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Star Class Cruisers 1960s


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I have spoken before about the Star Class Woolwich Working boats of the 1930s, and how they were cut down to become BW cruisers in the 1960s. We are lucky enough to have become the custodians of one of these named Antony Water Lilac. We have embarked on restoration work and have discovered she needs quite a lot of rebuilding. Some of her frame work needs replacing, possibly a new roof. And we are using new marine ply for the sides of the cabin. It seems she has had some leaks through her gunnels for quite a while. But nothing that can’t be remedied. Her roof has had a belt and braces job of Layers of vinyl flooring which looks very bad. We are going to strip off the old covering and replace with stretched painted canvas?? Does anyone know what the roof covering would have been originally? Any ideas or advice would be great.

Edited by Becky70
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If it helps, as I was boating at the time, I'm pretty sure it would have been a proprietary "diamond" pattern material that came in sheets but can't remember the name of it - it was pretty universally used on wooden boats at the time notably on the broads - if the intelligence cant be found here perhaps you could contact a traditional broads boatbuilder

I know your boat and respected your bravery when you took her on so keep up the good work!

J

Edited by Halsey
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I always knew it as Trakmark but they seem to only do “plank effect” deck coverings nowadays and Treadmaster seems to be similar to the covering I remember.  However I think the BW hire cruiser conversions predate this product and they used either fibreglass or canvas.  Somewhere I’ve seen a very detailed spec of the cabin work for these boats.  I can’t remember where but feel sure the source was found in the Ellesmere Port archives.

 

You might want to contact Cheshire-rose on this forum who has done some research into these boats and obtain a copy of Waterways Journal Vol 20 (available from Audlem Mill) which has an interesting article about them.

 

Paul

  • Greenie 1
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It would be wise to coat the marine ply with an epoxy such as west system, covering the back and any edges. Will increase the lifespan massively, i used to use the last bit of a mix if it started to thicken on the edges, it acts as a filler which is useful if visible. 

 If you have any doubts about the cabin top i'd replace it whilst you have the chance, the 'roof' generally overlaps the sides.

 If you haven't bought the plywood yet it is normally available in two main types, one is fairly hard and inflexible and the other (often Gaboon), is soft and more flexible.  I prefer the latter as it follows curves and absorbs the epoxy like a sponge!

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We have bought BS 1088 marine ply from a builders merchants. The first lot was slightly darker than the second lot don’t know why but it’s still stamped 1088. When we dismantled the old boards it was marine ply under a thin sort of hardboard similar to what you get on the back of wardrobes, this was glued with a bitumen/tar. Which has been a nightmare to remove and it heats up in the hot weather and runs. We have positioned the ply and was told by someone on the marina to use two pac epoxy glue. This would be to stick a thinner ply on top as a top skin/ finish. It will be painted a colour not left as wood, so should we use the epoxy underneath the primer and top coat paint?

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That sounds right, we had the same Masonite board in vintage caravan ceilings. We are going to stick a thinner ply on top of the thicker marine ply. This will hide any screws etc...I was told yesterday to think of it as just adding another ply layer to the multi layered marine ply underneath. With the two pac adhesive, is this the same as the West System. And is resin a different application. We have also been told about the Silver paint that soaks into the wood to waterproof it on the inside of the marine ply. Apparently this stuff is hard to get these days as it has chemicals in it? But the inside of the old ply and the boats main frame work has been painted with it.

EA8CB8EB-70D1-4722-9D68-CF4372327167.jpeg

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Just an observation.

Lovely to see you are rebuilding something back to a live point in its history.

Many people would have taken what you have, smashed it down to a bare hull, and then turned it into a full length motor.

What you are doing has much more relevance (imho).

  • Greenie 2
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6 hours ago, Becky70 said:

That sounds right, we had the same Masonite board in vintage caravan ceilings. We are going to stick a thinner ply on top of the thicker marine ply. This will hide any screws etc...I was told yesterday to think of it as just adding another ply layer to the multi layered marine ply underneath. With the two pac adhesive, is this the same as the West System. And is resin a different application. We have also been told about the Silver paint that soaks into the wood to waterproof it on the inside of the marine ply. Apparently this stuff is hard to get these days as it has chemicals in it? But the inside of the old ply and the boats main frame work has been painted with it.

EA8CB8EB-70D1-4722-9D68-CF4372327167.jpeg

I wouldn't bother trying to find the old stuff, it won't be as good as a decent epoxy treatment. West system is a coating rather than an adhesive and i would coat inside, edges and the external surface. A thin layer of ply on top is unnecessary and may make future maintenance difficult, a decent faring type filler will hide screws and joins and is designed to fuse with an epoxy coating. 

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I would consider covering your roof in EPDM rubber membrane, I have used it on a few wooden cabins, it can be ordered in any size so the whole roof is covered in one piece, it's flexible and tough.

 

Painted canvas could easily be applied over the top of this layer and you wouldn't have to worry about water ingress through cracks in the paint.

 

 

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