January 07, 2011

One of the projects I had to complete before I hit the open sea again was to rebed the bolts holding the boomkin to Galena's aft deck.

About four years ago I had replaced both the bowsprit and the boomkin. I had laminated some Fir lumber together and machined the proper dimensioned timbers for each. I had then secured them as they had been secured, with carriage bolts. In the past couple of open-water transits I have heard a slight 'working' of the boomkin against the deck. In some harsh conditions I could place my fingers under the boomkin and feel the joint move. I have tightened the bolts and that provided a temporary fix. But the bolts were now being pulled into the timbers. Aside from not being able to tighten the bolts further I was concerned about possible water penetration and subsequent rot around the bolts.

So I procured a handful of large fender washers and repaired as follows.

First problem was to get the bolts out. These are very long, 3/8" bolts that have been sealed in place and then worked for several years. They were quite tight. Of the six bolts I was able to drive out only two of them. The remainder had to be turned out. However since they had been pulled deep into the wood I had to chisel away a bit of wood around each head. This allowed my Vise Grips to get a purchase on the edge of the bolt and turn it out. I figured the amount of wood being removed in this way was insignificant. I was planning on filling the current crushed area with thickened epoxy resin and a little more wouldn't hurt.

The boomkin is the attachment point for the backstay and that holds up the mast. I decided to remove only four of the six bolts, rebed them, and then the next day complete the job by rebedding the remaining bolts on each leg.

Here's a picture of the starboard boomkin leg with two of the bolts removed. One is laying on the timber. You can see how the bolt head has crushed down into the wood. The remaining bolt can be seen in the upper-left of the picture. I didn't find any obvious rot around the bolts. I chipped away the loose wood.

Two of the bolts have been removed. Ready to be rebed.

I mixed a small batch of West System epoxy resin. Before adding the thickener I "painted" the raw, exposed wood to seal it and ensure good penetration of the epoxy. Then I added some thickener to the consistency of honey and, with the bolts in place, filled around the shafts. I had masked off the area outside the washers.

Letting the epoxy cure.

The following day I cinched up the bolts as tight as I could make them. There was no evidence of crushing.

The finished job.

The only way to test this "repair" is to get out and put it under serious load. "If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there."