Layup of the Riva Foredeck


Laying up the deck using packing tape, and checking alignment with the center panels.

Having settled on the option of hand laying the deck, it was time to start milling wood.  Take a look back at the first post in this series, Working on the Riva Foredeck.   Look closely at the picture of the overall deck.  See how the pinstripe holly lines are symmetrical about the centerline, and how they line up fore and aft from the outboard panels to the center panels?  That’s what is going to make this a beautiful deck. Continue reading “Layup of the Riva Foredeck”

Cutting the Flat

You can see the exposed end grain in this picture of the flat cut most of the way with a power plane.

Last time, I talked a little about cutting the flat along the keel so I could put a cap over it to keep from having exposed end grain there.  My friend Steve asks, “Well, exactly how did you do that?” (or words to that effect).  It did, in fact, take a little bit of doing.  So I decided to explain myself a little better in a follow-up post. Continue reading “Cutting the Flat”

Fitting the Mahogany Layer on the Palm Beach 22

Gluing mahogany planking on the Palm Beach 22
You’ll use every clamp in the shop to hold that mahogany in place while the glue sets.

Our final layer of planking will run longitudinally to look like traditional carvel planking in this build.  That’s where the longitudinal mahogany planks are laid edge to edge and screwed to the underlying frames.  When it’s complete, you end up with a very smooth, fair hull with seams so tight you can’t even feel the transition from one plank to the adjacent one.  Well, that’s the ideal, anyway.  These boats worked because the seams tightened up after the boat was in the water a few days–tight enough to keep most of the water out.  And while it’s helpful to remember we’re building a boat and not a Steinway piano, with a little know-how and patience, we can get reasonably close to that ideal.  We’re going deep into the weeds in the next couple of posts so bear with me. Continue reading “Fitting the Mahogany Layer on the Palm Beach 22”

1958 HiLiner – Reshaping the bottom

1958 HiLiner
The HiLiner was built in Massachusetts. It’s a light, fast boat that’s a lot of fun.
1958 HiLiner is a fast, light boat.
This boat is so light, it’s very easy to wheel around the shop. It’s a molded plywood boat–lightweight ant beautiful.

We recently got a new project in the boat shop.  A 1958 HiLiner came in with the complaint that it leaks badly.  I took a look and found the bottom had lost its original shape over the years.  The keel had compressed up into the boat, and some of the frames had separated.  It’s not unusual for this kind of thing to happen to these classic boats over the years.  After all, this boat is 63 years old.  That’s older than I am (not by much, but still). Continue reading “1958 HiLiner – Reshaping the bottom”

Fairing the Hull Before the Final Layer

Fairing compound on the hull
Low spots have been filled, and the entire hull has been scrape-filled with fairing compound.

After three layers of 1/8″ planking, it’s time to fair the hull.  In some builds, particularly those with a painted hull, you might wait until after the final layer is on.  But with only 3/16″ thickness in the final layer of mahogany, you can see how it’s advantageous to get the hull nice and fair before it goes on.  Sanding through the mahogany to get a hump out would be disastrous. Continue reading “Fairing the Hull Before the Final Layer”

Laminating the Sheer Clamp

Sheer clamp of Palm Beach 22
The laminated sheer clamp in place. Notice the packing tape in the frame notch so the piece can be separated from the frames and faired before permanent installation.

First, what is the sheer clamp?  It’s the longitudinal piece to which the deck and topsides are clamped to make the hull-deck joint.  As you might imagine, it’s position is at the sheer line of the boat.  The finished dimension called for in the plan is 5/8 x 2-1/2 inches.  Continue reading “Laminating the Sheer Clamp”

Hull-Deck Joint Gelcoat Repair

Gelcoat repair after filling
After filling the damaged areas with epoxy, the next step is gelcoat.

In my last post I discussed the importance of the hull-deck joint and how I repaired it on the Key West 1900 center console currently in my shop.  Now that the structural repair has been accomplished, let’s talk about cosmetics.  After all, we want the boat to look pretty again. Our goal is not just good-as-new structurally, but cosmetically as well!

You can see how much excavation was required to get down to solid material.

As you can see, quite a bit of excavation and filling was required to get rid of all the stressed and cracked fiberglass.  Now we have to cover that in gelcoat, the same material that was used in manufacturing the boat originally.  The trick is to get a good color match.  After 20 years, even if we had a batch of gelcoat from the original manufacturing run, it wouldn’t match the color of the boat now due to the fading effects of the intense sun here in South Carolina.  So you have to blend your own color.

A plywood dam recreates a smooth sheer line for the gelcoat.

Having done that, I just layered on coat after coat until it was a little bit proud of the surrounding area, knowing that I would have to sand it smooth.  In this case, it was worth it to construct a plywood dam that recreated the curve I wanted in order to define the sheer line (the line of the deck you see as you look at it from the side).  With the dam in place, I could load it up with gelcoat and scrape it off even with the top of the dam.

Cured gelcoat after removing the dam, ready for shaping and final polishing.

Next comes the process of sculpting the gelcoat to the final shape.  You have to take your time, being careful not to sand off too much.  Of course if you do, you can always add another layer. But you have to wait a day for it to cure.  Finally, polishing to a nice shine, and a coat of wax completes the repair.  Good as new in all respects!

Hull-Deck Joint Repair

An 8 foot section of the hull-deck joint had failed underneath the rub rail.

The 1999 Key West 1900 Sportsman center console boat that we’ve been hired to re-power needs some other TLC.  If you’ve been following along, you know we checked the hull for water penetration and de-watered it in a previous post.

Hull-deck joint separation
This view from underneath shows how the joint has separated. I used shims to hold the joint apart so I could inject adhesive into it.

In my evaluation, I noticed that the hull-deck joint had separated for about 8 feet on the port side.  This is a key structural element of any boat, and an issue that needs to be fixed.  Key West uses a “shoe box” type of joint where the deck piece has a 1-1/2 inch flange that fits down over the top edge of the hull topsides.  The joint is hidden by the rub rail, and is screwed and glued with 3M 5200, a very tenacious adhesive.  Just imagine how much stronger a shoe box is if you glue the lid on.  If you try to push in the side of the box, under the flange, it caves in pretty easily until you glue it to the top.  Then it becomes a rigid, monocoque structure. Continue reading “Hull-Deck Joint Repair”

Swan Point 19 Sole Repair

Screw holes were sealed to prevent the problem from recurring.
3/4 plywood and glass patch for a soft spot in the sole
New patch of 3/4 marine plywood and glass is the right fix for a soft spot in the sole of a Swan Point 19 center console.

It’s not uncommon for a boat to develop soft spots in the sole  around the console.  Any unsealed penetration, like a console hold-down screw hole, will allow water intrusion.  This boat has a fiberglass-over-plywood sole.  So once the water gets to the plywood, it will eventually rot. Continue reading “Swan Point 19 Sole Repair”

Building a Hatch Opening

Framed hatch and opening, almost ready to be installed.

The water-tight bulkhead forward of the engine compartment needs a hatch opening so you can access the area forward of frame 3.  We have to cut an opening and frame it and the hatch.  We’ll have to design the frame for both pieces, determine proper placement of the hinges and opening hardware, and make it waterproof. Continue reading “Building a Hatch Opening”