Bell Woodworking restoration
11/10/2017 at 11:52 pm #13002
Hello All from Philadelphia PA!
I have a GP that was built by my grandfather from a bell woodworking kit. Fortunately there is no rot nor de-lamination after 50 years of indoor storage. Biggest issue is the filler over the screw heads is popping off over the whole boat.
Whats the preferred filler i should use? I’ve backed out a number of the exposed screws and they seem to be in great shape and holding fine. I just want to prime and paint once filled.
Should i refasten the chainplates while I’m at it? I use a hoist to launch.
Should i remove the rubbing strips on the bottom to refinish the hull or leave them in place?
I have the original wood mast. Should i split the halves and refasten with epoxy? I’d like to locate a tin rig as i will be using the boat to teach the kids to sail. Would hate for them to break the original rig. East coast USA would be ideal.
Ill need a fresh suit of sails and a top cover. If anyone can part with a set for a fair price i’d be interested. I dont need new but a regatta set would work. As far as a top cover i want a mast up over boom that covers the hull sides. Id consider used if anyone wants to upgrade. If not who’s the preferred cover vendor for the fleet?
Anything i should do to bring her out of the 50’s. I could leave it as is and do the occasional boat show or i could try to set the boat up to be as fun as possible. What do you all think?
Almost forgot I need a dolly. Any specs available so i can make one?
Ill get a few photos up in a subsequent post. thanks in advance for the warm welcome!
Chris Fretz12/10/2017 at 11:43 am #13004
Filler for screwheads: first question is are you intending to paint over them, or varnish? If you intend to varnish, the colour of the filler is important, but if you intend to paint the colour doesn’t matter.
Probably the most durable fillers are the epoxy ones, and if colour is immaterial I would suggest either Watertite (by International Paints) or Plastic Padding Marine Epoxy Filler; however neither is a suitable colour to use under varnish. Both are two-part epoxy filler, and are very similar. Be aware, though, that Plastic Padding make a number of very different products, most of which are aimed at automotive applications and are not intended for or particularly suitable for marine use; so if going for that product do make sure that you get the correct one!
Back in the seventies (and I think in the sixties) International Paints offered a two-part filler, which was available in a limited choice of colours including mahogany. I forget whether this was epoxy or polyurethane, but it was good. Unfortunately it was withdrawn decades ago, but it is possible that you may find a similar product by one of the other manufacturers.
Failing that, my personal choice for mahogany filler on a vintage boat is Brummer Stopper (or is it Stopping?). That is old technology, but contemporary with the boat, and it may well be what was originally used when the boat was built; certainly it was one of the popular stoppers of the day. Still manufactured, so far as I know, and available from some hardware shops; certainly I have routinely bought it within the last very few years.
Should you refasten the chainplates: undoubtedly yes! At the very least take out the old fastenings to check them, and be prepared to find that they have dezincified, and/or that they have waisted (due to corrosion) deep inside the wood. If you are lucky enough to find that neither has occurred then you can put them back and enjoy peace of mind, but it is more likely that you will need to fit new ones.
Oliver12/10/2017 at 11:55 am #13005
I should have started by congratulating you on inheriting a family heirloom. Enjoy!
Wood mast: if the halves will split easily than the existing glue has failed, or is in the process of failing. So yes, split it, and refasten with epoxy. But if it won’t split easily I would be tempted to leave well alone.
I concur with your seeking a metal rig for everyday use, and keep the wood rig for high days and holidays. Bear in mind that the metal mast is narrower than the wood one where it passes through the gate, so you will need some form of rigid padding; the very first metal masts came complete with aluminium cheek blocks for that very purpose.
Should you modernise? I am not sufficiently familiar with the market in USA, but if you were in the UK then I would say most definitely not. You have a historic boat, and with the additional and very personal historic connection that she was built by your grandfather, so I would be urging you to keep her historically authentic. If you want a more modern GP14 there are plenty available, and unless you want something very modern indeed they are not expensive; the market in secondhand boats is very depressed. And there is plenty of fun to be had from a historically authentic vintage GP14; both sailing fun, including in terms of exhilarating performance in the right conditions, and the added dimension of the vintage interest. After all, the boat was designed and built to be fun to sail …
But the availability of more modern GP14s in USA may be much more limited. At the end of the day you will have to make your own decision, but I hope you decide to keep her historically authentic.
Oliver12/10/2017 at 1:04 pm #13006
thanks for the reply oliver
Ive reviewed the online albums and the photos of vintage boats are few and far between.
If you can point me in the direction of additional photos id be grateful. I did replace the original cleats in the early 90’s which was the last time the boat was in the water. I may still have them.
The hull is where the filler is failing and all will be covered with paint. The goal this year is to do the hull 100%. The decks will most likely get a maintenance coat of varnish in anticipation of being stripped and refinished next winter.
Chris12/10/2017 at 2:50 pm #13007
Have you looked at the GP14 Owners Online Community? https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/GP14_Community/info
And our archive site at http://gp14building.wordpress.com/
The Online Community is free to join, and has probably the largest collection anywhere of photos and information and expertise relating specifically to older GP14s. And we enjoy a very warm reciprocal relationship with the Class Association.
Oliver12/10/2017 at 2:57 pm #13008
Painting and varnishing vintage boats; I recommend most strongly that for any boat of that age you avoid the temptation to use polyurethane paints and varnishes, and especially two-part ones. They are absolutely marvellous on new construction, but they have poor tolerance for the underlying wood flexing, so if used on a vintage boat they have a marked tendency for the paint or varnish film to crack at joints in the ply. Then water gets in through those cracks, gets under the finish (particularly in the case of varnish), and starts to lift it off. That is not a problem for new construction, but it is a very real problem for vintage boats.
One-pot polyurethane is a half-way house, and modern ones seem to be much improved over what was on offer when the technology first came out, but I still wouldn’t take the risk on a vintage boat.
So my recommendation is two-pot polyurethane for new construction, and for other modern boats in good condition, but conventional finishes (strictly not polyurethane) for vintage boats.
Oliver13/10/2017 at 5:36 pm #13016
Picture of the project.13/10/2017 at 6:15 pm #13017
These are probably 1/4 inch half round brass, very heavy, and by now very much more copper than brass. If you take them off they will probably break, the screws too will be very brittle.
Now, if they are still bare metal it may be as well to leave well alone, mask them out and repaint.
However if -as is likely – they have about 12 layers of paint on them i would take them off with a view to cleaning them up and replace with new aluminium band if they break up. New band is available pre drilled and ally will be much lighter and will not tarnish.
I dont like keel band thats been painted over, it looks horrible and is a bad water trap.13/10/2017 at 10:20 pm #13018
Great point about the keel band. I tried to remove a few screws and the heads just stripped off. There is a bunch of paint on them.
Should i remove the rubbing strips to repaint the hull or sand around them?
Thanks for the advice so far. I need to upload a few pics. Cant do it from my phone as the files are too big.13/10/2017 at 10:33 pm #13019
I am not clear whether you mean the rubbing strakes (often referred to as the gunwales) at deck level, or the two rubbing strips (sometimes called bilge rubbers) on each side of the bottom of the boat.
In either case, if they are in good condition and not coming apart from the hull you can leave them in place. In that case, treat the rubbing strips on the bottom as an integral part of the hull; sand them and paint over them. Treat the rubbing strakes (gunwales) as an integral part of the deck, and sand them and varnish them with the deck; for a thoroughly classy job you could of course mask them off, but since the line between paint and varnish is underneath the rubbing strake it will always be hidden except when capsized or when the hull is turned over most people don’t bother masking it!
In either case, if these parts are coming adrift from the hull it would be sensible to remove them, clean up, deal with any rot, and then refit them, securing with fasteners and also bonding with epoxy. If securely attached but in poor condition it will depend on just how badly damaged they are, but these parts can properly be regarded as sacrificial (to prevent or at least reduce damage to the hull itself), and if necessary either the whole part or the damaged section can be replaced.
Oliver13/10/2017 at 10:34 pm #13020
Sorry; I failed to refer back to your original post, which indeed made clear that you are referring to the rubbing strips on the bottom.
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