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Project Log:  Sunday, February 14, 2010
Home Page > The Project > Project Logs > 2/14/10

Generally lacking motivation, and specifically lacking the materials required for the aft hull repairs (which I planned to have on hand within the next week or two), I turned to a mindless, unrelated (at least at this early stage), yet ultimately necessary task:  dealing with the ports.  Metal cleaning and similar busywork were not high on my list of favorite activities at any time, so rather than ignore the pile of ports till one day when it was time to reinstall them, at which point I'd begrudge the process all the more, I thought it might be better to start the process very early, allowing me to spread the work out as time and endurance allowed, and to give it the attention deserved.

#16 came complete with the original bronze deadlight frames (4 pair) and bronze opening ports (6); the previous owner had removed them from the boat sometime after the fire and before my purchase, and these items had been in storage in my shop ever since.  They were valuable items, though--bronze ports being expensive and difficult to come by in this day in age--and were be one of the few items I'd planned on reusing from the beginning.  I hoped to clean them to bright metal and clear powdercoat--or at least clear LPU, if powdercoating turned out to be an unrealistic option. 

Fortunately, the ports and deadlight frames appeared to be in good condition, though badly in need of refurbishment.  The plastic lenses from the deadlights were charred and heat-damaged, and the condition of the glass lenses in the opening ports ran the gamut from shattered and missing to simply badly smoke-stained.  But other than the staining from age, smoke, and weathering, the bronze components were in excellent condition.  These bronze ports, along with some of the other bronze hardware that came with the boat, would be highlights of the finished boat's appearance someday.


I brought the bronze castings down to my bench, and approached the disassembly of one of the opening ports, one which featured shattered glass. I thought taking one apart would help me determine how much of a chore the remaining task might be. In any event, I didn't plan to attack all the ports, nor begin the cleanup process:  this was reconnaissance only.  Besides, I'd recently trashed the wire wheel I had while doing another job, and needed to get the proper equipment before I began to clean up the metal.

The opening portion of each port had already been disassembled from the main body, apparently during their original removal by the previous owner, so to prepare the castings for further cleanup and refurbishment it was a matter of removing the lens.

In the slot that contained the port gasket, 10 small bronze screws secured the trim flange that, along with glazing compound, secured the glass lens in place.  The first screw head I tried to remove stripped almost immediately, despite what I thought was a modicum of care in my technique, so I reevaluated and tried other screws.  Fortunately, I found I could successfully remove 7 of the 10 screws; the other three stripped out, forcing me to drill out their heads.  This wasn't a big problem, as I could easily redrill and tap new holes for additional screws later (much later) during the reassembly or cleanup process.

I scraped away the minimal remaining sealant from the port's mating surfaces--fortunately not the hated silicone, but an oily, soft compound more like Dolfinite--and set the pieces aside, being sure to keep them together with each other. 

Since I completed this task only while killing time waiting for a meeting at the shop, I only disassembled the one port for now, but it gave me a realistic idea of what lay ahead.  I ordered wire brushes and wheels, and would continue the process as time and inspiration allowed.


Total Time Today:  1 hour

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