The rows of screws are actually much more level than the photo indicates . . . I worked hard to get these as level as I could. There is a little play in the washers and the bocks are not perfectly square. There is only one screw hole that is off significantly (about 3/8") and that in the top of the first row I installed today--the first piece under the cabin side. Somehow the staving slipped down and I did not notice it till I was installing the next one. It will be behind the book case so no need to get excited about it.
You can also see how the new staving is a little lighter color than the previous staving. It's all from the same tree and the colors were much closer before installation began. Yesterday I thought maybe it was the UV light darkening the wood but I am not so sure. It may be just the air getting to the wood now that it's not stacked. I am willing to bet the wood I installed today will be darker in a few days. I have also read that besides mahogany getting a little darker over time, the color differences in the banding will also even out as well.
This was a pleasant day of work. I am getting a little faster and smoother at cutting, trimming, and installing the staving. I have a good system for mixing the T-88 now and it moves along quickly. The pot-life is excellent. I mix up enough to do 6-8 pieces of staving at a time. I have much less squeeze-out as well which makes the whole thing a lot less messy. Installing the wood plugs is time consuming but not difficult.
After trimming the wood plugs I removed the screw bock clamps from the staving on the port side bulkhead in the saloon. I laid out 11 pieces of staving, planned the ends and cut them to length. I dry fit five of the eleven before I ran out of time. Tomorrow I should finish up the staving on the port side bulkhead. Then I'll start working my way around the saloon. Soon I'll get a couple coats of varnish on the staving and the cabin sides. At that point, I should be able to start installing the berths in the forward cabin and the berths, settees and sideboard in the saloon.
This afternoon I got back to working on the boat. It was good to get back in there. Since I got a late start I decided to begin work by removing the screw block clamps from the staving in the forward cabin, countersinking the holes, and installing wood-plugs. I installed the staving around the first of December. It is a good thing I did not wait any longer. You can see in the photo a little discoloration where the block clamps were. I have to wonder if it isn't from UV light darkening the mahogany. If so, it would be a very small amount of UV light since the boat was mostly closed up. I think it will sort it self out over time. I will lightly sand anyway before I apply the first coats of thinned varnish. I will not let the clamps remain on any more staving longer than is necessary.
After removing the clamps I countersunk wood-plug holes in the staving and then screwed in SS flat head #6X3/4" screws. Then, I dipped the wood-plugs that I made two weeks ago in some Tightbond III--I could just as easily use TB II--and tapped them in with a plastic mallet. Tomorrow, I will trim them with a chisel. I may go ahead and start varnishing while I simultaneously install staving in the main cabin.
The temp in the boat today was 59 degrees so the heater is doing the job. The temp drops at night in the boat but has not gotten much colder than about 41 degrees on the very cold nights. Good enough for what I am doing.
We are forecast for high 50 degree temperatures later in the week. That would be nice.
The sun was out today so the SRF warmed up quite a bit. It was pleasant enjoyable work installing the staving. Tonight I finished cleaning up the website cataloging entries from the Daily Log to the various "project" pages. I also added a new tab to give me a place to store some stories I posted on the Daily Log that didn't fit well anywhere else. The website is getting bigger and it is difficult sometimes to know how to organize the various projects. Hopefully, it is not to difficult to navigate and makes sense.
I'll take the next two days off to spend with the family. They are calling for snow in the next few days which will thrill the kids. Merry Christmas to all.
Once the air was clear I marked horizontal lines on the bulkhead where the screws will go. Then, I took all four pieces of staving up to the boat at the same time. I measured for length and used the jig saw to cut them to the proper length with a slight angle cut on top end to match the slope of the cabin overhead. Then I tested for fit. I did all four and positioned them on the bulkhead. They looked good. Next, I took them to the wood shop. I planed 2 1/4" back from the top end to a depth of about 3/16". This allows the top of the staving to lie flush over the slightly proud tabbing at the top of the bulkhead. Next, I flipped the staving over and sanded the back with 60 grit on a finish sander with the vacuum hooked up. Then I vacuumed any wood dust off and wiped the backs with acetone.
Getting the system down for this first batch of staving with the new epoxy was time consuming. I had just the right amount of epoxy squeeze-out. I did have a very small amount of squeeze-out up through the V-groove in a couple of places but I was able to clean it up with acetone and a rag. It will take a little more time to figure out exactly how much epoxy to apply to the staving but I am pretty close now. When I finished installing the first four pieces I went ahead and trimmed, planed, and sanded the next four pieces but I ran out of time to install them, so they will have to wait till the morning. I'll get a lot more done each day now that I have the stations set up and I have a feel for what needs to be done. I am not sure how long it will take to install the staving in the saloon and the head. Maybe a week or 10 days if I don't get distracted and if I put in an honest days work every day. Then, I should be able to get a couple of coats of varnish on and start installing the furniture.
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I thought this was also a good time to add some additionally strengthening to the main bulkheads. Though they are otherwise in good shape, the tabbing had separated in a few places on two of the forward bulkheads. So, today I levered the gap open and squirted in as much quickset 5200 as I could get in there. Then I through-bolted the four main bulkheads every six inches with 1/4" pan-head bolts using fender washers on both sides and nylon locking nuts. Though the tabbing seldom separates from the glass hull, it is not uncommon for it to eventually separate from wood, especially oily grained teak. Unlike epoxy, polyester resin is not a very good adhesive. On the Far Reach, the tabbing separated from the wood in just a couple of places but I through-bolted along the length for good measure. All the bolts and nuts will be hidden by the trim. I will probably through-bolt all the structural bulkheads but I ran out of fender washers so I went as far as I could for now.
Afterwards, in preparation for installing more staving, I sanded all of the bulkheads with 40 grit using a RO sander with the vacuum attachment. I usually buy my abrasives at McMaster-Carr. But I ran out a while back and went to Lowe's and bought a 10 disk package of "Gator" PSA 40 grit. I did not know how much better the McMaster-Carr abrasives were until I used something else. There is simply no comparison. The Gator paper backing is thin and tears easily. The abrasive wears out quickly. The McMaster-Carr abrasive disks have a very thick, almost cloth like, backing, and are very durable. When it comes to abrasives, you get what you pay for.
After measuring for the extension I milled a piece of bald cypress. Once I cut it to the dimensions I wanted I used my biscuit cutter to cut slots to ensure the extension would remain in the correct position for the epoxy work. I could have just epoxied the extension on with the biscuits but it is in a vulnerable place. It will support the aft end other starboard settee and will probably get leaned on and generally knocked about. So, I decided I would epoxy tape both sides for added strength. Since the whole thing will be covered with mahogany staving, the biaxial will have to be flush so the staving will lie smoothly across the width of the bulkhead. A single layer of wetted out 17.7oz biaxial is approximately 1/16" thick. Thus, after cutting the slots and testing for fit, I used the power planer to cut 1/16" deep recesses, just over two inches wide on each side of the bulkhead and the extension to allow a single layer of 4 1/4" wide biaxial to lie flush. The length of the planer causes some limitations with cutting recesses when you don't have unrestricted access to both ends of the wood. I had to start at the top of the installed bulkhead otherwise I would not get an even depth. Using a small fence to maintain the correct width of the cut, I ran the planer down the length as far as I could before the planer bottomed out on the cabin sole. I then planed the extension stopping the same distance from the end so I would have matching recesses on the lower ends. After checking again for fit I pre cut the biaxial.
Next, I mixed up some slightly thickened epoxy and spread it on the end-grain of the plywood and on the edge of the cypress. I liberally brushed the epoxy in the slots and installed the biscuits. Then I pushed it into place. After that I mixed up neat epoxy and wet out the wood and also the biaxial for both sides of the extension. The temperature was pretty cool so I wet the cloth out in the wood shop where it was warmer. I then rolled the biaxial into place working out the bubbles.
Next, I I mixed up some more epoxy thickened with 407 medium density filler and spread it over the biaxial to fill the weave and the slight gaps around the edge of the biaxial tape.
Last, I set up some heat lamps and cranked up the electric oil heater in the boat to keep the temperature in the high 50s or low 60s.
I have not used the new collectors enough to know how well they will work but my first impressions are that this will be a good system for the space I have. The machines seem to be well built and are powerful and relatively quiet. They both had good reviews. The air cleaner has five speeds (two would be fine) and five time settings. It has a pre filter and an internal bag filter that collects down to one micron. The whole thing runs off a remote control so it was simple to install. The power cord just reached a receptacle near the clamps but I need to install one in the ceiling so the cord will be out of the way. I'll do that some other time. Right now I want to get back to the boat. me to add paragraph to your block, write your own text and edit me.
You can see the starboard side radius is not very round. That's because that was all I could cut given that I did not mess with the inboard edge. It was easy to get the radius cut on the portside since I cut 3 1/2" off the end of the bulkhead. I'll cut a little piece for that when I scarf on the extension. Staving will cover all of it anyway.
Though it is not the 5HP Clear View Cyclone I covet, it looks to be a suitable machine given my space limitaion and budget. I waited along time to get a decent dust collector. Much too long. I wasted untold hours cleaning up the shop after even the simplest project . . . always wearing a full face respirator. I did not budget for this but the other options were worse . . . and quite frankly I was just fed up with the mess. The Oneida mini-cyclone/shop vac is a great setup, but it was not designed for what I was asking it to do. The new collector will get a good work out in the next few months. Once I know more about it I'll provide my assessment on the tools page. In the meantime, I'll do my best to keep blocks of wood out of the machine.
In the last few days I finished up the milling the staving. I sorted it by grain and color as best I could. Then, I moved back into the wood shop where it is sitting on wood racks. I figure this is a good place for it to further stabilize after the milling. It's ready to go. The T-88 is ready. Wooden backing blocks with screws and washers are ready.
Today, I took more measurements in the boat. I have to cut down one of the partial bulkheads to widen up the passage between the galley and nav station and into the main saloon. Not a big deal, but I want to get it right. I'll probably make the cuts tomorrow. After measuring, I started work on making up the mahogany plugs I'll need to plug the holes I drilled, and will continue to drill, to install the temporary screw clamps in the staving. This was a pretty simple undertaking. I set up my drill press with a tapered plug cutter. I used some scrap mahogany off-cutts from the staving as the source. I cut a double row of plugs on one side, then ran the wood through the table saw. The plugs just fell out on the tablesaw. Then I took the half that was left and cut more plugs. Then, I ran it through the table saw "releasing" those plugs and so on and so forth. I filled up a quart jar pretty quick.
This may be a pretty good time to start work on the pattern I'll need to make to have the gammon iron cast in bronze.
Tomorrow I'd like to get started on cutting the half laps and maybe even the V grooves. It would be great to get it all taken care of, though I may be a little short of the entire amount of staving I will need. If I run short I can always get some more mahogany from my supplier though since he has another 500 BF of QS A Mahogany arriving next week.
I have been thinking about how I can keep the boat warm enough to do some epoxy work inside with the lower winter temperatures coming on fast. I bought one of those oil filled electric radiators from Lowe's today. They are pretty inexpensive and I think more economical to run than an electric ceramic heater with a fan. It's also a lot safer. Anyway, I placed it in the boat and turned it on this afternoon. I went back about two hours later. The temperature in the SRF was about 40 deg F but the temp in the boat was a balmy 62 degrees. The outside temps are dropping to the mid twenties tonight so it will be interesting to see what the new heater can do.
Today, I started milling the remaining mahogany. I had already ripped it to about 2 5/8" wide. First, I had to reconfirm my cutting plan so I spent part of the morning going over the math for how I would precut the wood to length to reduce loss when I recut it to straighten it out. I did not want to be too precise or it would get too complicated and reduce flexibly during installation.Once I was satisfied with the plan, I cut to length all but about eight pieces on the chop saw. Then I stacked the wood in the garage and set my jointer up out there so I would have more room to work. The garage and the wood shop have a common wall so it's only a few feet from one to the other. I have double doors between the garage and the woodshop so access is easy. Then, I started running the mahogany across the jointer. As soon as I had one side straight I took that piece to the table saw in the wood shop and ripped the opposite side. It took maybe five hours. I wore a respirator as there was no way my little dust collection system could keep up with the debris I was producing. Once the wood was cut, I stacked it and began a the cleanup. About twenty percent of the wood is kind of ropey/wavy and may not lend itself to being resawn. I'll know more when I try it. About twenty percent of the wood is gorgeous, even colored, and very straight grained. The rest is kind of in the middle.
The next task is to resaw each piece on the table saw--to make two planks from one-- and then to cut all the half-laps and the V-grooves. Once that is complete it will be more or less ready to install.
We are forecasted for temps in the high teens in the next couple of days. I need about 40 degrees in the boat to epoxy the staving in place and the temps needs to stay above 35 degrees in the boat for a week. I can heat the inside of the boat but I am not sure I can keep it warm enough for that long. So, I may let this very cold (for here) weather pass and then begin installing the staving. I have some other projects I can work on in the shop if necessary. Nonetheless, it is good to be getting close to the final phase of milling the staving.
I also continue to have reservations about the Tightbond III as an adhesive between the teak bulkhead and the mahogany staving. It might be fine, but based on a suggestion from someone I trust, I ordered some System Three T88 epoxy adhesive. This epoxy is formulated for gluing wood together. It's thicker than their general purpose epoxy which is similar to West System. It is supposed to bond down to 35 Deg F while West Epoxy is good only to about 50 Deg F. It mixes 1:1 and does not require any pumps. You don't mix in fillers. I talked to the tech department today and they said just make two puddles about the same size and mix them together or use little cups. Sounds simple. It is also structural and formulated for oily wood. I ordered a gallon from Jamestown Distributors. By the time I finishing milling more wood, which I never got to today, it will arrive and I'll be ready to go.
Though I am moving like pond water when it comes to the amount of progress I would like to be making vice what progress I am making, I feel pretty good about the milling and installing of the mahogany. I went through the whole process without any problems. I took the wonkiest of the wood and had no trouble milling it to a standard I was happy with. I got a very good fit with the staving. The screw clamps seem to work fine. I experienced no issues other than it takes time. For the next two weeks or so I should be working on nothing but staving. Once it is applied to the bulkheads I can add some key cleats and then get a couple of coats of varnish down on the staving and the cabin sides. That will be nice.
Next, I laid the staving over some saw-horses. Then, I sorted them by color and grain to get a reasonably consistent pattern. Because I did not plane down the bulkhead to get a flush fit before I added epoxy tape along the top (over a year ago) I had to run the tips of all the staving over the jointer and remove a little wood. Otherwise the staving would bulge at the top of the bulkhead. When that was completed, I moved all the supplies up to the boat.
Next, I drew lines on the bulkhead where the screw-clamps would go . . . about four inches from the top under the overhead and under the side deck. I carried that down 14 inches for two rows to where the cleat will be located to support the top of the berth (for the long staving I carried the hole pattern down to the floor beam). The row above the cleat will not be visible due to the thickness of the mattress so the spacing will looking even. When I was ready, I began by test fitting the two long pieces of staving closest to the centerline. They need to be full length because the double berth will butt up to the staving and there needs to be a good surface for the backing cleat to be attached to. I also need some staving on the front side of the berth for the trim to fit over. I elected not to run staving across the whole bulkhead. The double berth will cover much of the space and it will save some wood, of which I have a limited supply. The bulkheads in the head and main cabin will get full coverage because the area covered with the settees is pretty small and I won't save that much wood. I will limit coverage in a similar manner in the galley and nav station area since most of that area will be covered with cabinetry.
Once I stated it went pretty smooth. Measure and cut to fit 4 pieces at a time. Apply glue, lay staving against bulkhead, drill hole, fasten screw block, drill the rest of the holes and then secure the remaining blocks . . . so on and so forth. The last two pieces that cross over the vertical part of the tabbing next to the cabin top side I applied with thickend epoxy since wood glue will not stick to the epoxy tape. I wanted to make a neat job of it so I scribed the top of the staving so it would follow the overhead along the top edge of the bulkhead. It required a few trips up and down the ladder and back and forth to the shop. It wasn't too bad though as I would mark and cut several pieces at a time. Since I only had enough staving milled to do this one bulkhead it was not worth the effort to set up a work table in the cockpit and relocate the chopsaw and jig saw there. I will probably do that for the rest of the bulkheads. I ran out of time to finish it off today. Everything is ready to go tomorrow so I should have the rest of the bulkhead finished before noon then afterwards I will go back to milling more mahogany .
After much thought I decided to go with Titebond III glue. This is not the best glue but I think it is the right glue for the conditions I am working under. I would prefer resorcinol, then Weldwood, and then Titebond III in that order. The first two glues require 70 degrees for 24 hours. I can't get there from here--we are headed into a week or more of lows around 30 degrees F. That meant I needed a cool weather glue. Titebond III can be applied down to 45 degrees F. There should not be any stress on the staving so it should be fine. Thirty minutes of clamp time is all that is required. But, I'll leave them on till I am ready to plug or until I need the backing blocks to apply more staving. When I am ready I'll countersink the holes, install #8 flathead screws, then plug the holes with matching bungs. I think it looks good now but it will look even better with multiple coats of varnish. As much as I wanted to get the staving up on the main bulkhead where I could see it I think installing it in the fwd cabin first was the right call. Tomorrow I will pick up where I left off and finish off the bulkhead. Then, I will start milling more staving.
Next, I resawed the A. Mahogany that I cut more or less to length yesterday. Resawing 15/16" thick planks yielded two boards 3/8" thick. By using plenty of featherboards I got nice even cuts. I did not have much trouble with burning which is a common problem with mahogany, especially when you are cutting it on end and running the blade through 2 3/4" of wood--I have the saw set up properly, I kept the wood moving over the blade, and I am using a new 24 tooth thin kerf Freud Diablo blade. This is the second Diablo thin kerf blade I have owned. I am pleased with how well they cut.
After the resawing I switched to a stack 1/4" dado blade to cut the half laps. I set the height for a hair over 3/16". Next I clamped on the auxiliary dado fence that I used to keep the blade from chewing up my good fence. With feather boards to keep the wood firmly pressed against the fence and down on the table I got nice cuts. I eased my way into the first few cuts checking the fit of two board to make very minor adjustments in depth.
After completing the half-laps I set up my bench top router with a V-groove bit (no bearing) and set the fence to give me the cut I needed. I examined each piece of wood carefully so that I could choose the side I wanted to have facing out when they are installed. I took my time running the boards over the bit. Earlier in the summer I practiced this to learn how to make this kind of staving and to make sure I would be happy with the mahogany. During that practice session I boogered up a couple of boards when I was cutting the V-groove. But, this time, with lots of featherboards and working carefully I had no problem. I am pleased with the way the staving looks. Yes, this stuff is a little wavy for narrow staving but that's OK. I am saving the straight grained for the more visible areas of the boat.
After milling the staving I was curious how much it weighed . . . 14lbs. That's not very much. I'll be adding a little more on the starboard side of the fwd cabin but not enough to even mention. I am not covering the entire bulkhead either--from the overhead to just below the bottom of the berth. I figure the head will require about 40 lbs of staving total (two sides) and the two main bulkheads a total of about 35 lbs. For all of the boat I am estimating about 115-130 lbs of staving. Not much weight at all.
Tomorrow I will install the staving I cut today. It should be an interesting day.
"Grab 'em by the nose and kick 'em in the ass."
OK, I admit it. I sometimes have difficulty getting started in a new phase. There are things I don't know how to do, research that has to be done, options considered. I'll work on small projects while I try to gain some momentum to start the new phase. It can be frustrating. I can understand why many boats end up being sold as half finished rebuilds. People just run out of mental energy. A project of this size, especially when you are often in unfamiliar territory, is just flat mentally difficult sometimes. It is easy to put things off because the decisions are not always intuitive and making and then implementing them is taxing . . . and then one day you just give up. I think there is a whole psychology to taking on a big project like this. The boat building books never talk about this aspect of the project--the dirty little secret of the DIY boat rebuild. My best friend, Steve Chase, is a retired fighter pilot. We have been friends since college. We went to Marine Corps OCS together. He is the Godfather of my kids. We routinely talk four a five times a week. He is building two airplanes in his shop behind his house. This is a guy with a lot of balls in the air--did I mention he still has a full time job too. We talk about this topic quite a bit. We have concluded that the best medicine is just to keep going--not in a hurry mind you but just keep making progress of some kind. Too big of a gap in work can be risky . . . try to do something on the project everyday. It's like combat operations. You have to gain and maintain contact with the enemy. Patton described it as "grabbing 'em by the nose and kicking 'em in the ass." I have found it to be pretty good advice in combat . . . and in boat building.
Click here to visit Steve's project and don't forget to check out the tribute to his father who escaped from the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula, linked up with Philippino guerillas, and fought against the Japanese for the rest of WW II. You don't have to look very far to find inspiration. It's all around us. 'Nuff said. Now, back to boat building.
I spent Friday packing up the SS anchor roller system and the Sea Frost refrigeration system and putting them in the mail--somebody bought them. Good for them. Both pieces of equipment still had a lot of life left in them.
Today, I leveled the partial bulkhead in the forward cabin. This bulkhead used to support the V-berth. Now it will support a portside double berth and also serve as the aft end of the chain for the chain rode. Because 280' or so of 5/16" high test chain is heavy I want to move it out of the old locker which was all the way forward just behind the stem of the boat. Though some sailors store their chain there I think it is a lot of weight that far forward in the boat. I can move it back about three feet which will help some. The chain pipe will have to angle back slightly but the double bunk will still be about 78" long and almost 48" wide.
As previously discussed every horizontal surface in the boat must be re-leveled. In the first photo below you can see how far out of level the partial bulkhead was. Look closely and you can see a pencil line drawn just under the top edge. After marking it, I clamped a straight edge to it and used a router with a flush bit with an end bearing to cut a new edge.
Next, I made a template from doorskin ply wood and laid it on top of a plank of 5/4" cypress. I made it an inch wider (taller) to allow for a 1" deep rabbit cut that allowed it to sit on top of the old bulkhead but overlap the front so I could through-bolt it to the old bulkhead. That way all the weight is on top of the old bulkhead. The bolts just keep it from moving. I cut the pattern out and then cut the rabbit with a 3/4" stack dado on the table saw. I test fit it and drilled the holes then secured it with three 1/4" X 1 1/2" bolts with washers and nylon lock nuts. The new top edge effectively raises the berth about two inches which will provide a little more width to the berth and create a little more room for chain storage underneath the forward part of the berth.
Finally, after much aggravating delay, I started work on the mahogany staving. I began by sorting the pieces I will use for the bulkhead in the forward compartment. Some of the mahogany was a little wavy when I ripped it on the table saw. Thus, tension was tension released in some of the pieces which caused them to "hook" slightly. By cutting some of these pieces to length and reducing the overall length of each piece I reduce the amount of wood that has to be removed on the jointer before I resaw, lap, and cut V-grooves. Pre-cutting the lengths makes the whole process much more cumbersome but straightening out these 10' long pieces on the jointer would just waste a lot of fine wood. I will use these pieces in the forward compartment where they won't be easily seen though I think they will still look fine . . . they're just not as straight grained as the rest. It will also give me a chance to get a feel for the technique I will use for installing the V-groove in the rest of the boat.
Once I was ready I started off by marking off a line 2 3/4" from the edge around the bulkhead with a speed square and a pencil. Next I ran another line around at 1 3/4" from the edge. Now I have two pencile marks that go all the way around the bulkhead. I then ran the power hand planer around the bulkhead using the 2 3/4" line as I guide. I set planer to cut 1/16" deep. Then, leaving the depth set at 1/16" I ran it around again guiding on the 1 3/4" line. I basically had a stepped rabit cut in the bulkhead. This would allow the first layer of 4" wide tape (1 3/4" on the wood and then span the beveled foam then 1 3/4" on the hull). The 6" wide tape would go on top of the 4" wide (2 3/4" on the wood bulkhead and then span the foam, then 2 3/4" on the hull) and the whole thing would end up being flush with the surface of the bulkhead. Normally, I would not care but I need to install the mahogany V groove staving later and I need a flat and fair surface for the staving to fit against. I cut foam for the bulkhead yesterday so it was quick to contact cement it in place along the edge of the bulkhead. Once done I took it up to the boat and test fit it. then I vacuumed (I sanded it the other day) and gave it a thorough acetone wash down. Once the air cleared I reinstalled the bulkhead and used my hot glue gun and a scrap piece of wood to hold the top edge in place. I made up a brace with clamps to hold the bottom end in place. I rechecked to make sure everything was square and plumb. I then wetted out the bulkhead with unthickened epoxy and the hull with slightly thickened epoxy. I wet out the precut cloth tape and laid down the 4" wide tape first, followed by the 6" wide placed in their respective rabbit cuts. I worked out the bubbles and went over the whole thing with a finned roller. I could not do the top edge because the wood block that was holding the top in position would be in the way. I'll do the top edge tomorrow. Later, after I have cut out the opening, I'll crawl inside and apply multiple layer around the inside. This bulkhead is not normally structural in a Cape Dory 36 but the sampson post will be bolted to it so it is structural now and thus has to be really strong. Also, I usually follow West System protocol and lay the widest tape down first except to get the flush fit I needed to lay the narrower one down first this time. I am pleased with how it went. It will be great to start installing the mahogany staving which I should be able to do soon.
I finished up by working on the forward bulkhead template that I cut yesterday. Just some light trimming with a block plane to improve the fit. Tomorrow I will use the template to cut the 3/4" BS 1088 ply for the actual bulkhead.
Next, I traced the pattern onto a sheet of inexpensive 1/4" ply and cut out the template with a jig saw. I used a block plane to smooth up the edges. Then I cut a small hole in it so I would have some way to maneuver it as I checked the fit in the bow area. If I cut too big a hole the template would be too flimsy. The actual bulkhead will have a big section cut out so I can crawl inside the compartment to apply epoxy tape on the inside (Oh joy, I can hardly wait for that fun). I checked the fit and trimmed a few times as necessary till I was satisfied.
Last, I placed the template on a section of 3/4 BS 1088 ply I have been saving for this purpose and traced the outline. But, the light was fading and the kids were in need of some company so I called it a day. Tomorrow I may work on it a little but Sunday is usually family day. Will see if I can squeeze in a little boat time.
Next, I scrubbed the newly applied epoxy tape with water and a 3M pad and wiped it dry with paper towel. Then I lightly sanded it with 80 grit on the 5" Porter Cable right angle DA sander with the vacuum hooked up to debur the edges and lightly scuff it up. Then, I reinstalled the water tanks now that the installing the locker bottoms is complete. It is great to get the locker bottoms glassed in. They feel very solid, in fact the boat feels more solid and seems to vibrate a little less when I walk through it . . . but it could just be my imagination. Nonetheless, I am very pleased with how it turned out.
After that I spent some time thinking about the forward bulkhead, the one that separates the chain locker from the forward cabin. I worked on the forward floor beams a little and then sorted out what happens next. Install the bobstay backing plate (G-10); glass in the last two floor beams now that final fitting is complete; and then build the pattern for the bulkhead, cut it out, fit it, and install it. After that, I think it is on to installing the vertical staving.
Next, I cut 12 four inch wide strips of 17.7 oz biaxial six inches long. I cut some foam wedges and contact cemented them to the sides of the supports that the beams are bolted to and the inside edge of the locker bottom sits on. I wetted out the tape and applied some slightly thickened epoxy to the area where the tape would go. Then I applied two layers of tape to bond the bottom of the locker to the beam supports--two layers of tape on the three supports for each side. I used a heat gun to accelerate the curing since the temperature was beginning to drop.
After the tape was begining to harden I used a razor knife to cut out the tape over the small drain holes I cut in the locker bottoms yesterday.
That finished up the day.
After completing the final fitting of the forward beams I applied a single layer of biaxial tape to each of the locker bottom cleats that I installed yesterday. After that I mixed up some thickened epoxy and made fillets on the high side of each cleat. I did this to allow any water that comes down the hull from condensation to be channeled down into the bilge.
Next, I removed the water tanks so that I will be able to get into the bilge and be better positioned to epoxy tape in the settee locker bottoms. Then I bolted in the riser/beam at the forward end of the main cabin with two 3/8" SS bolts. Then I repositioned the temporary cabin sole. Next, I made some cleats to provide additional support to the the outboard edge of the settee locker bottoms. I used a sliding bevel gauge to determine the angle. I used some Iroko I had on hand and cut the proper angle on the table saw. Once satisfied with how they fit I positioned them with some thickened epoxy. The locker bottoms will be supported by the knees on the inboard side and by these cleats on the outboard side. They will also be epoxy taped to the hull with two layers of biaxial, so the cleats are just additional support.
I made a template for the support from 1/4" ply scrap. I chose to make the support from some scrap 7/8" thick mahogany. Once I was satisfied with the fit of the support I temporarily screwed it to the bottom of the okume locker bottom to hold it in the correct position. I then spread some thickened epoxy on the bottom of the support and placed the ply locker bottom in position. When the epoxy squished out between the bottom of the support and the hull, I used a rounded plastic stir stick to make a fillet for 17.7oz biaxial tape that I'll apply tomorrow. I will remove the screws and proceed to glass in the bottom of both the port and starboard lockers.
Once the support was in place I decided to work on installing the last of the floor beams. I used some 1" thick Iroko for the beam that will raise the forward sole 2" above the main cabin sole. I am raising it for two reasons: 1) the bottom 6" of the mast has a lot of corrosion from a poorly designed mast step that did not drain water well so I will have to cut 6" off the bottom of it and raise the step accordingly--thus the sole needs to be raised a bit to accommodate the modification; and 2) I never liked the steep rise of the forward cabin sole. The 2" step-up will greatly reduce the steepness of the rise of the forward sole without sacraficing much headroom.
The first beam is not that hard. It's a 5" wide piece of iroko that get through-bolted to the original beam, but the next two beams, that run into the head compartment, must be shimmed before I can build them up. The interior was not installed level, or maybe the deck was crooked . . . who can tell. Anyway, I have been shimming the beams to level up the port side so these next two beams have to be shimmed as well. I measure how much the shims had to be tapered then cut the appropriate tapers in some douglass fir on my table saw with a jig. In the bottom photo you can see the iroko step, clamped in place (the face will be covered with some thin mahogany later, the strongback that serves as the datum point for installing the beams, and the two shims sitting on the original beams. I'll glass them in over the next day or so then install the new beams on top of the shims.
Tonight I spent some time dragging the last month's worth of daily log entries to their repective projects pages.
It took a little twisting and contorting to get down in the lazerette and get my arms under the box to apply the tape. I glued some foam wedges in first to allow the tape to gently bend across the 90 degree angles. I wetted out the surfaces with slightly thickened epoxy. It was tricky getting the wetted out tape under the box and applied evenly. I only put one layer across the bottom edge to the bulkhead (there are two on the inside bottom edge of the box). I applied two layers of 17.7oz biaxial on each side of the supports. It seems to be rock solid. I am pleased with it overall. The box will need to have foam blocks glassed in later to eliminate excess space--though there isn't much. Tomorrow I'll go back to the locker briefly and scrub off any amine blush and knock down the roughness with some light sanding. Eventually this will get painted.
After completing the glass work on the locker I moved into the wood shop and starting ripping the African Mahogany that I will use for the vertical staving. It has a beautiful color. Tomorrow I will finish ripping the mahogany and then start setting up the table saw to cut the half laps. I'll need to make a few more feather boards to make sure the wood is properly supported against the surface of the table saw as well as the fence. After the half laps I'll cut the "V" groove on the router table. It's good to be moving along and making progress.
I was unsure about the staving width and after going back through my notes and looking at some pictures I finally decided to make the visible part of the staving 2 3/8" wide. That means the A. Mahogany will be ripped 2 5/8".
I have been undecided about what adhesive to use for the staving. It is too cold to use Weldwood UF glue which is my first choice. Polyurethane glue (like gorilla) is too messy, as is epoxy for this kind of work. It's too cold for resorcinol and there is no Aerodux 185 to be had in the US (so far as I can tell) for at least another month. Since the stavings are not structural and are not under stress or tension of any kind I may just go with tightbond III. Not as strong as epoxy or resorcinol but much easier to work with especially given the colder temperatures. Not my preferred choice but it seems to be, as Jack Aubrey so famously said, "the lesser of two weevils."
Next, I filleted the inside corners of the locker then tabbed them with a single layer 17.7oz biaxial tape across (except two layers at the bottom forward inside corner). It went smoothly and without issue. It just took more time than I thought it would. The tapping on the inside of the locker is not really necessary. That sucker is bonded very well from yesterdays tabbing. Nonetheless, I added a layer to ensure it is sealed air tight. After the tabbing I added some epoxy, thickened with cabosil to peanut butter consistency, filleting over the tabbing in all the corners to made sure they are air tight. I have only one photo of the inside of the locker below . . . the rest are pictures of the outside of the locker taken from inside of the lazerette. I am very pleased with this glass work. It will not been seen and eventually it will all be painted. The only thing left to glass in is the under side of the forward edge of the locker to the awtharship bulkhead and the supports to the bottom of the locker. I'll take care of them tomorrow.
"On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date many thousands of men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history."
The above is an excerpt from General John A. Lejuene's birthday message to the Marine Corps in 1921 and is republished annually on the birthday of the Corps. Happy Birthday Marines. I am proud of you and proud to have served by your side for 26 years.
Today I jointed one edge of the A. Mahogany. It is ready to rip and resaw. Then I glassed in the propane locker on the outside edges with two layers of 17.7oz biaxial. Tomorrow I will glass in the inside edges with the same and begin the preparations for final milling of the A. Mahogany for the vertical staving.
First, my planer has been acting up. It has been great piece of equipment. But the slow, finish speed, was on the blink. I did some research but there wasn't much out there. So, I took it apart and was able to repair it. Nothing more than some sawdust jamming the gears behind the two speed lever. While I had it apart I lubricated the gears and rechecked the alignment of the out-feed rollers and cutting head. It took about two hours.
Next, because I was unhappy with some of the fuzz and tear out that occurred yesterday I learned about using card scrapers to clean up hard woods, or any kind of wood for that matter, from the effects of planing. I was able to locate a Stanley card scraper at a local hardware store and spent some time tuning it up and then practicing with it on a couple of the African Mahogany planks which it cleaned it up nicely. Its a very effective tool and I am impressed what a difference such a simple device can make. Here is a link that explains what it is and how to sharpen one (Fine Woodworking article). There are also a lot of videos out there that show how to sharpen and use card scrapers.
UPS arrived with more cabosil and 3m #233 tape recommended by Tim Lackey which I need to finish off the propane locker and mask the cabin sides for varnish. I sat those items aside for now.
I finished off the day with a phone call to Port Townsend Foundry. Pete Langley very kindly walked me through the nuances of building a pattern for the gammon iron so it can be cast in bronze. He sent me a reading assignment yesterday and with our conversation this evening I now have a much better idea about building a pattern. It remains to be seen if I can build one he can use but that is on the short list of things to get done. Probably in the next couple of weeks.
Tomorrow I will take the mahogany to the base hobby woodshop to use their big industrial jointer to edge one side of the planks so I can rip and resaw them on my table saw. I have a jointer but it is not very big with only about 40" infeed/outfeed tables. The base planer is much bigger and just does a great job putting an edge on 10' planks.
It is agonizing not working directly on the boat but I am better off in the long run for running these things down.
Today I planed both sides down to just under 1" thick . . . maybe 15/16. I did not joint the wide side first because it's too big for my jointer, it was pretty flat to start with, and because it will end up resawn to about 3/8" thick x 3" wide and I'll be able to glue it flat. Wednesday, I'll joint one edge then rip to 3" wide, resaw it to get the two 3/8" thick planks, then cut half-laps, slots, and a "V" groove in the same manner as the test panel I put together in early Sept. Once the milling is complete I'll start installing it on the bulkheads.
Below are a few pictures from today's work that includes the small Oneida mini cyclone I use to capture wood chips and dust before they get to the shop vac. In this picture I am using the shop vac/cyclone system to collect the wood from my portable Delta 22-580 two speed planer. The advantage of the mini-cyclone is that it vastly reduces the amount of wood chips/dust that make it to the actual shop vac. Though I would sure love to have a big permanently mounted 1200CFM system it's just not happening. So, I bought the cyclone to make use of the shop vac that I already had. It's limited in what it can do by the power of the shopvac that can only move about 300 CFM. But I am satisfied with it. It's a pretty good system for what it is designed to do. The cyclone is a lot faster and easier to empty into a garbage bag than the shop vac, which is heavy and awkward to flip over into the bag, and I seldom have to clean out the filter so the suction on the shop vac stays strong. If you rely on a shop vac the cyclone is a very useful accessory.
The locker was designed to look like it belongs there. It will completely conceal the tanks. It will hold three 10 lb composite bottles. It is built on the center line. The only draw back is that it takes up a good chunk of the lazerette. I'll also have to allocate some space for the quadrant of the Cape Horn windvane. That will leave some space mostly for fenders and other light bulky things of that nature. I suppose the loss of space also works to our advantage as there won't be enough room in there to throw in all the stuff we don't need and weigh that boat down in the worst possible spot . . . the stern.
In a couple of days I will glass the locker in all around the edges with multiple layers of epoxy and biaxial as well as glass tape the supports to the bottom of the locker. I hope I never have to cut this sucker out.
Tomorrow I'll remove the release fabric and test fit the propane locker. If all goes well I may glass it in and be done with it. That would be nice.
When I go to Lowe's to pick something up I always walk down the aisle that has insulation on it. I am always interested in what they have that I might be able to use for hull and icebox insulation. For the last year or so I have noticed a product called Reflectix. It is essentially a double layer of bubble wrap, 5/16" thick, with reflective foil on both sides. When my son and I sailed on Bill Primeau's boat in Halifax this summer he made a point of showing me how he had used Reflectix to insulate his boat and how happy he was with the performance of this material. Last week, I ran across an article in the back of the Nov Ocean Navigator that described using Reflectix as a hull insulator. So, I went to Lowes this afternoon and picked up the smallest roll of Reflectix they had. I took the plywood "cut-outs" from the plywood cabin sides and stapled some reflectix to it. Then I pressed them into the openings in the cabin sides. They filled the holes nicely. They are just pressed in there. I then made a template from 1/4" ply to fit the dorade and mast openings and did the same for these holes. It looks like it may do the trick. Next, I cut some 2'x2' squares from some scrap plywood and attached thin foam weather strip to the align with the flange on the hatch opening in the forward and main cabin. Tomorrow I'll make something similar for the companionway hatch. With all these openings plugged I believe I'll be able to keep the inside of the boat warm enough with a couple of electric space heaters this winter so that I can epoxy, glue, and varnish. What appeals to me about this system is it mostly used what I had on hand, it was easy to throw together, and I can quickly remove them as the SRF heats up from the solar heat during the day then plug them up as the temps fall in the afternoon.
I'll run some tests over the next few days to see how warm I can keep the boat when the temperatures drop into the 30s. Since the hull is not insulated, I'll need to also see if I get a lot of condensation and, if so, where it forms to better understand how it might also cause a problem for the curing of glue and epoxy.
It was not going to be a simple job though. My best friend gave me a spare bench top drill press in early October but it had not been tuned nor did it have an auxiliary table that it needs if it is to be used as a wood-working drill press. It's not a very big drill press but it fits my shop well and should do the jobs I need done. I used a half inch piece of scrap ply for the table. I drilled some 5/16" holes in the ply over the the slots in the small steel table that is part of the drill press proper. I counter sunk the holes and then with backing plates I bolted the ply auxiliary table to the steel table with 5/16" flat head machine bolts. Next I checked the accuracy of the drill press for trueness. It was true from left to right but needed to be shimmed slightly to lift the back side of the auxiliary table. Satisfied with the fit I then drilled and screwed a hardwood cleat to the underside of the front edge of the table to keep it flat.
Next, I checked the fit of the tiller strap assembly to the tiller that I made in September. I improved the fit of the tiller to the box section of the strap assembly by shaving just a tiny bit with a spoke-shave. Then, I cut a 2 1/8" wide piece of pine from a 2x4 scrap and used a scratch awl to prick holes through the holes in the tiller straps onto the scrap wood on both sides. Then I drilled them out with the press. Once nice hole all the way through so I was satisfied the drill press was accurate enough for the job at hand.
Tomorrow I will go back into the boat figure out the next task.
In the photo to the right you can see the 5200 bead that holds the cleats to the overhead as well as the epoxy filled kerfs. It took a lot of time to get them filled. I have not yet scrubbed the epoxy on the cleats with water to remove the amine blush. Because the cleats are overhead I did not want to drip any water down the unprotected cabin sides. The plan is to get three coats of varnish on the cabin sides and coat the edge grain on the porthole openings with epoxy. Then scrub the cleats down. We are expecting rain for the next three days so no varnish till the end of the week.
After working on the cleats I spent some time determining the footprint for the Refleks heater. Once I make a decision about that I can make the cut in the starboard settee locker bottom that will support the platform for the heater then I can glass in the locker bottom. However, I am not sure what the next task will be. I will sort it out in the morning. I may start milling the African Mahogany I'll use for the vertical staving or I may glass in the locker bottoms. Then again, I can't go much further before I epoxy in the copper foil tape for the HF radio. It's just a question of the proper sequencing for the next couple of steps.
It feels good to be moving along. I am looking forward to roughing in some of the furniture. Though I have made a lot of progress, I still can't see any light at the end of the tunnel. No matter, I know its out there. Just got to keep eating the elephant a bite at a time.
This is more time consuming than I thought it would be. There are so many imperfections in the underside of the deck that it takes all kinds of grinding, beveling ,and shimming of the cleats to get a good fit. Also, in the bottom photo you can see the original mastic adhesive that held the one piece fiberglass overhead liner to the underside of the deck. Last year when I was grinding the inside of the boat I attempted to grind this stuff off and it got the better of me. It was a beast. I don't give up on anything easily but after hours of holding a high speed grinder with a 30 grit flapper disk overhead (I easily went through a half dozen of these supper aggressive disks) I reconsidered the necessity for removing it. I stayed with it long enough to remove the mastic from around the bulkheads where they needed to be tabbed in but that was about it. So, I am paying for it now since I have to to notch the side deck cleats to span the mastic. Each of the side deck cleats, except the ones next to the bulkheads, has to be scribed then trimmed with a jigsaw. Plywood does not scribe that well when cutting the long axis so I have been using Douglas Fir for these. The one good think about the side deck cleats is I don't have to cut kerfs. The mastic is very tough. Last year, before I made my decision to leave it be, I tested its strength by epoxy taping a small piece of wood to it. After it cured I could not break it off and had to grind it down. So, it is pretty strong and there should be no problem using 5200 to secure the cleats to it. Besides, the cleats and the v-groove panels they will support are not structural.
With luck, I'll finish up the cleats tomorrow then I can get organized to install them permanently.
Regarding boat work, I spent the vast majority of the day installing cleats in the overhead. I made a lot of progress. I hope to finish it up in the next few days and then I'll upload some pictures.
I took about a 45 minutes break today during the cleat work to modify the SS elbow that came with Refleks kerosene heater that arrived last week. After doing a lot of research I decided on the model 66MK. It has good heat output and the cast iron top and 90 degree elbow is supposed to increase the amount of heat that it radiates. I had it made to operate off of kerosene since I don't plan to carry any diesel fuel. Propane heater are convenient and put out a lot of heat but they use way to much fuel.
I initially thought I would get a larger model but it wouldn't fit in the space I had and then I received an email from Beth Leonard who suggested the model 66 would be a very good size for our boat. That piece of advice solved a lot of problems.
I ordered it with an elbow so I could determine how big the space would need to be to accommodate it. The elbow was about 4" long and as you can see in the top photo it stuck out much too far. All it did was make the footprint bigger. I needed to cut it off but I don't have a miter box. I looked at Lowes but the miter boxes they had were too expensive or cheap plastic. So, I built my own from some scrap 3/4" ply. I made it just wide enough to hold the pipe. I used drywall screws as fasteners and a jigsaw to make the narrow kerf so my hacksaw would not drift around while I mad the cut. Once I determined where the elbow needed to be cut I wrapped some tape around it and marked it. I inserted some door-shim wedges to keep the pipe firmly in place while I made the cut. I clamped the miter box to my out-feed table at the end of my table saw. I used a hacksaw blade I only use for cutting SS. I am very pleased with the cut--it came out nice and straight. I cleaned up the edges with a half-round file. Then I inserted it on the Refleks flue to check for fit. Perfect. I will set it aside for now and once the cleat installation is complete I'll use the Refleks to determine the footprint necessary to rough in a custom built space just forward of the starboard settee.
Tonight I worked on the website. I spent some time moving entries from the daily log over to the appropriate "projects" page. There is probably a better and simpler way to manage it but I have not figured it out yet. Maintaining a daily log is straight forward but it eventually needs to be categorized and organized and that is the challenge. The website service I use (Network Solutions) allows 100 pages for a set yearly fee. And with an eye to the future, it is easy to see how that limit could be exceed. However, piling entries into several long scrolling page is not very user friendly, for visitors or for the webmaster. I'll probably make some changes in the near future. The longer I wait, the more time consuming the changes will be.
I am glad I have been keeping the site though. I was encourage to create it by friends that have undertaken similar projects. They pointed out that it would become a repository of historical info for the boat rebuild and be of great use to me to see the progress I had made and to have a data base of exactly what work had been competed, when, how, etc. I am amazed how easy it is to forget the amount of work that has been completed to date or the details of how the projects were tackled. It is also rewarding to share the project with sailors undertaking similar projects.
Most of my entries are made in the evening after the kids go to bed. I don't write that well at night when I am tired, but if I don't get the entries made then they either won't get done or the details will be forgotten. Usually, within the next few days after an entry is posted, I'll go back and reread it and find errors and convoluted syntax and such. Sometimes it makes for pretty humorous reading. That's fine. I am not expecting to get a Pulitzer . . . the purpose is capturing information. I usually clean it up so it is reasonably understandable and press on.
There are a lot of recesses and protrusions on the surface of the overhead. The outside edge where the overhead and the cabin top sides meet is very uneven. To achieve any sort of consistent camber I have to cut the ends of the cleats about an inch or so from the cabin top side. Some of the unevenness is caused by thick wood substituted for balsa core in the deck to reinforce high load areas. Others are due to extra roving and matting. Since the boat originally had a one piece fiberglass headliner the builders didn't have a reason to make sure the unseen skin was smooth and fair. To deal with these imperfections I cut shims for the low spots under the cleats and trimmed away some of the cleat in the high spots in order to get a smooth uniform camber. I initially tried to spring the 3/4" ply cleats in place without cutting kerfs but they snapped. So, almost all of the cleats running athwartship require kerfs. After they are attached with 5200 the kerfs will be filled with thickened epoxy.
To this point, I have only temporarily attached the cleats with some small self-tapping screws. Once I am satisfied that this is the right approach I'll attach them with 5200.
This is frustratingly slow work but when complete progress should pick up. The Refleks heater arrived a few days ago so I will have what I need to get the right measurements for the starboard settee modifications.
By then my friend Ron Mason had come by to give me a hand and speed things along. We positioned the template over a porthole centering it more-or-less over the original holes (with the exception of the most forward porthole we were able to get them all level on top). Once we were satisfied with the position of the template we clamped it to the cabin side with three squeeze clamps. Then, with a mask, hearing protecting, tyvek sleeves, and gauntlet gloves I routered each hole flush with the template. Ron worked the vacuum from the outside, moved the clamps in succession always keeping at least two in place to prevent any movement of the template while repositioning the third clamp, and made sure the template was not moving. It went pretty fast and I am pleased with the results. The portholes have a much more refined look. It's always great to have a knowledgeable helping hand, especially someone as skilled with tools as Ron.
With the routering complete, Ron departed and I went back to cleaning up the portlights. With a heat gun, multi-tool scraper, SS brush, and a file I went to work. The original Sikaflex was pretty hard and firmly attached to the bronze flange. There was also a fair amount of silicone on the flange where the PO had attempted to stop leaks around the portholes--it didn't work as evidenced by the water streaks I discovered on the inside of the cabin top and hull of the boat when I gutted the Far Reach. Despite the thick hard Sikaflex, the heat gun worked wonders softening up the the old bedding compound and the multi tool worked well scraping it off. I was able to get five cleaned up before supper.
It feels pretty good to be moving along with some visible results inside the boat.
Today, I removed the clamps that had been holding the mahogany ply wood panels on the cabin top sides for the last seven days. Next, I removed the paper carefully so I could reuse it after I cut out the portholes. The plywood needs to be protected until I can apply several coats of varnish which I plan to do after the portholes are cut out and the overhead cleats are installed.
In order to cut consistent holes of the proper size I made a jig by tracing around the spigot of one of the bronze Spartan portlights on a piece of plywood. I used a jig saw to cut the hole out slightly larger than the spigot. I carefully sanded it smooth. Though counterintuitive, a portlight spigot that fits too tightly has an increased risk of leaking because you can't get the proper amount of sealant between the spigot and the surrounding wood/fiberglass.
Next, I placed the jig over the old porthole cut out, still visible from outside the cabin and traced the slightly smaller hole on the plywood. I used a level to make sure the tops were horizontal. However, the forward two holes are angled up slightly. That is the way they were cut from the factory and there isn't room to level them. The cabin top is level/horizontal but as the shear of the boat/deck rises the relative height of the cabin side is reduced, thus less room for the portlight. You can see this different angle from the photo taken inside the boat. Note the aft most three are level and then the next/fourth porthole is angled up. After I I traced the new holes I used a jigsaw to cut the holes out.
What a difference in how the boat looks from outside and inside. The FRP cabin side has a slightly bigger hole (original hole--and cut pretty poorly I might add) than the hole in the plywood I cut today. You can see it in the photo shot from the outside of the boat. The slightly smaller hole in the plywood will allow me to take the jig I made today and clamp it in place tomorrow whereupon I will use the inside edge as a template to cut the proper size hole with a router and laminate bit. The bearing on the laminate bit will ride against the plywood template to ensure a smooth clean cut. Once that is complete I will slightly champher the edge of the plywood hole from the inside and then lay on several coats of epoxy to seal the exposed edge of the plywood. By having a slightly larger chamfered hole I can better fill the gap with butyl rubber and seal it properly. That way, the portlight will be "floating" in the hole and can expand and shrink as it is heated and cooled from changing outside temperatures. The gap needs to be large enough to fill it with enough butyl rubber to provide the elongation necessary to resist breaking the seal. Right now, I don't plan to install the portholes till next spring, after I paint the outside of the boat.
It turns out this was all caused by the fact that the back of the cabin top slopes down and a little aft. I originally had the dead-men set horizontally applying pressure straight back. So, the panels went the only place they could to escape the pressure . . . down. I noted that the cabin sloped back the other day but dismissed it as unimportant. Ha! That will teach me to ignore simply physics and the laws of gravity.
We taped off the fiberglass around the portholes on the outside with painters tape and brown paper to reduce the mess caused by any squeeze out. We also covered the good side of the african mahogany with brown paper (which you can see in the photos) to protect them from any 5200 we might inadvertently get on our hands. Next, with the ply temporarily clamped in place, we used an indelible marker to traced the porthole edges on the backside of the ply. Then we applied 5200 directly to the plywood. We laid beads around the portholes, along the edges of the ply and back and fourth across the panel. Then, with Ron on the outside pushing the bolts through, I held the panels in place until we could fit the cardboard protectors, backing plates, washer in place and screw on the nuts. Then we tightened the nuts down with a socket wrench until we got good squeeze-out around the portholes. It went very smooth. No problems, no drips, and no mess. Easy day. They need to stay clamped for seven days.
Tomorrow I will start making the templates for the plywood to cover the forward face of the cabin and the two athwartship section on each side of the companionway ladder.
After putting up the panels on the starboard side I built the patterns for the portside. Tomorrow I will cut out the port side panels and apply epoxy coating the back and edges of the ply. I'll make up some more bracing and backing plates. I'll also tape and apply protective plastic sheeting around the outside of the portholes to limit the mess created by 5200 squeeze out.
Yesterday, I drove to Winston-Salem NC to meet with Ken Elliot who has his own saw mill. A very interesting guy with a pretty neat setup. All though I was there only a short time I learned a lot. He had some beautiful walnut. We discussed both quartersawn and plain sawn and the advantages and disadvantages of both. I have about 50 sq feet of sole to cover. This will, of course, require that I buy more than 50 boad feet since I will buy it 5/4 rough milled and there will be some wastage. My task now is to decide between QS and PS.
I spent the day with my family but this afternoon I managed to mix up some fairing compound and spread it around the portholes and then faired it with a straight edge and a plastic squeegee. The FRP cabin side are not perfectly flush with the plywood when it is placed against it. This results in a few gaps around the edges of the portholes between the FRP and ply. Hopefully this will result in a better fit.
This has been another interesting week. A lot of work, mostly mental, but not a lot of visible progress. It became apparent at the end of September that the first order of business for building the interior was to install the cabin sides. Once the cabin sides are in the overhead cleats which support the plywood "V-groove" paneling and the false beams can be installed (I'll use 5200 to secure them to the overhead). To get the spacing right I needed to get the cabin sides in first. Also, because I will use 5200 to secure the 1/2" mahogany ply to the cabin top sides, I need to install them before I install the interior, else the 5200 drip down on the vertical staving and . . . well it would be a mess. It takes a lot of planning to get the sequence correct for the many individual projects I don't inadvertently install something that makes the next task more difficult. Since this is my first time building a boat interior I have a very limited knowledge base to rely on. I have to slow down, think about it, research it, draw it out. I had planned on using the "mish-mash" trim rings that were part of the original interior. You can see them in the first photo below. They were installed to fill the gap between the one piece fiberglass headliner and the FRP cabin trunk. I wanted to incorporate them because they were molded to the bronze Spartan port-lights. But, to use them would have created an air gap between the backside of the plywood sides and the FRP cabin trunk. Additionally, the depth of the port-light spigots could not properly span the thickness of the ply, the "mish-mash" trim rings, FRP cabin side, and external bronze port-light trim ring. So what to do? I drew out some schematics, revised, measured some more, revised again, considered, talked to boat builders I trusted, and then thoughts some more. Finally, I decided to removed the mish-mash trim rings. They came off in an hour with a chisel and mallet. Then I sanded the inside of the cabin side smooth and while I was at it, because I love grinding and sanding fiberglass so much, I sanded the over head some more where the cleats will go that will support the false beams.
I removed the plywood and took them into the wood shop. I laid some plastic over the assembly table in the garage. I taped the edges of the mahogany side of the ply to protect them from any drips and flipped the ply over and laid it across some 1"x1" sticks with the plastic mahogany side down. Then, I mixed up some unthickend epoxy and rolled it on to seal the back side of the ply. I dragged a foam roller, cut length wise in thirds with a strip of wood for a handle, to removed any bubbles. I finished off by carefully brushing epoxy along all the edges of the ply to seal it as much as possible. No matter how much you work to maintain your boat, water will eventually find its way into any holes. Hopefully, the sealed wood will provide some protection if I wait to long to rebed the port-lights. After the epoxy was tacky to the touch I applied a second coat.
In between the work on the plywood cabin sides today I applied two more layers of 17.7oz epoxy tape to two bulkheads. They did not have a proper radiused corner against the skin of the FRP cabin side. It was a mistake I made last year but now was the time to correct it.
Tomorrow I go look at some quarter sawn black walnut to see if it will be suitable for a cabin sole.