Saturday, October 18, 2008

Well I finally have a chance to return and update my blog. its tough to find the time to update, but i really want to share my heres whats been going on for the past two weeks:

October 3, 2008:

I had been thinking about the boat, and wanting to get back in the swing of things. No progress had been made since early September. So here it is a Friday night, Coors lights chilling in the fridge. Well i headed out to the barn at 9pm, phone rang, started chatting and never picked up a tool! My phone conversation was a distraction that i guess i needed. I was really having trouble finding a place to start and was a bit overwhelmed.

October 5, 2008:

Its now Sunday, the kids and i have completed our outside chores, we spent some time riding the mini-bike around and the 3 of us were mentally prepared for get back to work on the woody. We spent the entire afternoon watching the NASCAR race at Talladaga and tearing the rest of the wood off the deck and side rails. There are a ton of screws on each peice of wood. Its amazing how well these boats were made. This boat is 52 years old and it decent shape...well its in some sort of shape. My guess is that all the wood will need to be replaced.

Tommy and Matty actually helped. They are really getting into this project. I am teaching them about the tools we are using. They have learned where each tool goes in the tool boxes, and they put them back when they are done using them. I am not sure they share my vision of the completed project, but they are starting to understand that this boat might be pretty cool when its done....much better than when i first brought her home and Tommy said "Dad, your new boat is old and not cool!"

The kids did not have school on Thursday or Friday so we went out to the barn Wednesday night and Thursday night to extend our progress. I started to feel better about the progress. By the end of Thursday night we had removed all the wood on the deck and side rails. I was able to build support beams to keep the boat from crumbling under the pressure while we flipped it.

Friday October 10, 2008: Its about flipping time!!

All day at work i kept thinking about the boat and the next step, flipping it over. I have been using this book: "How to Restore Your Wooden Runabout" by Don Danenberg to guide me on the rebuilding process. It has been so helpful. So anyway, they have an illisturation and guide to flipping your boat over. They suguesst you put straps around the boat, one in the front and one in the back. Use a long heavy duty pipe to lift the boat using (2) chainfalls (one at the bow and one at the stern), then you can spin the pipe and the boat will rotate. Sounded simple to me! (fyi: I tend to over simplify everything).

I made a trip to Home Depot during the day, picked up the supplies i needed and kept thinking about the flip. Friday night, i loaded a cooler full of beers (didnt want to waste time running back to the house every 20 minutes), and we headed out for our next adventure. The boys and i were joined by my 4 year old neice Lauren who quickly learned that she needed lots of tools like the boys. I wish i would have taken pictures of the 3 kids working in the boat with every hammer, screwdriver and wrench i own. I layed everything out and ran the scenerio of the flip over and over again in my mind. About 830, i brought the kids in for the night and returned to the barn to execute my cleaver plan.

Quick side note: I have only one chain fall on a "trolly" with a 15' track attached to the roof of my barn. And my barn, its close to 75 years old, not really a barn it was a chicken coup located on the property next door and the original owner of our house moved the barn to its existing place 40 years the over stablity of my structure is questionable at best.
I used the chain fall and my recently purchased motor lift to raise the pipe and straps holding the boat. Sweet! We are air born! I moved the cradle outside and opened all the doors so i had a place to run incase the roof caved in or something failed and the boat came crashing down into a pile of splinters.

I rigged a plug on the end of the pipe so i could use a ratchet to turn the pipe. Great idea that worked perfectly. I started to turn the pipe and the boat was moving, I could not beleive how easy this was, with in 5 minutes i had the boat almost on it side when i realized that i had a problem. I did not have the boat high enough in the air to clear the floor. Crap! Crap! Crap!

I spent about an hour running around the boat trying to figure how to raise it another 2 inches. I hate loosing and there was no way i was going to give up! After a little liquide engineering I finally came up with an idea that worked. I used a com-along and connected directly to the track then to the pipe. It gave me just enough clearance. With a little finagling i was able to get to weight of the boat to shift, now we are heading in the right direction!! I lowered the boat back on the cradle and secured the boat from moving.

That was a great feeling! I was able to acomplishe my goal and my plan worked.....with only a few modifications.

Through out the rest of last week I started to remove the screws and nails from the planks on the bottom. They must have used 100 screws and 200 nails on each board. I'm not kidding, there is some fasener ever inch along the plank. This is going to take me weeks to remove the boards. It took almost 2 hours of work to remove just one board. But i have come up with a plan to speed the process along.......till next time - Jason

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jason's 1956 Century Resorter

I have created this blog to track the progress of my new project: restoring a 16' 1956 wooden Century. All of my life I have admired the craftsmanship of all wooden boats. They are incredibly majestic and embody a tremendous amount of history and heritage. 6 years ago, in the summer just before my first son was born I decided that at some point in my life I wanted to restore a wooden boat.

On Wednesday August 6, 2008 my journey began. I found this boat online through a wooden boat website. After several phone calls to the owner the meet and greet was on. The boat was located in NJ about 3.5 hours from my house. I arrived around 730pm to meet the owner Tony. He is a great guy, and a little crazy just like me! He has restored over 15 boats as a hobby. We talked, I checked out the boat, looked good to me (really don't have any idea what i was looking at). Motor ran, sounded good. So i told him i would take it.

A look of shear surprise came over his face. I had cash, a plate for the trailer and a new set of lights just in case. Tony was shocked, and a little excited for the cash. We worked over the next 2 hours to make sure the trailer was road worthy and at least look legal. I headed out around 1030pm for home. Trip home was uneventful. Arrived at around 2am with my new project in tow.

Now the fun begins....

First Night:

My brother Jon and I spent the first Friday night taking inventory of all the parts and pieces. We took pictures of everything and noted where they came from. We were able to remove all the upholstery and chrome throughout the boat.

Next couple of weeks:

Progress is slow right now, still finishing the tear down. Trying to get ready to remove the motor. Had a ton of trouble releasing the shaft from the motor, finally a little leverage and some elbow grease and i had it off. Finished removing the steering and all components.

August 18, 2008 Motor Removal:

I have been waiting for this point! I had never removed a motor from anything, not even a lawn mower. My plan was simple, pull the boat out of the barn, lift the motor out with newly purchased motor lift, put boat back in barn, attach motor to dolly with casters (will build when needed) and wheel back into barn to be put away for the winter. Cousin Ian and I spent the whole day preparing, everything was in place. We removed all wires, cables and controls. Made sure everything was labeled and pictures were taken.

We had a bear of a time trying to lift the motor evenly. There was only one hook so we had to strap the other side of the motor. Finally its in the air!!

Only problem was we could not get it high enough to pass over the side of the close...after an hour of fooling around with our sling and testing the height and stability of the lift we were able to lift the motor high enough to clear the back of the boat! Hooray!! Moved the boat out of the way and started to move the motor lift with motor back to the barn. I forgot to mention that outside the barn is all grass, motor lift would not roll. So we had to "walk" it one step at a time back to the barn. Once we were inside the barn we set the motor down on a furniture dolly that i planned to take a part and use the casters for my motor stand. To our surprise the stand held the motor. It was now after 1030pm and Ian and I were beat from the days work. Since the furniture dolly was holding we decided to just push the motor out of the way for the night and build a sturdier mount tomorrow.......SNAP!!!!CRASH!!!!SH*T!!!!!!!!

Spent the next 3 hours in the ER. 600lbs motor had crushed my middle toe, shattering it into 3 pieces (they will never reattach) and severely bruising both toes on either side. Hurt like hell, but i am pretty luck it was only one toe. Chalked this experience up to a learning lesson.....I decided to take a few weeks off.

September 6, 2008 Beers, Brothers and the Boat

Uncle Jim and my brothers Rich and Jon were in town for the weekend to celebrate my sons 6th birthday. After the party on Saturday we decided to spend the evening in the barn building a cradle to put the boat on so we could remove the trailer. Not being prepared for the project we had to search for pieces and parts all over the barn for our new cradle. But first we have to lift the boat off the trailer. Well, there is a chain fall in the barn and i have a motor lift.......why not! Rich, our safety coordinator checked all the straps, chains and hoists. Next he made sure everyone had an escape route. Once everything was in place my father-in-law Dan made sure everyone had a full beer, and then we were off! Gently we lifted the boat off the trailer, we could not have been more graceful! Sweet!!! Took the trailer out back to the woods and then snapped a couple of shots

Left: Jonmo and Richmo Right Jonmo and Jasmo
Spent the next couple of hours fooling around trying to build the cradle. Note to self: beer caps DO NOT make good washers! Brothers have short attention span so they decided to ride the mini bike around in the rain until they broke it, repaired it and tested it over and over again.
By the end of the night we had a cradle, mini bike was working and boat was secure.
So, tonight i plan on getting back to work. First on the agenda: Rebuild the cradle...sober..........
Till next time......Jason