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Thread: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

  1. #1
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    Default 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Hi all,

    Name is Jaison from Albany, Western Australia, and looking for advice on a little passion project:

    My dad and I have regained possession of a 21ft boat that my grandad built from local 3/4" jarrah plank when he was 16. He's since passed, which was what spurred us into getting her back again. Short version of her recent history is that she's been out of the water for 10 or 12 years now and has dried and shrunk right up. We've got the gear here for the re-caulk job but I'm a bit stumped (coming from the world of aluminium and steel) as to whether or not we should try to get her to swell a bit or lay it in while she's dry and the seams are open, then leave a sprinkler in her and get it to take up before giving her a splash?

    Another issue is that in the process of drying out some of the ribs - we think they're karri - have cracked and the prev owner has installed some pine sister ribs while dry. Are these likely to swell with the planks and be ok or is it likely to all take up differently and cause us headaches?

    Thanks in advance, I'll upload some pics when I can get them off my phone and onto photobucket

    Cheers
    Jaison

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Found a few pics on my phone to show what we're working with.... she used to have a little cabin as well with a spray tarp to keep dry while on her mooring. She had an old Rugby petrol engine but we're keeping an eye out for a small kubota/yanmar/etc to have a little diesel in her instead. Got the mast and spar in the shed as well as sails, her old portholes and nav lights too so it'll be back to fairly original. I'll see if I can get some pictures dug up of when she was in her prime

    edit- so it seems that photobucket isn't playing the game anymore.... will go hunting for other file hosts

    short version: she's looking a bit sad and crusty but the pics showed her shape, construction and carvel plank
    Last edited by Xran; 03-11-2018 at 12:12 PM. Reason: photobucket sucks now

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    I'll try uploading directly from my phone instead:20170720_114651.jpg20170720_114721.jpg20170721_113021.jpg20170723_083835.jpg

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Xran View Post
    Hi all,

    Name is Jaison from Albany, Western Australia, and looking for advice on a little passion project:

    My dad and I have regained possession of a 21ft boat that my grandad built from local 3/4" jarrah plank when he was 16. He's since passed, which was what spurred us into getting her back again. Short version of her recent history is that she's been out of the water for 10 or 12 years now and has dried and shrunk right up. We've got the gear here for the re-caulk job but I'm a bit stumped (coming from the world of aluminium and steel) as to whether or not we should try to get her to swell a bit or lay it in while she's dry and the seams are open, then leave a sprinkler in her and get it to take up before giving her a splash?

    Another issue is that in the process of drying out some of the ribs - we think they're karri - have cracked and the prev owner has installed some pine sister ribs while dry. Are these likely to swell with the planks and be ok or is it likely to all take up differently and cause us headaches?

    Thanks in advance, I'll upload some pics when I can get them off my phone and onto photobucket

    Cheers
    Jaison
    Get her out of the sun. Lay some old natural fibre cloth in her bottom and put a sprinkler in her. See if she does take up before trying to caulk her. If you caulk her too tight when she is dry she could crack timbers or spring planks when she does swell up.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Definitely what Nick said. She is a pretty little boat.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Same. Pine sister ribs doesn't sound good.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    What they said but I'd consider removing the sisters while it is taking up again.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Is she clinker (lapstrake) or carvel? Hard to tell from the photos. Looks like clinker ...

    If she is clinker, then usually there is no caulking and the planks are fastened to each other between the timbers (frames) as well as fastened into the timbers.

    Is she fastened with copper boat nails, clenched over roves inside? Or screw fastened?

    Whatever, you need to clean her off to bare wood as much as possible. And then test the moisture content of the timber - you can get moisture testers fairly cheaply and they give a reasonably good indication if they have a probe that you can push into the timber a bit. If the moisture content is between, say, 14% and 16%, then that is about what air-dried timber would have originally been when she was built. If it is below about 14%, then that is getting too dry and you need to induce her to swell up a bit (wet hessian sacks, sprinklers etc - but absolutely do not be tempted to fill her with water).

    Basically, if she is clinker, clench fastened, then once the timber is at about 16% - 18% you should be able to harden the fastenings up – hold a steel "doll" on the heads of the nails and rivet over on the inside (preferably two people for this job) – use a small ball pein hammer (say about 4 oz) – and don't overdo it. The nails will usually draw up tighter fairly easily. Make sure you get as much dried paint etc. out from between the plank laps as you can before you start.

    If she is screw fastened, then you may have to re-fasten her because once screws have lost their hold due to shrinkage, they really don't get it back again when the timber swells up – you will need to use a gauge bigger screw – preferably silicon bronze. You can test screws by attempting to tighten them – you may be lucky and they will tighten, but often as not they will have lost their hold.

    If she is carvel, then first of all you need to rake out all the existing stopping (putty or whatever) and caulking (cotton or oakum) and then deal with the fastenings as for clinker. When you re-caulk, do it quite lightly – nice loops of cotton so as to fill the seam, but not driven home too hard – and then stop over with a good flexible seam compound. Linseed oil putty mixed with grease was the material of choice when I was doing this sort of work on a day to day basis. If the seams are open on the inside (which is quite likely) you have to be extra careful not to simply drive the caulking right through – just tuck it in fairly gently. Eventually, if such seams do not close up reasonably, you'll need to deal with them.

    Once she is fastened up, and the hull is reasonably tight and strong (so you can't wring her about by lifting one corner of the transom) you can try her afloat if possible – she will leak a lot to start with but should take up in about 10 days or so. If you have a nice quiet pond near you, this would be ideal! Don't let her sink completely if possible, but keep her pumped out – a tedious process I have to say, but it usually gets better quite quickly. Any seams that don't take up after that, will probably need more attention. Then you can get her ashore again and proceed with the rest of the restoration, painting etc. And deal with any seams that didn't take up.

    As for the sister timbers – it really depends on how many there are, how well the work has been done etc. If they are few, and properly fastened, I'd leave them be for the time being at least. The fact they they are a different timber is not too critical as long as they are well done.

    Cheers -- George
    To be truly free to live, one must be free to think and speak.

    A C Grayling

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Thank you all for your help, I think we have a nice work list from this it's what I thought would be needed but I wasn't sure how to get there.

    George, she's carvel plank and copper roved, apart from some screws into the transom dead wood to pull a few planks up snug. As for how well done the sister ribs are done..... well..... "questionable" at best haha

    She's a very pretty little boat, was always red antifoul and white topsides, varnished Oregon mast and boom with bronze runners and fittings... I'll do my best to get some pics of her in all her splendour *swoon*

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Ok - carvel is a bit easier to deal with than clinker and the planking is usually a bit more robust. And copper clench fastenings are also easier to deal with than screw fastenings. So it shouldn't be too bad. Rake the seams out completely (stopping and caulking) – removing hardened seam compound is usually the hardest and most tedious part of this without damaging the seams. A file tang bent over and sharpened up to a bit less than the seam width makes quite a good seam rake if used carefully – so it doesn't skate across the planking by mistake!

    Do all your hardening up of the fastenings and check/tighten/replace the screws into the hood ends and keel rebate. Then, before you re-caulk the seams, prime them well.

    I re-caulked a Buzzards Bay 14 last summer – she had been out of the water for about 8 years, in a shed but getting very hot and dry. She was screw fastened and we replaced all the fastenings. We wetted her out gently for about a week with wet sacks laid on the inside – nothing excessive. I caulked her fairly lightly, specially where some of the seams were open on the inside – she took about two weeks to take up, but the worst was over in a couple of days – we left a automatic pump in her with a battery and solar panel to keep it charged. There are a couple of seams up aft that didn't take up and I will have to deal with those before she goes afloat again this season.

    Here she is and me caulking her – you can see that I didn't have a proper caulking mallet, just my ordinary mallet! I had three caulking irons – a medium size making iron (flat face for inserting the loops of cotton into the seams), a medium single crease hardening iron (these have a single narrow hollow groove in the face) for hardening the caulking down into the seams, and a small bent iron, which was very useful for difficult to get at areas. You can also use a big flat-blade screwdriver for butt ends, awkward areas etc. You gather the cotton strand and tuck it into the seams in loops, say every 25mm, and then harden it down so that it lies just below the outside surface. It's not that difficult once you get the hang of it. Just don't set it in too hard!



    Remember the caulking is to tighten the hull up (like a wedge between the planks) - the stopping is to keep the water out. Don't confuse the two

    Cheers -- George
    To be truly free to live, one must be free to think and speak.

    A C Grayling

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    George has described it quite well, my take would be to clean the inside first, compressed air, scrubbing brush, wire brush, industrial vac, get rid of every bit of loose material. Then the paint has to come of all the areas that need inspecting, ribs, keel, transom, stem. You might then need to remove paint on the outside in some areas after inspecting the inside. When you have reasonable idea of what needs repairing or replacing, then you should immerse the boat in water up to the approx. waterline, could take 2 weeks or more, jarrah moves slowly. Then you will have an idea of how much caulking is needed. Before you immerse, try brushing gum turps on the seams where the putty is, this will soften the putty, might take a couple of days brushing every few hours, put glad wrap over the area in between brushing. Removing dried putty can really damage seams. If you remove all the paint, after the immersion, you brush or spray a gum turps/rawlinseed oil mixture on to the planking a few times in a few days, somehow seems to stabilise the planking but makes it a little less responsive to water swelling, that's why you do it after the the planks are already swollen. Any split planks could be reglued after cleaning the joint with metho and some compressed air. The boat will have to be kept in the water at all times when finished.
    the invisible man........

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    thanks guys

    What would constitute a "good" job of the sister ribs? Material thickness is similar to the existing ribs, sisters are central and from memory either side of ribs that are cracked, can't recall how they're fastened though or if fastenings are central to the planks, through each plank they cover or if they're a top/middle/bottom job

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    I guess rule of thumb for a sister timber is that it should be the same scantlings as the existing timbers; it should lay right alongside the broken timber; it should extend, say minimum, two and a quarter planks either side of the break; and be fastened to the planking in the same way as the rest of the boat (copper clenches in this instance). You only need a sister on one side of the broken timber. Don't end the sister on a seam - hence the extra quarter plank. You don't usually put sister timbers centrally in the timber spacing – but I suppose if they have been done that way and extend plenty and are fastened correctly, they will do the job OK. You usually bevel off the ends of a sister timber to avoid a sudden change of section. And you don't want to end them on an area of severe curvature - just extend them to a fairly gentle area.

    Cheers -- George
    To be truly free to live, one must be free to think and speak.

    A C Grayling

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    I had a reasonable amount of sister ribs in Ghost, 28' jarrah carvel, I removed all of them, plugged the holes and repaired the original ribs. You can remove exiting rivets in the area concerned, remove bad part and taper the remaining rib with a long scarf, make it so the rib scarf, planking, rib scarf are a smooth curvature, epoxy glue your replacement laminations (kiln dried Karri,number/thickness to suit job) to the existing ribs and secure these with gyprock screwss through the existing rivets holes in you planks, ply washers under screw heads, leave till set. Remove screws one at a time, drill for rivets (across flat diameter), squirt hole with a little WD40, then rivet with the usual tools. The boat will look better and stronger with the original ribs repaired/replaced. With your boat it wouldnt be that hard replacing a complete rib. You should be able to get green karri which will steam and bend nicely, 2 person job though. Dont do this before the clean/swelling thing.
    the invisible man........

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    I had a reasonable amount of sister ribs in Ghost, 28' jarrah carvel, I removed all of them, plugged the holes and repaired the original ribs. You can remove exiting rivets in the area concerned, remove bad part and taper the remaining rib with a long scarf, make it so the rib scarf, planking, rib scarf are a smooth curvature, epoxy glue your replacement laminations (kiln dried Karri,number/thickness to suit job) to the existing ribs and secure these with gyprock screwss through the existing rivets holes in you planks, ply washers under screw heads, leave till set. Remove screws one at a time, drill for rivets (across flat diameter), squirt hole with a little WD40, then rivet with the usual tools. The boat will look better and stronger with the original ribs repaired/replaced. With your boat it wouldnt be that hard replacing a complete rib. You should be able to get green karri which will steam and bend nicely, 2 person job though. Dont do this before the clean/swelling thing. DebenR's info is good too.
    the invisible man........

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    I will agree with Maxwaterline. While regular “sister ribs” have been used forever they do have one drawback. Regardless of how fine a job is done, tapering the ends and all, the fact is at the point where the original rib is cracked you have only the sister, and on both sides you have the sister and the original. The result being the sister will crack at exactly the same place, and usually sooner than the original construction.
    I also went the path of repairing the ribs to as originally built.

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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration


  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    And
    Attached Images Attached Images

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    NedL, looking good! It is more work but everything looks so much better when finished. The angle grinder is your friend when doing this. I wrestled my epoxy coated laminations under a large stringer and used an adjustable prop to push things into place, very happy when that job was finished! Cheers
    the invisible man........

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Those pics make everything 100x easier to pick up what you guys are putting down unreal, thanks a million!

    Definitely helping to get the motivational juices flowing! Now only 3wks until fly-out day to go home from work....... *tick-tock*

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    Here is my tool of choice, no dust like an angle grinder and much faster. The tapers on the original ribs were mostly cut and finished with this.

    I first bent in the new rib sections (using the old ribs as something to screw all those odd cleats to ( to hold the new steamed white oak while they cooled and set). Then I just loped off the old ribs with a small circular saw, and cut the tapers on the old rib ends with the shipwrights adze, slick, chisels, small block plane and spokeshave. Lay the new rib section next to the original rib and scribe the tapers on the new rib section and simply cut them on the bandsaw.
    Check the fit, some resorcinol glue, 6-8 small bronze wood screws, (a couple of tiny clamps) and replace the rivets.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by nedL; 03-16-2018 at 06:49 AM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    I think it depends on how many sisters there are and how fussed you are about restoring her to original condition.

    There is no reason why a well done sister timber should break any more then a replacement section of the same frame, or indeed a whole new timber – though obviously the latter two are aesthetically more pleasing and somehow more satisfying.

    Other than outside factors (damage, poor selection of material etc.), timbers tend to break because the curve is basically too sharp for the moulded depth of the timber – which is why many breaks are either at the turn of the bilge, or in the tuck (in the case of a wine-glass hull). A sister, a replacement section, or a whole new timber, will eventually probably break for the same reason.

    In such a situation it is common to run a saw cut up the timber (usually from the bottom end to past the sharpest curve), so that the moulded depth is in two thinner halves.

    Cheers -- George
    To be truly free to live, one must be free to think and speak.

    A C Grayling

  23. #23
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    Default Re: 1948-built 21' jarrah restoration

    ahhhhh yep I've seen that slot in ribs before and wondered why it was done... I'm pretty sure this was damage from being dropped at some point because we've straightened the keel on her and pulled it back up tight too

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