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Thread: How do I rebuild this transom?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    seattle, wa, usa
    Posts
    3

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    I have a curved raked transom that had a badly done repair (lots of bondo). I am rebuilding the entire boat and I used a sawsall to cut the transom off intact, following the "bondo line". Now it wasn't perfect and I need to cut the plank ends at the proper angle such that I can build the transom rim log and frame up the new transom, which I plan to build by pulling molds off the existing transom.
    My problem seems to be one of which angle to cut at. I left the sheer plank intact and thought I could use a straight edge to drop the beveled line of the old transom down and around the hull, then cut on that line. Wrong! I'd end up shortening my keelson by about 2-3 feet! I hot glued some door skins as "run out" substitutes for how the planking probably looked when the boat was being built so I have something to take line on.
    How do I develop the cut line on the planking so I have the proper rake for the new transom? Once I get that cut I figure I can laminate a rim log in place, but I need to have the planking cut at that finished angle. Sure would appreciate someone smarter than me figuring this out. BTW: The boat is a 1963 Ohlson 36' sloop, mahogany on oak, facing north, stored in a boat shed, used to be painted blue and is living in South Park Marina in Seattle. Anyone???

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,544

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    SAWZALL? I suppose removing all the screws from the hood ends of the planks is out?
    No individual rain-drop thinks it\'s responsible for the flood.

  3. #3

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    I'm a carpenter and cabinet maker. I could do it or at least advise you how to do it. Photos would help a great deal. I read your post three times and I'm still not sure I follow your verbage enough to make any suggestions. I'll be glad to help if I can see the exact problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1,045

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    Are you around your boat during weekends? "Developing the cut line" is a fairly good choice of words for what sounds like the task ahead of you. Sometimes the use of a sawzall can be as destructive as using a chain saw. I imagine that at this point you probably wished you would have been more methodical with your removals. Made some patterns, story sticks, took pictures, etc. There's alot that goes on at the transom. If you have to replace one, it's best not to just weed-whack the old one off of there without giving it alot of thought first. I don't mean to sound like I'm throwing rocks at you or trying to give you a lecture, that's not the intention. When you get ready to replace your stem just do it a little differently than you did your transom. Get rid of your straight edge. What have you got in the way of decent battens and pattern stock at your boat? What portions of the existing/original transom frame still exist, whether lying on the ground or still attached to the boat?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Hoffman Estates IL
    Posts
    2,355

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    A picture would be good, Skipper. I think I understand the problem. As per the comment above, this is not an easy task, and nothing to rush into.

    I faced a similar deal on my Snipe project. Smaller, simpler, and cheaper. I didn't get there via the sawsall/chainsaw/weedwhacker route, however. It was still a problem to install the new transom in what amounts to the wrong sequence (after the planking in on). After having done it with the real transom, I would recommend using a temporary mock piece of plywood or similar cheap material, until you know the exact shape. The Snipe also has hard chines, which I'm sure made my task a little simpler than what you face, not to mention the flat transom.

    For my project, I ended up bracing the oversized transom in a position aft of its intended position, at the proper angle, etc. I left enough room so that I could scribe inside without too much difficulty.

    We may differ here, but my plan was to shorten the boat slightly, since the planking ends were shot. If you need to repair the planking to the original length, this may or may not be helpful.

    Once I had the transom temporarily positioned, I scribed the line for the new plank ends parallel to the transom, both inside and out, clear of the damage, (about three inches). I also recorded the intersecting angles by transferring marks from the bevel gage to my notepad. With the damaged ends removed, I moved the temporarily clamped oversized transom forward to the planks, (lapping over). I then scribed the line where the planks hit the transom (on the forward side). I transferred this line to the outside of the transom, and another line (less the planking thikness) to define the outside shape of the transom. Since this was a hard chine deal, I cut the bevels from my notes (double checking is good). At this point, I would recommend leaving the transom just a hair large so that the planking extends slightly past the transom for the final trimming. I was very careful and the new transom fit its new home almost perfectly. I fit the transom frame and knees after the new transom was attached.

    The hard chine design made my project a little easier, but I think the sequence should help.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    seattle, wa, usa
    Posts
    3

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    Thanks for the input and the patience. I am travelling from Seattle to Boston to work for about 5 months and will deal with the transom when I come back. Meanwhile,...
    Someone had done a transom "repair" which they painted over with some kind of bondo and epoxy paint solution. This served to encapsulate wet oak in the transom. When I bought the boat I cracked through this eggshell coating and found mud which was once and oak rim log. I cleared all the prevous rot and coatings off the inside of the transom and sanded the outside down until I saw planking and transom. At this point this is where the "bondo line" was revealed. I stuck a screwdriver clean through and that is what led me to believe there was a clear and clean delineation between planking ends and transom frame. I was wrong. And, yes, I wish I had not sawzall'd the transom off (yet). I do have hundreds of pictures and drawings, though, which are no good to me (yet). The transom itself is intact with some semblence of a rim log attached. The plank ends are rough, although the sheer plank was intact and that is the bevel angle that I preserved to show the angle of slope of the transom.
    I appreciate all your input. I will be mostly out of touch, but can reply to direct email to:
    theonlylivinggod@yahoo.com
    I have some ideas on how to do this but you're right. It's a "chicken and egg" problem. How do you build a rim log/transom on a boat that already has the planking in place (and there is no consistent bevel). Shortening the boat is an option, but I'd like to keep it to less than 3" of removal. I'll post again when I return to the boat project, and will include photos. Meanwhile, feel free for direct contact.
    Skipper Scott

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    seattle, wa, usa
    Posts
    3

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    I am back. Having traded a car to a boatbuilder to do the repair, he got the car impounded, went to jail and blew off the repair. I"m going to work on doing this repair in March.
    I still have plank ends that are uneven and different cut angles. Can you all tell me how to get this ready to repair, or should I just epoxy the old transom back on, put in a couple knees to brace it and call it a sailboat?
    and, by the way, the stem is fine...no "professionals" have bothered to fix that yet. The only places this boat needed repair were places the pro's did fixes. Go figure.
    Skipper Scott - scott@3dcolorgraphics.com or
    theonlylivinggod@yahoo.com

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