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Thread: Bell Boy 404 Express Restoration

  1. #11
    Thanks everyone for your responses.

    Gregg, Signature updated at your request.

    I'm not sure about cutting that far up the gun'l. Seems pretty drastic. I was thinking more along the lines of just past the edge of the transom, giving enough room to chunk out the wood inside and have a straight shot at putting the new wood in that space. Also, if I extend the transom at the height of the gun'l, the rub rail will then be short....The existing one is actually in pretty good shape and I thought I might just leave it there.

    In looking over the posts regarding building the transom, though, a recurring theme seems to be to make it thicker. I think I have heard the 2 inch figure thrown around a few times here and there as well. So, one could assume that the factory transom isn't quite up to snuff then? What is the accepted width? Would leaving it the same width but stuffing a piece of sheet aluminum down there do the same job?

    With that in mind, and the thoughts above I think this may be my course of action:

    1: Cut the splashwell out in such a way as to be able to re-attach it with nice hardware and a trim piece, giving it a vintage look, but allowing me to get at the transom from the inside of the hull.

    2: Cut out the existing braces, but keep them for re-glassing down the road.

    3: Remove the inner transom glass (sniff), exposing the rotten wood behind it.

    4: Replace the wood with something a little more dry...

    5: Here is where it gets tricky. Do I extend the transom off the rear of the hull, but only in the lower area where the engine mounts, bolting it through, and then glassing and fairing it in to the existing glass (this would create a bump of sorts off the stern, which might not look too bad). Or do I make it thicker on the inside, hiding the improvements, but having to deal with where the splashwel butts up against the new material?

    6: Re-glass the new inner transom wood. how many layers are the norm? Mat, cloth, mat, cloth? or is that overkill?

    As a side note, its awesome to get this level of response from you guys. Thanks!
    John Forsythe

    '59 Bellboy 404 - Pretty Girl
    Past Affairs:
    '61 Marathon - Jammie Dodger

  2. #12
    In other news, Since I had both corner trim pieces off, I decided to clean them up. Got one done last night whilst watching a movie. I stuck it next to the other one as a comaprison. Man, what a difference judicious sanding and filing will make! it's not factory fresh, but it does shine.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    John Forsythe

    '59 Bellboy 404 - Pretty Girl
    Past Affairs:
    '61 Marathon - Jammie Dodger

  3. #13
    When I did the Transom in my bellboy I did not cut the deck at all. I cut the ears on the new transom down. I cut about 4 inches off of the first layer and about 6 inches off of the second layer. This allowed me to slip the transom in under the deck. Then I installed the 2 layers using West system epoxy and many clamps. The uneven cuts created a lap joint in the 2 layers and has not budged at all since installation. I used 2 layers of marine grade 3/4 plywood against the 1/4 inch of fiberglass and gel coat. I put a 3/16 stainless steel plate on inside and outside of the Transom where the the engine clams on for added strength.

    If you look close in the pictures I attached you can see the seams very faintly. I also attached some pictures of the steel Plates I used.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Dave Wickline
    1967 Jeepster Convertible
    1957 Bell Boy 16' Convertible

  4. #14
    Neat trick. It looks really clean (and I love the color you painted your deck). Looks like your splashwell comes out though. Mine is tied into the deck completely, so I'm probably going to have to cut it out....

    John (Marvelous) sent me some pictures of his restoration progress. One thing I noticed is that the big braces under the splashwell are actually tied into the main stringers for the hull. There are 3 of them. Now I'm not so sure I want to cut those out....
    John Forsythe

    '59 Bellboy 404 - Pretty Girl
    Past Affairs:
    '61 Marathon - Jammie Dodger

  5. #15
    John ,
    I`d make some wood pcs to double up a seam area to be cut ,AFTER you predrill and fit the pc before the shape moves.
    You could make two Horizontal cuts right above the White access ring,or even right thru the middle of it.Parallel to the the gunnel will blend easier.
    Once splashwell is removed ,the transom is easily attacked though you will need to re-attach those nice braces you want to save.Pull them and recycle.
    Don`t be shy on grinding ,get well into the old as you can put fresh Woven in the corners and seams of the braces.
    The bag in my Sander Vacume will weigh almost 10 lbs wth dust and grinding debris from these jobs.
    Chop strand between all layers of wood,Cloth if you are at the final layer.
    I did one BellboyTransom recently with a slab of 1`` Thick Marine Plywood (I salvaged from an old Boat Door I was asked to toss out)......with some Chopped Glass and Woven layed first,it came out to only 1.25 inches thick but should hold up well as it has virtually no gaps.
    The pc was so tight in the upper corners(upper Shell still on....) I went shorter by 4 inches ,then put a Gusset /Step for the Transom corners,finally,I glassed in a 1`` Thick Block to reach the top corners.
    I`ll lower the Tie-downs into the solid pc but the corners now shed water.

    You can cover a seam you make with some SS trim and leave it removable.
    Seems Splashwells could be glassed solid but some Builders make wells that are Bedded and Bolted which seem to not Crack and such after bolting in place.
    Mark your possible cut lines with Green tape and get some Welding Gloves to wear while cutting it.
    Bottom line,use whatever methods make your job easier and possibly even improving the boat with the same materials it was made with.
    Or get a chainsaw and Pourable Seacast Transom repair and you could be done in a day or two......
    TimM
    Attached Images Attached Images
    unk.year 10` Mahogeny "DragonFly"racer
    15` SAFE boat w/120 hp Johnson
    SeaRay 175BR
    Hi-Laker lapline
    14` Trailorboat

  6. #16
    Well, after more deliberation and a beer drinking evaluation with a buddy, I think I have it figured out.

    There isn't any glass layup on the inner transom. There is some that holds the braces that come off the stringers, and obviously in the bilges, but it's just bare wood for about half that height. Sadly, that wood is in great shape and shows no sign of moisture damage. Oh well. Out it goes....

    The plan is to replace the floor before anything else. It's a mess and has the original wood plus a layer of ply on top that someone put in in lieu of replacing it the correct way. I'll put new wood in up to about 2 feet off the transom. Once that is in place, I'm going to have to cut the rear deck off in order to get to the inner transom. This will allow access to the transom from the inside and should be roomy enough to get the work done that is needed. While the original wood wasn't glassed in the rear, I do plan on laying the whole thing up properly. The existing transom is 1 3/4 inches including the glass on the splashwel, which screws into the wood. This setup seems to be fairly sturdy after all these years and I don't see a need to make it any wider. I do plan on putting some reenforcements in the lower area of the transome below the splashwell on the inside. This will allow some extra strength where the lower engine mount bolts go and not mess up the re-mounting of the splashwell and the lines of the deck.

    Once it is all finished the cut (and cleaned up) splashwell will go back in place and get fastened and glassed as needed. It's a huge job, but the end result will be worth it for sure.

    But, first I need to replace the axle and springs on my broken trailer!
    John Forsythe

    '59 Bellboy 404 - Pretty Girl
    Past Affairs:
    '61 Marathon - Jammie Dodger

  7. #17
    John ,
    I always regret not putting in a lowered sump area for floors and you stopping short of the transom on the floors is where you could use a small dam (with drain tube glassed in before install of course) to create one in your area of choice.
    Another tip is to replace or remove and re-inforce the rear underside of the gunnels for cleats and rear light base while you do your new transom.Pre -rigging it as you "dry fit" the new splashwell may also save headaches later.
    Bleach can save some wood you think was gone,but being open and not covered may have actually saved it.
    Then again ,I never ,ever leave it that way.Thinned Epoxy,Chop strand,then Woven or Cloth or both.
    Try tearing the chop strand when blending to the old.Works great in the rear corners.
    TM
    unk.year 10` Mahogeny "DragonFly"racer
    15` SAFE boat w/120 hp Johnson
    SeaRay 175BR
    Hi-Laker lapline
    14` Trailorboat

  8. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Boats(s)
    No longer have a classic boat.
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    Tim,
    What do you use to thin epoxy? I bought some System 3 that came in plastic tubes with ends to cut off so you could squeeze out the epoxy. I cut the ends and squeezed and nothing happened. So, I unscrewed the cap and managed to pour out some of the honey colored part (which was about the consistency of honey). Then I went to the gray part and I couldn't squeeze any out even with the cap off. I dug some out with a putty knife. I managed to stir it together and it became somewhat workable but the mounting of my sonar inside the hull called for pouring a quarter inch of epoxy inside a caulk dam. There was no pouring the stuff. I spread it around with the putty knife and it ended up somewhere around a half inch thick. I then pushed the sonar into it and quit pushing when I guessed there was around a quarter inch of epoxy under it. The whole thing works but I still have about 3/4ths of the epoxy in the tube and think it will be most useful if I can thin it when needed.
    There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness.":shocked4:

    1957 Skagit Express Cruiser Rosario

  9. #19
    Tim, I'm with you on the bilge area. The 404 has a nice lowered area on either side of the main stringer, with the bilge drain sitting lowest. I plan on putting dual pumps there. The rest of the space inbetween the stringers will be filled with closed cell pour foam, so that should provide a sufficient water dam for the remainder of the hull.
    John Forsythe

    '59 Bellboy 404 - Pretty Girl
    Past Affairs:
    '61 Marathon - Jammie Dodger

  10. #20
    In other news, the floor is up. Took most of Saturday to get it out, but its down to the stringers except for the rear most part of the deck in front of the transom (as planned). So, what I am left with now is an empty hull with just a transom, main bulkhead and forward bulkhead keeping the hull from changing shape too much. Yesterday I went in and did some clean up and then started grinding away at the left over glass in the cabin. Its pretty much done at this point and I was able to take a number of measurements and get a good sketch of the cabin and how I want to lay it out.

    One interesting thing I discovered was that in the port side stringer, the outer most has a hole in it. Not a big deal, it's not even the size of a dime. However, it looks like there is wood in there? The rest of them seem hollow when I thump them, even the same stringer on the starboard side. Any ideas?

    See the attached pics for fun. The termites were living in the wood next to the sink.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    John Forsythe

    '59 Bellboy 404 - Pretty Girl
    Past Affairs:
    '61 Marathon - Jammie Dodger

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