Paul
Paul

April 5th, 2007, 7:16 pm #41

Well the front seats have been disassembled and it’s evident one is original and the other apparently had some repair work done on it. The passenger seat was deteriorated inside, looking like either termites or rot. The termite thing seems sort of far fetched, but I guess it’s rot.

Upon taking things apart, I now see some critical fastenings that are badly rusted, and one of the front seat hinges is so badly rusted it is structurally weakened. The rust may well have reached all the way through the piece. Therefore, rather than continue trying to save these old pieces, I’m building new ones identical to these, using these as a pattern. Mine will use the proper marine plywood, and may actually be a tad heavier. It never ceases to amaze me how boat builders knew how to make things strong, but also light in weight, to enhance performance, cut down overall weight, and to conserve on materials too.

Here are a few photos of what those front seats looked like on the inside.

I’ll have to find new hinges, and get some specialty fittings to conceal the assembly like Chris Craft did. Their design is reasonably durable, with the seat back sort of locking into the bottom to hold it steady, and not totally relying on the hinge alone.

Part of the fun here is to have seats, instruments, etc., all looking authentic. J

Here’s what the helm seat looked like on the outside (no pun intended). J.





Since it was snowing today, I decided it would be best to sit in front of the fireplace and just disassemble the helm seat to see what I had to work with.





Here is the start of the disassembly, hmmmm, you never know how something is put together, until you first take it apart !
Excellent quality work too, looks dead stock original as specified. I took original sales literature and lots of photos, pieces of the old upholstery, in order to be sure the color, weight, and sewing techniques were properly done.

They let me take a finished piece home and fit it up against the pocket in which it would nest. I photographed the results, took it back and asked them to add some padding so the piece would fully fill the void where it abutted.

All of the seat structures were either reinforced or rebuilt in their entirety. They used an overlay of 1/4" soft foam so the seats would have a soft touch, but would be firm to sit on. I'll post some photos later. These pieces will be stored until it is time to assemble the boat, which is still apart while the broken motor stringer is being repaired.

Once things are ready to reassemble, the progress will go fast.

Paul

Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

April 15th, 2007, 11:53 pm #42

First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1162070768



This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.


Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.

The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.

The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.

I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.

Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes"

I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.

Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.

The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.

I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done".

Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !

I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.

Regards, Paul



After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!


Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1170963414

Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)







July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.

Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !










Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.






This was a seperate thread last week, and I am moving it over here onto my 20' Skiff restoration thread

Paul
-----------------------------


Well, I had a real blast with working with epoxy this holiday week-end. Very impressive products and results too. On my 20' fiberglass Sea Skiff project, I had what looked like a crack in my fiberglass box beam construction, minor in nature, and not really sure about it.

I decided to HEAVILY reinforce the entire area, and discovered polyester would not grip as well as epoxy would. Therefore I used the MAS FLAG epoxy product. "FLAG" in this instance stands for Filleting, Laminating, and Gluing, thus the "FLAG" nomenclature.



The hardness, yeild strength, and tensil strength of the epoxy proeuct looked superior to the lower cost polyester, so that's what I decided to use.

First I ground down the entire surface of the box beam to be sure I got rid of all grease, oil and paint. I then drilled many holes into the beam so I could get a very positive grip. 27 ounces of epoxy were mixed, 18 ounces of epoxy and 9 ounces of FAST hardener. I painted on the base coat, and placed a layer of heavy fiberglass woven cloth. Then I painted more epoxy on top of the heavy cloth. This went on for many layers, for at least a half inch of heavy cover all around the box beam in question, which holds the entire front weight of the motor by the way, with added emphaisis on the point of connection to the longitudinal box beams.

The cut edges of the heavy fiberglass cloth don't want to lie down when they are saturated with epoxy, not initially and not even when the epoxy is almost cured. Therefore it's a real nice finish job if you add a covering of fine fiberglass cloth on top to finish everything off nicely. Wow, it worked like a charm.

Here's a real tip. Wear three layers of disposable vinyl gloves. You can do so much more work with your hands right on the work, and when you get mired down in epoxy, you can just pull off a layer and be able to reach for a screwdriver, etc., without getting epoxy everywhere. When I had my work almost done, with all the laminations in place, I then painted a final layer of epoxy onto the surface and just pressed the fine glass cloth on top. It immediately grabbed, I smoothed everything out, and it cured really nice and smooth.

I went through 4 27-ounce mixes of the epoxy, so you can see I have a very stout reinforcing of the fiberglass structure. This will be painted the stock gray bilge color and it will look stock. It will be painted after it is kissed with a sander to get some of those wild hairs and dimples smoothed out.

I recommend the MAS product line. It is easy to work with, and if you cut strips of glass cloth, you can layer it on just like you are making a paper mache piece of artwork. Cross hatching strips across a joint will make it VERY strong too. This stuff is exothermic, which means it will generate heat. At the final curing point you don't want to have much left in the container, or it will literally start smoking! If you lay it up to thick and too fast, it will also get hot.

I'll post a photo of the work once I can get in there and clean things up and get a good shot. Right now it's a mess, but at least I was working on a Chris Craft !


----------------------------------------------------


Why not polyester?
April 12 2007 at 10:40 AM
Howard (Login HowardEchols38)


Response to EPOXY, not just a breakfast drink anymore !

Hi Paul,Interesting writeup on the epoxy. With so many polyester products on the market, I'm curious why you elected to go the epoxy route instead of the polyester and fiberglass route for your reinforcing. I'm interested in seeing your photos.Howard

-------------------------------------------------

Re: Why not polyester?
April 12 2007 at 11:46 AM
Paul (no login)


Response to Why not polyester?

Hi Howard,Hope all is well "down there" on the Tennessee !I actually bought polyester to do this job, but as I began learning more about epoxy, and discovering it had better adhesion, higher yeild strength, etc., I decided this was too important a structural issue to use polyester. Looking at the finished job, it looks WAY stronger than it came out of the plant in Cortland, NY.I'll look up the strength and hardness ratings on the containers and post them here for the record. The adhesion was the main concern. The flexibility of epoxy is very good.Regards, Paul(let me know when you are going to be in Nashville !)

Regards, Paul

-----------------------------------------------------




I don’t want you guys to think I’m slaving away with this project, lol.

I have some reinforcing high grade aluminum pieces being fabricated today, and I decided to enjoy the clean up phase of the epoxy frame strengthening phase of the project this evening. Nothing like a good cigar and a glass of La Crema Pinot to take the edge off the day. After all, we have to take time to ENJOY working on boats. It’s not slave labor, it’s an elective thing we do for fun!

During the cleanup, I was pretty impressed with the voracity of adhesion that epoxy had on uncleaned pieces of the hull! Even places that looked like they had oil film had some epoxy droppings that I had to use a chisel to remove. Having seen that, I know the parts I roughed up and drilled for good adhesion are now bonded beyond any structural loading they’ll see under my ownership, unless this boat gets a 427 sometime in the future, heh heh. We’ll see how it runs with the small block this season, and I’m quite sure it will be just fine.

You can see part of my epoxy saturated fiberglass cloth in the background, and my evening reward for having taken on this job. I cleaned up most of the debris left over from the job, all those wasted vinyl gloves I peeled off one at a time, fiberglass cloth debris, etc. and got it out of the way. I’ll do a touch up with the sander and paint this to match the rest of the bilge prior to buttoning everything up. Nobody will see it, but I’ll feel better knowing it was done right. More photos on the way, but first, another glass of La Crema


Here’s what the crime scene looked like during the clean up. Everything the epoxy went down on was ground rough to enhance the grip. The cross beam was actually increased by abut ½” in size and overlapped onto the longitudinal beams. The actual joint was lapped, filled, and lapped again with straight and cross hatched strips. I’ll have to compensate with an adjustment in the engine mounts.



Those wood stringers are actually in good shape except for the crack. I’ve traced a pattern for both stringers, in order to put an exact replica of the shape on each side of the stringers in 1/8” high grade aluminum plate, through bolted with stainless steel. When done, the stringers and cross beam assembly will probably be stronger by quite a margin over what they were when new. Curt, I liked your idea about the flitch beam technique, as I think it will work just fine.

I never planned on having to do this work, but once into it, you just have to do what is necessary, and I couldn’t overlook the structural issues. All of this will be covered up with flooring.

Regards from Nashville,

Paul
Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

April 15th, 2007, 11:58 pm #43

First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1162070768



This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.


Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.

The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.

The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.

I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.

Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes"

I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.

Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.

The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.

I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done".

Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !

I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.

Regards, Paul



After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!


Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1170963414

Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)







July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.

Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !










Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.






We headed out to Old Hickory Lake Saturday morning after loading up all the interior panels for the 20’ Sea Skiff into Janet’s SUV. That allowed Janet to spend the week-end on the water and it allowed me to work on boat stuff in the comfort of an interior space, while the weather got wet, cold, and breezy outside.

We ordered the vinyl from West Marine, after checking actual color samples in the local store. We selected a color that very closely matched the interior color of the original boat, and it was not listed in their catalog. They have a bigger selection of vinyl to choose from if you actually go to the store and look at their internal sample books. We chose the “Dune” color, which is used on all the side panels, along with white seats and white motor box top.

Here is your forum host working on some of the flatwork. If you have a job like this, don’t even think about doing it without an electric staple gun. Your hands would never take the punishment. I carefully checked the various staple sizes to be sure they were not penetrating too far through the thin plywood side panels. Yes, those are original panels, and yes, that is the original vinyl still on them too. We decided to leave the original vinyl in place just to add a little better “feel” to the finished work, and to provide a cushion. Monel staples were used. The hammer you see in the photos was used to go over all the staples once the work was done, to be sure all the staples were flattened down.





I’ll be able to finish this up in one more evening's work. In the interim this week, I have some chrome work to do, I’m getting my engine stringer reinforcements back, and instruments are due too. In the basement shop, I have the windshield all spread out and work is under way on a complete restoration of some heavily pitted pieces. I will do a complete report on that part of the job, as it applies to all Commanders. Once I see how this works, I may well do the same thing on the interior of my 38 Express. The industrial coatings I’ve selected are so close to a true anodized finish you hopefully won’t be able to tell the difference. More on that later.

Regards, Paul
Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

April 19th, 2007, 12:13 am #44

First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1162070768



This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.


Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.

The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.

The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.

I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.

Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes"

I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.

Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.

The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.

I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done".

Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !

I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.

Regards, Paul



After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!


Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1170963414

Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)







July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.

Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !










Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.






?t=1201621920

I thought I'd drop this photo in, just to show everyone how much fun I'm having. Tools, parts, everywhere! It doesn't get much better than THIS !



The high grade non-corrosive aluminum reinforcing panels are done! A visit to my friendly sheet metal shop (a place where they can just about build anything) produced some impressive results. Not only are the pieces cut exactly to my template, they are also nicely finished on the edges so they won’t cut hands and auto upholstery when handled! Nice job guys!

These are 1/8” thick, based upon the grade of aluminum and the advice of the shop foreman. Together they’ll add a huge amount of structural section modulas to the fir engine stringers.

I initially thought I’d just cut two more stringers from fir, or laminate something together. As I evaluated the outcome, I was aware that the original design was flawed due to the placement of the grain in such a vulnerable location, thus the crack in the first place. Curt’s comment about doing a repair that was stronger than the original design rang home. On a flitch beam design like this, which is essentially a wood beam that is reinforced with the inclusion of a metal section, the beauty of the design is the metal is used in it’s strongest axis, and it is not allowed to bend out of that axis due to the fact that it is thru-bolted to the wood.

We’ll see how it goes. Both wood stringers will be reinforced this way. If it proves to not work, that will give me something to do next season.

Here are some photos of the pieces. You can see the template I cut out of foam-core board. That was placed in the hull and it was trimmed up so it was a perfect fit, sized to be just a little smaller all around than the dimensions of the wood stringers.




Below is a photo showing the 1/8” thickness, which is about 1-1/2 the size of a 5-cent nickel piece of change (US currency). The higher grade aluminum offered an additional level of strength, in addition to being less prone to corrode. I’ll use stainless steel fasteners everywhere. Photos will follow, and a season of running will determine if this was a good fix or not! J Nothing is EVER as easy as it appears at the onset. After all, this is B-O-A-T-I-N-G.




Here’s where the reinforcing pieces go, in case anyone missed the thread. The grain on the stringers is parallel to the load, which is fine, except to the part that is cut upward exposing the grain to splitting as shown in the photo. This is most certainly a design flaw. Chris Craft should have either produced a lamination of sorts, used a different profile that was more protective of exposed end grain, or used the method of reinforcing I am using here in a flitch beam system. It may have been as simple as using a different type of wood other than fir. White oak, for instance, may have been a better solution. In any case, the issue is soon to be closed, and I can get on with the reassembly of this very cool boat.

Last edited by FEfinaticP on January 29th, 2008, 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

Joined: August 25th, 2005, 5:45 am

April 19th, 2007, 1:49 am #45

Thanks for your note Paul.

In addition to being strong, those engine beams will look pretty cool after your retrofit repair. Gosh, it would be tempting to paint the wood first, and then add the aluminum pieces and leave them shiny.

You may want to give a little thought to roughing up the hidden side of the aluminum and the mating wood surfaces with course sand paper, and install the plates using a bit of "PL Polyurthane Construction Adhesive" between the aluminum and wood (Home Depot, about $4 for a calking gun sized tube). That stuff is kind of like a cross between Gorilla Glue and Liquid Nails, and would really make a nice connection that would add a decent amount of shear strength between the materials. Then as you said, add plenty of fasteners -- perhaps a combo of thru bolts and stainless screws that don't quite go all the way through. Just as with pressed-on plate connectors installed on the 2x trusses used in residentual and light commercial construction, many small connectors result in huge shear carrying capacity.

And I know you will fill that crack with glue first and clamp that sucker until cured. And one or two 9/16 or 5/8 bolts installed top to bottom through that cracked area with fender washers on each side wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Anyway, whatever you do, I know it will be a quality job, and we will all look forward to the pictures of the completed project.

--- Update on Portland ----

The weather was warm here a couple of weeks ago and the lawn took off growing like crazy. But we have had a LOT of rain (and even hail storms), and the temps have really dropped (mid 30's at night and mid 50's in the day). I have 3 acres of lawn at my place to keep mowed, and there are numerous places where I just can't run the mower due to surface water and soft ground. I have a 51 hp diesel powered 4WD golf course mower (that's right, 51 hp!), and I even managed to get that thing burried to the frame out there one day and had to drag it out with the tractor! The lawn in that area is totally destroyed, and I will have to add topsoil, regrade, and replant lawn when the weather permits. With things so wet and cold here, as you can imagine we have not been too enthusiastic to do much boating recently, and are patiently awaiting more summer-like weather.

So our Chris Craft is sitting quietly waiting. Jim has been working on a couch/bunk that will fit in the main salon (lower wheel house) -- it will be installed along the starboard bulkhead below the windows, and will fold up vertical below the windows when we want it out of the way, or when we need to pull the engine hatches. The cushion will simply be a black futon mattress we bought. So the matress will form a seat and back for sitting or single sleeping, or it can just be dragged onto the deck for double sleeping should we ever need that. The wood Jim used for the structure is original CC mahogany plywood that at one time was one of the bunks in the galley cabin (Sport-Fishers had bunks rather than a dinette, but our is retrofitted with a dinette that makes into a bed). I fabricated some custom designed steel brackets to support the new couch structure from the starboard bulkhead. I will post pictures when we get it installed.

Best wishes, Curt...
---

1967 fiberglass 38' Chris Craft Commander Sportfisher with twin 427 CID 300 HP engines.
Quote
Like
Share

Paul
Paul

April 19th, 2007, 2:13 am #46

Good comments! I especially liked the comparison with the press connection used in residential trusses, where many small connections increase shear strength. As I get in there to do the job I'm sure I'll learn more about what could and should be done once I get another good look at things (this week end).

I purchased some 1/4" stainless steel bolts 4" long, to go through the 3" of wood, the 1/4" of aluminum (2 1/8" pieces), the washers, and lock washer, with a little thread left for the nut. There are a couple locations that I think will benefit from a bolt going all the way through to really bond things tight. I also see some benefit from screws part way too, and also some good shear resistance to be gained from glue bonding. At first I was thinking only of bolts going through everything and no glue. That would at least allow disassembly some day.

I'll photograph the process, and I'm really looking forward to getting this behind me. Normally when I do a repair, or when I build anything, it's generally over-built by a wide safety factor.

Regards, all the best,

Paul

Quote
Share

Joined: August 25th, 2005, 5:45 am

April 19th, 2007, 3:16 am #47

Paul said: "At first I was thinking only of bolts going through everything and no glue. That would at least allow disassembly some day."

If these don't work out (but I think they will work fine), I doubt if you would disassemble it. I bet you would be making new pieces out of wood with the grain running at just a bit different orientation, or perhaps out of laminated material.

About over-building: Absolutely nothing wrong with that! My whole career was designing for the hydropower industry where we normally were only building one (or at most a few dozen) of any design. With one-off designs you can't afford to spend great amounts of time optimizing the design to the N-th degree like they do in the manufacturing industries where they may be making hundreds of thousands of pieces. Thus mild over-designs are simply good business (a little extra weight and extra materials is more economical and expeditious than extra months or years of additional design and prototype testing). And if we did have a failure, we could usually zero right in on a design flaw and beef it up a little just like you are doing on your stringers.

I bet you can hardly wait to get out of the bottom of that boat and start dropping the drive train back in!

Best wishes, Curt...
---

1967 fiberglass 38' Chris Craft Commander Sportfisher with twin 427 CID 300 HP engines.
Quote
Like
Share

Paul
Paul

April 20th, 2007, 8:22 pm #48

First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1162070768



This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.


Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.

The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.

The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.

I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.

Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes"

I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.

Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.

The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.

I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done".

Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !

I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.

Regards, Paul



After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!


Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1170963414

Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)







July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.

Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !










Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.






The engine stringer reinforcing work is under way, and almost done as I type this now. The aluminum reinforcing pieces fit in perfectly and I’m in the process of thru-bolting them now.

The main cracked engine stringers were glued and stainless steel reinforced with vertical threaded rods. All said and done, this will be a strong fix.

I forced the cracked pieces open a bit more in order to get glue in the cracked areas. I drilled down from the top just into the crack but not through it. That allowed me to drip glue down the holes and directly into the area needing glue. It worked like a charm.

I trimmed off the vertical rods, painted things up to seal the crack, etc., and now I’m in the process of installing the plates on the second stringer.

Here are a few sequential photos showing the progress this afternoon.

Here’s a photo of the dirty work. Arrrgghhh, not really my idea of a good time, but hey, at least I was working on a boat. The weather was nice, and I enjoyed being able to fix something.


Here is a shot of the general area of the hull needing the work, and this includes the epoxy and fiberglass cross beam that was HEAVILY reinforced to help spread the shock loads of running fast in rough water.


Here’s a photo of the aluminum plates going on the starboard side as the glue on the port side is curing out.


Here is the work area after painting the cross beam, and now I’m ready to install the plates on that port side. The vertical rods have been trimmed off and the paint is drying now. Time for a beer!




Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

April 21st, 2007, 12:58 am #49

This photo, more than any other, shows the aluminum plates mated up to the wood stringers nicely. I'll probably add some additional bolts, but for now things are looking mighty fine. The reason I didn't just make up another wood stringer, was the fact that I was afraid the other one would break in the same place. Therefore, I decided to reinforce both of them. I am very sure even the repaired one is now stronger than the original construction.



All of that is now done, thankfully. I can now concentrate on spinning that motor back around, placing it back on the stringers, and getting that new transmission (and the good exhaust manifolds) all bolted back in place. That should make for an exciting day (tomorrow) !

Regards, Paul
Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

April 23rd, 2007, 2:49 am #50

First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1162070768



This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.


Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.

The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.

The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.

I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.

Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes"

I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.

Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.

The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.

I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done".

Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !

I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.

Regards, Paul



After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!


Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1170963414

Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)







July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.

Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !










Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.






Well I know how thick the 1966 vintage Cortland-built Chris Craft Sea Skiff fiberglass hull is on the bottom. I installed a high speed flush mounted depth sounder transducer today, and the darn hull is a full 1/2" thick. I'll post a photo of the plug I took out; green gel coat on the bottom, gray bilge paint on the top.



I’ll bet there aren’t too many new boats this size being built today that have this amount of high quality polyester and fiberglass on the bottom. Chris Craft went out of their way to be sure they used high quality resins, and THIS sure drives the point home. It is the same material used on the Commanders (as clearly stated in Chris Craft literature of the period).

Regards, Paul
Quote
Share