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Kudzu

1962 Sea Skiff restoration

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After a false start Makin Waves is back in the shop and ready to be stripped and the restoration started. These are some photos I took last week. I have owned this boat for 20+ years. I did one cosmetic restoration on it and then it developed some hull problems. I did not have a shop, the skill set to fix it or the money to hire someone. So it has been stored under cover for many years. Obviously time was not kind to the paint but it has remained dry.

Expect to start tearing it down in this week.

Cypress swim platform was one of the best additions ever made. It will probably be replaced with a new mahogany version so that it matches the transom.

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I removed the motor box and floor boards. Floors are probably OK to be reused. Motor box will need repairs at a minimum and probably will just build a new one and add some sound deadening to it.

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Someone had staple upholstery to the seats and badly stained the mahogany. Those will have to be replaced and I reuse the unstained sections for other things.

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Today I got to start taking the interior out of the boat to see what I was up against.

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Seats out looking forward. Of all things that could happen this is one you never expect. Drain plug is just inside the doorway. Plug has been out the whole time it was stored. Checked to make sure the hole was not plugged periodically.

What I did not expect was Bummble Bee's were coming in and out and had a nest under my floors! Looked like finely shredded paper and it held moisture. The four ribs from the bulkhead back will have to be replaced. I expected some damage there but not what I found. The nest was holding moisture and plywood is soft too.

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Floor out looking back. If you have sharp eyes you will see the problem.

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Looks like several ribs will have to be repaired in this area. Trailer damage I was not expecting.

BTW the trash was on the floors and fell in the bilge when removing the floors. It was actually pretty clean except for the lost items I found. A fender, one flip flop, ski rope handle, several disposable cups, sunglasses, sun tan lotion and other sundry items. I am going to have to add a fiddle to keep things from sliding under the seat and then ending up under the floors.

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The rest of it looks OK. There is some wood that has to be replaced here and there. Tank has gas in it so it has to be drained and then removed and checked. I don't know who thought it was a good idea to paint the bilge zinc chromate green! That was really a poor choice.

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Kudzu, personally I like the Cypress platform. I think it would look good with the Mahogany. Hope you don't run into any major problems. I like the little lapstrake boat.

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I've redone several of these over the years and I've recently sold my 1960, 28' skiff after many years of ownership.

The frame breaks you're seeing are fairly common, mostly because folks don't know how to setup a trailer for a lapstrake boat. The trailer's bunks have to be under the engine bearers. No other place is acceptable. The turn of the bilge is lightly supported with stands, to prevent the boat from tipping when making over the road turns.

Places to look for issues are: at the bottom aft portions of the stem, the turn of the bilge areas of each aft frame, where tension cracks often form, lower portions of the transom framing, the hood ends or the planking, the transom edges and a common area on all of these is the sheer strake and side decks.

Get that old 283 out of there as soon as you can, because it'll relieve the boat of much of it's burden. With the tank, trans, shaft, strut and wheel out too, the boat will literally be half it's weight, which is an easy thing for the weakened structure to take. Also check the keel under the engine, where they are known to crack. Lastly, the garboards should be considered a consumable product, likely well past it's "sell by" date. Also check the rabbit under the engine for oil soaked wood, which is another common issue.

I love the larger skiffs, as they have a sweet ride. The smaller ones are more of a utility and can pound if driven too hard.

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I love this boat, I would like to have the 22' version but I doubt I would give this one up. That extra 2' is a huge improvement in usable space. Even so it would carry a lot of people no problem! There were 9 total in there this trip.

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I used it for years in a large lake/river system so we don't have big waves except during a t-storm. It does pound some but you just slow down and find the sweet spot. Top up and side curtains and it's an easy dry ride in anything that we get. I was coming back once in a big storm and kept hearing a strange sound and was getting a little concerned. Got up to walk back and listen when I did I saw a small outboard trying to keep up with us and ride in the smoother water behind us. Then I realized there was another one behind him.

I slowed down to speed he could better maintain and headed over toward the more protected shore to get them out of trouble. Then we headed back to the channel an on home. Worst conditions I have ever been in and was just so impressed with how the boat handled it. It was just no problem at all.

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Made some progress and about to dive in deep. So far no new surprises. Looking at less than a dozen ribs that need to be replaced or sister framed. Planking is still in question but I know of some near the bow that will need to be repaired but most looks good at this point.

After a lot of debate I built a couple of gantries to lift the boat. This photo shows them before I added a little additional bracing.

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I have lifted the boat JUST off the trailer to see how this would work and if there were any problem. Just some minor issues that additional bracing took care of.

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Next step is to build a cradle to sit it on. I have been studying the factor drawings and I am going to use the shipping cradle information as a starting point and build two stands that I can move around if needed. This will put the boat MUCH lower and make working inside, such as putting in new ribs, easier. Then I can flip the hull to do the planking.

Looking forward to getting her on the ground, motor out and getting started.

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I've redone several of these over the years and I've recently sold my 1960, 28' skiff after many years of ownership.

The frame breaks you're seeing are fairly common, mostly because folks don't know how to setup a trailer for a lapstrake boat. The trailer's bunks have to be under the engine bearers. No other place is acceptable. The turn of the bilge is lightly supported with stands, to prevent the boat from tipping when making over the road turns.

Places to look for issues are: at the bottom aft portions of the stem, the turn of the bilge areas of each aft frame, where tension cracks often form, lower portions of the transom framing, the hood ends or the planking, the transom edges and a common area on all of these is the sheer strake and side decks.

Get that old 283 out of there as soon as you can, because it'll relieve the boat of much of it's burden. With the tank, trans, shaft, strut and wheel out too, the boat will literally be half it's weight, which is an easy thing for the weakened structure to take. Also check the keel under the engine, where they are known to crack. Lastly, the garboards should be considered a consumable product, likely well past it's "sell by" date. Also check the rabbit under the engine for oil soaked wood, which is another common issue.

I love the larger skiffs, as they have a sweet ride. The smaller ones are more of a utility and can pound if driven too hard.

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Pictures are worth a thousand words, they say. Good thing, I am to tired to have many words tonight. So I am stealing most of this from my BLOG.

I received my info from Mariners Museum on Making Waves. She is as I thought a 1962, 20 foot Sportsman. She went to a dealer in Biloxi, Mississippi from the factory. I always suspected it was a Southern Boat but never had the proof. She came with optional canvas top and frame, side curtains and 283 Chris Craft engine.

Lifted it up above the trailer a couple of inches. Checked and rechecked and everything looked good.

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I sat the rear down on my stand I made. A very simple little thing that took an amazing amount of thinking to come up with something I was comfortable with and felt safe using.

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The bow is just sitting on a stack of solid wood blocks. I just balances on a single point.

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Here she is aground.

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Now I know it low enough to swing the engine out next week. I need to build a stand with caster so I can move the engine around the shop. Then I can start with the rest of the strip down of the boat.

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A cheap engine stand is about 30 bucks at Harbor Freight. D yourself a big favor and replace the single front wheel with a cross piece and two front wheels.

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This one is $45, but you can get them on sale for about 30.

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This one is about &60, but has the front wheel conversion. I usually make the front cross piece the same width as the back and I place a tray between the to pieces, to catch oil and debris as it falls out of the engine, rather then onto the floor.

The three wheeled version tip over easily.

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The engine attaches at the flywheel end, using the arms on the stand's head. Engine to transmission bolt holes are the hold on points. Some engines need longer arms, but the ones supplied will fit most.

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yea, I understand that. Here is a photo the same engine as mine, I was just concerned because of the mounts on the flywheel ends. But looking at this photo I see three with easy access. I didn't remember any access but looks like it might be there.

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Finally getting some time to work on the boat again. Finished my new book and just waiting on the final (I hope) proof copy. The one project I have been sort of dreading turned out to fairly easy, getting the motor out. One thing I learned is if I ever do this again, do it before the floors come out. It's much easier on your knees and ankles!!

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Up she comes. Stopped to see if I had missed anything.

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At this point I am starting to question if I have enough height to clear the boat and I didn't. Had to lower the motor. Tight up the chain on the motor and the chain holding the host to the gantry. Trying to gain everything I could.

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It paid off too. I had an 1/8" clearance. :-)

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This was a sight I have been waiting on for weeks now.

Now to brace the boat a little better, it amazing how 'loose' these hulls are especially once the motor came out. Then finish the tear down and start replacing some ribs.

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On most of these that I've done, the engine beds are bracketed at each end with a cross piece, usually dimensional stock. As the boat ages, these get replaced or beefed up with metal "U" shaped brackets, often from angle stock. The engine and it's mounts hold the beds in vertical alignment, as do these braces/brackets. With the engine out, the beds are not going to be nearly as stiff, so some movement is understandable. On the smaller hulls, like yours, the battery box is the logical location for these brackets. The aft one I've seen in lots of different places, but the best setup is one that incorporates the tranny mount into it.

When bracing the hull on the cradle, make sure the major supports or hard points, are under the engine beds and the areas of the keel, you can get some blocking (the skeg and shaft are in the way most of it's length) under. Forward of the skeg, the keel only is fine. At midship under the engine beds and at the transom the beds and the corners of the transom.

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It is only supported on three points at the moment. Under the lifting eyes so I am not too surprised. There is just a very noticable difference once the engine is out and obviously it added a lot of stiffness.

I just built a taller bow support so I can get under it and work. Next project is some braces under the motor stringers. Once I start removing planks it;s going to need some more support. Plus I use my gantry and straps too.Since I work alone I am going to be extra careful.

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Are you going to replace the frames or repair them? I usually replace them, as the tension cracks commonly are everywhere.

You may want to consider bracing the hull, in several locations internally, to push it back into shape. 2x4's from the roof trusses or ceiling rafters are good ways to apply downward force. Stick a wedge under each brace and use this to "talk" to the frame you're moving. You can only get a little at a time, so a couple of taps on these wedges, every few days and eventually the frame will straighten up again. If you get greedy or impatient, you'll just break them good. Once they're in place, make a template of the frame and compare it to the opposite side. It'll never be a perfect match, but if it's fairly close, bend a new frame to that shape.

I like to do every third frame or every other, depending on how badly distorted the hull is. A really bad hull (yours doesn't appear that bad) I do every third. The planks can remain in place, but you'll want to pull the garboard, sheer strake and one or two of the bilge turn planks, to gain access. This way the planking can continue to hold the boat's shape, while you firm things up with new ribs. Before installing a new rib, restore the fastener holes in the planking.

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I will know better once I give the bottom a through examination now that is off the trailer. I am leaning toward replacing most if not all the ribs that are damaged. I was looking yesterday and I have to replace three or four ribs from rot damaged where the dang bumble bee's built that nest. Those are right behind the bulkhead.

There is 8 ribs +/- further back on the starboard side that are damaged from sitting on the trailer crooked. They are distorted and broken and I figure on just replacing them.

Not sure what is front of the bulkhead in the bow. It's kind of tight space. I have looked but waiting to get the windshield off and remove the deck so I have a clear view. I am sure it will need some attention there.

As typical, most of my work is trailer related damage. The hull has fared well considering it's age. I know the planking under the bee's nest is rotten. I have a bad gouge further back that I will go ahead and replace. But I am just figuring out what I need as I go. Once I get the rest of it stripped down I think I will have a good idea of exactly what I am up against. Then I will start to work out my plan of attack.

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Progress seems so slow, but I haven't had as much time to work on it as I had expected. But today I finally got the deck off. Surprisingly slow process. Find the screws, chisel out the putty, clean the screw heads, remove the screw. And of course when you start to remove the decking then you have to find those screws you missed!

Started on the side and was surprised to find that it wasn't bedded. Yet there were areas that were 'glued' and left part of the plywood behind. Good thing was other than the trim, no hidden damage. I started checking the screws and everyone I checked I was able to tighten. So I am going to remove the rest and tighten up all the screws. I think I will just put new plywood on the deck.

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Next was the deck. One side is damaged and I wanted to remove the other side so I could get in the bow and see what if anything needs replacing here.

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Chasing down those hidden screws.

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Finally the decking is off. Amazing how long it took to get it off. The second side went much faster since I knew where to look for all those screws.

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With that done I turned out lights and headed to the house.

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Nice work. Fussy stuff, but way down the road look what you will have. Any plans for the old 283? Bump up some HP? Newer power plant?

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