Marine Boat restoration tips!
Boat restoration is hard work, but it is an excellent way to keep your mind busy, focusing on something else; it is exciting and very rewarding once you see the end result! When you repair and restore a broken item, you feel good and proud of what you have accomplished.
Where to start?
Prepare- You always need to prepare before you can start working on any project. If you prepare, you can plan!
First, you need to find a workspace, you will spend a lot of your time in your workspace, so make sure it is clean and a comfortable space for you to work in, your workspace needs proper lightning and water.
Start by cleaning your boat; this will help you to see what you are working with. You will see scratches, wear, and tear, etc.
1. Remove water, leaves, and debris from your boat.
2. Remove all equipment from the boat, and inspect the equipment.
Make a list as you clean your boat, see repair work that needs repairing and write it down, from the smallest thing to the largest. Working from a plan makes the process easier, as you might forget about certain small repairs.
Once you completed the cleaning process, do a walk-through and intense inspection. Check interior and exterior of the boat, from bow to stern and top to bottom. Make a list of everything you see that needs repair work, identify what is broken, can it be repaired, or do you need to replace it? Add all of this information to your list.
Get your tools ready, now that you have done an intense inspection and added to your list of repair work, you will know what tools you need to get the job done.
Prioritize Tasks, it is important to prioritize, know where you will start with repairs, starting with structural damages, getting the boat to float, start with the engine, electrical system, etc. Starting with the boat's exterior is a good place to start, then moving to the interior of the boat, then all electrical systems and equipment.
Checklist to help you:
1. Clean your boat
2. Intense inspection of the boat, bow to stern and top to bottom
3. Get your tools ready
4. Identify broken items; can you restore or do you need to replace them?
5. Remove old fuel from the tank, old oil from the engine, and gearcase.
6. Remove and replace with new ones: old belts and hoses on the engine.
7. Check hull fittings and seacocks, replace if necessary.
8. Check electrical systems; you need to check everything on the boat!
Suppose you don't have the skills or do not feel comfortable repairing the deck, fiberglass, gel coat, engine, electrical, etc. Get a professional that can assist you.
Five necessary steps to repair or replace a rotten deck.
First, you need at least two people to assist you; you will need the following tools: saber saw, crowbar, hammer, chisel, pick, and a drill with screw bits; measuring tape, circular saw, fasteners, fiberglass resin, fiberglass putty, a sander, sandpaper, rolls of fiberglass cloth, fiberglass resin, paintbrushes, and rollers, mixing tubs, measuring cups, and latex gloves.
- Mark the rotten area you want to replace/repair. You need to set the saw blade before you start, drill a hole in the rotten area and use a probe to measure the deck thickness; taking this step is vital and will help avoid cutting too deep, causing damage to the hull.
- Now that your saw blade is set, cut around the marked rotten area; once the rotten area is cut free, it is easy to rip out the rotten wood. You might find some places where pieces need to be chipped away from fiberglass putty; on the stringers and/or bulkheads, for this, you need a hammer and chisel, use the hammer to chip fiberglass resin out of the screw heads that secure the deck, this way you can remove the old fasteners using the driver bit.
- Cut new marine plywood to fit the rotten area. Paint the bottom with a thick coat of resin; this will protect the bottom against moisture; while you are at it, paint stringers and bulkheads.
- Use fiberglass putty and bed the deck along stringers and bulkheads. Screw the decking in place and fill the seams with fiberglass putty. leave it to harden, and then sand until the entire deck is flush and smooth.
- Glass, the deck with at least layers of fiberglass, read the resin/hardener mixing directions and use measured amounts, don't guess, you can watch a youtube video for more assistance on how to lay down fiberglass and wetting it out.
When you replace a piece of rotten deck, always prep; sand, and clean the fiberglass surfaces a couple of inches beyond repair itself so you can overlay the glass around the edges.
Working with Fiberglass tips
Before you start working with fiberglass, it is important to understand it!
- Fiberglass should be cut out and laid over the area you repair before you begin to mix the resin. Resin takes about 15 min to dry/harden, so be sure to have everything ready and laid out beforehand.
- Don't mix too much resin as you will waste it; rather, mix small amounts as you go.
- Wear protective clothing and gloves to avoid resin coming into contact with skin.