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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #16 
Once the boat was dis-assembled it became apparent just how bad the bad hull was.  The first shot shows some dry rot on the side which had been hidden by the drop down sides of the deck, but the real scary part, was the transom!  Sea Larks were a Hybrid, a part wood, part Fiberglass boat.  We can fix that though.  It will be a pure-bred when it is done!

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #17 
Since the boat is so rare and because they were made with plywood hulls only, it was decided that the original hull would be preserved and stored away.  Maybe future Generations would like to put the boat back to original someday. 

This decision made the mold making more difficult.  It would have been a simple matter to sand it down and Bondo it up.  What we did took more effort but preserved the history.

The first step was to build a moveable work platform out of a boat trailer, which would later be modified to hold the completed hull mold. 

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #18 
Stan, the mold maker, began by applying strips of wide clear tape to the entire hull.  You can see where the cutwater was removed from the bow.  As this is a characteristic of wooden boats, it was decided that this detail will not be duplicated on the fiberglass hull to be made.  It would simply look out of place.

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #19 
Once the clear tape was in place, a slightly wider keel was created from strips of wood placed on each side of the original.  This was done for two reasons.  Firstly, the original keel was badly degraded and was thinner that it had been when new.  Secondly, this allows for enough width to place a strip of Microlam within the molded keel as done in the Glass Slipper (but that's another story!). 

Microlam beams are made up of many thin layers of wood and typically used in Garage Door Headers.  I had a beam thinned on a planer and cut into strips for use in these keels.

Aluminum tape was used to cover problem areas in the hull, finish edges, and to divide the mold into three sections which will assure that the mold is easily removable.  Triangular, pyramid shaped "pins" are placed along the divisions to allow for perfect realignment later.  (I've added a picture of these pins in a later post)

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #20 
In areas that were especially bad, such as shown by the arrow in the first photo below, aluminum sheet was affixed into place.  This particular area had been pulled inward by a steering pulley over the years and warped out of position.  It did not show until dis-assembly since it was covered over by the drop sides of the deck.

As you've noticed by now, a new, temporary transom was made from a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood.  Also shown is an area at the bottom of the stern where the outer plywood was so bad we taped it over and filled it with auto body filler.  This entire area would have to be re-laminated in the case of a possible future restoration on the original molded plywood hull. 

I had a $5,000.00 estimate to re-laminate and restore this hull at one time, so I am sure this type of work is no picnic.

This pink area is the worst place on the hull.

Next Step, building the mold!

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #21 
The first step in laying up the mold was to cover the plastic tape area on one half of the hull with green coat mold release.  Then orange tooling Gel Coat was brushed and sprayed on until a very thick layer was present.  It had to be extra thick due to the imperfections in the surface we were molding.  Although it was finally straight, it was still an uneven texture.  This roughness will be sanded out later.  Once this had been done the first layer of glass mat was applied by hand and the excess resin kept to a bare minimum.  Here is the result after just a few layers of mat.

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #22 
The transom and other side will me molded next.  For now, they are covered up with plastic and newspaper.  This three piece mold will have no choice but to release the original hull it will soon hold captive.

The last picture shows the completed half after several layers of mat and cloth. It is covered with plastic in this photo.

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #23 
The whole process was repeated for the other side and then the transom.  At this point long angle irons were affixed to the bottom of the hull for stiffness and to anchor the mold to the trailer prior to casting the first hull.  Wood mounts were then added to the bow and stern, these will be used to affix the ends from two engine stand mounts which will allow the mold to be easily turned over.  You can see the bow mount parts laying on the table in the last photo.

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #24 
Here are the two electric chain hoists that will be used to lift the hull mold by the engine stands attached to each end, once it progresses that far.  This will work something like the rotisseries used to rotate classic car bodies during their restorations. 

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #25 
The final stage in making the hull mold involved placing stiffeners or ribs onto the outside of the mold.  This will assure that it retains its shape.  These were made from electrical conduit plastered into place with body filler and then glassed on with mat and cloth.  At the stage shown here the whole thing has been flipped back upright and the last of the conduit is being placed around the top edge of the mold.

As you can see, a number of 2x2's were used to fix the width of the hull.  These were placed before any of the mold work was started and used existing screw holes.

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #26 
It was decided that the Reproduction boat would have a long shaft outboard so a 20" transom will be made for it.  The boat was originally cut down at the back for a 16" transom, as will be done again for the original boats new hull.  You can see here the bright orange layer of Gel Coat on our extension for the 20" transom. 

The US Coast Gaurd is very particular about transom height and allows greater hp on the long shaft transoms of newly manufactured boats vs. short shaft transoms. 

In the last photo you can see the completed rotisserie attachment at the bow of the mold.  This plate is removable to allow the mold to split down the center.

Our boat show is going on this weekend, so I may miss a few days of updating.  Hope to see many of you there! http://belfryboard.websitetoolbox.com/post/Midwest-All-Classics-Boat-Show-5877150

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #27 
Finally! 

As Stanly looks on, the new hull mold lies separated from the original plywood hull.  The three pieces turned out great!  There will still be a lot of work necessary since the original hull was so rough.  This difficulty was planed on from the beginning, since preserving the original hull was a priority.  A lot of filling and sanding will now be required. 

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #28 
Here you can see where the mold pulled away slightly down the keel during the curing process.  It appears as a glossy area on the right hand section.  This and other flaws will be filled with additional orange gel coat and block sanded smooth.  The mold will have to be perfect when it's blocked out and polished.

The next stage will be to create the mold for the deck and the numerous molds for the trim pieces in order to re-create the entire boat for Brad Lake.  At this stage though, we now have the mold needed to make the replacement hull for the original boat.

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #29 
Here is a photo showing how the mold sections align using the triangular locks that were molded into the edges of each section.  In the first photo two of the pieces have been fitted back together using these locks.

As you can see, the initial polishing of the first mold half is unsatisfactory.  There is too much waviness.  The front side is not so bad, but the underside is much worse.  We want to impress the fishes too, ya know! 

Seriously, when this boat is displayed on a trailer, it will be possible to see the wavy finish underneath, therefore, I have brought in an expert at block sanding to perfect the finish of the mold.  Kevin McCracken is hard at work as I type making sure that when a new hull comes out of this mold, it will need nothing more than a final polish.

-KevFin

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KevFin

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Reply with quote  #30 
There is so much to do on a project of this scale that it is necessary to have several different operations going at the same time.  This way, while one aspect of the project is curing, another can be under preparation.  The nose is one of the items that is underway at this stage.

The way the sides wrapped underneath the rim of the hull at the bow, and the sides of the deck at the rear, sweep down to make spray rails, it appeared that the deck must have been installed in sections. 

These sections must have slid together from the ends, and were glassed together at the seam afterward.

If that is the case, then this is how Brads boat will have to be assembled, and likewise, the original deck was dis-assembled in the same way, as two major pieces.

Here you can see the large cracks that had formed in the original Gel Coat on the bows foredeck.  This photo was taken after all of the cracks were ground out by a Dremel, one at a time.  Then new black gel coat was flowed into them.  These cracks were unusually large so it was possible to fix them in this way.

-KevFin


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