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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Wheelhouse Wall

One of the things that has always bothered us about Iver, was the plywood on the outside of the wheelhouse wall.  In 1925 when Iver was built,  the front of the wheelhouse would have been done in tongue and groove.  Another problem with the plywood was that over the years the drains for the copper window pans had been plugged up or even just boarded over.  The windows drop down into those pans to keep water from getting into the wall, plugging up the drains wouldn't help keep water from getting into the wall.

In this photo you can see the original T&G above the windows. We used that original wood to match the replacement planks.

We decided it was time to put the T&G back on the boat.  Also we wanted to see what was under there, we knew there was water damage and rot.  So all that plywood had to go.  We had help with the first part of the demo when Bill's brother Ron and cousin Richard came up from California for a visit. Armed with a sawzall, they attacked the wheelhouse wall. There were two layers of plywood, but no waterproofing material and many of the supports had rot.

Luckily the original copper pans were intact, there are four, two in the front and one on each side with a drain in a lower corner.  The two windows in the middle don't open.  Bill added in additional support and replaced some of the badly rotted supports.  He also added a bit of insulation in the form of rigid foam. 

Then we wrapped the wall in roofing paper and then with 1/4" birch plywood.  Originally the first layer of the wall would have been thin boards set at an angle or horizontally, then the T&G, but since it will be hidden, we went with the birch ply.  A bit easier to make that curve around the side.  Then we wrapped it again with roofing paper.  We use the roofing paper also know as tar paper, as a moisture barrier.  It will inhibit moisture but still allow the boat to breathe.

 We painted the backside of the T&G boards with a red lead substitute to inhibit rot.  The material is clear vertical grain fir tongue and groove flooring material.  We spent 45 minutes at the lumber yard cherry picking our planks.  No knots, no voids.  (well, almost no knots)

Bill used a small plane to individually shape and custom fit each plank to fit the curve of the house. 

Each plank is then carefully placed to get a nice tight fit.  Holes were cut to for the four cooper drip tubes.  Bill used a pneumatic finish nailer to attach the T&G to the wall.

The T&G looks great on the wheelhouse, it matches up with the original almost exactly.  We caulked and sanded the boards, then primed and painted.

A little painting tip, for a dark color you need to use a dark primer.   I use a white primer for our dove white and a dark grey primer for the dark red. 

A note about the paint, we used latex exterior house paint, Sherwin Williams best exterior latex to be exact.   I know there are going to be wood boat folks that think this is blasphemy but here's my reasoning.  Even the priciest house paint is much less expensive than anything with marine on it's label.  Also there is virtually no smell to this paint, very low VOC's. I can't stand the fumes from oil based paints, it gives me a headache and makes me feel ill.  Exterior latex is formulated for wood, it's designed to withstand all kinds of weather from extreme heat to extreme cold, wind, rain, snow and yes, salt spray.  Houses flex, boats flex.  I just could not find a reason to pay twice as much for paint that made me feel like I have the flu after a hour of use.  After two years the paint is looking good on most of the boat, the only problems have come from bad spots in the wood, not the fault of the paint more the fault of the painter, it's all about the prep work.  We're pretty happy with our choice, so please don't start filling the comments section with rants on latex paint on boats.  We'll save the expensive marine paint for the hull. 

Rusty Portholes

Another problem we encountered with the wheelhouse were the portholes below the doors.  These were added in the late '70's or '80's and were steel not bronze.  They're in pretty poor shape and the wood around them had a lot of rot.  

 Bill removed the porthole on the starboard side. It was falling apart and had been leaking for quite a while, someone had caulked it shut to try and stop the leaks.  The wood around the porthole had become wet and was full of dry rot.  It all had to go.

Once all the bad wood was removed Bill added additional support in the space, rigid foam insulation and covered it with roofing paper. 

 The T&G on the side of the house is not a size you can find at the local lumber yard, so Bill had to mill all the pieces from bigger stock.  Our neighbor Chuck is always willing to lend a hand.  They carefully slid the pieces into place and measured for the cuts.

 Sanded and caulked and ready for primer.  No more leaky rusty porthole.

Once it was primed and painted, you can't tell where to porthole used to be and it's difficult to distinguish the old wood from the new.

1 comment:

  1. Just read about the sinking in the Seattle Times - my heart goes out to you.