Old Town Boat Replace Transom & Convert Trailer

The transom of this bright-finished, original per her build sheet, 1950 15’ Old Town Boat – Hull # 154324 – suddenly split across the port “ear” while she was running on the Connecticut River late in August, 2014. As destruction cascaded down and across the transom, while it continued powering the boat forward the outboard engine’s thrust suddenly rotated wildly, throwing the entire boat and her occupants into a corkscrew spin in the process. They were ejected without injury, but the transom was torn asunder. It had to be replaced.
The transom’s fasteners ripped through where they passed through the strakes’ tails. Many strakes split in the process.
Her owners presented Snake Mountain Boatworks with a challenge, “Can you build us a new transom and make “August West” whole and beautiful again?”
Yes, as you will see in this clip. John worked his magic and she is whole, and also much, much stronger than she was before disaster struck. The original transom was built up with three 1-1/4” thick planks fastened together with splined joints. Over time, a series of splits high up in the transom expanded further and further into their planks, until they broke through and through on that fateful August day.
We explored our options and finally settled on laminating two layers of red cedar, and staggering the seams between planks in the process. We ended up with a 1-5/8” thick plank which we planed and sanded down to the proper thickness.
The rest fell to John, who first fabricated cardboard patterns and then the rough-shaped transom-to-be. Finally I came upon him beaming in the shop, “What do you think?” Well, what do you think?
John also managed to save virtually all of the strakes by using a series of Dutchman patches, combined with Jamestown Distributors’ TotalBoat Thixo Wood epoxy adhesive that cures with a wood colored finish that we have learned can also be stained.

She arrived riding on a roller trailer that was in excellent conditions, save for those horrible rollers, which had settled into the bottom planking. (Pleas do not keep your vintage woody on rollers, unless they are the closely-set, 9″ rollers found on Tee Nee trailers. We converted the trailer to bunks, so August Wind now rides on six feet of double bunks, bunks that extend beyond her transom.

Well, here she is, waiting for her new lettering, and then August West will be ready to go home and deliver many more decades of pleasure to the family who owns her.

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