Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finishing Up ....Finally

   I had mentioned in an earlier post that I had a project that I was working on and that project was sorta related to my baits...but not exactly.
With this project taking so much of my time,  I had not been posting any photos of baits. 
   I am in the final stages now so I wanted to show a few pics of that project and give a short description of what I did.
   The project is that my old fiberglass boat was in need of some repair....just how bad, it needed it, I did not realize until I got started.
   It had been leaking for quite some time...and getting worse. I had looked at it several times but I was unable to locate the source of the leak...it appeared to be coming through the transom but on inspection the transom showed no signs of any cracks or holes.
On day while doing an inspection I noticed that I could push down on the motor and the transom would flex.....that flex was really not good.
So I began to dig deeper....  I started taking it apart to see what the problem was.
   First I had to remove the motor, then I lifted the top cap off to expose all the structure inside the hull. At first look there seemed to be a couple soft spots due to wood rot...but on closer inspection it was a lot worse than I thought. It seems like every time I would cut out a piece the next one would be in the same condition and needed replaced too....so I continued removing the decayed pieces until all I had left was the fiberglass shell.  Luckily the boats bottom was all solid, but it's mostly glass with very little wood.  
   Here's a few photos of what it looked like after everything had been stripped out, ground down and cleaned up....
Oh the leak...I found it.
 With the transom flexing  the bottom corners of the jack plate had cut through the fiberglass skin allowing water in. With the rotten wood in the transom there was little to stop it.





Here's a few photos of some of the parts and pieces that I cut out.
As you can see the wood in these parts was pretty well rotten....the wood that the transom was made of came out mostly as mush.


Next step was to fabricate and test fit all the replacement pieces.
Here's what they looked like.....

Now it's time to glass everything back in ....
First was an online shopping trip to get supplies. I bought several different kinds of fiberglass cloth and resin...... it was time to get sticky.
After a couple days of  laying fiberglass, many yards of fiberglass cloth and chopped mat, 6 gallons of fiberglass resin and some black paint here's what I had.

Next I had to replace the floatation that I had removed.
This floatation is a pour foam... it comes as a two part liquid. Mixed in equal parts it begins to expand within 30 seconds......3 minutes later it's fully expanded and hard.
I put a total of two gallons, about 9 cubic feet, of this stuff in the three places where I had removed the original floatation.

Since I was this deep into the boat .... I decided to extend the rod box before I put it all back together.
Here's a few photos of that process.
( I know the green carpet doesn't match the boats gray carpet.... but... you'll never see it once the boats together.......it's just there to protect the rod tips.....and It was something I had laying around so it didn't cost me anything....which is always good ...but it shows how much the rod box was extended.)
The original box would hold a rod up to about 7-1/2' and ended at the cross piece which ran completely across the bow of the boat. I shortened it and made the long one longer to continue into the nose.
After my modifications a 10 foot rod will fit with ease
   
There have been many different type of electronics added and removed from this boat in it's 30 year life so while I had it apart I enlisted my cousins help and we spend a day on the top cap going over all the wiring, Removing what was not being used, replacing what needed it and reconfiguring some of it to make if more functional to my style of fishing.
Here's a few shots of the top cap sitting on the rack I made.
It sat on the rack for about 3 weeks or so and that made it easy to access all the wiring and plumbing.

Time to start  the assembly...
Both the live well and bilge pumps, the gas tank, the on board battery charger and anything else that could be, was installed now while access is easy,  before the two parts were put back together.




Time to join the two parts.
The top cap was lifted off the rack, the rack removed and the hull is rolled into position under it.
The top was slowly lowered and carefully aligned.
After it is set down it's just a matter of replacing all the fasteners
Dozens of rivets and 100's of screws that are under the rub rail and in various other areas.


Next it's time to install the oil tank, the batteries, the fuel and oil lines, jack plate,  motor and reconnect everything that was disconnected when it was taken apart.
If you look close you'll notice that I added a 1/8" aluminum plate between the jack plate and the transom.
I did this to keep the corners of the jack plate from pressing on the areas where it had cut through before.
These cuts were repaired on the inside with two layers of 24 ounce woven fiberglass cloth before the wood transom was put in and then on the outside with this aluminum plate.
Also the aluminum angle, which is on the top of the transom was originally 1/16" thick but I replaced it with one that is 1/8" to match up with the 1/8" plate.
That original 1/16" angle was the reason the bottom corners of the jack plate cut into the fiberglass. With the jack plate setting against it at the top that caused the bottom corners to dig in and in 30 years of use and abuse it finally cut through.

Everything installed and reconnected
I did a check to make sure everything worked as designed and a quick test fire just to make sure it would start.
Now I need to give it a wash to get all the grinding, cutting  and drilling dust and dirt off 
...then it's time for the true test.....put it in the water to see if it still knows how to catch a fish or two.
 That's my favorite part.
This not a project most folks would attempt.... but to be honest it is not as hard as one would assume.
Yes it takes some time...a lot of time really ( I probably have 80 hours in it....but other than the one day my cousin helped me,  I did it all by myself ) It also took a little money. 
If you have some basic knowledge on how to use common hand tools then most anybody can accomplish a project like this.
Any part or information you would ever need is just a few keystrokes away.
Hopefully the next boat pics I post there will be some fish in the photos !!

2 comments:

  1. Long hours and a lot of hard work - that's what you need to put in to finish a project like this! Brilliant idea installing compartments on to the boat for the floatation! Definitely an improvement in the aesthetic department. Are you keeping the black surface coating, or do you plan on adding another layer of paint? If it's the latter, you might want to go with red! Anyways, keep us updated!

    Kent Garner @ Whites Marine Center

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