Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Another Boat Project That May Never Get Finished Part 1 thru Part 4


Another Boat Project That May Never get Finished
October 4th 2020 upto January 3rd 2023

When my friend Gary asked me if I wanted this boat told him no.  He wanted a very fair price, but I just didn't need or want another project.  His son had with the best of intentions taken it all apart with the intent to fix everythign and put it back together.  Unfortunately his son had ot go away and the boat just sat.  Gary told me he went out to start working on it more than a few times, but he would look at everything that needed to be done and just go back inside. 

A few months later called me up and said, "Come get this boat Bob.  I'm tired of looking at it."  Truth be told I still didn't really want it, but I could tell from his tone it was sucking the life out of him.  I jumped in my truck (might have been the Jeep) and towed it home so it could sit in my yard doing nothing.   Back in October of 2020 I started on it... more or less. 

Another Boat Project That May Never Get Finished - Part 1 (Play list will be at bottom of page.)

Another Boat Project That May Never Get Finished - PART 2 (Play list will be at bottom of page.)

After I posted those first two videos Gary said, "At one time, that boat has gone through the ringer and given lots of love out."  Sounds about right.  His dad was the original owner. 

Back in 2020 this was my plan, and pretty much it still is.  "I'm probably going to fill the bottom of the boat with fresh closed cell pourable foam, and cut it off flush with the top of the ribs. That way I should be able just lay down a relatively light weight aluminum tread plate and rivet it down to the ribs with the foam providing support between the ribs.  I'll probably put little or no plywood back in it.  Maybe in the transom if I can't find a good reasonable price wood substitute for that."  During the clean out I found the data plate. 

7 persons or 1000lbs.
1500 lbs persons, motor, and gear.
60 HP Outboard.

If I ever get it useable that will be quite the small river runner.  It came to me with its original motor.  A 40 horse power Johnson 2 stroke.  1992 if I recall when I looked it up.  According to Gary it was still running before the aforementioned dissassembly of the boat.  I hope to stumble onto a nice 60 horsepower lightweight 2 stroke to put on it, but if not I'll probably take the Merc 50 off my john boat for this boat. 

October 24th 2020

I ordered a bunch of stailess closed end pop rivets for the decking and deck support rails.  (Still in the bags as of January 1st 2023) 

Some general information:
You can get rivets in steel, aluminum, brass, and stainless.  Stainless is the strongest and least (depending on the alloy) reactive.  Ordinary pop rivets can be found in all of these materials, but they have a potential problem.  The head of the mandrel can fall out.  Its not a huge deal if it falls out in the bilge of a boat except that steel and brass might react with an aluminum hull in a wet bilge over time and create a pin hole.  Still not a short term problem.  Only maybe a long term problem.

The drive head on many trolling motors is held on with rivets.  If you use an ordinary pop rivet the head of the mandrel can fall down inside of the motor.  It can physically damage the motor itself, or it can cause problems on the controller that is inside the head of many modern trolling motors.  The answer for me was to find the right grip range stainless steel CLOSED END pop rivets.  The stainless is pretty strong and should last a long time.  The closed end prevents the head of the mandrel from ever falling out.

I found I really like closed end stainless steel rivets for assembling machine enclosures as well.  With a little clear DAP bathtub caulk under the flange head of the rivet I never get any seepage from spraying cutting coolant around the rivet, and the mandrel head never falls out leaving a hole through the middle.

Attached is a picture roughly representative of the closed end stainless steel pop rivets I ordered for internal assembly of deck supports, storage compartments and decking attachment.  The will not used for any thru hull attachments except possibly well above the waterline even though I could probably use them in a waterproof manner.

October 26 2020

I have a couple gallons of 2 part closed cell foam that was intended for another long since abandoned project.  Its pretty old.  I decided to do a test and see if it would still foam up good.

Another Boat Project That May Never Get Finished Part 3a - Is 10+ Year Old Flotation Foam Any Good (playlist at bottom of page)

I was pleasantly surprised.  Hot and cold.  It gets cold enough in my shop in the winter sometimes that it takes the florescent lights a while to warm up.

I was surprised.  I read on the can when I held it up to the camera that its only 45 seconds stir time.  I think it was a 1:30 before I got it fully stirred so it was a nice homogenous color.  Maybe its a little slow being old, but in the end I think it was well within is range of 25-30x expansion.  I will modify my beater or make one with a larger hoop before I do the next batch.

Oh, by the way, that foam from the test won't go to waste.  I will throw it in the bow of the boat where there are loose blocks of foam under the deck already.

I want this foam to come right up to the top of the ribs that support the sole of the boat so I can lay down some relatively thin aluminum tread plate as decking.  The problem is I don't want to just pour it under the tread plate.  The stuff sticks to almost everything, and if its fully entrapped it might cause the tread plate to bulge.   I also want to leave the center of the boat along the keel clear of foam, so any water that comes in the boat can easily run to the back to be kicked out by the bilge pump.  I do want it to be perfectly flat, and its own poured skin (if possible) on the flat surface that meats the tread plate.  That will give the best uniform support.

As I started this reply I was think it looks a lot like hard polyurethane casting resin as you mix it.  Goes from two semi-clear liquids to a sort of milky liquid, and then I realized I can put in temporary forms that should come out fairly easily.  I have Stoner UMR (urethane mold release) in spray cans on the shelf that I use with casting resins.  Any that squeezes out past my forms (gaps would be left on purpose) could just be scooped up with a shovel and tossed into the section between the next set of ribs.  I can get exactly the fill I want and not waste very much foam at all.  Maybe none except what remains in the mixing pail.

(Note:  Its Jan 1 2023 now and I still am not ready to pour foam in the boat. Anybets on whether its still good now that's been unsealed?)

December 20th 2021

I asked Gary if he or his dad had ever named the Tracker and the answer was no.  While the front will definitely be setup for bass fishing I decided to name it Whisker Seeker.  Its spent more of its life doing that than anything else.  Gary gave me the boat for less than junk price so I figured I'd name it in honor of his unhealthy obsession to nasty slimy whisker fish.

I have a mental image of a small front casting deck, a small rear area for casting or setting out catfish lines, moving the steering console forward, and arranging the middle for comfortable overnighters.  Maybe with a small light weight aluminum cabin that can be bolted on or removed at will.

Honestly I've been crazy busy in the shop and haven't had time to play with it, but I hope I can get it put back together enough to use while Gary is still healthy enough to get out in it with me.

January 5th 2022

I just got off the phone with Tara (Gary's Daughter), and he may never get out in his boat again.  I guess tribute is the best I can do with the boat then.  I called to see how he was doing and she answered.

Another Boat Project That May Never Get Finished Part 4 - Removing the outboard and jack trim plate. (play list at bottom of page)

January 6th 2022

I'm sitting with Gary now while his daughter runs some errands.  Most of you will probably never see him again.

January 7th 2022

I received a message that Gary had passed away.  There is a saying that "If you stand by the banks of the river long enough you will see the bodies of your enemies floating past."  They don't tell that you will see your friends float past as well.

February 18th 2022

I needed to order a bunch of stainless mold clamping screws and alignment dowels from McMaster so I went ahead and ordered their "economy" pneumatic rivet gun.  It claims specifically that it will handle upto 3/16 stainless rivets so we shall see.  I've never gotten a dud from McMaster-Carr so I figure its worth a shot.  Its not like riveting is something I do every day.  It doesn't hurt that McMaster has a reputation for making things right fast if they do ship a dud.  Wish I'd just gone ahead and ordered it already.  I'd be done and on to the next thing by now. (Boy was I wrong.  LOL.)

February 26th 2022

The one I ordered from McMaster-Carr as their "economy" gun that would handle 3/16 stainless rivets turned out to be Chicago Pneumatic.  I've always had good luck with Chicago Pneumatic air tools in the past.  I imagine even if it dies eventually I'll get a few thousands rivets out of it.  That's more than enough to justify its cost.  It was only a few dollars more than the "high end" Harbor Freight gun, and the CP definitely pulls and pops upto 3/16 stainless. In the instructions (limited as they are) it said lubricate the jaws.  Lubricate the air input.  Check the hydraulic oil after 100,000 rivets.  If it actually runs 100,000 rivets it will outlast me most likely.

May 16th 2022

I went back and forth between manufacturers because I decided to order some castable resin for the transom.  Something made for this.  I wound up ordering the Core Bond castable ceramic transom.

June 17th 2022

I received two boxes...
They were delivered today while I was out since I had received notices saying they were delayed until Monday of next week.  They reek of resin smell.  I will open the boxes later today when I have time to see if there was a leak or that's just the way they smell.

The tracking on these reads like a deliberate exercise in incompetence.  I have two other projects where I had considered using this product if it works out on this first one, but between the price, the lead time to ship, and the exercise in futility with the carrier I don't know if I'll live long enough to use it on future projects.

January 1st 2023 (Still a very long way to go.)

I just finished transfering this project to the new website (with much editing). 

Whenever there is an update I'll post a notice on the home page of the website.  As promised the play list of videos is below.  If/when I add more videos I will add them to the play list.  and to this page. 

Another Boat Project That May Never Get Finished - The Play List So Far