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196? Sunfish, bring it back to life!

wjejr

Active Member
Texas Sunfish,

The board on my 71 boat had really ugly leading and trailing edgesthat were gouged and splintered. The bottom of it was at least 2 inches short from repeated groundings. I think it would have been easier to make a new one, but instead I refurbished my board much as fhhuber suggests. Instesd of dowels however, I used a plate joiner (i.e. biscuit joiner) and attached the new pieces with MAS epoxy. I then used different router bits to form the round edges at the top of the board, and then the more beveled edges of the board that are actually in the water with the board down.

Extending the length of the board was tricky, and trying to expalin what I did in words is difficult. I am out of the country at the moment, but will post a picture when I get back.

Also, the deck of my boat was stained badly, so I used Soft Scrub with bleach. That helped a ton, but the surface was heavily oxidized and if you looked at it, it got dirty. To get a smooth surface again, I decided to wet sand with a rubber block starting at 320 grit, maybe 220 grit cannot rememember, and worked my way up to 1000 or 1500 and then used a buffer. I was worried about sanding through the gelcoat, but it never happened. It turned out WAY better than I would have thought. You can have a look at the attached picture. It still isn't as smooth as a new gelcoat, but it sure looks good to me.

One last thing, I noticed in an earlier post is that you are missing the plastic/delrin tube that covers the carriage bolt in the rudder assembly (i.e the bolt with the wingnut on top.). You need that bit. I don't know much about sunfish compared to many on this site, but what I found is without that tube, the bottom rudder bracket can move side to side A LOT, and that will cause the rudder to pop up at the most inopportune times. Since putting that piece in, my rudder never releases unless I want it to. I got the replacement from McMaster Carr.
 

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oldpaint

Active Member
One last thing, I noticed in an earlier post is that you are missing the plastic/delrin tube that covers the carriage bolt in the rudder assembly (i.e the bolt with the wingnut on top.). You need that bit. I don't know much about sunfish compared to many on this site, but what I found is without that tube, the bottom rudder bracket can move side to side A LOT, and that will cause the rudder to pop up at the most inopportune times. Since putting that piece in, my rudder never releases unless I want it to. I got the replacement from McMaster Carr.
Vinyl tubing also works well for this. A rubber fuel hose would also work. You might have something around the house.

Going back to the bailer discussion. If you can obtain a metal bailer, make sure to keep the threads lubricated with something that protects against corrosion. If you can't find one the Sunfish plastic bailer works in the same hole. My 1969 has only been in salt water so a plastic bailer was a better way to go for me.
 

Texsunfish

Member
Texas Sunfish,

The board on my 71 boat had really ugly leading and trailing edgesthat were gouged and splintered. The bottom of it was at least 2 inches short from repeated groundings. I think it would have been easier to make a new one, but instead I refurbished my board much as fhhuber suggests. Instesd of dowels however, I used a plate joiner (i.e. biscuit joiner) and attached the new pieces with MAS epoxy. I then used different router bits to form the round edges at the top of the board, and then the more beveled edges of the board that are actually in the water with the board down.

Extending the length of the board was tricky, and trying to expalin what I did in words is difficult. I am out of the country at the moment, but will post a picture when I get back.

Also, the deck of my boat was stained badly, so I used Soft Scrub with bleach. That helped a ton, but the surface was heavily oxidized and if you looked at it, it got dirty. To get a smooth surface again, I decided to wet sand with a rubber block starting at 320 grit, maybe 220 grit cannot rememember, and worked my way up to 1000 or 1500 and then used a buffer. I was worried about sanding through the gelcoat, but it never happened. It turned out WAY better than I would have thought. You can have a look at the attached picture. It still isn't as smooth as a new gelcoat, but it sure looks good to me.

One last thing, I noticed in an earlier post is that you are missing the plastic/delrin tube that covers the carriage bolt in the rudder assembly (i.e the bolt with the wingnut on top.). You need that bit. I don't know much about sunfish compared to many on this site, but what I found is without that tube, the bottom rudder bracket can move side to side A LOT, and that will cause the rudder to pop up at the most inopportune times. Since putting that piece in, my rudder never releases unless I want it to. I got the replacement from McMaster Carr.
Great information! I'd love to see some detailed pictures when you get a chance.
Do you have a link to the part you used? I don't think I've seen it on any of the Sunfish parts sites. Maybe factory replacement NLA?

Vinyl tubing also works well for this. A rubber fuel hose would also work. You might have something around the house.

Going back to the bailer discussion. If you can obtain a metal bailer, make sure to keep the threads lubricated with something that protects against corrosion. If you can't find one the Sunfish plastic bailer works in the same hole. My 1969 has only been in salt water so a plastic bailer was a better way to go for me.
Being a "car guy" I have ton's of tubing of various sizes. Once I figure out exactly what y'all are talking about I can see if something will work. :confused::)

I've read that Alcort/AMF originally suggested lubricating it with Vaseline once a month. I'm guessing any petroleum based lube would work. My Sunfish will likely never see salt water again, but still a good idea to keep the parts moving.

Does anyone know the exact thread measurements for the plug? That would be very helpful on my search since I can't exactly take the boat with me (it will make online searching easier as well).
 

Texsunfish

Member
Can square off the back edge, then add on mahogany (that is the right wood) to make up for the lost back and front and reshape the edges.
Epoxy, dowels and clamps for affixing the new wood.
this guy's project is a lesson in woodworking
Big wooden boat project Page: 1 - iboats Boating Forums | 10098651
Ah, I see what you're saying, good tip! I'm thinking it would be easier to just make a new dagger board? Maybe refurbish the original and see how it sails. I guess if it seems to be problematic I'll make a fresh one. My dad even has some leftover mahogany form when he restored his 420 a few years ago. I just hate losing original stuff. Shoot, I'd re-use the brass screws if they were in better shape!:D

Reading through that thread now. Wow, what a project!
 

wjejr

Active Member
Great information! I'd love to see some detailed pictures when you get a chance.
Do you have a link to the part you used? I don't think I've seen it on any of the Sunfish parts sites. Maybe factory replacement NLA?



Being a "car guy" I have ton's of tubing of various sizes. Once I figure out exactly what y'all are talking about I can see if something will work. :confused::)

I've read that Alcort/AMF originally suggested lubricating it with Vaseline once a month. I'm guessing any petroleum based lube would work. My Sunfish will likely never see salt water again, but still a good idea to keep the parts moving.

Does anyone know the exact thread measurements for the plug? That would be very helpful on my search since I can't exactly take the boat with me (it will make online searching easier as well).

One of these: McMaster-Carr . I might have gone with the nylon tube, I can't remember. I will have a look and measure the outside dimension when I get home this weekend. The inside dimension is whatever the carriage bolt is, which I am almost certain is 1/4 ".
 

fhhuber

Member
The tube is shown over the carriage bolt, but not labeled.

No tube... or improper adjustment of the carriage bolt and you'll hope you have a string tied to the rudder and the back of the boat.
 

Texsunfish

Member
One of these: McMaster-Carr . I might have gone with the nylon tube, I can't remember. I will have a look and measure the outside dimension when I get home this weekend. The inside dimension is whatever the carriage bolt is, which I am almost certain is 1/4 ".
Thanks! I'm thinking I have something around the house that will work. I have clear vinyl and also black rubber.

The tube is shown over the carriage bolt, but not labeled.
No tube... or improper adjustment of the carriage bolt and you'll hope you have a string tied to the rudder and the back of the boat.
I see now. I've looked at that diagram several times and never noticed the "Carriage Bolt Tube"!
Does the length need to be exact, or just cover most of the bolt?
 

fhhuber

Member
Cover most of the bolt.

I forgot what that tube was made of... only used the old style rudder about 6 or 8 times 30+ years ago.

Definitely add a string to tie the pin to the boat...
 

Texsunfish

Member
Got it, thanks!

I found a new rudder hinge pin available online, but it doesn't have the chain. I think a trip to Home Depot is in order for a creative solution!
 

Texsunfish

Member
A few more quick questions. I noticed 5 holes around the rudder plate. I assume the single hole (circled in yellow) is for the rudder pin chain. But what are the four on either side of the plate (circled in red)? Is there something I'm missing? Or, was there some aftermarket item commonly installed there?

rudder mount holes.jpg
 

oldpaint

Active Member
A few more quick questions. I noticed 5 holes around the rudder plate. I assume the single hole (circled in yellow) is for the rudder pin chain. But what are the four on either side of the plate (circled in red)? Is there something I'm missing? Or, was there some aftermarket item commonly installed there?

View attachment 19323
Did you scrub the fiberglass around the bronze rudder plate extra hard? If not the picture suggests that an even older, slightly different rudder plate might have been there in the distant past. It served the same function but I believe it used more screws to hold it down. I think that accounts for the extra holes. The serial number was inscribed on the really old fitting. Perhaps someone with an early 1960's boat could comment.
 

fhhuber

Member
Not seeing those holes on other boats of the same vintage. Probably had some user-installed fittings to hold the rudder for hands off sailing.

Carriage bolt is 8 inches.
The rudder pin is shorter, not sure how much Too long is better than not long enough.
 

Texsunfish

Member
oldpaint, thanks! I have two small tacks aft the coaming where the original manufactures ID plate would have been, so I believe that is where the serial number would have been noted. My thoughts are that this is a 1965 based on the stripes and what I know from the original owners.

fhuber, I measured the mount on the rudder plate when I got home this evening. The gap in the bracket is 1 and 3/4" and the outer measurement is 2". So a 1/4" diameter pin that is just over 2" should work fine. I'm going to make a Home Depot run tomorrow morning after I drop the boy off at school and finally put myself in the red on this old boat. :eek:

Also this evening I gave some of the re-usable brass bits a good cleaning.

Before, these were pretty nasty after sitting out the elements for who-knows-how-many years.

IMG_2661.JPG

Submerged them in undiluted vinegar and salt (about a teaspoon) solution.

IMG_2662.JPG

Let them soak for 1 hour. Then dumped the vinegar and let them soak for 15 minutes in hot soapy water. Followed by a good scrubbing with steel wool. Not perfect, but I'm happy with the results. Not sure if I should use some kind of coating or just leave them "raw"?

IMG_2663.JPG

IMG_2664.JPG

2 days until wooden parts refurb phase 1! :)
 

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Texsunfish

Member
Picked up some supplies!

IMG_2666.JPG

Home Depot no longer carries door hinge pins!?!? So, what to do? I just decided to just buy a 3" hinge and pop the pin out.

IMG_2667.JPG

IMG_2668 copy.jpg

Two holes drilled and a little keeper pin from Home Depot. I had the key ring in our "utility draw" in the kitchen

5 bucks and it's done!

IMG_2670.JPG

Now, I'm not sure how weather resistant it will prove to be, but it'll work for a while. I'll make a tether later. I did find that McMaster Carr has a perfect pin, tether and all for about $5, but shipping is the killer. Might order that later as you can get it in stainless.

IMG_2671.JPG
 

wjejr

Active Member
Hello,

Here is a picture of the daggerboard from my 71 Sunfish. You can see how I added pieces to get back to the original length as well as the leading and trailing edges. With the plate joiner, it was not that difficult to do.

The green stripe you see, there are two others on the board that are out of the picture, lets me know how much board is protruding from the bottom of the boat.
 

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fhhuber

Member
Nice woodworking.

Really not a whole lot of strength difference between the biscuit joiners and using dowels..

You have to get the dowel holes in exactly the right place and the biscuits need to just be on the right line.

So the biscuits tend to be a little quicker to do.
 

wjejr

Active Member
Nice woodworking.

Really not a whole lot of strength difference between the biscuit joiners and using dowels..

You have to get the dowel holes in exactly the right place and the biscuits need to just be on the right line.

So the biscuits tend to be a little quicker to do.
The biscuits are way faster than dowels since once the depth is set, you just move from one piece of wood to another. With dowels, you need to set things up in the drill press or use a dowel guide. With a plate joiner there is no chance for the blade to wander.
 

wjejr

Active Member
Hi, I just checked out and measured the carriage bolt tube. It looks to be nylon 1/2" OD , 1/4" ID. I am not sure what the length was originally, but the length of the piece I cut for my boat 5 1/4" .

Hope that helps.
 

Texsunfish

Member
Thanks wjejr! I found some fuel hose that is the perfect size. 5 1/4" seems to long, but I haven't assembled everything yet.

So, I made some progress on the wood refurbishing this weekend with the help of my dad.

Sprayed everything down with stripper. It worked pretty well. Saved me a lot of sanding time!

IMG_2672 copy.jpg

After soaking, scrapping and several hours of sanding I finally got all the varnish removed.

IMG_2673.JPG

I decided to make two new dagger board handles. The existing one was pretty rough and had screws added to it at some point. The new ones don't match perfectly, but they'll do. And instead of using offset screws I think I'll use nuts and bolts to secure them to the board.

IMG_2674.JPG

I decided to just trim the bottom of the dagger board. My dad scribed it and we just removed maybe a 1/4" then I reformed it with the random orbital sander.

IMG_2675 copy.jpg

Next we filled all the major cracks with 2 part epoxy and let it sit overnight.

IMG_2677 copy.jpg

While the epoxy was drying I straightened the rudder pin and my dad drilled out the broken cotter pin. You can see in previous posts how bent it was.

IMG_2676 copy.jpg

To fix the rudder mount that was damaged I decided to use an epoxy putty. Mixed the two parts together and really forced it into the rudder.

IMG_2678 copy.jpg

I let it cure for several hours. I maybe should have left it overnight, but it felt pretty solid and I was pretty excited to see how it would sand. Used a belt sander and random orbital to get it formed and ready to re-drill the hole.

IMG_2679 copy.jpg

IMG_2680 copy.jpg

I did let the epoxy sit overnight and this morning sanded it all down flush with the wood.

IMG_2681 copy.jpg

This spot below (on the edge of the rudder) was pretty bad. I was impressed how well the epoxy bonded and sanded back to make a pretty solid repair.

IMG_2682.JPG

And here is the rubber fuel line I cut to fit the rudder pin.

IMG_2683 copy.jpg

I think I might order some spar varnish online. I did find some at a local hardware store in Elgin, but it says that it's not for use with things that will be in constant contact with the water. I may be overthinking it, but after doing all that repair and sanding I want to get something nice that will hold up for a while.

Also if you notice in the group shot of all the sanded parts my dad and I decided to make a new tiller extension. The one I have looks to be pine or something. My dad didn't have a long enough piece of mahogany, but he did have some Hawaiian wood (I'll have to ask him to remind me what species) that looked nice and very similar to mahogany. Since it wasn't original we decide to get a little creative with it. Once I get it all varnished I'll do the big reveal! ;):)

All in all I had a great time working with my dad and son! A little disappointed I didn't get to lay down some varnish, but that will come soon enough.

Thanks again everyone for all the comments and advise!
 

wjejr

Active Member
Thanks wjejr! I found some fuel hose that is the perfect size. 5 1/4" seems to long, but I haven't assembled everything yet.

So, I made some progress on the wood refurbishing this weekend with the help of my dad.

Sprayed everything down with stripper. It worked pretty well. Saved me a lot of sanding time!

View attachment 19359

After soaking, scrapping and several hours of sanding I finally got all the varnish removed.

View attachment 19360

I decided to make two new dagger board handles. The existing one was pretty rough and had screws added to it at some point. The new ones don't match perfectly, but they'll do. And instead of using offset screws I think I'll use nuts and bolts to secure them to the board.

View attachment 19361

I decided to just trim the bottom of the dagger board. My dad scribed it and we just removed maybe a 1/4" then I reformed it with the random orbital sander.

View attachment 19362

Next we filled all the major cracks with 2 part epoxy and let it sit overnight.

View attachment 19363

While the epoxy was drying I straightened the rudder pin and my dad drilled out the broken cotter pin. You can see in previous posts how bent it was.

View attachment 19364

To fix the rudder mount that was damaged I decided to use an epoxy putty. Mixed the two parts together and really forced it into the rudder.

View attachment 19365

I let it cure for several hours. I maybe should have left it overnight, but it felt pretty solid and I was pretty excited to see how it would sand. Used a belt sander and random orbital to get it formed and ready to re-drill the hole.

View attachment 19366

View attachment 19367

I did let the epoxy sit overnight and this morning sanded it all down flush with the wood.

View attachment 19368

This spot below (on the edge of the rudder) was pretty bad. I was impressed how well the epoxy bonded and sanded back to make a pretty solid repair.

View attachment 19369

And here is the rubber fuel line I cut to fit the rudder pin.

View attachment 19370

I think I might order some spar varnish online. I did find some at a local hardware store in Elgin, but it says that it's not for use with things that will be in constant contact with the water. I may be overthinking it, but after doing all that repair and sanding I want to get something nice that will hold up for a while.

Also if you notice in the group shot of all the sanded parts my dad and I decided to make a new tiller extension. The one I have looks to be pine or something. My dad didn't have a long enough piece of mahogany, but he did have some Hawaiian wood (I'll have to ask him to remind me what species) that looked nice and very similar to mahogany. Since it wasn't original we decide to get a little creative with it. Once I get it all varnished I'll do the big reveal! ;):)

All in all I had a great time working with my dad and son! A little disappointed I didn't get to lay down some varnish, but that will come soon enough.

Thanks again everyone for all the comments and advise!
Looks great!

You will want to put the tube on the carriage bolt that goes from the bottom skeg to the top bronze assembly on the deck of the boat, and not the pin where you have it pictured now. When you put it on the carriage bolt you will find that the carriage bolt cannot move side to side.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Nice boat!

I think there was a 1968 hull that had double blue stripes, with blue and white sail. It was mirrored by the blue deck boat that had double white stripes. There were no factory gelcoat stripes before that. In 1969 I think the AMF stickers showed up inside the cockpit.

My guess about the extra holes by the rudder deck plate is that the backer block inside rotted or the screw corroded, and they tried strapping it down from outside with 4 screws and some type of strap. When that didn't work they cut a port to access the inside and replace the wooden backer blocks.

International means the boat was sold internationally.
 
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Texsunfish

Member
Cool, thanks for the info!
Maybe I can peak under the aluminum trim and see if the front stripe was blue or red.
From reading and that brochure page I posted on page 1 I thought 1965 was the first year to have stripe options?
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Great find, and thanks for bringing an old Sunfish back to life! From your description of how it was found it sounds like it might have taken on some water weight? Should be 130-140 lbs. I've never actually weighed my boats, but generally if I can lift and turn the boat over easily, by myself, I'm in range.
Of course, those inspection ports help, and you've kept them open. Before heading out for the maiden voyage, though, be sure that hull flotation isn't waterlogged.
P.S. Sweet Westy! I'm also a vintage VW lover, though I've sold my Karmann Ghia(s)
 
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Texsunfish

Member
Thanks!
I haven't weighed it yet, but my dad and I could easily pick it up and move it around. We even turned it on it's side to get it through my side gate. Not sure if that means much. I'll weigh it once I get a chance. I did leave the inspection port open for three week or more. It's shut now since we've been getting some rain (even though the whole thing is still wrapped in tarps). It's been too wet or too hot (90+ degrees yesterday!) to put the spar varnish on, but this weekend is looking promising.

Oh, and my dad used to have a ghia. He went 140+ mph at Bonneville with it! :eek::)
 
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