In the workshop

The workshop
Hull and decks stripped

After I had stripped off all the fittings (carefully labelling everything) and the paint, I concentrated on repairing the hull and deck damage. I was aware that the deck was damaged at each stanchion base, caused by inadequate blocking on the underside, but I hadn’t calculated on the stb.beam shelf, stemhead apron and stemhead together, of course, with all the deck in that area, or water egress at the king plank rebate on both for and aft decks, or the crushed planking at the turn of the bilge to stb. caused, no doubt, by a serious grounding. And so it went on; the water tank was like a sieve causing extensive rot to the surrounding planking. Faced with the prospect of a long repair job and having tried the conventional wisdom of scarfing in each 1.5mm laminate with a min. 1:10 scarf which unless you are a model maker, doesn’t work, I developed the following system.

Here I introduce the first of my “essential restorers tools” the Fein MultiMaster; in this case fitted with a circular HSS cutting blade with a dished centre so that the blade sit flat on the surface. It oscillates and the cutting edge uses Japanese saw technology and will also cut through any fastenings in the way. The damaged area is marked out and a wood straightedge is secured on the cutting line and by keeping the flat of the blade against the straightedge, a fine, vertical cut, approx. 1mm wide is ensured. The corners are finished with a Japanese dado saw. If there is a frame or stringer in the way it is very easy to control the depth of the cut. The first laminate, which is the inside, is set in as a plug. The edges are supported by pieces of softwood wrapped in packing tape and screwed from the outside. If there is a curve to the hull the backing pieces should be cut to fit. It’s always better if a frame or stringer is running through at this point as it is used as a form.

The veneer is then glued in. All surfaces to be glued are first coated with clear epoxy and then with thickened to fill gaps and stapled to the supports. I always use stainless as I find them stronger and can be removed without breaking off.
When the epoxy is hard enough the staples and screws are removed, and then I use my next “essential tool” A top of the line router with a micrometer depth adjustment to 1/10mm. With the depth set to the outside of the laminate I have just glued in, I cut the laminates back 3 to 4 cms and glue in the next layer, making sure that there is enough thickened epoxy between the laminates and staple as necessary. This process is repeated until the final layer is complete. What I finish up with is a stepped patch through the laminates which I feel is far stronger. It is then faired using an orbital sander to clean it up and then longboarded to make it fair.
A few pointers:
The Baden Powell Rule “always be prepared”. It’s sods law that if anything can go wrong, IT WILL.
I always do a rehearsal including screwing and stapling everything in place. There is nothing I hate more than being up to my eyeballs in epoxy with the minutes ticking by and the thing won’t go in! Think through the whole process before and gather all the tools and material that you need and lay it out like a surgeon preparing for an operation and think of all the possible things that can go wrong and how you will deal with them. I use gypsum or drywall screws dipped in soap. Quick and easy and if you don’t leave them in too long they will come out. I cut a sheet of 3mm cheap plywood into 3cm strips which I then use and re-use for a multitude of purposes. In this case they are covered in packing tape and used as backing for the staples so that that staples do not damage the hull or whatever I am glueing.

A few of the "minor" repairs that were necessary 😀

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