Monday, December 28, 2009

Gemmer steering.

Started the work on restoring the Gemmer steering for the boat. An incorrect 1950's white "Sheller" wheel was installed at some point in time, together with some late 50's deck hardware. A plexi glass wrap-around windshield was put on as well. I guess they tried to modernize the look to keep up with the times.

The gears and bearing, though dirty, are in very good shape with very little wear. The grease inside the housing was all dried up, to a thick tar consistency.

The steering rod have severe pit-rust though, more or less 1/2 the thickness of the pipe. So, the search have started on replacement parts. I've read that Ford Model A used the same steering, but the parts are not the same. Both the worm gear and steering rod use on Mod. A's (1928-31) have a larger diameter. Looking into the use for model year 1932-34, to see if these are the same.

If you have any parts information, please let me know.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More parts.

Again, thanks to eBay, I'm getting more of the missing parts needed. This time the top part of the self bailer. I got out-bid on the thru-hull pieces on an auction from another seller. Well, next time.....

The self bailer was mounted in front on the fuel tank. I have heard that the insurance companies want them removed from the boat, since they allegedly fill the boat with water when backing up or if the boat is docked in a current.

Anyway, it's needed for a correct boat. Here is a picture supplied by Don Ayers of the correct placement.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My lucky day?

Here's the story:

I am fortunate to have great car mechanics, brothers Wade and Tom Marston. Old school - can do guys, that work on any model car, from early Model T's to our Audi and Honda Minivan (though I think they enjoy the old stuff the most). These are the guys that are putting our 1969 MGB back together after a body up restoration. They are doing all the mechanical stuff and the engine rebuild.

I stopped by their shop a few weeks ago to check on the MG, and we started taking boat work. Tommy then said "I have a couple sticks of mahogany". I looked at him a little strange and said "OK" (like in I need way more than a few sticks.....)

He continues, "I bought them about 30 years ago when a lumberyard in town when bankrupt. they are about 4" thick". "You have what", I said, well aware that 16/4 (4") thick Philippine Mahogany has not been available for the last 8-10 years. "I have two pieces" he continued, "about 12 feet long and 20" wide". I could not believe what I heard. Though he thinks they might be Honduran, I needed to check them out.

He said, "well, that's easier said than done. They are stored in the back of my shed, with 30 years of car parts, including a couple of MGA's and a few motor cycles on top and in front. To get to them we have to cut a hole in the outside wall, but I'll do that for you".

I went to see him today, and with the end wall open up I could see the two slabs. One is 21" wide and the other is 24" wide.

He had three pieces at one point, and from the 4" x 4" pieces that's left of the last, I took this picture with my cell phone. From this cut made 15-20 years ago, it is hard to see what type of Mahogany it is. Let me know if you have a suggestion or want to guess. I'm sending a sample to USDA Forest Service tomorrow. They should be able to determine the correct specie.

Again, let me know if you can help me out.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New (old) parts.

A lot of parts are needed and finding the correct parts take some searching and help from the classic boating community. Found the correct Autolite 6V horn on eBay, from a guy in NC restoring parts to be used on Hot Rod's. Chris Craft used some of the same parts that was used in the cars of the time.

The old horn, completely rusted out.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tight cheeks??

Started on the transom work, and completed the cheeks. Cut out of 12" wide White Oak. Between the two old deteriorated ones, I was able to trace a set of good set of templates. The angle on the outside changes every 2 inches, so a lot of adjustments on the band saw.

And after 20+ years in woodworking, I clearly has a lot to learn about wood. Steam bending is all new to me, and I have spent a lot of time reading up on it. One prerequisite is straight grained, knot free wood. So I carefully chose the lower transom piece with this is mind (I thought). Well, after 4 days of soaking in a 4" PVC pipe. This is how it looked when it came out...... Damn it......

Schedule for tomorrow: Out buying more White Oak.........

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Got steam?

A day of labor, two trips to Home Depot, about $200 in plumbing pipe, 3500W heater element and a 25' for cord, we're making steam. Used the well described Dannenberg version, except used a 5 gallon plastic can instead of a sight tube and stabilizer pipe. I got this idea from an article in The Brass Bell, called "Bending wood at Fahrenheit 212". Much less labor-, parts- and cost intensive.

It works very well, steam in less than 5 minutes.

During my 30 minute test run, it used less than 1 gallon of the water, so I should be good for a 2 hour run for steaming 7/8 Oak (1 3/4") without refilling. If I need to cook anything longer than that, I could just slowly add more water to the tank.

I will move the can 3" higher though, so I'll get about 4 gallon of "water height" above the top of the heater element.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

No end to "it".

The transom framing is off, and I can't understand how it kept the boat together no less the shape of a barrelback. Cheeks broken in several pieces, the parts not having red paint is "dry" rot.

As stated many times, I want to keep the boat original. However, I will improve slightly the transom framing. The cheeks are 7/4 (1 3/4") thickness, the lower bow and vertical supports are 6/4, the top bow is 5/4, and a two-piece construction. Both White Oak and Mahogany is used in a mix as well. I will make all the parts in 7/4 White Oak.

With tape and screws I guess I have enough for tracing.....

Not being sure what would happen with the outside shape of the boat with the transom removed, I screwed a 2"x4" to the between the battens and used a strap to hold the shape.

White Oak is soaking, and a steam generator must be built.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I'm framed, that's what they all say. Well, I'm all done with the topside- and bottom framed. And as always, things takes alot longer than expected. I am however, happy with the result. Spent a lot of time with levels, straight edges and battens to find the "sweet" lines, especially on the forward 1/3 of the boat. Most of the frames were rotten with missing sections, barely good enough to trace onto cardboard.

I may have one or two frames that are a little high, but I'll wait with the final fairing until the transom, keel and chines are in place.

Now I'm ready for the transom cheeks and bow.