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Found this boat on Craigslist for $60. Although the Title (It had a title!) lists the manufacturer as General, it is most likely an early Lucraft Trihull. It's identical to pictures on the internet of 14 Lucraft Trihulls from the early 1970s. Here is a 1973 Lucraft...



This is going to be a bit different than most of the build threads in that this boat is not going to be a fishing machine. I am building this so my kids have a boat to use around our home in St. Pete. It will be used as a Canal Cruiser when visiting neighbors and friends and we will also take the boat to the rivers, like the Weeki Wachee, for fun and scalloping.



The boat was in very bad condition, and probably should have been landfilled. Every scrap of wood, from the transom to the floor, to the block behind the bow eye was worm food. There were cracks in the hull and the rolled edge was cracked and broken in several places. The strap in the second photo is holding it together because the rear seat was detached from the hull side.

Despite it's condition, I kind of fell in love with it's retro style, like the ribbed front deck, clunky bow light pod and the anchor locker eyebrow.

My rebuild plan is to convert the boat into a flats-style center console with a raised rear deck similar to this one found in the gallery...

 

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As I said before, the hull integrity was compromised, and I needed to come up with an approach to stabilize the hull bit by bit.  The approach I settled on was to first repair and strengthen the rolled edge.  The rolled edge, when intact, provides quite a bit of stiffness and shape to these kinds of hulls.  With the cracks and breaks in the rolled edge, the boat was sagging outward at the sides and could be easily twisted longitudinally.   To combat this, I used some ratchet straps to draw in the sides of boat, and added some temporary 2 X 2 transverse wood braces.  I then set about fixing the cracks and breaks in the rolled edge.  The fractured glass was ground out, cracks and holes were filled and missing sections replaced.  Where sections were missing I used 2lb foam as a backer and shaped it to fit behind the area to be glassed.  I didn't do a good job photographing the process, but I did take pictures of the results...


Here a large chunk was taken out of the bow.  It was replaced with 2 layers of 1708.


An entire corner of the bow was missing as well.

Cracks, some of which extended almost down to the water line were ground out and reglassed...


This crack was was more of a tear where the entire hull was ripped from the rolled edge extending down almost to the waterline.  This was the most serious damage.

Once the basic integrity of the rolled edge was restored, I flipped the boat over on my garage floor.  While it was as flat as possible, I laid in a layer of 1708 on the inside of the entire rolled edge, filled it with 2-part foam, and laid another layer of 1708 over the foam.  What was once a hollow rolled edge is now a foam filled monocoque collar around the entire craft.  This is what it looks like from the underside...



The result is very strong, rigid and has the added benefit of adding a bit of flotation.  This modification is almost invisible too.  You have to look or run your hand up under the rolled edge to see the change.

The next step is the replacement of the transom.
 

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Still bringing this up to date. The next step in stabilizing the hull was to replace the transom core. I decided that I would use plywood due to cost. My goal is a quick low-cost build. I was trying to be realistic about the life span of this boat too. 20 years would be about as much as I could hope to expect out of it. That would make it 65 years old. Most of the materials I had used so far were laying around due to other projects, but I finally broke down and purchased a 1/2 inch sheet of Plum Creek Marine Tech Plywood. That almost doubled my investment right there!

Cutting out the old transom gave me little trouble. I used my Harbor Freight Multi Oscillating tool. It cut the inner skin like butter. The wood inside was so rotton, that most of it could be vacuumed up. The rest popped off the rear skin without to much trouble.

Here is a before picture looking down into the gaping hole on the transom top...


It was at this point I discovered the rear transom skin was really thin and in rough shape. I decided that instead of grinding, I would use a DA sander and 60 grit to rough up the skin. Once it was all clean, I used a glue gun and tongue depressors to template the core. I knew I wanted to raise the transom from 15 inch to 20 inch, so I accounted for this with my template.

Once the template was done, I traced it out on the plywood and cut the first piece. It a good fit, and I used it to trace 2 more sections. I assembled a sandwich layer 1708 and mat between each plywood slice. Here is a dry fit...



After I shaped it bit I was satisfied I could epoxy it in place. I opted for the thru-bolt method with a plastic covered section of plywood acting as a backer. These pictures are from after is cured...

Interior..


Exterior...


After going over the new transom top with layers of 6 oz cloth and mat, I glassed the interior with 2 layers of 1708 laid in so it extended up about 8 inches on the hull sides and bottom...



Once this was done, I went over the stern side with a layer of 1708 because that side of the skin was so thin and it such bad shape...



With the transom done, the boat was stable enough for me to cut out the seat and side boxes and start working on the stringer grid.
 

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I am a friend of falstaff and have been helping (well, mostly sitting, drinking beer and providing critical input). This little boat has been sort of a mystery with the "general" name on the title.

While it looks just like the '70s Lucraft boats, this is a '68 and we found an identical twin boat at the boat ramp a few weeks ago that was titled as a '62. So we think that the molds may have been in use by another manufacturer prior to Lucraft in the 70s. I know it's a long time ago, but if anyone can point us in the right direction it would be appreciated. The hull ID started with "TP-". Obviously this is before 1970 so no three digit manuf. I'd.
 

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Once the transom was complete, I used the oscillating tool to cut out the seat and the side boxes and anything that remained of the stringers (there wasn't much).  There is a small keel indention on the bottom of the boat that the original stringer ran along.  Since I intended to engineer a stringer grid, I filled this with thickened epoxy, and glassed over it to create a uniform surface I could build upon.

Once this was complete, I used a hot glue gun and tongue depressors to template the transverse members of my stringer grid.  I transferred each shape to a 2 inch thick sheet of 3 lb foam, cut them out and fitted them into the hull. 

Each one is glassed to the hull with 2 layers of 1708.

Once all of the transverse members are glassed in, I cut foam stringers to go between them to complete the grid.  These are glassed in using 2 layers of 1708.  At the stern, a box was created to act as a bilge.


I have decided to foam fill under the floor and seal it.  I am in the process of running my conduit for wiring to the console before pouring the foam.  Due to the tiny amount of space under the floor, I am running two 1 1/2 inch conduits aft.  One for steering and some electrical and one for the remote harness and control cables.  I am also running a 1 inch conduit because my batteries will be in the console and I was concerned I wouldn't be able to run battery cables along with everything else.  A small flex conduit runs forward for the bow light.  I will post pictures of that after the foam is poured.
 

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I added conduit from where the new center console will sit and began foaming under where the floor will sit. As I stated in my last post, there simply isn't much room here, so I added 2 1 1/2 '' and one 1 inch conduits headed aft, and a single 3/4 inch flex duct conduit heading forward. That yellow romex is just holding the flex duct in place while I poured the foam.



For a console, I found a Carolina Skiff console (one designed for a J-14) on Craigslist for a good price.



I stripped the blue paint off of it using Peel Away, but it will need sanding and repainting. It still looks blue because the blue paint is in the gelcoat pores. This console is high, but I prefer to stand and drive, particularly when scalloping off Weeki Wachee where limestone boulders lurk, so I think this will work out well.

The 2 part foam I get from Fiberglass Coatings in St. Pete.


It is very easy to work with, but once you combine part A to part B, mix for 20 seconds and pour immediately.



I will probably add a bit more foam down each side. To trim it off at the floor level, I ordered a cheap wire saw from Amazon designed for cutting PVC pipe. It's a 36 inches long cutting wire with handles on each end, and I think work with another person should allow me to trim the foam just the way I want it.
 

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My plan with the foam was to have it help support the new floor. I was at Fiberglass Coatings and they had a sheet of NidaCore sitting out. I was surprised to find it was about the same price as the marine plywood I use, but much lighter. The weight factor really appealed to me. It was the selection of NidaCore and the fact it's less rigid than plywood, that convinced me to have the foam support the floor.

That meant trimming it very carefully to produce a surface level with where the bottom of the floor will rest. After a few false starts and a humorous failed attempt to build a saw from PVC pipe and a band saw blade, I settled on a method that worked. I used my level and my oscillating tool with a plunge blade to remove small strips then I sanded it smooth with a fairing board. It was extremely time consuming, but the results will work. After that was done, I started to template the new floor. For this template, I used strips of door skin and hot glue.

 

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The floor is in! In my last update, I have leveled the foam and started to template the floor. Once my templates where complete, I used them to cut sections of Nida Core. I had prepped the Nida Core by first painting on a light coat of epoxy and letting it cure. This step isn't absolutely necessary, but the guys at Fiberglass coatings recommended it so that when you go to glass over it, the resin doesn't soak though and fill the honeycomb cells. I then added a layer of 1708 on what would be the back side of the floor.

Here is a photo of the floor sections dry fitted in place...



On this boat, there is a gutter that runs down either side of the floor. I didn't see any reason to modify that design, particularly since it made things cheaper by making the floor exactly 48 inches wide.

Once I had my floor sections cut, I went the extra mile and laid down a layer of mat over the foam I had poured. While that was still wet, I mixed up a bunch of thickened epoxy, ran a bead around the perimeter edge and spread it liberally over the foamed area. I then laid down the floor sections and weighed them down with some pavers blocks I had.



Once the epoxy cured, I carefully beveled (at a 45) the exposed edges of the Nida Core using the Harbor Freight Oscillating tool. I then cut two layers of 1708 and dry fitted it to the floor.



Before doing the glass work, I attended to a few details. I poured foam around the wire chases to fill the gaps around pipes and cut it at floor level. I also filled the exposed honeycomb where I had beveled the Nida Core with thickened epoxy.

Finally I was ready to lay down the glass. I always lliberally wet out the surface first, and apply some thickened epoxy fillets to any areas where the glass needs to conform to a radius or anywhere I think I will have a problem with adhesion. I do this just before laying down my glass so that it's still wet and aids adhesion. For the floor, I probably used about 2 gallons of resin. I used a paint roller (solvent resistant) to apply the resin. And then roll out the bubbles with a fin roller (bubble buster).

 

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Estimated Budget thus far...

I decided to add up my costs so far to give some idea what a major restoration project like this reasonably entails.  This is an estimate, and I am sure I am missing some things.  I tried to include estimates of stuff I already had on hand.  I buy this stuff at the FGCI store, but I tried to add the correct FGCI catalog number to type into their web site product search... http://fgci.com/.  I am reasonably sure these are the right numbers, but no promises.   I am trying to be as frugal as I can be, while still doing a restore I hope stands the test of time and has plenty of flotation built in.  I use epoxy resin because that is what I am familiar with and it's the strongest secondary bond, but it's not the cheapest way to go.

14 foot Boat$60CraigslistHad title.  Never buy a boat in Florida without one
Epoxy Resin$350FGCI125463  Used about 6 gallons total.  I usually buy 2 gallons of resin and one gallon of 2:1 activator.
Epoxy ActivatorN/AFGCI125238  The price of the resin is my total for 4 gallons of resin and 2 gallons of activator.
Pourable Foam$100FGCI135435  This goes a long ways. But I used some I had laying around too, so my estimate is low.
Epoxy Adhesive$125FGCI135361 I use this for many things, bonding, fillets, fillers.  I mix it with microballoons to make it sandable and with chopped glass to make it extra strong.  FGCI even carries empty caulking tubes you can fill with it and lay down a bead.
Plywood$55InterCity Lumber Tampa1 Sheet 1/2 inch Plum Creek Marine Tech
Roll 1708$100FGCIFront of the Store Special Purchase
Console$80CraigslistFrom a Carolina Skiff j-14
1.5 oz Mat$30CraigslistPurchased Long ago.  One note on using mat.  It doesn't work nearly as well with epoxy because the binders are designed to melt when using polyester resin.  I only use it on flat surfaces because of this.
NidaCore$180FGCI124924  I used 2 sheets and have one left over for the rear deck
2lb 2" 4x8 Foam Sheet$90FGCI124988  This is used to core the stringers and bulkheads.  It has no strength, it just provides shape.
Supplies$100FGCI & Home DepotRubber Gloves, Tyvek Suits, Sand Paper, Etc
TotalAbout $1300


I think I have enough left over supplies to build the rear deck,  so before I get into fairing and painting, this is about my cost of the basic restore on the hull.  One note, if you have a business tax id, FGCI will set up an account and sell you stuff at wholesale prices that are cheaper than I am paying.  I am not sure what the saving is, but they lead me to believe it is worth the trouble.
 

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It's been a while since I updated this, but I haven't been idle.   Designing and building the rear deck just took a while.  I wanted a flats boat style rear deck, nearly flush with the gunwale and with lots of storage underneath.  I needed to design in a fuel tank as well.  My buddy Robert had a couple of stainless steel fuel tanks his father had built 30 years ago that he was willing to contribute.  One of them was long and narrow and had a capacity of about nine gallons.  It turned out to be perfect.  I designed my below deck around the tank.



The bulkheads are made from two pound foam sheeting with 2 layers of 1708 on each side.  The tank is actually raised off the deck by about an inch to allow for water to flow back to the bilge.

Water also drains down either side of this boat.  In order to channel that water through my storage compartments back to the bilge, I ripped PVC pipe in half, and glass it to the deck to create a place for water to flow through my storage area.  You can see the glassed over pipe running in an L thought the compartment here...



Here is another view of the compartments and the bilge area...



The forward bulkhead is notched out to give access to the fuel fill...



Before decking over everything, I painted the tank using some fuel-resistant engine paint, and painted the bilge are and my compartments using some white Sherman Williams Tile Clad paint I had from another project.  I ran my hoses too, since access isn't going to be great...



The stack of black pads is self adhesive Neoprene.  It's there to hold the fuel tank down in rough weather.  It was a bit of an after thought.  With the deck on the stack of pads is squeezed slightly between the tank and the deck.  In reality, the tank is such a tight fit, it'll never move.



I picked up some hatches from Marine Surplus place in Sarasota, and dry-fitted those to my nidacore top deck.  I wanted large hatches for the storage area, and a somewhat smaller hatch for the bilge access.



And finally, I glassed in the Nidacore with two layers of 1708, wrapping one layer up over the gunwale and up the transom in the rear.



I still need to trim some excess glass, but the rear structure is fully built, and I feel a major part of the build is finally behind me!
 

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After weeks of sanding, I finally got the perfect day to put on the first coat of primer.  It was about 70 degrees and winds were calm.  There was a one part paint on the hull, and it had to be completely gone before I went back with a two part paint.  Here is the before photo...



My buddy Robert was a huge help getting this done.  We have been talking for years about learning to spray paint.  Robert invested in a Devilbiss Finishline paint gun kit with 4 tips.  For primer, we used Interlux Epoxy PrimeKote.  The tip on the gun was 2.2 mm. Eventually it will be topcoated with either Interlux Perfection or Epifanes Two-Part Poly.

After reading lots of paint threads, we knew dry air was the key to a successful paint job.  Others have mcguyvered DIY air coolers from coils of copper tubing and ice.  Here is our version...



This photo is from after we were done, and the ice had melted.  This was remarkably effective.  Down the line from the DIY cooler we had a water separator....



We had to empty it often, and never had water at the gun.

Results...





Priming revealed lots of little pin holes and flaws I will will fill using Interlux watertite epoxy filler.
 

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The topsides were primed and faired, ready for final priming and painting, so I flipped the boat to do the bottom and hull sides. 

For the bottom paint, I wanted to use Interlux's VC Performance Epoxy.  It's a slick 2 part epoxy paint designed for trailer boats.  The good part about this paint is that it's a true bottom paint designed for underwater use, so it can stand up to sitting in the water for 2+ weeks at a time.  The process here is to spray on one coat of the VC Performance Epoxy, and then fill any holes or imperfections.  I use Interlux Watertite to fill it. Here is a photo with one coat on to give and idea of what the hull bottom looked like before filling...



This pitting and blistering is typical of old gelcoat.  46 years takes a toll.  I filled the pinholes and blisters with Interlux Watertite, sanded smooth and then sprayed 3 more coats.



It's by no means perfect, but it will serve.  If I had done one more iteration of priming and filling, it would have been nearly perfect, but nobody looks at the hull bottom.

One nice thing about the VC Performance Epoxy, is you can burnish it.  I wet sanded it the next day with 600 grit and it smoothed it out nicely.  Once I am done painting, if I am ambitious, I can use some 3M Perfect-It Machine polish to make it shine a bit (it has a dull shine now). 

The VC Performance Epoxy coupled with Watertite Epoxy filler was great to use, and I will use that system again.  For the first coat I even used a $17 Harbor Freight HVLP gun with good results.  So it's easy to apply.  There is no UV protection in the paint, so its good for bottoms and interior bilge areas only.

Next I am priming and filling the sides and the transom for the topcoat.  The transom will take a lot of fairing.
 

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Quick Update...

I finished fairing the transom and the sides.

I am using a combination of Alexseal 302 high build primer and Interlux watertite epoxy filler.  The transom was especially bad.  Here is a before and after photos.



It's hard to tell but it went from surface of the moon to reasonably smooth and flat.   

Another photograph of the whole boat...



In the next couple of weeks, finish primer and topcoat are going on.

The color scheme, selected by my kids is Alexseal Seafrost/Capri Blue boot stripe/Snow white topsides (which matches the Interlux VC Performance Bottom Paint's color fairly well).

 

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Living & Dying in 3/4 Time
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Looking great Falstaff! You're doing that but major justice with the rebuild.

How do you like the Alexseal products? How do they spray? I know Oysterbreath is going with Alexseal on his boat but with roll & tip.
 

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Thanks Gramps!

So far, I have only sprayed the 302 primer, but it sprays great using a 2.0 tip on a HVLP gun, builds a thick coat and sands very easily by hand without being easy to sand through. It seems to never run or sag. You do have to give it an hour between coats to flash off if you are painting more than one coat.  I have been only reducing it about 10%.  The high build isn't a fast drying paint.  It takes about 4 hours to be dry to the touch depending on the temperature.

I did roll some of it on the transom, but it lays down far better spraying it. I ended sanding the rolled on stuff almost completely off it was so textured by the roller.  If you can spray it, I would recommend spraying.  You will sand less of it back off.

I have also tried the 202 epoxy filler, but I prefer Watertite by Interlux because it's a bit creamier and fills tiny holes better.  The 202 would be great for big fairing jobs.  Alexseal also has a fine filler, but I didn't try that.

A couple of things I encountered.  When I opened the 302 part A it was separated.  You have to mix it before combining it and it's hard to do by hand.  The part A has a consistency close to drywall compound.  I used a cheap paint mixer attached to my drill that I threw out afterwards.  It didn't make sense to use $5 in reducer to clean a $2 mixer.  The Activator you can just shake by hand.  It's more liquid.  Once you combine the two parts though, the mixture is pretty thin and it sprays and flows pretty well.

For good pricing try Luke at Goldcoast.  Tell him you read about it on Classic Mako and want the GCM Distributors pricing.  The GCM Distributors website is here.. http://gcmdistributor.com/

But don't bother trying to buy anything off the GCM Distributors web site though.  It's a black hole.  It will just give you pricing.  You have to call 954-463-8281 and ask for Luke.  He's great and the stuff is shipped lightning quick.  I called on Friday, and received stuff on Monday.

I'll post again after I spray the 442 finish primer and the topcoat once I see how they spray. 
 

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As of my last update, I expected to be painting topcoat, but I managed to order the only one of three shades of Seafoam green that Goldcoast doesn't keep in stock, so it has to come from Alexseal and is taking 2 weeks.  So, in the meantime, I decided to flip the boat back upright and install the console.

I had acquired a small console for a Carolina Skiff J-14 on Craigslist.  When I made the decision to fill the the below decks with foam, I knew I didn't want any screws in the deck.  Owners of old foam-filled whalers know the misery of waterlogged foam.  The boat can weight twice as much as when it left the factory. I was determined not to ever put a screw into the deck.

No problem I thought, I will just epoxy the console in place.  The console has a rim around the outside, so I will grind off the gel coat and bed that rim in epoxy adhesive and put a layer of glass cloth over it for good measure.  The problem is, I found the rim on the console didn't match the profile of my deck well at all.  The angle the rim made with the console wasn't 90 degrees. It just didn't conform.

So I decided on plan B.  I cut the rim off, ground the gelcoat off about 2 inches off the bottom of the console and glassed it to the deck (about 3 inches of the deck was ground back too so the additional glass would be flush)



I tried something new, and used peel ply over the glass.  Peel ply leaves a much smoother finish than just raw glass. You apply it after you are done rolling the air bubbles out of the glass.  You drape it on and then use a plastic spreader to chase any bubbles or wrinkles. It turned out better than expected.  The peel ply is worth every penny.  It costs $6/yd at FGCI, and I know I saved that much in filler, and probably a day in fairing and sanding.

Here is a picture after I sprayed on some Alexseal 302...



It took a lot longer than I expected, but I am really pleased with the molded-in look of the console.  Here is a picture of the boat with the console installed....



I have a few pinholes to fill, and then I will be spraying finish primer on the topsides.
 

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That looks really nice Falstaff! IMO, you did the right thing glassing it in that way, looks perfect.

Can't wait to see some color!
 
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