Opening Pandora’s Stuffing Box! A True Horror In The Bilge Story.

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WARNING: If you are prone to blacking out looking at graphic images, you may want to sit today out. like a can of worms opened up and exploded in your face.  DON’T GO INTO THE HOUSE!!!!!!! So…

You were warned

Let’s go back in time. About two days ago. We got Sweet Peas cutlass bearings in. Fixed the seams in the keel and got her all back to go into the drink. Now, part of this job had a twist. While trying to get the shaft back into the boat it got a little hung up on the Plate that held the Stuffing box coupler.. And it was dodgy at best, but I knew it had to be removed. And so.. Sweating and knowing that I was on a set of train tracks and the train was coming. METAPHOR BTW..

Cotton and tools, to fix the leaky seams. The leaks happen when the boat is in the water and not sitting on the keel.

I had removed it and put it back on the way it came off, with about a tube of 5200.. Filling in the bad area. It looked and felt good. One of the bolts wont tighten, BUT the other three tightened down well.. So DONE? Right.. The monster was in the grave.. CUE the credits and get her in the water.

Put her in!

I mean come on, you know how this gonna go as well. YUP.. LEAKED LIKE I DO AT 2AM, 4AM She took on water from places I didn’t think water could find its way. The hand out of the grave! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH.. What a sick feeling, much like the past sick day BTW.. But knowing you have to go back up on the rail and start over with the same issue of seams, WHAT? and now the stuffing box.. It was worse.. WTF?

Where is all that water coming in?

Even George was confused, and that was the scariest part. George! You are the pilot of the plane, if you are confused.. WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE! ….. So we went home. Walked away..
Yesterday morning, we all showed up.. Wayne, George and Mr B. And calmly devised a plan of attack. Just having a plan is the calming part.

ROTTEN! Scream Shoe’s bigger brother. You may recall scream shoe, Story in link below. The lower left hole.. MUSH

A couple tests and KAPOW.. Big leak from inside and found the areas of the seams. Its like an upside down roof. Water comes in where you cant see it and can confuse you.

You can see where all the 5200 had been put in.. Just like before. YA, I know. Just because you hide your yes from stuff does not fix the issue.

The stuffing box issue was the true horror ship show. The floor had to be removed, so we could see what was happening. Mind you at this point its Wayne and I. OH GOD! So in we went. Saws, Chisels, Fat screw drives, and a ton of courage.
Turns out we used a spoon, cause it was mush, just mush.. And the Shaft log, is a log. A huge chunk of wood with a hole in it for the shaft. like prehistoric stuff. Only the log was part pudding. I could see myself trying to explain this to a customer if I was really a shop. mmmm sir, ya, well, I know she was fine when she floated in here. But, we did open up pandora’s Stuffing box!


The rot removed. The shaft is housed in a tube which is amazing. I think??? that little pimple right above the hole is a plug, so wax or Talo can be poured in the box. Old school stuff

New plan. Still need to run this past george. Maybe one piece. Its more for the box to attach to it. With the shaft in a tube? This is were can go bad, my ignorance can make it worse.

So, today, hopefully we will start rebuilding, and be stronger than before, the sun will come out, we will be more handsome, and have no aches or pains. I will sleep through the nights, butterflies will fly and sunlight will dapple my universe and young children will sing again from the mountain tops. Ya! STAY TUNED?

UGH! and yes, one of the studs had rotten away. Others are fine.


If you want to read SCREAM SHOE, Here is the link.

12 replies
  1. Chug-A-Lug
    Chug-A-Lug says:

    You might have to consult the “Rot Doctor”.Really exists-just google em.I got my cpes from them.

  2. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    I always wondered why my bronze shaft logs were called shaft logs and not shaft housings or something like that. They were originally actually made out of logs. Nice work!

  3. Mark
    Mark says:

    Start looking for white oak now. My recommendation for any wood replacement in wet areas like that. A bitch to work with but will last.

  4. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    What about a piece of pressure treated 4×6 cut down to fit or 8×8 cut down. I know – who uses pressure treated SYP (southern yellow pine) in boat building? Well, think outside the box, why not in this situation. White oak is not that rot resistant although much better than red oak or ash from what I’ve read in a wood boat building guide a while back.

  5. Max Mueller
    Max Mueller says:

    Don’t drill new holes for lags too small and be careful tightening lags. Put new white oak engine beds in and had lag break off. Had to use a burr and couple of hours to remove broken lag bolt.

  6. Matt
    Matt says:

    We have lots of oak here. Heavy crap. Pulled some out of the wood stacks and been getting it ready to block in. Its like working with stone. It’s gonna be the strongest part of the log. There are so many little tricks and stuff you need to know, that I dont know. But learning

  7. John F Rothert
    John F Rothert says:

    Not a big deal…you have the stuff, the guy, and the place. Just fix it. No hurry…good experience…fall weather…Mr. B…
    I saw this same style and size shaft long and a horn timber all replaced with CPES and Smith’s Fillit…yeah..a ton of it…but worked well.

    John in Va.

  8. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    On behalf of all the restorers out here, I say thank you for acknowledging how that conversation goes with a client. Some clients are understanding….others not so much.

    I always liken boat repairs to a bathroom remodel. Sure, everything works great, you just want to update the fixtures and the floor….and then the floor comes up and there’s rot everywhere. At least they can see and understand that…..🤷‍♂️

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