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Old 19-09-2015, 17:05   #1
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60ft oak on oak restoration project

Ahoy!

It's time for a new project... I've owned, sailed & lived on ferro & plastic boats before but have very little knowledge of wooden boats, beyond the very basic stuff one picks up from quayside beers here & there anyway. So it was probably more than a little hare-brained when, yesterday, I purchased an old wooden MFV conversion, neglected and in need of much (MUCH) work!

She was originally built in 1956 as a North Sea MVF/trawler, 60ft LOA, carvel construction. A surveyor reported her scantlings outmatched requirements by some margin; she has sawn frames of 4.5" (doubled) & 6.5" with frame spacing of 18" centres, deck beams of 5.5", all oak. Her hull planking is all 3" oak.

A previous owner was in the process of converting her to a gaff ketch several years ago but was forced to sell her on before he could complete the (sisyphean?!) task. The last owner used her as a static live aboard but for the last two years or so she has been unused, neglected and is now in need of much love.

Her current deck is douglas fir planking but the whole lot needs replacing; a ply sub deck has been added at some point and water has worked it's way between the sub deck & planking, rotting both severely in several places. The poor water-tight integrity of the deck and the lack of ventilation down below has allowed rot to develop in several places, mostly linings/partitions/sole boards but also some beams/frames, a few of which will need renewing. At least 9 hull planks need renewing, very likely several more once a detailed out of water inspection can be undertaken.

So, there is much to do!

I'll post some photos and updates etc here once things get underway but in the meantime, I'm seeking some advice/guidance and would welcome any pointers :-)

Oak:
Do you know where to source suitable oak in the UK?
What is suitable oak exactly (fresh/air dried/green/kiln, white/other oak, type of cut etc)?
Do you know if there is a wooden boat builder in the UK specialising in oak?
Can you recommend a good wooden boat builder in Hampshire?
With what does one treat and/or paint oak frames/planks?

Deck:
What is the benefit of a ply sub deck?
What woods can be used for the deck planking & which would you recommend?
With what are they treated/painted?
Is it possible/wise to use any other material for the deck?

Please feel free to post any opinions, questions, related info etc. I'll be grateful for any and all feedback & suggestions! Updates/pics to follow below in due course...


Cheers & fair winds,

Neal
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Old 19-09-2015, 17:39   #2
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

I know very little about wooden boats except what I've read. My understanding is that green oak can be worked and aged oak is harder than the hubs of hell.

Hopefully some of the wood hulled sailors can give you better advice.

I'm sure that many of us wish you well and would appreciate some pictures from time to time to see what's involved


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Old 19-09-2015, 17:44   #3
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

I am a shipwright and worked on and built large wood boats and small wood ships.
Before anything else - Stop the leaks first. Fresh water causes rot. Salt as in salt water is a preservative (without marine worms) so your hull my be in good shape if the bottom paint was kept up.

Find a small custom sawmill that has sources for the woods you want. Much of what you will need will not be in sizes found in local home improvement stores.
Oak makes sharp bends very well when steamed, but needs to be recently cut. Old oak sometimes is so hard it has to be cut with a metal cutting blade. Fir is easy to work with. You'll probably need several large shop tools like a table saw and planer.
Older wood boats are usually just painted inside (with marine paint and primer).
You might think of stripping out the decks down to the beams and replace with 2 layers of plywood at opposite angles with an overlap and then fiberglass the decks with 2.0 RSM and epoxy resin. Roll the cloth up the cabin sides about 50mm and any solid side rails or objects and you won't have any leaks (with proper maintenance) for 20 or more years. Plywood needs to be 25mm+ so it doesn't flex when walking over it. Even if you get a desire for teak decks, with the fiberglassed decks underneath and proper fastening methods you'll have a leak free deck. Do the cabin tops, too. If your are going to leave the leaks over winter, salt the deck heavily.
Find a good wood preservative. In the US we had some good ones, but now all we can use is borate. I could tell you what to mix, but the EPA would probably jail me.
My boat is a 1942 war built for the USCG, but spent her life in salt water. Hull has copper sheeting and doesn't leak. Not nearly as heavy built as yours, but was built for speed.
You should have a good ocean boat.
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Old 19-09-2015, 18:25   #4
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

Your going to need some help. Perhaps you can find some enthusiasts to invest some man hours. It's been done before and can be done again. Good luck and send pix.
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Old 19-09-2015, 21:59   #5
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

Douglas fir was used for decks extensively for commercial shipping. That's got to be cheaper than oak and may be more rot resistant in that application.
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Old 19-09-2015, 22:05   #6
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

May I suggest www.robbins.co.uk Robbins timber in Bristol and. If you get a chance go over to Suffolk or contact Spirit Yachts | Traditional Wooden Sailboats | Luxury Yachts they may be able to give good advice on sourcing
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Old 20-09-2015, 01:58   #7
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
Before anything else - Stop the leaks first. Fresh water causes rot. Salt as in salt water is a preservative (without marine worms) so your hull my be in good shape if the bottom paint was kept up.

Find a small custom sawmill that has sources for the woods you want. Much of what you will need will not be in sizes found in local home improvement stores.
Oak makes sharp bends very well when steamed, but needs to be recently cut. Old oak sometimes is so hard it has to be cut with a metal cutting blade. Fir is easy to work with. You'll probably need several large shop tools like a table saw and planer.
Older wood boats are usually just painted inside (with marine paint and primer).
You might think of stripping out the decks down to the beams and replace with 2 layers of plywood at opposite angles with an overlap and then fiberglass the decks with 2.0 RSM and epoxy resin. Roll the cloth up the cabin sides about 50mm and any solid side rails or objects and you won't have any leaks (with proper maintenance) for 20 or more years. Plywood needs to be 25mm+ so it doesn't flex when walking over it. Even if you get a desire for teak decks, with the fiberglassed decks underneath and proper fastening methods you'll have a leak free deck. Do the cabin tops, too. If your are going to leave the leaks over winter, salt the deck heavily.
Find a good wood preservative. In the US we had some good ones, but now all we can use is borate. I could tell you what to mix, but the EPA would probably jail me.
.
I'd say +1 on the VAST Majority of this. But would add a few thoughts to it.

- When laying down the plywood, epoxy the two layers together. Perhaps even going so far as to put a layer or three (depending on it's weight) of glass cloth, in between the layers.
Thus gluing them together, but also making each one water tight, independent of the other. Yet still winding up with a monocoque deck foundation (or deck, proper).

- Me, I'd put down 2-3mm of glass on top of the plywood, using epoxy of course, & call it good. Right after, that is, I put down a coat or three of primer, some paint & non-skid. KISS.
Heck, some guys might even try & talk you into some kind of truck bed liner. But paint & a bit of silica sand is a time proven route.
The silica part is key, as pure silica sand, like that which you'd buy from a contractor's store, contains ZERO iron, & thus will never bleed rust up through your deck paint.

- There are a multiplicity of woods which you can use for decking, on top of a glassed sub-deck (above). And all but a few of them are Far easier to properly bond to a sub-deck than Teak.
In fact, most of them (Teak included, if you know the "spell") can be glued in place, with epoxy. And have the perks of being a good bit lighter, cheaper, & easier to work, to boot.
Basically, if you can name a wood, it's been used, & or is still in use today.

- There are also a multiplicity of ways, traditional, & non, of other methoda of making decks waterproof. The catch (usually) being, that they're more complex. And likely more expensive, as well as shorter lived (than epoxy).

- Start doing some reading on wooden boat construction, especially with Winter & the many hours of darkness which it brings us. George Buehler's a good author to start with. Especially his works on backyard boatbuilding, & boatbuilding on the cheap - see Amazon.com
As he has a plethora of ideas on how to build & or repair wooden boats for little $. And a good depth of experience of the various methodologies used for doing same. Even down to using roofing tar & tar paper in some applications, for making things like wooden decks, well sealed, & waterproof (long term like).
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Old 20-09-2015, 08:23   #8
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

I can only add to the good advice of Lepke and Uncivilized that the Maritime Museum in Greenwich is a treasure trove of info. On wooden construction.
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Old 20-09-2015, 09:05   #9
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

I am currently restoring a John Alden designed auxiliary ketch modeled on the Malabar XXll. I have replaced many of the frames and all of the planking w/splined seams. I have put 2 layers of 25mm "MDO" plywood (medium density overlay) which is near marine quality without the marine price. Epoxied together over laminated oak beams 2" X 2 1/2". The cover is up for grabs but may well be marine type cork.

You should buy every book on wood boat construction (Bud McIntosh and Chapelle) and read them. The magazine "Wooden Boat" has been a source in years past but seems more focused on smaller vessels. Their forum could be some help - there are purists and pragmatists there - pick your poison.

You will benefit from getting the boat inside, if possible, as close to the shop with all the big wood working machines you are going to get. You're gonna need them. Share pictures - I will be posting more of mine when I complete my retirement and move closer to the boat (now 270 miles away - soon to be 2 miles).

Find someone who knows what they are doing and either hire him or consult. I did that and it was the best decision I made.

Message me your questions if you like - if I don't know the answer I can get it.


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Old 20-09-2015, 09:52   #10
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

If the boat is iron fastened and the wood is going bad around the fasteners as it normally does, find another project. Assuming the boat is bronze fastened, Step #1 is to preserve what you have so that you are not losing ground and this means getting the boat under some sort of a good leak proof cover. Yes, the scantlings sound massive..are you sure about the 3" planking thickness, seems excessive? Be sure to use only white oak for the rebuild if you are going to use oak again. Air dried is the best which will take a min of 1 year per inch of thickness so cut and stick asap. New England Naval Timbers (Duke) is an excellent source in New England USA and the prices are good but the postage might not be for you. I have lived on and sailed wooden boats all my life, there are lots of advantages and disadvantages of the contraction types. Certainly wood is the most enjoyable material to work with, the boat is quiet, doesn't sweat much etc. A wood hull in good shape that was well faired tends to stay that way..no bulkheads showing through the hull or hollow areas like in glass.

My suggestion on the deck would be to use a good marine plywood either two layers overlapped at the seams or scarfed. Then overlay with epoxy Dynel or Fiberglass sheathing..no teak overlay. Finish with a good 2 part paint and you are set for 15 years before having to do anything to it and no leaks. Think of your deck as the roof on your house, if it keeps everything below dry, you won't have rot problems in the future.

This will be a big long term project unless you have a crew. Get mentally and financially prepared!

Good Luck,

James

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfaroo View Post
Ahoy!

It's time for a new project... I've owned, sailed & lived on ferro & plastic boats before but have very little knowledge of wooden boats, beyond the very basic stuff one picks up from quayside beers here & there anyway. So it was probably more than a little hare-brained when, yesterday, I purchased an old wooden MFV conversion, neglected and in need of much (MUCH) work!

She was originally built in 1956 as a North Sea MVF/trawler, 60ft LOA, carvel construction. A surveyor reported her scantlings outmatched requirements by some margin; she has sawn frames of 4.5" (doubled) & 6.5" with frame spacing of 18" centres, deck beams of 5.5", all oak. Her hull planking is all 3" oak.

A previous owner was in the process of converting her to a gaff ketch several years ago but was forced to sell her on before he could complete the (sisyphean?!) task. The last owner used her as a static live aboard but for the last two years or so she has been unused, neglected and is now in need of much love.

Her current deck is douglas fir planking but the whole lot needs replacing; a ply sub deck has been added at some point and water has worked it's way between the sub deck & planking, rotting both severely in several places. The poor water-tight integrity of the deck and the lack of ventilation down below has allowed rot to develop in several places, mostly linings/partitions/sole boards but also some beams/frames, a few of which will need renewing. At least 9 hull planks need renewing, very likely several more once a detailed out of water inspection can be undertaken.

So, there is much to do!

I'll post some photos and updates etc here once things get underway but in the meantime, I'm seeking some advice/guidance and would welcome any pointers :-)

Oak:
Do you know where to source suitable oak in the UK?
What is suitable oak exactly (fresh/air dried/green/kiln, white/other oak, type of cut etc)?
Do you know if there is a wooden boat builder in the UK specialising in oak?
Can you recommend a good wooden boat builder in Hampshire?
With what does one treat and/or paint oak frames/planks?

Deck:
What is the benefit of a ply sub deck?
What woods can be used for the deck planking & which would you recommend?
With what are they treated/painted?
Is it possible/wise to use any other material for the deck?

Please feel free to post any opinions, questions, related info etc. I'll be grateful for any and all feedback & suggestions! Updates/pics to follow below in due course...


Cheers & fair winds,

Neal
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Old 20-09-2015, 10:30   #11
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

I am also taking on a wooden boat project. Half the size and I hope 1/8 of the problems. The hull is from 1966 Far East Tacht Builders: 3/8 mahogany planked diagonally, covered with Resorsinol saturated canvas and then 3/8 mahogany longitudinally. One of the 3" wide outer planks above the waterline has pushed outward by a 1/4" on a run of about 8'. Any ideas how to treat? Bronze fastened with ship nails and clinched with washer. Dare I just plane it flush?
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Old 20-09-2015, 11:03   #12
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

If you have a plank edge sticking out 1/4" then you have the same gap on the inside with a glue failure and water getting into the structure, so no don't just plane it down. Simply remove all of the loose planking, insure that it is good and dry. Fit a new pc.with ends scarfed in at a ten to one ratio. Mix up some filled epoxy and bond the new plank in and resheath. Resorcinol is great stuff but hard to get the required tolerances of about 6 thousandths in a repair, epoxy will allow wider gaps with no problems. You can use clamping pressure or bronze screws to pull the new plank in then plane and fair. I have never heard of resorcinol and canvas sheathing. How about epoxy/dynel? No itch when you girnd dynel and it has more give than glass. Good luck. James
Quote:
Originally Posted by bailsout View Post
I am also taking on a wooden boat project. Half the size and I hope 1/8 of the problems. The hull is from 1966 Far East Tacht Builders: 3/8 mahogany planked diagonally, covered with Resorsinol saturated canvas and then 3/8 mahogany longitudinally. One of the 3" wide outer planks above the waterline has pushed outward by a 1/4" on a run of about 8'. Any ideas how to treat? Bronze fastened with ship nails and clinched with washer. Dare I just plane it flush?
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Old 20-09-2015, 11:25   #13
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfaroo View Post
Ahoy!

It's time for a new project... I've owned, sailed & lived on ferro & plastic boats before but have very little knowledge of wooden boats, beyond the very basic stuff one picks up from quayside beers here & there anyway. So it was probably more than a little hare-brained when, yesterday, I purchased an old wooden MFV conversion, neglected and in need of much (MUCH) work!

She was originally built in 1956 as a North Sea MVF/trawler, 60ft LOA, carvel construction. A surveyor reported her scantlings outmatched requirements by some margin; she has sawn frames of 4.5" (doubled) & 6.5" with frame spacing of 18" centres, deck beams of 5.5", all oak. Her hull planking is all 3" oak.

A previous owner was in the process of converting her to a gaff ketch several years ago but was forced to sell her on before he could complete the (sisyphean?!) task. The last owner used her as a static live aboard but for the last two years or so she has been unused, neglected and is now in need of much love.

Her current deck is douglas fir planking but the whole lot needs replacing; a ply sub deck has been added at some point and water has worked it's way between the sub deck & planking, rotting both severely in several places. The poor water-tight integrity of the deck and the lack of ventilation down below has allowed rot to develop in several places, mostly linings/partitions/sole boards but also some beams/frames, a few of which will need renewing. At least 9 hull planks need renewing, very likely several more once a detailed out of water inspection can be undertaken.

So, there is much to do!

I'll post some photos and updates etc here once things get underway but in the meantime, I'm seeking some advice/guidance and would welcome any pointers :-)

Oak:
Do you know where to source suitable oak in the UK?
What is suitable oak exactly (fresh/air dried/green/kiln, white/other oak, type of cut etc)?
Do you know if there is a wooden boat builder in the UK specialising in oak?
Can you recommend a good wooden boat builder in Hampshire?
With what does one treat and/or paint oak frames/planks?

Deck:
What is the benefit of a ply sub deck?
What woods can be used for the deck planking & which would you recommend?
With what are they treated/painted?
Is it possible/wise to use any other material for the deck?

Please feel free to post any opinions, questions, related info etc. I'll be grateful for any and all feedback & suggestions! Updates/pics to follow below in due course...


Cheers & fair winds,

Neal
I owned a boatyard for several years and used to repair wooden boats.
Some observations:
Check the plank fastenings. On a commercial vessel like this they are probably galvanized steel. Pull a few of them. If they are corroded then you will have to refasten the entire boat.
I have seen stems rot from the inside out. Just a small hole at the top or somewhere else can let enough water in over time to do it, even through a loose screw. Eventually the planks at the hood ends will spring out and your boat will become a water scoop. This also holds true for the keel and stern post
I've seen frames on a well maintained boat rot from the plank side. Remove a plank or two from each side (one at a time). Check the face of the frames. Push with a knife or awl. If it goes in like butter you will have to replace or sister that frame and probably several others. There is no way to know this just by looking at the frames from the inside unless they are obviously rotten.
Hope you didn't pay much for this boat.
We used to have a saying around the yard " Wood starts to rot from the day the tree is cut down."
Good luck with your project.
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Old 20-09-2015, 12:48   #14
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

Neal, got any photos? this would make a great thread on here
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Old 20-09-2015, 15:16   #15
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Re: 60ft oak on oak restoration project

Without a wood-expert on my side I wouldn't undertake such a project.

Ability to select a yard where it is possible to get access for your third parts, and yourself, is paramount :-)

Said that, Mammamia..... I would say 2 full years of full time work is ahead for you. I mean 24mos, no less.....
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