Our 1957 23’ Lyman Runabout’s owners asked us to replace the unworkable, basic helm station seating and storage she was originally fitted out with in Sandusky, OH, with the optional center pass-through alternative.
It will offer a flat floor from the engine box to the firewall, two storage lockers, one behind each “bucket” seat, and additional storage beneath them.
Where to begin? Fortunately the two seating configurations share interior seating pedestals. John began there, shaping and fitting each seat and locker, including the shelves within and the door he will fabricate and install. That door will be fitted out with the traditional Lyman anchor cutout.
John’s ability to imagine and then translate his ideas into a concrete, three-dimensional reality is at least inspiring, if not just a bit intimidating!
Frustration dominates the shop this afternoon. Why? Whoever last stuffed this 283 into her bilge failed to align the engine and driveline properly, or even at all.
As is clearly evident in the video, we now understand why her original prop shaft was so badly scored and had actual, almost inch-wide grooves worn into it. The shaft log is worn completely out of round as well.
The shaft log can be used, but the prop shaft will be replaced with a stainless one.
You simply cannot just drop the engine onto its mounting wedges, crank down the mounting bolts and then bolt the mating faces of the transmission and prop shaft couplers together with a long ratchet handle. Yes, you can force – distort – them until they appear to mate by reefing on the coupler bolts.
But all you have really accomplished is initiating destruction of the strut bushing, the prop shaft, and the shaft log, while also visiting potentially high-wear forces onto the transmission and engine.
Once properly aligned, and before any bolting begins, alignment is a hands-only process, with the wedges being tapped this way and that, and the engine being teased laterally back and forth until it is impossible to insert a 4 mm feeler gauge between the coupler plate faces when the latter are held in place by hand.
Repeat all the way around 360 degrees while holding the plates in place. If the feeler gauge can be inserted anywhere, the engine is not properly aligned.
Spin the prop shaft and its coupler. When correctly aligned, inserting that gauge remains impossible.
That the original prop shaft was polished along the section passing through the shaft bore as well tells us the latter was bored slightly too small, so we cleaned it out using a Forstner bit on the drilling shaft John fabricated to open the bore until the prop runs without touching any wood once the engine is aligned.
Yes, alignment is a slow and at times incredibly frustrating process, but oh is executing it properly critical to achieving rated horsepower output as well as to the long run viability of your engine and driveline.
John, who spent decades building high-performance engines for mud racers, knows of what he speaks on this front.
Susan, our 1940 16’, Cypress Lyman Yacht Tender’s bottom has reached a critical milestone. Reconstruction followed deconstruction that included releasing the keel, garboards and keelson was followed by fabricating and installing a new keelson.
As of this morning everything is back in place. The keelson and keel were installed bedded in 3M5200. The garboards were secured to the keelson using #6 x 1” Frearson head silicon bronze wood screws. 3M5200 was applied to the seams formed where the garboards and first strakes meet. Then RJ and I, happily with RJ running the clenching iron inside the hull, clenched the seams from transom to bow.
The bottom was faired using four applications of 3M Marine Premium Filler and sanded between coats. John hand sanded all of the strakes, garboards, keel, gripe and stem by hand until the bottom was absolutely fair.
We then applied the fourth coat of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer from the waterline down. Why so much? Three coats were applied ahead of the Marine Premium Filler, but with everything sanded between coats, applying the fourth coat post-fairing buys additional insurance against water absorption and accumulation attacking paint adhesion and thereby facilitating rot.
From the Smith’s Web site: (CPES) creates a tough, flexible resin system that moves with the wood. It allows the wood to “breathe” so excess moisture does not accumulate behind it, promoting paint-failure and ultimately rot.
We then caulked all of the seams, those where two strakes meet, along the garboard-keel seam and that between the strake tails and the transom.
Milestone reached, Susan is poised for priming, and in our case the primer of choice is Interlux Interprotect 2000E Two-Part Epoxy, five coats of which will be applied over the next two days. Once we reach the target film thickness of 10 mils, Susan’s bottom will be protected against water absorption and it will be time to apply her bottom paint. (Since she will most likely be trailer or lift sailed, we may opt for Pettit Hard Racing Copper Bronze bottom paint in place of the traditional Sandusky Lyman Copper Bronze Antifouling paint, since the latter is designed for vessels that live in the water.)
We’ve just begun, but even laying the ribbon-cut mahogany foredeck panels in place foreshadows just how elegant this old style, narrow strake 23’ 1957 Lyman Runabout will be at the end of her conservation.
RJ jokingly predicts that we will have the fore and aft deck panels anchored down by tomorrow afternoon. What he means is temporarily anchored while we complete the final fitting and sanding in around the perimeters of both decks.
We have stabilized the foredeck’s crown with temporary bracing placed vertically in the V-berth. Once both panels are fastened down along all three sides, the curvature of each panel is secure. Bowing them over the framing also shrinks their width. Once there are secured on both sides, there is no way to force either one flat since the edges cannot spread out. Yes, there will be a very slight bit of settling, maybe an eighth of an inch, which is why the crown is currently exaggerated to that same degree.
The perimeters of the foredeck panels will be bedded in 3M 5200 that we spread on the framing and then secured with #6 Frearson head silicon bronze wood screws along both edges and ring shank nails across the dash. We will not sink any fasteners through the body of either panel, which frees us from filing the surface with puttied fastener countersinks.
Doing so is superfluous as bowing the panels over the framing creates ample down pressure, which forces the panels and frames together. (RJ wins the prize: climbing into the V-berth and cleaning all of the 5200 squeeze-out around the frame members.)
I am getting ahead of my skis, however. Once all four panels have been fitted and secured temporally, they will be released. The edges and undersides will be sealed with three coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES), and their undersides will receive multiple coats of Sandusky Paint Company Lyman Sand Tan bilge paint.
The toe rails will follow. After being sanding in to perfect inside and outside contours and their bottom sides are sealed with CPES, they will be installed with ring shank nails.
The aft deck panels and aft end of the king plank will be treated similarly.
Sealing and installing the covering boards, also bedded in 3M5200 will follow.
Once she is fully decked, all of her horizontal surfaces will be bleached, stained and sealed.
Our 1940 16’ Lyman Yacht Tender’s spine transplant is complete, and the patient is doing quite well. The new keelson and the keel’s underside received three applications of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES). Following Danenberg, who insists that doing so delivers deeper penetration and more thorough sealing, the second coat was applied immediately following the first coat. The third coat was applied twenty-four hours later.
After fitting the keelson and keel to the boat and each other, and sinking a series of temporary position-holding screws through the keelson and into the keel, John bored the rudder and prop shaft bores. He also drilled the holes for the machine-threaded bolts that will secure the lifting ring, yes it is fixed to the keel/keelson and shaft log.
Confident that we could reassemble the pair and still have them matching, we separated them and frosted the mating surfaces with white 3M5200. (White is much less expensive than mahogany 5200 and delivers the same bonding strength. Since the bottom will be primed and painted, spending the extra that mahogany 5200 costs is just wasting money. However, be patient with the white as it takes as much as fifty percent longer to set up than the mahogany.)
After reassembling the now monolith-to-be and driving screws through the keelson into the keel, we installed it on ribs bedded with mahogany 5200. (Any squeeze out here will be visible in the bilge. Even though it will be thoroughly protected with Sandusky Paint Company Lyman sand tan bilge paint, we do not want to risk that a scuff or scrape exposes white 5200 beneath the paint.
John has also completed his knee semi-transplant, a truly complicated Dutchman, as well as fashioning Dutchman repairs to the forward end of the gripe. Once everything is sanded in and sealed with CPES, the bow will be ready for primer.
We will focus on installing both garboards, which will also be bedded in white 5200, over the next several hours, followed by securing the aft tails of the bottom strakes to the transom.
Then Michael “gets” to spend the rest of today and this weekend applying and sanding 3M Premium Marine Filler fairing compound to the countersinks. After a final application of CPES to the entire bottom, and caulking the strake-to-strake seams with 5200, Susan’s bottom will be ready for priming and painting.
John has fabricated and is now focused on installing the 1940 Lyman Yacht Tender’s new keelson. One hint if/when it is your turn to do so. Since the keel, and the keelson are bowed, they must be joined on the hull. While the difference in radii may appear small, there is a difference that will keep the rudder shaft, prop port and other components from lining up if the bores and fastener pilot holes are drilled and fasteners are driven in while the assembly sits on flat surfaces like work tables or saw horses.
John and I first positioned the keelson correctly along the ribs’ lower extremities and drove a half dozen or so temporary screws through the ribs and into the keelson. We then laid the keel in place, clamped everything together and drove position-holding screws through the keelson and into the keel.
Only then were we able to bore rudder shaft and other ports through the new keelson. We then removed the temporary screws passing through the ribs and into the keelson, which released the entire assembly.
It will be separated, receive a final application of CPES and then the keel and the keelson will be joined, yes, again on the hull, with a generous layer of 5200 “frosting” troweled on between the two planks.
Installing the garboards completes the replacement process, but cannot happen until all remnants of the old clench nails are removed.
We will finish fairing her below the waterline and John will complete the work needed on her stem and knee, and it will be time for Interlux PreKote primer.
Three coats of Sandusky Paint Company (SANPACO) Lyman Copper Bronze Antifouling paint
That we learn every day and with every boat we lays hands on makes wood boat conservation incredibly enriching.
Our 1940 16’ Lyman Yacht Tender, “Susan” has been our latest teacher since RJ and I began setting the below-waterline clench and rivet nails last Friday. (That RJ offered to “drive” the clenching iron while I popped each nail head with a bunch and dead blow hammer was a huge plus for me.)
We began at the waterline and worked strake-by-strake towards the keel. It was then that Mr. Murphy’s reared his ugly head. “Hey! We have a problem! I can see lots and lots of light coming through between the garboard and keel. It looks like the keelson is broken and split.”
Next came backing out what must be one hundred or so screws and then cutting through all of the starboard garboard’s clench and rivet nails. Yes the very ones we had just so carefully tightened!
Out came the garboard, exposing the garboard’s, formerly chamfered starboard edge, or in about forty percent of it, what was left of same.
Sure. We could rip that chamfered edge off wherever it had failed and fit pieces in place. Then, using many tubes of 3M5200 and lots of bilge paint on the other side, we could have hidden our “repair.” It might have even held for a while, but unlikely longer than a season or two at most. Releasing and installing a newly fabricated, white oak keelson is the correct solution, and for us the only one we will put our names on.
So, with the port garboard having joined its starboard counterpart on a wall rack several hours later, it was time to release the keel and keelson.
I believe you will agree that, having viewed what we released in the clip, consigning the original, now 78 year old, keelson to the scrap pile is the best path forward.
Thank you for the several requests that we record how we install the splash rails on the 1946 Chris-Craft Brightside U22.
Since we must avoid screws punching through into the hull’s interior at all costs, we carefully recorded the length of each fastener as we removed them over a year ago now. That record guides RJ and John as they select and lay out the fasteners to be used in the order they will be sunk through the rails and into the hull planks, battens and frames.
Note in the clip that the rails are varnished. Indeed, we varnish all freed components as we varnish the hull. Therefore, all of them have had seven coats applied at this point. The rails will be sanded flat sometime next week before coat number eight is applied.
We bed the rails in generous beds of 3M5200. Why? Rotted splash rails, the planks behind them, and sadly, in several instances, the hull framing within have also been rotted. Sealing the rails with CPES and bedding them in 5200 guarantees that our U22 will not ever suffer this fate again. (We had to fabricate the rails anew because they had begun rotting. Happily the planks behind them were OK.)
Yes, yes. I know that those rails are all but permanently installed. However, Practical Sailor magazine has recently run tests of adhesion breaker materials that worked well freeing up joints that had been joined with 5200
Our 1946 Chris-Craft Mahogany (Brightside) U22 project enters the bottom planking fabrication stage today.
We will replace all existing planking, which is mostly cedar, with newly fabricated mahogany.
Yes, we abhor being unable to save the original planking, but most of it is just too oil-soaked, split and broken. Not replacing these planks means a bottom that is not well adhered to the 3M5200, and cannot hold paint from amidships aft.
John and I are dry fitting the original planks in place, and will scribe them on the plywood skin. Given the structural work this hull has received, especially removing the twist and hog from it, means that some of these planks, and especially those running to the stem, must be sanded in to fit.
Once we are confident we have a perfect set of pattern planks, we will scribe them to new mahogany.
The new planks’ faces and edges will be thoroughly sealed with CPES before we begin laying them down.
Following a final application of CPES to all exterior surfaces, we will begin applying the first of five coats of Interlux 2000E barrier coat, followed by three coats of period-correct blue antifouling paint.
Her topsides were sanded to 80 grit, faired with 3M Marine Premium Filler, final sanded with 80 grit, and then received two coats of Interlux PreKote primer.
Her transom received two Dutchman repairs, was sanded fair using 40-, 6- and 80-grit paper, stained and sealed with three coats of CPES.
Her remaining mechanical components were released and readied for restoration.
All interior hull surfaces and all framing were cleaned, sealed with CPES and received an initial initial coat of Sandusky Lyman Sand Tan Bilge paint.
Her new foredeck and aft deck panels and her king plank were fabricated using correct ribbon-cut mahogany marine plywood.
Most of her hardware was packed and sent to chrome.
Her Iva-Lite returned fully restored.
Once John reaches for surface putty and repairs a series of dings that the primer revealed, we will be applying Interlux Premium Yacht Enamel to her topsides.
We will shortly seal her deck and gunwale framing with CPES, and then we can move to installing her decks and covering boards bedded in 3M5200.
This update affords us an opportunity to remind one and all of us to take great care when we tighten lifting ring assemblies. You fail to do so at your peril, as is clear from this clip. Someone must have trotted out a long bar to have extra leverage while securing the assembly. The result is a concavity around the deck’s center rather than Lyman’s characteristic and elegant crown.
We will address the issue using vertical bracing between the keel and the two deck frame members just forward and aft of the lifting assembly. Carefully applying upward pressure removes the hollow, but we will go slightly beyond fair so that the deck is properly convex once the panels are installed, the bracing is removed and the surface settles slightly.
From now to her post-conservation review sometime in May, she will blossom, becoming ever so much more elegant day-by-day and week-by-week. Yes!
With only applying SANPACO Lyman Copper Bronze Antifouling paint to the jack stand paddle areas ahead of us, RJ and I lowered the 1957 23’ Old Style Lyman Runabout onto a pair of boat dollies this morning.
He’s totally cleaned the interior of the topsides and bilge of all old paint, varnish and what have you. Now it is time to attack replacing the foredeck, toe rails and aft deck, and to release and refinish the covering boards between them.
The starboard foredeck panel was replaced at some time, along with the toe rails on both sides. Rather than use ribbon cut mahogany plywood, which is correct, the new panel is what we call totally incorrect swirl-grain plywood. That it is thicker than the portside panel does not help at all. I express the hope that we can save the toe rail material in the video, but, having released both of rails now, it is clear that major plywood delamination has assaulted both of them. I quickly stripped a section of the king plank, only to discover that it too is fabricated from swirl-grain plywood. The one positive is that whoever did this work was super lazy, or just did not know. Nothing is sealed on the back sides. Nowhere is there any evidence of adhesive having been applied between the decking material and the frames. All of the delamination we have discovered is the “reward” for taking such shortcuts. We will seal aggressively, and will set everything bedded in adhesive. We have no choice but to replace the king plank and both toe rails using correct, and likely slightly thicker ribbon cut plywood.
The aft deck plywood panels will be replaced as well thereby allowing her to present uniformly from stem to stern.
Once the deck and gunwale framing is exposed, it will be cleaned and then sealed on all sides with three coats of CPES. Why?
We spend incredible money and time staining, sealing and varnishing exterior surfaces, but so many of the boats arriving in our shop present completely raw interior surfaces. That raw wood is like a sponge that continually takes on and releases moisture, causing the wood to expand and contract beneath the wonderful varnish we have so lovingly applied.
For a while the varnish is elastic enough to expand and contract with the wood, but as it continues curing, it also loses elasticity, begins breaking down and ultimately fails.
We seal every piece of wood on every side we can get to. Bilges receive three coats of CPES and then three coats of the best bilge paint we can buy. If the boat is outfitted with ceilings, that bilge paint is applied from keel to gunwales.
The framing is doused with CPES, as are the underside surfaces of all deck and covering boards. Once sealed, the wood becomes very stable and finishes survive much, much longer.
Yes, all this sealing costs money and time, but once again, price and cost diverge. Just think of how much you save if your woody’s varnish fails in 3-5 years instead of 5 – 8 years!
Given the evidence that it has shrunk – a very wide seam between it and the next transom plank above, I fully expected to release the bottom transom plank.
However, the prospect of first stripping bottom paint lying on my back and then releasing all the fasteners driven through the tails of the bottom planks and into the bottom transom plank was foreboding at best.
Then, when I was having difficulty with the last few fasteners, I called in, RJ, who has what he terms his “special touch” releasing buried wood screws. As the last one backed out, RJ exclaimed, “I think your plank is free already!”
And it was and is. We now know that Chris-Craft moved the final course of fasteners forward from the tails, just enough that they are driven into the transom frame’s bottom bow.
The attempt to waterproof the seam along the bottom edge of the bottom plank was attempted using the oil-permeated canvas we have all seen when releasing bottom planking. Suffice it to say that, like the stuff under bottom planking, this course of canvas had long since lost whatever waterproofing qualities it had in 1959.
When the time comes we will install the bottom plank bedded in copious amounts of mahogany 3M5200.
A combination of finding green, and therefore moisture adulterated, fasteners behind the test bungs I popped, and a ubiquitous design issue that translates into a chronic, although slow leak, we also released the next transom plank.
The issue occurs at both ends of that plank, from its bottom edge up about 2 inches. Chris-Craft originally sealed the seam between this plank and the transom frame member it lands on using the same sealer-impregnated canvas technique.
However, each of the first 3 1954-1959 17’ Sportsman models we have preserved to date tended to seep water through that joint until we bedded them in 3M5200.
Proving that even old boat guys can learn, we routinely release this plank, remove what is left of the canvas and install it anew bedded in mahogany 3M5200.
With Christmas weekend peaking over the horizon, cleaning out the bilge and then pressure washing it will not begin until next Monday.
By this time next week we should be fabricating and installing the inner layer of 1/8” Aquatek marine plywood to the bottom.
John will first fabricate an entire set of paper pattern sheets for each of the two surfaces and transfer them to the plywood. Once each component is cut and installed to test for fit, it will be removed and all sides will be sealed with Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, followed by two coats of Sandusky Chris-Craft Red Mahogany bilge paint.
Then all three of us will work together applying mahogany 3M5200 to all ribs and other landings, followed by sinking thousands of silicon bronze screws.
The fun begins once the plywood is screwed down – cleaning the squeeze out, and there should be copious amounts of squeeze out, or you have not applied sufficient 3M5200.
The mahogany planks are next, and, while we will do our best to save the original planking, it is in pretty poor shape, which will force us to fabricate new planking using the originals as patterns.
But such considerations push us way ahead of where we are now, which is all about passing the bottom framing complete milestone!
Ninnyfish, a 1949 13.5-foot Lyman Leader, came to us for a complete preservation. In the process of stripping many, many pounds of paint, we discovered extensive rot in her transom, transom gussets and interior transom framing.
Replacing all of it was our only choice.
A major source of the problem is that Ninnyfish was painted with other than proper bottom paint from the waterline down. That paint has failed severely over the years, and the worst of it was the transom’s bottom plank and the seam between the two transom planks.
Someone had attempted to address the issues by excavating that seam and filling it with some sort of 5200-esque goop. While the intensions were good, the result was a huge water trap that spanned the entire seam.
Happily the aft ends of the strakes are fine. No rot has been exposed there, or anywhere else on the entire hull, save for the one small outer gunwale failure on port where a bolt passed through the gunwale and secured the forward leg of the transom gusset on that side.
We will finish the interior surface of the transom planks and all of the transom framing ahead of putting everything back together. (While the exterior surfaces will be stained with the Sandusky Paint Company’s Lyman Mahogany filler stain, we will add some walnut to these interior surfaces so they more closely match the stain we found there.
Fifteen bilge frames with one ¼” x 6” brass carriage bolt securing the keel to each frame, plus four buried ¼” x4” brass carriage bolts securing the overlap joint between the gripe to the stem!
Every one we removed is original. Nary a stainless bolt was to be found.
And you know just how easily those bolts “jumped” out of those ancient holes! Well, somehow the two I selected for this video did jump right out. There is nothing like a heavy ballpeen hammer and a drift to persuade the others to leave positions they have held since 1946.
Unlike the degraded stainless fasteners, which are from the early 1980s, all of the brass bolts appeared perfect. However, when placed in a vise and tapped slightly, they simply flopped over like wet noodles. Into the recycling bins they go.
But we have the keel out where we can clean it properly and begin working replacing the hogged final 12 inches or so.
However, in the process of separating the gripe from the keel, which forced us to take a hard look at the gripe, we concluded that it cannot be saved, as is waiting for you in the clip that follows this one.
And now to the gripe. As we released the keel from the gripe, we could not help notice that the gripe appeared to be severely fractured on its starboard side. Additionally, evidence of dry rot jumped out at us, in addition to its severely rotted outer radius.
Here I just let the camera run so it could record the process involved, and what we discovered once the gripe was free.
(Yes, early in the clip I slipped again, by saying “knee” when I meant “gripe.” There is no knee in this model.
If you remember the challenges we faced flipping my 22’ Shepherd runabout, you will understand why a bit of tension was in the air as we approached flipping the 1946 Chris-Craft mahogany U22.
But this time we used our good friend Phil Jones’ “line and winch approach. The line is secured to one of the bilge stringers – port in this case, from which point it is passed over the port gunwale, wrapped around the hull, across the cockpit and past the port gunwale.
The bitter end is then attached to a small hand-held winch, which we secured to the base of our 27” drum sander.
Rolling her 90 degrees is accomplished by hand with relatively little effort. It is getting the starboard gunwale beyond 12 O’clock that is the challenge. The winch and line take over at this point and slowly roll the hull past vertical, while maintaining total control.
As you can watch in the clip, she slowly, almost deliberately rolls clockwise and settles 180 degrees from upright. Roll the dollies beneath her, lower onto them,, release the straps and she is ready for what comes next.
You will notice that we inadvertently placed the aft strap, well, a bit too far aft, so that it jumps off the roller just as we complete the flip. Note to self: position the straps at least a foot in from the ends in the future!
We use tall dollies when flipping large boats, which decreases the distance we must recover in lowering them. (The boat has a tendency to roll when strapped to the roller.)
However, working on the bottom with the keel 7 feet off the floor is very difficult. Tomorrow morning we will use four chain falls and the two straps to raise her slightly and then settle her on super short dollies.
Next …. Michael “gets” to strip all that blue paint off the bottom planks prior to releasing and attempting to save them.
The survey completed immediately after she was flipped made clear that the 1953 Shepherd Sportsman 110-S’s knee and forward keel had seen much better days.
Could it be repaired using TotalBoat Thixo two-part epoxy? Possibly, but then I put a wrench on one of the carriage bolts – all of which were beyond suspect and must be replaced. The nut moved, but so did the entire bolt. And as it turned, the head, the sides of which were ground flat, split what was left.
In this clip, John takes you through the process. Using one of our Fein Multimasters, John carefully excised the damaged material in preparation for executing another of his remarkable Dutchman repairs.
Why not just tear all the planking away and replace all of it with new wood? We strive towards preservation over “restoration,” a major component of which is replacing only that which cannot be repaired. As is clear in the clip, repair is readily available and a sound choice for addressing this issue. We would replace only that wood which we cannot save.
John shaped the replacement sections, refining the profile and sanding the adjoining faces in using a combination of hand-held and horizontal belt sanders.
Here is the result … so much better than trying to “save” these parts using epoxy forced into the splits.
Reinstalling the framework is next, so fabricating and installing the first layer of the new True 5200 Bottom is not far away ….