Goat Island Skiff Runners

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Goat Island Skiff Restoration
Boat Lift Bunk

When the stray goat Julie B followed me home, she did it on my wife's trailer. The bunks were just the wrong distance apart and I didn't feel like moving them. As a result, one runner broke free from the bottom of the boat and a piece of it was lost. The other runner was loose but resisted my attempts at removal. This situation left me stumped for a while in two ways: I wasn't sure what kind of wood to use to replace the broken one and I wasn't sure I could remove the intact one from the boat without harming the boat. A friend suggested removing it with a planer or angle grinder but that sounded like a lot of work, a lot of dust, and then I'd have to replace two, not just one.

The first problem was solved when I called my friend Dennis to ask his advice. He told me he had salvaged some wooden bunks from a boat lift and then discovered they were an exotic mahogany, way too nice to be used for boat lift bunks. They were 10' 5" long, 8" wide, and 2" thick and he told me I could take a slice to make a new Goat Island Skiff runner. The unbroken one on the boat was 10' 2" so this would work! Speaking of work, it was quite an effort to get this bunk up on the racks atop my van to bring it home. My guess is that it weighed about 80 lbs, maybe a bit more.

I had to run it over my table saw several times, cutting about a half inch each time, after my attempt to cut it in one pass resulted in a stopped and smoking blade. The remaining piece is shown in the pic at right.


Wood Grain

Based on my description, a few people online have taken a guess at what kind of wood it is. Because it has a greenish tinge when viewed in sunlight and the sawdust turned more reddish when wet, the most likely guess seems to be a wood called "greenheart." I've never heard of it but it's beautiful, strong, hard, and rot-resistant enough to live on a boat lift for years. After cutting off a slice, I brought my brother over with his power planer to shape it down to match the existing runner. Picture of the grain at left.


Fillet Carving

After my attempt to pry the runner loose with a paint roller tool resulted in the glue removing a small gouge from the plywood bottom, I brought out the Fein Multimaster to carve away the glue fillet. I was reasonably successful at cutting only glue and no wood.


Cutting and Prying

Only the few feet in the middle of the runner were still connected to the hull by this point so I used the broken runner from the other side and another chunk of wood to keep some pressure on the glue joint as I cut and pried my way along.


Runner Removed

This approach got the runner off pretty quickly and with no further damage.


Plywood Gouged

At left is a shot of the little gouge I took out of the bottom when prying. I figure I'll put a bit of fiber in there when epoxying it back together so it will be stronger than just a puddle of glue.


Grinding

I used a grinder to remove the old glue, primer, and paint from the area where the runners are to be reattached.


More Grinding

I learned that I can tolerate running a grinder for about an hour before I become sloppy and need a break.


Update 1/4/20: I got a little info from the original builder of Julie B on Facebook but still don't know what kind of paint was used.

Boat Lift Bunk

When the stray goat Julie B followed me home, she did it on my wife's trailer. The bunks were just the wrong distance apart and I didn't feel like moving them. As a result, one runner broke free from the bottom of the boat and a piece of it was lost. The other runner was loose but resisted my attempts at removal. This situation left me stumped for a while in two ways: I wasn't sure what kind of wood to use to replace the broken one and I wasn't sure I could remove the intact one from the boat without harming the boat. A friend suggested removing it with a planer or angle grinder but that sounded like a lot of work, a lot of dust, and then I'd have to replace two, not just one.

The first problem was solved when I called my friend Dennis to ask his advice. He told me he had salvaged some wooden bunks from a boat lift and then discovered they were an exotic mahogany, way too nice to be used for boat lift bunks. They were 10' 5" long, 8" wide, and 2" thick and he told me I could take a slice to make a new Goat Island Skiff runner. The unbroken one on the boat was 10' 2" so this would work! Speaking of work, it was quite an effort to get this bunk up on the racks atop my van to bring it home. My guess is that it weighed about 80 lbs, maybe a bit more.

I had to run it over my table saw several times, cutting about a half inch each time, after my attempt to cut it in one pass resulted in a stopped and smoking blade. The remaining piece is shown in the pic at right.


Wood Grain

Based on my description, a few people online have taken a guess at what kind of wood it is. Because it has a greenish tinge when viewed in sunlight and the sawdust turned more reddish when wet, the most likely guess seems to be a wood called "greenheart." I've never heard of it but it's beautiful, strong, hard, and rot-resistant enough to live on a boat lift for years. After cutting off a slice, I brought my brother over with his power planer to shape it down to match the existing runner. Picture of the grain at left.


Fillet Carving

After my attempt to pry the runner loose with a paint roller tool resulted in the glue removing a small gouge from the plywood bottom, I brought out the Fein Multimaster to carve away the glue fillet. I was reasonably successful at cutting only glue and no wood.


Cutting and Prying

Only the few feet in the middle of the runner were still connected to the hull by this point so I used the broken runner from the other side and another chunk of wood to keep some pressure on the glue joint as I cut and pried my way along.


Runner Removed

This approach got the runner off pretty quickly and with no further damage.


Plywood Gouged

At left is a shot of the little gouge I took out of the bottom when prying. I figure I'll put a bit of fiber in there when epoxying it back together so it will be stronger than just a puddle of glue.


Grinding

I used a grinder to remove the old glue, primer, and paint from the area where the runners are to be reattached.


More Grinding

I learned that I can tolerate running a grinder for about an hour before I become sloppy and need a break.


I rubbed some of the scratched paint with some denatured alcohol on a paper towel. Looks like it's latex paint.

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