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1958 Thompson Sea Coaster

After this 2nd restoration

Step by step photos of

The 1st job was to get her off the trailer. Hoist and block the stern and block under the keel. Move blocks as necessary and roll the trailer forward. Below you'll see the reverse which was more efficient and done in one step. Then I roller her onto her port side with padding under the gunnel and lashed to uprights. This allowed working on the interior and exterior simultaneously. Wedged braces were used later to maintain the shape, though that wasn't really a problem. Below you see the main issue, a rotten and leaky keel structure. (I've already removed the vertical keelson skirts and blocking.) Realizing the butt ends of many ribs were punky and there'd been many scabbed in pieces, I've run a skilsaw on either side of the keel to remove it en block. The photos are left in the real orientation, rather than rotating them to the more expected orientation. You can see some remaines of resin (polyester?) that had been poured around the keel as a previously ill considered short cut repair. It was essentially nonadherent and came out easily.

Keelout Removebadribs

The keel has been removed and I'm removing all the suspect previous repairs. A couple pieces I'd epoxied in place during round one of restoration are left in place. They were still strongly in place and doing no harm. Any half rib (those extending only to the bilge stringers) that was at all suspect was removed entirely, as easier to replace than sister. Any deteriorating ribs were cut out to be sistered as needed. A 4 inch side grinder with course flexible grinding disk proved an easily controlled way of doing this. It was also used to bevel the ends which would be part of the limber hole drainage system. The new ribs and sister ribs are Oregon white oak. They're sealed with a tung oil, varnish 'boat soup'. They're attached thru the planking w/ silicon bronze screws in the original manner. (Except for being bronze in place of brass.) The brass screws have frequently deteriorated from dezincification and were brittle. Then I set in a new keel of vertical grain douglas fir sealed w/ epoxy. The top edges are beveled to be part of the limber drain path. The keel was held in alignment with short pieces of ply on the inside and outside screwed to and crossing the keel. Wedges between these pieces and the planking allowed adjustment and maintained alignment as I made the 40 or so new floor timbers to mechanically tie the boat together across the keel. Proceeding from aft forward I was sure to make them perfectly symmetrical. Both sides were scribed off the planking and then any difference between the two sides was split. They're screwed to the top of the new keel and through the bottom. You'll see that the planking has also been sealed with tung oil. (Linseed oil will turn black, tung oil doesn't.) I made no attempt to refinish the inside of the planking. That would be very difficult without totally dismantling the planking and even when done would be difficult to maintain in varnish. So, loose peeling varnish was scraped off, all crevices cleaned as well as possible (e.g. using a hacksaw blade run under the ribs at the laps), more dirt was wire brushed off and then the entire hull interior was brushed with tung oil 3 times. An oil finish soaks in and slowly hardens within the grain. It's not as pretty as varnish, but it's really easy to maintain. This boat is not intended as a concours d'elegance restoration. It's a user boat! Below right you can also see a patch made of wood shavings and epoxy filling a 3/4" hole drilled through sometime in the past for who knows what, (drain,? depth sounder?)


Now all the new pieces are in place. The butt ends of the old ribs have had the endgrain sealed with epoxy. The cut edge of the bottom ply has also been sealed with epoxy. The new and old ribs have been coated w/ oil, which was also applied to the underside of the new wood before screwing in place. The screws were dipped in the oil when inserted. Additional coats to the bottom coat the visible surfaces and wick in underneath. The new keel top is raised 3/4" above the planking. The new floor timbers are 3/4 inch thick above the keel. Therefore they gradually become shorter as they go forward as the bottom's deadrise increases.

On the right are spots ground out where there'd been previous 'bondo' patching of damage apparently done by the old trailer's rollers or their mounting brackets. Simple semicircular sections were ground out, with some beveling, and solid fir dutchman patches were epoxied in place. After drying they were planed and sanded flush.


Above left you see the new keel having been planed to fair into the planking and leave a central flat for the outer keel. Forward you see where the cutout came to a point (using a reciprocating saw) at the base of the outer step. Inside a new oak stem apron was made which later was screwed into place. Below left I've bonded the bottom together with 2 layers of 10 oz. glass cloth. The outer keel is about to be screwed and epoxied onto the flat I've left. The many screws through the ply to the ribs and floors have had their heads covered with thickened epoxy. Otherwise the bottom has had the paint removed (using a propane torch and putty knife) down to the remains of the first layer of strongly adherent undercoating. After sanding I painted the bottom with single part polyurethane "porch and deck enamel" mixed to my color choice. Below right the box keelson (of VG Douglas Fir) is about ready to be installed. The notches stradle the floors. This unit is also epoxy encapsulated. The forward end tapers as it starts to overlap the inner stem. The keelson is screw down to the keel between each floor. They are not bonded together so that it can be dismantled if necessary.


The keel complete the hull is now rightedusing my hillbilly derick skyhook system. It's put back onto the trailer in one motion after being suspended in the air. To the right is my epoxy filleted splash well in the making. This also stradles the transom to raise it to long shaft 20" height. The unit is later held on with many bronze screws and is removable if anyone wants to go back to the stock transom. I believe in reversibility where possible and a blending of epoxy encapsulation of some parts and traditional construction in others.

The transom had it's own problems. There was separation between some parts so that the bottom of the transom looked fine on the outside but was starting to rot inside as was the mating surface of the verticals and the starboard lower frame. So all suspect wood was removed. The starboard bilge stringer was also split and was epoxied back together.


The bad parts of the transom were removed w/ Skilsaw, hand saw and chisels. The top seam was routed to shiplap and the port side scarfed roughly with a small grinder and finished w/ rabbet plane and chisels. New pieces were fitted and everything was epoxied together. A long reach homemade clamp got down to the bottom. Then the surface was planed and sanded. Finally grinding and planing got the new splash well to fit. Basically this was required because the old transom wasn't as flat as it needed to be. The stern knee was reinforced and through bolted.

spashwellfitting splashwellfinished

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