Renovating K-38, VALENTINE

Posted: June 17, 2004

Please meet John Free. John is an accomplished builder of custom automobiles and restorer of antique cars who also pursued a parallel career in professional photography. He apprenticed with Bill Cushenberry who was the sheetmetal artist for George Barris’s custom cars. About 10 years ago John acquired the K-38 VALENTINE and initiated the renovation of her ribs and floors. Like most K-38s age and the stress of hard sailing had taken its toll on this lightly built boat. John removed all the interior components and bulkheads in order to replace every rib and floor.

John spiled each rib and created sawn replacements consisting of three distinct pieces which would be fit to the interior of the hull using scarf joints. Here you see him fitting two of the three pieces so constructed.

This photo shows a number of the completed ribs in place. John saturated the keelson with Smith’s clear penetrating epoxy and did the same with the new ribs. He also glued each of the new ribs into the keelson with epoxy.

Concurrently new floors were fabricated and put into place along with the new ribs.

Did we mention that John is not only an artist with automotive sheetmetal but with his cameras as well? This and the other photos of VALENTINE’s renovation attest to his eye.

John saturated the interior of the hull with Smith’s and then painted the entire thing.

A familiar view before the V-berth and tank are installed. New ribs, new floors, new fasteners, and fresh paint... and Mr. Kettenburg thought that the K-38s they built in the ‘50s would only last about 20 years!

The view aft from the lazerette showing the hull # routed into the keelson.

John still practices his photography although he has retired from the body and fender business. He teaches photography at Pasadena City College and is available for commissioned engagements when he’s not sailing VALENTINE to Catalina or the Channel Islands. You can reach John Free at 818.353.7223