Keel Bolts

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Nigel Vaughan

Keel Bolts

Postby Nigel Vaughan » Tue May 9th, 2006, 9:47 am

I have a 40 year old wooden Eventide 24. She has a cast iron keel with steel keel bolts. I have owned her for 10 years. I have no idea whether the keel bolts have ever been drawn and replaced, but certainly not during my ownership.

I have absolutely no reason to suspect any problem. The bolt ends and nuts visible in the bilge are in good condition. The boat is absolutely watertight. There are no rust streaks visible between the wooden and iron keels. But I worry that the bolts may be wasted. I spoke to a local shipwright about drawing them but he said it can be enormously difficult to knock old steel bolts out through an iron keel. You can fracture the keel, split the wood and end up spoiling a perfectly tight boat. He was most reluctant - and he's an expert. So as an amateur that has never done it before, I have visions of making a rod for my own back and greatly regretting bothering to worry about it at all.

I wondered about getting them x-rayed.

Any comments or experiences that anyone would like to share?

Nigel Vaughan

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Fiddler's Green
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Postby Fiddler's Green » Wed May 10th, 2006, 10:35 pm

Hello Nigel,

X- Raying is not cheap, but it is certainly a good way of checking the condition without spoiling anything.

I have had problems drawing bolts on my old E24, see the Hints and tips page of the site, but this was only because 3/4 bolts had been used in 3/4 holes, instead of the specifies 5/8th bolts.

I took the bolts out to increase the ballast, so they had to come out anyway. 5/8th bolts went back in, no problems after that in removing one for inspection!

Have just drawn a bolt on Fiddler's Green, but they are in fact studs into the top of the casting, not through bolts.

the insurance company might demand a survey, and part of that will probably be proof of condition of the bolts. If it is for survey, chack they will accept X-Ray, some may not....

hope this helps.

Regards, John
Proud owner and builder of 'Fiddler's Green'

Nigel

Keel bolts

Postby Nigel » Sun May 14th, 2006, 4:16 pm

Thanks, John. I'll let you know what I do.

Mike Brown
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Postby Mike Brown » Mon August 7th, 2006, 7:03 am

Hi Nigel
Just wondering what you did in the finish. I have just bought a similar 24ft Eventide. Haven't had it out of the water yet so not sure how the two keels are fixed or constructed. The bolts showing on the inside of bilge area are very rusty and a little wasted. My thoughts are to remove these when I haul out this November. Do they have a standard size bolt.
Cheers
Mike

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Postby Fiddler's Green » Thu August 10th, 2006, 4:58 pm

The bilge keels on the older boats were normally bolted on with 3/8th inch galvanised coach bolts. they had nice domed heads that were easy to paint over on the outside, with a square section to locate into a square in the bilge keel, drilled round hole sqared off with a tapered square punch and a heavy hammer!

Later one woul be 10 mm but watch out as the gaslvanising might not be as good! could be just plated! they rust in no time!

Better to buy plain steel and have them galvanised!

Do not be tempted to use Stainless. It will rot twice as fast as cast iron! nasty stuff when in wet timber....

Finally after removing old keels, and doing any mods that need to be done to main keel, increasing ballast depth and weight etc. bed back using Sika Flex or very similar.

Regalvanising keels etc is best done as part of a job lot with all your galvanised stuff, and a couple of mates gear too, as they have a minimum charge!

Regards,
John
Proud owner and builder of 'Fiddler's Green'

Mike Brown
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Joined: Sat August 5th, 2006, 11:35 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Postby Mike Brown » Fri August 11th, 2006, 8:37 am

Hi John
Many thanks for that, most appreciated. I have only bought the craft. I am told it was built in the early 1960's. The hull is double diagonal planked teak. The craft was built in Hongkong and sailed to New Zealand many years ago. It has been moored untouched for the last 2 years. The keel bolts on the inside are very rusted and wasting. I am hauling out for the whole of November. I want to do the job right the first time, so will be removing the keels to replace the bolts and as you say it is probably a good idea to have them regalvanised. When I have it out I will check the keels, bolt design etc and contact you again to ask for your expert assistance.
Thank you

Cheers
Mike

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Postby Fiddler's Green » Fri August 11th, 2006, 10:24 am

Hi Mike,
I suspect your Eventide is one of the very early ones with a ballast keel of just 560 lb. 'Borer Bee' another E24 had just such a keel. She was sailed from Singapore, where she was built, double diagonal like yours, all the way to UK. When the arrived they said she was not ballasted enough. She was OK at first, then as they ate their stock of tinned food, she became less so!

Maurice took note and quickly increased the ballast to 780 lb, in about 1960, but from 1973 it was increased yet again to 1020 lb, which I would call a minimum weight for the main ballast. The keel was now 10" deep cast iron and the bilge keels increased in depth to be just 1.5" less than the depth of the main keel.

This combination works well for ply boats. Seeing as yours is a heavier hull, I would ere on the heavier side for ballast. You can always add pigs of lead under the sole, I have a few hundred pounds inside! For Trimming.

That will keep you busy for a bit!

Regards,
John
Proud owner and builder of 'Fiddler's Green'


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