View Full Version : Another Stringer project- any advice welcome

02-26-2012, 04:16 PM
Okay, finally getting around to posting my project and need a little help from the pros. First off, the boat is an 81 SS I bought a few weeks ago from the second owner. Was in running condition, but floor was soft so I got to work pulling it knowing well the condition the stringers were probably in. Not as bad as I expected, but rot is rot and I wanted it gone. I have been reading enough threads here and on CCfan to make my head spin.

So far I have pulled the port side stringer and secondary stringer. Both came out in one piece but the main stringer was soggy. I have my epoxy and CPES on order so I have a few days before that arrives, which is good because I have run into a few issues which hopefully somebody will be able to help with.

#1. I shaped my first secondary stringer to match the original and got it pretty darn close. However when I put it in place to check fit there is a large (maybe 3/8 inch) gap between the wood and the hull in the middle of the boat. When I stand on the board this goes away. Possible solutions:
a)If hull sagging is the problem, perhaps some sort of auxillary support?

b)Reshape the board to fit in the current position

c)fill the gap with epoxy

d)construct a platform in the center to hold sandbags on the stringers while they are curing

#2. Lumber- I had to special order kiln dried doug fir. Unfortunately nobody around here stocks it. The 2x8's I got are not as straight as I would like, and one of them has a small split (fairly superficial). Without being able to hand pick the boards I am concerned that I will only run into more of this. I also have a pair of "green" doug fir 2x8s I hand picked from Lowe's that are almost dead on and seem fairly dry. Options here:

a) Use the Lowe's wood

b) Use the KD 2x8s and brace them while curing (I can easily flex them straight)

c) hassle with re-ordering lumber until I get the "perfect" one

Any help here is greatly appreciated!

02-26-2012, 06:27 PM
here are some pics of the boat, one showing the gap I mentioned. Sorry I'm a newbie on this forum, a little different navigating than what I am used to

Jeff Lyman
02-26-2012, 06:34 PM
Heavy duty buddy! Sounds like your on the right track. No opinions to offer here! Keep those pics coming they will surly help out someone else.

02-26-2012, 06:43 PM

02-26-2012, 07:40 PM
Welcome to TT.

You might want to check out this post so you can get your account fixed from being a guest.


02-26-2012, 11:43 PM
Thanks for the welcome, and hopefully soon my account will be registered as a full user.

As mentioned before I ran into a little trouble with hull flex after I got the first 2 stringers out. I spent the afternoon devising a support system that basically uses the trailer but provides three points of touch instead of sitting on the bunks. The gaps have greatly diminished and the boat has almost no flex as it sits now. Much better.

02-27-2012, 03:04 PM
looks good!!!

make sure that the contour of the bottom of the hull didn't change when wedgine the 2x4's between hull and trailer to take the "gap" up between hull and new stringer.

With my project....I filled this area with thickened materal rather than changing the hull to fit the new stringer....unless you think your hull moved from it's origional shape when you cut the old stringers out...

02-27-2012, 11:19 PM
The hull definitely changed after removing the stringer/secondary. The original secondary stringer did not have the big gap prior to cutting it out. This gap was present with either my new stringer or the original (after cutting), so it has to be a hull issue. The trailer bunks were just not supporting it the way it needed.

The pics posted dont show the full picture of my support. Here's what I did, and any criticism is welcome before I start glassing.

First I jacked the boat up from the center just enough to slide 2 2x6's across underneath it. The center of the vee was then sitting on the boards- one in between the 2 front fins and one in front of the shaft.

Next I used pieces of 2x6 on each side to take up the space underneath.

Finally, another piec of 2x6 was placed on top of the blocks on each side, running parallel to the trailer bunks.

The boat now rests on these 2 makeshift bunks outside of the trailer bunks, and the center is supported by the boards going across the trailer. I am also going to put 1x2 shims in to take up the space between the trailer bunks and the hull and a couple of jack stands under a few more spots on the vee. The idea is to support the boat with as many points of contact and the most surface area possble so it will not twist under its own weight and hold its natural shape.

02-29-2012, 12:57 AM
My advice to anyone attempting this project- support the boat first. These things flex A LOT!!
Deeper vee boats seem to hold their shape pretty well, and unlike a true flat bottom you cant check for trueness with a straightedge. I searched many times for how others have supported their boat and didnt find much so I think I will start a new thread on how I did it. I think I have everything supported well and trued up but I will be taking a lot of cross measurements and using an angle finder all along the hull to verify

Table Rocker
02-29-2012, 06:37 AM
As to #2, lumber: Your Lowe's lumber is most likely dried as well. It is my understanding lumber is dried before being planed to finished dimensions. In other words, if your 2 X 8 isn't a full 2" x 8" it has been dried and planed to 1.5" X 7.25".

As always I could be wrong, but "green" lumber usually comes directly from a sawmill. Hopefully someone who knows more about it will chime in and help.

02-29-2012, 07:27 AM
You may already be past the wood selection process but up here in Michigan we have several speciality wood suppliers that can get you top grade wood products and will custom mill just about anything you need. This is the place I've used on several occasions, I'd surprised if you didn't have something similar out your way.


02-29-2012, 03:50 PM
Thanks for posting this info bturner2. I am from Mich, I was looking to find a yard that would have wood to replace the stringers in my "77". I will have to call them up and get some prices.

03-08-2012, 01:27 AM
Some updates on my project.

Regarding the secondary that didnt fit properly: After careful observation the orginal fits about the same as when I took it out- about 1/4" above plane of the others. I conclude that it was either always like this and filleted in from underneath to fill the massive gap or somehow bowed and seperated over time

I first removed and cut the port side stringers by pattern of the one removed. This turned out to be a mistake as the port side original main is about 1/4" short and was filleted in from underneath to match the starboard (by Mastercraft) and the secondary was a poor fit altogether. I chose to re-cut the main port stringer to match the starboard one (as soon as my lumber arrives) and was able to modify the secondary to fit properly. I have already CPES'ed the starboard side and will do the same on the other side, but have doubts about how much it is actually penetrating the wood. Any thoughts?

Hope to start bedding next week when everything is cut and CPES has cured on all wood. I plan to bed the main stringers with an epoxy/aero-cab/shredded mat mixture and cover with 1-2 layers of alternating mat/woven roving. Got the roving for free from the owner of a local shop who has a ton of it sitting around. The secondaries will get standard 3M poly resin, as will the floor. This stuff seems plenty strong, waterproof, and binds well to the existing glass, so at $35/gallon I think this is worth the savings over epoxy (main stringers will be all epoxy)

In the meantime, a few side projects:
-Removed all dash instruments and deteriorated wood decal, sanded and filled imperfections
-Sanded teak deck-unsure of proper way to finish it. Teak oil doesnt seem right for something that sees that much water, will do research
-repaired wood on motor box, re-attached upholstery piping to it- the only noticeable defect on the 2007 upholstery
-wire brush to corroded underwater gear- not done, will polish afterward

I plan on getting this thing structurally back together in 2-3 weeks. No rush as I wont have time to use it for a few months.

Not sure if it will happen this year, but after we are structurally sound I plan on a paint job. Yes, I said paint. Although this boat has plenty of shiny gel toward the top, it has several gouges. Furthermore, the original blue metal flake stripe has been painted over already with a solid dark blue stripe and some goofy multi-colored stripes on the bow. Original gel is shot, paint it is.

Anyone know where to get a replacement pylon? Can a machine shop make one easily?

Mine is corroded at the bottom and I dont trust it long term. It is also stuck in the boat. Thinking of cutting it out and reaming the mount with a dremel while I have easy access. I also want to ski this decade but havent found any replacement pylons.

Finally, anyone know how to contact admin? I have tried to no avail to convert from a guest account.

03-08-2012, 01:33 AM
Here are the some pics

03-08-2012, 03:15 AM
another idea I had...
I dont like the idea of screwing floor to stringer as these holes were where almost all of the rot originated from in the originals.

I also dont like the idea of bonding the floor directly to stringers without screws. Doesnt seem strong enough, but I dont know for sure

thinking of glassing some 2x2s along the top edge of the stringers and screwing into them instead

Dan K
03-08-2012, 07:59 AM
I am sure in your research on replacing stringers you saw how most people cut the top glass of the stringer off and leave the sides, then just remove the wood from in between. This helps eliminate most of the flex in the bottom you have experienced.

03-08-2012, 10:31 AM
I am sure in your research on replacing stringers you saw how most people cut the top glass of the stringer off and leave the sides, then just remove the wood from in between. This helps eliminate most of the flex in the bottom you have experienced.

Are you suggesting that you would just slide the new wood in and glass over the top? Because no, in my research I havent found anyone who thinks this is a good idea. And yes, I have done it that way before, leaving about an inch of channel along the bottom. The end result is no where near as clean. Any old fiberglass left is just dead space as it is not laminated to the new wood.

03-08-2012, 12:18 PM
Are you suggesting that you would just slide the new wood in and glass over the top? Because no, in my research I havent found anyone who thinks this is a good idea. And yes, I have done it that way before, leaving about an inch of channel along the bottom. The end result is no where near as clean. Any old fiberglass left is just dead space as it is not laminated to the new wood.
Your research is correct! Leaving the entire stringer shell behind is a bad idea. Properly supporting the hull and removing all the old stringer glass and glassing the stringer directly to the hull is a much better practice.

I have concerns with the poly that youre planning to use on the secondaries. This is not the area I would choose to save $15. Hopefully youre not paying more than $50/gal for epoxy resin? If you are, then check out US Composites. To glass them down with poly would imply that youre not CPES'ing them first (poly wont stick very well to epoxy... though epoxy sticks great to pretty much anything, poly included). For the ease of use alone, I love epoxy- it being non-hydroscopic and inherently stronger are bonuses.

I agree that using screws to fasten the floor down is a bad idea on a wood based structure. Thats just going to be an intrusion point. Bedding the floor down to the stringers will result in an extremely strong bond. Some use a resin filled layer of mat, though I prefer to use resin thickened with milled fiber (it will take up a bigger gap). I would also recommend glassing the floor down on the insides of the main stringers, as well as the hull walls, if you werent planning on that already.

03-08-2012, 11:04 PM
Alright then, epoxy for the secondaries. Poly for the floor still. Epoxy to bind the floor to the stringers, since it should bond to both.

As far as glass buildup here is what I am thinking. On the main stringers 4 layers-starting with mat, then roving, mat again, roving again. Basically in three pieces- one on each side running up the side of the stringer and then on the floor. Another over the top of the stringer. Alternatively, over the top I might do a couple of layers of cloth as the roving on the sides should give plenty of strength. It seems like a lot of people use cloth only, but the alternating mat and roving is the way the factory did it.

I have seen a lot of mention of "milled fiber" with resin/aero-cab for bedding. Isn't it basically the same thing if I take a piece of fiberglass mat and pull it apart by hand rather than buying milled fiber?

03-08-2012, 11:06 PM
My mistake, milled fiber is much finer it seems. But as far as a bedding material- epoxy+aero-cab+ shredded up mat fibers is what I am thinking

03-12-2012, 12:13 AM
Typing from my hot tub as I try to soak the itchies out. Still waiting for my lumber. Gave me some time to prep the bottom for new glass. Several hours of grinding. Used an angle grinder with a stone disc and a flap disc. Flap works great but burns out quick, more efficient to hit it with a stone disc first. Also, teak deck is sanded and oiled, motor box finished, gas tank scrubbed and polished. Still working out the pylon issue.

As for cosmetics still weighing my options. Gel is shot as previously mentioned. So options are: paint it myself, have my local boat shop paint it, or take it to Mexico. The last option may not sound great but my neighbor knows a guy that paints there and his car looks excellent right down to the door jambs and done at a fraction of the cost of a US job. Just want to make sure they can get the bottom without dropping the damn thing.

03-12-2012, 05:55 PM
Just stepped out to the garage and looked at my stringers and one of them gas developed a significant curve. It flexes straight pretty easily but this still bothers me for some reason. It will be clamped securely in place while the bedding cures so shouldn't be an issue. Still dont like the fact that it curved on me. Should I be concerned or let it go?

03-13-2012, 01:12 AM
Here are some pics. I put the board on blocks and put some weight on the middle to see if it will straighten out. Again, probably not a big deal, just feel better about using a board that is straight on its own.

03-14-2012, 01:11 AM
Okay, I know the stuff is raved about on this site as well as CCfan, but my experience does not support its use.

First, a quick recap of my stringer project (main stringers being the focus)
1. Removed port side stringer and cut new one to match
2. Did the same for starboard stringer. Found that port stringer was 1/4 shorter in height throughout most of it, was "fit to the boat" way more than I liked. Decided to re-cut it (not done yet)
3. Starboard stringer fit like a glove. Decided to use it and pattern a mirror image of it for the port stringer. So I CPESed it
4. A few days later, my starboard stringer has a huge curve.
5. (future step- tomorrow when I get 2 new boards) Recut both stringers, one to match the starboard and one mirror image for the port

I know CPES is supposed to penetrate the wood and provide protection. However, being skeptical I coated half of a scrap piece to test its penetration. While I have no doubt the solvents in CPES penetrate the wood (sure penetrated the Dixie cup I tried to mix my first batch in), the epoxy seems to settle on the top and not wick into the wood with the solvent. I took cut into both sides of my test scrap piece and to a pick to the wood. No noticeable difference at all. And now I have a bent "good" stringer while the one port side is still straight as an arrow.

My new stringers will get bedded to the boat perfectly dry except for the bottom. The rest will be coated heavily with straight epoxy when I laminate. I know others will disagree but my in my experience CPES is of no benefit.

That out of the way, my bedding ideas are evolving. I am still planning on laying down a heavy layer of epoxy/aero-cab/shredded fibers under the stringer. However, I am thinking of adding a piece of cloth about 12" wide under the stringer and along the bottom of the hull to add strength under the stringer. I plan on laminating the joints with 2 layers of about 3" and then 5" cloth while the bedding is setting up. I will then go over this with an overlapping layer of thin mat and roving and finally one more layer of mat then roving all the way over the top to cap the stringers.

Floor will be bonded and not screwed to the stringers. Rear "removable" floor piece will be wider to extend to the secondary stringers so exhaust is accessible without tearing up floor. This piece will be secured by screw that go into 2x2's bonded to the side of the stringer. The only "intrusion points" will be the lags for the motor mounts and pylon. I am opting against through bolts for a few reasons:

1. Accessing both sides is impossible if tightening is ever needed
2. Through bolts leave a void that is an intrusion point for water. My lag threads will be coated with epoxy, and my pylon brace epoxied to the stringers for added strength and waterproofing.

This is my plan as of now, any input is welcome

03-15-2012, 02:01 PM
One annoying part of the way this boat is constructed: Rather than foam in the floor, all of my foam is in that wonderful storage area we all call the bow. Foam would not be able to go in the floor with my current configuration as the exhaust runs through.

Possible idea:
Section off the exhaust with plwood partion epoxied in, fill the rest of the floor with foam, remove half of the bow foam to allow for storage.

I know that some will say the foam is not neccessary, and this is usually true- until your boat sinks. While I can almost guarantee I will never cause my boat to sink, hoses can fail, or the actions of some other moron or other unforeseen event may. And I really dont want this thing to become a scuba diving destination or a home to catfish.

Anyone else deal with this issue?

03-15-2012, 02:52 PM
No doubt lack of any bow storage is the biggest downfall to these older boats.

03-15-2012, 05:47 PM
My 82 did not have foam in the bow, it was open and carpeted. Did you ever consider coosa for the stringers? It may have made the cpes issue mute as well as well as the "curving" of the stringer.

03-16-2012, 12:21 AM
Decision made, bow foam coming out. Just can't stand the lack of storage. Will probably put floor foam in.

03-29-2012, 12:36 PM
Okay, been too busy to update for a while so here is the latest:

Stringers are in place and glassed up the sides. Main stringers were bedded with thickened epoxy, then laminated at the joint with a 3 inch strip of cloth, followed by a 6 inch layer of 3/4 oz mat and a 6 inch layer of woven roving, then a a 10 inch layer of 3/4 oz mat and a 10 inch layer of woven roving.

Secondary stringers were done with poly resin as I ran out of epoxy (3 gallons so far) and I am awaiting another gallon. Plus I had it, its cheaper, and it will do just fine for the secondaries. It was bedded with 2 layers of mat and poly resin. Larger gaps were filled by hand with shredded mat which was soaked in resin during the lamination. For these I used less glass on the sides- a 3 inch strip at the joint, followed by an 8 inch layer of 3/4 oz mat and an 8 inch layer of roving.

The roving is more difficult to work with than cloth as it is very thick, soaks a lot of resin, and it doesnt turn clear and smooth the way cloth does. However, it is very strong and I got it for free, so considering I would have gone with about 5-6 layers of cloth on the stringers this saved me quite a bit of money.

Next step is to "cap" the stringers with a single layer of cloth. I am also going to run a layer of cloth along the floor over the roving to create a smooth surface and a little extra water protection. Then epoxy on the pieces for tank support, floor support, etc. I will also be installing plywood partitions to allow for foam installation if I decide to use it. As mentioned before, my boat had bow foam previously, which I removed for extra storage.

Last step is to install the floor. I will be coating the floor in poly resin on the bottom and poly resin with 3/4 oz mat on top. I will then bond it with epoxy and screwing it down until the epoxy cures, then remove the screws and fill the holes with epoxy. Hoping to have it all done early next week!

03-31-2012, 06:03 PM
Instead of screwing the deck down and then removing the screws, how about using 3M 5200.That stuff is Very strong!

03-31-2012, 07:08 PM

old blue
05-01-2012, 04:09 PM
I am really enjoying following your work. An enormous project. I'm restoring my 82' (but thankfully not the stringers) and am having the same questions about the pylon. Mine was so bad I could not reuse it.

Should I buy a new 3" and machine down the insert? or just have a shop machine a new pylon. What would that cost:confused:

Good Luck and keep up the good work.


05-17-2012, 01:43 AM
Okay, So I have been very busy with life on top of my boat project and have not updated in a LONG time, so here is my recap

After getting my stringers set last month, and before finishing the lamination I realised that the main stringers were bowed to the port side about 3/4 inch. I used the pylon bracket and the placement of my original stringers as my guide, which was clearly a mistake. So I cut them up carefully, used a front to back stingline and plumb bob, and re-set them as previously described. Lamination was a layer of 3" cloth at the join for all stringers, 2 overlapping layers of roving with mat in between for the mains and one layer of roving over mat for the secondaries, followed by a cap of cloth on all stingers. All Epoxy on the mains, Poly with a final coat of epoxy on the secondaries.

I epoxied all of my "accessory" pieces to the stringers, including extra floor support and some strips of 2x2 in the rear to screw my removable floor piece in to without screwing into actual stringer. This was topped with a coat of industrial gray gloss paint.

Bow foam was removed and I cut a floor piece for the bow and installed 5 plywood partions between stringers to seperate "open bilge" space from sealed space where foam can be installed. Floor is now partially installed. I

I abandoned my idea of a "fully bonded" floor as it would be very hard to remove if the need arose. Instead, I applied a thick bead of waterproof construction adhesive between floor and stringer and screwed it in with deck screws (as few as possible). Between the hull sides and the floor a very thick bead of silicone, followed by a strip of fiberglass cloth bonding the floor to the sides.

I had to cut my pylon out earlier as it would not come out, so I purchased one on ebay that is very close in diameter. It is said to be a stock replacement for a Supra or Moomba, but I prefer not think of "Moomba" parts in my boat.

Getting the stub of pylon out of the hull mount was EXTREMELY tedious. Many broken drill bits, curse words, gallons of sweat, but I finally got it out. Took the bracket in to get the piece out of it and have it bead blasted, will install it and the new pylon before finishing the floor.

I cut my passenger seat back and the fiberglass backing it screws into to create an opening for bow storage, the top cushion will be placed on a hinge for easy bow storage. I reinforced the bow with a 2x2 glassed along the cut and will place a vertical 2x3 to the floor for extra support. The seat frame was also reinforeced with a 2x2 glassed on and will have 3 short 2x2s to the floor for support

Refinished the teak deck with a combination of sanding, electric hand planing (I dont recommend this method), and some fresh teak oil.

I ordered a 13" grant steering wheel as I stupidly broke the hub on my original wheel while pulling it by leaving the center nut on hand tight while cranking down on a wheel puller. Late night work when I should have been in bed. Anyway, a 13 inch grant wheel will feel better to drive.

Also ordered an original replacement stars and stripes decal kit on ebay for less than $100.

New gauge set on the way, nothing fancy just the teleflex eclipse series to freshen up the dash, new speedos will come later.

Polished all the brass as nice as possible. I will be running the boat in somewhat shallow and unfamiliar waters, so who knows, it might be new brass soon.

Boat is prepped for paint and heading to the booth tomorrow hopefully. Nobody wanted to paint the heavy flake that was originally on the boat, so I went with a close matching color of metallic instead. I want it to have the appeal of the original look, but I am obviously beyond a "factory" look at this point.

Hopefully I will have the boat back and start reassembling early next week. I have everything to freshen the motor up plus a new fuel pump and minus a carb rebuild kit, hopefully it fires right up. Prior to removing it I got it to fire on ether, but it was not feeding fuel and would not stay running. I was told it ran fine in the end of last summer. At least it looks cleaner after hours of degreasing, scrubbing, and a few cans of rustoleum high heat gloss black.

05-17-2012, 01:47 AM
trying to upload pictures and my iphone is updating at the same time, but I promise they are on the way

Cloaked- I just saw in your sig that redline graphics is a letdown and realized that is who I ordered from. Can you fill me in?

05-17-2012, 11:01 AM
For some reason the "manage attachments" button is not working....guess I'll try again later

05-17-2012, 11:26 AM
Looks like its finally working for me.

05-17-2012, 12:18 PM
I finally gave up hope of my profile being updated from "guest," so I created a new one
Scot "saclass"

05-17-2012, 12:21 PM
There is more than on way to skin a cat. :rolleyes:

Nice work.....looks like lots of extra glass.

05-17-2012, 12:24 PM
Nice work.

Keep up the pics, an inspiration to everyone!

Looking forward to seeing this come to completion.

07-05-2012, 03:46 PM
Well, here she is. Runs great, handles like a Mastercraft should, enough said.

Table Rocker
07-05-2012, 04:10 PM
She looks beautiful! Congratulations on a job well done!

07-05-2012, 04:15 PM
looks great!!!!!

We started our stringer/restoration projects about the same time...and also finished about the same time....6-7 month project....

Just in time for summer....

great job....

07-05-2012, 05:00 PM
Fantastic!! You are an inspiration -- beautiful job sir.


07-05-2012, 05:10 PM
Beautiful boat and great job on the restoration and write up!

07-06-2012, 04:20 PM
I'm doing the same - which way did you route your steering cable? I've opened the bow on my 1979 S&S, will make a foot box for the driver. Teleflex says the steering cable can bend to a min radius of 8" - I think this will be enough to get it to come down the side of the foot box into the bilge.

For storage, I plan to build a liftable bench seat with a fixed base to access the storage. How did you arrange your seat for access?

07-06-2012, 04:36 PM
looks great!!!!!

We started our stringer/restoration projects about the same time...and also finished about the same time....6-7 month project....

Just in time for summer....

great job....

Yup, and congrats to you on a great job done as well! Hope you enjoy that boat, I must say I am jealous of your original gel. Paint was my last resort, maybe re-gel way down the road.

07-06-2012, 04:43 PM
I'm doing the same - which way did you route your steering cable? I've opened the bow on my 1979 S&S, will make a foot box for the driver. Teleflex says the steering cable can bend to a min radius of 8" - I think this will be enough to get it to come down the side of the foot box into the bilge.

For storage, I plan to build a liftable bench seat with a fixed base to access the storage. How did you arrange your seat for access?

I kept mine pretty simple. I cut two 3" holes in the center floorboard and attached PVC thru fittings and this is where all of the cables, wires, bilge hose, etc go through. Cleaned it up with some wire looms. They run right behind the passenger seat. I used the stock bench with and cut a large hole right behind the back of the passenger seat and reattached the seat back with a piano style hinge. Small opening, but much better than before. I will upload pics in a few days when I get home.

Also, I glassed some 2x2's along the edge of the bench underneath the opening and also along the bottom inside corner of the dash for reinforcement. Pics will help if my description isnt clear. Good luck, it provides some much needed storage in my opinion.

Also plan to add some foam under the floor to replace what came out of the bow, just for peace of mind

07-06-2012, 04:46 PM
I kept mine pretty simple. I cut two 3" holes in the center floorboard and attached PVC thru fittings and this is where all of the cables, wires, bilge hose, etc go through.

My mistake, I made three of these holes, one for all of the cables, etc, and two for the vent hoses. Kind of a tight fit, probably have to do it with the floorboard pulled up unless you make larger openings