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1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

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  • 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

    Aw man! I just had to look at that boat yard on the way home yesterday, and now I've gone an "done it!" Yup, I bought an 18' T-Bird that is going to need lots of work.

    All of the wood in it is rotted out, so a new floor and new stringers are just about guaranteed to be required. A "tap test" on the transom was surprisingly encouraging, but I suspect I'll end up getting into that too! I guess I'll be getting familiar with Seacast sometime in the not too distant future.

    I've been frequenting the other forums here for the most part, but this is a good excuse to hang around with y'all in the restoration forum. The boat had a motor on it that I didn't want, so I'll bring it home tomorrow after they get that off. Time to get the camera out and start documenting the project!
    Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!


  • #2
    Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

    heh heh heh ....welcome to the dry dock jay !

    t-bird......stringers.......rot..........hmmmmmmmmmm m

    it sounds like the problem is far more serious than you think jay......


    you have MBS.


    gonna be great watching this one....

    cheers
    oops
    The Hull Extension Thread
    great info on all aspects on boat building with detailed information.

    http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=234392

    IN MEMORY OF Our friend SpinnerBait_Nut LESTER WRIGHT July 31, 1953 - Nov 26, 2008 RIP

    IN MEMORY OF Our friend Tashasdaddy Robert (bob) Griffis. October 27, 1948
    November 29 2010 RIP

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    • #3
      Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

      Yeah, yeah, I know. Well, I already have MMS (14 of them at last count), so I may as well clutter up the yard with another boat!

      Hmmmmmmmmmm .... I wonder how much fuel this thing would burn with three Johnson 33hp motors on it .... I could put the long shaft on the middle and the two short shafts on either side!
      Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!

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      • #4
        Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

        hopefully sreiner spots this, he's a collector of t-birds and was a lot of help with my restoration of my 70 apache. he has even made molds of all the logos and just covers his cost of duplicating them. as near as i can tell, every t-bird found now pretty much needs everything you are doing, mine did. mine came with a 69 115hp evinrude and does very well. good luck on the rebuild.

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        • #5
          Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

          OOOHHH YEA Jay , cant wait to see that one !! sounds like fun !!!
          But 14 of them , what are you planning ?? thats fixing more then one a month !!!! lol MBS BAD !!!!!! John
          http://s274.photobucket.com/albums/jj258/jcsercsa/

          STANLEY CUP CHAMPS 35-36 36-37 42-43 49-50 51-52 53-54
          54-55 96-97 97-98 01-02 07-08

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          • #6
            Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

            LOL - that's 14 motors, not boats. If I ever acquire 14 boats, I sure hope they are trawlers, or something else that generates revenue!

            The following photos are of a T-Bird Cheyenne owned by a guy over at Fibreglassics. This is what my boat looks like, right down to the tandem axle trailer. I didn't get an exact measurement on it at the boat yard where I bought it, but it was pretty close to 17.5 to 18 feet. Its also about 80" wide.

            Does any one know if the Cheyenne was that size?





            Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!

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            • #7
              Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

              Picked the boat up this afternoon and managed to get a better measurement on it. The boat is exactly 19 feet long and at this point, I'm convinced it is a Thunderbird Cheyenne. The registration says that the boat is a 1975 model but I'm not certain of that. So far, I haven't found any references to Thunderbird making a cathedral hull boat at that point in time.

              I see no signs of structural damage to the boat anywhere, but all of the wood in it seems to be pretty well rotted. I was at the boat sales business this afternoon when they pulled the Merc 150 that was on it, and the tech put his foot through the floor while removing the control unit. I did another "tap test" on the transom after the motor was pulled and did find a couple of areas that sounded kind of hollow, but really not as badly as I would think given the shape of the rest of the wood. Since so much else is going to have to be rebuilt, however, it seems like doing the transom is sensible.

              I really don't want to have to pull the cap, so I am thinking of going the Seacast route. That said, I have never ventured into this level of a rebuild on a fibreglass boat, so I'm all ears if anyone has any suggestions.

              The boat also has severe surface cracking in the gelcoat on most of the horizontal areas. It looks to me like what is there is a result of years of exposure to the sun. That's going to be another item that is new to me in terms of what repair technique works the best, so any suggestions will once again be appreciated.

              And so the project begins!








              Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!

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              • #8
                Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

                you've definitely got your work cut out for you! i'm not sure why you don't want to pull the cap since you only need to pick it up about 6" and go out over the transom. the missing cuddy area is a plus right now. my 70 apache didn't have any foam under the deck but foam went in. my stringers were 3/4 pine covered in a single layer of roving. that's a 1500 lb boat, adding seacast out back will probably make it stern heavy, if you decide to pull the cap redoing with ply will be pretty easy. good luck

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                • #9
                  Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

                  Lifting the cap doesn't seem like a big deal. I have a nice oak tree in my yard that would serve very well as something to attach a lift to. The limbs are large and solid, so a big piece of fibreglass which probably doesn't weigh over a couple of hundred pounds, shouldn't be an excessive load on it.

                  The part that I am concerned about is having to remove about 100 fasteners that will probably break from corrosion. That means drilling most of them out. I might be worrying about this too much, but it just seems like the process would go alot faster if I eliminate unnecessary steps.

                  Your thought about the weight of Seacast does intrigue me, though. I hadn't really considered that aspect of it. This is particularly true because I was thinking about doing the stringers with it too, and might power it with a pair of 1972 Johnson 65hp motors. I guess that's one of the first areas that I'll have do some homework in. I don't want to turn the boat into a "two ton Tessie."
                  Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

                    Wanna eat your heart out?

                    Just before it got cold about a month ago or so, my sister in law calls me up and says "do you want to buy a boat?". I figured this had to be a trick question.
                    She went on the say uncle Fred was selling his. Uncle Fred is about 140 years old and the last time he saw water was just after the last ice age. Anywho, I go over and in her cluttered garage under three layers of canvas was a 1974 Thunderbird trihull with a 90 Merc tower on the back. The package had about 20 hours total on it. The wax was well protected with dust. I popped the motor cowl and could see myself - the paint was that shiny. Fully equipped (waaaay too many extras to list) in need of only a battery, Uncle Fred was looking for a grand. Done! Evidently it was used about five times and has been sitting in the garage for decades ever since.
                    She just wanted to be able to park her car in the garage! The down side? The trailer was a real p.o.s. - just happen to have another laying around though.
                    sigpic
                    Nothing is so broken that Government can't make it worse.

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                    • #11
                      Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

                      Well, I'd take it off of your hands just so you wouldn't have one more boat cluttering up your life but .... well ..... it has a Merc on it and I just don't do Mercs! Damn things give me hives ... my throat closes up .... Mr Happy won't get happy any more!
                      Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

                        Actually, it was the motor I was after for a 16' Hustler that I hope to put together in spring. Sorry, the Merc is a 110 not a 90...my bad.
                        The T-bird will wind up with an 85 Merc in spring and go down the road.
                        sigpic
                        Nothing is so broken that Government can't make it worse.

                        Comment



                        • #13
                          Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

                          go a head jay nice one man you gonna need some horsepower now
                          140 looper ought do well .
                          if i can help ya holla im in denham springs ,
                          been coming thru fishin lately
                          Benny B

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                          • #14
                            Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

                            I'm still awaiting the swivel bracket that I bought from Seaway to fix the J65 that I busted up a couple of weeks ago. Once that is fixed, I will put it in the corner of my shop and start working on my other J65. When the T-Bird is ready, I'll put both of them on it. I've never fished the offshore rigs, and I think that will be a setup that I would be comfortable running 20 miles offshore in. I'm just not a big fan of getting that far out in open water, with one main motor and a small kicker.

                            My plan at this point is to strip my Glassmaster 17.5 foot boat and sell the hull. The trailer that I have for it is too small anyway, and I would like to keep it to put a smaller boat on. My idea is to just sit around waiting for a cheap aluminum boat to pop up somewhere. If I find someting on the order of a 14' flat, I'll use the old trailer and put one of my Johnson 33 hp motors on it. Owning two boats seems kinda like overkill in some ways, but given gas prices, I know I'm not going to want to run the T-Bird just to go chase a few Reds. Besides, the smaller boat/motor will be a better rig for the marshes.

                            The one thing I am really looking forward to about the T-Bird is that I can put a V-Berth and Port-a-Potty in it. When the boat is ready, I'll probably take my little man out for some overnights in the boat. I think it will be great to get one of the grills that hang over the side, do some dogs and burgers and hang out in what I call "the church of the bayou." By the time I get the boat done, he will be just about the right age to fish on his own, and start enjoying camping out on the boat. Who knows, I might even take a vacation and run over to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, etc. in it!
                            Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!

                            Comment



                            • #15
                              Re: 1975 Thunderbird Cathedral Hull

                              To my surprise, my stringers don't look as bad as I thought they would. In fact, I think that are OK for the most part. While to floor in the boat was pretty well rotted, I see no broken sections in the stringers thus far - I do have a bit of floor to pull out, but most of it is gone.

                              There is a section at the aft end of the boat where the stringers will need some attention. In fact, it doesn't look like they were installed properly to begin with, because they stop short of the transom and don't seem to tiee into the drain well either.

                              I may have lucked out on the cracking that I thought was gelcoat too. On closer inspection, it looks like it is just cracked paint for the most part. Below are a couple of pics before and after light sanding with 120 grit on a taper nose orbital sander.











                              Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!

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