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1969 Thunderbird Shawnee Rebuild

Old 07-11-2019, 01:07 PM
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Default 1969 Thunderbird Shawnee Rebuild

I started this project about 11 months ago and it's taking me some time because I have some experience repairing small boats while I was in the Navy, but I am no spring chicken anymore being 60 years old. The boat was cheap. Like $300 cheap and I knew it needed a load of work. The previous owner pretty much used it and didn't do any repairs on it other than using some Marine-Tex to attempt to fill in a hole in the bow that he said happened from a trailer loading incident. I have repaired all the exterior problems and now I am moving on to the interior project of the boat.

The transom oddly enough is pretty solid because whoever had the boat before had an external 3/4 plywood and fiberglass reinforcement built over it, which I intend to do also because it stayed strong that way. Surprisingly, the interior of the transom is also solid. So I got lucky there as well.

The dilemma I am at now is the stringers and flooring. As this should be NO Surprise to me or anyone else, I removed the flooring and found that the original stringers are soft and in some place cracked and need to be replaced. The original stringers appear to be made of solid wood and glassed over. After doing much research with new technology and new ways to rebuild stringers, I can't find a simple answer to my one question. Do I go with my gutt and make new ones the old way like these were made, or go to another option?

I can't post pictures here, but you can see the project and all photos in my signature link.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:50 PM
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You need at least 10 posts to be able to posts pics.So...
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:51 PM
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I noticed that when I posted this. Thanks
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:54 PM
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I’d go with marine plywood stringers. They will last plenty long enough for your needs.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by kevinfl1959 View Post
I noticed that when I posted this. Thanks
You can post more than just once per visit you know.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by alligatorgar View Post

I’d go with marine plywood stringers. They will last plenty long enough for your needs.
With any plywood it would have to be joined to use for stringers. I would rather use 2x solid wood for this project. If it's sealed and glassed correctly it will outlast my grandkids if I do it right.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:20 PM
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One other thing I plan on doing is once the stringers and interior hull is completed I want to seal the flooring into the bulkheads so all water goes into the bilge and not even get to the stringers again. Then all I would need to do is have a waterproof access panel in the floor for inspections if I do it correctly. It might be overkill, but it looks good on paper and in my mind.
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:15 PM
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Default So much for the transom being in good shape :(

Well after I really got into the boat today I pulled all the flooring completely out. I got in there to get a really good inspection of where I need to go next on this project. I immediately noticed that they never sealed the flooring area that was cut out at the transom.

This transom was apparently made or redone at one time with two sheets of plywood for the full width of the transom and a third sheet directly in the center where the engine mounts to the stern. I haven't been able to find much information on the design build of this boat other than basic information. Above the floor the transom felt like it was strong.

The fiberglass coating covering the transom peeled back like it was paper from delaminating, and the inner sheet of plywood came off just as easy by hand at both corners of the stern. The center area of the transom that had no floor to begin with is solid which gave me a false sense of stability because of that engine mounting areas third sheet of plywood.

I will have to replace all the wood in the transom now. I am thinking 3/4" plywood for 2 layers end to end and a third layer in the center like it appears to have been designed, or do I need that third center layer ?

I am glad that they make a chipper attachment for a variable speed reciprocating saw that I have on order. I still think it will still be worth my efforts when all is done to do it correctly, and the boat will probably be even better than the original boat was when it was built.
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