1959 Lyman Hull Stripping Project Update

1959 lyman hull stripping

Having emptied her innards and flipped her, we are hard at removing decades of paint, some sort of Bondo-like material, West epoxy and more from our 1959 16.5’ Lyman runabout hull’s exterior. The image is anything but pretty, as you should have noticed by the thumbnail at the front end of this clip.

Much of what is on the hull is over 3/16” thick with some sort of West Epoxy layers between layers of paint. As of shooting this clip, we have consumed six gallons of industrial paint stripper. She is severely hogged. Her failed keel, keelson and multiple ribs must be replaced. Multiple strakes’ aft tails are rotted through and through. Her keel is gone and must be replaced. The spray rails are gone, having been poorly repaired and partially replaced at some time. Her strakes are fastened with an array of screws and clench nails.

We will aim at de-hogging her, if that is a word, and repairing/replacing much more. In my world, this little runabout is among Lyman’s most iconic family models. We must save her, but the hill we must climb doing so will be steep and long.

1956 Chris Craft Capri Bleach Stain Milestone

1956 chris craft capri bleaching staining

What a great milestone to have disappearing in our wake.

Once the wood dried down to 5%-10% moisture content, which required applying Dalys A & B Wood Bleach, mixed 3B:2A, twice, the uniformity we sought was achieved.

Now that we have scuff-sanded the entire surface with medium grit Scotch Brite pads, it is time for bleaching her with Mike Mayer’s Lake Oswego Boat Co. Post-War Chris-Craft J’eld stain.

We are now standardized on J’eld stain, whether it is sourced directly from Wood Kote, or most often from Mike. The advantage of using Mike’s products is that he offers a wide array of stains formulated to match original company stains exactly.

Why J’eld stain? Here is the link to the video shot at the Snake Mountain Boatworks’ J’eld stain workshop.

We just might have applied some varnish by week’s end!

1956 Chris Craft Capri Bleaching

1956 chris craft capri bleaching

It’s bleaching, well, bleaching-over-two-days, for our 1956 19’ Chris Craft Capri Runabout. Joe has been applying Dalys A & B Bleach, mixed 3:1, B:A for about 2+ hours when the first half of the clip was shot on May 28, 2020. That clip promises a follow-up view of snow white topsides and transom today, May 29, 2020.

While much of the wood, which is still 35% moisture content on the gauge this morning, is quite white, and will get even whiter as it dries, the fact that there are so many replaced planks, each of which is a different species of mahogany, we failed to achieve our desired uniformity. Anthony has attacked the topsides again, and he will keep apply the 3B:1A bleach mix for the next several hours. Then we will allow it to dry down to 10% or so before we scuff it with medium Scotch Brite pads, vacuum it thoroughly and begin staining it.

Our stain of choice, and it will be yours as well once you try it, is J’eld stain from the Lake Oswego Boat Co. Mike Mayer offers this incredibly easy-to-apply, easy-to-get-to-uniformity stain in quarts. We will use Chris-Craft Post War.

More on its way to you shortly…..

1940 Lyman Yacht Tender 16′ Sea Trial!

1940 lyman yacht tender sea trial

Now that is a Milestone! Susan, who is a 1940 16-foot Lyman Yacht Tender with an rear cockpit that faces aft.

Other than having been stripped of all her finishes and preserved to our Snake Mountain Boatworks standard, and some repairs to her windshield and garboards, her hull is completely original.

Extensive research throughout Lyman World convinced us that her topsides had been finished brite at Sandusky, and have stayed that way since.

While she was flipped over, I spent way too many weeks beneath her removing decades of dirt, scuzz and old finishes, but I did so while preserving the fact that she’s been in service for some 80 years. Once cleaned, I stained all surfaces with Sandusky natural stain and applied four coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine – not Gloss.

After setting all of her clench nails through mahogany strakes below the waterline and cypress strakes above, we sanded her fair.

(The fact that, even though she’s not floated for over 20 years, and we expected some infiltration during her sea trial, neither bilge pump activated even once. Was there any water in the bilge other than that leaking in while we adjusted the prop shaft and rudder stuffing box? Yes, but so little that nothing came out when we opened the bilge drain.

Her topsides were stained with Sandusky natural stain. Her mahogany elements were stained using Sandusky Lyman stain.

All surfaces were sealed with four heavy coats of CPES, and then varnishing began and continued until we had applied 40 coats to her topsides and 30 coats to everything else using Pettit High Build varnish, which is now Pettit Flagship High Build.

Mickey Dupuis and his team transformed tired, pitted, and just awful into the jewelry you see here.

Robert Henkel, Peter Henkel, Inc., Marine City, MI, completely disassembled and then rebuilt her original Nordberg four-cylinder 60 HP engine and everything bolted to it.

Shauna Whiting, Kocian Instruments, executed an historically-correct preservation of her original gauge panel.

Marks Upholstery in Vermont reproduced her cushions.

Loadmaster Trailer Co, Ltd, outdid themselves once again designing and fabricating a trailer that not only supports Susan completely, but almost hugs Susan during retrieval. Never before have we experienced such a smooth, effortless loading!

Now she can come home to Susie and Dana, longtime Lyman aficionados, But perhaps the best part is that, since her new stewards live on northern Lake Champlain, we have good reason to hope we will see much of them and of Susan.

1940 Lyman 16′ Yacht Tender Engine Test

1940 lyman yacht tender engine test

She was Christened SUSAN in 1940 as she left Sandusky, Ohio, and now, for the first time in 20-plus years, we put fire to her totally-rebuilt, original, 60-HP, four-cylinder Nordberg engine.

OMG! Who ever thought a 4-banger would have such a voice! She fired almost immediately after we hit her starter. Initially, the idle was set a bit low, but, once Anthony turned the screw a bit, she idled along, producing 50 pounds of oil pressure while idling as smoothly as can be. We were a bit taken aback as she pumped the exhaust pipe full of water.

Once again, Robert Henkel, Peter Henkel, Inc. in Marine City, MI transformed a tired-and-worse marine engine into a power plant the both runs incredibly well, but also sits like a piece of jewelry in her engine bay.

Her original Cyprus strakes, every one of which is original, simply glisten behind the 30-plus coats of varnish we applied, but you will really see what she presents when we have her in the water, which we hope will happen tomorrow, as long as the launch ramp is not crowded by Memorial Day revelers refusing to practice social distancing or even wearing masks.

Starting with Voodoo Child, my 1953 22’ Model 110S Shepherd Runabout, we now install specific safety elements in every boat we do.

Megan Meisler, her family and crew at Loadmaster Trailer Co. Ltd., in Port Clinton, OH – once again designed a super-supportive, absolutely stunning custom trailer for Susan.

Her surveyor, Captain Stan Walker, graded her as in Bristol Condition, only because it is the highest possible grade.

That’s wonderful for sure, but we are on pins and needles until the moment she floats and roars across Lake Champlain.

1956 Chris Craft Capri Dutchman Rot Repair Milestone

1956 chris craft capri dutchman rot repair

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Credit for this excellent Dutchman repair of the 1956 19’ Chris-Craft Capri’s bullnose goes happily and totally to Joe.

The fix is in and the glue is curing. Tomorrow he can execute the final sanding in after he’s addressed the tiniest of voids with his no not-so-secret sauce: TotalBoat Thixo Wood 2:1 Epoxy can be stained!

Joe will mix up a batch using the same Jel’d stain we will use on the hull and pay it. Once it’s cured and sanded, the seam will disappear.

Next comes replacing the failed battens, one of which must be steamed. There we will use a method for steaming in a plastic bag we learned by watching shipwright Louis Sauzedde do it. Such a simple solution! You should not miss watching him.

With the battens and planks repaired, one of which will receive another Dutchman from the hands and mind of Joe, they will be installed and sanded fair, and it will be time to bleach. Her topsides will be stained, sealed and varnish will begin soon!

Nice milestone, Joe!

1956 Chris Craft Capri Bullnose & The Art of Toothpicking

1956 chris craft capri bullnose plank rot

As is so often the case with antique and classic wooden boat preservation, vessels tend to keep secrets. Our 1956 19′ Chris-Craft Capri Runabout gave no hint of what previous butchers had done to her and the horrific water trap they created in the process.

She let us in on this secret yesterday as Joe was finishing sanding her topsides fair. “We are almost to bleaching! I have only the last four or so feet to do on each side and I will be at the bow.” Right. Then his inline sanded started throwing up chunks, and suddenly, he had broken through a plank just aft of the bullnose bow.

Careful probing told the story. Our Capri’s bullnose is severely rotted along its starboard margin, as are the forward ends of the top three planks. One plank on port is rotted through as well. All of it is because the butchers were too lazy to address foredeck framing issues properly, by releasing planks rather than reaching for a circular saw and simply making an athwart cut through them all the way across the deck.

A sloppy athwart seam butt joint “repair” failed, of course. The seam opened at some point, allowing water to infiltrate and keep the planks and bow wet. Talk about a perfect storm for rot! As I explain in the clip, Joe will address the bullnose rot using a Dutchman repair. Then the offending planks will be replaced, which is both best for the boat and likely also best for her owner as it’s a least-cost path relative to trying to scab new planking onto the ends of the existing and rotted planks.

Now that I have released the damaged planks, I am tooth-picking, filling each and every screw hole in the frames and battens with three white ash toothpicks and Gorilla Glue. It is a tedious, gooey task, but is the only right way to go. (Toothpick source: https://cibowares.com/products/plain-round-toothpicks)

Replacing the #8 with #10 screws is absolutely the wrong way to go. The holding power of that aged wood is compromised, and, since the #10’s have larger heads than the #8’s, larger countersinks must be driven, which, in turn requires inserting larger bungs, if you can find them. Go the lazy way and you “earn” weak fastening and wood bungs that are noticeably larger than all the others on your boat. UGHHHHH!

1956 Chris Craft Capri Topside Fairing

1956 chris craft capri topside fairing

How I wish that wood boat enthusiasts and self-styled restorers never discovered orbital or random orbit sanders! Why? There is no better way to transform reasonably fair planking into a moonscape. Sadly the guys who butchered this 1956 19’ Chris-Craft Capri Runabout were not satisfied with destroying her foredeck, her engine bay hatch cover and so much more. Nope. They also felt a need to have their way with her using orbitals.

We have her topsides stripped, and I began doing some sanding while we were closed, but Joe is our go-to guy for fairing hullsides, decks, transoms and more. Now that we are open and working behind locked doors, Joe can turn his attention to fairing her hullsides to perfection.

Doing so, however, is hugely time consuming. Using only an inline sander, Joe begins by drawing slanted pencil lines every few inches along the hull. If the surface is fair, the sander follows the surface and the line evaporate uniformly. However, the damage the butchers wrought was immediately evident when we began sanding and only bits and pieces of lines sanded away. He will sand across the grains, guided by the lines until he reaches the stern and has the entire hullside absolutely fair. But now he must sand with the grain until all the deep 40 grit scratches are gone.

(We would normally reach for our Hutchins 16” longboard pneumatic sanders for this task, but, thanks to Mr. Murphy, all three of ours decided to fail today. A new one is on its way and it will be used for the next stage of Joe’s fairing process.)

That will be accomplished by first sanding with the grain using 60 grit, followed by doing so one more time with 80 grit.

Then it will be bleaching time, and bringing out the Daly’s A & B Bleach, which we mix 3:1 B:A, which achieves an absolutely white snow field once the wood dries after being kept wet continuously for at least six hours.

Staining is just peaking its head over the horizon. Soon ………..

1956 Chris Craft Capri Bottom Preservation Milestone

1956 chris craft capri bottom preservation

Our 1956 Chris Capri 19’ runabout’s preservation roared past a major milestone today. Her bottom is

• Filled the countersinks using 3M Premium Marine Filler and then faired the bottom again using 80 grit paper

• Applied an additional coat of CPES

• Primed with five coats of Interlux Interprotect 2000E Barrier Coat Epoxy Primer

• Painted with two coats of Pettit 1933 Copper Bronze Antifouling Bottom Paint

Her chines and from the bow back about four feet, I applied a third coat of the antifoul to compensate for the extra scrubbing action water racing by the hull imparts in those areas.

We also used Frog Tape, which we warmed to achieve a knife-edge line between the bottom paint and what will be the white boot stripe.

And next? As is clear from the thumbnail photo at the front of this clip, sanding her topsides fair and then bleaching them with Dalys A&B Bleach mixed 1:3 parts A and B to maximize bleaching await me.

And to think my dear wife was concerned I would not find enough to do to keep me occupied during our extreme isolation!

I know all about the fallacy of composition, and, yes, it is but one data point, but the fact that I had to mow 6” tall grass today, on April 19, way up here in northern Vermont makes me even more concerned about Climate Change … Just sayin’.

1956 Chris Craft Capri – Interlux 2000E Bottom Coating

1956 chris craft capri bottom interlux coating

Here is a bit of fun – My first attempt at a time lapse video as I apply the third coat of Interlux 2000E Barrier Coat to the bottom of the 1956 19′ Chris-Craft Capri.

Tools:

  • Disposable roller tray
  • Seven-inch yellow foam roller cover
  • West System Epoxy roller covers are not required as I can apply a coat to the entire bottom using one low rent cover
  • Three-inch chip brush
  • Long sleeves for me and good rubber or latex gloves

Way too much fun …………………