SV Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382 - Homeport: Beaufort, NC

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spline Tingling Pre-Halloween Update (a.k.a. Caprail Repairs - Part 1)

Since Pilgrim’s arrival in Beaufort (or shall I say from the beginning of Pilgrim’s Progress?) we have pursued leaks in the cabin.  Every good old boat has them, and I’m guessing that every new owner aggressively pursues them.  Our efforts have lead us from removing genoa tracks to rebuilding the mast partner backing plate and on to a cornucopia of re-bedding…  port in the head, chain plates, cockpit drains.    

One of the most vexing leaks is along the starboard hull in the pilot berth, nav station, and quarter berth areas.  Drips issue forth from four different screws in the hull deck joint.  Initially I believed the genoa track was to blame.  The track was removed and the holes sealed, but the leak persisted.  My next hypothesis was that water travels along the hull-deck joint, under the caprail until it reaches one of the four leaky screws.  By researching posts on the Morgan 38 Discussion Board, I discovered that the caprail is actually consists of two pieces of teak with a horizontal seam hidden under the rub rail.  Pilgrim’s one inch stainless steel rub rail runs from stem to stern along the caprail.  The rub rail consists of eight sections of curved metal held in place by #10 counter sink screws at 6” intervals.
The first section of rub rail removed was in the area of the leaks along the starboard hull.

Removing Pilgrim’s rub rail revealed that the seam between the two sections of caprail had failed.  This is likely due to the screws from the rub rail placed directly in the seam between the two sections of wood.  The gap between the two sections ranged from 1/16” to nearly ¼”.  A previous owner attempted to remedy the issue by filling the concave section of the rub rail with 5200 then  re-installing the rail.  For the most part the 5200 did not bond to the wood and simply served to direct runoff into the seam and under the caprail.
Port, aft caprail with rub rail in place.  Everything looks good on the surface.
Removing the rub rail reveals the failed cap rail seam.

Our solution?    Fill the seam with teak splines set into thickened epoxy.

By making a couple passes with a circular saw set to a ¼” depth of cut, I created a ¼” wide by ¼” deep notch along the seam on the caprail.  The cuts removed all the internal 5200 and provided a clean surface on which to apply epoxy.  Next I sanded the outboard vertical surface of the caprail to remove the cetol coating and expose clean teak on which to apply the epoxy.
Port, aft caprail with 1/4" notch cut along seam and surface of the wood sanded.
Port bow prepped for repairs.

Next step was to create teak splines to fill the notch.  Using a table saw for the cuts, I ripped scrap teak boards into ¼” square sections that varied in length from 6 to 24 inches. 
Teak splines.
NOTE - Fear not if the spines do not emerge from the table saw in perfect ¼” dimensions… mine did not.  But my cuts along the caprail were not perfect either.

The next step was to dry fit all the splines into the notch along the caprail.  This process was akin to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.

Dry fitting splines into the notch.

Initially, I cut all ends of the splines at a 45, but this limited the options for fitting.  Eventually my system evolved to squaring the ends of the splines and keeping a piece of 80 grit sandpaper handy for modifying the splines and creating overlapping joints.   

Once the splines were fit, Anne numbered each piece, marked it to identify orientation, and then removed it from the notch. 
Fortunately we have access to four sections of scaffolding with walk-boards.
 Each side required 25 to 30 splines.

To be continued…

For additional images and notes check out our Caprail Repairs Photo Album.

No comments:

Post a Comment