When I shaped the mockup bowsprit last fall I drew the taper out and the "step-down" shoulder for the kranze iron (I didn't have a kranze iron at the time, so I made a "SWAG." I used a band-saw to make those cuts and then used a 7-10-7 gauge to lay out the lines for shaping it to 8 then 16 sided. Then, I spent some time sanding to make it round. I used the sprit to get the dimensions for the gammon iron that I made a pattern for and then had cast in bronze. Click here for more info on the gammon iron.
It was not very pretty work but it was a good opportunity to learn the basics of the required techniques. It's a little rough in some places and the knots in the #2 yellow pine I used for the mock-up caused some difficulties. But the fit seems to be pretty good. I used a mallet to drive it on. The real sprit will be Douglass Fir and will of course be completely clear of knots. Plus, the pattern makers rasp will be less aggressive than the carpenter's rasp I used today and of course I will be more patient for the final product, with more sanding, etc. I think I could also wax up the inside of the kranze iron and slater some thickened epoxy on the area where the kranze iron will go and then drive the kranze iron on to made sure I get a good fit. This would make sure there are no voids or uneven spots. It's something to consider. In the meantime, it's time to get back into the boat, 100 degree heat or not.
I have continued to use Epifanes Gloss Varnish. I thinned the third coat about 10 percent. I applied the varnish with a 2" badger hair brush. It's the same brush I have used for 15 years. I have gone the route of suspending our brushes in one of those specially made plastic containers (way over priced by the way). I originally stored them in mineral spirits but I have since switched over to kerosene. So far it works fine . . . and the kerosene is much less expensive. Before I use the brush I spin it down in a brush spinner inside a plastic bucket I keep just for that reason. It's a little inconvenient but I am working out a routine that gets simpler and quicker each time. I didn't want to pull the tape off or pull the paper up while the varnish is still wet because it would put a bunch of dust in the air.
I spent some time on the phone today with Myles Thurlow, a remarkable young man, who is the lead rigger for Gannon and Benjamin Railway. He has been coaching me a little about spar making and wire splicing. He talked me through some techniques about final tapering over the end of the sprit so the kranze iron will fit properly. All good stuff to know. I'll probably work on that, on the side, while I work on the interior. I had a good time in Kentucky, my home state, but it is good to be back to work on the Far Reach.
Regarding the thinning of varnish--I had an interesting conversation with Epifanes today. I had poured 8oz of varnish into a cup . . . and thinned it with mineral spirits 50 percent. To me, that means add 4oz of mineral spirits. But, it did not seem as thin as I recalled from previous first coats I have applied. I shrugged it off and happily applied it to the staving over the nav station . . . but, it was definitely thicker than I thought it should be. So, I called the Epifanes tech line. Sure enough, the tech rep told me that 50 percent means 1:1. Call me silly but in my world that would be 100 percent. But, no matter as they there was no harm. I thinned the remainder of the varnish down and finished up the first coat with a total of about 16 oz of high gloss varnish (not including thinner) applied. I doubt I will get to the second coat for a few days due to some personal business I have to take care of. Nonetheless, it's a fine thing to see some visible progress being made.
I'll add some photos tomorrow of the trimmed plugs and sanded staving. I'll add them to the below photo album.
Today, I attached the foam wedge to the divider with contact cement (this just holds it in place so it can't slide around) and reclamped it into position, screwed the cleat to the vertical panel of the double berth (through the staving and ply backing with #10 1 1/2" ss screws) then performed a thorough acetone wipe-down. I wet out the two inch wide strip on the inside of the hull on both sides of the divider as well as the divider where the tape would lay. I wet out the biaxial tape and applied it the hull and the divider. I left it clamped for 8 hours.
Next, I spent about two hours sharpening all eight chisels and four planes. I spent a little extra time on the bull-nose plane lapping the back of the blade and putting a micro bevel on the edge. I really need to spend some more time tuning the bottom surface of the Stanley smoothing and low-angle block planes. I spent some time last year lapping the irons and regrinding the bevels. They work pretty good but tuning the bottom would make a big difference I think. However, I will save it for another time. After sharpening the chisels and planes I went to work on cutting wood plugs for the staving. I needed at least 800. I didn't count, but I filled up a quart container so that ought to get me close. I used a 3/8" tapered plug cutter in the Delta bench top drill press. I set the drill for about 1000 RPM which is the second to the last slowest speed. Drilling the plugs is pretty simple work though boringly repetitive. I don't do very good with boring repetitive work but sometime you have to do what you have to do if you want the prize. I tied the end of the four inch intake line for the dust collector to the bench top drill to suck up the saw-dust and went to work. After drilling the plugs I ran the stock over the table saw with the fence set just enough off the blade to cut the very ends of the plugs from the wood stock. The plugs just fall out in a big pile. Easy peasy. I am now set to start plugging the counter sinks tomorrow.
Anyway, I ordered it last week and it arrived today. So, I put it straight into use this afternoon while cleaning up some of staving that the router could not reach. Though it will work better when I tune it up on my water stones -- lapping the iron and putting a micro bevel on the blade -- it was pretty nice right out of the box. The nice thing is the nose can be removed and it works like a chisel plane. Very useful. I am no professional but I was pleased with my efforts to clean up the edges. There are some pictures below.
This latested batch of staving installed pretty smoothly. My technique is smoother and more refined. I decided not to install staving in areas that I not only know will be covered with cabinetry but that I know how will be covered with cabinetry . . . areas that are completely hidden and for which I have already made a good design. This will staving some expense, some weight, and a lot of time. For example, under the head sink basin area and behind the upper cabinet over the head sink, behind the forward face and under the top lid of the icebox/chart table, behind the galley sink, etc. I also can't install the lower settee panel until I varnish the staving that is already in place. I will glue the cleats on the back side (inside) of the ply panel (the staving will go on the outside face). But, I will not glue the cleats to the bulkheads that support the panel. I want to be able to remove the settee if needed without destroying the furniture. I have tried to do this wherever possible. So, once I get a couple of coats of varnish on the settees backs and sides, I'll install the front parts.
The current plan is to trim all the edges of the staving that I let run wild, countersink the holes, install wood plugs, sand, and get a couple of coats of varnish on to protect the wood. I also need to think about cutting some mahogany to cover some of the exposed hull near the cabin sole that won't be covered by cabinetry or other furniture. I have the mahogany on hand for that so it should not be too difficult.
I need to order a little more System Three T-88 epoxy for the remaining staving.