Yes! Our 1950 22-foot Shepherd’s True 5200 Bottom has been fully fabricated, installed, filled-and-faired, and sealed with four full coats of Smith’s Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer.
Priming the new bottom with five coats of Interlux Interprotect Epoxy Barrier Coat Primer. We will begin with gray and finish with gray, with coats two through four alternating between white and gray, which helps us see any coverage holidays.
Yes, she is Voodoo Child, and if all goes well this fall and winter, you can see her in Tavares, FL, at the Sunnyland ACBS show, March 24-26, next spring.
John and RJ are making one final pass hand sanding to a snow field using 400 grit paper. The goal is an absolutely dirt-free, super flat surface, in preparation for applying the 20th and final coat of varnish.
We had her name applied following the 16th coat, to which four more coats have been applied. I am well aware that this issue is similar to asking five economists’ forecast for the economy and receiving at least seven conflicting replies. However, my goal is to provide some UV protection to the vinyl, while also delivering an identically glossy presentation across the transom.
We will allow the varnish to cure until early next week, at which time we will install the dual quad four, 331 cubic inch, V-drive Chrysler Marine Hemi and its drive line. The gauge cluster and the steering, throttle and shifting systems will be installed as well. Add a couple of fender cleats and we should be good to go.
Go where? To splash in Lake Champlain, since, before I can make a final commitment to Sunnyland, I must know she’s ready to romp.
After she triumphs over her sea trial, Voodoo Child will sit for 30 days during which time the varnish will finish curing, or at least have cured sufficiently to support the polishing process that completes her preservation.
Finally, we will put her back together and banish her to storage until March, 2017, when we will tow her south, away from a still-frozen Lake Champlain and equally frozen Vermont.
Here we are at the Lake Champlain ramp, ready to launch Voodoo Child for the first time in at least 17 years. Yes, my heart is racing just a bit in anticipation.
Fran Secor, Otego, NY, the northeast US’ foremost outboard preservation pro, and a great personal friend of all of us, drove the 200 miles that lie between us to be here, “I would not miss this opportunity for anything.”
Yes, the resulting clip is brief, mainly because the video guy’s Flip HD gratuitously stopped recording during the up-close drive by’s. I decided to post it anyway. Yes, a couple of minor issues cropped up, like a balky shift linkage and a too-loose rudder stuffing box, which we will correct, and then take her out again.
The one slightly frustrating reality is that the Hemi is now a new engine. The rings, valves, bearings, etc. must be broken in, which translates into 2500 max RPMs, and continually raising and lowering the throttle between 2000 and 2500 RPMs. No full throttle… Yet.
What almost startled all of us is that John had set the idle at 300 RPMs as a starting place. I expected stumbling and loping, but no, the Hemi just purred. And, when RJ hit the throttle, the RPMs increased smoothly as Voodoo Child leapt forward.
So… she ran well. All systems, save for the balky shift linkage, functioned perfectly.
Time to tweak her a bit and get her back out on the water!
Voodoo Child arrived here from Pointe au Beril, Ontario, CA on October 27, 2015. Now, some twenty months later, she is leaving her comprehensive preservation process in her wake.
Save for a new RAYCO tank, new bottom inner skin and updated upholstery, nothing from her Model 110-S, dual quad four, 331 cubic inch, V-drive Hemi to the smallest piece of hardware has been replaced.
Her preservation included:
Every piece of wood, inside and out, was stripped bare and sealed with three coats of CPES.
She received a True 5200 Bottom. While she now sports a new inner skin of 1/8” Aquatek marine plywood, her original bottom planking was in perfect condition and is now back in place. Five coats of Interlux 2000E Two-Part Epoxy Primer (barrier coat)
Robert Henkel, Peter Henkel, Inc., Marine City, MI, executed a complete mechanical and cosmetic tear-down and re-build.
Mickey Dupuis, Custom Metal Restoration, Holyoke, MA, transformed her hardware into jewelry, as is his only standard.
Shauna, Kocian Instruments, MN, restored the gauge panel and gauges to show quality without switching out any of the gauges.
We stripped her hull to bare wood, sanded it fair and applied a new finish, the final step of which was buffing her twenty coats of Pettit Hi-Build varnish.
Soon she will live on her new ShoreStation lift that is complete with a vertical shade panel so that she need not roast under a mooring cover.
“All” we need to do now is test her, execute some final tweaks and correct any issues that pop up during her sea trial, oh, and finish assembling the lift.
My 22’ 1953 Shepherd Model 110-S Runabout’s preservation is so, so close to the finish line!
But, with winter setting in, her sea trial must wait for spring 2017, which means May or later. I just cannot drop her into the water at the Sunnyland (Tavares, FL) ACBS show unless and until the sea trial, and all the final tweaks and adjustments that will almost certainly follow. (The show runs March 24-26, 2017, at which time Lake Champlain’s waters are still frozen hard.)
I have decided, therefore, to enter Flyin’ By, my 1938 19’ Chris-Craft double cockpit forward special runabout in her place.
Over the winter we will have Mickey Dupuis – D&S Custom Metal Restoration in Holyoke, MA – preserve and plate all of her hardware anew.
While the hardware is at chrome, we will strip the bottom to bare wood, and refinish it as a traditional bottom. All surfaces will receive three coats of CPES, followed by the first of five coats of Interlux 2000E two-part barrier coat. The seams will then be filled with Interlux below-waterline seam compound before the subsequent four coats of 2000E are applied.
Next comes two coats of Pettit Tie Coat Primer, which will be followed by at least four coats of brilliant red Epifanes Monourethane.
The transom, topsides and decks will be carefully hand-sanded, starting out with 400 grit, before we apply 6 – 8 coats of Pettit Hi-Build varnish.
Once the varnish has cured for 30 days, we will buff it as we did Voodoo Child.
My betting is that we have some very late nights in our future!
It was not without a bit of tension in the room as we raised the Hemi above Voodoo Child. That nobody was about armed with a blood pressure cuff was probably a good thing.
The lift rings do not fit beneath the carbs on the dual quad set-up. As we tossed alternate hook-up strategies back and forth, RJ asked, “Why don’t we just release the entire intake manifold and carbs?”
We did, and acquired a great deal of much needed flexibility in the process. Because of the V-drive, the engine cannot be dropped through the engine bay hatch. Rather it must be set on the engine logs ahead of the engine bay bridge and then teased aft, passing under the bridge.
Doing so requires that the lifting rings, which are initially fastened to two diagonally opposite corners of the intake manifold bolt holes, be repositioned several times.
Keeping the engine bay bridge protected, we lifted the engine and nudged the boat forward until the lift chain was almost touching the bridge, set the engine down and released the lifting chain.
With both rings attached at the aft corners of the intake bolt holes, we moved the boat further forward until the chain fall was above the hatch opening.
It took several reiterations of repositioning the rings, chain and chain fall, but finally, the engine sat in place on its mounts.
Next comes the tedious task of fine tuning the positioning so that the couplers on the transmission and prop shaft align perfectly.
We will now winterize and fog the beast before we begin what will be a near Herculean task of installing the Hemi in Voodoo Child’s engine compartment.
Why Herculean? The engine and V-drive transmission will not fit through the engine hatch and must be dropped into the bilge ahead of the engine bay bridge, and then, using two chain falls, slowly teased under the bridge and onto the engine mounts.
The install can begin as soon as we’ve completed the engine’s winterization, as we have finished polishing her hull, which means all is go for reassembling her.
Arguments about how “best” to varnish a boat can become heated, and I am not taking sides here. We have experimented with buffing (polishing) varnish, most recently on the 1952 18’ Chris-Craft Riviera we preserved. Ridding the surface of haze was our nemesis with each effort.
Then I happened upon an intriguing article on “the practice of polishing varnish” that appeared in a recent copy of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club’s “The Brass Bell,” Here is a link to a scanned copy of the article in PDF format
Voodoo Child served as our lab rat for an experiment following the process described therein, one that began with allowing the varnish to cure for 30 days after the final coat was applied.
We were concerned about just how much varnish is polished away through this process, as sanding through would be a disaster, so we applied a full 20 coats of Pettit Easypoxy Hi-build varnish, let Voodoo Child sit for 30 days, and initiated the process November 2. We finished on November 7, having logged 42 hours from beginning to end.
Wet sanding begins with 1000 grit and sanding blocks, and proceeds through 1200 and 1500, all by hand. At that point we switched to a dual-action orbital sander, and proceeded wet sanding through progressively finer grits until we made one last pass with 5000 grit.
Even at this point it was clear that we are onto something special, as the surface was literally glowing.
Keeping the surface free of sanding residue is critical, lest that residue be ground back into the surface, creating scratches along the way.
Per the article’s guidance, we then switched to mechanical buffing, never exceeding 1,500 RPM. Several passes using Mequiar’s Mirror Glaze M101 Foam-cut Compound removed 1200 and finer scratches. We finished with Mequiar’s M205 Ultra Finishing Polish. The result is a deep and glossy, almost mirror-like surface.
Let’s get that engine in the bilge so we can begin the fun part, installing hardware, ceilings, seating, and the rest!
No, we have not banished my 1953 22’ Shepherd Model 110-S to storage. As reported in a related clip, her 331 cubic inch V-drive Hemi is in storage awaiting its installation.
As of yesterday afternoon, John and RJ have rolled and tipped the first 6 foundational coats to her hull, seating and related components. Unfortunately, the humidity climbing and predicted to reach near 80% today and tomorrow, so all varnishing must cease for the time being.
We sanded the entire hull and all of the components flat using 100 and 220 before applying the 6th coat, something we will do again once 3 additional coats have been rolled and tipped.
As is evident in the clip, that Pettit Hi-Build varnish is almost completely clear, it does not change the color of the yellow Sikaflex.
We are not quite to 1/3 of our eventual goal, which is 20 coats, with sanding at ever finer grits between each set of 3 coats.
With the entire hull sealed with three coats of clear penetrating epoxy sealer (CPES), one more milestone is fading in her wake.
No matter how many times we go through this bleach, stain, seal process, I still find myself unimpressed by the lusterless presentation that staining the hull delivers. But what will be a full-bodied, robust presentation, with a hint of luster that grows with each application and curing of CPES always produces smiles and exclamations, “Wow!”
The 1953 Shepherd is no different, as I suspect you will agree by comparing last week’s post-staining milestone video with this one.
Next we begin filling the deck seams. At least in 1953, Shepherd Model 110-S runabouts had a yellow filled circumferential seam that runs along the covering boards and across the engine bay bridge. The deck seams, by contrast, were open, with waterproofing achieved by filling the very bottom of each seam with a mahogany caulk. We will use mahogany Sikaflex for this purpose.
Here is a case of cure times dictating the pace of the project. We cannot wait to begin varnishing, but doing so before the Sikaflex has cured means going on a fool’s errand. We will wait a solid three days, and maybe four.
So it is seam-filling on Monday, which means we might roll and tip the first coat of varnish on Friday of the coming week.