Caprail Repair

I have been lucky enough to use my good friend Richard's mooring in Kiama harbour and this has allowed me to get a few odd jobs done. It's so nice to be 2 minutes from home and able to drive my ute right up to the berth.

Tondelayo's fwd portside caprail got damaged in Callala Bay and so this is the first thing I need to repair, after which I have plenty of other odd jobs to get onto including rebedding the main cabin windows, replacing the headliner, replacing the cabin sole etc etc so I will try to put together separate blogs for each job.

The photo's tell the story. After 40 years the stainless fixing screws were in pretty bad shape and as you can see some of them were snapped at the head! I'm guessing the rest of the caprail will be the same so I plan to replace it all in the not to distant future but for now I just needed to get this repair done.

I didn't want to remove the bowsprit platform so decided to salvage what I could at that point and then work my way aft. It meant that I had to epoxy a tiny bit of the old caprail to the fwd edge.

Cutting and shaping the new timber was a challenge and I have learn't a lot in the process (and scored a few new tools too!). I now feel confident that I could tackle any woodwork projects that Tondy may throw at me and it has been extremely satisfying.

In the past I have tried to steam bend a piece for the caprail but it just doesn't work in this direction so I cut the bend out of a larger board using a band saw. I'm using Merbau aka Kwila instead of teak as it is readily available as a home decking timber and so is very economical. It also has great properties which make it as durable and stable as teak. I used my router table to get the 90 degree profile just right as well as to round off the leading edges and then just finished it off with a light bit of sanding by hand. The "s" joining profile was done with my jigsaw.

Whilst I had the caprail off I removed all screws from the hull/deck joint and cleaned then epoxied the surface to fill all holes. When I installed the new caprail I used much shorter screws which didn't penetrate right through but instead just provided anchoring points to pull the rail down tight so that the Simpsons MSR Marine construction adhesive could get a good bond. This is great stuff and remains elastic between -40 to +100 degrees C. It's also very UV and Salt tolerant and is easily sanded and can be painted over 10 minutes after application.

I finished the caprail with two coats of Sikkens HSLe then two coats of Sikkens Filter 7 and it came up quite nicely.

Now she just needs the stanchions and Lifelines refitted and I can move onto the next job.

During this project an old school friend asked me to send him up a piece of the old teak caprail and said he would make me a pen from the teak. What a great thing to do. Now every entry in Tondelayo's log is written with a pen made from her own timber which would be over 100 years old now. Thanks John Creasey.

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