1930 Dodge Runabout & Lycoming Engine Progress Update 03 10 2015

The Minnow’s original 1930 Lycoming flathead four engine is back in the shop following a comprehensive rebuild by Robert Henkel and his team at Chris-Craft Parts in Michigan (http://ift.tt/1w7jSRy).
As parts are beyond difficult to find for this engine, Robert faced and overcame the challenge by having specialists in his network fabricate such parts as valves, pistons and more.
By week’s end we will have dropped the engine into the Minnow’s bilge, have reconnected her prop shaft and prop, installed her rudder and begun the final detail painting of her engine compartment, seat frames and bilge.
Soon, and we hope by the end of March, she will be ready to sojourn west to her owners in Oregon, where he will enjoy completing the cosmetic work, having seating upholstered and cockpit padding installed. (Happily on this score, I found some original upholstery beneath the most hideous
vinyl you have ever seen today. Matching her original upholstery is made ever so much easier by this discovery.
She will leave us sporting a true 5200 bottom that is planked identically to what the Dodge factory installed in 1930. Trailer sailing her will now be possible where it was not before her preservation was entrusted to Snake Mountain Boatworks LLC.

’46 Gar Wood Ensign Sealed & Ready for Varnish 03 06 2015

Now that three coats of Interlux Interprime Wood Sealer has been rolled and tipped onto her decks and coming and covering boards, varnishing this 1946 Garwood Ensign will begin next week.
We followed our long-held practice, quickly scuff hand sanding after each coat of sealer using 220 grit paper. Doing so knocks down any dust particles trapped in the surface.
We will sand the final coat on Monday and wash the surface down with acetone, before RJ and John begin rolling and tipping Pettit High-Build varnish onto these surfaces and include you in the process via follow-on clips.

Penn Yan Captivator Project Seating Update 03 05 2015

Her hull number is TFK 873, and her owners bought her as a 1957 Penn Yan Captivator, but she is virtually an exact duplicate of the 1954 Captivator from which her owner graciously allowed me to release the seating and floorboards so we could pattern new and correct seating and floorboards for our project boat.
I am not sure how we could have made any headway using photos alone. Armed with the under-seat framing and all seat and floorboard components, we have solved a challenging, three-dimensional positioning and fabrication challenge.
No, the two hulls were not exactly identical. TFK 873 is just a bit wider at the chines, possibly from use over the last 60 years. But having the components allowed us to first fabricate cardboard patterns, from which we could transfer lengths, angles and bevels.
As of this afternoon, John has masterfully finished and temporarily installed all of the components, save for the aft outer seat brackets.
Only the outer seat bench braces remain. These were originally steam twisted into quasi-corkscrew shapes that fit into the hulls ever-changing radius curves. Duplicating these complex shapes, each of which was just slightly different from the other three, would have sent us on a maddening, probably fruitless fool’s errand. Rather, John applied his ingenuity to the problem and came up with sanding the backsides of each brace into shape using our 4-foot, stationary belt sander. Of course, his challenge involved shaping the outer face while maintaining the top face, where the bench fastens at the correct angle.
You see the front braces already installed in the video, and John is attacking the aft braces as I type.
Once we are satisfied that everything is perfect, all of the new components will be released for finishing, and so we can apply bilge paint up to the chines and topside paint to the inner surfaces of the topside planks, the ribs, and the back face of the aft seatback.
While RJ and I are painting, John will focus on installing her new transom and refastening her bottom planking starboard of the keel.

1946 Gar Wood Ensign Staining Complete 03 03 2015

Staining day for the 1946 Gar Wood Ensign is complete.
Our aggressive bleaching, which involved keeping the wood well-soaked with bleach for 19 hours, created the perfect palette for the Interlux Interstain we scrubbed into the wood today.
That the process has worked as planned is clear from the homogeneity of the color across all surfaces, from the decks to the covering and then to the combing boards.
Notice the absence of any telltale dark rings around any of the bungs, and that the bungs, all of which are new, match the hues of the wood surrounding them perfectly.
Sealing is next, and here I will correct a misstatement I made in the previous Gar Wood staining day clip. While not always, and likely due to a chemical incompatibility between them, our occasional experience is that applying Smith’s CPES over Interlux Interstain seems to lift the stain here and there, but the result is absolutely unacceptable.
For that reason we use only two-part Interlux Clear Wood Sealer Interlux, a fast drying urethane used for priming wood prior to application of single part varnishes or two component urethane finishes, over Interlux Interstain.
The first coat of Pettit High-Build Varnish will be rolled and tipped on Friday!

1946 Gar Wood Ensign Staining Day 3 03 2015

It is staining day for the 1946 Gar Wood Ensign.
Once we confirmed using our moisture meter that the wood is back to about 15% or less moisture content, we lightly hand sanded the entire surface with 80 grit dry paper, vacuumed it and then washed it down with Interlux 202 thinner.
As Ensigns were originally much browner than we are used to in the case of Chris-Craft boats, we mixed a 1:1 ration of two Interlux Interstain filler stain, Chris-Craft Mahogany (573) and brown mahogany (42). (Our customary Chris ratio is 2 red to 1 brown.)
We masked both covering boards at their intersection with the foredeck so we’d have more control over the process.
As with other projects, a full coat of stain is applied using a chip brush after which it is allowed to flash – become almost dull in appearance. Then cheesed cloth is used to scrub, and I mean really, really scrub, across the grain until we can discern a sheen across the surface.
We will complete the staining process by day’s end. The first of three coats of CPES will be applied tomorrow morning.
Varnish is not far away!

’46 Gar Wood Ensign Bleached Blonde 02 25 2015

Why take the time and spend the money bleaching the planking? Compare this clip to the one posted earlier this week for an excellent before and after comparison of the 1946 Gar Wood Ensign.
Bleaching makes the coloration infinitely more uniform, while it also raises the grain, thereby delivering the perfect environment for the filler stain that follows bleaching.
First we lightly, and I mean lightly, scuff off the “feathers’ left by bleaching by hand and using 200-220 grit paper. Do not get aggressive here as the bleached layer is only 1/32” to 1/16” deep. Sand through it and you will either end up with disfiguring blotches when you stain, or you must bleach anew.
Having tried the other usual and customary options, and being disappointed with the results, or lack of same, our go-to bleach is Klean-Strip GWB19 Wood Bleach, which we source from Amason.com.
Rather than applying once and allow the surface to dry, and then coming back with a second application that must be neutralized, we keep the planking wet with repeated applications of the equal-part A and B solution over at least 12 hours before allowing the wood to dry.
Our results speak for themselves.
Drying will continue for the rest of today, and will be followed by staining using Interlux InterStain Wood Filler Stain in brown mahogany tomorrow. Then comes three coats of CPES, and into the paint booth she will go, where varnishing can begin.

1946 Gar Wood Ensign Newly Planked & Ready for Bleach 02 23 2015

We could not be more pleased to have reached this milestone. We knew we had no choice but to plank the decks anew, but she was holding another secret beneath her tired, split and just plain worn out original decking.
Not only were both decks dripped and broken away from their respective connections to the gunwales, the balance of the framing had become distorted and disconnected over time. When we positioned several trial planks across the foredeck, a pronounced and ill-positioned hump was evident on port, while the starboard side was essentially flat. The aft deck had similar issues.
Our strategy for addressing bringing the decks back to their proper shapes and strength involved releasing and re-fastening the individual elements under pressure. Once everything seemed to be in place, we fastened the newly-fabricated planks, holding our breath all the while.
That we succeeded is evident in this clip. The foredeck has regained its correct “domed” shape. The bulkhead is firmly attached at both ends. And RJ can stand on the deck without deflecting it.
Addressing the aft deck required releasing and replacing much of the framing as the end of most of the members had suffered serious degradation over the years.
Bleaching is next, followed by staining. Only then can we begin rolling and tipping coats of varnish.

1930 Dodge True 5200 Bottom at Finish Line 02 20 2015

With the application of her fifth coats of Interlux Perfection two-part polyurethane in Mauritius blue, Minnow is now sporting her new True 5200 bottom, save for the final coat of bilge paint that will be applied once the paint has cured and she is flipped right-side up again.
We are using this super hard epoxy paint in place of the antifouling or hard racing copper bronze alternative because Minnow will be dry sailed, and therefore not subject to bottom contamination from lake scum or critters that might otherwise adhere to it.
Having reached this major milestone, we have also reached a crossroads. If her topsides and transom are to be bleached, stained and varnished by Snake Mountain Boatworks, decision time is upon us. Once we flip her over, we simply cannot take the risk that anything, and especially wood bleach can migrate beneath tape and into the bottom paint.
We have given up on blue painter’s tape, or its much-hyped Frog Tape cousin. Duct tape leaves an awful residue. Our go-to solution for now is professional gaffer’s tape purchased from Amazon.com. It adheres tenaciously, yet leaves absolutely no reside behind when it is released.
Minnow will now sit until early next week so that her paint can cure completely.
With her Lycoming engine rebuild and a 4-hour run-in bench testing complete, Robert Henkel, Chris-Craft Parts, will be shipping it back to us at the end of next week.
Minnow will be ready to splash, probably before the hard water melts and our next boat season rushes in.

’68 Lyman Transom Dutchman Update 02 20 2015

RJ spent this week completing the small Dutchman repair to the starboard strake dry rot area, and then has turned his attention to fabricating a pretty complex transom Dutchman repair below its waterline.
He first fabricated a cardboard template which he used with ¾” marine plywood to fashion his initial blank. The latter required substantial sanding in as all of the edges are beveled as well as being curved.
His next challenge was routing out the inner surface so that the Dutchman will eventually lock into place, with the extensive shiplap joint providing substantial strength to what will be the final product.
Here, after pointing out the repairs completed on the aft ends of the bilge stringers, he demonstrates how well his Dutchman dry fits into the receiving cavity.
“All” that remains is routing out the face of the Dutchman where it will receive yet another layer of mahogany marine plywood in the area above the waterline that will be finished bright.
Truly Knock on Wood is getting some of her wood back!

’30 Dodge Runabout True 5200 Bottom Update 02 20 2015

With the application of her fifth coats of Interlux Perfection two-part polyurethane in Mauritius blue, Minnow is now sporting her new True 5200 bottom, save for the final coat of bilge paint that will be applied once the paint has cured and she is flipped right-side up again.
We are using this super hard epoxy paint in place of the antifouling or hard racing copper bronze alternative because Minnow will be dry sailed, and therefore not subject to bottom contamination from lake scum or critters that might otherwise adhere to it.
Having reached this major milestone, we have also reached a crossroads. If her topsides and transom are to be bleached, stained and varnished by Snake Mountain Boatworks, decision time is upon us. Once we flip her over, we simply cannot take the risk that anything, and especially wood bleach can migrate beneath tape and into the bottom paint.
We have given up on blue painter’s tape, or its much-hyped Frog Tape cousin. Duct tape leaves an awful residue. Our go-to solution for now is professional gaffer’s tape purchased from Amazon.com. It adheres tenaciously, yet leaves absolutely no reside behind when it is released.
Minnow will now sit until early next week so that her paint can cure completely.
With her Lycoming engine rebuild and a 4-hour run-in bench testing complete, Robert Henkel, Chris-Craft Parts, will be shipping it back to us at the end of next week.
Minnow will be ready to splash, probably before the hard water melts and our next boat season rushes in.