I also measured for the keel bolts and cut them out of the 3' sections of 3/8 threaded rod I ordered from Hamilton Marine. In about 30 minutes we had 25 new keel bolts cut out.
Finally, the mahogany arrived at Island Lumber and after my pal Ben Moor at Moor Construction planed them down to our finished thickness of 1 1/2" I was ready to go. Alfie joined the project for a few days and helped me measure and fit a pattern for both keel sections that we used to trace a pretty accurate line onto the mahogany for cutting. It always gives me a feeling of apprehension when first cutting into such a beautiful piece of lumber, so I made sure we had all our measurements exact before delving in. All the time spent measure and making the pattern really paid off when we first dry fit the piece in the boat and found that it only needed some minor shaping here and there to drop right into place.
I had already drilled out the keel bolt holes and with the two pieces of keelson fit in the boat, I was able to use a punch from the bottom of the boat to mark the areas of the keelson that needed to be drilled. The lumber was brought back to the shop and the holes drilled out on the drill press. With the holes drilled, the pieces were again fitted in the boat and the keel bolts fit in place. The bottom of the bolt holes were plugged up with bungs and when everything looked right, I set the keel bolts in their holes in a thickened epoxy. The next day, they were hardened into the keel, and I had the most pleasurable experience yet on the project: tightening down the nuts onto the bolts. There is something very reassuring about using heavy tools like socket wrenches to tighten new steel in an old wooden boat.
With the keel set and not going anywhere, I was able to connect the recycled pieces of the centerboard trunk that we had cut out earlier. I set in three 7" dowels into the pieces to add some security and glued them together with thickened epoxy. When dry and sanded, the insides were primed with red lead, and they were brought down to the boat for their first dry fitting. Everything lined up nicely and I look forward to getting those set in place.
This is an exciting time of the project...nearing the end and putting back all the broken pieces that have now been fixed. The surfboat moves out of our indoor shop at the end of this week and the last couple weeks will be spent getting her painted and letting those old planks swell back together.
I received some new material regarding the history of these boats. If you are up for a very interesting read, please check it out here!