I've read a lot about boat restoration and have seen a lot of great pictures. I'm planning on taking the 18' Larson All-American I just purchased and performing a repair & restoration. There's a lot to do such as reupholstery, fiberglass repair, painting, restore the trailer and so on. But before I begin I'm curious about the floor. When buying this boat I stepped on every inch of the floor and it felt solid. The boat has always been covered and, for a 1967, is in great shape. My question is: If the floor feels solid do I need to cut into it to check the stringers and foam below? This boat will be used for various activities such as harbor cruises, waterskiing, fishing and the occassional trip to Santa Catalina. I'm nervous that a rough ocean trip could damage the boat if the stringers are weak but also don't want to go to the expense of cutting away the floor if it's not necessary. Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.
Have you attempted to flex the transom by pushing up and down on the motor leg? Really give her some good tugs and pushes and see if the transom flexes at all. If it does then theres a good chance you need to investigate below the deck. If no flex then I'd say she's good to go. My 1961 was stored in a barn and the transom deck and stringers were like new. You might be lucky too.
Stringers in your boat are more than likely fiberglass with only a thin wood strip glassed in the top to attach the floor to. This is how they made them in my 1965 Larson and in 1966 too. If the transom and floor are solid, then wouldn't worry about it. Larson, in those days at least, built one thick, solid, if somewhat heavy, hull.
PS. My 1965 did not have any foam in the hull and was all original from the factory before I replaced the floor and transom. Wish the previous owner had been kept mine as good as yours appears to have been. Great boats.
Well, I shook and shook the oversized 150hp Mercury engine and didn't see any flex. I've been told, and I believe it, that the Larsons of this era use very thick fiberglass and the overall weight of the boat is rather heavy. Next week I'll be pulling up the vinyl flooring and removing all hardware .... the beginning of the resto. One more trip out tonight though, before she's sidelined for a while. Once all the hardware, windshield & engine are removed I'll begin working on any necessary fiberglass repairs. I'll be replacing all cleats & marine hardware as the pitting is severe. The speedometer and navigation are too unique to toss. I'm going to strip them and rechrome. Their styling is impossible to find any longer.
Two questions however:
1. If there is no foam surrounding the stringers, what will happen if the boat were to capsize on the way to Catalina Island? Bow up .... or could it possibly float flat. Is there significant danger not having foam below deck?
2. I know that this is not a restoration question, however, I'm considering putting a Evinrude E-Tec 115hp on my 18'. Enough power?
Thank you for your responses. I'm new to iboats and am loving it. Regarding restorations, this is my first boat but I've restored, and still drive today, a 1967 VW bus. Talk about great styling.
As I begin the fiberglass repair and restoration, I have a few questions about the order of things. Let me begin by saying that I'll be filling a large number of unnecessary holes on the top side and some hull gouges. The overall condition of my gel coat is salvageable or so I believe, but has heavy oxidation. I would assume that this is the correct order of repair:
1. Repair all fiberglass
2. Overall gel coat restoration of entire boat
3. Color match gel coat for any fiberglass repairs
This leaves me with two questions. One is wondering if I should restore the overall gel coat prior to repairing the fiberglass. Secondly, if I were to color match the gel coat (on my repairs) before the overall restoration, how could I assure that I'd match the color correctly before the true color (following restoration) is visible. As you can see, I'm uncertain of the "order of things" before I dive in head first.
I've spent this week pulling out the seats and removing all hardware. Tomorrow I'll be pulling up the vinyl flooring & will inspect the condition of the wooden deck. From all indications, I don't believe it'll need replacing, but we'll see. Unfortunately, I'm unsure what to use on the floor. I'll be creating new seating platforms/cabinets with storage using a nice wooden veneer over plywood & will seal with a marine epoxy to prevent water damage. Initially I'd envisioned applying the samee veneer over the floor as well, then sealing with epoxy also. However, I've been told that the floor will get too hot (honey-colored teak veneer) and that the sealer/epoxy will make the floor very slippery. I'm uncertain if this is true but it got me thinking. So I considered using some type of non-skid but, ultimately would rather go with the wood flooring to keep the vintage look of the boat. I'd love some of your thoughts and any product advice you guys are willing to give.
And let me say that I really appreciate all of the advice I've already gotten. It's gonna be a fun resto ... even if I already had to dig up my old back brace.
first off.....in regards to the foam....it is there for flotation......if you capsize,,,or get swamped...the boat will still float....this gives the passengers something to hang on to while waiting for rescue.....with out the foam it will go straight to the bottom...
if you choose to, you can foam your boat properly from the point you are at right now.... read this. Pay attention to the part about foaming the deck
i would do the repairs of the gellcoat and color match first.....when you grind out the repair areas....you will see the true color of the gell.
you will know if you have a good match when you add the gellcoat to the repair area....to several dab tests to find the match.
after the repair.....then you can restore the hull by a good compound polish.....then a standard polish. if you do the gell restoration first...you will be doing areas twice.
as far as your deck.....read about the foaming first.....then see what you want to do.....
but watch out.......make sure that you don't come out of this with a slippery deck....slipping and falling on a boat can be fatal !
The Hull Extension Thread
great info on all aspects on boat building with detailed information.
Well, I've removed all the hardware, helm instruments & rub rail. The previous owner must have added additional screws to hold the rub rail in place because I had to remove at least 100 screws .... all rusted to the core. I've heard that dark spots in the floor indicate potential rot. Fortunately I don't see too many dark areas. I may cut out a few and replace the wood if needed prior to foaming below the deck. I've selected a sandstone colored marine vinyl which I'll use inside the boat to replace the existing faded vinyl.
While reviewing the hull, I noticed a 10" long crack on the port side near the bow. It's low, near the water line, and is probably the reason that the boat took on some water the last time I had it out. When taking the boat out in the open ocean, I noticed (heard & felt) that area of the hull kind of depressing & flexing when waves hit it. I'm assuming it is probably the weakest part of the hull. Next week I'm going to cut out the floor in the bow and repair the crack inside and out to make sure it's strong. Then I'll be sure to fill the area with foam after replacing the floor. No need for new cracks when I'm miles off the coast.
Generally, I'm a guy that loves and appreciates classic, retro-looking boats, cars, planes .......... but it's dawning on me now that, with all the labor, materials, hardware & replacement items, this boat will cost me much more than it'll be worth. I guess this is when you feel it most however ..... when you're spending the money. Before you buy the boat it doesn't feel that expensive or daunting ..... and after it's in the water all shiney & glorious you tend to have selective memory loss about how much time & money you've spent ...... or at least that's what I pray is the case. I know that this boat will be stunning once it's complete so I guess I just have to enjoy that fact, once it's back on the water ........ and REALLY appreciate those times in the future when I get long, jealous looks as I slowly idle past the guy with a new Bayliner.
Latest status report: I've removed every single piece of hardware from the boat ..... just a hull & deck now. I mixed up marine filler and filled every single hole on the boat from old hardware such as snaps, rusted cleats, broken fuel fillers and then sanded everything down. It took significantly longer that expected as I only have limited time to work on it. While walking around the boat I noticed that there were two, long, horizontal cracks in the hull near the bow on the port side. I only took the boat out a few times before starting my resto and, the last time, it took on some water. I lifted the bow high in the air for a few days after that and noticed it took a few days to drain. I cut out the floor near the cracks and repaired the cracks inside & out so I think it's sufficiently repaired. I've finally gotten the logo, speedometer & old navigation light back from the chromer ... and they look awesome. Almost brand new. Can't wait to put them back on the boat. I've begun sanding the boat for paint. I'll try to get it painted next week. The weather is getting nice so I'm very antsy to get this back in the water. Still a lot of work to do however.
Well, actually a lot has happened .... but it doesn't look like much yet. I've completely restored the keel near the bow and have found some long cracks in the hull that I've glassed also. I cut out a floor section near the bow so it could be glassed from the outside as well as the inside and now, it's probably stronger than when it came off the sales floor. After reglassing the floor section in place I filled the area with foam (had to remove some original foam when repairing the crack) and then sealed it up. The boat has now been completely repainted, finally. During my restoration, someone must have jumped my fence (at work) and stolen one of my aluminum rubrails. I can only assume that they took the part for recycling money. If they'd only known how much money I would have given them not to steal it .... but sadly, it's gone. Last week I found a shorter 16' boat nearby and purchased the rubrail from his boat. I'll have to cut, seam and weld the 2 sections of rubrail together to make it fit my 18' boat. Overall, an unplanned pain in the butt, especially since my rubrails were in beautiful condition.
I've also removed all minor scratches from the windshield and it's looking great. Next I'll be placing a faux teak floor on the boat along with my new marine vinyl from Nautolex. I can't wait to see the floor in place as it should keep the vintage look that I like. Essentially, I've got everything that I need here. All parts are here. Everything is waiting .... impatiently. I just need to find the time to install. In a few short months this boat will be beautiful. And as I put it all back together, I'll take loads of photos, documenting it all. Can't wait.
I've taken the Nautolex "sandstone" vinyl and have glued it in place all the way up to the bow. It was tough spreading the adhesive evenly in the recesses of the stern on either side of the splashwell ..... but that area isn't visible so I'll be the only one that knows. After sanding the floor as flat as humanly possible I began working with the faux teak flooring from Plasteak. I used plenty of the adhesive as I troweled making sure to cover every ounce of flooring. I wanted to make sure I was using the adhesive as a water barrier to protect the floor. Then, strip by strip, I laid the faux teak while using a laminate roller to ensure adhesion & prevent bubbles or high spots. It took me a few days to complete this. I took my time. The only difficulty came as the moderately-rigid material needed to follow dips in the floor near the sides of the boat, running fore to aft. To make it more pliable I used a heat gun while positioning the these outside strips. It's been a few days since installation and everything is holding well. In my opinion the faux teak is beautiful, very durable and feels great. Next, I'll be attaching the rubrail, windshield and hardware. Can't wait. Resto 2012E Oct 1.jpgResto 2012E Oct 3.jpgResto 2012E Oct 4.jpgResto 2012F Nov 2.jpgResto 2012F Nov 4.jpg
Things have been moving slowly as work has picked up, but I've been restoring items & purchasing replacement hardware as I've had time. Over the next month there'll be a flurry of activity.
Earlier I'd mentioned that one of my aluminum rubrails was stolen. I purchased and removed the rubrails from a shorter boat (being parted-out) and had to seam two sections together. I was able to weld the aluminum sufficiently and grind it down to a visually acceptable level. The replacement rubrail is in much worse condition that my original rubrail and has, what appears to be, heavy oxidation as well as numerous nicks & dings. I'm in the process of grinding/sanding all of the scratches and oxidation off ..... so here's my question. Does aluminum, in a marine environment, need to be annodized to prevent deterioration .... or powder-coated? Is there an easy way to remove oxidation from aluminum as I perform this resto? I could use some help from you guys. I don't want to go to the effort of grinding/sanding and installing the rubrails, only to watch the salt water eat them up in short order. I want this restoration effort to last and am not sure how aluminum reacts. Any help would be greatly appreciated.