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Thursday, April 5, 2012

A little paint, some varnish and a few bits of wood.........

With the interior of the tug finished enough for comfortable living, we started on the exterior.  The easiest fix was to apply a new coat of paint to the cabin and start varnishing all the doors.  The doors are the only real brightwork on the boat.  But there are a lot of them.

I sanded them down to bare wood and then applied 4 coats of Epiphanes and then another 4 coats of Captains Spar Varnish 2015.  They turned out pretty nicely, especially considering those doors were put on this tug in 1925. 

For the exterior colors we chose a barn red (Roasted Pepper to be exact) and a soft white called Bunny Cake.  We stopped painting at the wheelhouse, we plan to replace the plywood exterior on the wheelhouse with tongue and groove.  Also there's a lot of work to be done replacing deck planks and beams, etc. Painting and varnishing isn't just to make the tug pretty, it's important to protect and seal the wood, if you keep up with that, you'll have a lot less problems with rot in the future.
 Since summer was almost over and the Seattle rainy season was on it's way, Bill decided to tent in the bow so we could work on the area all winter.  Also we sleep under that deck and it leaked like a sieve, so.........

After tenting in the bow, we started on the deck.  The first step was to start reefing out the deck seams so we can remove the rotten planks.  (When I say we, I mean Bill) I tried reefing out a few seams but I just couldn't get down to the last layer.  Our deck planks are 2.5 inches thick.
Once the seams are reefed, Bill used a hole saw to remove the plugs from the fasteners holding down the planks and then started removing the bad ones.
Some of the planks were held down with lag bolts, but quite a few had original square spikes.  As you can see the wood was pretty bad in spots, but other areas were like new.  Since replacing the entire deck would mean removing the anchor winch and two large cleats, we decided to just replace the bad bits.  By the way, we knew about this when we bought the tug, we knew we would have to replace the deck and there would be other bits that would have to be replaced, like beams and such, but it's just wood and we know how to work in wood.

After removing the rotten deck beams, Bill found that the beam holding up the wheelhouse was also bad, it was solid when we checked from below but from the top it was all dry rot.  Bill cut out the part of the beam that was bad and put temporary shoring in to keep the wheelhouse upright.

The next step was to cut and fabricate a replacement beam.  Since the beam has quite a curve in it, Bill needed to build it in several pieces.

 He used a bedding compound between the joints and attached everything using carriage bolts.

 Then he slipped the beam in place using more bedding compound and lag bolts.

We also had to replace the beams that support that wheelhouse beam and everything was secured top and bottom.

All the deck beams butt to this beam.  The reason this beam rotted in the first place was probably from standing water leaking into the seam between the deck beams and the wheelhouse.  We will add some sort of flashing to prevent this from happening in the future.

The next project before we could lay down deck beams was to replace a short wall on the starboard side that goes from the side deck to the bow deck.  There was a porthole in this little wall and water had leaked in around the porthole.  A step also goes here so we decided to get rid of the porthole, it was added at some point after the boat was sold by Foss, so it wasn't always there and we just couldn't see a reason to put it back in. 

 Bill cut the beams to fit, there was a unique little scarf in the top two beams, a bit like fitting a puzzle piece.

After dry fitting the beams I put on a couple of coats of red lead paint, this will help keep the wood from rotting in the future.

 Beams go back in and secured with some pretty long and beefy lag bolts.

 Now we can start putting down some new deck planks on the bow.  We are using reclaimed and salvaged old growth doug fir.  All the wood is planed down and cut to the right width and depth.  There's a bevel on the sides for the caulking material. 

My job was to cut all the plugs to plug up the holes over the fastenings.  Then install them all and slice off the excess to make them flush with the deck. 

Then Bill used a door planer to plane the new deck planks down to the level of the old planks.  He came back with a large orbital sander to make it all smooth.

The next step will be caulking (or corking as it's called here) and sealing the seams.  We are also in the process of rebuilding the scuttle that goes from the bow deck to the fo'c'sle. 

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