Putting this thing back together as we prepare to move. It's still short one coat each of varnish and paint. New can of paint coming from Kirby along with a flow or conditioner product George thinks will help the bubbling.
I annealed the old stem bands carefully with an acetylene torch, since they were age- and work-hardened and I didn't want to crack them. Annealing revealed two places where cracks were starting next to screw holes - you could watch the dull orange heat travel across one side of the hole and not the other. Did not attempt any repair although I suppose I could have tried to solder them but they are so small and tight I don't think I'd have been able to achieve clean-ness within the crack to get a meaningful joint. After annealing they were nicely malleable and I fit them carefully with taps of a small lead mallet, from one screw to the next, and got a very nice clean fit. On the aft end where I still have the original outer stem, I could see my new screw holes were about 5/16" off the original holes, as the result of the tip ending up about that much lower than it had originally been. Can't quite figure that out as I did not need to remove 1/4" from the ribs, but it all came together well in any case. The end screws through the stem bands, on the decks, are machine screws that go into the stout brass connectors I made for the tips. Experimental but it all feels good.
Oh and a little obsessiveness, the original flat head screws seemed a bit small in the stem band holes so I bought some oval heads. They had a good diameter but protruded slightly above the profile of the stem band, so I ground down all the oval heads slightly so they fit within the curve of the stem band.
Oh and it had been a while, at first I mistakenly put the short spacers on the front seat instead of the back; they're now removed and I'm waiting for 2 new bolts for the rear seats. I found that two bolts were partially stripped, and that I had two nuts that were steel not brass. Guessing not a coincidence.
I'm short one oval head #6x7/8" screw for the aft coaming. Blech...
? - We're moving up to Whidbey WA. Once there, should I take the seats and thwarts back out to sand and do a final varnish coat (or last coat with everything together)? Should diamond head bolts be varnished over, and the stem bands?