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On to more pleasant business:

I was going to put this in Dinghy Anarchy but a review of topics there indicates that it's really "Racing/foiling Dinghy Anarchy."  The Cruisers are the self-reliant, skilled bunch so I'm posting it here. This week, I'll post photos of the rotted wooden gunwale rail and outline my plans. You guys can offer clever help like pointing and saying things such as "You're doing it wrong."

It also appears that the fasteners to the bronze straps that connect the thwarts to the hull are loose. All of this makes the hull kind of floppy. I can't tell if the bronze straps are weak and need replacement, or if I just need to snug up these fasteners. Another issue is that I'd like to attach bridle lifting points for launch and recovery from the foredeck and I'd like ideas on what/how/where to attach them so I don't ruin the aesthetic of the boat.

For the gunwale rail, I've been presented with 2 schools of thought: 

1. Laminate thin battens and epoxy them to the boat until I achieve a rail of the desired thickness

2. Steam the necessary lengths of wood and rapidly clamp them to the hull and rivet them with copper rivets in the original Dyer method.

I would really prefer option #2. I want to experience this method. I understand that #1 might be easier, cheaper or might last longer.

I'm also hoping to revive the green hull paint. If I can't, I'll strip it and paint it again.

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14 minutes ago, Ajax said:

On to more pleasant business:

I was going to put this in Dinghy Anarchy but a review of topics there indicates that it's really "Racing/foiling Dinghy Anarchy."  

 

I ignored that, so I've been putting details of a 1/2 ton 16ft Mini open keel boat in there..

Well, at the clubs I sail, at anything under 17.5ft has to race with the dinghies..

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Ajax,

Steambending is really fun, especially in a straightforward and accessible location like the rails.  You may be able to get away with just steaming the forward ends of the rails to take the bend at the bow. 

You can make a simple steam box for long, narrow stock using 4” PVC pipe.  For steam generation, rent a wallpaper steamer (or buy a cheap $45 one).

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Time to research the properties of various types of wood. 

Oak is the easiest to bend after steaming, but its difficult to laminate since it's hard to glue. Or maybe that's just something I read before epoxy became ubiquitous. 

My only experience stream bending was with Phillipine mahogany. I used a length of downspout wrapped with newspaper as a steam box and a rented wallpaper steamer as a steam source.

I was doing chine logs for a plywood boat.  I nailed blocks on a handy bit of unfinished floor so that I could bend the hot stick in the 2" direction and leave it to cool. Circa 1973.

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3 minutes ago, SemiSalt said:

Time to research the properties of various types of wood. 

Oak is the easiest to bend after steaming, but its difficult to laminate since it's hard to glue. Or maybe that's just something I read before epoxy became ubiquitous. 

My only experience stream bending was with Phillipine mahogany. I used a length of downspout wrapped with newspaper as a steam box and a rented wallpaper steamer as a steam source.

I was doing chine logs for a plywood boat.  I nailed blocks on a handy bit of unfinished floor so that I could bend the hot stick in the 2" direction and leave it to cool. Circa 1973.

Semi, what's good for rot resistance?

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40 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Semi, what's good for rot resistance?

Ash is often used for boat gunnels and steams well.  Cedar is quite rot resistant but softer and not quite as strong.

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It also appears that the fasteners to the bronze straps that connect the thwarts to the hull are loose. All of this makes the hull kind of floppy. I can't tell if the bronze straps are weak and need replacement, or if I just need to snug up these fasteners.

You may find that the rotten gunwale is to blame.  The gunwale imparts a great deal of stiffness to the hull.  The thwart design in the Dhow, like drop seats in a canoe, doesn't add much rigidity because the thwarts are below the gunwale and are just hung rather than attached to the topsides.

 

Quote

Another issue is that I'd like to attach bridle lifting points for launch and recovery from the foredeck and I'd like ideas on what/how/where to attach them so I don't ruin the aesthetic of the boat.

I would use really stout inboard brackets for the oarlocks and loop a line through them for lifting.  If you must use top-mounted brackets (because you're a rowing geek and care deeply about getting the oarlocks up and out by an inch and a half), reinforce them and make the hole go all the way through the gunwales so you can run a line.

Quote

For the gunwale rail, I've been presented with 2 schools of thought: 

1. Laminate thin battens and epoxy them to the boat until I achieve a rail of the desired thickness

2. Steam the necessary lengths of wood and rapidly clamp them to the hull and rivet them with copper rivets in the original Dyer method.

Find a local source for suitable air-dried or undried wood before getting to committed to steaming them.  Kiln dried wood does not steam well.  Long, clear pieces of air-dried wood of a boatbuilding-oriented species are startlingly expensive to purchase and cost even more to ship than they do to buy.  I reached the point of looking at trees on the stump and writing down phone numbers for custom sawmills before I decided I was on a fool's errand.  Wood can be scarfed for shipping and epoxied back together, but if you're going to do that, why not cut some battens from cheap pine and laminate them?

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@2airishuman Looking at the photos above, I agree. The rail must be what imparts most of the stiffness.

I have a place nearby called Exotic Lumber. They'll tell me if their wood is air dried, kiln dried or undried.  Thanks for that tip. I won't need to ship anything.

Regarding the lifting bridle, there is a stout eye on the bow for the forestay of the sailing rig. You're saying I shouldn't put some sort of lifting eyes in the wood on the stern?

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6 minutes ago, Ajax said:

@2airishuman Looking at the photos above, I agree. The rail must be what imparts most of the stiffness.

I have a place nearby called Exotic Lumber. They'll tell me if their wood is air dried, kiln dried or undried.  Thanks for that tip. I won't need to ship anything.

Regarding the lifting bridle, there is a stout eye on the bow for the forestay of the sailing rig. You're saying I shouldn't put some sort of lifting eyes in the wood on the stern?

We hoist ours by the traveler and the shroud attachment points or just craned it up by the bow. 

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16 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Regarding the lifting bridle, there is a stout eye on the bow for the forestay of the sailing rig. You're saying I shouldn't put some sort of lifting eyes in the wood on the stern?

Using the bow and stern will work but will put more stress on the boat and give you a hoist point that is higher and therefore less convenient.  It's also harder to reach the bow eye if you are attaching or removing the bridle while in the dinghy.

The stress thing, imagine if the boat were full of water or cargo and you were hoisting it, if hoisted from the ends there would be a tendency for it to fold up in the center with the gunwales/topsides pushing out.  Maybe you are going to be nice to your boat.  I am not nice to my tender.

The "chainplates" for the shrouds would be a good choice in front. 

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White oak is a good choice for steam bending, although that's a pretty serious curve around the bow so if there's much grain runout then you might run into problems.

Rule of thumb is 15 minutes in the steambox for every 1/4" of thickness.

When building the steam box, try and insulate it a bit to keep the heat in. It's actually the heat that lets you bend - the steam is only a convenient way to transport that heat.  I would angle the box up from the kettle, and leave an opening at the far end so you get good flow of hot steam along the length.

You want to get some bend into the wood ASAP after pulling it out of the box. Put a good bend in that bow portion with your hands as you carry it over to the boat, then fine tune it in place. Getting the major bend in immediately before it cools makes a big difference.

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Search for posts from wizbang13 on forums.woodenboat.com about Dyer Dhows.  I bought my DD Midget from him and he re-built the whole boat including the coamings.  They were done with alaskan yellow cedar.

I later had to redo the transom of it, the mahogany transom was delaminating from the fiberglass hull.  I sold the boat just after fixing it.

I think Dyer will still sell you the coamings as well, pre-bent.  It would be worth seeing what that costs.

 

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14 minutes ago, Alex W said:

I think Dyer will still sell you the coamings as well, pre-bent.  It would be worth seeing what that costs.

 

It's around $500. No way. I'll do it myself, especially with an exotic lumber company close by.

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Oh wow, that's a lot.  The old thread that I found on WBF had it for $95, which is in the "of course I'll go that route" option.

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18 minutes ago, andykane said:

White oak is a good choice for steam bending, although that's a pretty serious curve around the bow so if there's much grain runout then you might run into problems.

Rule of thumb is 15 minutes in the steambox for every 1/4" of thickness.

When building the steam box, try and insulate it a bit to keep the heat in. It's actually the heat that lets you bend - the steam is only a convenient way to transport that heat.  I would angle the box up from the kettle, and leave an opening at the far end so you get good flow of hot steam along the length.

You want to get some bend into the wood ASAP after pulling it out of the box. Put a good bend in that bow portion with your hands as you carry it over to the boat, then fine tune it in place. Getting the major bend in immediately before it cools makes a big difference.

Question on this:

I'm not positive, but I think it's actually two pieces of wood, joined at the bow with some kind of scarfing joint? I intend to check out the wooden boat forums linked in this thread to find out.

In any case, you're right about the need for speed. I intend to have a shit load of speed clamps at the ready and extra hands. I want it clamped to the hull in 15-30 seconds.

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1 minute ago, Alex W said:

Oh wow, that's a lot.  The old thread that I found on WBF had it for $95, which is in the "of course I'll go that route" option.

$500 is what I'm hearing on the Dyer Facebook page. Maybe they are unaware of a cheaper source.

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5 minutes ago, Ajax said:

I'm not positive, but I think it's actually two pieces of wood, joined at the bow with some kind of scarfing joint? I intend to check out the wooden boat forums linked in this thread to find out.

Oh, I'm sure you're right. I was just thinking of the curve on each side being sharper than your typical gunwale.

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58 minutes ago, Ajax said:

It's around $500. No way. I'll do it myself, especially with an exotic lumber company close by.

You hitting the one just off 50 before the Bay Bridge?  I've had good experiences with them and they work with a lot of sailors and yardies. 

 

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

Question on this:

I'm not positive, but I think it's actually two pieces of wood, joined at the bow with some kind of scarfing joint? I intend to check out the wooden boat forums linked in this thread to find out.

In any case, you're right about the need for speed. I intend to have a shit load of speed clamps at the ready and extra hands. I want it clamped to the hull in 15-30 seconds.

You would want the scarf joint(s) in the straightest area possible and would want the inwale and outwale scarfs in separate places rather than right across from each other.  You might need, two scarf joints, to make the gunwales work with the lumber available and the size of steamer you're willing to build.

I wouldn't clamp it to the hull.  Make a jig.  There's going to be a fair amount of force involved and it would tend to distort the fiberglass hull.  You can use the same jig for the inwale and the outwale as long as you wait half an hour to unclamp the first one and then attach it to the boat or something to hold its shape while it dries.  The curve doesn't have to be perfect because there will be some give in the wood to allow for final adjustment.  As with a laminate, the attachment of the two pieces (inwale and outwale) to the hull using adhesive and/or fasteners so they cannot slide relative to each other will be what holds the exact shape.

That's a pretty deep curve.  Might want to get some extra wood to save yourself a trip to the yard if the whole thing explodes on you just when you think you have it in the right shape.  It can happen, ask me how I know.

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I dont think I paid $500 for the wood, but given the pre-bend it had and it being custom built for the boat, I would never attempt this job with a DIY coaming.  Not an easy job.  Building steam boxes etc... it seems it may be costing more (time) than you think and be closer to a pre-cut piece.

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@sail69 Ok, here's the patient.  Your wood rails seem to be much thicker than mine. My wood pieces are .5 inches each for a total of 1-1/8 thickness including the fiberglass hull.

You're saying that you bought that piece(s) from Anchorage?

@2airishuman you're saying that the scarf joints will be along the gunwales and not in the curve at the bow? Hmmm, amazing to bend a piece of wood that sharply even with a steam box and not have it explode!

Hmm...the forum isn't letting me post these photos.

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@Alex W @sail69 @2airishuman Sigh...2air put the fear in me that the bend is so nuts that I'll just keep screwing it up.

I called The Anchorage. The compleat kit is not $500, it's $246 plus another $100 or so for air freight because it's too big to ship any other way. It's steam bent oak and all the fasteners. I folded like a house of cards and ordered the kit.  By the time I buy all the PVC, fittings, fasteners, a million clamps and the lumber, I'll be into it for $200 or so. It's worth another $100 to get the wood properly shaped.

So, no steam box or browsing for wood at Exotic Lumber. :(

The kit is on back order. They've been waiting for their shipment of oak for months and they don't know when it'll arrive but she's certain it'll be well before my trip to Maine.

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You missed a great learning experience. Steaming white oak is a piece of cake.

I used 1/4" steam-bent laminations glued together with Weldwood plastic resin adhesive to make two 1"X4"X18" diameter half-circles for the end pieces of a sofa table I built. Still holding 40+ years later.

It took about ten minutes to make a steam box out of plywood offcuts and two more to hook up a kettle with a salvaged bonnet hair-dryer hose. Those hoses might be really hard to find these days. 

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2 hours ago, Ishmael said:

You missed a great learning experience. Steaming white oak is a piece of cake.

I used 1/4" steam-bent laminations glued together with Weldwood plastic resin adhesive to make two 1"X4"X18" diameter half-circles for the end pieces of a sofa table I built. Still holding 40+ years later.

It took about ten minutes to make a steam box out of plywood offcuts and two more to hook up a kettle with a salvaged bonnet hair-dryer hose. Those hoses might be really hard to find these days. 

?

Bright-as-a-star-softhood-WINNER-1200px.

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9 hours ago, Ajax said:

Semi, what's good for rot resistance?

I'm not sure what to recommend.  The most rot resistant woods are in two caregories: the ones that are too hard to work, and the ones that are too brittle. Or, like teak, too damned expensive.  

I'll consult my sources. White oak won't rot if kept clean and dry.

https://www.diy-wood-boat.com/Timber.html

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9 minutes ago, SemiSalt said:
9 hours ago, Ajax said:

Semi, what's good for rot resistance?

I'm not sure what to recommend.  The most rot resistant woods are in two caregories: the ones that are too hard to work, and the ones that are too brittle. Or, like teak, too damned expensive.  

I'll consult my sources. White oak won't rot if kept clean and dry.

https://www.diy-wood-boat.com/Timber.html

Clear fir.

Steams, bends, laminates, pretty good rot resistance, looks good varnished and it's as cheap as any sort of suitable wood.

Someone (Guzzwell?) once said that it was the only wood that an entire boat could be built of.

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4 hours ago, Ajax said:

I folded like a house of cards and ordered the kit.  By the time I buy all the PVC, fittings, fasteners, a million clamps and the lumber, I'll be into it for $200 or so. It's worth another $100 to get the wood properly shaped.

So, no steam box or browsing for wood at Exotic Lumber. :(

Unfortunate, but wise.

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4 hours ago, Ajax said:

There we go...

 

It looks like it's in really good shape.  The inwale is sound so you're just replacing the outwale then?  Or is there more damage than the photos show?

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5 hours ago, Ajax said:

 

@2airishuman you're saying that the scarf joints will be along the gunwales and not in the curve at the bow? Hmmm, amazing to bend a piece of wood that sharply even with a steam box and not have it explode!

I bent white cedar ribs about 1/4" thick to a radius of about 8" for a canoe project.  It worked out but, how shall we say, the yield was not 100%.  Perhaps my steaming technique was off.  Perhaps I was too slow.  Who knows.

The thicker the wood, the harder it is to bend, of course.  The mechanics are that the outside part of the wood that is in tension more or less stays the same length while the inside part is compressed like a sponge.  So the thicker it is the more compression is necessary given the same radius.  Some species bend better than others, and green wood bends better than air dried bends better than kiln dried.  And any knots or other discontinuities concentrate the force and therefore limit how much you can bend.

Years ago my father brought back from a trip to rural Spain, a traditional pitchfork made of wood.  The bends and branches in the pitchfork were achieved by bending a sapling while it was still alive and allowing several more years growth to accumulate before cutting it.  Though time consuming it is an ideal way to make bent pieces of wood that are strong.

 

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10 hours ago, 2airishuman said:

The thicker the wood, the harder it is to bend, of course.

Your previous post really had me concerned that I'd have trouble with the inner piece of wood at the bow. That's why I folded and opted for the kit.  Like I said, if The Anchorage experiences persistent supply problems, I will cancel my order and proceed as originally planned.

In the meantime, I need to secure the thwarts better and flip it over and show you guys the centerboard. The trailing tip seems to be missing. I might be making a new centerboard or purchasing a replacement. I love the closed centerboard trunk and easy flip-up handle on these boats better than open trunks and removable boards on other types of dinghies.

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23 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Your previous post really had me concerned that I'd have trouble with the inner piece of wood at the bow. That's why I folded and opted for the kit.  Like I said, if The Anchorage experiences persistent supply problems, I will cancel my order and proceed as originally planned.

In the meantime, I need to secure the thwarts better and flip it over and show you guys the centerboard. The trailing tip seems to be missing. I might be making a new centerboard or purchasing a replacement. I love the closed centerboard trunk and easy flip-up handle on these boats better than open trunks and removable boards on other types of dinghies.

The handle can leak over time. Show us a picture as the CB has an unusual shape with a longer leading edge. 

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21 minutes ago, Elegua said:

The handle can leak over time. Show us a picture as the CB has an unusual shape with a longer leading edge. 

If I can get my wife in the garage to help me flip the boat over, I'll post a pic this evening. I have a tiny trailer for it. It sits on that.

The CB looks like the trailing corner was snapped off.  It doesn't seem to affect the performance of the boat. I may just shape it and seal it up. We'll see what the brain trust says.

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

If I can get my wife in the garage to help me flip the boat over, I'll post a pic this evening. I have a tiny trailer for it. It sits on that.

The CB looks like the trailing corner was snapped off.  It doesn't seem to affect the performance of the boat. I may just shape it and seal it up. We'll see what the brain trust says.

It doesn't really have a trailing edge corner. Do you have the Dwyer aluminum mast? 

 

DyerDhow009_zps0828fc54.jpg

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15 minutes ago, Elegua said:

It doesn't really have a trailing edge corner. Do you have the Dwyer aluminum mast? 

 

DyerDhow009_zps0828fc54.jpg

No, I have the 2 piece, wooden mast.

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7 minutes ago, sail69 said:

Ajax...if you need a sail call Mystic Seaport.  They have a fleet there and I bought one for $50 donation.   

Oh, nice!  I have a good sail but it never hurts to have a spare in case rodents get into it or something. Maybe I can pick one up as I sail through the area this summer!

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22 minutes ago, yoyo said:

This may be sacrilege but have you considered the non-wood alternatives for the outboard rail?  

Heretic!

Yes. It's such a small amount of wood and it lends character to the dinghy. I need a little warmth.

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

Heretic!

Yes. It's such a small amount of wood and it lends character to the dinghy. I need a little warmth.

I prefer wood too.  But if its hidden by the rail pad only you would know.

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3 hours ago, yoyo said:

I prefer wood too.  But if its hidden by the rail pad only you would know.

Good point.  That pad and its screws were partially responsible for the rot. I don't think I'll put it back on. 

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51 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Good point.  That pad and its screws were partially responsible for the rot. I don't think I'll put it back on. 

Glue the rub rail. 

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I did this repair a couple of years back on mine.  I was able to save a fair amount of the railing, but of course it was pooched around the bow.  I had some ash on hand so I built a form with the same shape (a little more curve actually) and then steam bent a length of ash around that.  I then just scarfed that into place after I cut scarfs in the remaining rail.  Worked well.  I ended up just bonding the new rail section to the hull with epoxy and skipped the rivets.  

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After all that brightwork I was loath to cover it with canvas.  I ended up screwing on (recessed into the line son unseen) a black 5/8" (or thereabouts) nylon line to protect the wood and mother ship.  Enough woods peaks out above and below the line to really maintain the brightwork look.

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  • 3 months later...

My Dyer gunwale rail kit has shipped and should be at the BWI airport. It had to be shipped air freight due to the size.

I have no idea how to pick up freight from a cargo terminal at the airport and the BWI webpage is less than helpful. I'm going to try calling airport information lines later this morning but if anyone has an idea of how a private citizen retrieves freight from a cargo terminal, I'm all ears.

According to the nice woman at the Anchorage, the kit comes with bronze rivets, instructions and anything else I'll need. She says I could do the job in a weekend.

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28 minutes ago, Ajax said:

My Dyer gunwale rail kit has shipped and should be at the BWI airport. It had to be shipped air freight due to the size.

I have no idea how to pick up freight from a cargo terminal at the airport and the BWI webpage is less than helpful. I'm going to try calling airport information lines later this morning but if anyone has an idea of how a private citizen retrieves freight from a cargo terminal, I'm all ears.

According to the nice woman at the Anchorage, the kit comes with bronze rivets, instructions and anything else I'll need. She says I could do the job in a weekend.

So you're replacing the oak gunwales as well as the fendering. You'll probably need lots of clamps.  You might want to consider sealing these new oak pieces with a couple of coats of varnish before installing.

This isn't a trivial task.

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6 minutes ago, accnick said:

So you're replacing the oak gunwales as well as the fendering. You'll probably need lots of clamps.  You might want to consider sealing these new oak pieces with a couple of coats of varnish before installing.

This isn't a trivial task.

Not sure what you mean by "fendering."  The kit is a total of 5 pieces. They are pre-steam bent. I only need to clamp them in position.  I have a considerable quantity of TotalBoat penetrating epoxy. What is your opinion on using that to seal the wood? Can I varnish on top of the epoxy?

Another alternative:  The original rail has the "firehose" canvas covering over it. Instead of worrying about varnish, I could epoxy the rail and install a new cover over it.

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8 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Not sure what you mean by "fendering."  The kit is a total of 5 pieces. They are pre-steam bent. I only need to clamp them in position.  I have a considerable quantity of TotalBoat penetrating epoxy. What is your opinion on using that to seal the wood? Can I varnish on top of the epoxy?

Another alternative:  The original rail has the "firehose" canvas covering over it. Instead of worrying about varnish, I could epoxy the rail and install a new cover over it.

The "firehose" fendering is what usually goes first. It is quite expensive, but is what Dyer has always used, and is the only thing I used. It is fairly easy to install with copper tacks or maybe even monel staples if you have a power stapler. The ends at the transom are a little tricky.

Penetrating epoxy is a good call, whether the wood is new or old. Sand the wood first to open the grain a bit before applying. Jamestown Distributors has some good videos on using this as a sealer under varnish. You just have to remove the surface blush and sand lightly before varnishing over the epoxy.

The oak gunwales do eventually discolor and rot, as unprotected oak does not do well in the long run.

I actually ripped a set of teak gunwales to replace the oak on my old 7-11 low freeboard model about 40 years ago, but those really need to be done in thin pieces laminated together, which is a project in itself. There is no free lunch here.

The dinghy shape is pretty wobbly  with the seats and gunwales removed, so they may tell you to do one side at a time. The pre-bent oak pieces are a huge plus for maintaining shape.

One way or another, you probably need to replace the rubber/canvas fendering. That just rolls up and can be sent UPS, if you don't already have it.

 

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@accnick Cool, thanks.

The seats are not out of the boat. I don't see a need to remove them.

The firehose covering was installed using ordinary wood screws, which I feel was a Bad Idea. The dinghy was typically stored upside down. The varnish wore away on the small amount of exposed wood on the underside, water wept into the screwholes and rot was the inevitable result. I like the idea of copper tacks or Money staples.

I'm not really going at this the right way. The boat could also use a paint job but I just don't have time for that right now and I really want the Dyer for my trip to Maine. I'll just have to tape off the new rail when I go to paint the boat this fall.

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Posted (edited)

I wouldn't sweat it. Dyers are the kind of dinghy you re-build every 15-30 years or so. 

Edited by Elegua
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Woot!  I picked up the Dyer gunwale kit yesterday. It *barely* fit in my car.

I was thinking that if I pressure wash it, I may be able to reuse my current cloth rail cover. It has no tears or anything.

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28 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Woot!  I picked up the Dyer gunwale kit yesterday. It *barely* fit in my car.

I was thinking that if I pressure wash it, I may be able to reuse my current cloth rail cover. It has no tears or anything.

Make sure it isn't rotten. The older ones were cotton or some other combination of natural fibers. Newer ones may be synthetic.

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Just now, accnick said:

Make sure it isn't rotten. The older ones were cotton or some other combination of natural fibers. Newer ones may be synthetic.

I might scrub it with a brush and some surfactant like Simple Green. Pressure washing can be hard on things.

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