPES) creates a tough, flexible resin system that moves with the wood. It allows the wood to “breathe” so excess moisture does not accumulate behind it, promoting paint-failure and ultimately rot.

We then caulked all of the seams, those where two strakes meet, along the garboard-keel seam and that between the strake tails and the transom.

Milestone reached, Susan is poised for priming, and in our case the primer of choice is Interlux Interprotect 2000E Two-Part Epoxy, five coats of which will be applied over the next two days. Once we reach the target film thickness of 10 mils, Susan’s bottom will be protected against water absorption and it will be time to apply her bottom paint. (Since she will most likely be trailer or lift sailed, we may opt for Pettit Hard Racing Copper Bronze bottom paint in place of the traditional Sandusky Lyman Copper Bronze Antifouling paint, since the latter is designed for vessels that live in the water.)

1957 Lyman 23′ Runabout Decking Time

1957 lyman runabout decking

We’ve just begun, but even laying the ribbon-cut mahogany foredeck panels in place foreshadows just how elegant this old style, narrow strake 23’ 1957 Lyman Runabout will be at the end of her conservation.

RJ jokingly predicts that we will have the fore and aft deck panels anchored down by tomorrow afternoon. What he means is temporarily anchored while we complete the final fitting and sanding in around the perimeters of both decks.

We have stabilized the foredeck’s crown with temporary bracing placed vertically in the V-berth. Once both panels are fastened down along all three sides, the curvature of each panel is secure. Bowing them over the framing also shrinks their width. Once there are secured on both sides, there is no way to force either one flat since the edges cannot spread out. Yes, there will be a very slight bit of settling, maybe an eighth of an inch, which is why the crown is currently exaggerated to that same degree.

The perimeters of the foredeck panels will be bedded in 3M 5200 that we spread on the framing and then secured with #6 Frearson head silicon bronze wood screws along both edges and ring shank nails across the dash. We will not sink any fasteners through the body of either panel, which frees us from filing the surface with puttied fastener countersinks.

Doing so is superfluous as bowing the panels over the framing creates ample down pressure, which forces the panels and frames together. (RJ wins the prize: climbing into the V-berth and cleaning all of the 5200 squeeze-out around the frame members.)

I am getting ahead of my skis, however. Once all four panels have been fitted and secured temporally, they will be released. The edges and undersides will be sealed with three coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES), and their undersides will receive multiple coats of Sandusky Paint Company Lyman Sand Tan bilge paint.

The toe rails will follow. After being sanding in to perfect inside and outside contours and their bottom sides are sealed with CPES, they will be installed with ring shank nails.

The aft deck panels and aft end of the king plank will be treated similarly.

Sealing and installing the covering boards, also bedded in 3M5200 will follow.

Once she is fully decked, all of her horizontal surfaces will be bleached, stained and sealed.

Varnishing is next … can’t wait!

1940 Lyman 16′ Yacht Tender Keelson, Keel, Gripe & Knee Update

1940 lyman yacht tender bottom work keelson replacement

Our 1940 16’ Lyman Yacht Tender’s spine transplant is complete, and the patient is doing quite well. The new keelson and the keel’s underside received three applications of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES). Following Danenberg, who insists that doing so delivers deeper penetration and more thorough sealing, the second coat was applied immediately following the first coat. The third coat was applied twenty-four hours later.

After fitting the keelson and keel to the boat and each other, and sinking a series of temporary position-holding screws through the keelson and into the keel, John bored the rudder and prop shaft bores. He also drilled the holes for the machine-threaded bolts that will secure the lifting ring, yes it is fixed to the keel/keelson and shaft log.

Confident that we could reassemble the pair and still have them matching, we separated them and frosted the mating surfaces with white 3M5200. (White is much less expensive than mahogany 5200 and delivers the same bonding strength. Since the bottom will be primed and painted, spending the extra that mahogany 5200 costs is just wasting money. However, be patient with the white as it takes as much as fifty percent longer to set up than the mahogany.)

After reassembling the now monolith-to-be and driving screws through the keelson into the keel, we installed it on ribs bedded with mahogany 5200. (Any squeeze out here will be visible in the bilge. Even though it will be thoroughly protected with Sandusky Paint Company Lyman sand tan bilge paint, we do not want to risk that a scuff or scrape exposes white 5200 beneath the paint.

John has also completed his knee semi-transplant, a truly complicated Dutchman, as well as fashioning Dutchman repairs to the forward end of the gripe. Once everything is sanded in and sealed with CPES, the bow will be ready for primer.

We will focus on installing both garboards, which will also be bedded in white 5200, over the next several hours, followed by securing the aft tails of the bottom strakes to the transom.

Then Michael “gets” to spend the rest of today and this weekend applying and sanding 3M Premium Marine Filler fairing compound to the countersinks. After a final application of CPES to the entire bottom, and caulking the strake-to-strake seams with 5200, Susan’s bottom will be ready for priming and painting.

Maybe next week?

1940 16′ Lyman Yacht Tender Bottom Work & Keelson Replacement

1940 lyman tender keel keelson gripe knee

John has fabricated and is now focused on installing the 1940 Lyman Yacht Tender’s new keelson. One hint if/when it is your turn to do so. Since the keel, and the keelson are bowed, they must be joined on the hull. While the difference in radii may appear small, there is a difference that will keep the rudder shaft, prop port and other components from lining up if the bores and fastener pilot holes are drilled and fasteners are driven in while the assembly sits on flat surfaces like work tables or saw horses.

John and I first positioned the keelson correctly along the ribs’ lower extremities and drove a half dozen or so temporary screws through the ribs and into the keelson. We then laid the keel in place, clamped everything together and drove position-holding screws through the keelson and into the keel.

Only then were we able to bore rudder shaft and other ports through the new keelson. We then removed the temporary screws passing through the ribs and into the keelson, which released the entire assembly.

It will be separated, receive a final application of CPES and then the keel and the keelson will be joined, yes, again on the hull, with a generous layer of 5200 “frosting” troweled on between the two planks.

Installing the garboards completes the replacement process, but cannot happen until all remnants of the old clench nails are removed.

We will finish fairing her below the waterline and John will complete the work needed on her stem and knee, and it will be time for Interlux PreKote primer.

Three coats of Sandusky Paint Company (SANPACO) Lyman Copper Bronze Antifouling paint