Archive for April, 2009

26
Apr
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Seven: A Caulking We Will Go!

The previous owner of our little vessel did “clue me in” to the fact that this Vagabond does, or did leak and take on a bit of water.  “Not much!” he said.

After putting water in the boat with a garden hose when first beginning work, there were no major leaks.  That being said, what was observed was the fact that the original “caulking” from the Feather Craft factory seemed to be failing.  It was very dried out and brittle, and flaking or even missing in some areas.

I became concerned about this “little potential problem”, and visited Clyde at Bi-State Marine in Erie, Michigan.  Clyde is fairly well versed in all things boats…and he suggested I give a new product from West Systems a go.  It is an epoxy that is strong and yet flexible.  It is said to be able to take movement, shock and vibration.  This sounds ideal for an aluminum boat.

After buying a small “kit” from Clyde that includes one bottle each of  resin and catylist, a couple of syringes for injecting the epoxy…into the boat seams, not yourself, gloves, and mixing cups with stir-sticks.  Nice kit.

To remove the old caulking was not very tough, as it was at the end of its life.

The caulking is fragile and missing in some areas between the plates at the stern.

The caulking is fragile and missing in some areas between the plates at the stern.

Clearly the spray-rail at the stern has stretched the rivets after years of battering the docks.

Clearly the spray-rail at the stern has stretched the rivets after years of battering the docks.This area is the worst on the boat. Clearly the rivets are pulled a tad, and the epoxy is goign to have to be applied in many layers.

feather-craft-boat-4-25-09-0032

This is the worst area of damage. Perhaps I should reset the rivets, but I'm curious if this epoxy will hold up. It will have to be applied in layers.

 

 

 

The keel will need looking after as well!

The keel will need looking after as well!

Here’s the secret to this epoxy.  You’ll want to heat the metal with either a propane torch or heat gun to get the metal warm, but don’t scorch or melt the aluminum!  Then using the syringe, simply lay a bead of epoxy down along the joint and then re-heat the epoxy.  When you reheat the surface the epoxy is on, it will “sweat” into the joints, around rivets, and “flow” much as solder does when soldering two copper pipes together.  This gives a nice sealed joint.
Since our problem areas are in conspicuous areas, I tinted the epoxy with West Systems Aluminum pigment, which also resists UV damage.  It also gives a close appearance to the original caulking.
This is the first of several layers of epoxy that will be laid into this open area at the stern.

This is the first of several layers of epoxy that will be laid into this open area at the stern.Here is a fresh fillet of epoxy laid into the bottom side of the spray-rail.

Here is a fresh fillet of epoxy on the bottom of the spray-rail.

Here is a fresh fillet of epoxy on the bottom of the spray-rail.

You can see after heating, the fillet of epoxy tends to "sweat" down into the voids where it is needed most.

You can see after heating, the fillet of epoxy tends to "sweat" down into the voids where it is needed most.In this photo the epoxy will have to have another "dose" to fill the area that sunk in. A layer or two may bee needed before doing cosmetic finishing.

When the G/Flex epoxy has dried, a wire brush was used to cosmetically dress up the fillet of epoxy.  This seam looks almost like the original caulking at the seam or the side sheets.

When the G/Flex epoxy has dried, a wire brush on a drill was used to cosmetically dress up the fillet of epoxy. This seam looks almost like the original caulking at the seam or the side sheets.

This seam will be sanded and once the buffing of the boats sides is finished, this should look very original to boat.
I’m not sure what direction this project will take next…so stay tuned!
14
Apr
09

I promise to get back to the boat…

My restored 1956 Johnson RD-18 powing our Thompson Lake TVT up the Mighty Maumee River.

My restored 1956 Johnson RD-18C powering our Thompson Lake TVT up the Mighty Maumee River.

 

but in the meantime, I have been dealing obviously with the loss of Bear, bad weather and working two jobs.

Between all the aforementioned items, my 1956 Johnson RD-18 got finished and barrel tested.  It was a learning experience.

On this particular motor, which was deemed scrapped and for parts only by the person who sold it to me, the following items were missing:

1. Air cleaner box

2. Tiller handle

3. Carburetor, carb needles and knobs

Problem mechanically:

1. Motor was supposedly seized

2. Recoil starter broken

3. Scoring in the cylinders and on the pistons.

4. Head gasket leaking

So after a bit of investigation, and removal of the recoil assembly, I found the motor was in fact in fair shape for a 53 year old motor.  The motor was not seized, but the recoil pawls had snagged the sheet metal inspection plate on the flywheel and locked the motor up.  What to do?!?

Here is a motor that was to be used as a donor, but actually was potentially salvageable.

I couldn’t let it go to scrap!  Instead the following was done to the motor:

1. Complete tear down and cleaning.  The exhaust side of the power head block  was completely clogged with carbon from the fuel mix.  This had to be cleaned out with Krud Kutter and a screw driver.

2. New pistons and rings

3. Cylinders honed

4. New bearings on the connecting rods and the crankshaft journal bearings

5. New power-head gaskets throughout, and new head gasket

6. Carb cleaned and rebuilt

7. All fuel lines replaced

8. New points and condensers on the magneto ignition.

9. Hunting down and finding the missing parts and replacing them

10. Update electrical components from 6 volts to 12 volts.

11. Lower unit rebuild and new clutch dog installed

12. All seals replaced in the lower unit and on the crankshaft

13. Electric Start installed with starter and geared flywheel

14. Bead blasted and repainted with new decals

After all this the preliminary test looked good!  The compression was 90 and 92 pound on each cylinder.  Not bad considering the pistons and rings still needed to seat.  A few neighbors helped lug “The Beast” out of the basement to the garage for testing in a 55 gallon “lake”.

Well upon attempting to start the motor, it was clear that the the motor was not going to crank and FIRE.  Why?  Checked the pressure tank which was rebuilt and worked great.  Good spark!  A fuel problem perhaps?

You bet!

I got very frustrated and posted my issues on the Antique Outboard Collectors website and got a swift answer.  The carb rebuild kit has many extra parts due to it being used for many types of carbs.  The directions were next to non-existent.

Very quickly the AMOCI group led me to the fact that the replacement fuel float needle valve has a Viton tip and sticks unless you place an very small wire spring around the base of this needle valve that wraps around the float in the fuel bowl float.  This force the needle valve to open and close with movement of the float.

The next day, the carb was pulled, opened up, and the wire clip installed.

BINGO!

After reassembly, the motor fired on the first crank of the starter.  LESSON LEARNED!

I tested the motor on the water the following weekend, but that will have to wait until next time.

Greg

04
Apr
09

Dear Bear, Goodbye sweet puppy…

Dear Bear,

As I am writing this to you, your mommy and I are in a hotel at Pokagan State Park near Angola, Indiana.  Bear, this is where you took your first boat ride with mommy and I.  You were so scared, but soon got use to the noise and movement of the boat.  The weather is cold, but the day is beautiful, except you’re no longer with us.

You left us this morning at around 9am with your work completed on this earth.  Mommy and I tried to go home and resume our lives, but the pain was too great.  Somehow without your presence we couldn’t stand being there…so we left to clear our heads…and came to James Lake for one night.

We’ll never forget how it all started…

We found each other after you had watched over an Air Force family who were to move out of the country.  You were at SICSA in Dayton, Ohio sitting in a kennel with 200 barking dogs.  We were looking at some black lab puppies, but you stirred and grabbed our attention.  You looked so completely confused and helpless, but were sitting quietly…while the other dogs barked for attention…and just looked as if you needed to find a home.

We walked the grounds and quickly found you to be a fine dog, and hoped you’d make a nice addition to our family.  We had no idea how much of an impact you would make in our lives.

We signed the papers, and paid the money…and then went to the store to buy the things doggies need.  You looked so unsure of your future as we pulled out onto Wilmington Avenue.  I was unsure too.  You were my first pet.  Erin laughed as I drove home like a new father with his infant child in the car for the first time.  I drove so slowly, we almost never got home.

When we got to our house, you began to ease up, and in your typical manner, became our companion, and so much more.

We sat on the futon for a bit, and we bonded very quickly.  Truth be told....I was head over heels in love with you from the start.

We sat on the futon for a bit, and we bonded very quickly. Truth be told....I was head over heels in love with you from the start.

 

You eventually got use to your new surroundings.

You eventually got use to your new surroundings.

 

You even used mommie's chair for quiet reflection.
You even used mommy’s chair for quiet reflection.

We soon moved to Toledo for a new job.  You were used to moving having come from an military background, and went with the flow like a trooper.  This gave a chance to expose you to a different way of life.

We all settled in at the Park Lane on the eighth floor and youlearned what it was like to work with someone who worked very odd hours.

We all settled in at the Park Lane on the eighth floor and you learned what it was like to work with someone who worked very odd hours.

Mommy taught you and I how to enjoy the outdoors around Toledo.  We would grab food and visit a local park.  You always were happiest with us in the great outdoors!

Mommy taught you and I how to enjoy the outdoors around Toledo. We would grab food and visit a local park. You always were happiest with us in the great outdoors!

Most dogs like water, especially Labs.  You tickled us with your "lady-like" way of getting your toe wet!

Most dogs like water, especially Labs. You tickled us with your "lady-like" way of getting your toe wet!

But you eventually got used to the ideal of playing in the shallow water.

But you eventually got used to the ideal of playing in the shallow water.

Then the unimaginable happened.  Our world was turned upside down when mommy got sick with cancer.  You continued to be a loving and wonderful companion for us both.  You looked after mommy when I had to work.  You made sure she was okay when the surgery came, the chemotherapy, the radiation.  You didn’t care that mommy was sick or bald, down in the dumps or just tired.  You stood by and made sure your love was always available when needed.
Two happy girls, companions in the park during the toughest of times.

Two happy girls in the park during the toughest of times.

Oh Bear, your still would try to steal daddy away for yourself...and even gloat to mommy about it!

Oh Bear! You still would try to steal daddy away for yourself...and even gloat to mommy about it!

Summer trips to the ice cream shop, with you sporting the latest ice cream mustache would inevitably end with fall and then on to winter.

Summer trips to the ice cream shop, with you sporting the latest ice cream mustache would inevitably end with fall and then on to winter.

 

Despite our harrassing you with holiday headgear, you kept quiet and played along while mommy and daddy laughed.  You survived eating two-thirds of a pound of Belgium chocolate your Granddaddy Lee left under the tree.

Despite our harrassing you with holiday headgear, you kept quiet and played along while mommy and daddy laughed. You survived eating two-thirds of a pound of Belgium chocolate your Granddaddy Lee left under the tree for mommy.

 Spring rolled around again, and we had more fun in the sun…

Summer trips to Thomson, Georgia to visit mommy's grandparents, and walks at nature centers.

Summer trips to Thomson, Georgia to visit mommy's grandparents, and walks at nature centers.Days at home showing the squirrels what you thought of their acrobatic leaps into the trees after you would chase them across the backyard.

 Bear, I write this reflection on our life together to let you know you were a perfect companion for the seven short years we were able to spend together.  You didn’t bark unless something was out of the ordinary.  You loved us unconditionally regardless of how good or bad we were acting.  You helped us get through hardships by offering your heart without strings attached.  Many nights you kept us warm by jumping into bed with us…right between us…so you were the center of our attention.

Mostly, Bear, you gave to us so much happiness and joy that we will never be able to repay.
Today, mommy and I sent you home to heavn to be with a force that is greater than we mere mortals.  The same force thatbrought you into our lives.  A creator who will look after you and keep you safe.
We struggled with the decision to put you to rest and out of your pain due to back problems.  We can only hope we made the right decision.  We hurt so deeply for ourselves, but feel we owed it to you to do right by you as you have done for us.  We were honored to be your stewards for seven too short years.
As I said before Bear, your work on this earth is done.  Your mission complete.  Mommy and I only can hope to be reuited with you at a later date.  We hope to see your wagging tail and smile when we come home to be with you.  In the meantime we hope your pain has ended, and you know we love you very deeply…and miss you more than words can ever tell.  There is a void in our hearts that can never be filled…a pain so deep…it will never go away.
Bear...We miss you.  We love you. Goodbye sweet puppy.

Bear...We miss you. We love you. Goodbye sweet puppy.

With love and sentiment,
Mommy and Daddy