Budget boat guidance please...

Discussion in 'Boat Repair Help' started by Cattn-Jeep, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Cattn-Jeep

    Cattn-Jeep New Member

    Messages:
    236
    State:
    NC
    This last summer I picked up a boat, my first boat. It's an old 1977 14' Starcraft power boat that was completely gutted...no more windshield, steering column, front deck, floor, nothing. Then it had a wood floor put in, 1/4" ply that cracks when you walk on it, the transom was cut up to fit a 1974 Johnson 25, and the boat got a junk paint job. I paid a total of $1,000 for the boat, trailer, outboard, old Sears trolling motor, gas tank, marine battery, and a random pile of stuff I found cleaning the boat...plugs, tools, lures, etc...

    I've been doing a lot of reading about various things need for a boat renovation. I have some unanswered questions that I would like help with. Please note that this not just a budget project, this is a "tight budget" project. I would like to see the boat end up as a dual-purpose fishing/family boat

    1. Floor- 1/4" ply is too thin, would 1/2" be overkill?
    2. 2 lb density flotation foam...there is none, should I get some?
    3. Epoxy paint is expensive, what's cheaper that would hold up for at least a couple years?
    4. Should I be scared of replacing all the wood in the transom?
    5. Is it true that treated plywood corrodes aluminum?
    6. Olympic Maximum Solid Color Stain...seems like the best bang for the buck?

    I have absolutely no experience with renovation boats, any input would be much appreciated. I am quite capable of complex tasks as I am an aircraft mechanic, please don't hold back. If someone would like to see specific parts of the boat, I am willing to take and post pictures. Thank you in advance!!
     
  2. Cattn-Jeep

    Cattn-Jeep New Member

    Messages:
    236
    State:
    NC

  3. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    OK, here goes cheap. #1: Scrounge! #2: Buy used, damaged, seconds, etc., where it can be used.

    Aircraft mechanic----are you in the Air Force? If so, the base dump can be an excellent source of materials. If not, check for aircraft type stuff scheduled for disposal to see if there's anything you can use. I've seen a large trailer bed made from aircraft aluminum pallets. If not too thick & heavy, such flat panels could make you an excellent, permanent, non-rotting floor.

    Check places that sell or auction used/salvage building materials. Don't forget that local, state, and federal guv'mint often auctions off pallets of such stuff.

    Paint for the boat--if you plan to paint the boat itself, I'd recommend using decent quality paint, even if you have to buy it retail, because you don't really want to have to strip and repaint it any more than you have to; it's a big, costly job. On the other hand, if you're going to paint the floor, you can use either oil-based or water-based paint. You can sometimes find a partial bucket that someone's going to throw away--free paint. If you can't find some free paint, look for some mis-mixed paint, which you can usually find for $5.00 a gallon of less. For a non-skid surface, throw on some clean sand while the paint is still wet. If you can't get free sand from a sandbar, beach, or by scrounging, break down and spend about $4.00 for a bag at your local building supply store. If you use plywood for the floor, I'd think that 1/2" would be the minimum thickness, and depending on how close the underlying supports are, you might need to use 5/8". You want to figure in some overkill, because you don't want to have to refloor the boat as soon as there's the slightest deterioration in the wood.

    And don't forget, NOW is the time to design in any built-in coolers, storage areas, livewells, baitwells, etc., and run all your wiring for running lights, trolling motors, bilge pumps, etc.

    Floatation: What you use depends on the design of how you finish the inside of your boat. You can buy 1" thick rigid foam sheets at your building supply store; for irregular shaped areas, something like Great Stuff will fill them in just fine.
     
  4. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    1/4 inch sounds a little thin. If you can bet to the bottom side of it, you can screw/glue some stiffeners across the bottom which could help with the soft feeling. 3/8 or 1/2 inch plywood wouldn't hurt a bit. And yes, the treated plywood can have an adverse effect on aluminum. For your transom, you need to be very patient and diligent and trace a working pattern of the wood. Try to replace it with a good quality plywood. It will probably be something like 1 1/2 to 1 3/8 thick, You will need to sandwich pieces of plywood together to get the correct thickness. Remember to alternate the grains of the ply as you glue them together. Once finished, you need a good finish like spar varnish to protect the wood. As jtrew said, You get out of it what you put into it, so it may be better to save for a few extra days/weeks/months and get the quality paint. Don't be afraid to work on your boat or motor. If its not working now, it probably won't cost anymore to fix after you have your try at it. I would also suggest you only use stainless steel fasteners on the boat. That's compatible with aluminum.