Swim Platform Repair

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WayWeGo
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Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:30 pm

Last fall, I had a bad day docking our boat and damaged the teak swim platform.

It had been a long day and we were late getting back to the dock because we had to go to a distant marina to fill up on fuel since the one we first went to ran out. We have an end slip and the wind is usually blowing away from our neighbor to the north, but on that day, it was blowing strongly into him and gusty as well.

My plan was to back into the wind and turn into the slip as we got there on the upwind side of the slip. I usually don't have problems with the bow falling off downwind, but was a bit worried it might this time, so was going faster than usual approaching the slip. As I turned the corner into the slip, it became obvious that my stern was still too far upwind and I was not going to clear the piling, so I decided to give the port engine a bit more throttle to slow up our travel into the slip and help turn the stern. My big mistake was grabbing the wrong throttle and I gave the reversing port engine more throttle. That accelerated the boat right into the piling, which we hit before I could understand what I had done and react.

The swim platform took all of the force and kept the rest of the boat from being damaged, but in doing so, it took a beating. Because it hit in an area that had slats, rather than solid wood, the impact was much less than if we had hit solidly, and luckily, my crew handling lines on the bow did not fall down or off.

We have only had this boat for a couple of years and have not used it as much as I would have liked, so I am still learning the nuances of docking a twin engine boat. I had been getting confident in my skills and was trying to curve into the slip, rather than just rotate and back up straight like I had been doing. I have seen others do this and it looked really slick, so I had started trying it myself. Interestingly, at a boat show seminar this spring, I heard a professional captain telling the class that he only rotates and backs straight when docking. Coming from someone with his wide variety of skill developed during a lifetime handling boats up to the size of a destroyer, that was a revelation to me. For now, I think I am going to take his advice!

I probably wouldn't admit all this online, except I needed to do something about the damaged swim platform and it has turned into a pretty interesting project and I though you guys might be interested. We have been giving some thought into a longer platform, so for now, I don't want to spend a lot of money on the repair. If you have priced teak recently, you know exactly what I am talking about!
1975 F-36 Convertible
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WayWeGo
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:42 pm

Here is a photo of the damaged swim platform. As you can see, it made a pretty good shock absorber, but did a lot of damage to the platform! Of course, I had recently spent quite a bit of time refinishing the platform...
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:52 pm

So, on to the repairs.

We removed the platform and did the walk of shame down the dock. Why is it that everyone decided to be at the marina just at that time? I think it was so each of them could ask what happened as we walked by! :shock:

Anyway, I set up the platform on sawhorses in my shed and figured out a plan of attack. Rather than rebuild over half of the platform at a very high cost, I decided to just repair the local area where it was damaged. A hardwood supplier in Annapolis had some small pieces of teak that would work. I needed 7 pieces of wood that were 1" x 1 1/4" x 36" to replace the broken slats.

The first step was to remove the stainless steel rub strip and cut out the broken slats. After cutting off the broken slats, I trimmed the ends cleanly using a router and a couple of guide boards.
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1975 F-36 Convertible
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WayWeGo
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:06 pm

My plan is to route out 3" slots for the ends of the replacement boards to fit into. This is complicated a bit due to the curvature of the individual boards making up the platform. More about that later...

To control the router, I initially cut a plywood template to use as a guide while routing out each slot. This turned out to be very time consuming and wasteful of plywood when I had to make minor changes. It worked OK for the first slot, where I ran into a new problem. There were silicon bronze screws holding the individual boards together and they are harder than the wood, so when the router hit them, it jumped.

Time to go back to the drawing board. I decided to rough cut each slot and only route the final edges.
Rough Cut.jpg
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Last edited by WayWeGo on Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1975 F-36 Convertible
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:13 pm

Also, while reading a very interesting boat repair blog (https://1969chriscraftroamer46.wordpres ... cle-index/) I came across a router guide that works off a track system. Since I already have a track saw, I was halfway there towards this system, so I ordered one for the project. It will come in handy for working on my kitchen cabinets later on anyway, at least that is what I am telling my lovely wife!

This is the Super Smart Routing Kit from EurekaZone. It gives you slides in the x and y directions, and with a plunge router, you have z axis control as well. Kind of like a portable milling machine for wood.
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:20 pm

After multiple depths of cut on each slot, here is how things are looking after the routing step is completed.
Routing Complete.jpg
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I still have to square up the edges of the slots before fabricating the new slats. If you look at the last photo, you can see the ends of the silicon bronze screws on the edges of the slots. The carbide tipped router bit cut through them OK, but I had to be on top of things when I hit them!
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by prowlersfish » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:31 pm

Your not the first one to use the platform as bumper and you won't be the last . I don't have one and that maybe the reason I have not done it my self
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by Big D » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:13 am

Shoot, I just got rid of one of those! Unfortunate incident but great thread. And yes, I think most of us have been there at one time or another. Even the most experienced captains have bad days, then throw in some current, a distraction, wind, etc. and it makes a bad day even worse.
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WayWeGo
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:01 am

Thanks for the kind words, prowlersfish and Big D! I have pretty much gotten over it, though I knew right from the first that there was not much I could do about it. Just had to put it behind me and move on. I have been boating for decades, but this was one of my worst errors. At least nobody got hurt.

The tough part about it was it was a momentary error that was over in a second or two, but I am paying in tens of hours of work to correct it. Probably won't make that mistake again after this! :D
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:58 pm

Not too much progress to report -- our water heater at the house failed and I have had to figure out what is wrong, buy a new part and install it. Unfortunately, the part was not available locally and I ordered it online, only to receive the last one in stock and it was broken. Now I get to disassemble and combine parts and try to make one good out of two bad -- its never easy, is it. :roll:

Back to the swim platform. I was able to spend some time on it and have it ready to fabricate the new slats. I hit a hidden stainless steel screw and chipped my new Freud router blade. Luckily, even though one piece hit me right below my safety glasses, it did not deflect into my eye!

The edges were squared up using an oscillating tool freehand. The top is quite good, though I did not worry as much about the bottom and will fill any minor gaps with epoxy thickened with cabosil and wood dust. I was happy to find that the rub strip screws fit without having to bend the platform, so I am confident that arc for the curved transom is still correct.
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by Barrie » Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:25 pm

That's a great idea for the repair! I may use it one day :lol:
It's coming along great.
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by oil&water » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:15 am

Way, don't feel too bad. A couple of years ago I was backing my 24' Express Cruiser on trailer down my parents driveway at 5:30 in the morning. All of a sudden there was a thud and the whole rig stopped then bounced forward a little. First thought, oh crap I just hit one of their cars. I jump out to see what happened. No cars, just the same VEPCO pole that has been there for the last forty years. It was of course still swinging back and forth with only a small mark on it. My boat's swim platform however had a decent size crack in it and lots of spider cracks everywhere. It was fine, but my pride was hurt every time someone asked what happened.

This weekend I spent most of it onboard a friend's beautiful 38' Open Sprtfisherman. On several occasions I took the helm while he took a break. The second time I was in the seat the wind had picked up and I was jockeying the transmissions to stay in place. Instincts kicked in and I reached my right hand over to grab the controls and jockey the port engine forward as I would have on my Chris Craft I sold last year which had combination controls. Nope, wrong! He has diesels so I get a big vrrrrroom from the port engine and a very quick head snap from the Captain as he was stepping down the gangway to the head. I sheepishly grinned and said "oops, wrong control" and went back to jockeying with the shift controls. Needless to say I didn't spend very long in his chair that time. Once again my pride was hurt, but fortunately nothing else. Of course we were in the middle of a huge event and plenty of people saw my and HEARD my goof.

We are Mariner's and when we least expect it, Murphy takes over and we in turn end up with the results. Fortunately most of us are skilled enough to quickly deal with the situation and keep it from turning more ugly.

Your repair is very creative and should look and function terrifically upon completion. I'm looking forward to seeing the progress.
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by mikeandanne » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:45 am

Looking good .I had cause to refinish our old platform which required a little work , I found that there was threaded rod going thru the center of those sections from back to front ,you could tighten them ,had to find the ends of the rod though . Wondering if yours is like that, can't tell from the pics, I know you have mentioned screws in there.
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:50 pm

Lots of family stuff going on, so this project ended up on the back burner for a couple of weeks.

Now to the rebuilding part. Part of the strategy is to add a swim ladder to replace the bulky one stored under the cockpit next to the generator. To do this, I am adding another row of spacers in the middle of the repair, partially to mount the swim ladder and partially to make the new pieces arc the same as the existing long ones. The swim ladder will also add rigidity to the repair.

First, I had to add the short pieces between the unbroken stringers. There is no easy way to use screws, so I drilled through all but the last one and epoxied two 1/4" stainless steel rods in place. The next short piece will cover up the hole and the stainless rod will be embedded in the platform with no openings visible. Here, I am drilling the hole for the rod.
SS Rod.jpg
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Once the holes were drilled and I had fabricated the teak pieces and drilled them, I began the assembly process. After some research, I decided to use West Systems G/Flex 1:1 epoxy because it is slightly flexible and designed for gluing difficult to bond woods. They sell a pre-thickened version, but I got the standard one and thickened with cabosil when I needed to.

Bending the new long boards around the spacers and getting the ends into the slots was a difficult process. After cleaning and applying the thickened epoxy, I put one end in the slot and used a clamp to bend the board until I could tap it into place with a hammer. Once everything was aligned, I added the screws and clamped until the epoxy kicked. I further thickened the remaining epoxy with teak sawdust and filled any cracks and holes.
Assembly 1.jpg
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WayWeGo
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Re: Swim Platform Repair

Post by WayWeGo » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:06 pm

Assembly is done, time to sand and finish! I can't wait to get the swim platform back on the boat, it is a real pain not having it!
Assembly 2.jpg
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