New Transom – 1976 Starcraft ‘Holiday 15’ Model

DaleH

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Here she sits, a mint (for her age) 1976 Holiday 15’ model.

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All original and 1 owner, where the family is now on the 3rd generation enjoying the boat. The only issue is, the transom has now gone soft. The boat was in VA on any Army base, where they even have a boatyard and boat ramp to the Potomac River and I had enjoyed a nice day out on the water (‘brown’ water that it is, LOL!) there. Pulling it back onto the trailer is when I said to the owner/Petty Officer ... “Uhhhh, sir, are you aware that the transom is shot? She shouldn’t flex like that”.

Well lo & behold I said ‘if you can get to me in Boston ... I’ll fix it for you’. We had flown down there to see family, as he’s the husband of my wife’s favorite cousin. And son of a gun ... not months later he drives it into my driveway. So, dissecting it over the Winter I came to the conclusion that this year/vintage Starcraft would be a very straight forward transom wood replacement. There were no welds to break and only at one sport on each side what the top gunnel in the way of getting the old wood outta there. Luckily I’ve annealed tin boats before, so I annealed those side ends and the pieces bent up like butter, making the repair easy to happen.

I’m more of a picture guy, so I’ll let the pictures tell the story. The new exterior ply will be coated with multiple thin coats on the edge grain, and interior faces, then epoxied together with a layer of biaxial cloth in-between.

Note in the one picture that I marked all the ‘through holes’ in the rear transom tin skin directly onto the plywood. Those holes will be drilled over-size, i.e., using a > ½” hole to cover a ¼” bolt, then wetted out with thin epoxy and filled with a thickened epoxy once the wet coat ‘kicks’ (tacky, or means is curing). This will leave a permanent and waterproof ‘plug’ of epoxy where the bolts go through.

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SeaFaring

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Hey, the Potomac can be blue!

From a distance. When the sky is just right...

In all seriousness, it’s come a long way since the 1970s when DC upgraded its water treatment beyond mere settling pools.

Nice job on the transom!


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DaleH

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UPDATE - Transom holes (all over-sized) filled w/epoxy, making a permanent waterproof ‘plug’ to surround any bolt going through the transom. Now THIS is the way you fix a transom for life!

What you see here is 1 large hole for an engine mount bolt and 3 for the knee on one side. Next ... the inside side will be sanded and covered w/ epoxy, then she’ll be ready for the install.

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DaleH

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UPDATE - New Scuppers

Each side of stern has three 1/4x20 bolts, so I drilled in the top 2 on each side, smack dab in the middle of the epoxy plugs - bullseye! Then drilled 1” holes for new scupper drains (in the splashwell) through pure epoxy, gooped them up, pressed in the new ones, and then flared it w/ my special DIY (see my post) flaring tool.

So far I have drilled 6 holes through this new transom and not even 1 tiny wood chip has came out - only epoxy - meaning the epoxy plugs are fully integral, permanently waterproofing this new transom 👍 . I'll trim the excess goop (LifeCaulk by BoatLife) off with a sharp knife when cured. This product is amazing, can even be sanded or applied underwater ... cheaper than 3M 5200 too and lasts 2-3X longer in the tube.

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DaleH

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Done!

There were 16 holes to bolt back together the new transom, 6 at the knee, 3 down each side both port & starboard and then 4 engine bolts. All 16 were drilled through pure epoxy, not 1 wood chip anywhere - woo hoo - plus all 16 went right through the mating hole in the tin on the other side, 2” away, not bad ... not bad aim at all!

All reassembled and on her way home ...

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silentbravo

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Great posts. This actually looks a lot like my boat, very similar layout and I need to do the transom as well. Will probably emulate your repair very closely.

How much time did it take to rebuild the transom?
 

DaleH

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silentbravo said:
How much time did it take to rebuild the transom?
Can't give you a good estimate of hours, but maybe ~5 sessions, of an hour or two or longer each ...

1 - Disassemble & pull out all fasteners and wood out. Then clean area with vinegar & rinse
2 - Cut & fit new wood, mark each sheet & LAYOUT existing holes to transom, then bond 2-plys (if 2 ply's used) together
3 - Epoxy edges, coat 1 side and hit edges again
4 - Epoxy other side
5 - Install & fasten back together
 

DaleH

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the hammer said:
Job well done!
Thank you!

Done once, done right too! Here's all one needs to epoxy a boat easily ... www.raka.com, buy their ~$22 epoxy starter kit and I bet it would do a small tin.
 

silentbravo

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Doesn't sound to bad at all. Will have to find the right rivets, and maybe some new bolts/nuts too.

Are you saying that the starter kit on that site was enough for the job? The cheapest kit on there I see is $42 for 1 1/2 qt, and probably not including shipping.
 

RaisedByWolves

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DaleH said:
silentbravo said:
How much time did it take to rebuild the transom?
Can't give you a good estimate of hours, but maybe ~5 sessions, of an hour or two or longer each ...

1 - Disassemble & pull out all fasteners and wood out. Then clean area with vinegar & rinse
2 - Cut & fit new wood, mark each sheet & LAYOUT existing holes to transom, then bond 2-plys (if 2 ply's used) together
3 - Epoxy edges, coat 1 side and hit edges again
4 - Epoxy other side
5 - Install & fasten back together

This is about what I did, but I used two coats and sanded in between. Probably 8-10hrs total.

Also, think about your whole project before buying your epoxy.

I got the gallon kit from West systems and while it is pricy, it is also super easy to use for both large and small projects (Think touch ups) and there is plenty for me to do my floors and rod lockers left over.

Now if the price of plywood would only come down. #-o
 

silentbravo

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I see you used a piece of plastic on the back of the transom, between aluminum hull and the motor. Is that anything special? I had the same plywood backer as this boat, which is toast... and curious what you used there. Thanks for info
 

DaleH

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silentbravo said:
I see you used a piece of plastic on the back of the transom, between aluminum hull and the motor. Is that anything special? I had the same plywood backer as this boat, which is toast... and curious what you used there. Thanks for info
I had a sheet of HDPE, high density polyethylene ... think 'cutting board' plastic. Try to find a big cutting board at a discount store or call a plastics distributor near you.
 

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