• smithsmarine


We've just finished having had a big tidy and change round although we're still struggling to move in the shop as its full of engines in various states of rebuild.


We have just finished insulating the new engine building shed .

YES we are expanding!

We have decided to build a new shed just for engine rebuilds as they take up a lot of space when laid out ready for cleaning or reassembly and its really time consuming having to tidy bits away or cover bits up every time you want to do something else on the bench It was ok when we just had one at a time to do but as the jobs keep coming through the door thick and fast we have had to reorganize the way we work to speed things up a bit as we have slowly turned the shop back in to a workshop over time due to lack of space.

So things had to change.

On a different note we have been doing a lot of fiberglass repairs as of late.

one of the more severe has been a Drascombe Drifter 22 which had had a cracked keel web

and quite a bad one at that

once we had removed the antifoul and gelcoat to get a better look at the extensiveness of this "small" crack we discovered that it was actually a very large one and was not far from spreading to the hull sides and causing a breach in the hull.

Now where this crack was situated there is no ballast, it was solid fiberglass. So we can discount the cast iron ballast expanding as is a common cause of encapsulated keel failure.

This crack has been caused by the hull flexing and the keels coming down hard on the ground maybe with a twisting motion causing the web to crack, this was backed up by the damage to the bottom of the keel consistent with a rough grounding.

After grinding back the fiberglass and fairing to the point of breaking through and then drilling the crack at the end to stop it spreading, the extent of the damage can be seen .This will now be glassed over with epoxy and about 6 layers of glass mat until it is just half a millimeter below the level of the gelcoat then we will add a layer of gelcoat and fair that in and that's it , repair complete

The underwater primer and antifoul can then be reapplied and the repair will be invisible to the onlooker and as strong as it was before.

We do a large amount of fiberglass work and hull repairs and what most would see as damage that would write-off the boat we can repair and this can make a cheap project boat viable as many of the project boats that are sold off cheap on ebay are bearing the scars of major damage or the result of big chunks of the boat being cut off to "rejig " the structure but turning out to have been a job to far for the owner the boat is often put up for sale sold as seen to some unsuspecting buyer who gets it for a song then finds out all is not as it seems.

This was the case with the project boat for the charity Jays Helping Hands featured in an earlier blog page. Having been sunk due to a corner missing off the transom it was split from the gunnel all the way down to the waterline and was ready for the scrap yard or so people said when they saw it.

This was all repaired and made to look as good as new after a full repaint in battleship grey is now as strong as the day it was made.

In fact, it is stronger than new, the repair having been done with modern epoxy and the latest technology in woven cloths and aramid fibers

So that means that if the bare hull can be bought for the right price then a very cheap boat can be obtained, Even more so if it is sat on a trailer even if that trailer needs repair.

Owning a trailer will cut transport costs to an absolute minimum as the cost of moving a boat without a trailer can cost thousands when the price of cranage at both ends costing upwards of £500 and trailer or lorry hire are included.

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