Monday, April 24, 2017

A few more things off the boat's to-do list

We skipped Saturday's boat duty this weekend. We weather was rainy and cold and Frances wasn't feeling all that great so we relaxed at home for a change.

Sunday was beautiful and the boat yard filled up early. In parts of the yard, there was really no place close to park. Of course, we got there early and found our usual spot. That's a good thing because now we're taking stuff off the boat and taking it home to put away for next winter. About time.

We're happy with the refurbished swim platform and while we had lighting down in that area, we installed some black rub rail along the edge. We measured 12 ft. along the edge of the platform and Jamestown Distributors had some nice black rub rail in 12 ft. sections. Perfect. It took twenty-six #8 1-1/4-inch screws and our heat gun but once we were finished, it looked great.

We've always wanted to cover that raw edge.

Again, while had lights rigged up down at the stern, we replaced one of the exhaust flappers. No idea of where the old one went but a new one was just another $35 bit of boat maintenance.

We need these things because our engines sit low in the hull and flappers keep water from getting back up the exhaust lines and into the the engines.

With that out of the way, we did a little touch-up on the triangles that we repaired early in the winter. A little masking and a little paint and we were happy with how the port triangle looked.

We also reinstalled the lower helm windshield cover. We took it off last weekend and during the week, power-washed it and applied waterproofing. One more thing done for this spring.

Before we left on Sunday afternoon, we had to take a look at the river. It's high but shows no signs of really flooding. There isn't much room in the well to launch a big boat but there will be a couple of weeks, when it's our turn to motor down the river for another summer.

Here's Sunday's efforts as a video:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Door rollers and other spring jobs

 Last week, we were still waiting for the new sliding glass rollers to arrive. This week they finally got here and we were anxious to get them installed and get the sliding glass door remounted.

Once we had the new rollers in hand, we were able to take everything apart on the bench at home. We took the mounting bolts off and we were able to slide out the old rollers.

The new rollers we had ordered were an almost exact match. It was just a matter of sliding the new roller in and tightening the mounting bolts.

Here is one of the rollers installed and unlike to old rollers, the little wheels actually turn. The Phillip-head bolt next to the screwdriver goes through the side of the door frame and into the roller to hold everything in place.

Once back on the boat, we simply tapped the bottom section of the door back into place and tightened the mounting bolts.

Then, it was time to pick up the door and put it back on the track. We found that there was only one spot where the door would clear the track and drop into place but once it was there, how nice to have the door silently slide open and closed.

We also had to reinstall a plastic strip between the top of the door and the frame. It went in with a little extra effort. Just think: now we know how to rehab the sliding door on an old Silverton. Hopefully, this is the last time we'll ever have to do this.

While looking at the installation of residential sliding doors on the internet we picked up a recommendation for a sliding door lubricant called 3-In-One Garage Door Lube. We bought some at Lowes and tried it on our garage door openers. This is a silicone-based lubricant that really works. All of our door squeaks and groans disappeared. We also applied it to the new sliding glass door rollers and to the track after we cleaned it. This is definitely a lube the we'll keep on the boat.

Once the door was back in place, it was time to take down the canvas roof from the fly bridge and take it home for its annual cleaning and waterproofing. This is always a joke, since no matter how we try to remove it, we always end up with it tangled over our head. This year was no exception but we did get it off the boat and home for a thorough power-washing.

Most of the bird crap came off as did lots of  dirt.

On Sunday (Easter) morning, the top was dry and the weather warm. We waterproofed the top with 303 Marine/Recreational Fabric Guard. We use this stuff every year and it does a great job of waterproofing Sunbrella, even material as old as ours.

We took the top back to the boat and re-installed it. We say "re-installed" it but actually it's an annual fight to get the top up over the mounting bows. With the top up over our heads, it's really dark and it seems to take forever to get the top in place and zipped down properly.

Then we re-installed the 13 side windows, each of which snaps to the top and zippers on each side. We used zipper lube but it still took us about an hour to get them all back up.  We'll wash those thoroughly once we get back in the water.

To finish off a fun day on the boat, we added a third coat of Sikkens Cetrol to the swim platform. That going to be it for rehabing the platform. Later this week, we'll add a new rub rail around the edge and scratch that job off our list.

Video of all this stuff and more is posted below.

We only have about three weekends left before we go back into the water and there is still lots to do. No big deal. We love this stuff!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Refinishing the swim platform

Since the new wheel assemblies for our sliding glass door didn't arrive as expected ("Oh, there must have been a computer problem with your order, Mr. Large"), we decided to use this first real day of spring to refinish our swim platform. This has been on the list for some time so since the weather was in the mid-60s on Sunday, we went at it.

We had assembled all the stuff we needed: some 80-grit sandpaper, sanding blocks and, of course, Sikkens Cetol Marine Light.

Actually, even after five years, the swim platform didn't look that bad but was showing some wear around the starboard corner where it sometimes rubs against the dock or the fender we keep tied up there.

We didn't want to attack the swim platform with a belt sander. The was a refresh that needed only hand sanding.

We sanded out all those neat little grooves first with a thin sanding block and then got to all the wider surfaces. Two hours later, we sucked up the sanding dust with our Shop-Vac and then cleaned up with denatured alcohol.

The first coat of Sikkens went on fine. It will be followed by three more over the next two weeks.

The good old Connecticut River is up quite a way but nothing out of the ordinary. Give it a few weeks and we will be cruising again.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Now, on to the sliding door

We haven't been looking forward to replacing the rollers on the boat's sliding glass door. We took it off earlier in the winter but couldn't figure out how to access the worn-out wheel assemblies in the bottom of the door.

Now it's April and it's time to get it done so we looked at the internet and sure enough, there are dozens of how-to videos on how to do this. It seems that for many doors like ours, you simply tap the bottom of the door and, at least for the guys on the internet, the bottom should come right off.

Frances came up with a really nice rubber hammer and with that, down we went. Amazing. Two or three taps on a piece of wood against the bottom cap of the door and off it came.

With the bottom off, we had access to the two 10-32 bolts that held the wheel assemblies in place. Those bolts gave us a little trouble but with patience, they both came out.

This photo is staged, but you'll get the idea.

The sliding door rests - and hopefully slides - on these wheel assemblies. They were completely frozen and worn out.

Sorry for the blurry photo but we're a one-man film crew.

Having these things in our hand meant we could go to the internet and see if we could find replacement.

Once back at home, we used our advanced knowledge of search engines (not), and typed into Google, "rollers for sliding glass doors". The first site that came up was and boy, did they have rollers, with photos and dimensions for each one. Based on our measurements, we ordered these little beauties.

We threw in a couple of extra bucks to get them this week. Once they get here, we'll see how well they fit and if the do, our sliding door will be ready for summer.

A couple of more projects finished

We've been inching toward completion of the stink'in triangles and this weekend, we finally got there. What a trial to custom cut and fit what were essentially patches in 3/4-inch plywood that had decayed because the factory caulking between the hull and bridge seam had failed.

On Saturday, we installed the epoxy covered patch pieces and then masked and caulked the seams. We also re-caulked the hull to cabin seams on both sides. The temperature wasn't bad (about 50 degrees) and we let the caulk set up overnight.

Before we left home for the boat on Sunday, we fabricated a mounting for Frances' new LED exterior light. We wanted this light to be up and out of the way but able to light the aft deck area. It took us a week or so of thinking about it before we came up with something that would work and something that received the Frances Seal of Approval. Hey, we know how things work on our boat!

On Sunday, we painted the wood surfaces on the triangle patches and let the paint set up for a while. Looked so good! We then mounted the mahogany trim and the original OEM handles on the two triangles.

Then we tackled mounting the new Frances light. We already had power at the point above the sliding door where we wanted to mount the new light. Our plan was to use what is known to some as a "project box," a small plastic box with an aluminum cover that is used to build small electronics projects. At home, we mounted the new light on the cover and drilled the necessary holes in the box itself.

On the boat, we mounted the box and then the new light. All of the wiring connections are hidden in the box. The work lights that we are using make working in the dark somewhat less difficult but after a lot trial and error, we made the 12 volt DC connections.

Disregard the extension cords hanging down. That's the new deck light behind them.

We put a switch on the side of the mounting box because we had one and we thought it might be useful. Next. we'll wire another switch for this light inside the cabin so it can be turned on and off from there. Frances lives on the boat during the summer and she'd like to be able to light up unwanted night time visitors to our dock. Stuff  sometimes happens once the bar closes, if you know what we mean.

That should be bright enough, don't you think?

Next, we'll tackle the rollers on the bottom of the sliding door. We did some internet research and it appears that the bottom of the door has to be removed to gain access to the two sets of rollers. That should be a fun project.

Two, hopefully not painful, minutes of video: