Monday, October 27, 2008

Cool Picture Of The Week - performers from "Bugs Bunny Meets The Super-Heroes" stage show.

This photo was recently posted at the 1966 Batman Message Board.

It shows two the performers from the late 70's "Bugs Bunny Meets The Super-Heroes" and a young fan.

Go to this blog entry to read some of my memories of the kiddie stage show and a store window card I saved.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cool Picture Of The Week - Restored Vali IV

We can't get enough of boats that have fins and eyes.

This Cool Picture Of The Week is of a restored Vali IV.

Manufactured in Coldwater, Michigan briefly in the late 1950s there are less than 15 known to exist. Not much is known about the short lived Vali company except they made only one boat design with different variations.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Batboat Rebuild: Woodflower and Funnoodles

No, Woodflower and Funnoodles are not recipe ingredients. I'm using them on the Batboat.

On October 5th, I drove back from Bay City where I found swimming pool foam Funnoodles clearance priced at $1 each. I stuffed all fifteen in the back seat. Holy blind spot!

These are commonly used for foam flotation in fiberglass boat restoration. The material is the same used in aircraft wings and will not absorb water. They do chemically break down and shed to foam flakes if exposed to UV rays for too long but since they'll go under the boat's deck that will never happen.

An example I found on my hard drive of someones Funnoodle placement between the deck and hull. These keep the boat afloat if there is an accident on the water.
Each is around 5 foot tall, easy to cut and will fit perfectly under the deck of my boat.

I found two types of them. Ten are the standard, funtastic noodles and five Monster sized, both for ages 5+.

Friday, the day before this, UPS delivered two 2 1/2 lb. tubs (5 qts. volume) of Wood Flower to my door. Basically, this is expensive, fine saw dust at $9.50 per tub.

Ordered it from Mertons Fiberglass and Marine Supply

It is most commonly used to thicken fiberglass resin to a peanut-butter like consistency for filling inside corners, fixing holes and setting stringers to the hull, to name a few. Wood flour makes a great, coarse fiberglass structural putty, too. This and cabosil are indispensable in fiberglass boat restoration.

I have all the things I need now to install the transom, stringers and deck except for warm weather. Fiberglass resin needs consistent temperatures at least around 65 degrees to properly solidify. A garage and a space heater sure would come in handy right now.

Batboat Rebuild: Day 16 October 1, 2008

The weather was cold and damp since the day I had the Batboat in the river, however, the weather report for today was good so I got up early to grind out most of the remaining fiberglass that anchored the stringers to the hull.

Perhaps I would have a few good, warm days until snowfall that will let me glass in the stringers, I hoped.

The old stinger fiberglass needed to be ground down a little bit to clean up what was left of dirt, rot and mold which the old, saturated foam floatation left behind so new fiberglass resin can stick and set to the hull better.

I put on the sloppy t-shirt, baggy sweat pants, overalls, Tyvek suit, and respirator again and commenced grinding with a 60 grit flapper disc.

It was damp and breezy but those layers kept me warm.

I removed all the original fiberglass foundations of the stringers except for two spots. I left those in so one stringer can brace the rest in place while I properly fiberglass them in. When the resin is set I'll grind down the remaining old glass and laminate in the last stringer.

After maybe two hours I felt light rain sprinkling down so I got out of the boat, began tidying up around the drive way, tarped the vessel, and put all the tools and equipment away for the day.

Geesh! What a disappointment. I was only a little more than half way finished!

Several hours later the sun was out and clouds mostly gone. Go figure.

Winter snow will soon be here. I will have to put most of my plans on hold until the warm weather breaks in June 2009.

Batboat Rebuild: Day 15 September 29, 2008

It still floats!

A day had past and the fiberglass repairs to hull had completely set. Now was the time to test for leaks in the Saginaw River. My goal was to keep it in for thirty minutes to check for leaks with news print.

The boat launch park is across the street from me and that afternoon I removed the tarp still hooked to the trailer and carefully hitched the Batboat up to the car.

By carefully, I mean really carefully. Due to my removing all the structural parts, soaked foam and rotten wood the fiberglass hull was extremely light and flexible. It didn't fit well on the trailer to begin with and it bounced around a great deal with every movement.
I slowly drove my way to the docks very cautiously. In the early afternoon there isn't that much traffic so I was lucky in that regard. The Batboat moved around and slammed into the trailer with every small bump in the asphalt road so I kept driving at a safe 5 miles per hour. However, the Batboat almost flipped off the trailer when I crawled over the first set of rail road tracks.
I finally made it to the boat launch, paid my $5 fee and tried to back in. It took a while because my trailer is crooked thus making it impossible to back the vessel in a straight line.
Two guys that were pulling their leaking Bay Liner cabin cruiser in and out of the river, trying to find the source of leaks, stopped what they were doing a few times and gave a few looks in my direction.

After multiple tries of backing it into the water without hitting the pier and dock I slid it into the water and it floated perfectly.

For the first time since mid-April I got to pretend I was fighting crime on the high seas. Broom! Broom!!
The weather had been cooling down a bit the last couple days and it was obvious I wouldn't have many more warm days to do fiberglass work on the boat this year.
I tested the boat for leaks and examined the hull closely from inside and out. Got in and rocked it back and forth, stood on the bow until the stern lifted from the water and put all my weight on the transom area.

To my relief and great pride there were no leaks.

After a half hour, light sprinkles of rain and cold breeze ended the fun. I pulled the boat out of the river, parked it in the drive and covered it with the tarp.

The sealed transom holes kept the river water out and the hull dry.

I have to do some work on the trailer. The wiring for the lights work but are a mess and the bunks and rollers don't support the weight of the vessel evenly.

That is a project for next year.

A 1 1/2 inch gap between the hull and bunk. The Batboat moves around too much on the road. Not good!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Batboat Rebuild: Day 14 September 27, 2008

Oh, boy. This is the day I took on the severely damaged stern and the splash well. Holy bail buckets! Look at all the holes!

This was in poor condition. Some of the holes were probably for fittings of some sort, some were drilled in by a previous owner, but the biggest one, which looks like a devilish grin, was where the incredible force of the motor pushed through the rotted hull.
He's the only one who was laughing.
I "kind of" had this all figured and plunged head first into it.

The first task was to rebuild the fiberglassing of the hull which I unfortunately removed most of.

My first experience with a grinder was weeks before when I was removing the original transom and cleaning up the stern area. The 60 grit flap wheel removes fiberglass and whatever it attached to very quickly. When I was finished more than 75% of the original fiberglass was gone leaving mostly gelcoat.

Grinder divots
The guys at the forum almost flipped when I showed them this. However, as with all other fiberglass repairs it is an easy fix.

All I need to do is rebuild the transom starting with one layer of 1.5 oz chopped mat to fill in and smooth out the holes and gouges I made. This is followed by a layer of 1708 biaxial cloth, and another, followed by the plywood transom. This not only fixes all the damage but also creates a transom many, many times more stronger than when the boat left the factory.

I didn't think that I had all the polyester resin needed to complete the job so I focused just n glassing in the 1.5 chopped strand mat cloth. 1708 biaxial soaks up a great deal of resin and I had little more than a gallon on hand. The weather was getting cooler and needed to plug up all the leak points in order to see if the boat floats in the river before it got too frigid.

All the remaining metal fasteners and screws were located and quickly drilled or ground out. The big smile area was actually forced in and some of the fiberglass around it was cracked and permanently dented inward. The cutter wheel got it all out so I could lay the glass cloth in flat.

Before I stared on that I took all the stainless screws out of the laminated transom ply and drilled new holes where filled in with cut dowels. The area was cleaned up with a rag and Acetone.

This was a big job I was doing today so I got everything ready and in place and mixed up a quart of polyester resin.

I glopped resin into the peg holes and hammered the pegs in, filled in the lamination gap with resin, and made sure it was completely filled then moved on to the fiberglassing the Batboat.
For this I mixed a lot of cabosil into the resin to make it thick and slathered it on the fiberglassing area and a little beyond. It ran down a bit so I painted it back up with the brush and made sure I had a thick layer of resin before I put in the glass cloth.

The glass cloth fit in perfect with room around the edges to nicely stuff into the corners. I had to work fast so I worked out the air bubbles with my long fiberglass roller and saturated the cloth with more resin and rolled some more air pockets until the cloth was completely transparent.

Immediately after
After tabbing the excess around the edges and making sure all was even and there was no air pockets anywhere I painted on another coat then turned to the transom wood with the remaining resin and gave it another layer. The rest was applied to the nearby stringers. By the time I was done I had a perfect starting hull repair and a couple of extra coats of resin on the structural wood members.

Here's the transom from the outside. All damage is 100% sealed and water proofed.

The motor seats on the transom and clamped to the splash well of this Batboat. Since the original transom wood was rotted the entire rear of the boat was badly damaged. The splash well received a few large stress cracks that a previous owner filled in with caulk.

All the damage and filler needed to be completely removed so I could fix the fiberglass. An easy job but dusty.

The 60 grit flapper wheel quickly and easily removed the gunky caulk and areas surrounding the cracked fiberglass.

By the time I finished with the splash well, the fiberglass had beautifully set in the boat.

The extra glass cloth around the edges made no difference in the fit of the transom ply.

The evenings were beginning to get a little more cooler and darker. Soon I be forced to stop work on the Batboat. Fiberglass resin will not set properly in temperatures below 60 - 65 degrees. If it weren't for that the work would continue until snowfall.
Before and After

Batboat Rebuild: Day 13 September 25, 2008

The weather was wonderful on the 13th day of the rebuild. That morn I set out to patch up the holes below the water line of the hull and coat the rest of top side of the laminated transom with polyester resin.

After carefully looking over the boat the day before for holes I marked their locations with pieces of duct tape. This morning I slipped on my work suit, Tyvek suit and respirator mask for the task of fiberglass grinding those areas from inside the vessel.

With the flapper disc on my grinder, I cleaned up around the holes for about 6 inches radius, or so. The boat almost tipped off the trailer several times when I was under the bow!

The spots were thoroughly cleaned of dirt and fiberglass dust with a rag shirt and Acetone.

When done with that I cut matching pieces of 1.5 oz chopped cloth and 1708 Biaxial Mat for each repair. There was about five of them to fix, I think, including the spot where the previous owner screwed the plywood deck through the bottom.

1708 Biaxial is among the strongest fiberglass out there. The repairs are as strong, or stronger, than the rest of the hull.

I then went around the outside of the boat and sealed the holes with duct tape, preventing resin from leaking out, then mixed a pint of polyester resin and cabosil to make the resin more thicker.

Before getting back in, however, I coated the rest of the top side transom. This wasn't difficult. I removed two long bolts and painted it up.
Quickly making my way into the topsy-turvy hull with the catalyzed resin and roller I slathered resin on the first area, laid the 1.5 chopped fiberglass cloth on top and worked out all the air bubbles with the fiberglass roller, put more resin on that, topped it off with the 1708 biaxial and more resin, and worked the air bubbles out. Repeated for the others.

Here is the finished repair to the 10 inch long cut my sawzall made through the hull on my first day ever using a sawzall and first experience cutting out a Batboat deck.
Working quickly, but very carefully, I didn't have time to take more photos. Sorry.