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Pouring the Transom (Finally)

By clanders - Published June 06, 2014 - Viewed 1035 times

Runabout, by Chris Landers

 

The transom compound arrived on my porch the other day -- two five-gallon buckets, fresh from Florida, which seems to be where they make all this stuff, and which is why you have to pay an arm and a leg to get it shipped to Baltimore. Forget all that, though, it means the transom project nears an end.

So far, I've cleaned all the old plywood out, and tabbed in a new inner skin. I did a bit to fair it in, probably should have done more, but I think I mentioned that I am just not very good at it.

I still have the plywood form I used to make the inner skin of the transom, so I'm going to use that as a clamp to keep the fiberglass from bowing out too much, although I'm not sure how big a concern that will be. That will be through-bolted to a curved 2x6 on the outside with some all-thread. I was going to use some of the other existing holes as backup clamping spots, but it seemed like it would get a bit messy, so I just taped them up with duct tape.

 Transom with duct tape art

Arjay, the manufacturer of the compound, has a mixing guide on their website. It doesn't take much of the catalyst at all to mix this stuff, and it's dependent on temperature. You just pour it in and mix it with a paddle-mixer attached to a drill. The instructions gave a 20 minute working time. I knew I wasn't going to use the whole ten gallons, so I used a smaller pail, marked off in one gallon increments, to mix smaller amounts after the first five gallons went in. I also made a sort of plywood-and-sheet-metal funnel at the last minute, when I realized pouring straight from the bucket would be messy and foolish.

 Arjay mixing supplies

The pour really was the easiest part of the transom operation. I had a stick to push the liquid back into the corners, but it's very thin and self-leveling (speaking of which, I did have to level the boat itself, which is parked on a sloped driveway). Best to have an assistant for this. And gloves. My wife helped me out by wiping some compound off my arm, and that stuff burns like crazy. I used a 2x4 wedged into the top of the transom to keep it the right distance apart, which meant I had to take it out after the stuff in the transom started to solidify, but before the stuff in the bucket kicked. I misjudged a bit and made a mess, but it did clean up fairly easily, and I have plenty of leftover compound (at least two gallons).

 Pouring the transom

Once it was poured to the top, it was just a matter of waiting and touching the back of the boat every once in a while, saying, "I guess it feels hot now, what do you think?" Until it actually did get hot (Protip: You will definitely know when this happens).

 

I let it sit for a while after it set, then capped it with fiberglass. The transom seems solid as a rock now, with no flex at all. I'll make an aluminum trim piece to protect the top edge (I'm pretty sure this boat had one at some point, but it's been lost), and hopefully the transom will outlive me and the boat. I'm pretty sure it won't rot, anyway.

Filled to the brim

 

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