Sunday, January 26, 2014
The original steel engine bedding needed to be removed, for the last few frames and floor timbers to be replaced directly under the engine. We decided not to cut a hole in the roof, and deck, and not to hire a crane to pull the engines out of the boat. So, we moved them. (That sounded so simple...)
In order to do that, we built enough structure in the deck to carry the 3,500lb engines, hoisted them up and built a flat area ahead of them. This involved carting some 18 foot long 6x6's down the dock, and through bolting eye bolts and backing plates above the engines every few feet... Along with a thousand board feet of douglass fir 2x6's in varying lengths to replace the engine bedding. There is a fair bit going on in the upper cabin at the moment, watch your step! Only one chain hoist was sacrificed...
We also had to build the wooden engine bedding, ahead of the motors... before we moved them off the steel. This involved leveling the floor frames, slotting them for 1x6's and then laminating up a stack of 6 on each side. We then laid a 6x6 over the top of each of the 4 runners, and screwed a plywood scab to the sides. That got capped off with an angle iron corner, that lined up perfectly with the top of the existing steel engine bedding. (Our friend Danny kicked in a few pieces of angle iron so the pipe rollers had something smooth to roll on. Thanks! )
We cut the engines loose, hoisted them in the air, and used a lever block to scoot them forward until they hung over onto the runners. Once the pipe rollers started taking load, we were home free. From there it was 5 foot pinch bars. We made the runners dead level, and crossed strings to make sure the engines wouldn't make any drastic moves due to gravity.
This involved about a 2 week buildup, of making sure everything would go smoothly and deciding on the final plan of how the engine stringers were to be made and stitched together.... Seeing as the engines are now sitting, on the forward half of the engine stringers.... the 6X6's were set so we could work under them and tie the two pieces together.
After the move was over, a thousand pounds of steel came out of her, slowly. We used side cut off wheels and metal cutting sawzalls, as oil soaked oak laid directly against the steel bedding. This was a somewhat slow process, but a few days work rendered it a pile in the back of my pickup truck... No torches to burn the boat down either!
After the steel was out, we removed the old floors and frames and cut the fasteners flush to the planks and started laying in strips of 3/16th thick douglass fir, 2 1/8th inches wide. We've got epoxy laminating strip frames in place down to an art form. It is a somewhat tedius process making the strips, as they need to be 14 feet long, and un-tapered.
Once the strips were laid, we began making more floor frames and floor timbers. They don't grow trees the required 16 inches, by 2 1/8th wide any more. So we laminated the floor frames too.
We've got a novel way of doing it now, that involves a 3/4 plywood scab wrapped in mylar packing tape. Once the pieces are buttered up with epoxy, we put the big bar clamps on the board... Once they are tight, we screw the 3/4 plywood scabs to the face and that pulls all the pieces flush to the scab. Works like magic... No clamping cauls required, and no funny business with slipping clamps. It also means that we can make quite a few at one time, as it no longer requires using the saw table top as a reference for a flat surface.
We are rebuilding the engine bedding out of Douglass fir, laminating it up as is done in the new Carolina sport fishing boats. We can move at a quicker pace, without having to call in much outside labor. The engine bedding will be built up, and then wrapped with 1/2 inch plywood, fiberglassed and painted before the engines move aft.
We'll also be moving the fuel tanks up ahead of the engines, as we noticed the shift in trim was fairly significant just moving the engines ahead 8 feet... We liked the change, so bringing the tanks forward will trim the boat out flatter and make achieving level cabinetry in the top cabin a lot easier to compensate for fuel load!