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Thread: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

  1. #1
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    Default 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Hello all.

    I thought I'd share the ongoing work on my old Monk.
    I bought her in Victoria BC April 1st 2015 for $5000 CAD.
    I knew buying an old wood boat was a huge risk, but I love these old Monks and this one in particular was very appealing.

    I look forward to all your advice and suggestions as I move forward. I'm no shipwright but very capable with mechanical, electrical and carpentry.
    I ran a custom design / build firm for many years.
    http://www.cornerstone-studios.com



    She was in rather sorry shape aesthetically, but I could see through that. I was much more concerned about her bottom. I crawled around in the bilges and behind every locker I could get behind and couldn't find a single bad frame or plank, hammer and awl offered up nothing to worry too much about, so I took the risk. The only known issue was the motor did not crank but was promised to run and the bile was quite oily. The bilge pump ran for about 10 seconds every half hour, and although the bilges were very oily, the water pumped clean because the oil, floating on the bilge water was never drawn into the pump with the float closing before the level got low enough.
    An important criteria was that I was to live aboard, being the only way I could justify the purchase. My intention was to live aboard and cruise perpetually eventually.



    Absolutely nothing worked, but a little electrical and plumbing troubleshooting got her to the point where I could be reasonably comfortable.



    First order of business was to look at the engine, a Perkins 6.354, apparently rebuilt in 2005 and running sweetly recently.

    To be continued,....

    Peter Knowles

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Can't wait to see how this progresses, lovely boat.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Are these the "before" photos of you other post on traveling with her??? You have done a real nice job!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Yes, this is how I bought her a year ago.

    On with the engine,
    A few hours of sorting out electrics and battery issues led me to this,.....



    The starter has spent a fair amount of time underwater! in the ocean!
    I looked more carefully through the fo'c'sle and found the high water line I hadn't noticed before.
    Now I was really discouraged as this water line is well above key components.
    It might explain why one of the batteries had exploded!



    So I took the starter apart and cleaned it up, I'm familiar with these ugly British starters and had it spinning nicely in short order. Upon reinstallation it cranked quite nicely, I rigged up a temporary fuel tank to be sure on nice new diesel. An hour of bleeding and it burped to life, sort of. good oil pressure, sounded OK, no major leaks, no wait,.....MASSIVE oil leak!
    The bilge promptly filled with oil. Which really sucks ad I'd spent days cleaning out the oil that had been there.

    Further examination broke my heart,....A fiberglass patch in the side of the oil pan. failed, of course!
    As soon as oil splashed around in the sump it poured out around the patch.
    The patch is impossible to repair in the inch between the sump and the engine bed.
    No cruising for a while yet,.......

    Lets, see about this brightwork,...


    Peter Knowles

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Brightwork,...

    First to remove the paint from the cabin sides.
    I didn't care what I found underneath, the paint was just wrong.
    The poor girl had been "modernized" by painting much of the mahogany, glassing the transom and much of the cockpit. vinyl wallpaper throughout the interior.
    I set to stripping with heat gun and a carbide scraper.
    I heartily endorse these carbide scrapers, beats three strokes with an old Richards than sharpening.



    Exposing the cabinsides was overall very rewarding. Some previous repairs had been very well done. Tidy splines in splits of the main planks. tasteful reinforcements and some proper bungs.
    But some was rather poor, body filler and pine bungs.
    Once I got to sanding I learned something about mahogany. initial sanding reveals a nice teak like patina, and if you're not alert you might stop there and call it good. But mahogany oxidizes and further sanding reveals the true beauty, ooooohhhhhh lovely!



    Now here comes the controversial part.
    Having some experience with finishing wood in coastal environments, I'm not fond of varnish.
    Heretic, I know!
    My finish of choice is tung oil, but it must be pure tung oil to have the characteristics to surpass varnish. The principal advantage to me is ease on application as well as seeping down into voids really well. It stays soft when cured and although you can never get that deep varnish gleam it can look quite lovely with enough coats. And lots of coats is the rule. oil breaks down in the sun and must be reapplied regularly, but I can do the whole boat in an afternoon.




    Scrape, sand, oil, repeat.
    I expect you all have been through this, with any luck this will be the last time.





    Let's see about this fiberglassed transom,.....


    Peter Knowles

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Watching intently. Thanks for sharing your project.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Does something to a mans soul restoring a work of art. Lovely lines. Like the name!!
    Dennis

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Thank you both,

    I can't quite claim to be restoring, at least not yet.
    More of a refurbish, but I appreciate the kind words.

    Peter

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    The transom,

    The transom had been fiberglassed, yuck!
    I hoped this was simply to "modernize" but I feared much worse!



    Heat gun and patience revealed nice sound mahogany, well with lots of holes, pine bungs and the joints splined with something akin to pine.
    But overall just splendid. There had been some refastening, all askew,...



    New bungs, lots of sanding and it looked pretty good.
    I tried a technique of wet sanding with the tung oil.
    Really quite effective at creating a paste of oil and sawdust that nicely fills all the little imperfections.
    Not looking for show points here, just a pretty and functional boat.



    You'll notice the transom door still needs attention. The poor thing had lost it's mahogany planking and had plywood under the fiberglass. The whole thing really needs rebuilding.

    Let's see what can be done about this motor....

    Peter Knowles

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    A few questions,....

    I feel the bridgedeck helm and windscreen isn't original. Based on it's construction.
    although, to be honest much of it has been rebuilt in Doug Fir, so it's hard to say.
    There is a rather original looking chaseway below the helm to hide the chains.
    were these helms original, options, common early additions.
    I'd love to know more of the history.

    I can get what is claimed to be genuine Honduran mahogany, at great expense.
    Is this likely to be a good match to what I assume is Honduran mahogany on the transom?
    Other places I'm settling on sapele, but for the transom door I should really try to match.

    The boat is fastened with clinched galvanized nails.
    Hell to pull out should I need to. I need some basic advice on judging if she needs refastening.
    Is it done as a matter of course at a certain age?
    Does one check for movement between the frames and planks?
    There were a few bleeders, forward in the poorly vented chain locker and forward head.
    But none elsewhere on the hull.

    I'll have lots more but that should do for now.

    Peter Knowles

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Lovely boat and lovely work Peter, I'm looking forward to watching progress.

    I'll be interested in hearing the responses re the mahogany myself in terms of what would really be available where you are, there have been a few conversations here on it before. But in terms of matching colour, regardless of whether you can actually match the same type of mahogany I'd expect that you may need to do a bit of messing around with stain between both the door timber and the transom timber itself to get any sort of really decent colour match.

    Possibly a silly idea, but is there mahogany anywhere else in the boat that could be a better match for the transom that would give you enough to skin the door from and that could be replaced with new mahogany or something else where it wouldn't be so noticeable as different? i.e. a bulkhead, companionway ladder, lockers, door?

    All the best with this project and congratulations on what looks like a nice buy
    Greg
    Last edited by Larks; 04-26-2016 at 08:59 PM.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Thanks Larks,

    Yes I thought I might need to do some matching with stain, which makes me feel a little foolish as I've already oiled the transom so my chance there is gone. Hopefully my replacement wood for the transom door will be lighter.

    I did some rather successful stain matching with some of the replacement wood on the cabinsides and it worked really well.

    Peter

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Fantastic to see this thread. I also thank you for sharing your project. I am especially interested, because I live up island and have a similar project. It's great to see your success so far. I have not started varnishing yet and I am very intrigued with the tung oil idea. Any more info on this, observations etc. would be very much appreciated.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Lovely boat and a really cute mate you've got on board. Best of all, you seem to have a very positive attitude about the boat and its needs. That will serve you well.

    I understand your feelings about the oil finish. I made many pieces of furniture for my clients and finished with oil. It can look great. But, for me and my boat, there's something special about passing that eight coats of varnish plateau when the wood really starts to look spectacular.

    When you need to color your mahogany or any other wood, you will want to investigate using aniline dyes in lieu of stain. Dye will not obscure the figure of the wood whereas stain will. They are two different things and you may need to use both... sometimes on the same piece of wood.

    Good luck,
    Jeff

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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Lovely boat and a really cute mate you've got on board. Best of all, you seem to have a very positive attitude about the boat and its needs. That will serve you well.

    I understand your feelings about the oil finish. I made many pieces of furniture for my clients and finished with oil. It can look great. But, for me and my boat, there's something special about passing that eight coats of varnish plateau when the wood really starts to look spectacular.

    When you need to color your mahogany or any other wood, you will want to investigate using aniline dyes in lieu of stain. Dye will not obscure the figure of the wood whereas stain will. They are two different things and you may need to use both... sometimes on the same piece of wood.

    Good luck,
    Jeff
    This sounds like something that you have had some experience with Jeff and something that I think there'd more than just me very interested to know more about. If you have the inclination it'd warrant a thread of it's own that would be very much appreciated by many
    cheers
    Greg
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Im more curious to know why the boat sank to a level where the starter motor and battery was swimming. Was the clench fastened galv nails a common method on these monks? Vinyl wall paper and a fiberglassed sump pan would have me thinking twice about the previous owners. Im using a lot of tung, or a 2 coat polyurethane varnish, my days of sanding between 6-8 coats of varnish are long gone unless i have a blank cheque in my hand.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    That boat and design has a lot of character - I like it.
    I am fascinated by the name. Kia Ora is a common statement of greeting used by us New Zealanders. I wonder how the boat got its name?
    Does it have a local meaning?

    KIA ORA in Maori language means "Greetings, Hello'. http://www.maorilanguage.net/maori-w...reetings-mihi/
    It also means " hello! cheers! good luck! best wishes!" http://maoridictionary.co.nz/search?...ia+ora&search=
    Depends which dictionary you use.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Bless you Sir! There is, I'm sure, a special place in heaven for folks that keep old wood cruisers going. I haven't the fortitude for it, but I salute those that do -- every time I see one out on our water it puts a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

    I wish I wasn't a whole continent away, I'd be happy to try to help you out with that oil pan fix.

    Tom

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    I too am a big fan of the Monks & will be following this with interest.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    My Monk reference (beyond boat yard work & some time on a Monk troller) is "Ed Monk and the Tradition of Classic Boats" by Bet Oliver. Ton of photos & might help you determine what's original on yours.

    You might try Deks Olje #1 instead of tung oil. Similar look and ease of application (and more to the point re-application) but works better on a boat in my experience. Genuine tung oil is my go to finish for the majority of my furniture projects but the Deks lasts a lot longer outside.

    The transom door is a contrasting element of the transom design so you might get away with a Honduras frame & different wood/or paint on the doors panel. I'm doubtful you'll get a good match in any case so you might just go with an purposeful contrast instead of a failed match. I hate trying to match different ages & species on a boat with stains & dyes as they often only succeed until the next refinishing...

    I'd say you got very lucky to find a sound transom under the fiberglass! Speaks well for the build quality. Do you have a picture of your "clinched galvanized nails"? That would be unusual.

    Don't know any way to trust an oil pan patch without pulling the pan to really go over it & then why not replace it - Thanks for persisting on the forum & sharing your Monk with us. Moe

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    OK, time to bite the bullet and tackle this motor.....

    I know the sump pan is in rough shape, so the only solution is to pull the motor and investigate.
    So I built a gantry of 2x4's set on the engine beds and braced to the house roof.
    two come-along hand winches and up came 1400 lbs of Perkins.



    Hauling the engine was pretty easy but what I discovered underneath broke my heart.
    The entire oil pan had been sheathed in fiberglass. And it fell away exposing the most disgusting Swiss cheese, cast aluminium oil pan you can imagine. And worst of all, from every cancerous lesion spouted water, sea water!




    This thing had been running! the poor thing had been pumping sea water through the crankshaft journals! Aggghhhhhh!

    OK, time to reassess,....

    I pulled the pan and the oil pickup strained was nice and oily, measurements suggested that it was high enough that it may have been sucking oil from above the pool of water.
    No doubt turbulence would have mixed a lot of water into the mix but I decided to take the risk and carry on. The motor sounded sweet when running.

    Off to have a custom oil pan made,....

    Flash forward 5 weeks and $1300,....



    Please disregard the checkerplate, I got the stock cheap(er).
    This shot shows it painted with POR 15 in an effort to isolate it electrically from the bilgewater.

    So new pan on, drop engine, all new hoses, new starter, just because, and off she went!
    Well after an hour of bleeding the fuel lines.
    I was thrilled,.....for 5 minutes.
    Until the bilge filled with oil.


    But this was red oil, ATF, from the Velvet drive. I looked for possible leaks at hoses, breathers, dipstick. Nope.
    But I do have an ace in the hole.
    I replaced the plug in the bottom of the bellhousing with a brass nipple and length of 3/8" tubing so that if the engine ever developed a rear main seal leak I could pump it out, within reason. As a result I was able to determine my new problem was a front seal leak on the Velvet Drive as pumping out the bellhousing revealed ATF, lots!

    So pull the engine again, pull the transmission, replace the front seal, which was horrible, the shaft was very rusty so careful sanding and driving the new seal a little deeper onto clean shaft should do the trick.



    All buttoned up and back in, runs nicely, no oil leaks, at last!

    Time to polish fuel,.....

    Peter Knowles

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Gotta love a Perkins! That 5,000 bucks makes sense now......

  23. #23
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Greg, neat idea on the mahogany graft,... I'll look around.
    Needs to be steam bent though,...

    Bob, Would love to know more about your project.
    I'm hesitant to endorse Tung oil too much as it requires regular attention.
    Let it go without a fresh wipe on for too long and it fails.
    I got caught out this very wet winter and didn't have enough coats on in some places that I need to address now.

    Jeff, yes, I'd heard of aniline dyes, I need to look into it. Thanks.

    The boat sat low because she was all but abandoned, and the bilge pumps regularly failed.
    About 14" down in the bow was the highest watermark.
    The engine sits very low making the starter vulnerable.

    I don't know if Galvanized clinched was common, I'll get some photos.

    I would imagine Kia Ora has no local meaning, assumed the New Zealand meaning.
    As the name has no real significance to me, I'll be changing it to Geordie, after my dog who I will lose soon.
    I know this may open up a whole new debate on the changing of boat names.
    I'm prepared to endure the rituals,....

    Moe, I've used Deks Olje before, and like it, perhaps tung oil is more of a faith based finish,...
    I just love it.

    Thanks all,...

    Peter
    Last edited by Peter Knowles; 04-27-2016 at 02:19 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Land Rovers, Monks, and kilts! You're in the right place!
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  25. #25
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianW View Post
    Land Rovers, Monks, and kilts! You're in the right place!
    'zactly my thought.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  26. #26
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Knowles View Post
    I'll be changing it to Geordie, after my dog who I will lose soon.
    I know this may open up a whole new debate on the changing of boat names.
    I'm prepared to endure the rituals,....
    I can see why - perfect!

    Last edited by Larks; 04-27-2016 at 07:47 PM.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  27. #27
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Wonderful project! I can relate in sooo many ways!

  28. #28
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Let's clean that old diesel,...

    I bought the boat with about 120 gallons of fuel aboard.
    By my best calculated assessment, the tanks are about 100 gallons each.
    The tanks are very nice, made of aluminium and well secured.
    Filtering was by a small Racor with spin on element and a small water bowl below.
    And then the secondary on the Perkins.
    I was really concerned about what might be in the bottom of these tanks.
    I bought an electric fuel pump, a pair of fuel level senders and a Racor 500 filter.
    I really wanted to be able to scrub the bottom of the tanks so I thought I'd be able to cut reasonable sized holes in the top of the tanks if I added electric senders. The tanks currently have sight glasses.
    Through these holes I was able to use a wand of copper tubing with a wire brush on the end and endlessly scrub the bottom of the tank while vacuuming up the resulting debris. At first there was so much crud I didn't pass it through the filter but rather into a large funnel in the top of the opposite tank lined with paper towel.
    This was a slow process as diesel doesn't pass through paper towel all that promptly even when it's clean.
    After hours of this I switched to the Racor and clogged up a dozen 10 micron filters and drained water out of the bowl many, many times. Then a heavy dose of diesel stabilizer and switch to 3 micron filters.
    Pumping non stop for days until the filters stayed clear.

    Diesel = clean!

    Please forgive the lack of pictures, I do have some of the Racor, the pump and a tank with a hole in the top.
    Not particularly inspiring,....


    Peter Knowles

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Time very well spent i would say.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Here are two threads on fuel filtering/polishing, from some the forums best...

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...fuel+polishing

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...fuel+polishing

    Please note the Paladin is no longer with us, but held in the highest regard.
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  31. #31
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Great thread, you have some skills!

  32. #32
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Peter,

    Great looking work and a really great boat. You look familiar, did you do a couple of YouTube videos on rebuilding some Series Land Rovers a while back?

    Regards,
    Mike

  33. #33
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Mike,

    Why yes I did, keen eye.
    seems like another life now.
    Actually, just setting up a YouTube series to bridge the gap.

    Still drive that truck.

    Cheers
    Peter

  34. #34
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Peter,

    I'm glad to hear that you still have the truck. I very much enjoyed all of your Rover videos. I myself am currently rebuilding a Series III 88" County Station Wagon on a new galvanized chassis that I had brought in from England. What ever happened to the Series II from 88 in a Day?

    Regards,
    Mike

  35. #35
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    Default Re: 1953 38' Monk Tricabin

    Heh, that poor thing, it got cannibalized for other projects, most notably the truck we built to go to Winter Romp.

    Peter

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