Backin it up

June 29th, 2010

Installment 39 of a classic Mako Restoration

As stiff as those gunnels may be, we still need a bit of heft to support cleats. This pic shows the area we’re talking about.

With handle removed, the RAS sander just fit in this tight spot and made quick work of grinding out the high spots.

2 backing plates fashioned from G10 make bomb-proof backing material. The side to be glued was scuffed up with grinder for adhesion.

We mixed up MAS epoxy with 407 microballoons and cab-o-sil to peanut butter consistency. Again the 407 micro-balloon filler really helps this stuff stay put, crucial for overhead applications like this.

Buttered up the bonding side like it’s a tile.

Then stuck it like a postage stamp, with some back and forth wiggle to bed it in place.

The excess is a good sign we’ve got enough glue in there to hold.

We did the exact same procedure on the port quarter.

These quarters are ready for some cleats.

Spotty Gunwales

The remaining epoxy made good filler for fairing patches we’ve made along the gunnels.

- Michael Reardon

Dings and Dents

June 23rd, 2010

Installment 38 of 19ft Mako Restoration

We’re primed to restore the inboard sides where the fishboxes used to live. Before we close those sides up though, we mused over aft cleats. Always dangerous to start thinking midway through. “Hmmm…how’s that gonna work when we can’t reach em? Not very well now is it.” Altered plan, let’s prep for cleat install before we close up those sides.

In the meantime, we took a walk around the boat. There’s a mess of minor crash damage dirtily repaired with 5200. Looks like heck. Time to pull out the grinder and make some patches.

We experimented with MAS resin thickened with cab-o-sil. Some light 6 oz cloth for strength over the small spots.

Scraps of Quadraxial cloth cut to size made excellent patches over larger damage.

Where damage was extensive, we tabbed the topside liner to the hull.

Once this stuff is cured, we’ll skim over these areas with filler to even the surface.

Transom tie-in

Our gunnel to transom repair required a little more tweaking. We ground a smooth transition from new to old, and layered some 6 oz cloth to fair the dip with a bit of strength.

While we were at it, we prepped the sides for bonding. The RAS Rotary sander with 24 grit quickly extended the bevel a good 5 inches. These sides are shaping up!

- Michael Reardon

Gunnel Growth

June 18th, 2010

Installment 37 of Mako 19 Restoration

We layered on another Quadraxial cloth over the gunwale/transom cutout. This cloth is great for quick buildup.

The previous application just covered the gap with an inch or two contact along the perimeter. This next cut extends much further forward 6 inches or more.

We wrapped it slightly over the transom.

Finished off with a little stay put mojo.

For the starboard quarter we covered this whole mess over.

2 layers of quadraxial roughly equates to 3 layers of 1708 biaxial cloth. No deflection on these corners at-all. A little touch-up work and we’re now ready to build down the sides.

- Michael Reardon

Piercing the nose

June 15th, 2010

Installment 36 of Mako CC Restoration Blog

Previously, we fashioned and bonded in a new penske bow eye backing stem. It’s cured rock hard and ready for some hardware. Our job this night among others, was putting a ring on the nose of this boat.

For jewelry, we grabbed a hefty oversized stainless 1/2″ boweye. This beefed up version has much wider hole spacing. So to start, we drilled a pilot hole for spacing, then drilled again to size, through hull and penske backer. Penske is super high-density glass impregnated foam. We weren’t sure if the penske would compress over time, loosening the backing nuts. To rule out this fear, we cut a rectangular G-10 backing plate for insurance. This is a critical anchor point when trailering, mooring, or heaven forbid receiving an assistance tow. For that reason, we shamelessly way overbuilt it for the long haul. Once Humpty boat is back together again, access to this spot is granted only with persuasion from a saw.

We dry fit everything first and ground down all high spots as needed.

A concoction of West epoxy and 407 thickener mixed to peanut butter consistency made great bedding.

Only trick - sticking it backwards over head without a disaster.


With artist cap on, TJ prettied it up from the outside, prep work for when we eventually repaint this beast.

Presto! That should hold the Queen Mary.

- Michael Reardon

Bridge the Gap

June 8th, 2010

Installment 35 of Classic Mako Blog

We have a hole to fill. Well, ok, actually a bunch, but let’s talk gunwales here. This pic shows the cut made to re-core transom. Three layers of cloth now cover that exposed core, but the gap on the rail is still there. Time to fix that.

We ground a wide bevel around the bonding area.

Might as well grind out this crushed fiberglass on the corner edge and glass that too.

We came up with this high tech mold for extending the splash rail shape …

High tech cellophane wrap for mold release

Quadraxial cloth wet out with epoxy makes for quick bulk build-up.

All cured, we’re satisfied with the rough shape of this first layer. Several more layers, each successively wider, will finish this repair.

- Michael Reardon

Prepping for the Nose Ring

June 4th, 2010

Installment 34 of Mako Reconstruction Project

We drew straws to crawl up under the bow and yank out the old boweye and backing block. I lost. How is it each and every boat has one incredibly uncomfortable spot like no other, and at some point you have to stuff yourself in it. This wood backing was in surprisingly good shape for 30 plus years abuse.

But continuing our modernizing theme, we’re going to replace this wood with some rot resistance material.

We grabbed some scrap penske board left over from the transom job. Since the 3/4″ thickness wouldn’t cut it, TJ grabbed some 5 minute epoxy and bonded two strips together.

We then cut it to shape with a carpenters pull saw.

I buttered the area first with epoxy thickened with cabosil and 407 filler, then smeared more on the stem and set it home. I like the stick properties of 407 additive for holding stuff like this in place.

With a gloved hand I smooshed all the oozed epoxy into any voids around the perimeter and smoothed the backing surface. We’ll add a load bearing backup such as G-10 to the face of this when the bow-eye is installed later.

- Michael Reardon

Dressing up the Bilge

June 1st, 2010

Installment 33 of Mako Project

Before we close up this bilge, a fresh coat of paint will pretty her up and add protection.

We grabbed some Interlux Bilgekote and painted the center span the length of the boat.

You may notice the setting of boat has changed also. With warm summer near, we’ve moved the old Mako into the unheated warehouse building where we can kick up dust with reckless abandon. Having the boat on two of these PWC dolly’s is slick. Any time we need to slide her over, we just pull the boat stands and give a shove. The casters allow you to spin her in place or roll her across a parking lot. Much easier than pulling a trailer.

Bilgekote is easy, one part application you can spray, brush, roll or roller-tip. Since this is going over freshly laid fiberglass, we prepped with a quick sand to shake off the amine blush followed by a shopvac.

We rolled with a semi-smooth 3/8″ nap roller and 3″ chip brush. Directions say to roller tip bilgekote, but since our unfaired glass has a rough texture anyway, we just rolled it on assuring good coverage. She’ll look pretty clean to anyone poking their head down the access hatch. Next we’ll replace the stem and bow-eye while accessible.

- Michael Reardon

Tying in Loose Ends

May 24th, 2010

Mako Attack - Installment XXXII

A Mako 19 complete restoration

Mako feels solid. She’s got new stringers, new transom and several layers of new glass in the hull. Before we re-deck this old bird, we want to make sure everything below is shipshape.

Reinforce the chine

To transition that added stiffness from hull bottom to the sides, we reinforced the chine with fiberglass tape over the exposed sides.

We laid in 7-1/2″ wide strips of quadraxial cloth the length of the hull from transom to bow.

This area will soon be inaccessible once the decks are re-installed.

This extra reinforcement spreads the stiffness to the sides and should quiet hull flex considerably.

Transom Wrap-up

We glassed one final skin inside the transom to prevent engine bolt creep and maximize stiffness. To recap, our new transom has two layers of 1708 laid on the inner face of the outside skin, two panels of 3/4″ Penske core, equaling 1-1/2″ total core thickness, then two more layers of the same 1708 biaxial cloth. One more final layer completes the laminate. We laid 24 oz cloth with Trevira backing cut for a generous wrap along sides and bottom.

The cut drapes over the top edge, and the bottom has a generous 8 plus inches overlay on the hull and stringers. This encapsulates those tie-in strips from the stringer installation.

We also wrapped the cut another foot along the sides for added beef.

All cured, it’s a huge difference. Any hull deflection around the corners is nearly gone. Extra material on the corners compensates for the missing fish box corner structure left out. It also prevents the symptomatic stress cracks in the transom corners seen in most old boats.

The structural phase of the hull is complete. We’re going to move our attention upwards to the gunwales and deck, once we’ve completed one last dressin-up. The sanding dust in these pictures is prep-work for our next phase- painting the bilge.

- Michael Reardon

Limbering Up

May 21st, 2010

Mako Attack - Installment XXXI

Follow the metamorphosis of an old Mako runabout into a modern beauty

Our foam core stringers are in and look great. We’ll add some finishing touches to complete the job. For water to drain into the bilge and out the garboard drain, we cut limber holes. The steps are very easy. TJ grabbed the cordless drill with a 2 inch hole saw. We cut 2 inch PVC pipe the width of each stringer and dry fit them in place.

Once we were happy with the fit, we thickened some epoxy with 407 low density filler and coloidal silica to a thick peanut butter consistency and spread it with a gloved hand over the inside of the hole to seal it. We also added some to the cut PVC and inserted into the stringer.

This gets messy, so have some rags on hand.

We let this cure then returned with a Rotex sander and sanded the tube flush for aesthetics.

With some more of the same epoxy mix, we dressed out the remainder of the area to a smooth finish, trying to keep a smooth transition through the limber hole. This will pass debris up to 2 inch diameter, so it is less likely clog. The PVC lends some structural strength while protecting the integrity of our stringers down the road. Overall, it’s a huge improvement over this failed stuff…
While TJ worked on the limber holes, I did some spot repair on stringer butt joints. There were a few unavoidable buckles in our laminate installation caused by the curve of the hull. I ground out the large voids with the RAS sander and 36 grit disc. Once the voids were cleared, I cut some tabs of Quadraxial cloth. Where needed, I filled in with some thickened then laid the wet out tabs over top.

All said it looks pretty darn good. We’ll add one last finishing touch on the next post, reinforcing stringer to transom

- Michael Reardon

Mako Attack - Installment XXX

May 10th, 2010

Backyard style Mako 19 restoration

Tying into transom

With all the stringers laid in the hull, we had one last order of business to tidy up this installation. From outside the hull, Mike added some tie-in strips of quadraxial cloth.

To tie the stringers into the transom, Mike cut some 14 inch long quadraxial strips to size and attached them to top and 8 inch strips to sides of each stringer and stiffener. We wet out with epoxy and brush and rolled it out with laminating roller. A fourth strip saddled the tabs in place over the stringer.

Because these stringers are already quite high, adding knees to the transom is unnecessary (nor is there much room for them). We’ll lock these tabs in place with one more layer of 24 oz 0°-90° inside the transom. This final layer will build up sufficient transom thickness for to carry the heavy outboard.

We had some time to spare with Scott and Mike before their ticket back to the Florida sun. In all, the stringer and stiffener installation took less than one business day to complete using the Preform system, not too shabby. We are extremely grateful for all their help and insight, and very impressed with the results.

The next day, with the epoxy cured dry to the touch, we rolled this old boat out into the light of day, the first time she’d seen the sun since the stringers were removed. She holds her shape with no sagging. Walking around inside the boat or rolling her over bumpy pavement, she feels rock solid, no more walking on eggshells.

- Michael Reardon