Downeaster’s come with a neat little butterfly hatch over the main cabin. The “doors” or flaps or whatever they are called have some glass in them to give the cabin some light. Unfortunately, my hatch leaked pretty badly as the sealant in the glass had faded away over time. Like everything else on Windsong, that means a rebuild is in order! This was no way near as painful of a rebuild as the companionway hatch. The most difficult part of this was separating the glass from the wood, as it was all held together by sealant/adhesive and I had to be very careful taking it apart to preserve the wood. The pictures and captions below can tell the story.
Rebuilding the companionway hatch was one of those projects that sounded simple enough, but ended up being a very involved thing taking many months longer than anticipated. Just like with most of the boat, it is only when you take something apart that you realize the full extent of the damage and work to be done.
Sometime when the boat was still put together, I was inside during a rain shower noticing all of the water coming in from various leaks. One that came as a surprise was a steady leak coming through the sliding companionway hatch. I noted it and made sure to investigate it when the time came to focus on that hatch.
The time came and went, and before painting the deck I removed the hatch in its entirety to access the full deck, with the idea that I would do whatever I needed to do to seal up the hatch and make it leak free. When I began to remove the slats that make up the top of the hatch, the horrors beneath were revealed and instead of applying some sealant and calling it a day, I realized I had to rebuild the entire thing.
The pictures and captions below will tell the story:
A major project from the past year or so has been the restoration of the teak cap rails on Windsong. I had hoped the rail was just fine and could be left alone, but with each piece of hardware that got removed from it, the more I realized how damaged it was. On top of that, there were plenty of leaks under the cap rail where sealant had dried up and became useless. I eventually came to the conclusion that it had to come off, get restored, and re-bedded.
The first step came with removing the rails from the boat. This happened some time ago, as they needed to come off before I even started the deck restoration and painting. It wasn’t until I removed them that I had realized the extent of the damage. I had originally feared that they were unsalvagable in many spots, and I would have to replace the wood all together. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. As with any project, I took my time doing research and figured I could restore the teak and make the original rails last for much longer.
Just to forewarn, I did a pretty poor job of photo-documenting this project. I have a few, but I didn’t photo the restoration like I should. This is in part to the fact that I had my Dad help me out with the initial restoration and repairs to the major problem areas. He took the rails to his garage to work on while I concentrated on other projects. When I got them back, all of the repairs were done and I had forgotten to photo the problem areas to begin with for before and after pics.
The process for the restoration was initiated by the works of Don Casey, who has some great words on how to bring teak back to life. We cleaned each piece thoroughly with Bar Keepers Friend, a cleaner with oxalic acid, a cheap and effective alternative to teak cleaners. After cleaning we gave each piece an initial sanding to flatten out the grain and give us a better picture of where the problem areas were.
As you will see in the pictures below, certain areas where water had been trapped under hardware had been rotted away. Other areas were broken off due to collisions or whatever reason. Some areas were just soft and worn away. Where possible, we just fixed bad areas with teak plugs, but areas with small enough diameters to handle even 1″ plugs were rare.
The big problem areas were fixed using epoxy and fillers. You will often read that epoxy doesn’t adhere to teak all that well due to the natural oils in the wood; well when the wood is as dry and beat up as this…it sticks quite well. We initially experimented with wood filler, but that looked pretty bad; so I stuck with what I know and went with epoxy for the rest of the repairs. Some small areas I mixed saw dust from the initial sanding to fill the epoxy, but found that Cabosil and the red fairing compound I normally use with epoxy to do the job best.
Here are the pictures of the rail removal, some of the damage areas, and some of the restoration work:
Damage, and examples of repairs:
One modification I had to make to the rails was to create some grooves where the new stanchion bases will be. The old stanchion bases were just plates bolted to the top of the rails, the new ones have a vertical section to bolt to the bulwark for more stability. This was my first time ever using a router and making a jig, the one I have is just a small trim router. It turned out well after a few tries and errors on scrap wood:
After all of the repairs, each rail received a final few sandings of increasing grit before being ready to install. I used Life-Calk polysulfide for the bedding, in their teak-brown color. Each piece was painted with the Life-Calk primer for good adhesion, and was bedded with a good slab of the goo on all edges and in each screw hole. I beveled all holes with a counter-sink bit to create a good space for the sealant to work into. Each screw hole was then plugged with a teak bung. I had to spend some time making final repairs to some areas that I had missed, and had to open up and re-drill some bung holes that weren’t taking the smaller bungs. The rails then received a final sanding up to 220 grit. The Life-Calk sanded down quite nicely where it had gooped over.
Only picture I have of applying the goop, and a few more of the final sanded wood. You can see a big area of repair in the first picture at the edge of the bottom piece:
Of course, as with any project like this, I spent a stupid amount of time debating on how I would finish the teak. As some of you may have read previously, I have been restoring the interior wood with varnish. Varnish is gorgeous, but in the tropical sun it is an intensive thing to keep up with and maintain, way too much for my tastes. I have been using Cetol Natural Teak to finish my restored hatches, and have really liked how it looks. It is less fussy than varnish, and lasts longer in the tropical sun, but it still needs some care and maintenance. I am fine with the few pieces that are getting the Cetol, but the cap rail is easily the biggest area of wood on the deck. Of course, there is the option to leave it alone and let it silver, but I just spent countless hours restoring this wood and I would like to protect it somehow. Regular oiling didn’t appeal to me, as it didn’t last long and was prone to blackening as dirt collected.
After doing much research and going back and forth between Cetol and anything else I could find, I ended up going with Starbrite Tropical Teak Oil Sealer. It was recommended by a few people on the Cruisers Forum, and it seemed to fit the bill. It lasts a good bit, though not as long as Cetol, but it initially only needs one or two coats that can be applied in a day. Maintenance coats are easy to apply. I bit the bullet and bought a can of Starbrite, and after applying it to some test pieces came away pleasantly surprised.
I spent a day with Jenny applying two coats of it to the cap rails, and I think it looks fantastic. It sealed up the wood just right, as tested with a hose and you can see the water bead in the last few pictures.
It feels absolutely outstanding to have such a big project finished.
I promise I have been working hard. Many projects are about to be complete so write-ups will be coming soon. Here is a picture preview of the fully restored caprails, finished with Starbrite Tropical Teak Oil Sealer
So far I like this stuff. I screwed up applying it on the deck a few times. Once I did it when rain was coming..stupid mistake. The other too late on a cold night so the bumps flattened out before it dried. I had a few successful sections though. Painting it on the locker lids in the garage was really easy.
I’ve been Instagramming my projects more and more, you can see the thumbnail feed on the right of the page. Here are some from the last few months to catch you up.
Once the engine and its parts were painted, it was then time to begin reassembly! Not as easy as it sounds, there were a few specific procedures that needed to be done with care. First was mounting the new head gasket, putting on the head and correctly torquing the head bolts. Getting the right torque on those bolts, and in the correct order was important. Unfortunately, when torqing down the bolts much of the new paint came off the bolt heads. No big deal really, I’ll touch-paint in the end after I’ve re-checked the torque after running.
Next was the rocker arm assembly and push rods. This step required adjusting the valve clearances, another tricky procedure. But as with everything else I’ve had to learn, reading the books and finding some good guides online made it pretty damn easy. This video really helped me visualize the procedure:
The rest of the assembly was much easier. Put on new gaskets or o-rings, torque bolts to the manuals specifications.
The only remaining items to be put on are new oil and fuel filters, a new breather hose, and the wiring harness. Once those are complete it will be test run time!
This post continues the engine rebuild, the previous post can be found here.
As of that last post, I had all of the necessary fixes finished and ordered all of the remaining parts. The parts came in but before I could reassemble, I needed to paint everything.
For color I had originally planned on painting it silver/metallic much like the original color Yanmar uses. However, the more I thought about it the more I wanted to paint it something more unique and entertaining. I spent so much damn time rebuilding this thing, might as well make it look cool. I pondered some darker colors but realized that it needs to be light and bright so that problems can be seen easier (leaks and whatnot). Since I had the whole thing taken apart already, I might as well mix it up and have some parts different colors.
I ended up choosing a pattern of yellow with aluminium color parts. I used Dupli-Color Self-Etching Primer as the base coat, important for aluminium surfaces. I stuck with the same brand and used Dupli-Color High Temperature Engine Enamel for the paint job.
Before painting every surface was meticulously cleaned. I also tried to get most of the original chipping paint off that I could. Painting was rather easy, the hard part was getting everything taped off correctly so that no mating surfaces were painted and everything was protected against that paint that needed to be. Just followed the directions on the cans of primer and paint, and let it rip:
With everything painted, it was then time for reassembly!
The engine is nearly complete. It is fully rebuilt and painted, the only remaining items are repairing the wiring harness and ordering a new breather hose, then I will finally be able to test run it. I’ll give a full write up of the ending phase of the project, but just wanted to give a sneak peek of the engine as it stands today:
One of the things I needed to take care of before rebedding the caprail and reinstalling a lot of hardware was to paint the cove stripe. After much hemming and hawing, I finally settled on a dark green as the Windsong’s new color. It took some searching to find the right green, and my preferred paints didn’t have it. I ended up using Rust-Oleum Marine Topside Paint, Deep Green as it was the perfect color. It definitely isn’t as good of a paint as the Interlux Perfection I used on deck, but it did the job “good enough”.
The biggest issue with the stripe was that I needed to plug up the holes left by the deck drains. My plan was to lower the drains as they were parallel with the drain holes, making it so water wouldn’t drain unless the boat rocked. I glassed those holes in, faired and they were ready for prime and paint. I put on 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of paint. Love the new green look, and now she is ready for the now restored teak caprail to be bedded. I’ll make a post about that as soon as I have it finished.
Less talk, more pics:
The last few photos are from my Instagram. If you wish to subscribe, add me @Floriderp or go to: http://instagram.com/floriderp to check out my photo stream. I’ll figure out a way to add the relevant photos to this blog sometime.
Also, I’ve added an email subscription widget to the right of this page. Given my sporadic posting, maybe some would benefit from getting email updates.
Lots of projects are getting wrapped up so expect more soon!