Sunday, 30 March 2014

"The Unkindest Cut of All"

Well that's what Caesar might have said when he had to cut off the end of the bottom panel he had just perfectly fitted...however it turns out the "Dwight" was right after all. When we tried to shove the panel into place it just knuckled up into a hump behind the 2nd frame. Sooo we cut it off and scarphed (or possibly scarfed) the end over the third frame.

Chris makes the Unkindest Cut.
George bevels the cut-off panel for scarfing.

Earlier in the week (Thursday evening) was our monthly Shore Leave Night which was well attended - pizza & beer for $10 a head. The teams got to noodle their projects with others and the Youngest Member tried out for one of the upcoming Sea Flea driving openings....

"Boat Widow" catches up with Chris and George
Troy studies sea flea details

Troy begins training early..

comparing notes...

In the engine shop more motors arrived, more were fired up and repairs are moving along.

Joseph cleans out a tank...
for the Lockwood Ash outboard
Rob dropped these two off.

We were delighted to welcome ACBS members Charlie and Rob from Coldwater who dropped off a pair of OMC outboards for the programme. Rob was the 2nd prize winner in the TIBS raffle and went home with a lovely cased model Chris-Craft! Also in the motor shop the parts for the 1956 Johnson 5 1/2 came back from the donated stripping job at Techno Strip in Brampton - looking really great too.

On the Sea Flea front Bernie has moved along with the prototype assembly. Transom is now fitted and includes a little bit of deadrise not in the original plan. Interesting how everything is laying in on nice fair lines now - getting the bow seam to pull up so well just eliminated a lot of difficulties.

Anton, Bernie and Troy glass seam.
dry fitting the final transom

another look at Bernie's Magic Sea Flea Tool!

TNT Team has a blast - as usual. Actually this is a fairly tedious part of the restoration process - refastening and plugging the old screw holes. However it is great to have all those steel screws out of the hull and replace by bronze boat nails. Filling the old screw holes involves dipping mahogany plugs in epoxy and whacking them into the holes.

Jason and Steve plug away...actually they are setting the boat nails!

The raffle skiff is moving along as well under the detailed attention of Wayne and Jim. The inside of the boat has been sanded out with 80 grit paper and all sharp edges have been softened as varnish will not do well on sharp edges. The stem is nicely shaped and trimmed, we are almost ready for interior stain.

Wayne fairs the stem

and Jim trims to height.

And the shot of the week...Troy's little guy takes his first sea flea ride....

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The OOPs and downs of restoration

I might as well 'fess up to the OOPs part first. Hopefully you haven't been reading past posts where I described having the bottom panels for the 16' Shepherd Outboard ready to go with just one scarph? Whew, let's just pretend I didn't say that...NOW we understand what Dwight has been hinting at for a few weeks. When I told him we were going to put the bottom on like this he said something like "good luck", he has always had to cut and scarph 3" diagonal strips in order to make the compound curves in the bottom up at the bow.

When George and I tried to dry fit the bottom panels, they knuckle up just in front of the 2nd and 3rd frames. No way will they lie down and make a fair shape - damn it. So now we are going to do the the right way after all. George is making up a scarphing jig so we can make the scarph cuts on the table saw.

it almost works - a little more adjusting and we'll have it!

Meanwhile Bernie is back from the Keys having spent most of his time noodling how to redesign our sea flea! He showed up with a brilliant solution to closing the joint that makes the bottom shape at the bow. Using two ends of a large barrel clamp bolted to each side of the joint, he modified the tightening screw so he could run it up with an impact gun. This rig closed up that joint perfectly every time and made fine fitting the joint a piece of cake. really slick! We decided to G2 epoxy the joint and see if it will hold - before applying the fiberglas tape. Stay tuned.

barrel clamps bolted in place

Bernie bolted in place

epoxied and fileted!
clamps run up - perfect joint

Down in the engine shop Peter and Joseph get the Firestone outboard running and Jason brought in the family 15 HP Evinrude (about '62 vintage) which has shifting problems. Under Peter's guidance, he disassembled the lower unit, found the problem and once he has parts in hand - no problem! He and Steve are thinking it might go well on the TNT! Speaking of which...

Jason into Evinrude 15

while Steve does the real work...

Gas-Hopper is now fully stripped and ready for the next stage. Which is a close examination of fastenings to see what needs to come out and be refastened! Looks pretty good from a distance but!...

getting naked

done, revealing a nice solid oak transom

something used to come out that hole!

And finally the skiff! Jim plugged away at the finishing details in preparation for interior stain and varnish. Shaping the bowpost is part of that. Looking very good.

the great craftsman at work - tounge in teeth
And finally remember! Raffle tickets out - parts and materials in!

You can help by buying a raffle ticket for the last completed skiff in the shop (or a sea flea) just call 905 873-0141 or drop into the shop any Saturday morning or this coming Thursday evening 7 to 9 is March Shore Leave Night! Pizza and beer, $10 a head!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

tops to bottoms this week!

Shepherd Outboard now has both bottom panels fitted but not fastened - we might look at them for a while before screwing our courage to the wall and getting out the SikaFlex and boat nails. Which is what we are planning to do.

It has been our plan to S1 epoxy seal the inside surface only of the panels. our working theory is that this will reduce the possibility of water sitting int he bottom of the boat soaking into the bottom plywood and then keeping the underside of the frames damp - a bad formula. However I will call Dwight once more to run this theory past him just to be sure.

We are sure that trying to do an epoxy encapsulated bottom is a bad idea on an old boat - this was done on the Hunter and it's bottom was going bad on us only 10 years after it was done professionally - (just before she was donated). Our reading and research has resulted in the decision to do something like a "5200" bottom which is a breathing bottom (no snickers out there). Subject to Dwight's ( recommendation, we will S1 the inside of the bottom panels with their outer edges still rough, bed them in SikaFlex as we boatnail them down on 2" to 3" centres around the edges and across the frames - sucker won't leak anywhere through that bottom! Next will be deciding what to use for a bedding compound and what to use for outer planking - we'd like to use the originals.

George and Ray fit the panel
looks perfect actually.

No Mini-Hopper action this week, Bernie buggered off to Florida to get warm and requested that the process of redesign await his return - possibly this week. So no news on that front!

Next up the shop is the TNT restoration which took a surprise turn this week - but also had a surprise outcome! Recall from last post that the team was grinding the 'glas off the bottom screws to have a look. They were "presenting" themselves through the paint which is not a good sign! Sure enough, they were steel screws and the steel was rusting and bubbling up.

After spot checking the fasteners the ones into the bottom battens were all loose and many of the keel and chine screws were also not well secured. The conventional solution would be to remove the screws, drill out the holes, plug them with epoxy, re-drill and countersink them - then refasten with bronze boat screws. This what we began to do when some genius realized that we could boatnail the bottom half way between the old fasteners, remove the rusty stuff, fill with epoxy and DONE! This will save days of fussy work!

Jason and Anton dig out screw slots...
and later - banging the bottom home!

meanwhile Steve unscrews...
 Whew! what a furious day on the TNT - status really shifted a few times!

Under the Roostertail Lounge, the engine shop which is now so totally transformed as to be unrecognizable from a month ago, Joseph and Peter were in getting more engines running! This week they fired up the 1951 Johnson 25 horse (Seahorse?) and a second 1957 Johnson 18 (missing a few parts). They are now moving into the detail repair mode of the engines with damage. We had a discussion of the degree of restoration we should subject these engines to - the 1952 10 horse that Peter is working on for example has mostly intact paint and decals - not perfect but not bad. before we try anything drastic we'll try just clean and polish with maybe a protective coat over....

18 horse Johnson runs
35 HP Johnson runs too

25 HP Johnson runs
 And finally Wayne becomes our artiste for the day and pencil traces the original graphics on the Gas-Hopper. Deck is stripped and next are the sides.

What skill and control is demonstrated here - amazing

 And that's it for this past week! Stay tuned for next weeks edition.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Win a boat - help a kid - is that a deal or what!

As you may have noticed from our posts through the TIBS in January, we held a little raffle in the booth with a first prize of your choice of a finished skiff or a finished sea flea. We showed a draw date of March 21 2014 - the first day of spring - believing we could probably sell all 300 tickets by then. To our amazement we were sold out by Friday evening of the TIBS! We had to have the next 300 tickets printed overnight and by Sunday eveining we had sold 100 of those!

So. Here we are coming up on the first day of spring and we still have unsold tickets although many are now in the hands of our volunteers to sell to their friends and family!

If you are reading this, you may think what we are doing is worthwhile - I hope that is the case. Like all .org's we need money to keep our programmes running and expanding.

Bored yet? Here's what we need to do that your help can make possible.

Boats 4 Folks Sailing programme. Remember the Lightning we have been working on for the last 3 or 4 years?

Well it will have to be in or next to the water fully rigged for our B4F Sailing idea to work. It is too big and complex a sailing rig to be towed and rigged when needed - it will have to be sailed from someplace handy that is safe for kids first experience sailing. This will cost us something beginning with a full cover and then a membership on Bellwood Lake or Lake Ontario.

Boats 4 Folks Sea Flea programme. We are having a great time in the shop reinventing the original Mini-Max sea flea to our own Min-Hopper sea flea and I am really keen to see the final boat - and to try it! Once this has been accomplised the scramble will be on to build the rest of the needed fleet and to acquire and repair the motors to go withthem. Lots of generosity has been displayed in halping us get htere - but again we will be needing your help to actually put the fleet in the water.

Which brings us back to you...How can you  help and what would you like to get out of your help? Here are some suggestions:

Raffle tickets, $10 each, (5) for $40 or (10) for $75 first prize your choice of a Mini-Hopper or a skiff.

A logo'd shirt or 5 way survival tool, $20 each

Toss'N Save Life Rings that really work - we have them in all our boats courtesy of the manufacturer, $25 each or (2) for $40.

Gatsby Membership, be invited to go boating whenever we go (most Sundays in summer), this really helps at $500 for 12 months. (you still have to share direct costs of the day)

Sponsor of Boats 4 Folks, includes Gatsby Membership but reflects real costs of running the programme, $1,200 per event.

If you would like to pledge one of these items - please let me know by phone at 905 873-0141 or email at

Here's the special on-line deal if you call in response to reading the blog - if you buy any of the non-raffle items, we will include raffle tickets to the matching amounts.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

of Mini-Hoppers, Shepherds and seafleas!

It's been a great week or so in the Boatshop, last week we had a turnout of old and new faces for Shore Leave Night, our monthly social/fundraising evening but I was too busy to remember to take pictures! Then last Saturday all teams had members working on their pet projects so things really moved along - here's how we are doing....

all teams are at it!

TNT restoration headed by Steve and Troy.

all deck fasteners refastened  and sunk for filling and fairing. Bottom examined and looks like it was fastened with steel screws which are showing early signs of deterioration - jury's still out on how to proceed but next step is to grind off 'glass covering strips to see better. New motor well structure built and dry-fitted.

almost ready for next step
TNT decks being stripped and sanded

Mini-Hopper development headed by Bernie H.

Bernie and Anton have been refining the lines of our new in-house version of the ages old MiniMax sea flea. It is coming along really well and will result in a good looking, tough little "kids" beginner sea flea. This is the first of the final boats built from mahogany. If you know the original boat you'll see the subtle changes to the sides, cockpit shape and transom structure. Anton is mocking up some dashboard and front cowl ideas...

Hmmm, it'll look great in aluminum...
the "look" is emerging now...
which doesn't mean he's not having fun!
Bernie has been documenting all the changes....

16' Shepherd Outboard restoration project shoved along by MB

Now that we almost know how to do a new bottom on a double planked boat, there's notning for it but to jump in. Last week we concluded that we can do the inner bottom with one scarph so this week we made up the panels and are beginning the fitting process.

Troy learns the tricky part - making the ramp.

"Dr" George verifies the results - good!

George clamps the scarph

scarph ready for epoxy G2 goop...

first test - needs more hands!

marking the cut from our pattern....

Lightning restoration - rigging phase, Chris is on it...

The boat was a real hit in our TIBS booth - thanks to Chris and many others on our team of volunteers. Now we need to get mast and rigging ready to match the boat!
the boom has been assembled and prep for more varnish is in Chris' hands!

Engine Shop progress, Peter head coach!

Our revised Boats4Folks programme for 2014 which includes sea fleas and other outboard boats in the water needs lots of engines running. Some are restorations and some are being refurbished (we'll figure out just what that means as we go!)... last week JJ got the Neptune running and is finishing it as display presentation in our museum booth in the Mill. Glen got the Johnson HD-25 running and has pulled it apart for a light rebuild (new rings etc) - we'll see what else. Glen also prep'd all the parts for the 1958 Johnson 5 1/2 for stripping and they are at Techno Strip Ltd in Brampton who is going to donate this cleaning project. (thanks Jerry). Peter is cleaning up and preparing our early 50's Johnson 10 which has never been apart before!

Wayne and Glen contemplate HD-25
HD-25 later...
JJ and shiny Neptune!

 Finally, who wants a partial MiniMax sea flea?

We might as well sell off our prototypes 1 and 2 so we can put some money back into the programme. Prototype 1 was in out TIBS booth and is a pretty complete MiniMax built to original drawings. It is not perfect but if you glass it all over which is what lots of builders do - it'll be dandy! It will go up on Kijiji later today but here is a deal for followers of this blog only!

Donate $500 to Kids & Classics Boatshops and you will receive a 12 month Gatsby Membership and the Proto1 MiniMax! This offer will not be made anywhere else.

Minimax, Proto 1

 For MiniMax Proto 2, which was never assembled completely and is not complete, but includes some of the changes seen in our final version, a donation of $200 will suffice.

bottom formed, bulkhead cut out, side panels and transom cut out.

 So there you have it for this week - a few of our key volunteers are away getting warm (whimps), so we have room for some new faces! come on in and get at something!