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A restoration tale (with pics)

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 3,391 ✭✭✭ dnme


    I have been posting on here and getting amazing help from fergal and others. I thought I might make a thread outlining my attempt at a boat restoration. The boat is a 16' fibreglass day cabin. It is in horrendous condition but I think the fibreglass itself is pretty good.

    Shopping for a while and looking at various boats. Big, small, cabin cruisers, fishing boats etc. What I really want is a boat that will fit me and my dog and that I can sleep on and maybe run up and down the Erne waterway. This caught my eye on donedeal
    152681.jpg

    I made the call and arranged to go and view it. At the viewing, I bought it for €530 (asking price on dd was €1200). On Saturday 19th March 2011, myself and a friend towed it home (from Birr to Co. Sligo).
    152682.jpg

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Comments

  • #2


    Two days in and I am blessed with the most beautiful weather, helpful when you consider I am working outdoors. The plan with this boat is to strip it of all fixtures and fittings. The previous owners have been unkind to her, using screws and bolts that rust and decay. Over the past two days, I have learned the easy way and the hard way about removing these old rusted screws and bolts.

    I have tried wd40, screwdrivers, vice grips, hacksaw, dremmel, drill and finallly an angle grinder. Progress was slow starting out but today I went into my local hardware in Boyle and equipped myself with some proper kit such as high quality steel cutting drill bits and a couple of new disks for the angle grinder.
    I now no longer even try to unscrew, I simply grind the top of a bolt if it's protruding and then drill it through. I'm flying it now and have most of the crap removed from the poor boat. You should see some of the dodgy workmanship that went on inside this vessel.

    Day1, got most of the internal fittings removed. Cannot for the life of me get this old steering assembly to budge though.
    152688.jpg


    Day 2, most of the crap and the windows removed
    152687.jpg

    I should add at this stage that none of the fixtures are really worth saving. They are all cracked, or corroded with blistering and bubbling surfaces and what have you. I may try and restore the hand rails especially the main one from the bow. But everything else is off to the local recycling centre when I'm finished.

    For now I have photographed everything before removing it so I can retrace my steps if need be. I am keeping anything that may be useful as a template such as the old windows etc. I am also keeping any screws / bolts that are brass or stainless steel - you never know they me be of use somewhere.


  • #2


    any chance of that throtlle levers and the wiring that came with it,that's if you are not using it off course...

    ur doin a good job by the way


  • #2


    Looking good,and great view in the last photo to inspire you when you sit back for a break with a cold drink looking out over the water.:D
    You can cut off that old drum steering hub and go with a new rotary system.
    Keep up the good work.:)


  • #2


    DOTHEDOG wrote: »
    any chance of that throtlle levers and the wiring that came with it,that's if you are not using it off course...

    ur doin a good job by the way

    dog I'll hang on to em for the moment. I have no engine yet and dont know what system I'll end up with. If they do end up redundant then they are yours.


  • #2


    dnme wrote: »
    dog I'll hang on to em for the moment. I have no engine yet and dont know what system I'll end up with. If they do end up redundant then they are yours.

    cheers for that,i have a 15hp honda for sale if ya wanna have a look also there is bilge pumps goin on there also cheap and new not mine,just givin ya heads up..

    MOD Note - Adverts removed.

    Please stick to the topic in hand (i.e. dnme's boat restoration) to keep the thread on topic. Feel free to start a new topic if you like instead.


  • #2


    Looking good, Great threads and I'll definately be keeping an eye on it, I'm just up the road outside boyle and have spent the winter doing up our own wee cruiser. Its a Shetland 570 and I had nowhere near as much work as you but over a slightly larger surface.
    I'm away half the week so myself and the wife spend Fridays together working on the boat, Me banging my head and stabbing myself and her telling me how I'm doing it wrong:D, great for a relationship.

    Few things I learned the hard way, only ever use stainless steel screws, nuts and bolts. If you are stuck and you think that a brass screw will do because it will never be exposed DONT DO IT!!. The guy that owned our boat before us (she is from the 70's we think) mostly used brass screws or galvanised nuts and bolts easily recognisable now as balls of red goo.
    Anything with "marine" in front of it will be on average 3-4 times more expensive than the exact same product not advertised as for marine use.
    Go easy with the fibreglass, the more you put on the more you have to sand off again.
    Silicone lubricant and brute force are needed for replacing the window rubbers, unless the curved perspex is completely past it it could be worth reusing.
    A 25HP outboard on that sized boat would be perfect if you dont go overboard with internal furnishings, easily get it on the plane.
    If you are going out on Lough Arrow its nice to have something with an easily replacable shear pin in the prop. Get to know that lake slowly as the bottom presents itself in the most unexpected places.


  • #2


    Again I sailed (pun) out this morning in a t-shirt with labrador in tow. I spent the first half of the day removing the rest of the many many fixtures and fittings. I numbered anything that I intend to keep and then filled two rubbish bins with the rest. I've never seen so much crap. The dog had a great time chewing rubber and playing catch the life ring.

    I then decided to have a go at that immovable steering assembly. Solid brass, I'd say it hasn't turned in 10 years, it's ceased completely. I stated off with the angle grinder (my new best friend). I used it to lob off the outer bolt and housing. It still would not budge, there was no way it would rotate or slip down along it's axle, so out with the big hack saw - I spent the next half hour cutting it by hand. Finally it dropped to the ground along with my sweat, tears and blood. The remaining mount could now be unscrewed from the cabin bulkhead. I'll tell ya what, the old assembly is about a pound of solid brass, might be valuable as scrap yet.

    Coming up to lunch, I decided to move inside the cabin and do some damage. That old sink just has to go. I measured it, made notes of its dimensions and then set about undoing and removing it very carefully. The cupboard under it was so rotten that it came apart like putty. The sink itself was fibreglassed (badly) to the side of the hull so it came away with minimal hack-sawing and a gentle pull or two. With the sink gone, the cabin looks so spacious.

    I spent the evening scraping old paint from the interior. The outer coats are flaking away in places but are still intact in other spots. I want to get as much loose paint off before I start the sanding process.

    Disaster hit around 4pm. As I was working on the old paint, I made a point of keeping the place clean so that I could see where I was standing etc. It was during a sweep of the floor that I noticed a large crack. The crack is in the floor midway up on the port side. It flexes as the boat moves. It is being caused by one of the trailer supports. This is a breech and will let in water. It needs a serious repair. I was gutted to see it. Don't know where I stand now. In fairness it's more or less my own fault. I should have taken the boat off the trailer from day one but that is not easy on your own. I will try and support the boat with wood beam posts tomorrow and take the pressure off the area of the crack.

    1. That sink has to go. Now you see it, now you don't
    152813.jpg


    2. Some of the items I have removed from the boat, most of this stuff is in the bin.
    152814.jpg


    3. Starting to scrape the loose paint from the interior. Keeping the place tidy as I go makes the job easier and safer.
    152815.jpg


    4. Disaster. This is a structural crack in the hull floor about half way along port side. When I put weight on that side of the boat, the crack flexes. Cause - one of the trailer supports.
    152818.jpg


    5. Cup of coffee and a view of heaven on earth. Does it get any better!
    152825.JPG


  • #2


    Your getting there, don't worry about the crack all fiberglass can be fixed :D
    is in the floor or the hull, with all the stress cracks I would think about resealing the boat with epoxy resin and recoat the floor with maybe a 10 oz fiberglass cloth.


  • #2


    fergal.b wrote: »
    Your getting there, don't worry about the crack all fiberglass can be fixed :D
    is in the floor or the hull, with all the stress cracks I would think about resealing the boat with epoxy resin and recoat the floor with maybe a 10 oz fiberglass cloth.

    It's in the floor. Repair will be an area of about 10" long. I was wondering is it possible to redo the entire gelcoat while I'm at it. The existing gelcoat is pretty shot I think.


  • #2


    Gelcoat is put on as the first coat in a mold it can be sprayed on but its very tricky and takes a lot work to get a good finish. You might get away with just painting it or if it's very bad you can roll on epoxy resin after filling any scratches and then paint and with a bit of sanding and buffing you can get a finish as good as a gelcoat. That's the way I did this one.

    039.jpg


  • #2


    fergal.b wrote: »
    Gelcoat is put on as the first coat in a mold it can be sprayed on but its very tricky and takes a lot work to get a good finish. You might get away with just painting it or if it's very bad you can roll on epoxy resin after filling any scratches and then paint and with a bit of sanding and buffing you can get a finish as good as a gelcoat. That's the way I did this one.

    039.jpg

    Wow thats shiny:D


  • #2


    This is a great thread! You should also invest in one of those small gas cans DNME. Intense heat applied accurately and safely to ceased metal joints can often be, as the old man says, the best lubricant there is. Just don't set the fiberglass alight.

    fergal.b, is that a Riva???


  • #2


    A local neighbour who does sand blasting for a living. I asked him if he would be interested in soda blasting the boat and he is indeed very interested. He has a decent rig (a tow compressor and sand pot), he usually does monumental and industrial work but he is very interested in soda blasting as a new line of business.

    We decided that I would procure the soda and that is where I am at now. So can anyone advise on the following?

    1. How much soda material would I need to blast this boat inside and out ? (I don't mind being left with a bit of spare)

    2. Where might I order that soda? and ballpark cost?


  • #2


    I only use it for small jobs so I just buy it from the cash&carry it's about €1.50 for a 3kg bag so it's not bad, try ringing some of the soda blasters and see if they will sell you a bag http://www.eco-xl.com/index.php/brr/marine-applications or http://www.carbon.ie/products/sodium-bicarbonate.htm I have no idea how much you will use as it will depend on the pressure of the pump and the size of the nozzle, I think they come in 25kg bags so try one and see how far you get. If you are stuck you can also buy it in most shops under baking soda.
    A good power washer will also take off a lot of that paint, might be worth a try before you go looking for soda.:D


  • #2


    I spent the morning shoring up the boat on it's trailer. I have now lowered the rollers that were pressurizing the floor and have the boat supported on all three keels. I have it supported at four points along the centre keel. Used a trolley jack to lift and lower her gently.

    After another grueling session in the cabin scraping and wire brushing, I spoke to a neighbour who does sand blasting. I may get him to soda blast the boat depending on cost and how well I do with sanding. The interior is proving very difficult to strip as the surface is coarse fibreglass and impossible to sand.

    On Monday last, I took a trip down to Woodies DIY in Carrick to buy some bits and bobs. There on the shelf they had a decent looking Bosch random orbital (RO) sander, it was on special offer as an end of life demo model. No box etc. I decided to take it after persuading them to give me a warranty. Best thing I ever bought, as a sander it is perfect for fibreglass. It is powerful with adjustable speed, a disk lasts for ages and I am starting to develope a good technique. I never used a RO sander before, they are amazing. The trick is to be aware of what the sander is trying to do and let it do it. Gentle pressure and slight angling for the undulations and tough bits and after that it's just a matter of patience.
    A random orbital sander is a step back from a belt sander, it still removes a lot of material but in a far more controlled manner and depending on the paper grit. I have started the cabin exterior and am using 60 grit pads. I have used 1/3 sheet sanders, mouse sanders and hand sanding. This device is by far the best for the job. Random Orbital sander - highly recommended.

    As I sand the old cabin, I become more and more aware of all the repairs that were applied to the boat in its previous life. There's grey filler everywhere. The good news is that as I come across a big area if filler (say 2" sq), as I sand it down, it turns out to be a botch job to fill a few screw holes and the person who did the job couldn't be arsed to scrap or sand away the large amount of surplus filler left. After removing all the hardware from the boat, I have a lot of holes to fill myself. I will have to look into the best method to do this.

    So I end the day with a tremendous sense of progress. The RO sander is doing fantastic work, the boat is now properly supported and I have an option to soda blast the hull. Not to mention the weather, the weather and the weather. God days, if only I hadn't made a large crack in the floor yesterday. Onward!

    1. Boat now properly supported
    152929.jpg
    152930.jpg

    3. Goodbye hand tools
    152932.jpg

    4. Hello baby!
    152933.jpg

    5. Before and after, this took about 3 hours to do 60% of the cabin exterior.
    152934.jpg


  • #2


    Why soda blast when you can bosch blast :D your flying fair play to you.


  • #2


    Wonder what she was called originally?

    Sha?
    Sham?
    Shamrock perhaps?

    152970.jpg


  • #2


    Did you find a makers name, it looks like a freeman but I am not sure if they made them under 22 foot.


  • #2


    fergal.b wrote: »
    Did you find a makers name, it looks like a freeman but I am not sure if they made them under 22 foot.

    No makers name anywhere. What about age? Do any of you wanna hazard a guess? It looks very retro to me, 70's perhaps?


  • #2


    I'm really enjoying following this thread. Fair play dnme for taking this on. I would have felt overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done. I could feel your pain when you discovered that crack in the hull. I'm looking forward to the end result so keep going.
    And to Fergal.B I Really love your work. You're gifted. :)


  • #2


    And to Fergal.B I Really love your work. You're gifted. :)

    +1


  • #2


    A few questions are cropping up as I continue this restoration. I wonder if some of you could steer me in the right direction.

    1. If you look at the photos below, you can see that there are lots of holes in the fibreglass structure from where I removed various pieces of hardware. How would you go about filling these holes? What would you use?

    2. There are lots if stress cracks throughout. I am wondering if there is anything I can do with these. I think fergal mentioned rolling on a coat of epoxy. Will that fill them?

    3. I am sanding as carefully as I can down to the gelcoat. Alas the gelcoat is micro thin and in places I am exposing the fibreglass. Is this something I can live with? or do I need to restore the gelcoat over those patches?

    1. Many holes in the fibreglass structure
    153008.jpg

    2. Stress cracks
    153009.jpg


  • #2


    fergal.b wrote: »

    Do you use West System? If so do you buy online?


  • #2


    Yep I get it just up the road in http://www.marineparts.ie/paint-and-maintenance/epoxy-repair-kits/ I think they post to but you should be able to find it near you in any marine shop.
    If you are getting west system buy it with the pumps as it makes life so easy compared to mixing it your self, just one pump of resin to one pump of hardener. Only mix small bits at a time "about 3 pumps of each" in a plastic cup and pour it into a larger tray, if it's is left in a small container it can heat up and set very quick. You can also buy a slow hardener if you find it is going off too quick I use 105 resin and 205 hardener.


  • #2


    Hey these guys are in the north and post south.

    http://www.mbfg.co.uk/sitemap.html

    Id either fill the holes with car body filler and then a marine based paint (blakes multicoat) or use eposy resin and car body filler to smooth over after.

    H


  • #2


    Day 6 (Marcus Bentley)

    I have spent today sanding the port side or at least as much as is accessible. I don’t know how I'm going to get at the floor o this boat, I might get a neigbour with a tractor to lift it on straps and shore it up with A-frames.

    I have to say, this sanding is totally therapeutic, especially when you have the right sander for the job. I don’t know how many times today I entered "the zone" and just got lost in my own thoughts as I sanded away bit by bit of this boats history. It's the sort of job I'd happily do for a living as long as I got the weather:)

    Speaking of boat history, I uncovered another name on the bow. This time it's "Mist II". So she has been named "Sham?" (probably Shamrock) and Mist II. One wonders on the whereabouts or the fate of "Mist I".

    That RO sander is an amazing tool. It's so precise I am able to sand away what I recognise to be at least four coats. Dark blue (almost gone completely, light blue, white and a grey undercoat - probably a primer, and leave the original gelcoat pretty much intact without cutting into it. Now having said that; the gelcoat is old, very old and needs a lot of TLC. I am getting more and more tempted to invest in a Lidl style compressor and spray (shoot) and new layer of gelcoat. I think with a bit of sanding and buffing, it might then look as good as new.
    Yes the sanding is slow going. Port side took me the whole day but boy is it satisfying. It also really helps to then post photos and comments online, it keeps the enthusiasm alive. Alas, the forecast is bad; rain is to come in during the week and to be heavy at the weekend. That will finish me until the good weather returns.

    I might use the wet days to attempt drawing up plans in Sketchup (never used it or anything like it before) and try to figure out what to do with this boat. I suppose at this stage I should also be aware of budget and I should be listing my current spend.

    1. Uncovering another name from the vessels past.
    153210.jpg

    2. Progress, glorious progress. Time for a coffee
    153211.jpg

    3. Can anyone tell me what this is for, is it a bilge pump outlet? (There was never a bilge pump on her as far as I can tell)
    153212.jpg

    4. Good company throughout the day.
    153213.jpg

    5. You have to love the before and after shots.
    153214.jpg


  • #2


    Great work dnme she is coming on now :) The outlet looks like it was a bilge pump, one of the side mounted rubber ones and that's what the 4 holes beside it are. You might want to get that "love sanding" thing looked at that could be a real problem :D


  • #2


    DNME,

    Great thread - fair play to you for all the hard work - it looks transformed already!

    On the west system, it's really excellent and to be fair Colm & the boys at Marine parts are great - but oh boy is West system expensive or what?#

    Keep up the hard work - dying to see her out on the water - any idea where you will put her or just day sail?

    ATVB,

    John Mc


  • #2


    DNME,

    Great thread - fair play to you for all the hard work - it looks transformed already!

    On the west system, it's really excellent and to be fair Colm & the boys at Marine parts are great - but oh boy is West system expensive or what?#

    Keep up the hard work - dying to see her out on the water - any idea where you will put her or just day sail?

    ATVB,

    John Mc

    John, Nice to hear from, especially when we are not talking "Philips":) So you are obviously a boat man eh.

    I live in South Co Sligo on the shores of Lough Arrow and about 3 miles from Lough Key. I will no doubt put her on Key and try and get her up and down the Erne Waterway. I'd love to try sleeping on her etc, just me and the dog. I hope to have her ready next year. I'm unemployed so money is a huge issue, but I want to do this job right none the less.

    West System kits on Ebay are not too bad price wise. When it comes to finishing, I would love to re-spray a shot of gelcoat on to her. The existing gelcoat is just shot, it's had it's time and now needs a little help. It's probably there since the 70's.

    Then there is the planning . . . (some possibilities include)
    * Source an engine and control system
    * Build up a new fibreglass steering dash housing
    * Refit external hardware, cleats, lights, rails etc, (If I can source second hand and clean, that'll do me)
    * What to do with the rear seating, maybe cut it out
    * New windows and rubber seals, I'd love to have an option to have an open(able) window, will investigate.
    * I'd like to install a captains swivel seat, gotta research my options on that.
    * Reupholster the interior
    * Add a small stove
    * Maybe re-do the fibreglass interior seating or at least ad top lids to them for storage


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