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Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

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parksman
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Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by parksman » Mon May 02, 2016 8:25 am

I have a 1955 Chris Craft Sportsman with the original bottom. It had been recently painted when I purchased the boat 5 years ago. The bottom swelled up tightly and pushed out the seam sealant the first summer I owned it in 2011. It has not been in the water since Aug 2011 but has been stored in a garage and not out in the weather. The bottom paint is flaking and peeling so I need to properly paint the bottom before taking it out again this year. I suspect the bottom was not properly prepared before the last time it was painted. I'm fairly certain it was painted with Old Salem 1959 Hard Racing Copper Bronze Paint. I have stripped the old caulk out of the joints and cleaned them thoroughly. It was a white caulking material but was still a bit pliable and not hard or brittle.

Here are my questions:

1) Should I strip the bottom back to bare wood to properly prepare it for painting and inspect the bottom for any bad spots?

2) If so, should I sand the old paint off, use a heat gun to soften the paint or chemically strip it?

3) If its acceptable to strip it, what is the recommended product to use?

4) I've read that the bottom should be sanded with 80-100 grit paper before applying the paint. Is that correct?

5) Which seam sealer do you recommend?

6) It seems that when the joints swelled up and pushed out the caulking it peeled the paint away with it. Should I repaint the bottom with one coat before I apply the seam sealer and then apply another coat on top of the sealed seams?

7) Should the bottom be sealed before applying the new paint to bare wood? I'm afraid that sealer would affect the swelling properties of the wood but would like some advice from you guys with experience.

The boat is on a trailer and will only used in fresh water from 5-10 times a season. Is the Pettit Old Salem 1959 the recommended paint I should use this time?

Any other recommendations you might offer would be appreciated. I was only able to use the boat one time after I bought it 5 years ago before suffering a medical catastrophe so I'm slowly trying to get everything in order to start using it again. Thanks for your advice.

joanroy
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Re: Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by joanroy » Mon May 02, 2016 8:10 pm

If your bottom hasn't been stripped and inspected for a long time, it's definitely a good idea to have it taken down to bare wood and check planking and fastener condition. I had my bottom professionally stripped with chemical stripper and carbide Sandvik pull scrapers. Its a nasty job so wearing full protection tyvek suit with good respirator, googles and chemical gloves were used. Depending on bottom paint thickness it can take several applications of stripper and a ton of elbow grease. After stripping the bottom was sanded with 80 grit using a Festool orbital sander connected to a dust collection system.

Originally your boat didn't have any seam compound in the bottom seams. Just two well fitted planked bottoms with a somewhat water resistant lead inpregnated membrane in between the inner diagonal planked bottom and the outer fore and aft planked bottom. These boats were built to soak and swell and leak a bit until the bottom had time to take up. Usually took a couple of days of soak for the bottoms to tighten up enough to where they could be left unattended. Of course this is when the boats were new and were left to soak all boating season. To tell you the truth, a wooden boat with an original style bottom that will be trailored and used occasionally probably isn't all that practicle. Its gonna leak when you use it. That why a lot of folks replace the original bottoms with "No Leak" 5200 or epoxy encapsulated type bottoms. You can fill seams with pliable Slick Seam or Pettit underwater seam compound after stripping and priming, but no guarantee it won't leak without being left to swell.

Most bottom paints recommend priming with a thinned coat of bottom paint and then two full coats. Best to check with paint manufacturers for their application recommendations.

parksman
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Re: Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by parksman » Mon May 02, 2016 8:45 pm

Thanks for your help. I noticed that the worst peeling was where the sealer pushed out of the seams when it swelled up the last time. Is that normal or would it be wise to apply a thinned first coat before applying the sealer and then painting the final coats over the entire bottom?

Do you have any recommendations for chemical stripper to remove the Old Salem 1959 paint that is currently on the boat?

Howard Lehman
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Re: Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by Howard Lehman » Mon May 02, 2016 11:50 pm

Hi, the 17' Sportsman model from 1954-1958 (the '59-'61 hull is a little different) have similar bottom construction. The inner bottom is 1/4" marine Fir plywood, and holds water really quite well, even with an original bottom, as long as its in good shape. They really are great boats and, with their convex bottom design, IMHO, handle waves better than the flatter bottom, or concave bottom designs of similar size boats. I own a 1954 17' Sportsman with its original bottom, and have restored another '54 Sportsman and a '55 Sportsman as well, but replaced the bottoms on those boats. I agree, if you will keep the original bottom, scrape and sand the bottom paint off as well as you can, 80 grit is a good ending grit. Star 1 makes a good paint stripper, but chemical strippers are messy as already mentioned. Yes, wear a painter suit, goggles, sander hooked up to a vacuum cleaner, gloves and a real good mask if you're doing all of this upside down. Of course the trailer makes this much more difficult, but if you can remove the boat from the trailer (cherry picker or A frame with chain fall) and set the boat on blocks at the transom/chine area, and on the keel in the area under the dash board, at a comfortable working height, you will make things easier for yourself. If you use cement blocks, (this was discussed on a similar topic in the last week or two on Boat Buzz) don't allow the boat to set on the cement blocks without using wood on top of the block. Once you have all old paint off, or most of it off, vacuum it well, then I'd suggest sealing the wood before primer, and finally bottom paint. I'd suggest CPES, but Pettit sealer is compatible with the Pettit Racing Bronze paint. I'd be cautious of putting any caulk in the seams. This is a short response for such a job, but continue to research, and then figure out your plan, and do it. Its Fun! (.....most of it...)

parksman
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Re: Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by parksman » Tue May 03, 2016 8:39 am

Thank you for the response. I can get it off the trailer and have a large shop to work in. It seemed to swell up quite well the last time it was in the water which was 5 years ago. I left it in the water for 7 days and it had stopped taking in water after the last day. The seams had sealer in them and it had pushed it out making an ugly mess. But I've read on the forum where the original bottoms of this age don't swell up like they did when they were newer. Since you have a boat just like mine with the original bottom, I appreciate your advice.

If I get the bottom cleaned, sanded sealed and repainted and it doesn't seal up tight again, can I (or should I) caulk it at that point?

joanroy
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Re: Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by joanroy » Wed May 04, 2016 5:35 am

As I mentioned before, if your trailoring your boat and just using it for a day here and there, the bottom planks won't soak up enough and she will leak. Original bottom wood boats are designed and built to account for plank swelling when wet and shrinking when on the hard. Their made to be left to soak and not to be used occasionally. How much it leaks at launch and how long it takes to swell up depends on condition and moisture content. The planks need to be able to move. Sounds like your boat has been on the hard for a long time and I suspect your planks are very dry and opened quite a bit. Get the bottom stripped, clean out the plank seams and post some photos. Good Luck!

Howard Lehman
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Re: Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by Howard Lehman » Wed May 04, 2016 10:02 am

Last year I had 2 17' Sportsmans here in the water at my dock. Both had original bottoms, which I stated in an earlier post, they came with marine plywood inner bottoms. With my 1954 Sportsman, which was given a very good cosmetic restoration in 1991, it had very little use at the time and wasn't put in the water until 2010 when I bought it. I did the "pre-soak" protocol, ran a garden hose into the bilge and, while watching carefully, ran enough water into it to get the water level up to the bottom of the chines toward the transom, then used the trailer jack to move the water around toward the bow. I am very careful not to put too much water into the boat. This boat sat from 1991 until 2010 on its trailer never in the water. So it was dry. In a short time, the leaking slowed down to drips in several spots. I have a very good bilge pump, so I launched it. It stayed in the water at my dock for two months, with the bilge pump running every once in a while for 30 seconds each time. But, like I said, it stayed in the water. Joanroy is correct, when trailering the boat, and using it once in a while, there will be lots of plank movement, and it will leak. The other Sportsman, a 1957, I had in the water last summer for a month belonged to someone else, and they wanted me to watch it and sort it out for a possible sale. It had a constant leak that its bilge pump kept up with, but the leak was in a seam between two planks and it would need repair to remedy that situation. When I would take the boat out for a run on the water, I had a PFD and floatable cushions nearby, and stayed close to the shore. You asked for advice, which is very difficult to do without a thorough, personal examination, but I think you have three things you could do: 1) As Joanroy said, remove as much old paint on the bottom and chine strakes and lower transom plank as you can, so you can see the boards to check for cracks, cupping, softness etc. Remove several screws from each plank in several places on the bottom to see if they are still fastened tightly, or spin freely (bad) or are broken off (bad). (If many screws are broken, spin freely, in my opinion, I'd completely pull some planks off to see the condition of these planks and their fasteners. If a lot were broken off, you really need to do some bottom work, perhaps replace the entire bottom, probably including some/many frames.) Look at the inner bottom for same things. Poke at the frames, keel, stem, gripe and chines with a scratch awl/ice pick to be certain of no broken frames, or rot in the wood. Check to be sure that the chines are tightly fastened to the frames, with no gaps , and if that all checks out to your satisfaction, you could go ahead with sealing and painting the bottom. Then, I'd add water carefully, and under your observation, and see how long the boat leaks. If it leaks a lot for more than a day, the bottom planks may not be able to swell enough to ever tighten up again. It is very likely you'll need significant bottom repair/replacement. 2) You could just "pre-soak" now, and see how long the bottom leaks and where. Water can get in from the 2 stuffing boxes, the engine water intake, the siphoning device (YIKES!!), and the drain plug, if things are not properly packed and/or sealed. Again, if the bottom leaks after a day or two in seams, at the keel, transom, etc, and doesn't stop, you have to look at bottom replacement. And 3) replace the bottom. And yes, (my last resort which is only temporary) you could put caulking in the seams, must be very flexible caulking and easily removable like Life Caulk, but when the planks swell, much of the caulking will be expelled, and then when the bottom dries out, the gaps are back again, and the cycle continues. If you have more questions or comments, I'm happy to add my humble opinion to you, just send me a personal message with your phone number, and I'll be happy to call you. However, the only dependable way the trailered boats, used for a day or two in the water, then back onto the trailer, then this repeated several more times in the summer, can safely be used is with the "no soak bottom". I read where the Chris Craft factory never expected its boats to use their original bottoms for 10 years in constant usage, much less 61 years. Good luck with your boat, it is a really great model.
Regards, Howard

jon.fink
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exactly how to soak in a 283 runabout

Post by jon.fink » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:42 pm

Hello from Jon Fink. I am a new owner of a 16' "283 model, that has been in the same family on the same lake in PA since new.
It will now live its life mostly on a trailer in my warehouse with weekend jaunts to lakes near me.
Can one of you experienced with this model give me a definitive formula for the soak in. Right now about 5 days before I plan to launch I keep a garden sprinkler under the hull for about 2-3 hrs/day. I put a few inches of water in the bow and stern areas accessible through the cover plates. Is there something else I should be doing here ? After a few hours, I cycle the bilge pump and it works well. I have read so many posts and this process remains a bit of a mystery. For years I was a guitar maker before going on to have a very large woodworking operation with 900 employees. I understand the properties of wood and would really appreciate some sage advice. I take direction well. Thanks in advance, jon

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Captain Nemo
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Re: Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by Captain Nemo » Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:31 pm

Hi Jon, Welcome to The Buzz. Your soaking practice is a good one. Just make sure you don't put to much water on the inside. Your boat was designed to hold water out, not in. Too much weight may pull fasteners loose.
If your boat is going to live on a trailer most of the time, it would best if you could replace the bottom with a 5200 process or a epoxy bottom. That would eliminate the need for soaking.
What year is your boat? I haven't heard of a model 283. Could you post a picture, we would like to see what you have there. :D
Boats are to be made of wood, otherwise, God would have grown fiberglass trees.

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Captain Nemo
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Re: Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by Captain Nemo » Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:39 am

Also if you can find the hull number stamped into the wood on the engine stringer would be helpful in id'ing your boat.
Boats are to be made of wood, otherwise, God would have grown fiberglass trees.

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drrot
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Re: Sportsman Bottom Paint Questions

Post by drrot » Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:02 am

Captain Nemo wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:39 am
Also if you can find the hull number stamped into the wood on the engine stringer would be helpful in id'ing your boat.
Quite often it is on the registration
Jim Staib
www.finewoodboats.com


1947 Penn Yan 12' Cartopper WXH474611
1950 Chris-Craft 22' Sportsman U-22-1532
1957 Chris-Craft 26' Sea Skiff SK-26-515
1968 Century 17' Resorter FG-68-174

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