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Thread: Refastening Galv

  1. #1
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    Default Refastening Galv

    Could someone point me toward a primer for refastening a big galv-fastened boat? WB articles would be good, too. I've heard to pull the old screws and replace, and I've heard to just sink new screws, since the iron will have bloomed and the old screws would be best left where they are.

    I refastened Bucephalus a couple years ago, but I expect there's rather a difference between a 19' bronze-fastened sloop and a 50' galv-fastened powerboat.

    Yes, I'm considering doing something really stupid and expensive. I'll post more if I do it.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    They are/were zinc covered steel. The zinc is gone and the steel is quietly rusting away, turning into iron oxide. When the iron is completely converted to iron oxide its volume will be ten times larger, making a big hole in the wood. Sounds bad to me. Get those rusting fastenings out, re drill for a size larger and replace with bronze or copper, but NOT brass.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Alex, Are you re doing a 50 'boat?

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    If you can get the old screws out do so. If there is no nail sickness in the screw holes than you can refasten one size bigger. If the rust has eaten into the wood, plug the old holes and refasten in line ford or aft, do not drive new screws in line above or below the old ones, 'cos that is like making perforations in a sheet of postage stamps.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    I hate galvanized fastenings. Otherwise known as those objects that take a perfectly nice piece of wood & turn it into compost.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I hate galvanized fastenings. Otherwise known as those objects that take a perfectly nice piece of wood & turn it into compost.
    That depends on whether you are building an heirloom, or a tool that will be worn out or obsolete in 40 years.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    There are zinc rich primers available that can block the action of rusting fastenings. The best one was Devcon-Z a product that was 98% pure zinc.
    A web site search may find a similar product. I have used it to stop weepers with great sucesss. It also stops advanced cases of rust form continuing and becoming terminal!
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 10-08-2017 at 12:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Don't do it. Not unless you have lots of experience rebuilding big boats, heaps of time and a huge building fund that you don't mind never seeing again. If you like the building process, build new, it will be cheaper, quicker and a better outcome.mif you want a big motorboat and have plenty of money, buy a timber one in excellent condition. If you want a big motorboat and don't have plenty of money, either buy a glass one, or just don't do it. Oh and read the thread on redemption and whatever else was.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    A lot depends on the age of the boat and the condition of the fasteners. Personally I lean towards pulling and replacing but sometimes they are just too far gone to get out without making an absolute mess of the planking. That being said I'm not sure I could handle pulling at replacing every screw in 50 feet of bottom. Can you pull a couple fasteners before committing? Replacing a section at a time over say 4-5 seasons would make it a lot more manageable, if they're not too bad. Or are we talking total rebuild right from the start?
    -Jim

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Okay, replies to questions.

    BUT FIRST: while I can hear you all slavering at the opportunity to experess your opinions on my impending folly, this thread isn't about my choice of liveaboards or whatever, it's about refastening.

    Alex, Are you re doing a 50 'boat?
    Maybe. I've found an ex-BC Forest Service boat --1933, 50', 1-1/2" yellow cedar on oak, galv fastened-- that looks like a good contender to meet my needs for a liveaboard. The folks at Abernethy & Gaudin, who know the boat, say she's in good shape, but in a survey a few weeks ago (for a different potential buyer) they found that it's definitely time for refastening. She needs other work as well --decks and interior, for the most part-- but nothing that scares me so much as refastening a galv-fastened boat.

    Get those rusting fastenings out, re drill for a size larger and replace with bronze or copper
    I like the idea of going to bronze (except for the expensive part!) but what about nobility conflicts between the iron residue and the new cupric fasteners?

    If you can get the old screws out do so. If there is no nail sickness in the screw holes than you can refasten one size bigger. If the rust has eaten into the wood, plug the old holes and refasten in line ford or aft, do not drive new screws in line above or below the old ones, 'cos that is like making perforations in a sheet of postage stamps.
    Thank you, Peerie Maa. That's a clear enough answer I can get my head around it. Sounds pretty much the same procedure as for bronze screws, then? And I assume the planks aren't as prone to perforations as the frames, hence setting new fasteners fore and aft?

    I hate galvanized fastenings.
    I don't like 'em much either, but as Peerie Maa points out...

    That depends on whether you are building an heirloom, or a tool that will be worn out or obsolete in 40 years.
    Yep. These boats were never intended to last 80+ years. They've earned their heirloom status; they weren't born with bronze screws in their garboards. (Like a silver spoon in their mouths, only different.) They've survived despite their fastenings, not because of them.

    There are zinc rich primers available that can block the action on rusting fastenings.
    Cool! How would I use that in the refastening process? Soak the old holes with it, to pacify the old rust? Prime each new screw as it goes in? Sorry to be so unspeakably dense, but I really don't know much about galv fastenings.

    Don't do it. Not unless you have lots of experience rebuilding big boats, heaps of time and a huge building fund that you don't mind never seeing again...
    Yeah, I've got that little voice in my head, too. It's pretty loud. Since I have none of the suggested experience, time, or money, I shouldn't even be thinking of taking on this project. On the other hand, while I can bank against my house, that I need to sell (hence the impending liveaboard --long story), my share of the house won't bring me enough to build a new boat of the caliber of the one I'm looking at.

    For reference, A&G quoted me CAN$10-15K for a full refasten. Only an idiot believes the low number, but the high number isn't as bad as I might have expected --though it's still large enough to make my eyes water and to make me research doing the job on my own.

    Oh and read the thread on redemption and whatever else was.
    Post a link for me? It sounds like it should be required reading.

    A lot depends on the age of the boat and the condition of the fasteners. ... Replacing a section at a time over say 4-5 seasons would make it a lot more manageable, if they're not too bad. Or are we talking total rebuild right from the start?
    The boat might be able to stand it, but I just don't have a good way to make that approach happen.

    Thank you all, and keep the tutorial and thoughts coming.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    That 15k would be money well spent.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    15K, while a big chunk of money, if you can get that price as a quote not an estimate would definitely be money well spent!
    Good luck holding anyone to that though.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post
    That 15k would be money well spent.
    What Jim said Alex. There are better things in life to spend your valuable hours on!
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    If you can get a watertight contract stating 15K for a complete refasten, i would take it, getting it over and done with in one hit would allow you to "enjoy" the rest of the upkeep rather than doing it bit by bit, and haul-outs every year all add up unless you know a good beach you can dry out on at the top of a spring tide.....think about working on your back on a muddy/sand/gravel beach while possibly making large holes in your planking, might change how that 15K looks......

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post

    Thank you, Peerie Maa. That's a clear enough answer I can get my head around it. Sounds pretty much the same procedure as for bronze screws, then? And I assume the planks aren't as prone to perforations as the frames, hence setting new fasteners fore and aft?

    Alex
    Hopefully there is enough meat in the frames for that not to be a worry. In the UK galvo is used with sawn framed boats so it definitely in not an issue. However the plank works in tension, so every hole drilled across the width cuts more fibres and so reduces its ability to withstand tension. Drilling for'd and aft cuts the same line of fibres as were cut by the original fasteners.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post
    That 15k would be money well spent.
    I agree 100%. I presume it's replacing with galvanized as well? I'm guessing yes, as the bronze screws for my 50' sailboat were 3K...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I agree 100%. I presume it's replacing with galvanized as well? I'm guessing yes, as the bronze screws for my 50' sailboat were 3K...
    Just a question Garret, your boat was fastened with bronze screws before, or was she galvi-fastened? Thanks!
    fair winds, Dody

    "They did not know it was impossible so they did it" - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by Dody View Post
    Just a question Garret, your boat was fastened with bronze screws before, or was she galvi-fastened? Thanks!
    All galvanized. Much of the planking fastenings had been replaced before I got her, but every missed one (and all of the bulwarks) blossomed rust.

    BTW - the 3K was purely for the waterline down - when we replaced the planks!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    A "re fastening" will likely lead to re caulking, wooding and re painting.
    My honey just wrote an article about AnG for Classic Boat magazine. She finished the article with their quote, "We do not work with people who have no money".

    Have you put your hands on the boat to try and pull a few yourself?
    Each one can be 2 minutes or an hour of work.
    I recon replacing them with more galv is the way to fly, unless she is bolted with bronze.
    Ospho and CPES may become your friend.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    All galvanized. Much of the planking fastenings had been replaced before I got her, but every missed one (and all of the bulwarks) blossomed rust.

    BTW - the 3K was purely for the waterline down - when we replaced the planks!
    Thanks Garret! Did you manage to get ALL the galvi-fasteners out? How?
    fair winds, Dody

    "They did not know it was impossible so they did it" - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by Dody View Post
    Thanks Garret! Did you manage to get ALL the galvi-fasteners out? How?
    All? No. As Bruce said above - it can be 2 minutes or an hour each - though I seldom saw the 2 minute end of the spectrum...

    Homemade hole saw, then pull what you can, then drill or grind what you can't (boy is that tricky, as the iron - even though rusted - is still harder than the wood) - then, if something was still left, I encapsulated as much as possible in epoxy. To be honest, this all lead to a number of frame sisters, as 1) the iron sickness had weakened the frames & 2) the sister gave good wood to put the new screws into. It also led to new planks - as the idea of a frame-sized dutchman holding the plank onto the boat did not appeal.

    In response to the why use galvanized above - yes if just a workboat with a short lifetime expected - I can see it. I also get that a hull that would cost 600K today was a lot less back in the 40's - but, even though bronze is expensive, I just can't see holding together several thousand hours of work with something that starts deteriorating in a couple of years.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Alex, should you decide to take on the project, count me in for a few days of assistance. Read: "I learn a little bit while doing whatever grunt work you can point me at." I haven't worked on that scale carvel boat since I was a kid in Sea Scouts, but I can spend time on the dumb end of a scraper just fine.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    The estimate sounds low, quite low. If you estimate 5,000 fasteners, then bronze replacements are going to run about $5,000. If you multiply that number of fasteners by, say, 5 minutes each for removing and replacing, that is 416 man hours, at a shop rate as low as $50/ hour, that is $20,800 for a total of $25,800. I am going to guess the shop rate is closer to $100/hour.
    Being quite guilty myself of under estimating the time it will take to do a job, I have become a firm believer in the old method, which is coming up with your most pessimistic amount of hours to do a certain job....then double that number...and finally add a third more!
    You might not lose your shirt, and avoid a huge fight with the customer at the end.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schweiss View Post
    The estimate sounds low, quite low. If you estimate 5,000 fasteners, then bronze replacements are going to run about $5,000. If you multiply that number of fasteners by, say, 5 minutes each for removing and replacing, that is 416 man hours, at a shop rate as low as $50/ hour, that is $20,800 for a total of $25,800. I am going to guess the shop rate is closer to $100/hour.
    Being quite guilty myself of under estimating the time it will take to do a job, I have become a firm believer in the old method, which is coming up with your most pessimistic amount of hours to do a certain job....then double that number...and finally add a third more!
    You might not lose your shirt, and avoid a huge fight with the customer at the end.
    And then you make make 1/2 your normal rate! OK - slightly tongue in cheek - but not totally!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    That 15k would be money well spent.
    I have rarely seen a statement made here that received such unanimous agreement. This may be a first!

    Good luck holding anyone to that though.
    Ay, and there's the rub. Only that Rob Abernethy made the "guestimate" a range from $10K to $15K gives me any confidence it might actually be $15K.

    Hopefully there is enough meat in the frames for that not to be a worry. In the UK galvo is used with sawn framed boats so it definitely in not an issue. However the plank works in tension, so every hole drilled across the width cuts more fibres and so reduces its ability to withstand tension. Drilling for'd and aft cuts the same line of fibres as were cut by the original fasteners.
    Right. That all makes sense. I hadn't quite got to the connection between the planks being in tension and the new holes cutting the same fibers, thus not weakening the planks so badly. It would seem to demand a very solid repair of the original screw hole, though, to prevent a linear tear-out. Yes?

    I presume it's replacing with galvanized as well?
    I presume so. Pricing 3000 #14 x 3" galv screws (recommended by a shipwright friend)(I'd have guessed they wanted to be bigger) at Hamilton, they come in at about $1700. I would assume that A&G would have a commercial account that would drop the cost further for them. The same quantity of SB screws from TopNotch would cost me $2500. Perhaps worth it in the long run, if I could be sure the SB would play well with the iron residue in the frames, but that's a question no one here has yet addressed.

    My honey just wrote an article about AnG for Classic Boat magazine. She finished the article with their quote, "We do not work with people who have no money".
    There's a cheery warning. I don't take Classic Boat; I don't suppose anyone could forward me the article, so I know what I'd be getting myself in for?

    Have you put your hands on the boat to try and pull a few yourself?
    Not yet.

    Each one can be 2 minutes or an hour of work.
    2 minutes? You, sir, are a raving optimist.

    I recon replacing them with more galv is the way to fly, unless she is bolted with bronze.
    That's my sense of it, too. And since she started life as a workboat, I rather doubt she's bolted with bronze.

    Ospho and CPES may become your friend.
    I suspect I'll gain a whole new cadre of such friends. I've played with Ospho before, but where do you envision using CPES?

    Homemade hole saw, then pull what you can...
    Thank you, Garret. There's a wealth of good info in that reply...

    To be honest, this all lead to a number of frame sisters...
    ...And a cautionary tale, as well. The refastening could turn up all sorts of concerns.

    ...even though bronze is expensive, I just can't see holding together several thousand hours of work with something that starts deteriorating in a couple of years.
    I agree on principle, but 80 years ago, when she was built, the labor was cheap, and she was built from local wood that was inconceivably cheap. The metal would have been the expensive part. On what was probably thought of as a disposeable boat, it made no sense to use bronze. It boggles my mind, but I *can* see how the decision was made.

    Alex, should you decide to take on the project, count me in for a few days of assistance.
    You betcha, Doug! And thank you. I am obviously a little uncertain of all that I'm getting myself in for, should I take on the refastening job myself, but an extra set of hands would always be welcome.

    Again, thank you all, and I look forward to learning more.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    The estimate sounds low, quite low.
    Hard to say. A shipwright friend estimated 50 - 60 hours, and Rob Abernethy happened to mention his rate was $85/hr. Shop time will be more, of course. Abernethy also said they'd take two weeks to do the job, so I'd guess the hours estimate is probably pretty close. If you're a yard, with experience in the job, and set up with the tools to do the job, it might not be such a daunting job as what I, an amateur, might make it to be.

    The same shipwright friend estimated 3000 fasteners, and Hamilton has those at about $1700. Soo...

    The numbers I'm seeing all line up, but I admit I would have expected it to be much more, too.

    And then you make make 1/2 your normal rate! OK - slightly tongue in cheek - but not totally!
    And we all know how to make a small fortune in boats: start with a large one.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Hmmm, Is Rob's plan to remove the old fasteners? Just add new ones?
    Without removal of the old ones, are you giving a vessel a longer life or only making her safer?
    Is she bleeding badly?
    I envisioned painstakingly digging the bungs/putty and extracting the old. Spraying the hole with ospho,then CPES. Then a new screw. Not all at once.
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 10-08-2017 at 02:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    "Pricing 3000 #14 x 3" galv screws (recommended by a shipwright friend)(I'd have guessed they wanted to be bigger)"

    What size are your frames and do you know if this boat might have been refastened previously. If not, I would expect you could add galvanized screws as required, if the frames have enough meat to hold them. Bronze fasteners are probably not, much as I love 'em, appropriate for this boat. imho / Jim

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Surely $15000 is just driving a bunch of new screws in between the old ones. 5 minutes a screw to remove and replace just doesn't sound right to me. I can't find the redemption thread. It's a cautionary tale by cstevens, about a 50 foot motorboat he got cheap to do up and live on......But if you can't find that, try The Harbour Master Called me.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Hmmm, Is Rob's plan to remove the old fasteners? Just add new ones?
    Surely $15000 is just driving a bunch of new screws in between the old ones. 5 minutes a screw to remove and replace just doesn't sound right to me.
    Yep, that's the big question. I'll be asking him that when the time comes --or maybe this coming week, when I call him to pester him again. The only reassurance I have that he was talking about doing the job right was the reputation of his yard.

    Without removal of the old ones, are you giving a vessel a longer life or only making her safer?
    That's a fine question, and a philosophical one that needs to be confronted. My knee-jerk response is to demand the former, especially on a boat I think well of. I may only have 50 years of life left in *me*, but how do I want that to pertain to how many years the boat might have left in *her*? I know my sloop, Bucephalus, is a legacy boat; I want her to last another century at least. I just put a new bottom on a 9' dinghy built by my great grandfather in his living room; she turns 100 years old next year, and I've been rowing her around this summer. Should I approach any boat that comes my way thus? At a certain point the Ship of Theseus becomes impractical --but where is that point?

    Is she bleeding badly?
    Not at all, that I can tell from recent photos. Rob Abernethy was the one who pulled the screws for a survey, a couple weeks ago, and says she's in excellent condition, and at the perfect place to be refastened in that she hasn't yet taken any damage from needing it. Her shape is just fine, her wood is all sound, it's just that her fastenings are at the end of their lifespan.

    Spraying the hole with ospho,then CPES. Then a new screw. Not all at once.
    Right. I can picture that process. Thanks.

    What size are your frames and do you know if this boat might have been refastened previously?
    Again, those are questions on my list. She's 84 years old, so I can hardly imagine she *hasn't* already been refastened at least once. *If* she hasn't, those were some pretty amazing screws they used in the first place. If she *has*, how was the job accomplished --pull-and-replace, or leave-and-add? If the former, awesome, but #14s may be too small for this time around. If the latter, someone did a miraculous job of preventing the originals from bleeding through.

    Bronze fasteners are probably not, much as I love 'em, appropriate for this boat. imho
    Um. Not surprising, but not what I wanted to hear. Thank you, though. A welcome reality check.

    ...try The Harbour Master Called me.
    I can find that one. I remember seeing it recently. I'll read through it in the next couple days.

    You folks are doing right by me. Thank you.
    Alex

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    I presume it's this one you are talking about: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...and-redemption

    Otherwhise I guess you'll find the info somewhere here: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...e-Wooden-Boats
    fair winds, Dody

    "They did not know it was impossible so they did it" - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    ...I agree on principle, but 80 years ago, when she was built, the labor was cheap, and she was built from local wood that was inconceivably cheap. The metal would have been the expensive part. On what was probably thought of as a disposable boat, it made no sense to use bronze. It boggles my mind, but I *can* see how the decision was made.
    I can too!

    However, I'd posit that the situation is different today than it was then.

    Just me, I guess.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    Quote Originally Posted by Dody View Post
    I presume it's this one you are talking about: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...and-redemption

    Otherwhise I guess you'll find the info somewhere here: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...e-Wooden-Boats
    That's the one, a fine cautionary tale.

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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    I presume it's this one you are talking about: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...and-redemption
    Sobering, indeed. And it should definitely be required reading for anyone considering restoring an older boat.

    I can point out ways where what I'm considering doesn't match what Chris went through --but that doesn't mean I can't find other ways to have the project crumble around me. It's an excellent cautionary tale that I would be foolish (okay, even more foolish than I am!) to ignore.

    This is why I started this thread. By asking "how does one refasten a galv boat?" I also learn "what does it take to refasten a galv boat?"

    Speaking with Rob Abernethy on the phone for maybe half an hour culminated in me asking and him agreeing to do a "boatbuilder's survey" when I'm up there. Four hours (or more) of his poking and prodding. Will it turn up every problem? Don't be ridiculous! But it'll be money well spent, and if I walk away, it'll be with a lot more knowledge. His $85/hour will be money well spent on a tutorial for whatever boat I do buy.

    Thank you all for your knowledge and wisdom. I am thinking very hard about what you all have written.

    Alex

    P.S.
    However, I'd posit that the situation is different today than it was then.

    Just me, I guess.
    Nope; not just you. I can't imagine building a new wooden boat with anything less than bronze. The knowledge and the materials are far too precious to consider the result disposeable.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Refastening Galv

    I don't have anything really useful to add to this discussion, but when has that ever stopped me from weighing in? And since a couple of my cautionary threads have been brought up I'll join the party. A few thoughts, for whatever they may be worth:

    1. The boatbuilders survey sounds like the best idea yet.

    2. Regardless of galvanized or bronze, any new fasteners are likely to outlive your ownership of the boat, if not you. So the question is really aesthetic and philosophical not practical. (Although I suppose resale value might be a consideration...)

    3. Bronze is not necessarily permanent. I pulled many bad bronze screws out of Perihelion - completely pink and wasted away. On the other hand I saw some photos of plain iron screws pulled from Snoose that still looked pretty good some 70-odd years later (granted those were above the waterline).

    4. Petrel was originally fastened with iron nails, then refastened with galvanized screws in the 1990s. Those seem to be holding up reasonably well so far. I've stuck with galvanized screws for the recent planking repairs to avoid mixing metals but I know she does have some bronze in her already so not sure if that makes much of a difference at this point.

    5. All this said, if I was going to refasten her completely I'd probably switch to bronze just on the general principle of trying to take the best care of her that I can. She's lasted this long. The least I can do is try to make sure she's in good shape for the next 60 years too. And the difference in cost between galvanized and SB seems utterly trivial.

    6. Finally, someone mentioned Ospho above. Worth repeating. While the galvanized screws in Petrel seem ok, the original iron nails were left in place when she was refastened and they bleed like a bad shaving cut. My remedy is: Remove any plug or filler over the bleeding fastener, wire brush as much rust as possible (a short section of steel cable in a drill works great), Then Ospho followed by cold galvanizing spray paint (high zinc content) and finally epoxy to seal it. With a bung if possible, otherwise filler of choice. That has worked very well. I'm going on three years on the current paint job and none of the bleeders I treated back in 2015 have shown up again.
    - Chris

    https://fvpetrel.wordpress.com

    Life is short. Go boating now!

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