Archive for the 'Wooden boat' Category

09
Apr
17

Trailers for Sale or Rent: Reviving a well worn original back to road worthy.

Of course everyone knows the title of this post to be a part of the lyrics from Roger Miller’s “King of the Road”.  If you don’t know this song…you should.  It’s great when driving on vacation to just drive along and belt it out when it comes on the radio.

I digress..

When we last left the 1958 Lyman project, we had the hull coated in primer.  The project has moved along despite a looming, and thankfully now passed surgery.  So we needed to perform some surgery of our own on this old trailer.

The trailer is the same one the original owner purchased for this boat in 1958.  It was made by Gator Trailer and is the tubular steel, tilt-type found so commonly under such a craft.  There really wasn’t anything wrong with the trailer…except the springs had lost their springiness.  The springs also were in the 30 to 31 inch range from eye-to-eye…which are not common.  So they needed to be replaced.  To do that I turned to good friends Scott Parish and of course Sonny Clark.

Scott is a bit of an interesting guy.  He works for an auto parts manufacturer and he is very meticulous in his approach to such matters.  He does it everyday at work building rear axles and such.  Sonny is a retired machinist…so problem solving is his thing!  They are both brilliant when it comes to such issues as this trailer.  So we convened on a Saturday morning to do the work.

I was still post-op and hurting badly so I contributed NOTHING to this project.  In fact we arrived around 10am and by that time the guys had been at work and had the trailer pretty well torn down.

Now decisions have to be made.  There were two goals to be accomplished.  #1. Replace the springs.  #2. Extend the trailer tongue a couple of feet. (Scott had remembered a few other issues on my “wish list”…and he addressed those too!!)

So the issues with the springs is…the old spring hangers were not where we needed them to be to accommodate the new 27 inch off-the-shelf-springs.  We went to off-the-shelf so if there was a failure, they would be readily available on the road while traveling.

So the job is…either mount new spring hangers or Which are welded in place.  So either way there is a lot of work.  But after discussion it was decided to mount new hangers and abandon the old spring hardware entirely.

So here’s how Scott and Sonny did it with assist from Steve Shaltry and a tad from me.

Measure twice…cut once!!  We measured more than twice, and had long discussions about how to place the axle correctly to prevent the trailing from “crabbing” down the road which would wear bearings and tires out quickly.  (We actually found the original spring hangers to be off by a 1/2 inch or more!!)  So Scott marked the spot…ground paint away to bare steel…and we were ready to weld new hangers to the trailer tubing.

Scott is self-taught as a welder!  He does a great job though.  We were fortunate the original front spring hangers were about 3/8 of an inch from where we wanted the new spring hangers.  So with the help of a shim placed between the old and new hangers, Scott welded the new hanger in place.  Then he removed the old spring hanger and ground down the remains smooth.

The old tube had a spot that got our attention where it appears to have been welded…poorly…at some time previously.  Scott built this area back up, then chamfered the edges of the tubes to get a good solid bead between the old and new tubing.  He also inserted another tube inside the new tubes to add some strength at the joint.

One of the problems with a tubular trailer is a bow-stop and tongue jack are not easily mounted without concerns of them “swiveling” around the round tube.  In fact most trailers of this era didn’t have tongue jacks.  (That is why there was rot in the bow of this boat.  All the water would run to the lowest point when the trailer was at rest…in this case…sitting down on the trailer tongue.)

So Scott knew I wanted my tongue jack to be more secure and used the correct sized muffler clamps to make a pad for the jack to mount to. Smart!!

So after all that…8 to 10 hrs of work…Sonny hauled the trailer to a local man who will sandblast, prep, prime, and paint the trailer in fresh yellow paint. So she should be better than new when finished.  We’ll need to rewire the lights, re-carpet the bunks, and make some fine adjustments to accommodate the boat.  But it will make for a nice finished restoration package when done.

Next up…and update on the boat herself and how we painted and began some varnish work. So long for now!

 

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29
Jan
17

Never Say Never Again: Another boat project!!

It is said to be a thing of legend…the fights the Fabulous Dorsey’s had!  I’m talking about Jimmy and younger brother Tommy.  Both fiery Irishmen from Pennsylvania…they we’re brother’s who were musical geniuses.  But they had many, many disagreements…that by all accounts led to fights.  Drummer Ray McKinley who played for them confirmed this when I interviewed him years ago.  He stated when asked about the topic (in his Texas drawl)…”OH maaannnn.  Their fights were legendary!  They would start to argue and then the bus would pull over and out the door they’d gooooo!  They’d roll around in the dirt along the highway until it was resolved!!”

The brothers ran a combined jazz orchestra and one night when Tommy was conducting he counted off the tune “Never Say Never Again” at a tempo that Jimmy felt was wrong.  The older brother called the younger out on the bandstand…and Tommy stormed of to start his own big band.  History was made!

Yes many years later the brother reunited and had a really fine swing orchestra.  Tommy directed mostly, older brother Jimmy was featured.  Both had volumes of hit tunes to draw from.  But since they did reunite…they found out you can “Never Say Never”!

So after the last boat project…I swore I’d never restore another boat. I’ve done several and this is boat number 11 so far as ownership.  Everyone one of them needed work.  So I was through…I thought!  But as the Dorsey’s found out…you can “Never Say Never Again!”

In a previous post seen here we made mention of our purchase of a 1958 Lyman 15 runabout.  While she appeared to be in great shape and we had no real plans to do a full restoration…we are doing a full restoration.

Here the deal!

We noticed at the end of last season that she was taking on quite a bit of water when we were out running in October with the Maumee Marauders…a sub-group of friends from the Michiana Outboard Boating Chapter of AOMCI.  This is a group who goes out informally and works, on or just runs our old watercraft and motors.  The wives are involved in it.  We might go for a few hours…or the whole day.  Here is a video of the trip.  This concerned us a bit, but there had always been a slight leak at the bow near one of the garboard planks.  But it seemed to be getting worse.  The other issues with the boat were largely cosmetic, such as paint and varnish.  Hardly a reason to tear the whole boat down.

However after reflection and some discussion with Scott Ramsey of Ramsey Brothers Restoration and my friend and Lyman guru Sonny Clark…Missy n me discussed it and decided a full restoration made sense.  My fear was that we’d paint the exterior this year, then decided to do varnish next year and the stripper would seep out between a plank and louse up the new paint outside.  So we “pulled the trigger”.

Sonny offered to assist us and give us his knowledge by letting us use his big inside heated shop.  His knowledge is based on restoring four Lyman’s, including a 13 footer he split down the middle and replaced almost everything on the boat.  He calls her “Kindlin'” ’cause she wasn’t much more than that…ready for the burn pile.

Also my feeling was that if we had to basically take the hardware and windshield off anyway…might as well do the full boat!  And so we did!!  I also figured we’d get to the bottom of why the leak seemed to be getting worse.  We did!!!  More on that later!

And so we finished the season and took the boat to “Sonny’s Lyman Emporium” to rest and be refitted.  Nearly every weekend we make the early morning trip 101 miles west to Sonny’s where he is usually waiting with his coffee…and an update on what he has done through the week.  Sonny has largely done a lot of mind-numbing and time consuming tasks such as removing all the putty on screws and clinch nails and replacing the putty.  He did the keel work, and a lot of the stripping too.  I can’t possible be there every day.  So we stay in touch by phone and plan our next weekends activities.

So here is where we begin the restoration.

When we left Sonny’s all the hardware was stripped off the boat and stored.

When we came back the next week, Sonny had stripped her decks and removed all the furniture.

So we set about stripping her in the week following.  The varnish that had been applied by the previous owner came right off.  (At least he tried to maintain her!)  But the original varnish was tough!

Missy, Sonny and me worked for a full day stripping her inside.  We found one rib that looks suspicious, but not damaged, possibly from water that sat in the boat.

The forward seat planks were butt-jointed together.  needless to say they eventually will give out…and did.  So Sonny splined them and glued them up with epoxy.

While Sonny worked on the benches…I began sanding the inside of the hull.  This is a tedious task working around all the ribs and the remaining furniture.

The end result is pretty good for a cursory sanding.

The following week we rolled the boat over and were surprised that she was in really good shape.  There are some issues we knew about, and then some usual things, but we determined pretty quickly that we had a situation at the keel that was at the root of our leak.

First the good news.  This boat had some work done that is necessary in most Lyman’s.  Her knee was replaced at some point.  The knee is a structural member that connects from the stem to the keel.  It is a rather large timber with some complex joinery that also involves attachment of the bow planking.  If you look at a lapstrake boat, they seem pretty simple, but look closely at the bow and stern and you find that the planking “flattens” out on both ends via some pretty unique joints.  So they are complex in this way.

So while the knee and two planks had been replaced at some point (Again a sign the previous owner loved his boat and cared for her!!), she certainly had a problem just aft of that repair.

Now that the boat is upside down, we can see what I already knew was an issue.  The keel had something going on at the garboard planks.  What I wasn’t sure, but we needed to find out and make repairs.

In the top photo left…after removal of the caulking you can see there is dry rot at the keel.  Our only option was to cut this area out to see what was involved and then set about repairs.  Top right, we cut the keel out for about 12 inches and began probing the area.  Much to our amazement the timber was in pretty good shape, and the damage was somewhat superficial.  Fortunately the garboard planks were still rock solid!

Upon finding the dry rot, we discussed several options.  The most invasive would be cut the timber out which would involve springing lots of planking and making a new part.  However the timber was actually in pretty good shape.  So we decided to chemically stabilized it and keep it in place.  To repair the damage we used a rot killing epoxy which not only hardens the wood, but also would encapsulate and kill the rot spores.  Then we filled the area with wood (Oak) dust and epoxy.  Smoothed it all out and epoxied a new keel in place.

After splicing the new piece of oak in…Sonny profiled the keel to match the original.  It will certainly be as structurally strong as before…or better in this case since the rot is mitigated.

Now…here is the reason for the rot.  This boat sits on her original Gator Trailer.  The trailers of 1950’s vintage were not equipped with a dolly on the tongue.  So after a trip…whatever water is in the boat…bilge…if allowed to stay in the boat will run to the bow and settle in the area affected on our boat.  The water just sits in the dark humidity of the enclosed bow and eventually it will become a breeding ground for rot.  Had the boat trailer had a dolly on the tongue the water would have settled across the entire bilge or toward the transom and being in open air, would have had little affect.

So now the stripping begins.  This was a tedious and tough process.

The week between Christmas and New Years slows down for me at work, and Missy was off for a shut down, so we spent most of three days bunking in at Sonny’s place to start stripping the boat of her white paint.  Once again, it became obvious that the man who owned this boat must have loved her enough to take care of her.  He had painted and varnished her.  And while not  particularly neat job of it…he did it!  And that probably has prolonged the life of the boat.

You must remember that boats of this vintage were expected to sit out all summer with the sun beating down on them.  There were no UV protectants in paint and varnish really in those days.  So the sun was hard on them.  The rain sitting in the bilge.  Sitting in the water all summer long at the lake cottage, etc.  That’s hard service!  Thus they were expected to live 5 to 10 years…then off to the burn pile.  Our boat is nearing 60 years of age as of this writing!!  So her rotting keel is pretty minor!!

Of course of the lapstrake styled boats out there, Lyman’s were well respected as being well built…and maybe in our boat’s case…OVER-BUILT!  There were others who built good boats, but Lyman’s were, and are well respected.

So back to the stripping of the paint.  The original owner had painted her, and the stripper took that paint off fairly fast.  But the original paint from the factory was HARD as NAILS!!  Three and four coats of stripper were required.  In hindsight I should have simply stripped off what I could, sanded everything.  Feathered the edges and primed and painted over the original paint.  Two reasons for saying this!  1. If old paint is still sticking fast to the surface…work on top of it.  2. Lyman’s paint covered the grain of the plywood planks beautifully.  Its going to be tough to get the grain to not telegraph back through the paint.

But alas we did strip her down.  This also meant uncovering every screw and clinch nail by removing the putty that was placed over them.  Not a job for the faint at heart.  Sonny and Missy did most of this work…I’m glad to say!

What you see above is about a half a day of progress.  The original paint is very tough and the store-bought strippers hardly touched it until several applications had taken place.  Our pile of paint flakes would grow many times over the next few days.

So while Sonny n me went about the process of stripping paint, Missy was doing battle hunched over a workbench stripping varnish off all the furniture parts.

All the furniture and the windshield parts are piled up awaiting their turn at Missy’s table.  The residual varnish was collected in a bucket.  Several buckets!

The paint pile continued to grow…and grow.

So that was it!  23 hrs of time just spent stripping paint and sanding her hull.  I did most of the sanding with my Dewalt Orbital Sander.  It finally seized up in the last hour of work.  But we got the boat ready to go back the other direction toward the water.  We had a basically clean pallet from which to proceed.

Upon return to Sonny’s a week or so later…varnish was continuing to be stripped, and Sonny had stained the transom and gunnels in preparation for final sanding and prepping for primer.  He had also finished up work on the keel repair.

Sonny has worked on the boat as a winter project.

Somewhere along the line I had seen a Lyman with varnished oak spray rails adorning her flanks.  This gave me an idea to follow suit.  But remember the tough…HARD paint from above.  Well it was also covering those spray rails.  Oak is by nature more porous than mahogany.  So naturally this could present a challenge.  But my resident stripper…uh…that is…Missy seemed up to the challenge as seen below!

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Now my wife has no hatred toward anyone or anything that I can identify.  But this day…I suspect she came close.  The paint was not only hard…but it was down deep inside every pore of the oak.  Sonny proclaimed…”I bet you end up painting those back.  There’s no way you’ll get that paint off there enough to varnish them!”

Ha!

Missy did and outstanding job using coat after coat of stripper and then a small wire brush to get the paint out of the grain!

So…after another week went by…we started back to work…

And Sonny sucked and sealed.

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Missy stripped…

I stained…

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Cans stacked up.

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I mentioned Sonny sealed…and he did…using a clear penetrating epoxy sealer…CPES.  We used a new product line from Jamestown Marine called Total Boat which is their house brand.  Sonny applied two coats or so.  What does it do?

It is a very watery…runny…epoxy that soaks deep into the wood and once the solvents flash out and evaporate, it leaves behind a cellulose fiber attached to the wood while sealing it in epoxy to protect it from future issues of rot…or at least minimizing it.

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All the furniture and windshield parts are stained and will get varnish.

After a week of setup time, a thinned 50/50 mix of varnish/mineral spirits was applied to every piece to seal the stain.  next four or five build coats of varnish will be applied before sanding and starting to do finish work.  You can’t have enough room for everything.  We improvised!

In  the two weeks since our last visit (We celebrated Missy’s Birthday!) Sonny prepped the boat for primer.  The keel was caulked and he actually put one coat of primer on the wood following the CPES and faired the hull and filled all the screw and nail holes.  Again…not a job for the faint at heart.

Upon arrival I wanted to go over the boat/primer to try and knock down some of the grain from the plywood planking.  I had spoken to Dave Ramsey at Ramsey Brothers Restorations who was kind enough to offer some advice.  So while I doubt I’ll get all the grain out…and the planks smooth…sanding is a good start.

Sonny had masked off the gunnels and transom.  These things don’t seem hard…and they aren’t.  But prep is 90% of a good end product…and 90% of the work.  The primer and paint are easy!  So I block sanded the primer and removed much of it in the process.  But this will hopefully yield a smoother final finish.

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Here Sonny has also meticulously taped of the transom which will be varnished and masked it to keep the primer off.

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After block sanding the entire boat with 80 grit by hand, I took a break while Sonny vacuumed and Missy wiped the boat down with spirits.  You can see how much primer I actually removed from that undercoat.  Once this was done…it was time to prime the hull.  This is the first time I felt like we were going back toward the water!

The primer we used is a two part epoxy primer from West Marine.  It is their house brand which I think has been discontinued.  So why did I used it?  Simple!

We dropped in one day to look at paint prices.  I looked down and saw it was on sale for 69.99.  Primer of this type is normally around 129.99 for the gallon kit.  I asked the sales person who made it for them.  (Let’s face it…West Marine doesn’t have a factory where they make varnish, paint, and primer. Someone makes it for them.)  She said Pettit made it and they West Marine was dropping it from their line.

Great!  I’ll try it.

This stuff is made for steel, fiberglass, and aluminum boats…but is commonly used on wooden craft too!  It falls right in line with the CPES and other such products.  However this is not easy stuff to work with.  We were going to spray it rather than brush it.  I sensed Sonny was apprehensive about that idea, but I bought some epoxy #97 Thinner from Petit for dirt cheap and it laid down and flowed out very well.  Spraying also make short work of the entire boat.  I used a fairly inexpensive HVLP Paint gun.

Sonny mixed and stirred.  I sprayed.  Be sure to wear a suit and PPE.  Respirator for sure!!

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I took my time and sprayed the whole boat in under an hour.  The toughest part is getting the bottom laps coated.  You have to reach over the boat from the opposite side to do it well.

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Coat number 1 was done by 11am.  We started the day at 9-ish.

So the plan was that we’d let the primer dry for about three to four hours and in the meantime I could be working on varnishing the brightwork. Missy helped by bringing the parts to my work table I brought from home.  I varnished and moved the parts back to the storage tables.

All the brightwork/furniture got a quick coat of buildup varnish.

I hope to push and challenge myself on the varnish and paint for this boat.  I’d like to do it once and not have to mess with it again.  So there will be many more coats applied.  But right now I’m just concerned with building thickness so I can safely sand without “burning” through to the stain.

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There are a number of parts made from plywood for seat supports and such.  These parts will get an oak stain…then varnish.  They were probably made from scrap pieces at the factory that otherwise would have been pitched or burned.  So while this is not beautiful wood (since it is made from the same plywood as the planking!)…it will still be seen.

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So after a bit of down time and idle chit-chat…we did a second coat of primer.  It’s not easy because you’re shooting the same color over top of each other. If we hadn’t gotten such a great deal on this primer…I would recommend buying two different colors to overlap each other to more easily see the coverage.

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After the primer was applied above we had lunch and then went out after the cloud of primer cleared and did another build coat of varnish.  Notice the gloss is starting to build up.

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And with this bow-on shot, you can see we are done for the day.

So our plan right now is that Sonny will do a little more fairing and filling and sanding.  When Missy n me make the trip next weekend…we’ll prep the hull again and shoot a final coat of primer in the morning.  Then we’ll kill time a bit and within a few hours shoot the first color coat of white.  More on that later though.

So for now…that is where the project sits.  We’re hoping she’ll look nice when we’re finished.  I doubt she’ll be a “showstopper”, but I have hopes of her looking like the real lady she is.  She has been an excellent source of fun and we have certainly put some miles under her in our first season.  We are honored to be her stewards moving forward.

Until next time…so long.

20
Nov
16

The Summer Wind: The End of the season, and a new boat…

Well…it’s been a year.  Hard to believe really!  Much has been going on and I’ve wanted to get back to this business of blogging.  I hated that I’d left it on what some could consider a sour note…the last post…that is.

So in actuality things have been moving along rather nicely.  I’ve been working hard at work and was privileged to get a promotion.  That has kept me busy trying to get back into the swing of a management role.  I enjoy the job a great deal and have a pretty darn good team with which I work.

Missy and I had been in the market for a boat a bit bigger than my little Thompson Lake TVT that is featured elsewhere on this blog

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Our 1949 Thompson left to make room for a new vessel.  She went north to Marblehead.

So here’s how this all came about.

We’d been looking for a slightly larger vessel…vintage of course.  We hadn’t found much, and in speaking to our friends at various times we’d let it be known to keep a look out.  Low and behold my friend Sonny Clark…a bit of a Lyman enthusiast…was perusing the Lyman Boat webpage and stumbled into a nice deal clear down near the bottom of the page.  It was a 1958 15 footer with her original 1957 Johnson 35hp and Gator trailer.  Sonny sent an e-mail along with a caption…”Will finance”.

 

Sonny knew we were trying to get back on our feet after the divorce…moving…taking a new job that paid okay, not great, and taking on expenses after a long illness.  But Missy and myself were plodding along and doing okay starting our lives over.  Still…I was perplexed at this “offer”.

Frankly when I got his e-mail I was swamped at work and forwarded it to Missy and didn’t even get to look at it until later in the day.  The boat looked decent.  Looked solid enough.  I was intrigued.  Missy sent back an e-mails saying…”WOW!!”

So I called Sonny that evening and he said…”Well…I might as well tell you that you’re under no obligation to me, but I all ready bought the boat and we’re driving up to get it this weekend.  But if you don’t want it, I can flip it and make money.”  I was stunned.  So we talked and he told me he was going to buy the boat (His 3rd Lyman) and if we wanted it, come look at it and we could pay him back as we were able.

Again…I was floored.  What an act of kindness.

I asked what the “ransom” was…to which he said bluntly…”2000.00…I’ll do the title work and get the State to give it a hull ID.  I’ll register it.  You can pay me for all of that too.  But it shouldn’t be too much more.”

Total: 2175.00  ALL IN!

So we went over on Memorial Day weekend and had a looksee.  I was shocked!  I’m not really a Lyman fan, but this was a really nice solid boat.  I was quite familiar with them since you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one here in Ohio.  They were made in Sandusky after all.  Beside that, having worked closely with Ramsey Brothers Restorations in Toledo, I knew enough to be dangerous.

In fact after Sonny gave me the low down, I called Scott Ramsey and told him about the boat.  He told me the 1958’s were indeed great boats, if not over-built.  Earlier versions had a pattern of 3 small ribs and then a larger rib…then repeat.  Our boat had all 7/8″ (large) ribs, thus making it a really tough little boat.

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This is out prospective Lyman sitting at “Sonny’s Lyman Emporium”.

Her original 1957 Johnson RDE19 was in AMAZING condition!  What a survivor!!

Lots of extras were included too!  Her original Wilcox Crittenden hardware was all present.  Her pennant staff an extra Michigan Wheel bronze prop, 3 OMC pressure tanks (2 were original to her) and a box of assorted goodies.

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And one of the coolest features was side steering in the rear seat.  At first I thought this odd.  It was really a Lyman inboard thing.  But I conferred again with Scott Ramsey who said he had seen it on small runabouts occasionally.  It wasn’t rigged when we got the boat, but I just had to try it.  So we hooked it up when we re-rigged her.

Overall the boat needs cosmetic issues worked on, but structurally…she’s a creampuff.

Her story is along the lines of…Her original owner and his wife split at some point, and he had a daughter from the marriage.  So he purchased the boat to go fishing, and to take his daughter skiing.  This is what they did together.  (Thus the rear side steering…for fishing)  He babied the boat.  This was obvious by the paint and varnish that adorned her.  While not a professional job…at least he tried to keep her up!  He must have loved her too.  I’m told he had her stem and knee replaced at the bow (always an area of concern on a Lyman) and her motor had a new head gasket.

Upon his passing, his daughter held onto her Dad’s boat where it sat in a garage since 1991.  She decided that she and her husband of 50 years were not going to be able to use it, nor do much with it, so it went up for sale.  Sonny made a deal with her, and then with us.

We couldn’t be more grateful.  We’ve done little to her other than a few maintenance coats of varnish on her decks and a tune up of her motor.  And this summer, we put close to 4 or 500 miles under her.

Missy and I completed a round trip run on the Muskingum River from Zanesville to Marietta, Ohio.  The Zanesville Yacht Club sends along a lovely certificate for completing that run or 85 miles.  All you have to do is have the Lock Tenders sign a paper, mail it in and your certificate comes in the mail!

Last year Missy and Chelsea (Missy’s daughter) and I loaded up the Thompson and made part of the trip.  It’s an amazing chance to go back in time and traverse not only some lovely scenery, but also lock through 11 HAND OPERATED LOCKS to get from pool to pool as the river drops into the Ohio River Valley.  Here is a video from last years run!

Running on the Muskingum River

We also had some fun in other runs below:

Maumee Marauders at Alum Creek State Park

New Chief of the Boat…Meet Molly McGee

So then…that brings us to our new “Chief of the Boat” Molly McGee.  Molly is a black lab/Terrier mix we found waiting patiently for us to take her from the Franklin County Dog Pound.

I swore I’d never do another dog after Remy was put down.  He was my buddy, and was game for anything…as long as it was with me.  He made sales calls when I was working in Toledo.  But time heals us…and the time had come to consider a new companion.  I also swore I’d never own another black dog because of Remy.  He got so damned hot in the boat.  But…when you find the right one…what can you do

Molly is of course named after the wife of Fibber McGee (Which incidentally was the name of my Thompson that I’d just sold).  So we kept the theme running.  She is sweet, but we were sold a “bill of goods”!

They said she was 2 years old.  I’ve never had a puppy.  But we now think she is a shade over 1 year old!!  She’s a lot of puppy.  But I love her to death.

Most days I come home from work and I have to take a deep breath before entering the front door.  Some days are not too bad, but at least one day I came home to something resembling Bob Crane’s crime scene!  Only thing missing was blood splatters and a tripod!  Good lord!

But…I can’t resist her!

Then of course there is Missy.  I can’t say too much about her just now.  She makes me very happy.  I hope to blog about that story soon.  But she puts up with me.  When I start grumping (more often than not) she just laughs at me…then I start laughing at me.  It’s silly really.  But we have a good time! She likes to go out boating.  She has been quickly accepted and loved by my friends across the board, for which I’m very grateful!  We take little day trips.  We go antique shopping.  We hang out and do nothing much really at all other times.  But we enjoy each others company.

Aside from that…life is good and the election is over.

Hopefully the country can put aside differences and move ahead in a positive direction.  I can tell you I liked life better when I didn’t know my friends political leanings.  Thanks a helluva lot Facebook!

So with that…I’ll leave you.  I hope to be more active at blogging in the coming winter months.  We plan to do a lot of cosmetic work on our Lyman.  IE; Paint on her hull, some varnish, and maybe new electrical wiring.  So I’ll try to take pics and update if possible.

So long.  Have a great Holiday Season!!

29
Dec
11

Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Six!

Ten and one-quarter hours spent working on this little motor so it can run…hopefully…another 50 years.  So far we have torn down the power head, the motor leg, repacked the lower unit, replaced the clutch dog (shift member), stripped all parts and primed and painted them…as well as decaling the hood.  Now the power head is going to be rebuilt and the final assembly of the motor finished.

Let’s get underway!

Power head components....EVERYWHERE!

This piston is pretty scratched from carbon getting stuck in the cylinder between the piston and cylinder wall.

Crankshaft bearings must be looked over with a critical eye. O-rings should always be replaced. These o-rings had given their all a long time ago!

Using a sharpie marker, I like to mark each connecting rod and related cap.

The motor block has been honed and all carbon must be cleaned from the block as well. Leaving excess carbon around cylinders and ports can cause heat issues.

As a matter of routine when a power head is over-hauled, at minimum new (or good) piston rings should be installed, and the cylinders honed to break the "glaze" or smooth surface of the cylinder walls. In this photo you can see the scratches from the honing process.

Used care placing the pistons in the cylinders. You must compress the piston rings so the engage the small dowel in the ring groove into a notch that is cut in the piston ring. Do not force the ring into the cylinder or breakage of the ring may occur.

Using needle bearing grease...or in this case Vaseline...we can now lay the 29 needle bearings into the connecting rods and rod caps. COUNT THEM! These bearings are not caged...there is no cage for the bearings to lay in, so they must be laid in the Vaseline to hold them in place until assembly is complete.

Half of the the needle bearings are in place on the connecting rods.

Once the bearings are install...all 29 of them...you may place the rod caps back on the matched connecting rod. Be sure to torque the connecting rod cap screws to the proper specs.

A low grade lacquer thinner is used to clean grime off all nuts, bolts, and hardware.

All original hardware is cleaned in solvent and readied for installation.

Using a new-old-stock gasket kit the crank case halves are mated beck together using 3M Scotch-grip 847 to seal it. This material is also used on all screw threads.

Final coat of paint has been applied to the lower-unit and transom clamp assembly.

This area was blemished with a drip. It is un-noticable now.

The exhaust leg has been installed prior to installation of the power-head.

Magneto ignitions use magnetic force to derive their power. No batteries needed.

I always clean the magneto plate to make sure it is spotless. This will allow you to quickly see if gasses or oil are coming out of a crankshaft seal later on down the road.

The coils and condensers checked good, so new plug wires were added, and the mag plate cleaned. The magneto is ready for installation.

A front shot showing the shifter and carb. The magneto has been installed.

New ends are attached to the spark plug wires. Neon spark testers are used in-line with the plugs to check for good ignition spark.

The flywheel and recoil have been installed.

The paint on the I.D. tag has faded or flaked off. This needs to be touched up too.

First lightly paint the I.D. tag with paint, then use a razor blade to lightly etch the paint off the raised areas.

With installation of the hood, this old Sea-Horse is ready for action again!

So after an additional two hours we have just under 13 hours of time in to making this old motor ready for action again.  Upon bucket testing and setting the carb jets, she seems ready to run.  Looking forward to spring to let ‘er rip on the river.

 

Hopefully this six part blog will inspire others to take on a challenge and give life to an old outboard motor.  Thanks for reading!

Greg

21
Dec
11

Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Five!

On Day five, we’re waiting on one piston that needs replacing and new rings, as well as some o-ring seals that are required for the water pump housing, the crankshaft journal bearings, and crankshaft seals.  The piston was ordered from Sea-Way Marine, but turned out the superceded part was not correct for this motor.  The original piston is scratched a bit, but can probably be reused.  However if possible, since the power-head is torn down, I’d just assume replace anything that is remotely questionable.  On this motor, almost every single rubber part was hard as rock!  Al the seals needed replacement to be sure, but even the water tube grommet was hard. (Odd!!)

So while we sit and wait on the mailman to show with the new parts, and the search for a new or used good piston is underway, let’s take a look at decals!

Decals seem to be another of those mystical, and magical thing that really can set a motor apart from the pack.  Remember being a kid and building that prized model car or truck?  Remember putting the finishing touch on?  THE DECALS!  You would soak them in water…waiting for ever, it seemed, for them to be ready to release from the backing paper and placed OH SO GINGERLY on the side of that wonderful model!! But somehow they just didn’t look as perfect as the box the kit came in?  How disappointing!  The “secret” will be shown later in this post!!

For now let’s start with self-sticking decals.  Most of my decals come from Peter McDowell of North York Marine.  His line of products has expanded over the last few years.  He also has made very subtle improvements to some of the decals that make working with them a snap!  Peter also works tirelessly to make the decals as authentic as they can be.  Am I endorsing or promoting his product you ask?  Damned right!  Peter is invaluable as a source for the classic outboard market.  He’s knowledgeable and willing to be helpful by sharing his wisdom.

So here is where we are…a green and silver hood that needs decals.  I should mention that even though this motor was given to me, I was fortunate it was a QD-12.  The decals on this motor are slightly different than the preceding years.  This was very attractive to me for that reason alone!

Here is our hood and our decals. I love that "crazy" Johnson script with the "Sea-Horse 10" logo. Slightly different than previous years!

To keep the decal from sticking entirely so it can be pulled up if need be for repositioning, a spray bottle with a mix of 75% distilled water, 25% alcohol and a DROP of dish soap is used to mist the area where the decal is to be applied.

Once the decal is laid in place and you are happy with it, use a plastic squeegee to squeeze the water from behind the decal. The vinyl decals can be stretched around compound curves somewhat. Make sure there is no grit of dirt on the squeegee as this could scratch the decal when rubbing it into place. To be safe you should actually use the backing paper laid smooth side down and run the squeegee over that so the decal will not be damaged in any way.

In about 15 minutes time, our hood has been decal-ed and is ready for use.

If you remember during a previous post I painted a 1956 Johnson 5.5hp hood with Johnson Cream while I was painting some other parts for our subject motor.  Now we’ll decal that hood with the same type of decals.  In my experience I have found it helpful to trim close along the decal in a straight line so there is nothing to get in the way of positioning the decals correctly.  Also your eyes tend to be accurate within a few degrees when “eyeballing” parallel and perpendicular surfaces.

Decals are paper backed vinyl with a self-adhesive. These masked decals are easy to line up and press into place. BUT! once they are applied, they're stuck! Care must be taken in their application.

PREP...PREP...PREP! Again preparation is everything! Clean all surfaces with denatured alcohol to get rid of any and all dirt, grease, or other filth that may affect adhesion. Make sure that the alcohol is evaporated before applying the decals though...or they may never stick again.

Using a spray bottle to mist a mix of distilled water with a DROP of soap added, and maybe a bit of alcohol, mist the area where the decal will be laid in place. This will allow you to move the decal if you get it mis-aligned.

Here our faceplate has the decal and masking applied.

Once laid in place, squeegee the water from behind the decal and smooth it out to make a permanent stick.

These decals are paper backed and after peeling the backing paper you are left with a mask over the printing that allows you to lay the decal in position and burnish it down with the squeegee.

This is the finished faceplate.

Our vinyl decals are masked in front and have a paper backing on the back to protect them while being stored. The backing paper must be peeled away to expose the adhesive side of the decal.

The area of the hood that is to be decaled is misted with water to allow repositioning of the decal if needed. With practice, you will get better and better at getting it right the first time!

In this photo and the next, the decal is showing though the paper mask that allows a perfect alignment of all the letters. Imagine if you had to place each letter independent of one-another!!

The Sea-Horse logo is made up of many smaller decals to make the one big logo! I strongly encourage clear coating these decals to avoid damage during use.

After the masking is remove, this is what has been left behind.

This motor is now ready for service. It's sure to be a conversation starter at the launch ramp.

Looks like new!!

So after 15 minutes to a half hour, this is how the decals are applied and look when done.  Tough part is to get things straight, but practice and patience will do wonders in this regard.

There is still one other type of decal to discuss and that is lacquer/water-slide decals.  These decals are printed on a very thin film, usually clear, then printed or silk screened with each color individually.  The more colors…the more fragile the decal can become.  As the layers of ink dry, on some decals up to half-dozen colors, the thickness of the decal is now much more than the original film.  When applying these decals I use fairly warm, not hot, but warm water in a long wallpaper pan.  The warm water softens the decal and its ink somewhat to make it my pliable.  After soaking for 15 seconds at a time, the decal will eventually lift.  Leaving it on the backing paper, it should be positioned in the area where you want it, then carefully slide the paper out from underneath the decal.

This medium sized decal must wrap around the tank on a Firestone motor. It will have to contour to compound curves of the tank. Here it is soaking in warem water and beginning to unroll indicating the decal is almost ready to be removed from the paper...IN PLACE...onto the tank. These decals have at least three colors, so they are fairly thick...and thus can fracture.

If the decal fractures into large pieces, use a spray bottle with slightly soapy water to wet the area around the decal and push everything together very carefully.  If you need to reposition a decal, especially large decals, use the same method and wet the decal before trying to move it.

WRINKLES!!! Arggh!! No big deal really, but to be expected on compound curves.

Okay…so now we have applied and positioned the water-slide decal on the side of the motor.  But, we also have wrinkles in the decal owing to the compound curves of the tank.  How to move forward?  Follow along closely.

First and foremost…WAIT until all the water has dried out under the decal.  I usually wait anywhere from 24hours to several days before proceeding.  However it is imperative not to touch the decal after it has dried as it has now returned to a fairly rigid state owing to the warm waters absence.  Remember the warm water made the decal soft and pliable.  Now it is back to its natural state.  Touching the wrinkle could cause the decal to crack or flake off.

To get the decal to lay down there are many products available from local hobby shops that sell model train, planes, and automobiles.  Products such as Micro-Set from Microscale Industries or Solvaset from Walther’s Hobbies are chemicals that are made to soften the decal and drive air-bubbles out from under the decal, then allowing it to snuggle down to the surface underneath.  These products will cause the decal to wrinkle usually and during this process you absolutely must not touch the decal!  If you do, you run the risk of the decal tearing, stretching, or being torn.  These decal setting solutions will INITIALLY CAUSE WRINKLES…but they should lay back down over several hours.

I find the Walther’s Solvaset to be slower, yet more powerful.  It also take much longer to let the decal lay down.  The Micro-Sol from Microscale seems to do the job fairly fast but if the decal has many layers of ink, it does not penetrate as well as the Solvaset.  With that said, you will develop your own preference over time.

I should also mention that once the decal lays down, if any additional wrinkles or air bubbles are left behind you can prick them with a fresh #11 knife blade and reapply the solution to allow additional setting to occur.  At any rate…several applications are usually necessary anyway to make the decals lay down completely.  Once the decals are set, the are not going to be able to be moved again, so make sure BEFORE applying the solution you are completely happy with the decal placement!!

The final outcome is quite satisfying. This little Firestone is ready for fun again!

So that is a look at the application of decals that are commonly used in our hobby.  As for our subject motor…we spent about 15 minutes putting decals on our hood.  So we’re sitting around 10 1/4 hours of labor to get the old Sea-Horse ready for summer.  Soon the parts will be in-stock now for rebuilding the power head, so in the next post we’ll give the lower leg a final coat of Sea-Mist Green and reassemble our old girl…and hopefully draw this project to a close.

Hope you drop by for a final chapter found here: Beyond the Sea..horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Six!

Greg

16
Dec
11

Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Four!

Nine hours into our project and were sitting waiting on paint to dry.  This is where a project can really slow down to a crawl…WAITING!  Since we have some time to kill, let’s look at masking for multicolor painting.

First there are many kinds of tape that can be used.  Some are not suitable for this type of work due to their adhesive being too strong.  We also discussed proper preparation, and now will get into some reasons you must prepare your surface correctly.

Let’s start there…WHY so much prep?  Failure to prep each part by thoroughly cleaning will not allow the primer and paint to adhere correctly.  That is a very essential elements to keeping the paint where it belongs…your motor.  The bigger issue will come into play, and a lack of proper prep will be obvious when you mask for a second color.  After you have masked and shot the second color…and begin removing the masking tape, if the surface had any impurities that did not allow the primer and paint to stick to the surface, the paint will likely peel off with the tape.  There are ways to fix these issues, but it is best to simply take your time and properly prep the surface.

The sticky business of tape enters into the situation as well.  Yellow making tape is pretty aggressive in how well it sticks to a surface.  Fortunately we now have many options.  Any paint supply house will have green tape, blue tape, and even fine-line vinyl tape for really odd curves.

Green masking tape or the 3M blue tape from the hardware store are suited to masking for this purpose.  I prefer the green since it can be somewhat stretched and snugged down around odd turns and shapes.  It also adheres well to keep paint from bleeding underneath.  Blue tape is cheap and does the same job, but is less flexible, so often it must be trimmed to contours with a knife.

Fine-line tape is used in the auto body business, but has application in our hobby as well.  It is a vinyl based product that comes in a variety of widths.  1/4 inch is easy to work with and will easily go around most compound curves we would deal with.  The blue fine-line tape is for curves, but there also is a green or yellow fine-line tape that can be used for more straight masking and it is no as flexible as blue fine-line tape.  However this type of tape is fairly pricey and I rarely use it anymore for outboards.  (I do use it for model railroad painting though!!)

Now let’s take a look at masking our project…

Our hood has now been painted Sea-Mist Green. It is ready to be masked off and the dull-aluminum painted on the "wings" of the sides.

First while shooting the hood Sea-Mist Green, I made up some sub-assemblies that needed touching up. This is the leg of our motor with transom clamps and tiller handle in place. Most agree that OMC simply assembled their outboards and painted them while hanging from the crankshaft. This is evident from the paint patterns seen when disassembling these motors.  It is my preference to paint everything in pieces first, then sub-assemblies second, and fully assembled if need be as a last coat. (Often I won’t bother because of the risk of getting “shadows” on areas otherwise covered by parts that are in the “line of fire”.)

This lower unit shell had some sags that were objectionable. They were fixed by wet sanding and a quick re-shoot.

Same for the water pump housing. No more drips.

If you have a small dent or ding in a motor, the time to fix that is before painting with the color coat. After the epoxy primer is sprayed, you can use JB Weld on areas exposed to high heat or fuel, or in this case body filler. When it has dried, sand it down and re-prime, then paint.

First step: Place tape along the edges of the area to be shot with another color. Don't worry about overlap in the area to be painted. We'll trim in a minute. However...make sure there are absolutely no gaps where the paint can get through the masking tape.

Using a fresh #11 knife blade, lightly let the blade follow the natural groove of the shape or the hood. Use only enough pressure to go through the tape...A light hand is needed here. You're certainly not required to press so hard as to cut the aluminum! Take it easy and slow.

After trimming the masking tape, burnish the edge of the tape down firmly along the area to be painted to avoid paint running under the tape. A fingernail, un-sharpened pencil, or other similar object may be used for this procedure Cover the rest of the hood, again being sure there are no gaps where paint can get through the masking. Check it thoroughly before painting.

Our hood has had the second color, dull aluminum, added now. While in the booth the other dull aluminum parts were also shot. You can see the exhaust housing hanging in the background.

The other half of our hood and two small knobs hangin up on the rack behind.

And after carefully removing the masking tape, we are left with our finished hood.

So that takes care of painting a fairly simple hood!  Now it is ready for decals!  Clear-coat follows if you wish, but make sure you scuff sand the hood before decal-ing and clear-coating!

So we have about another hour in masking and painting the hood and a few other parts.  This brings our time to a total of 10 hrs to bring this old Sea-Horse around to like new!

Next installment will be decal the hood and discuss methods of application and types of decals.

There’s still lots of work ahead including rebuilding the power-head and some finish work.  I have run into an issue with getting a good piston to replace one that is slightly scratched, also a few o-rings for the power-head and crankshaft seals.  They should be along in the mail soon though!

Hopefully you’ll keep sticking around!  Part Five can be found here: Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Four!

Greg

04
Dec
11

Rhythm is Our Business…Business is doing swell: Captain Jones Vintage Outboard Restoration

Since January 2011 I  have been given the opportunity by three young men from Ramsey Brothers Restorations to move my outboard motor restoration shop into their facility.  The new location would offer me more room than my garage, a pain tbooth, and a large bay with an electric crane with which I could lift big outboards without breaking my back.  Not that I panned to go into business.  It is a hobby for me, but now a self sustaining hobby.  I even started a website at restoredoutboard.com.  Please check it out.  There are photos and info about work being done in the facility.

Big motor, big crane.

12 x 12 paint booth

So now as word has spread that there is a guy who works on old outboard motors as a hobby, many folks with vintage boats have begun to show up for help with their old outboard motors.  Most require a simple tune up, some a major overhaul.  Where is this going lead?  I just don’t know.  But in between working on helping others get their motors going, I have gotten to restore several for myself.  Here’s a few from the months past.

One of the first motors to be restored in my new digs was this 1937 Johnson PO-37 was purchased for 50 bucks on E bay. It was totally locked up...but...

After buying this 1937 Johnson PO-37 22hp outboard on E bay for 50 bucks, I spent twice that to drive from Toledo to Erie, PA to pick it up.  She was tied up and not serviceable.  I wasn’t sure she would be more than just a showpiece for my office at the new shop.  But after my friend Scott Parish came to lend a hand, we were able to use heat and penetrating oil to get her freed up.  We took the block down and everything inside was like new.  She did have a cracked cylinder, but another AOMC member found out I needed a good cylinder and sent me four of them to choose from.  A complete gasket set was purchased and she was rebuilt and repainted.  I still love to just see her on her stand when I walk in my office.  She looks so majestic.  OH!  Yes she does run now!!

After a bit of elbow grease and a full mechanical rebuild, including new piston rings, gaskets and seals and the cosmetic restoration, this old Sea Horse is ready to go for another 70+ years!!

I had the chance to do a little 3hp outboard for a customers grandson.  Very satisfying to see the results below.

This little 1953 Johnson JW 3hp motor was to be used as the first motor for a customers grandson.

Grandfather and Grandson with their restored outboard motor

Perhaps the best part of restoring vintage outboards is summed up in this photo.  A young man getting his rite of passage into freedom and responsibility.

The new Captain with his trusty little Johnson on the maiden voyage for a lifetime of memories.

Ironically, one of the very first jobs I was contracted to do was for a man who was in the Ramsey’s shop the day they met with me to test my interest in partnering with them.  This guy had a rather scrubby little Thompson lapstrake runabout he wanted to use on a no-wake-lake/electric only…no gas motors lake he lived on.  In fact this is a housing development built around and old quarry.  The fellow wanted something more vintage and unique than a pontoon, the prevailing vessel on his lake.  So the Ramsey’s were discussing the project while I stood by quietly.  As I listened…horror or horrors this guy aimed to put a little electric outboard motor on the back of his cute little Thompson.  It was more than I could bear the thought of!!
So being the quiet shy type, I blurted out…”You’re kidding!  why the hell would you do that?  It’ll look stupid!”
Following the eternal deafening silence of me breaking into the Ramsey’s sales pitch…all eyes on me know…me looking for a boat to crawl under…this fellow asked what I thought he should do.
I meekly said ” Well I dunno, but I’d be damned if i’d put some silly looking electric thing on the back of this boat.  Why don’t you gut an old Big Twin and stick an electric golf cart motor under the hood?”  Everyone looked at each other and then back at me.  The guy said “Can you do that?”
“I dunno” says I.
“Well get me some numbers and let me know!” says he!
After conferring with my friend Scott of Fort Wayne again, we both did research and found such things had been done before.  We discussed it over several months.  I had junk parts that were not worthy of a gasoline motor laying around.  So we set out to built an electric motor that was period correct for his boat.  So here tis!

Looks like a big twin on the outside...BUT...

So this was my first foray into vintage outboard restoration.  Making a vintage outboard modern.  Ugh!  Not exactly what I’d hoped for as a vintage outboard job.

Looks like a big twin on the outside...BUT...

So since moving into the new shop and having adequate shop facilities to perform almost any task from major and complete mechanical and cosmetic restorations to simple tune ups on vintage outboard motors, here are a few more pics for your review.

A sea of Johnson Holiday Bronze from 1956 and 1957.

Happy Customer Steve Shaltry with his '56 Johnson Javelin and a matching 7.5hp

One mans box full of trash...

A couple of neighborhood fellows showed up at the door one day I happened to be around holding this box of “parts”!  They offered them to me after finding them in a basement they were cleaning out.  I asked how much and they said “Nuthin’!  We knew you were working on motors in here and thought you might be able to use the parts!”

As luck would have it, I began sifting through the box and realized fairly quickly someone had methodically disassembled this Johnson TD-20 and cleaned it.  After two hours of reassembly, she was back in a bucket of water and running again.

Judging by her condition, not a dent in the tank…etc, I would say she was of very low hours, well taken care of, and maintained.  Lots of compression and she runs pretty well!

is another man's outboard motor. This one given to me by some local men who found it in a box while cleaning out a basement!! Yup! It runs again!

We were asked to set up a display at the Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show this year.  So many lovely boats of every shape and size.  Many of my motors were hung on the runabouts at the show.  What a thrill and honor it is to see your work being displayed!

We were asked to set up a display at the Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show this year. The two 1956 Johnson 15hp motors were an eye catching before and after display.

This 1955 Johnson RD-17 was converted to electric start and placed on a 1955 Lyman runabout. The boat and motor won a prize in its class!

Yet another 25hp Johnson, this time an earlier RD-16 with Electric start on its new craft.

Steve Shaltry and Sonny Clark brought this Century Imperial Sportsman back from a crumbling hulk. The 1956 Johnson Javelin was repainted by me and Steve did his own mechanical work.

So this is what has been going on to keep me from updating the blog.  My next post I hope to begin a series on how to do a full restoration from start to finish.  All to often I hear people complain about the price of a full mechanical and cosmetic restoration, but if you look at the balance sheet and the reliability of a properly restored motor as compared with a similar motor of comparable horsepower, the $$ is in my favor.  Besides…these motors have real style!

Stay tuned!

Greg