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Date Posted: - Monday - 02/ 4/08 - 2:17am
Author: Randall ()
Subject: REPORT #3: Digging Deeper
In reply to: Randall, M31, Murre 's message, "Aft Cabin Bulkhead Replacement" on - Monday - 01/21/08 - 9:56pm

This weekend I felt the archeologist, carefully prying and chiseling a clear view down to the bone of Murre’s companionway bulkhead deck beam.

I started with the electric panel area, which is to port of the sink.

Maybe it will be moved; maybe not, but the switch box is carefully labeled. My heart sinks to think of all the little things that will need doing before this job is considered done.

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And here is a view into that space. Inside the rectangular frame, the beige, gray background is the upper wall of the ice box. Above it the athwartships deck beam is coming into view, still covered in aged, brown Dolphinite goop, and above that, the black 3M 5200 used to create a seal between the bulkhead and the deck. The thick, grey wire running up through the deck is shore power.

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There are two tools (other than the hammer, the chisel, and the screw driver!) that I’ve used extensively during this demolition. One is only what I can call a spatula. It’s a Japanese implement left over from when Iki rebuilt Murre’s deck in 2003. What makes it so useful is that it’s blade is much thinner than any putty knife available in the states. It’s not built for taking blows, as its chewed up handle will indicate, but it does a great job of sliding into the glued spaces of, especially, the interior slats on the bulkhead.

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The other is a Fein Multi Master, another Joanna present—what a genius she is!
*Think of turning a hacksaw or a wood saw into a chisel—amazing for digging out the bulkhead that was between the splashboard and the interior joint.
*Or use it for separating joints in the deck beam where a chisel would do too much damage.

It’s only disadvantage is that the blades are shockingly expensive. In my town, one hacksaw blade is $40, and I’ve ground the teeth smooth on two in two weekends. But it’s worth it.

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This is a shot of the two bronze bulkhead fasters that have to be removed carefully. The top one is barely inside the splashboard shoulder, the bottom one decidedly so.

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The wood on the outer joints of the deck beam is reassuringly yellow on the port side, but when pushed with a knife, is as soft as butter. So the outboard joints have to come out. To get the port side out, the aftermost of the food locker door frames has to come out too. Here you can see there are two, stern-facing fasteners on the frame under wood plugs. But there are more. (Yes, I know, there are always more.)

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There are two bow-facing fasteners as well—at top and bottom of the frame (only top pictured).

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With the food locker frame out, an open view of the deck beam joint.

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The purpose of this shot is to expose “the shim”. Notice above the deck beam a very long piece of wood that tapers to a point as it comes amidships. I have thought for years that Murre’s cockpit deck “sloped” toward amidships because the cockpit had “relaxed” with age from the weight of passengers and pressure of the mizzen. Not so. It’s designed that way and so as to move water toward the cockpit drains. Sadly, much of the shim is soft and has to come out.

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But before removing any of the supporting structure, I trace both the shim and the deck beam joint. From the upper tooth of the joint, it’s 13” to the hull.

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In removing the shim (only as far inboard as the shore-power wire was necessary) more ring nails were encountered. Big surprise. I cut the heads off with wire cutters—a small pair with 12" handles and designed to cut wire rope—then grabbed the remainder with pliers and beat the pliers with a hammer from underneath. Got the nails out cleanly.

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Dry fitting a new shim cut from the tracing paper pattern. One thing to note: the top of the deck beam is beveled, a slight, sloping angle aft so as to discourage standing water, and this must be accounted for in the new shim.

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That’s as far as I got this weekend. What’s not accounted for is all the time spent wondering what the next move should be. This is uncharted territory, at least for me. Should that frame come out or be left? As it comes out, how many fasteners can it possibly support? How best to separate that joint? How to get the bulkhead out without separating that wire—oh, never mind, I just tore the wire. And all that time shifting between the sander and the grinder and the Multi Master, between chisel and screw driver and spatula. And all that time looking for the tool I just had in hand. How the ½” chisel can be mine one minute and at the bottom of the tool pile 8” out of reach the next talks to the sentience of inanimate objects.


And next, the much sorrier starboard side frame.

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Last edited by author: Mon February 11, 2008 02:17:09   Edited 5 times.

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[> REPORT #4--Replacing shims and scarfs -- rreeves (), - Monday - 02/11/08 - 1:48am

This weekend was dedicated entirely to replacing the shim and scarf pieces on both sides of the deck beam.

To that end we started with the port side by cutting through the joint as cleanly as possible. Again, the Fein Multi Master was the right tool for the job. On some parts of the joint, the blade went quickly through; on others it caught on hard wood.

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And often it caught on more ring nails. When replacing the cabin sides, the ring nails we encountered holding the coach roof to the sides were brass (or bronze). But the nails used to fasten the bulkhead to the deck beam and the beam joints and shim were all stainless and were hell on the tiny hacksaw, not to mention my wrist.

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Next we cut away the forward side of the glass wrap that connects the deck beam to the hull.

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And with some thwacking on its aft side, the piece came out cleanly.

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Fashioning and fitting the new pieces was the most challenging job so far. Though the Multi Master did a nice job of cutting out the joints, the remaining surfaces were plenty ragged such that the tracings of the original joint (pictured last week) had to be discarded in favor of measuring depth every few inches along the run of joint and then drawing that pattern onto the new stock. As careful as could be in inches and eights were we but still plenty of shaping with the grinder and the plane was required.

One word of caution: the original beam was not cut square but rather was beveled so that its topside sloped down and aft about 12 degrees (this to keep moisture from collecting on the beam). This bevel was carried to the bottom of the beam AND INTO ITS JOINT. Not a difficult problem once you see it, but if the joint is chewed up by rot, it’s easy to miss.

Note here that this week's shim has been recut and extended out over the deck beam some six inches (why later).

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Performed same operation on starboard side. It was in much worse shape, particularly at that part of the joint right under the starboard side of the companionway hatch. Even so, you can see that the entire deck beam before the joint was good wood and (more or less) half of the joint. Given that this one was salvageable, I think, and the worst of the two, one wonders if extracting these teeth was worth the trouble.

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Fitting the new scarf on starboard side and then the addition of the overlapping shim.

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Next I “painted” all joints with straight epoxy and then puttied them up with a thick mixture of half West 406 (colloidal silica) and half West 407. I also injected this thick paste with a syringe into all the voids between the deck and beam.

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An then I wrapped the shim with 6 inch biaxial tape. The tape was layed over the shim and scarf and down to the bottom of the beam on boths sides. Though the scarf is fastened from underneath w/three #12 x 3" wood screws, there was no way to get ring nails or any other fasteners back into shim, and if anything, this tape will do a better job of providing strength, not only to the shim, but to the extreme ends of the beam.

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Same procedure for the starboard side with the exception that the voids left by rot had to be puttied in. I also put one layer of 6 inch tape along the entire length of the beam (pictured here) in order to, as they say, seal in freshness.

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And that’s the weekend. The final pictures of the puttied joints don’t do it justice. After much sweat and choking on wood dust, the area is extremely solid.

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Last edited by author: Mon February 25, 2008 02:10:56   Edited 9 times.

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[> [> The inside slats -- Randall, - Monday - 02/11/08 - 9:36pm

For those of you who've done this job, did you replace the interior mahogany slats? If so, how? Seems it could easily be a messy job. Weight them down with sandbags? Sit on them overnight? Mine were only glued in place, no other fasteners.

If not reinstalled, how did you account for the 1/4 inch of depth they add to the bulkhead at the coachroof frame and around the splashboard shoulder where they are tucked under? What's weird is that they AREN'T part of the companionway hatch frame assembly, so if left off, some type of spacer has to be added to that top frame and shoulder or else the companionway hatch will be off by 1/4 inch.

I don't want to put them back as they are nothing but decoration, but most if not all came off in good condition, so am mulling...


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[> [> [> Slats -- Mark(AEOLUS), - Tuesday - 02/12/08 - 3:59pm

Nice weekend job Randall. Looks like you could start restoring 31's for a living. I did replace my slats as some had some rot and I couldn't match what I salvaged, so made new ones. You're right about the 1/4" difference as well as glued only. Since they have to be glued up before the bulkhead is installed you can control the gluing process to some degree. And since they aren't structural it doesn't take much to hold them in place. Keep at it.
Mark


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[> [> [> [> Randall, You're Awesome! -- Brett, - Wednesday - 02/13/08 - 3:04am

To those of you that asked for and waited on a reply from me at the beginning of this thread - I’m sorry. I hurt my back at work (lifeflight paramedic) and have been out since. I have not been on this board since my last post and have been VERY limited in what I can do at the boat.

However, Randall seems to have compiled all the answers and info into an awesome package with great pictures. THANK YOU, once again, for the step by step instructions – it makes my life so much easier. I agree with the previous poster who said that you should compile all of your info in to a “Mariner Restoration Guide”.

My project is going pretty slow – but I still have a very optimistic goal of sailing her late spring…. I can dream anyway.


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[> [> [> [> [> Thanks Brett! -- Randall, - Monday - 02/18/08 - 12:36pm

Thanks for the compliment, Brett. Sorry to hear about your back.

Hey, what's the name of your Mariner? Is she posted on the MOA site?

Would still like to see photos of your project. I find it really helpful to see other approaches.

Dream on, Brother! Spring is comin'.

RR


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