Monday, June 2, 2008

Step 1: Removing the deck hardware.

Take a good look at your deck hardware. A lot of it will not need to be removed for the purposes of the deck restoration. The cleats and stanchions are on pads that the deck will flow around. Having said that, remove the deck hardware. Now is a good time to clean, inspect and rebed them. Your going to make a mess down below with the headliners anyways so why not.

To estimate how much time it will take, do you best guess and then double it. It will certainly take twice a long. We’re only removing a few bolts, right? Yes, but those bolts are in every conceivable nook and cranny plus you will have to remove various trim, headliners and a few will probably snap off and have to be drilled out.

I put each deck hardware piece in a plastic baggy and labeled it with my new label maker (See previous post). My daughter thought using that was pretty fun too!

I bought from a kindergarten teacher a bunch of storage bins and rack at a yard sale for $5. Those bins were great for storing all the various components I took off the boat. Each major area or piece of equipment got it own bin. When it comes time to put everything back, it is hoped that everything will be able to be located. I have my fingers crossed.

One more tool

Sometimes the old stuff is better. I have found that an old bit brace is extremely handy for removing flathead screws. I have replaced the typical auger for drilling holes with a flathead screw bit. You can fashion one of those from an old screwdriver. Simply cut if off the handle and flatten a few sides of so that it won’t turn in the brace.

With this device, you can really bear down on a flathead screw. With applying your weight directly on top of the screw and the extra leverage you get from the handle, you can loosen just about any screw. If the brace is a ratcheted type, that is even better.
One of the more useful times for the bit brace was removing the screws from the cabin sole panels. Several of the screws were under the settee overhang which would have been impossible with a regular screwdriver. With the bit brace, I was able to put the brace on the screw and the handle part extended around the edge of the settee. With the ratcheted feature, it was no problem to take out the screws.
So if you see one of these gems at a yard sale, buy it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Steering Part

My very talented brother-in-law who is a machinist/fabricator was able to take the broken part and fashion a new one. We modified the original design so that it will be easier and stronger. First, he split the pedestal coupling in half and put tabs on the side for bolts. This allowed for the part to be taken off without having to slide it all the way down the shaft.

Second, he really beefed up the span between the two couplings. The previous owners fix was child's play compared to this solution. He also added two threaded holes for grease fittings. This will allow me to put grease where it is needed and not where it is not needed.
Thirdly, all the parts were cleaned and painted with two coats of epoxy primer. Not only does this make them look like new but will also keep them from rusting (as much as that is possible).
Now the steering components should not part company.

A Useful Piece of Equipment

I learned pretty quickly that one of the most useful pieces of equipment for restoration is not any power tool, cool hand tool, or gadget, it is a label maker. I bought a decent label maker at Staples for about $45 plus a spool of extra adhesive label tape. This has turned out to be the handiest item in my tool box.

I have labeled everything once it was identified. Since my handwriting is not great, anyone should be able to follow my notes now.

Another Useful Tool

Anothe useful tool is a Caliper for making precise measurements of inside and outside diameters. Since nothing was consistent or documented, every connection, coupling and hose had to measured. Don't try it with a tape measure. Buy a decent caliper, put it in your pocket and be ready for any mystery.

The Deck, Ah Yes The Deck

The decks on a Cheoy Lee are covered with 9mm thick teak. The deck is constructed with a inner fiberglass layer, a core of some material (usually a wood of some sort), an outer fiberglass layer, adhesive, teak plank and then caulking. Once the fiberglass sandwich is made, Cheoy Lee then drills and threads thousands of holes through the outer layer and into the core layer. The teak planks are then screwed into place with a 3/4 inch bronze screw. The screw top is then covered with a 3mm bung.
As you can well image, the bungs wear off and fall out, the planks leak after working, the caulk turns stiff and brittle, and those thousands of holes in the deck create an expressway for water to get to the core material. Once that core gets wet for awhile and the freezes, thaws, freezes, thaws, etc, the layers of fiberglass will delaminate from the core material. The speed at which that happens depends on the type of core material, the quality of construction and the amount of water that enters the core.
There are two solutions to this problem: ignore it or fix it. I chose fix it.
This is the heart of the restoration project. It might take several posts.


The boat was in real need of new cushions. The cushions appeared to be about 20 years old. Fortunately, there is a prison not far from our home (about 15 miles) which has an industrial trades shop. One of the trades is upholstery.

I contacted the manager of the upholstery shop through my uncle who works there and provided the manager a listing of all the cushions that needed to be done. The prison pays the prisoners minimum wage and purchases materials at wholesale. The prisoners actually have a reputation for doing good work so it seemed like a no brainer to have them do the cushions.

As it turned out, they did indeed do good work and it was very favorably priced. I figured that it was 1/3 the cost having it done by non-prison labor. Although I did get a call from the manager one day saying that the cushions would be delayed because the prison assigned to the task had encountered some "legal difficulties". Nevertheless, I planned far enough ahead that it was not an issue. I got the cushions back in about a month and half.

So, you should consider a prison the next time you need tradesmen work done.