Back At The Cobalt

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by NorCal Boater, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    We've now been in Louisiana for just over a year. In that year I've painted all the rooms of the house, put in a game room complete with pool table, had the old pool taken out and a new pool installed, landscaped the backyard, built a bar for the pool house and done/doing some consulting work. When the pool was finished my wife wanted me to remodel her bathroom but I told her that the bathroom could wait and I needed to finish the boat project.
    I'm having a metal carport installed in a week so I have a place out of the rain to work on the boat but in the meantime I've been doing projects that could be done in the garage.
    IMG_0381[1].JPG IMG_0382[1].JPG

    The boat has the above teak inserts mounted on the deck in a recessed area around the perimeter of the boat as kind of a walk-around. They're more decorative than functional. Originally there was the black rubber gooey stuff in grooves where the white wood is in the above pic. I never liked the look and if you ever tried to sand to refinish you ended up sanding the wood and not reducing the rubber and over the years the teak became "scalloped". In fact they were scalloped so bad that I had to run the boards through my surface planner to get them flat again after I dug out the black crap. My old 52' CPMY had teak and holly floors in the cabin and liking that look decided to do that with these pieces. Not finding any holly I used rock maple. The longest of these teak planks is 8' so I bought a piece of maple 8'6" x 8" wide and ran it through the table saw cutting 1/8" strips. Once they were all cut I ripped these 1/8" x 3/4" strips through my Rockwell Blade Runner and this gave me a lot of smaller strips that were 1/8" x 3/16". I then glued these strips into the grooves in the teak clamping every 10 inches. After everything was dry I ran them through the planner again taking the maple almost down to the teak and then finished with a random-orbital sander. The top picture is the result. This past week I started finishing them with 5 coats of Minwax Helmsman Satin Polyurethane. I like the Minwax product as it is very clear and adds no color to the wood. I used to use Sikkens but never liked the color. Originally the screw holes were plugged with teak but I cut new plugs, glued them in the old holes and re-drilled and countersunk the holes for all new #10 oval head SST screws. I like the exposed screw look and installation is easier.

    There is no interior in the boat at all and a few months ago I put the boat in the water and ran it for a bit checking for leaks around the transom. About 18 months ago I changed the Gimbal Housing and Transom Plate and I had never done that before so I had an understandable nervousness about leaks but all is well. The boat ran great and felt really smooth and had plenty of power. Don't know what kind of horsepower the 383 Stroker is making but it sure felt strong and solid.

    There is still much to do and so many trim pieces that to have to be re-made but I'm actually seeing some light. This weekend I will be ordering carpet and fabric for the cuddy cushions.

    I'll continue to update this thread as work continues for anyone that might be interested.

    Shawn
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  2. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    Your woodworking skills are amazing. I would love to see interior and exterior pics of the boat.
     
  3. skibum

    skibum Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Perry Hall, MD
    2005 Sundancer 260
    496 Magnum HO
    I love it when I get to combine two of my favorite hobbies, boating and woodworking.
     
  4. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    Thanks for the compliments. Currently there is no interior in the boat but here are a couple of pics taken a few years ago.
    IMAG0053.jpg IMAG0055.jpg

    It's been a while since I updated the old threads with my progress so for those that didn't see them.... The boat is a 1985 23' Cobalt CM23. The "C" Series Cobalts were made in the '80s in very limited numbers. The "CM" designated "Center Mount" for the location of the engine. The motor sits in the middle of the boat with a driveshaft back to the outdrive which was originally an Alpha Gen I but is now and SEI 106. Mercruiser called this their Jack Shaft model. Cobalt only made the CM23 for 3 years, '83, '84 & '85 and over the 3-year production run only 84 were produced. In 1985, the year of mine, only 15 were made and I have serial # 015 making mine the last one they manufactured. I personally feel this is one of the prettiest boats Cobalt ever made.

    I bought this boat in 1989 with a partner and the boat spent nearly 28 years in the salt water in Long Beach, CA. I exited the partnership in 2001 but always loved that model. I looked for another one over the years but could never find one near me. Three years ago I had the chance to buy it back but it needed quite a bit of attention which she is finally getting now.

    Skibum I agree with you but on this project I've used many of my interests: Mechanical....the engine is a 383 Stroker of unknown horsepower but when I got it, it had a blown head gasket, bad starter, exhaust manifold problem, and the afore mentioned outdrive issues. Fiberglass....I had to make some 'glass repairs to the floor around the engine. Electrical....I'm rewiring most of the boat. Carpentry....most of the interior cabinets and panels had gotten pretty wet over the years and I had to reproduce several. Upholstery....I am making new foam cushions for the cuddy cabin and my wife will be doing the sewing. I will also be re-carpeting the entire boat as well as installing new overhead material in the cuddy. So wearing a lot of hats on this project....and for those of you that think you can buy an old boat cheap and get it on the water on a shoestring?....I'm already into this project to about $8000 counting the $3500 I paid for the boat. Stay tuned....

    Shawn
     
  5. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    I finished the teak mini deck inserts today. Here is how they look with 5 coats of Minwax Helmsman Satin Urethane.
    Finished Teak.JPG Finished Teak 2.JPG
    I also put a few screws in to see how they look. I think I like it but if I change me mind before I install I can always drill out the holes and put plugs in.

    One last thing....If you haven't tried the Minwax Helmsman product and you have some teak to finish I really suggest giving it a try. It went on really easy and it goes on clear (even though it's translucent white in the can) self levels and leaves a really nice finish. I only hope it holds up and lasts in the weather. I have a quart of gloss that I was going to use on the swim platform but I am so happy with the result here I'm going to stick with the Minwax. Oh....and its 1/2 the price of the Cetol at West Marine.

    Shawn
     
  6. skibum

    skibum Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Perry Hall, MD
    2005 Sundancer 260
    496 Magnum HO
    LOL... I tell people that about boats all the time. Friends will say, the loan would be x, and the insurance will be y, and we can do it but it will be a little tight. That's when I tell them about the costs of dockage, fuel, maintenance, and THEN after they pay all of that, I tell them about the other extra food, beverage, dock fee, restaurant tabs, etc.. that come with boating and watch them faint. I tell them, if you think it will cost $50 to fix something, just triple that to get the low end estimate.
     
    NorCal Boater likes this.
  7. KnotEasy

    KnotEasy Member

    242
    May 14, 2013
    Whitehall, Mi.
    205 Sport
    5.0L MPI
    Nice job !!
     
    NorCal Boater likes this.
  8. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    Well it's been a few months (again) since I posted any progress on my Cobalt project. I have been working on it and even more so since I had the "boat" port installed. Now it stays dry and I don't have to take 24 straps off and on every time I work on it.
    carport.JPG

    I have pulled out the remaining old carpet and have been gearing myself up for the task of removing the old adhesive but in between I have also been working on the electrical. I removed the instrument panel that is made of 1/8" aluminum as well as the lower switch panel to make some modifications. Here is the old....
    DSC_0106.JPG DSC_0107.JPG

    They were originallly anodized black and they have faded pretty badly. Also the upper panel has been cut up over the years. The lower switch panel was going to need all new switches, lights and breakers but I found something I think works better, is newer technology and was pretty easy to adapt. Below is the new switch panel. On the left side near the ignition switch are switches for the blower, bilge pump, horn and the new depth gauge. The panel on the right has a USB charging port and the switches for nav and accessory lighting as well as the stereo and the "trailer" switch to raise and lower the outdrive. I still have some wiring to do to activate the name LEDs but I will do that after I install the panels.
    New Panel 2.JPG New Panel.JPG

    Next I turned my attention to the gauge panel. I originally thought I would stay with the same original style Teleflex gauges. The ones in the panel didn't match and were in really bad shape. I found a full set of used, matching gauges on eBay and I was planning to install those but one day while cruising Craigslist I found someone selling a set of NOS Faria gauges including a matching depth gauge. I just had to buy the transducer. I only paid $125 for the whole set. I painted the panel the same as the lower and to take care of the holes in the lower portion I used a sheet of 3'16" ABS plastic in a "wrinkle" finish. I had the vinyl Cobalt logo and I think it came out pretty nice. The accent lines on the border do match, but the camera angle makes it look off. There was a cup holder in that lower portion but it was a really stupid place for it. Any bump at all and the beverage slopped all over the panel. Didn't need the hour meter as the new tach has a digital built in. I left that lower left section blank as I may install a small 5" or 7" GPS/Chart Plotter in the future. I have to admit I'm pretty pleased with myself.... NewInstPanel2.JPG

    Time to go out and get at it....

    Shawn
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  9. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    Shawn, it's obvious you have a lot more time and talent than I do and I admire you for taking on a project of this size and scope. This has been a fun thread to watch. I am anxious to see the finished project photos.
     
  10. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    So am I.... Sometimes I feel like I am building a boat from scratch.
     
  11. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    Well, weather, holidays, dying dogs, personal health issues have been getting in the way of getting the Cobalt back on the water.

    The 2nd week of December I flew a friend here from California to assist me with the wiring portion of the restoration. This is something that I am capable of doing but I'll be the first to admit it is not one of my strengths. My friend is really good at this.

    I may have mentioned before that this boat is now 32 years old and had several people make modifications over the years so the wiring was a bit of a train wreck. My friend and I started back at the batteries with new battery boxes and then worked our way through the harness eliminating old wire that was doing nothing and tracing everything up to the new helm. This included a new harness that came with my NOS gauges. At the same time we replaced all the old switches and I installed a new GPS.

    The GPS is the newest from Simrad and it is the GO5 unit that is a 5" all touch-screen display. It has a built in antenna, WI-FI capable for downloading charts and also has a slot for cards and will accept them from C-Map, Navionics and others. Because I will never fish with this boat I chose the unit without a transducer but CHiRP technology is available as well. I will just be using the digital depth gauge in the instrument panel.

    The prior post has a couple of before pics and here is what the new looks like installed in the boat.
    IMG_0600.JPG IMG_0601.JPG IMG_0603.JPG

    We wanted to start installing the new carpet but the adhesive requires at least 60* and we never saw temps over 50 while he was here. Still lots to do though....

    Shawn
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
    OllieC likes this.
  12. northshore

    northshore Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 17, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    1989 340 Sundancer
    Raymarine E90W Radar/Chartplotter
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340's
    Bravo Shawn - that is clean an nicely laid out.
    Keep the pics coming...
     
  13. Quint4

    Quint4 Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    S.W. Ohio
    330 Sport Bridge
    5.7 MPI 350 Merc Bluewaters
    Nice work
     
    NorCal Boater likes this.
  14. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    What a slick boat! Great job keeping it classy
     
    NorCal Boater likes this.
  15. BillK2632

    BillK2632 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jun 25, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    1999 185 Bowrider,
    Mercruiser 4.3, Alpha I
    Just a really neat boat - keep it coming - I am a Cobalt fan.
     
    NorCal Boater likes this.
  16. danziger

    danziger New Member

    20
    Jan 6, 2018
    Pensacola, FL
    2016 330 Sundancer
    6.2 Mercruisers
    Concur. Great work! I like Cobalts as well and you are doing a great job restoring that one!
     
  17. DanW

    DanW Member SILVER Sponsor

    162
    Apr 3, 2013
    Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Isleton, CA
    1988 340 Sundancer - "Nautical Smiles"
    1998 Regal 2100 LSR
    Sea Ray - Mercruiser 454
    Regal - Volvo 5.0Gi w/ Volvo-Penta outdrive
    It looks great!
     
  18. HUMPH

    HUMPH Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2009
    SF BAY AREA
    2003 410DA,
    2004 C14 Caribe
    CAT 3126TA's 350HP/
    50HP Honda
    Nice job Shawn!
     
  19. Fly'n Family

    Fly'n Family Member

    525
    Sep 19, 2013
    TX / CO
    2002 Cruisers Yachts 3870
    2003 Boston Whaler Sport 130 w/40 hp Merc
    Twin 425hp Crusaders
    Looking good and a fun thread to follow. I love what you've done with the wood, that looks amazing.
     
  20. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    Thanks guys....appreciate the positive comments.
    Shawn
     

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