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.
Our 1956 19-FT Chris-Craft Capri has had a tough life, what with being assaulted by inept and worse “restorers” a decade or so ago.
We have recently reported on the travesties visited upon her decks, stem and engine hatch. Now that she’s been flipped, are we surprised to discover additional assaults perpetrated against her bottom?
The good news is that, save for needing refastening and a few minor repairs, her bottom planking is in excellent condition.
That said, and other things equal, she still needs a True 5200 bottom. However, as so often happens in life, other things are not equal. While her owner agrees that there is a True 5200 bottom in her future, given all we must preserve elsewhere on her hull and engine, it will not happen now, a decision we agree with based on our detailed and extensive examination of her bilge and its inner bottom planking.
The real issue in the bilge is lots of grease, oil and grime. Yes, that layer is pretty much gone directly beneath the engine, so we will release and execute repairs there. After we remove endless strings of useless cotton roving in some seams, roving that was not sealed with any sort of caulking compound, and yards and yards and yards of failed 5200 in others, we will refasten large parts of the bottom and then apply four coasts of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer – CPES. We will then pay the seams with Jamestown Distributors’ TotalBoat ThixoFlex and sand the bottom fair.
Following applying three more coats of CPES we will prime with Pettit Tie Coat Primer and then apply three coats of Pettit Copper Bronze Hard Racing Bottom Paint.
Now that Methyl Chloride has been banned, and we can no longer source “good” paint stripper, we have turned to TotalBoat TotalStrip Paint Stripper. No, it is not what Circa 1850 was, but it is user friendly and we are adjusting to applying it and then coming back 24 – 48 hours later. It is still wet and has liquefied many layers of paint, even bottom paint, by then.
Finally, we’ve all faced challenges stripping concave hullsides. Using a standard, straight-bladed scraper risks leaving skid marks at each end of the blade while the center floats above the wood. A good friend suggested we try an Allway Tools 2-1/2-Inch 4-Edge Metal Tubular Wood Scraper, the blade edges of which are slightly convex. At only about $8 for a handle and 4-edge blade, why not? Bingo! It works beautifully … nary a skid mark appears behind each stroke.
We continue with the most unpleasant elements of wood boat preservation, stripping, sanding sealing and varnishing the hull’s interior – so many ribs! And doing the same with the myriad of parts released during deconstruction.
Joe has fabricated and steam-bent the new transom’s mounting strip. He has fabricated the new transom blank along with framing elements we could not save. All of it has now been stripped (saved elements), sanded, bleached, stained, sealed and received all but it final coat of varnish. Anthony, helped by RJ, spent a tortuous week stripping the hull’s entire interior. By today he and RJ have sanded all surfaces of every rib and interior hull planking. The entire area has received two coats of Smith’s Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer and its initial coat of Sikkens Cetol Marine. By early next week, it will be all hands on deck as we install the mounting strip and the fully assembled transom. The latter will be bedded in 3M 5200.
Soon, we can flip her upright and get on with the most enjoyable part, bleaching, staining, sealing, varnishing and painting.
Our 1937 20-foot Lyman runabout is still planked in her original Philippine mahogany that has become as hard as any exotic tropical hardwood I have ever seen over her eighty plus years. Step aside Cocobolo and Bubinga!
Her hull has been stripped to bare wood from keel to gunwales and stem to stern. RJ and I then worked along each strake searching for loose rivet fasteners. We found two; yes, only two. However, she’s tangled with all manner of docks, trailers and possibly lake bottoms over those eighty years, so her strakes have been dinged and gouged, leaving a myriad of declivities and ragged strake edges that must be faired.
First, however, I reached for a pneumatic longboard sander and 80 grit paper, and got to work. OMG! Not only is most of this work well above my head, I might as well have been sanding our concrete floor! Well, not quite, but progress was all but nonexistent until I reached for the 60 grit. Once the surface was reasonably smooth and free of feathers and other waste, it was time to begin fairing with 3M Marine Premium Filler.
Our first pass, which focuses on all declivities, and is behind us, will be followed by sanding every strake as fair as is possible before we apply a second and final coat.
We will then sand again, first with 60 grit, followed by 80 grit, and, at least above the waterline, her hull will be ready for sealing with three coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES).
Then we can focus on the below-waterline strakes that, while the wood is sound, will require substantial filling and fairing before we seal the strake-overlap seams with fillets of TotalBoat Thixo Flex.
She’s a tough old bird whose elegance is slowly reappearing. She will surely turn heads once she returns to Lake George in New York!
After raising her five feet above the floor, RJ and I have been fully enjoying applying copious amounts of Circa 1850 Heavy Body Stripper – three coats in each area at a time before we begin removing what appears to be five to six coats of tired bottom paint between her boot strip and keel. The bottom planking is tight and the wood is in excellent shape, at least over the forward half of the bottom.
Our real disappointment erupted as soon as I began stripping the port garboard along the seam between it and the keel. The corner of my scraper blade caught the caulk payed into the seam and released about six feet of completely free material.
No, it was not 3M 5200. We found that imbedded all along the starboard garboard-keel seam. I’ve dealt with enough of this stuff bedding hardware on my sailboat. Boatlife Caulk it was. Adhered in any way to the wood anywhere it was not. A bit of tugging and long strings of this stuff literally just fell away.
That most of it exhibited a shiny, slick surface tells us that it most likely never adhered to the adjoining wood at all.
The seam is as much as a strong 7/16-inch wide in some places, and 3/8-inch wide along most of this distance. Properly addressing such seams is straightforward and involves first caulking them with cotton roving, which is then primed before paying the chosen caulking material begins.
All of that said, this experience, along with the arrival of this month’s issue of Practical Sailor and a heads up about a Wooden Boat Forum discussion on sealants got me to thinking.
While I am still researching, I believe there is value to you in sharing some of what I have learned to date.
One contribution reporting that heating, and then thinning the Interlux product with mineral spirits results in a consistency that “trowels out like butter.”
“…trick I used to use with any brand is to get a hot plate and put the can in a shallow pan of water and keep it hot, goes in the seams like butter, deeper, cleans up easy, and stiffens back as it cools…saves the fingers, hands, and wrists…and makes the bottom go quicker…..and another plus is in the cleaning process when you knife off the excess flush, and then wipe with your cleaner soaked rag, you get a concave seam, which allows for a smoother look after the boards have swelled…….”
And then there were several experienced-base observations that in cold climates where she must live on the hard for six months annually and dries out as a result, the Interlux Seam Sealer tends to become brittle and break away from the wood.
Bottom line: Slick Seam adheres tenaciously and handles the swell-shrink cycle well, but its waxy consistency presents offsetting issues that may outweigh its adherence advantage.
Interlux Seam Compound when heated and even thinned, applies easily, but may tend to lose adhesion during the annual swell-shrink cycles our woodies must endure.
Practical Sailor Magazine, March 2019 Issue – Sealant Testing Results We tested a field of leading sealants including 3M 5200, 3M 4200 Fast Cure, 3M 4000 UV, Sika 291, Sika 295,Loctite PL S-40, Loctite PL Marine, Boat Life Caulk, Boat Life Seal, and Sudbury Elastomeric Sealant, for three years…. 3M 5200 Intended as a permanent bonding adhesive, not a sealant or bedding agent, 5200’s increased stiffness worked against it in the flexibility test. It took more than twice as much force to flex the samples, despite the fact that 5200 is thin and only about 50 percent as much material was present in the joint. To our surprise, 3M 5200 began losing bond strength by the third year. Bottom line: Recommended as an adhesive, but not as a flexible sealant.
SIKAFLEX 291 Sika 291 is Practical Sailor’s best buy of this group. “…(it) delivers more consistent bonding on a wider variety of materials. It came clean easier than most (of its competitors) and retained flexibility. Bottom line: A best choice for most applications. Missing in the results is any mention of Sika’s bonding to wood below the waterline.
BOATLIFE CAULK This sealant failed to bond effectively in our shear testing, and it failed the flexibility testing completely, debonding completely the first time samples were bent. While you may like a sealant that is easy to remove, we think bond failure is never acceptable. Bottom line: Not acceptable.
Yesterday we stripped her transom, flipped her, released her splash rails and stripped her bottom. Happily the splash rails are in excellent condition. They only want to be stripped, have some minor “bodywork” executed and refinished.
Today we released the keel and began releasing the keelson and the transom framing.
While the keel is in excellent shape, both in terms of being straight and sound, it has been off the boat at least once and sealant was given short shrift when it was last installed. As a result there is some rot, not so much that it cannot be repaired, on the garboards where they lie beneath the keel and the keelson.
Her owner informs me that the keel was not released by the shop that worked on her in 2007-08, but the myriad of plugged mounting holes tell us that it was released sometime prior to that work being done.
The paucity of sealant means that water will find its way into the bilge.
It will also sit in the bilge. That there is not more rot is testimony to the care given her by her current owner.
The rot we did find beneath the keel is far forward, and at the joint between the keel and the lower portion of the stem. That curved section runs from its joint with the keel up to the splash rails.
Once we have the keelson and garboards out of the hull, everything, garboards, keelson and keel, will be cleaned to absolutely bare wood. Once the components have been sealed and receive three coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, they will be set aside.
Next comes the most fun. The failed transom, which we must replace, must be released from the hull. That it is secured with many, many copper nails, and not wood screws, makes this task particularly challenging, but doable using a FEIN MultiMaster and the thinnest, narrowest blade we have. (That they are copper, and therefore quite soft, should translate into the MultiMaster zipping right through the nails leaving a clean surface behind.
Yes, once again, no matter how long I’ve been preserving wood boats, seldom does a day go by that I do not learn something new.
Long ago Don Danenberg did his best to sell me on the absolute necessity of applying five coats of 2000E to achieve a True 5200 Bottom. Yes, we are standardized on this practice, primarily because I so respect Don’s wisdom and experience, but I must say, I’ve always wondered, “Is it really that tough? Is it really the tenaciously adhering and true barrier coat, one that combats water infiltration to the fullest extent possible?”
Don makes his argument most forcefully in his seminal article, “What is a True 5200 Bottom?” that he published in the Sept-Oct 2014 issue of Classic Boating magazine. Here is a link to PDF copy.
Any doubts I may have harbored evaporated over learning firsthand what it takes to remove this stuff from mahogany planking.
My lessons for today:
Allow the Circa 1850 Heavy Body Paint and Varnish Remover enough dwell time to do its work, but not so long that it begins drying out.
Use a SHARP scraper, bonehead! I began stripping Flyin’ By’s bottom on November 2, which is when I shot the previous video that chronicles the epic battle between five full coats of Interlux Interprotect 2000E Barrier Coat Epoxy Primer and Circa 1850 stripper.
Both products are available from Jamestown Distributors. (copy the links into your browser.)
You will sense my frustration in the November 2, 2018 clip. Well, having learned how best to utilize Circa 1850’s prodigious stripping qualities, today’s clip chronicles the victory of Circa 1850 over Interlux 2000E.
To be clear I misspeak on this clip. The first coat of stripper was followed with a second one about an hour later. I then allowed about one hour of dwell time, during which I sharpened the BAHCO scraper blade and reinserted it into my Sandvik scraper.
Then I went after the paint using two hands with long, and I hope fluid strokes. After several strokes, the 2000E just rolled off the surface leaving smooth mahogany behind it.
As I began shooting this clip, I had progressed about half way from the transom to the bow on the starboard side, and believe that I’ll need about two hours to reach my goal, a clean starboard face of her bottom.
Time to return and work towards reaching the bow today!
What a “wonderful” work environment! Not! I have enjoyed two weeks “down under” the flipped 1940 Lyman Custom Yacht Tender hull removing all traces of paint and varnish and then sanding all surfaces smooth.
Finally all surfaces have received at least one CPES application, and the bilge and transom have received three. I will next apply a second coat of CPES to the interior topsides, and all of it will be ready for finishing.
The bilge will receive three coats of Sandusky Lyman Sand Tan bilge paint up to the floor level. How the interior topsides are finished remains TBD at this point.
As is evident in previous videos, she arrived painted – blue, green and finally tan – up to and including the stiffening rail that runs longitudinally about halfway up the topsides inner face, and varnished from that rail to the gunwales.
Thanks to the New England Lyman Group, and the 1941 catalog a member shared, we know that Lyman offered a base configuration that buyers were invited to customize. The aft seat could face forward or, in very few cases, aft. The exterior could be finished bright or painted white. The interior was offered completely varnished from gunwale to keel, but owners could specify various combinations of bilge paint and varnish according to their wishes.
Susan’s original owner chose the completely-bright option based on what I found when stripping the paint. After an informative dialog with the NELG membership, and with the help of Ryan Koroknay, I confirmed that the inner-most, oldest layer, a bilious robin’s egg blue, had been applied directly over varnish. Very careful scraping yielded several paint chips with strong evidence of varnish on their inner sides.
Susan sports cypress topside strakes from her waterline to her gunwales, or so I thought. However, once I had everything clean inside, the strakes running between the stiffening rail and floor level are noticeably darker than those from the rail to the gunwale. And there is evidence of the speckled grain that we often see in early mahogany planking.
So … what to do? Finishing everything bright down to the floor is my preference, and my research, which informs me that bright is how she left the Sandusky factory.
We will do some test varnishing early next week once the final CPES applications have cured, and make a final decision then.
Any ideas or preferences you wish to share will be most appreciated! Time to go down under again, armed with a 3” chip brush, respirator, fan for fresh air and a pail of CPES!
RJ and I have been challenging our shoulders, first dry-scraping all the loose bottom paint off our 1957 23’ Lyman runabout hull, and then finishing our trek down to bare wood with Jamestown Distributors’ Circa 1850 Heavy Body Paint and Varnish Remover; and yes, so much more scraping. Hours and hours, and gallons and gallons of stripper later, we have, well this video.
I swear someone applied “another couple of coats of antifoul” annually, whether the bottom needed it or not, and, after a point.
What it really needed was what we have just done. Clean it to bare wood; address any fastener, rot or other issues exposed in the process; sand it thoroughly with 80 grit; seal it with Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer; and fair the strake/nail edges with 3M Premium Marine Filler.
Now it is time for the Interlux 2000E Two Part Barrier Coat – five coats, followed by Sandusky Paint Company (SANPACO) Copper Bronze Antifouling Paint – at least three coats.
Happily, lying beneath all this “protection” is a hull that remains well-fastened, has zero rot, and that only needs relatively minor repairs. Most of those repairs will be focused on the stem, knee and gripe, with a scant bit of refastening of the garboards where someone once attempted to do so and failed miserably. (Refastening is just not well served by driving new, larger wood screws into old smaller holes. Plugging and then drilling new pilot holes is the only route to a screw that has bitten into and will hold a strake or garboard, or any other hull component in place.
Tomorrow, after we have refastened where necessary, we will begin applying Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer – three coats, which adds up to gallons on a hull of this scale. Fairing will follow.
We are so close to being able to shout, “There! The topside paint and transom varnish are gone!”
Yes, so close, but also just not quite there. We’ve completely stripped the starboard topsides and the transom, but the port topsides have dug in and are battling against our Circa 1850 Heavy Body Paint and Varnish Remover and our Sandvik scrapers.
RJ and I leave each day with ever-stronger, but always tired shoulders and lower backs. But we are about halfway through to watching the exterior stripping challenge fade into our wake … at least the one above the waterline.
Some years back we preserved a 1955 20’ Lyman runabout, for which I kept “score” as I stripped the topsides. When I hit 93 lbs., all I could say was, “This is silly!”
Well, since I’d collected all of the scrapings from starboard into two big garbage bags, why not? They weighed close to 50 pounds in total. Stripping the 8 or so layers of paint has not been our biggest challenge here. Somewhere around layer 4 or 5, someone decided to apply some sort of battleship gray fairing compound to almost the entire topsides.
Yes, on both port and starboard. This stuff is like concrete and takes four applications of the stripper to begin softening.
On the happy news front, what a fantastic hull! She’s 60 years old and there is nary the tiniest spot of rot anywhere, strakes and transom planks included. Moreover we have yet to come upon a clench nail that is other than as tight as the day it was pounded home in Sandusky, OH.
It’s a real honor to be trusted with preserving such an original boat that is in such good shape. I know we will find issues as we keep working, but at least the hull’s major components are straight, true and strong.