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Sutcliffe Meteor

Part 2 - still patching it up....

The story so far... the boat has been stripped right back and the 'damage has been' exposed...'


Next step was to repair the hole in the stern. This cannot be accessed from the inside so 2 part epoxy resin was poured inside the hull and allowed to 'pool' in the area of the hole.. (which was of course taped over!)  - 15 mins later and it was solid as a rock (and quite hot!)


Now for the dreaded ragged hole... here is something I prepared earlier..


This is the 'Acme Repair Plate' which has a 'correct' sized hole in the middle and 4  x 1/8" brass nuts soldered on. An original hatch was used to make a template, and the template used to make the plate.


This plate was then bonded into the hull and clamped in place with the pattern - which of course has a hole in the middle so that the plate can be held in place...

A little bit fed up with dealing with the rotten deck, I decided to spend some time on the hull.  The quality of the final paint finish is 90% down to the quality of the surface being painted, so time spent prepping the surface will be rewarded  with a beautiful finish (unless you mess up the spraying... more on that later!) You can't hide a poor surface with thick paint... it doesn't work... (I've tried!)


So for a start, any large dents or pitting needs to be filled. I use a two part metalic based car body filler. Before applying I use a 'dremmel' with a wire brush to polish out the area to make it spotless.


I also always mix in more hardener than the instuctions say... makes it go off quicker so I can get on with the job! The filler is initially sanded off and 'shaped' with a rough P60 paper, then down to P200/300 to get a half decent finish.


The next step is to spray with a 'high build' filler primer. This is when you get to see how good (or bad) the job is as it will reveal all the imperfections.


It looks OK but you can see a dent  top middle amd there are  couple of pin holes. Now I use P400, then P600 and then very fine wire wool to polish the surface to a super smooth almost gloss finish - you should not be able to feel any imperfections at all when you run your thumb across the surface...


This is what the polished surface will look like... notice how the filler primer has filled the tiny scratches in the body filler. More primer will go over this surface to again 'reveal' any imperfections... But not quite yet...

And now for another change in scene .... the rudder. The boat came with a crude home made rudder that had been soldered onto the (original thankfully) brass rod (by someone who could not solder)  The original rudder would have been soldered onto a straight brass rod, inserted into the tube that runs up through the hull, and then bent over (ie NOT soldered in situ!)  So this is what needs to be created.

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Brass 'work hardens' which means that when you bend it or hammer it, it gets harder. That is why when you repeatedly bend it, it will snap; each time you bend it it gets a little harder and eventally it will crack.  This process can be reversed by 'annealing' which makes the metal soft again, and in the case of brass, you simple heat the metal up with a blow torch until the colour changes slightly and the metal 'throbs' when you wave the blow torch across it. Quench the metal on cold water and it will be ready to work again.  That is precisely what I did before I attempted to straighten out the rod.. it was then easy to work!  Use smooth flat pliers otherwise you will make marks on the metal.

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I copied an original rudder in brass.. why brass? Because I had some the correct thickness!  The correct sized rectangle is cut out using tin snips and the corners radiused with a file. The 'channel' for the rod is put in simply using a vice; bend one way, then bend back again.

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Soldered rudder blade above. The assembly simply slides through the hull. The 'curve' in the tiller will be formed first, and then the rod will be bent over by hand to rub against the notched tiller rail. But not yet - I'm going to sort the prop first!


Existing prop had been very badly soldered to s steel threaded rod - so new propshaft needed.


The propshaft is 2mm brass rod (which I find a little odd, as it is metric!). On each end of the propshaft is a brass bush; quite well engineered! The top bush is soldered on 1st...

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New prop shaft fitted - existing prop cleaned up with a Dremel tool and a wire brush attachment.  Still looks a bit of a mess, but should be OK when it's primed.


Time to fit the rudder. The curve in the tiller is put in first, and then the tiller bent down to engage with the notched rail.

Go to part 3