73 Stevens floor and stringer replacement
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73 Stevens floor and stringer replacement

  1. #1
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    Default 73 Stevens floor and stringer replacement

    Feel free to read the mumbo jumbo or skip to pic's below... (should have them done in a few days). I apologize but I am not able to space any of the paragraphs... not sure why?
    The project is in final stages and pictures to follow soon.

    A little background- This is my first flattie v drive. Ihave had other boats, but grew up around these and wanted one myself. I bought the stevens two seasons ago if my memory serves me correctly. When buying theboat, I knew it needed work, so this was no surprise. I am a DIY guy, and enjoy learning and seeing the final product. Ive been on this site for a year or two reading /searching and getting all kinds of info.
    My objective- To rebuild this boat into a solid work horse that will outlast the years of abuse yet to come. The boat is not going to be raced, and I dont intend to sell it. I am simply working on my personal boat with one goal in mind, to have a safe, reliable boat that I can work on and know what I have. Some may agree with my process, some may not. Im simply sharing my experience. However your suggestions/comments and questions are welcome.
    What the boat is used for- Strictly a play toy and waterskiing. Max speed I can get out of the boat last time on the lake with 2people was 55 mph @ 5500rpm. Im running a 12deg prop strut, 13x15 3 blade SSprop, BBC 468, 781 heads, 750 vac holley, MSD dist. Not sure what my gears arein the v drive yet. I ski at 38mph and burn about $10-15 in fuel each morning.It has to be one of the best hobbies I ever got into! I would however like toget up towards 75 mph for top speed. I think its more than capable.not sure what the issue is yet. I know the cav plate on the back is not set up properly.Is there a section here that describes how to set it up for your driving style,or is this another one of those go by feel type of adjustments?
    The problem- I knew when buying the boat that the stringers looked problematic. There had been previous efforts to add new glass and strength to them. The boat felt heavy, Icould feel flex while hitting waves, and could see discoloration on stringers that were not covered in carpet The findings and condition of the floor and stringers was, wet, old, black and more wet wood!
    The demo- After I removed boat from trailer, put on bed made from 2 Styrofoam, then plywood on top. Blocked side gunnels with 2x4 and a4x4 block under front keel. The boat sits flat and true, more so then having iton the trailer. I then cut the old stringers out, and found very rotten black wood on transom , some throughout the mid range and the front of the stringers.I then continued to remove the entire floor as it was completely soaked withwater. Old material was solid lumber stringers and plywood for the floor.The original stringers were glued down with resin directly to the hull and same with the plywood. Most of the old material came out easy as it was rotten and water soaked. Some remaining wood that was still stuck on was removed with a heavy duty scraper/grinder with flapper wheel and orbital sander. This took along time as I wanted to get every piece of old stuff out and the amount ofprep I did here would pay off in the end when installing the new stuff.

    The new stuff: So after much debate in another thread, I decided to go with LVL (laminated veneer lumber) stringers. I bought two 16 x8 x 2-1/2 lengths, cut them down to 14 and change and planned them down to1-1/2 thick. I used a router on the top to make a nice curved surface for theglass to sit nice.
    Waxed Polly resin was my choice. Its a bit more work tosand between layers, but I found it rather easy to work with. Mixing the hardener at 1.5-2%. And keeping the shop above 60F deg or above.
    For finishing off the floor and stringers I will be using aclear gel coat for the floor pieces and black gel coat for the stringers and bulkhead sections.
    I used 1 x 8 x 10 foam board to make a template, carving, shaving and transferring the marks to the wood. After the wood was cut, I spent a long time fitting the stringers to the hull to where I had the wood sitting on the floor evenly throughout the entire length within Id say 1/8 gap all the way along. I then bedded the stringers using two layers of 1708 matt cutinto 2 x 15 or so to wrap up the end of the transom and applied them directly to the hull. I have read not to put them directly on the hull, as it may causehard points on the bottom but seeing as they fit so nicely I cant see them creating a single hard point, also this is how it was done before and it had lasted this long. This also fits into my theory with keeping the floor inseparate pieces, as you will see further on
    After the stringers were set, I used kitty hair and madefillets along each stringer for the glass to transition nicely to the floor.Once that was dry, I sanded them down to take any major lumps out, but was notbad because I took care when applying in the first place and ensured a smooth application. Next up was the first layer of glass (1708) cut into a 14 x 22piece. I needed some extra hands with this so the wife and neighbor helped meout. Next was another piece being around 28 in width, that over lapped thejoint on the floor by a good 3 on each side.
    After the stringers were glassed in I started the floor.First I installed two gunnel supports (where the old ones were) but continued them over to the stringers. I did this for a few reasons. One, to add side support to the stringer, two, could assist as part of a seat bracket, and three to separate the floor pieces. I then added another small bulkhead across the middle (on top of where the front fins are located). Again to assist in stringer support, separate the floor boards. Having these three pieces (one inthe middle between the stringers and one on either side to the gunnels, willhelp keep water from getting up front, however will have drain holes in them to allow water to flow back out if/when it does get up. Having them in there will surly help with the majority of water/oil etc Yes, I am going to work on my water and oil leaks too. But with skiing, also brings in a ton of water!
    The floor- I used birch plywood (yes from home depot) for the floor as it was light, easily contoured the bottom of the boat and looks very nice. I figured the ply was much too heavy as I was doing multiplelayers of 1708 anyway. First, I put a layer of glass down to bed the birch in, running up the sides of the stringer and gunnel. I used construction paper to cut to the shape I needed for the plywood and traced it out. I then sanded the bottom edge all the way around to lay up nice to the fillets and ensured a nice fit.Then I used kitty hair again to fill any voids between the wood and surrounding glass, and ensured the wood was completely enclosed on all edges. After giving the fillets a quick sand, another layer of 1708 was applied ensuring no air bubbles were caught, and having a nice lay up on all sides ensuring a complete encapsulation of the wood from top/bottom and sides everywhere. This same process done 8 times as there is now 8 complete separate parts to the floor. Intotal on the bottom of each stringer will be 4 layers of 1708 and two fillets of kitty hair. I do believe I can drop the hull off of the roof of my shop ontothe concrete and it would bounce! I know its overkill, but like I said, this boat is not a racer, its a workhorse/ski machine. Im going the stiff route
    Having 8 separate floor pieces in "my" theory means, that if one gets wet, can be replaced and will not/should not affect any other part of the floor..in theory! This is done by having the stringers secured directly to the floor separating the floor into 3 sections. The middle section is again separated by the main keel piece (looksto be about a 1 thick solid piece of glass) where the rudder goes through,prop shaft strut bolts on, front fins etc. This makes for 4 separate sections,and with the bulk heads separating these from front to back, makes my 8 pieces.
    6 of 8 floor pieces went in without a hitch. For prep I sanded the area, wiped it town with acetone on a rag then laid a full piece of 1708 down, wrapping up the sides of the boat, stringers etc, then wetted outthe floor piece, and laid it down on top of the wet 1708. I then applied weight to hold the wood tight to the bottom of the boat. This was usually a couple of cast cylinder heads Prior to the wood going down, I sanded the edges all around to a taper so it would fit up nice to the kitty hair fillets. This system had worked well up to the last 2 pieces of floor to be installed. I must not have given enough taper (or the wood pieces used were too wide). After installation and a cure over night, the wood sounded hollow when I knocked onit. The wood was held up off the floor by the fillets and did not cure to the bottom of the boat even with 60+lbs of weight on each one. I have since removed the two pieces and am in the process of prepping the floor and try again. Most likely I will focus on one side at a time rather than the two pieces at once. I have two heads, so I will put both of them down on the one side. I will also not beadding another layer of glass, but just a good amount of resin with the same prep as mentioned above.
    More to come and yesI have pictures!
    Last edited by flatwater; 01-15-2014 at 07:39 AM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member poncho's Avatar
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    Crikey, i read the whole damn thing and when i scrolled down.........................................NO PIC"S.

    Awesome what you are doing, the speed thing will be easy if you can do the rest of that stuff.

  4. #3
    Senior Member inthecurl's Avatar
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    When I did my Stevens (68) floor I used 4 pieces of ply and did one side at a time. Used two layers of mat and pre laminated the floor with styrene to make resin more liquid to really soak into wood prior... Also made ply "templates" to put on floor after laminating floor down and put weights on that to spread the load somewhat evenly..
    yeah, where the pics????

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  6. #4
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    LOL................ I said they were coming.........geees! Below should be some shots of the demo. First was to get the boat as flat as possible so I took it off the trailer and made a "level" base using some 2" foam board, then some 3/4" plywood on top to even things out. I wanted to get the boat off the floor a bit as it's well below freezing here and wanted some insulation. The floor in the shop is a bit rough also, so this helps out getting a true surface to start with. (it's the best I could do anyway). With the boat sitting before I did anything to it, I was able to slip a 2x4 under each side of the boat and a 4x4 block under the keel up front. This helped support the boat in it's original shape for the most part. The center of the boat (where the shaft goes through is sitting directly flat on the plywood) so the edges of the boat taper up to 2" on the outside if you know what I mean. Then I was ready to start ripping out the shit. Preferred tools of the trade here consist of a hammer, few nice pry-bars, saw-zall, big ass scraper, and a pair of tire prybars (with dull ends) to pry up old plywood with out putting a sharp end of a regular prybar down on the glass underneath. Once most of the wood was up, I used the big ass scraper and got the rest of the stuck stuff off. Then sanded and prepped for the new stuff.
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    Last edited by flatwater; 01-16-2014 at 04:38 AM.

  7. #5
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    This should be a few more shots of the rotten stuff, (stringers back to the transom, water inlet location, and a few shots of measurements. I measured EVERYTHING, so there is shit load! I just grabbed a few to show what I did). I just took them for reference because you just never know. Ever get to a point in a project when you say to you self... damn, wish a took a picture of this BEFORE I started.... or wish I measured this BEFORE I took it apart?........ yes..... I have!
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  8. #6
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    OK, enough with the crap, lets get into it. Below you should see.... the boat prepped and ready to rock for stringers. Stringer prep & fitment to the boat.
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    Last edited by flatwater; 01-16-2014 at 05:17 AM.

  9. #7
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    A few more of the stringer fitment and bedding of said stringers. Now I have read a few was to do this.... this is how I did er. Cut 2 layers of 1708 matt 2" wide or so, x the total length of the stringer plus a few more inches to wrap up behind the stringer to the transom, so it'd be in the 15' range. Bedded them down and put some weight on top, and crossed my fingers.
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  10. #8
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    I wanted to have the weight even, and I wanted to ensure the two stringers were perfectly parallel, as well as straight up and down to the bottom of the boat. The best thing I could think of doing was to make a few jigs to keep everything in check. Then I slammed her all together and though on some weight. When I dry fitted both stringers I was sure I had no more then 1/8" gap along both stringers for the entire 14'.... IE: nice 'n tight!
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  11. #9
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    Next up will be the "kitty hair" fillets to go all the way around the stringer to the floor in order to make a nice transition for the glass to blend down to the floor and surrounding area's like the transom etc...this will also make them very strong. I also had to go down the center of the boat putting a fillet on each side of the raised solid glass to ensure a nice transformation of glass when doing the floor...
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  12. #10
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    Now it's time to sand the fillets, and prep for glassing the stringers. I used 2 layers of 1708 both very wide....the first one we put on covered the stringer, then to the floor 4" or so on either side. The 2nd layer went up 6 or so inches!!! and both layers were full 15' lengths, none of this staggering shit I've seen people doing. Go full length or go home!
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  13. #11
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    Moving on to floor pieces..... have the first few installed. Followed the same process at the stringers. Put a bedding of 1708 matt down, put the wood on top and added weight. Let set over night and sha bam! Then put another layer of 1708 matt on top to finish things off.
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  14. #12
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    more floor stuff......... and yes.... the correct spelling is.... "Heisenberg"
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    Last edited by flatwater; 01-16-2014 at 06:05 AM.

  15. #13
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    One thing I forgot was my braces.... and my new brace/dam that I have across the middle...
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  16. #14
    Senior Member flatwater's Avatar
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    and then.....................aaarrrrgggg! I was skimped on the weight here and possibly didn't put enough resin down. I haven't made much progress after this finding other then removing the wood and getting some new stuff. I'll take another stab at it this weekend.
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