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Possible new project: choosing between two boats?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by JimT, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. OP
    OP
    JimT

    JimT Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Michael,
    thanks so much for such a detailed response. I appreciate the fact that I've removed much of the bracing that gives the boat its structure, and the advice to move quickly on the interior stripping is really what I needed to hear. I will do that and then as you suggest temporarily reinstall the stringers and seats before doing anything about the transom.

    And thanks again for the reminder about the Stelmok/Thurlow book, I have that and Mike Elliot's restoration book as well. And my April 2016 issue of Wooden Canoe just showed up yesterday--wish I had had that in hand before taking the first sponson off the other day!! your article was great.

    Anyway, at this point I'm concentrating on stripping the paint and varnish from the inside.
    Jim

    p.s. okay, one other quick how-to question. Anyone have any tips for how to pry the brass finish washers out of the sponson screw holes in the ribs without mucking them up too much? anyone adapt any kind of tool for the purpose? some of them are really stuck in there. thanks again
     
  2. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Try a spring hook to pull the washers up. It will fit into the hole under the washer. Lifting from the middle prevents wood damage.
     
    JimT likes this.
  3. OP
    OP
    JimT

    JimT Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Slowly making progress. Stripping the paint is certainly a time-consuming job. :rolleyes: if anyone's got any tips for getting into the nooks and crannies, along the rib bevels, etc. etc., without damaging the wood, I'm all ears. couple of pics:

    sanded boat from stern.jpg sanded boat from bow.jpg

    Starting to look ahead to making actual repairs, and got a small order of rough cut wood for planking and pre-cut ribs from Rollin Thurlow this week. Several of the ribs will need replacing, started today with the most obviously broken/disarticulated one. My question is how much damage to the planking can the boat sustain? I was pretty gentle prying up the rib after grinding down the clinched ends inside the boat, but some of the nails pulled through and splintered the planking underneath. a couple more pics, hopefully the last one shows the splintering.

    broken rib closeup.jpg rib removal step 1.jpg rib removal step 2.jpg rib removal complete.jpg

    Last question. Earlier I had asked about removing the keelson, I appreciated the responses that advised not to do that unless necessary. But in scraping the paint away, I suspect the entire middle section of the keelson is a replacement, and the wood looks like just a basic doug fir 2x4 half-lapped and butted to the original mahogany.

    Would it be appropriate/desirable/A Good Thing to pull that piece of wood out of there (at some point in the process) and replace with a better-shaped piece of mahogany to match the stem and stern? I guess the real question is what should I look out for when I do that? I think I've located a good source for South American mahogany, so it shouldn't be a problem getting the material. When in the process should I do this replacement? and are there tricks or pitfalls to be aware of? a couple more pics:

    keelson full length.jpg keelson butt joint at bow.jpg keelson half lap at stern.jpg

    again, thanks for the ongoing advice and tips,
    Jim
     
  4. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I can see why you would want to remove the keelson, if for no other reason than to clean up the crud.
    The problem with removing it is that you will end up with a real floppy hull, because the ribs are not full length. Ribs from each side terminate under the keelson and hold the whole thing together.
    I’ve done it with no problems, but you have to handle the hull carefully. Consider putting seats back in or temporary seats/bracing to help hold it together. Handle it carefully as you turn it over. Oops, your seat rails are removed. In that case clamp some cross braces from gunwale to gunwale in about 4 different spots.. That should add som rigidly.
    The other thing that is a pain I’d that the keelson is screwed through the rib and into the keelson. That means that you’ll need to remove the planking that hides those screws. Not a big deal...just more time. The bright side is that you will get to clean all of the crud out from under those planks and the keelson.

    I have only a couple tips as far as stripping goes... the first is to find a professional furniture stripper that will do it for you. Luckily for me, I did. I have 6 canoes ready to go to him soon. He can do 3 a day. It is expensive, but so is steel wool and gallons of stripper. For me as a full time restorer it is well worth the cost. BUT, that not gonna help you..

    I would suggest using your imagination and make some tools that can get into those specific spots that are hard to clean out. I’ve ground up church key can openers to fit certain places as well as putty knives and pull type scrapers.
    The other thing, IMHO, you get what you pay for when it comes to varnish, paint, and STRIPPER. Get the most caustic, nasty, expensive stripper that you can.
    Keep us posted.
    Dave
     
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  5. Craig Johnson

    Craig Johnson LOVES Wooden Canoes

    JimT likes this.
  6. OP
    OP
    JimT

    JimT Curious about Wooden Canoes

    thanks Dave, this is very helpful. I'll have to think through the timing of removing the keelson, maybe that even waits until I finish the bulk of the paint scraping and rib repairs so I can tack the seat rails back in to keep things tight. Also appreciate the need to get creative with scrapers, I used to have a set of small scrapers for scraping mouldings, windows, interior woodwork etc. but for the life of me can't find them. Haven't seen anything in hardware stores that even come close.

    Paint stripper-wise, I bought out the last of the local supply of Zip Strip, but some of this paint is surprisingly resistant to being persuaded to leave. :(

    this is a great suggestion. I was surprised when I looked at the back of the rib I removed at how many tacks I had missed. Not all of the clenched nails were visible from the inside, I may try a plug cutter to get at the visible ones and do a more thorough grinding down of the wood to get the rest of them on the next rib I remove. But this plug cutter looks like it would be a big help.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    JimT

    JimT Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Started attacking the resin on the outside with a heat gun, the good news is that it comes off like butter. Bad news is I'm red-green deficient color blind, so seeing the specks of green against the brown of the varnished wood is a bit of a trick. :eek: one side is done:

    starboard before.jpg starboard after.jpg

    I hate to keep asking what are likely dumb questions, and I've done some searching . . . but they clearly fiberglassed under the keel and then reattached the keel. I'm guessing the keel is held on by the screws that are visible on the keelson? or are there a second set of keel screws under the keelson that I need to get at? which would be another good argument for unscrewing the keelson sooner rather than later. Or I could loosen those screws, pry out the fiberglass, and retighten to keep the keel on until it's time to canvas. Trying to be mindful of the need to keep the boat's framing supported/stiffened as much as possible. Thoughts?

    keel.jpg

    thanks again.
    Jim
     
  8. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Jim,
    You are correct that most of the keel screws are the ones you see on the keelson. There will likely be a couple on the bow end and stern end that go from the keel into the keelson and stem.
    Certainly you will be making a new keel unless it is in much better shape that what in seeing. Take it off and remove the glass. Keep the old keel as a template for a new one.
    If were you, I would clean the hull inside and outside as good as you can up to the keelson, leaving the keelson in for support to the hull.
    After all is clean, remove the keelson by removing the center two planks and accessing the screws that go from the ribs into the keelson. If you can remove those planks without damaging them they can be cleaned much easier off the boat than on the boat. If you do damage them, put in new ones....no grunge removal needed.
     
    JimT likes this.
  9. OP
    OP
    JimT

    JimT Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Dave, thanks so much, this is exactly the step-by-step advice I was looking for. This sounds like a plan.

    Taking advantage of this cool, cloudy, and dry weather between storms today and finished scraping the resin off the other side. The outer stem also came off in pieces, had my first experience with steel screws so had to chop into the wood to pull the screws out with vise grips. All in all the inner stem looks like it's in good shape, there's one spot right about or just below the waterline where the bow took one too many hits I suspect and the wood is kind of chewed up . . . also where the steel screws rusted in place. Would it work in that spot to get by with some wood hardener and perhaps some wood filler?

    couple more pics:

    port side after.jpg bow inner stem.jpg

    appreciate the continued advice and encouragement.
    Jim
     
  10. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Screw extractors are worth their weight in gold. The really work, and they reduce the amount of damage to the wood surrounding the screw. Two kinds are available. One type requires a hole to be drilled in the center of the screw, then the solid extractor is run into that hole to reverse the screw out. The other type drills itself into the wood surrounding the screw, eventually getting a grip on the screw shaft, backing it out. I have both types and use whichever is best in a given situation. They are SO helpful. The first type (center-type) is better works better when the screw head is intact and for larger screw shafts; the smaller ones of this set require care because they can break fairly easily. The second (surround-type) is better when the screw head has broken off or can be removed - they work best by grabbing onto the screw's shaft. With both types, slow and steady is best for extraction.

    https://www.amazon.com/Irwin-Indust...19&hvtargid=pla-434200247990&psc=1&pldnSite=1
    Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 2.46.18 PM.png

    https://www.amazon.com/UNSCREW-UMS-...REW-UMS&pldnSite=1&qid=1568400432&s=hi&sr=1-2
    Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 2.48.13 PM.png
     
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  11. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Here is what I’ve been using on stubborn steel screws recently on a Rhinelander Boat Company y-stern row boat.
    They come in different sizes from Woodcraft. They are very thin walled and can crack in a drill chuck unless you have a tight fitting metal plug in the chucked end. Core out the screw and plug it with dowel. So simple.
    I like the one Michael showed. Looks like thicker walled.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. OP
    OP
    JimT

    JimT Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I haven't had much luck with the first kind of extractors that you show, I haven't been able to get the extractor to grab hold and bite, and several times simply ended drilling down into the screw (brass screws) with a drill bit which worked out okay. Maybe they'd work better with steel screws? I'll have to try the second one here and maybe the one that Dave uses, looks like a mini-hole saw.
     
  13. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Yes, mini hole saw. Works good. Be sure to plug the chuck end with a tight fitting piece of metal or it will crush.
    Sometimes you can just drill off the head and you can pull it through. When you drill out screws it’s important to start with a very small pilot hole in the center of the slot. I start with a drill that fits into the slot. If you start it close to center of the slot as you increase your drill size it will stay centered.
    If you start with a drill bigger than the slot, you’ll likely drill off center and have issues.
     
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  14. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Yes, try the "Unscrew-Ums". In my experience they work much better for the smaller fasteners that we find in small wooden boats. And try the Unscrew-Um brand. As Dave said, the type from Woodcraft is more of a min-hole saw (I'm sure they work fine but I've never used them); the Unscrew-Ums are different. They are think-walled and they are split up the side so that they can expand around the screw shaft, grabbing onto it. Choose a size that's slightly smaller than the thread diameter of the screw, advance slowly using the reverse setting on your drill, and it will grab onto the screw shaft and turn it out. You'll probably have to remove the screw from the tool using pliers. Unscrew-ums come in many sizes:

    https://tltools.com/collections/unscrew-ums

    I have no interest in the company; I've just used them for years and love them. Never had one break and they've removed every offending screw, leaving the smallest possible hole to fill.

    Michael
     
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  15. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Michael,
    Would these work on screws with the head still on or just broken screws?
    Dave
     
  16. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Good question, Dave. I don't know but I suppose they might work on screws with heads, but just the edge of the head alone might not give enough gripping power. With screws whose heads have sheared off (or are otherwise gone), the Unscrew-Um works its way down and down onto the shaft until there is enough contact to twist the screw out. So just making contact with the edges of the head - hmmm.... I might just give it a try.
     
  17. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Update: Almost always (maybe always?) I've used Unscrew-Ums to remove screws whose heads have broken off. Tonight, before drilling in some screws and testing how the tool works when the heads are on, I actually got out and read the Unscrew-Ums instructions just now. Imagine that! It should be pointed out that the instructions are needlessly (IMHO) and extremely complicated. Even so, I read them. They say that if the screw head is still on, you should either drill off the head and attack the leftover shaft, or drill a pilot hole into the head, and follow that with the same size Unscrew-Um to drill off the rim of the screw head and then move on down to grip onto and remove the shaft.

    Also, I read in the instructions that they say the lifetimes of these Unscrew-Ums varies ranges from:

    "3 Unscrew-Ums per screw and 87 screws per Unscrew-Um. Expect to average removing 5 to 8 screws per Unscrew-Um."

    I think they are talking about dulling from steel screws, but they say that the teeth can be re-filed and reset. My Unscrew-Ums have only (or mostly) been used on brass and sometimes bronze. I've had them for perhaps 20 years, and they still work great. None broken, and all still work fine. I have the "Boat Builder's Set" of five that range from 5/32" to 5/16" and they have worked great for all my needs.
     
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