Friday, January 29, 2016

Completing our 2010 restoration project

 In our last post we described the beginning of our 2010 restoration project at Port Townsend.  We finished most of the demolition and began to install new floor timbers.  In this post we'll take you through to completion.  In all we replace 13 floor timbers, 26 frames, and several planks.
Under the portable canvas shelter at Frejya Boat Works, Port Townsend
One of our concerns when we started the project was the condition of the stem.  As we noted in our last post, we saw lots of staining and rust in the forepeak and were worried that the stem might be compromised.  Once we cleaned off 80 years worth of grime, we were delighted to find that the stem is solid teak and was still very sound; the wood looked nearly new.  Stephens Brothers Boat Builders were noted for their craftsmanship and use of premium materials, and Compadre's stem is a prime example.  After some serious scraping and clean up, Arren replaced the old stem bolts with new silicon bronze bolts, and we were good to go!

New silicon bronze bolts in Compadre's teak stem -- Good for another 85 years!
As we cleaned up the stem we noticed an odd hole, about a half inch in diameter, extending completely through the stem.  No one had a good explanation, but Arren thought it might have been caused by galvanic corrosion between two closely spaced fasteners of different composition (say bronze and steel).  In any event it was no cause for alarm, so he enlarged it a little with a hole saw and glued in a wood plug.  You can see half the plug on the extreme right edge of the image above.
Mysterious hole completely through stem.

Opening up the mystery hole.
Even the most serious project at Port Townsend has it's light moments!  
After cleaning and refastening the stem, the next task was to begin installing new frames in the bow.  The first few frames have little curvature, so there was no need to steam them.  Arren just hammered  the new frames into place next to the old ones.
Arren installing first of 26 replacement frames.

Four new frames adjacent to old ones -- Time to start shaping and fairing.
Careful with that thing!
Ahh... Much better!
Making sure frames are fair.
I mentioned in an earlier post how impressed I was with the craftsmanship of Arren Day and his small team at Frejya Boat Works, and the obvious pride they take in their work.  That sense of pride is demonstrated in the details of the new first floor timber.  

First floor timber -- Beautifully done.
This small, roughly triangular piece resides way up in the bow, immediately behind the stem.  One can see it from a distance through the lower cabinet door in the forward head, but you certainly can't look at it up close with the planks in place. It would have been easy to just rough out this piece, cut an opening for the keel bolt, and secure it in place.  Instead, the opening for the keel bolt is pleasantly shaped with a nice chamfer around the edge.  I like to think Compadre's original builders at the Stephens yard would be pleased.
Second floor in place -- Again very nicely done.
Larger floors farther aft.  We're ready for planks.
Even though I have watched the planking process several times, it remains "big magic" to me.  I simply don't understand how a flat piece of wood can be cut to exactly the right shape to fit in a weird-shaped, curving space.  And these guys even manage to make it look easy!
Garboard pattern, starboard side.
Measure twice, cut once.
New garboard in place, port side.  Magic!
As the structural work neared completion it was time for me to prepare the topsides for new white paint.  I also decided to strip off some of the paint on the transom to see what was underneath.  Was it teak?  Yes! And off came the rest of the paint.  After lots of paint remover and sanding, we had a handsome and clean teak transom. 
Compadre's teak transom emerges after perhaps 25 years under paint.
Under the white were patches of ugly green.  Why do people do this?  Apparently maintaining the varnished teak transom was just too much.   In any event, pictures from the 1980s show Compadre with a painted transom, so the practice began some time ago.  But no more!

With 12 coats of varnish on the transom, new white topsides, and new bottom paint, we were again ready for the salt water.  Off came the canvas shelter, and the shipwrights and owner took a moment to admire their work (I did the painting).  Then off we went on the lift.   After 12 weeks on the hard (February 11 to May 7),  Compadre was looking good and was stronger than ever.
Shipwrights Matt and Arren on launch day.  A job well done.

Off we go again!

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