07 September 2016

Miss Bianca - Tollycraft Tricabin Resto

Here's a fun summer project,
reminding me to not get a big boat.
The cruiser was a 1960's Tollycraft.
A wood boat that looked ok from the dock.
Countless issues lurked in the bilge.
The twin 350's defined the classic boat anchor.
Clapped out looking on the outside,
but fortunately pickled on the inside.
I teamed up with another barefoot mechanic,
with the same name.
New exhaust manifolds and a rattlecan rebuild,
they looked like boat engines,
everything painted no tape needed.
The copper mufflers had a bitchin patina.
Not anymore.
A list of problems were addressed...
Carb rebuilds, water pumps, thermostats,
filter and generator mounts, batteries...
Finally the 60's Tollycraft seemed mechanically sound.
We cruised the bay for the sea trial.
Nothing major other than no steering,
the owner was used to it though.
Holey chit...
The plywood hull had ongoing leaking problems,
and a haul out was scheduled.
Seeings how it had been 10 years 
since the last boatyard visit,
we didn't know what to expect.
But it sure wasn't this!
The wood keel had been eaten by worms.
Hard to see but they had hollowed out
the soft gooey center.
Surprised the diver never mentioned this.
The obvious leak was the least of our problems.
Every thru-hull needed to be reinforced
with fiberglass and replaced,
some unused holes plugged up.
The mental gears grinding for the keel fix.
Meanwhile Pirate Travis fixed the rudders.
I'm not really known as the wood guy,
but the concept is similar to metal.
Sometimes ya gotta just go for it,
and trust your experience.
The dock cart had a tertiary purpose,
acting as the perfect saw horse.
Couldn't have planned it any better.
Plywood templates were transferred to 
thick mahogany planks.
No special tools just a jig and skil saw.
With the level of deterioration,
I'm glad we made it back on that sea trial!
Holey Chit!
The original wood had dried enough 
to lather in resin,
and all the cut outs were sealed in fiberglass.
Each piece was fit with the good old grinder...
Amazing how fast a 36 grit disc shaves wood.
Boatyard chit involves intense scheduling,
unless you don't mind paying lay days.
I enlisted Jaxon to power out a late night,
ending with the typical 34 watt bulb...
Strips of fiberglass were layed down 
to thicken the bonding surfaces,
filling any gaps in the seams.
A good old hack trick.
Screws, jacks and wood blocks clamped
the wood tight.
Couldn't have done it without Jaxon!
The plan was to fiberglass the entire keel the next day.
And that we did!
Not with Jaxon though this was too nasty,
too much dust and stickiness.
Definitely didn't want to ruin our family fun
with the harsh reality...
Now that the wood was repaired,
it was time for some paint.
And that means a big ole tent!
A painter friend Hau knew just what to do.
Amazing what can be done with some string,
tape and a roll of visquine.
Now it was time to pass the torch,
or I tried anyway.
These guys are workhorses,
but they need a constant supply of tools,
materials or direction.
I was the grease in the gears.
My Dad was crucial as he orders all the materials.
Family affair!
Of course this was during a summer heat wave.
It was so hot in the tent.
Hau and Ten sanded and faired,
sanded and faired...
We peeled painted over vinyl lettering.
Tons of minor fixes that explode when shiny.
The primer coat hides certain flaws 
while magnifying others,
allowing a shift in attention to tackle the important details.
 The cheap spray paint layer 
assures sanding is thorough.
Over 100 feet around took rolls of sandpaper.
Did I mention it was hot?
Finally time for the Awlgrip topcoat.
A brutal atmosphere.
I still have overspray on my glasses.
The finish was impressive.
Too nice for the nasty swim step.
More sanding, new paint and nonskid,
now the topcoat was finished.
Just kidding.
Now it was time for the bottom paint.
A relatively easy job other than the waterline.
Hard to see in the pics,
but this didn't look like the same boat.
Super smooth with crisp lines.
And a keel that wasn't flopping around like a rag.
The owner was amazed.
Now it was time to finish up the inside mess.
Jakob help with screwing in the thru hulls.
then Pirate Travis buckled down all the hoses and valves.
After the zincs and prop coat 
the never ending list was almost complete.
Pat the owner was so stoked.
He has had this boat for decades,
and this was the best it had ever been.
Back in the water,
the last rudder part was fixed,
which meant welding near the fresh paint.
Always something...
Good times with a good crew!


  1. wow.... that is awesome work! About how much was the total bill? I ask because I used to have a 46 foot Chris Craft, all wood. I got lucky, the worms had never eaten into the wood. Lots of copper paint on that ol hull. My shipyard costs included replacing one Chev 350, planking over one drive shaft thru hull and removing the prop and shaft, which I still have. Then repainting the bottom, and out to the water again. 15 thou

    1. Hey Jesse!
      This bill shoulda been over 20k for the amount of work and the quick turnaround,
      but that's not nearly what he paid!