Thursday, November 12, 2015

The "dreaded" covering boards.

After two years living in Europe, finishing a Riva project over there, it is the time to complete the barrelback project here at home. The bottom and hull sides was finished before I tucked the project away. And the next thing to do was the dreaded covering boards. On the barrel backs this is a 16/4 (4" / 100 mm) thick mahogany, and the cost of the 16/4" x 16" wide x 16' long mahogany log was over a $1000 alone. Better keep your tongue straight, measure twice and cut once...

Using the old covering boards as rough templates to rough cut the blanks from the mahogany log. Must assure that there is plenty of extra material, since the shape of the new hull is not 100% identical from the way it was. 

With the pieces rough cut out with a jigsaw and a long blade, the finish cut is made on the bandsaw with a 3/4" 4 TPI saw blade. These are heavy pieces to handle, an extra pair of hands are recommended. 

With the boards cut to size, comes the job to fair the inside edge of the two opposite boards. This way the deck planking will line up perfectly later. The outside edge you trim to size once they are mounted on the hull to make a perfect match to the hull shape.

The covering boards are hand planed to make a nice, even fit onto the sheerline of the boat.

Finally, the but joints are cut repeatedly with a "Japan" saw to make tight joints.

With the covering boards installed, we can start with the deck framing which on the barrelbacks are attached to the covering boards.

Monday, October 21, 2013

When one year become two....

Well, the one year hiatus for the barrelback will become two. The boat is nicely tucked away in my garage awaiting my return in the fall of 2014.

I could not be without a boat project to work on though. I've always wanted a Riva, and I came by this 1958 Florida project that I could not pass on. Follow the work on this boat here:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Like a new engine.

My model K engine is back from getting the Dave Van Ness treatment, and it looks really good.  Dave is renown worldwide for his exellent workmanship and his attention to the correct details.

Before, a rusted out and seized engine.

As good it looks on the outside, more important is the inside. All the components like, generator, fuel pump, oil/water pump, carburetor and starter has been completely dissasembeled and rebuild. New valves and seat, new pistons, rings and bearings. Bad cylinders has been sleeved and correct vintage wiring. 

Like a new engine

Before the engine is returned, Dave run them for several hours over white paper to make sure everything is OK and tight.

Pre-war CC engines have a deeper blue than post-war.

Wiring with thumbscrews.

It did however, take three years to get the engine back. Dave knew that I don't have a water ready boat, and I guess that his high end, repeat business boat shops got first in line. Make sure you get a confirmed delivery if you need your engine back on a certain time.

Closeup of the carburetor and fuel pump.

During loading or transportation something hit the rear underside of the gearbox. I noticed a oil leak in the connection between the block and the gearbox the day after delivery. I called Dave that Sunday morning, and he arranged for one of his guys to drive the 4 hours up from New Jersey the next morning to pickup the engine. It got fixed, new paint job, new test run, and delivered back 12 days later, no charge, no questions. That is the Dave Van Ness treatment.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Initial fairing

The last topside planks are installed and screw holes are bunged, and its time for initial fairing of the hull sides. Used a DeWalt right angle sander with a 8" softpad for a quick rough sanding of the bungs and plank joints. The renaming sanding will be done by hand with longboards.

Moved the hull outside since it generate a lot of dust. Jacked it up into manageable work height.

Next up is new covering boards, deck framing and planks. However, due to extensive travel the next year, the boat will get another hiatus as I will spend much of my time in Europe.  Who was counting time anyway....... The work will continue in August 2013. Check in for updates then.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Last topside plank

The last topside plank is fitted, ready for final installation. It has been a tough job getting the seems nice and tight, and getting the planks to conform to the hull without cracking. 

I have used the well described router method by Dannenberg. The backside of the plank is "glued" to the battens and frames with 3M5200 and I have used West epoxy in seam between the planks. The 5200 will not sand flat, so if you don't get the seams completely tight, you can feel the seam after sanding. Epoxy dries hard, and you can sand it flat. Mixing it with a thickening agent with a hardwood color.

I thought I had a lot of clamps, but just about every single one was used when dry-fitting both top planks.

Dannenberg state in his book that he uses 65 hours to rough cut, rout, fit and final assembly of the topsides of a small runabout. Experience must make it easier and quicker, or maybe a helper or two, because I used more than twice that time.

Friday, May 11, 2012


It's time for the topsides, and I've been nervously looking forward to this. I knew this would be difficult, getting nice, even and tight plank seams. First thing to do is to modifying the laminate trim router according to the well described router method by Danenberg.

I used the old planks as a rough template to size the new wood. However, the old plank was very much out of shape, and I had to rough fair the new plank on the boat. 

Using the chine rabbet and the router setup, the joint between the 1st. plank and the chine is perfect. It took a few tries to get it right though. Holding the router steady against the chine is not easy. Up front it's only 5/8" wide "flat".

There it is, 1st. plank down, nine to go! It's glued and screwed in place with 3M5200. Also used 5200 in the seam between the plank and the chine. Between the plank to plank seam I will use West epoxy with a filler. If there is a little gap between the planks, you will not be able to sand the 5200 flat. I will still use 5200 between the batten and plank. Thanks for the tip Mike!

Now, on to the next ones!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Batten up!

The topside battens are fitted and installed with 3M5200. I had them soak for several days so they would conform to the hull shape. The top batten (called shear stake?) soaked for 6 full days, and I still needed to use clamps as weights to make the necessary twist.

Screwed and "glued" in, showing the barrel stern.

I'll let the 5200 cure for a full 7 days. 3M5200 cures with the humidity, and it has been very dry for several weeks. The on to topside planking and routing. But first, selecting the right wood to use, with regards to grain, color and pattern.