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Simonboatshift

Birchwood Boats

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Hi all, 

As you may have seen I currently have two Birchwoods, a 25 (shortly up for sale!) and a recently purchased 33 aft cabin.  

I would like to try and pool together any information from fellow Birchwood boat owners where items have been sourced or identified as replacement parts or part suppliers for these boats.  From things like engines etc, to the boat builder specific things that were used on the build of these boats.

I see there was a Birchwood boat owners forum, which doesn't seem to be in existence any longer.  Hopefully we can get some good info shared here, as I have seen many Birchwoods around and can find little useful information.

many thanks,  Simon.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Simonboatshift said:

I see there was a Birchwood boat owners forum, which doesn't seem to be in existence any longer.  Hopefully we can get some good info shared here, as I have seen many Birchwoods around and can find little useful information.

 

 

Hello Simon,

Yes there was a Birchwood forum (http://birchwoodboatowners.myfreeforum.org), I was a member until it finished.

As you say there is not too much information around, but there are still plenty of Birchwood owners out there.

Our syndicate owns a 2001 Birchwood 340.

I will have a word with Jonzo, to see if we can have a Birchwood section.

Regards

Alan

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Hi Alan,

Yes, I think we passed you or certainly the boat earlier on this year.  

I think it would be a nice idea if possible that we can get a page for Birchwood owners, for any info or advice on how or where to source bits or any specific advice etc on jobs done that could be common to the models.

 

Simon.

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Hey all, I hope everyone's well.  Not been on the forum of much lately as have been spending what free time I have had working on the B33.  

Updates so far are that I sold the B25 quickly to a local couple (Folkestone) and so  Aquaholic now has new owners.  They are keeping her on the same mooring at Ferry Marina.

attention then turned to the B33.

 

Part 1:

I noticed several leaks from windows in the front cabin.  Upon stripping out of all the linings, it became clear that I had two different issues to deal with.  Firstly, the fixed windows appeared to have rubber seal degradation issues.  I spent about 4 hours taking the port side mid cabin window out of the boat to strip and replace the seal....luckily no grp damage but a bit of a nightmare to get out.  This window got stripped down and I replaced the rubber seal using an extrusion from seals-direct.  Once this was all done I refitted to the boat.  After this 'mission' I decided to go down the route of cutting out the seal with the window in situ, and resealing.  This was a much quicker way of doing it and has proved all good so far.   The water ingress had damaged the soft linings and timber supports so I stripped off all the linings.  This meant taking out all the window inter-screws to remove the lining.  Doing this revealed another problem.  This boat has had window covers made with turnbuckle fasteners.  These fasteners have been riveted to the superstructure..... yes you may know where I'm going with this.... in the middle of the rivets is.... yes a little hole.  Guess where a lot of the water ingress was coming from....! With a tub of gelcoat filler, these were ground back and all filled.  All water leaks sorted.  All the window areas were cleaned off and retrimmed in foam backed vinyl, together with the ceiling lining under the V berth.  Curtain pelmets  were retrimmed in leather to match and all refitted.  

 

Next bit to follow....

 

Simon.

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B33 Part 2.

On the startboard side where the galley is usually situated on Birchwoods we have a small sofa.  Behind and above this is a panel with two drop down locker doors.  These were not fitted particularly well with the front panel being poorly fitted and the leaking windows having damaged some of the wooden fixing supports.  Next was to replace damaged timbers, and properly fit the locker separating bulkhead.  I then trimmed them out with odd bits of foam backed vinyl and some grey lining material and securely fitted the front panel making a greatly improved locker area in this part of the boat.

 

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PLEASE keep this coming, I just love threads like this where we can follow the work in such detail and actually see the results.

Especially impressed with your work on the window seals. I know just what a task this really is!

More please!

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thanks vetchugger! 

Well after sorting out the lockers on the starboard side, I then set to work sorting out the damaged port side woodwork.  There is a dinette seating area to port, which the worst offending window was above (the one I removed from the grp).  This also had an under deck unit, with two lockers and a middle storage shelf.  The wood was all beyond repair and the joinery work was questionable to say the least (along with most of the other woodwork inside as it turns out....)

 I removed the unit and some foam backed vinyl to expose the original panel lining which, sadly was not really in any fit state to continue its purpose. Once again, removal got me back to the hull, and sorting supports for the new plywood panels that were going in.  This under deck unit takes away quite a lot of space if using the seating area for a berth, so I decided not to refit it.  Once the panels were shaped and dry fitted, I removed them to cover in leather trim using the new material I purchased to do the interior seat areas.  A new top made for the aft most seating area and a nice locker lid cut in to access under seat storage finished that off.

once this cabin is finished and the carpet goes down, I will take the carpet up to the line of the seating against the hull.  (Seen as bare ply in the pic).  

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Part 4.

 

A few months ago, I found a local upholstery company.  I asked if they could come up and have a look regarding doing all the necessary work that I required.  In the time between then and about a week ago I had been doing all the work to sort out the front cabin. ( which was more than I had originally bargained on!).  In that time all of the seating had been stored in the aft cabin.  

It was the day before the upholsterers visit to price up the job.  I went into the aft cabin to get all the seat cushions out to discover that the top one was a bit 'damp' ( it was really raining hard outside).  Eyebrows went up when I heard 'drip-drip-drip' in quick succession....  Cushions out and in their respective positions so mr upholsterer could get a grip on things I thought I better investigate this wet wonderland.  No signs of water.  Giving the bed side panels a gentle tug and peering down behind them my thoughts of a 'quick tidy' in the aft cabin soon became a fading light.  The support beam glassed into the side of the hull had a puddle of water on top.  But where was it coming from??  Windows - after all the issues in the front cabin, surely it had to be windows.  Oh no....

 

pulling away loose foam backed side lining material in rial in front of the window revealed more soggy wet mess... higher.... roof linings.... again, all soggy wet.  Nothing left for it but rip the roof linings down.  After about an hour or so of stripping everything out, I finally found the culprit.  Aft deck handrail support at the front of the cabin roof was seriously leaking.  Mainly due to the fact that two of the four mounting screws were not even tight!  Water was literally pouring in.  

 

Having removed the side linings it became clear the damage was extensive.  The forward end bulkhead in the cabin was totally blown, rotten away and brittle.  All that was left was to keep removing things until solid, and dry wood was found.  Thankfully all the bunk panels and supports were good, and it was really only the bulkhead with the wardrobe door on that had suffered.  

So now all the bad and damaged wood was put, a new lower bulkhead was shaped and fitted, up to bunk level.  For some reason, from here up it steps back a couple of inches to form a headboard and the remainder of the bulkhead and wardrobe front.  This was in about 4 or 5 separate parts and none particularly well fitted or shaped.  Headboard section shaped and fitted, a length of teak was machined to form the bottom edge of the wardrobe door panel.  The side panel infill was then cut, shaped and fitted in.  The original door frame and doors then went back on.  As this is all teak faced ply, my real dilemma was what I was going to do to reface the new panels.  Do I go on a day trip to Poole to buy a really expensive sheet of teak faced ply??  I pondered all different options.  As this is a boat that we are looking to keep long term, I have already decided that my aim here is to get the boat sorted and useable as quickly as possible.  Every couple of years I am going bring her home and properly refit a section at a time.  So although a nice new sheet of teak ply would be nice, it is really only going to be a waste as eventually the cabin will have a proper refit.  I found on eBay a supplier of iron on real teak veneer.  A couple of days later a package arrived and I have to say it looks perfect.  I have not fitted it yet but this will be another part to the ongoing story!  

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Hi Vetchugger.

 

yes regarding the windows, they are a real problem on the older boats.  After spending so long and the nightmare that was getting just that middle one out quickly changed my mind on full removal.  The risk of gelcoat damage was too great and I think that really was my biggest concern.  Especially after I found the window frame to hull joint was perfectly sealed made me turn even more from window removal.  

 

I had done the same on the front windows on the B25 and this had worked really well, so decided that it would be far safer to go that route and cut all the old rubber seal out.  

 

I also have another couple of tricks here that should also work well for the future...

Every time I went to the boat to sort this problem, it had either been raining or was damp with dew etc.  I couldn't see how I could keep the windows dry for long enough to really sort the seal.  Turns out Toolstation (one of my major supplies!) do a few different types of adhesive film.  Normally used for decorating etc at home they do a film to protect windows when painting.  Clean off the outside of the boat and the window and stick this over the whole lot.  After a few days with a heater going in the cabin, the joint dries out nicely with no risk of water getting in to where you eventually want a good seal joint.  

After seeing how well this has worked,  it could now also be what goes over the windows over the winter period when we lay her up.  We have canvas covers but they are not waterproof so this will be a really good additional leak preventative barrier.

 

I started by doing the inside first, that way when the inside is done and you do outside, you can remove the film, cut out all the old rubber trim and re-seal in one go, without any risk of trapping water.  

 

Also so a very long handle adjustable blade knife (car windscreen tool I think) and a hack saw blade with a hook ground / cut out of one of the holes in the end really made getting all the rubber out much easier.

 

Hope you like the posts and keep checking on progress..  however it will slow down a bit for a while now as I will be away working for several weeks before I get another chance to get cracking on her.

 

Simon.

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Yes Simon, On my first Norman I had similar problems with the windows. I too got the rubbers from Seals Direct. All this talk of inter screws and such bring back nightmares! I did cheat with one and took it to a Leeds firm (Kellett Engineering) who supposedly actually supplied frames to Norman. Was a tad expensive as you might guess!

 

Yes, please keep posting, we are a patient and appreciative bunch!

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Looking good Simon. If you need any trimmings etc, I work for chatham based Trimnet.. we can supply anything and everything you will need.. Keep the threads coming.. despite now working in this work.. I too love seeing other posts like this! 

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Well after several months of not being able to get to work on her due to business being busy, along with the other thing needed, enthusiasm, I have finally had a weeks concerted effort to break the back of the aft cabin.  Got a few more bits to do and still a lot of finishing bits but have fully re-lined all the soft upholstery, new panels and floor. Teak veneer on bulkhead.... on and on but feels like she's nearly there now.  

Looking forward to getting into the engine room to get that sorted... 

 

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Grand to hear from you again Simon. Enthusiasm does come in doses that are not endless!

Look forward to seeing more as you get nearer the goal!

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10 hours ago, Simonboatshift said:

Well after several months of not being able to get to work on her due to business being busy, along with the other thing needed, enthusiasm, I have finally had a weeks concerted effort to break the back of the aft cabin.  Got a few more bits to do and still a lot of finishing bits but have fully re-lined all the soft upholstery, new panels and floor. Teak veneer on bulkhead.... on and on but feels like she's nearly there now.  

Looking forward to getting into the engine room to get that sorted... 

 

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:default_dunce:  Hi Simon.  Mine was the Birchwood 25 at the end of the Alkham Valley.  I bought this as a project after selling my Seamaster 30 (which you moved for me some years ago) and starting retirement.

It had been lived on for some years by a young lad and was in need of a great deal of work.

I spent most of the first six months on her getting her ready to move to Norfolk.

Untold amounts of money were spent (and lost) and I started to lose interest and find reasons for not going!

I decided eventually we would not take her to Norfolk and sold her to a dealer in Ireland at some loss.  Needless to say after I sold her lots of people said 'if I had known what you had sold it for I would have bought it and paid more' - typical!

This was the first boat that I lost money on and did not get the chance to enjoy it.  However, it kept me busy and out of the pub. The wife now finds loads for me to do and we still go boating - but now on a cruise ship with a captain and no work.

Keep up the good work and I hope she is back in the water soon.

Regards Happy aka Alan :14_relaxed:

 

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Hi Alan, great to hear from you!  Yes I wondered what happened to her, saw she had moved. That's a real shame, but what's done is done now I guess.  I have moved several sea master 30's, where did yours go?   I am also about to embark on a Moonraker 36 flybridge project once I have got our boat done, so will still be busy!  

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Today's instalment, albeit brief as only had a few hours to work on her today was to start getting the new leather headlining in place.  Smells lovely in there now!! 

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35 minutes ago, Simonboatshift said:

Hi Alan, great to hear from you!  Yes I wondered what happened to her, saw she had moved. That's a real shame, but what's done is done now I guess.  I have moved several sea master 30's, where did yours go?   I am also about to embark on a Moonraker 36 flybridge project once I have got our boat done, so will still be busy!  

Hi Simon.  Mine was called My Panache and you moved her from Lincoln to Norfolk.  She was on your profile 'photos for a while.

 

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Hello Simon,

Just found your renovation posting having just acquired a 33 GT, with yes you've guessed it leaky windows. Though this is fairly common with older boats as you say. I am very interested in how you go about replacing the window seals in situ as you have done and also what seal rubbers you purchased from seals direct.

Liked the tip on the decorating tape as well, I will have to give that a try this winter.

Thanks for such an extensive posting, its much appreciated.

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Hello Simon,

Just found your renovation posting having just acquired a 33 GT, with yes you've guessed it leaky windows. Though this is fairly common with older boats as you say. I am very interested in how you go about replacing the window seals in situ as you have done and also what seal rubbers you purchased from seals direct.

Liked the tip on the decorating tape as well, I will have to give that a try this winter. Was it the Prodec Low Tac masking tape you used?

Thanks for such an extensive posting, its much appreciated.

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Hi Pablo,

 

Great to hear you too have got yourself a Birchwood.  It seems no matter what make of boat you have, at the age that they now are, window leaks are something of a common occurrence!

I would recommend spending the time and cutting away the old crusty rubber from between the glass and frame and resealing with black marine silicon sealer. (once everything is cleaned and dry obviously!)

The time taken to remove the window in its entirety from the superstructure and also the risk to the gelcoat is simply not worth it.  Unless of course the frame is corroded.  All of the windows I have re sealed have been perfectly fine since they have been done.  

I have a few more to do on my grp aft wheelhouse enclosure windows, so, providing I remember when I do them I will try to do a little video that I can post so you can see exactly.  The only thing is I'm not entirely sure when exactly that may be as yet, so you may have already had a go before I can do it!  If you want to discuss it on the phone so I can tell you in detail what I have done then pm me and I will drop you my number,  Or you can go onto the boat-shift website and find it...!

Regarding the tape, you mean the plastic I used to cover the window?  If so, then  no, that was the blue window protection film that I used, also available in red or clear, depending on your favourite colour i guess ! (P.27 in the current TS catalogue)  It says can stay on for 4 weeks, but I had left this covering the windows for about 6 months and on removal it has left a feint witness marking of the adhesive glue, which should cut off no problem when its polished.  

I moved a 33GT last week to Swansea and moved her from the hoist to the berth and must say they handle very well.  Which engines do you have?  I understand the 33GT has a shorter engine space between the main bulkheads, making it difficult to get the 6 cylinder Fords in? 

All the best,

 

Simon.

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Quick question, does anyone know the colour code or where to get the orange paint for the Ford Lehman engines?  Most I have seen are Red, and no reference anywhere to an orange.  Not tried any of the usual suspects yet (Lancing etc etc) but guess they may be able to help.  

Still got quite a long way to go with all the stuff down in this mess of an engine space.  Oh and the starboard side fuel tank has got to come out to rectify a leak.... That'll be a new tank then....  But on the bright side, at least the engines run beautifully !!

 

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