Monday, May 4, 2015

Pram overhaul - Part 1

After 4 years of abuse my pram has begun to show some wear. The primary problem, and the one that has forced this overhaul, is that the bow has begun to pull apart. This is mostly due to me towing her, in rather rough seas, to Digby last year. Basically, the smashing on the waves began to pull the bow right off! Although, my new boat has davits, I expect I will still tow her a fair amount, so I wanted to reinforce the bow so that it would survive another few years of beatings.

Note: The pics below are all taken after demolition, an initial overall sanding and some general filling repair. It isn't actually as f-ugly as it looks.

I decided, that rather than putting the bow back together with the existing stringers, I would rather replace them with a stitch-and-glue style corner joint. I have successfully used this style of building previously and I know that it will be way stronger once I have a bunch of epoxy and fibreglass tape jammed into that seam.

I also decided that I would reinforce the sheer of the bow, and reinforce the seat to bow joint to give it more strength.

The overall goal here is to make the bow as bulletproof as possible.

Bow stringer removed and sanded
I removed the sheer, the front ribs and the top of the seat. Since the seat had been cut around the rib, I used the existing seat top as a template to make a new one without the holes left by the ribs.

To hold the bow and side panels in place, and keep the epoxy from dripping through, I used duct tape.

The wonders of duct tape
  Since I was doing the job, I figured I should also deal with a bit of rot that I had in the aft of the boat. The back starboard stringer had a middle section showing some rot. Rather than scarfing in a repair piece, I decided to stick with the stitch-and-glue idea and replace that whole length with epoxy and tape as well. I did both sides for symmetry.    

Rear stringers removed and sanded

I removed the two bow stringers from behind the rowing seat, to the back seat.  A chisel made quick work of it.

Filleted and taped

I sanded the areas to be epoxied, down to wood.

I used West System epoxy and silica filler to create the fillets. A bunch of plastic disposable spoons made the filleting easy. Once the fillet epoxy had kicked off I added 4" bi-axial tape and whetted it out thoroughly.

To be continued....

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