Kind of a lazy Saturday. I did not work on the boat but I did spend some time gathering up some of my notes I have taken over the last several years about the different ideas I have for the Far Reach. Then I rearranged a bunch of wood in the shop cleaning off one wood rack and built another rack on the far wall above the window. I cut about 100 1/2" thick sticks to separate planks of mahogany and allow the air to circulate as they continue to acclimatize. Then my wife helped me stack the mahogany on the racks. That got the trailer out of the garage and also resulted in my cleaning up the shop mo' better. If I only had a little more room I could fit a floor mounted drill press and a band saw in there! Ha, I wish. So, far I am getting by with neither but I am keeping my eyes open for a used bench top drill press. I think that would be a great help in the months ahead.
16 Jul 10
I spent most of the day working in the wood shop. It's not very big but I feel lucky to have it. It's just a small space separated from the garage by a wall. It's cramped and awkwardly shaped. On one end there are double doors leading to the garage and across the shop, on the opposite side, there is another set of double doors leading outside. When I mill real long lumber, like the 16' boards I used to make the boat shed, I open all the doors and push the planks across the table saw from the garage to outside. It works. The real redeeming feature is it air conditioned via some ducting that support the room over the garage. It's too small for a dedicated vacuum system so I use a small cyclone connected to my shop-vac and sweep a lot. If I am doing much cutting I wear a respirator. The reality is it's big enough. I took this picture tonight so it's still pretty messy from the days work. During assembly of some bigger furniture I have made, I usually move one of the cars out of the garage and set up a 4X8 plywood table across a couple of saw horses. Then, I can mill in the shop and glue up and assemble on the big table in the garage. It works fine.
The job today was to perform some tests to see how to mill and work the v-groove African Mahogany panels and too see if my idea for milling to 3/8" thick is practicable. I have never done this before so I got a lot of advice from Kaj Jakobsen who, like Tim Lackey, has been a great mentor.
Here is how it worked. I had a 28" long X 1" thick X 8" wide sample of finished Mahogany I got from my neighbor that owns World Timber. I ripped two 3" wide pieces off, then stood them on edge and resawed them to 3/8" thick. Now, I had four boards, 28" long, 3" wide, and 3/8" thick. I'd wanted to get two boards from each unmilled plank. (If 3/8" proves to be two thin to work with then I'll go thicker but it will double the cost of the wood since I won't be able to resaw the 5/4 planks to get two boards. I might, with careful milling, get 7/16" thick planks, which would be nice.) You can see in the photo below the original 1" thick piece next to the 3/8" thick piece. You can see the half laps I cut in the 3/8" thick plank. I did that by running the opposite edges over a 1/4" dado set for 3/16" depth of cut.
Next, I used a bearingless V-groove router bit, my bench top router, and the fence with a feather board to cut a very slight v-groove on each side of the board. This is a fairly delicate operation and in fact I mangled two pieces of mahogany trying to get the bit set just right. I should have milled some poplar at the same time and used it to test cut each step. When It comes time to do this with full length boards I will set the router table up with an in-feed and out-feed table and a couple more feather boards, which I will have to makes since I don't have enough. This will keep the boards flat and produce a more consistent cut. It is also much safer to use feather boards which I always try to use.
After cutting the V-groove I test fit the panels. After test fitting them I cut each one in half, doubling the number of panels I could fit side-by-side. You can see from the edge view photo how they all fit together. You can also see the panels are not all the same width. I had to trim down and recut the two planks I mangled. So, I just fit them in and kept going. Random widths can sometimes look nice though that was not the intention for this project. Then in a effort to duplicate how this will work on the boat, I glued the panels to a piece of scrap 1/2" plywood. I lightly sanded the boards with 220 grit and applied the first coat of varnish cut 50 percent with mineral spirits. I think the color looks great. Not too dark and not to light. "Just right" as Goldilocks said. I'll add some more varnish over the next couple of days.
Plain sawn Honduran Mahogany runs about $15 BF. Quartersawn costs more. Quarter sawn African Mahogany can be got for about a third of that. Satisfied that I had what I was looking for, I took the trailer over to World Timber and bought 124 board feet of 5/4 African Mahogany. It's great looking wood. Matt went through the stack with me helping me pick a consistent color and the straightest of the vertical grain. This should be enough to do the staving. I'll need to buy some more later for the overhead beams and the cockpit coamings.
All in all, a very good day.
15 Jul 10
So ya thought this was a website only about rebuilding an offshore sailboat. Ha! Today it's all about the tool box. I finished it up this evening. Not exactly a work of art but I think it came out pretty good. No real plan, just an idea drawn out on a piece of paper. I already thought of a couple of changes though . . . such is life. It did give me a chance to shift from epoxy and biaxial to dovetails and the planner which I will be much more involved with in the months ahead.
Today, I started off gluing the shelves and chisel holder into the box. I clamped where I could and used sticks and wedges to apply pressure to the parts the clamps could not reach. While the glue was drying, I sanded the handle by cutting some 100 grit paper into a 2 1/2" wide strip and using the "shoe-shine" technique while the handle was laying across two saw horses. It is not "machined round" but it feels pretty good. Then, I used a 1 3/8" fostner bit to drill a hole at the top of each risers about 3/8" deep. I clamped the risers to the box and marked where the bolts would go through--two for each riser. Next, I drilled 1/4" holes through the risers and followed them with a 1/2" counter sink. Next, I inserted 2" X 1/4" bronze flat head bolts through the holes. I test fit a washer, lock washer, and nut, measured how much of the bolt was "proud" of the nut, removed the bolts and hack-sawed off the appropriate amount. Then, I reassembled and installed the handle into the recessed holes in the risers. I tightened the bolts. I cut a couple of plugs from the same piece of sapele I used for the risers and tried to match the grain pattern that was around the holes. I used some yellow glue for the plugs. I left them proud for a couple of hours while the glue dried.
This evening I cut the plugs with a chisel, lightly sanded them, and then waxed the whole box with two coats of Minn Wax. Now I have a nice tool box to stay organized while I work on the interior of the boat. So, even though you thought this entry was all about the toolbox, it was really all about the boat!
14 Jul 10
This morning I went right to work on the Edson pump. This is a great pump and an even better find. It's a model 117, bronze, gallon-a-stroke diaphram pump. It must weigh about 40 lbs. I bought it last year at a consignment shop for $200. I don't think it had ever been used--or even installed. Anyway, I used some temporary cleats and bolted it into place so it won't fall off it's knees. I need it to stay put so I can build the temporary plywood platform and because I will use the pump later when I get it all hooked up and wash the boat out. Behind it you can see the knees I glassed in yesterday for the aft end of the platform support, and the Doug Fir beam that I test bolted in place this morning after I worked on the pump. I will pull it out tomorrow and coat it with west epoxy.
After I installed the pump and the beam I cut the 3/4" plywood platform. This will be replaced by hard wood at some point later in the construction of the interior. I made a cut out for the pump handle. I think the pump will work fine there but I may move it around a bit later to see of moving it further forward will work better with the handle stored in the up, vice down, position.
Once I installed the platform, and cleated it so it won't slide around, I placed the ladder in position. I think it works great. The angle seems to be fine. What a treat to walk up and down the ladder. In the background you can see the counter top cleat is at a different angle than the steps. The steps are level, but the cleat is not. This goes way back to earlier entries where I struggled with trying to find what was level on the boat--nothing matched. For a variety of reasons, all explained on the water-tank installation page, I went with the deck as the point of reference. I believe the builder installed the interior not level. So, the cleat will be removed and a new one installed later. Man, I hope I was right about this!!
Temporary ladder and cabin sole.
This afternoon I went back to working on the carpenters tool box. I need to make a round handle about 26" long. I could just go buy a dowel rod from Lowe's but I can make this simple event much harder with just a little more effort. Actually, I have been reading about making oars and spars and such and one of the tools recommended is called a 7-10-7 gauge. The Boat Builder's Apprentice has a little info on how to make one so I put one together this afternoon. Essentially, when built with the ratio of 7-10-7 you should be able to draw lines down a square four sides piece of wood. Then you bevel with a plane to adjacent lines and presto, it is eight sided. Then you plane the peaks and it is 16 sided. Then you can sand it round.
It took about an hour or so to make the gauge. Next I spent about three hours lapping the irons on two of my plans and using water stones to get a decent edge on them. After that I spent about 45 minutes attempting to create a symmetrical 16 sided length of wood. It came out OK. I need some more practice. The photos below show the four sided yellow pine with the 7-10-7 gauge, then eight sides and finally 16 sided. It was a fun exercise and something that I have never done before. I have a piece of 2X2 mahogany I may use tomorrow or maybe a piece of maple. That's what I have in the shop at the moment.
13 Jul 10
I started off this morning thinking I would get right to building the platform for the companionway ladder to stand on. But first I needed to contrive a temporary support for the back end of the platform which would be about 28" wide and 32" deep. I measured and mulled it over and finally realized I would spend as much time trying to install a temporary supports and beam strong enough to hold the platform as I would just epoxying in two more knees.
So, made a cardboard template of the knees and transferred that to the BS 1088 3/4" plywood. Once I cut them out I had to trim them up a little and "angle cut" the bottom edge to match the slight forward slope of the hull where the knees would be positioned. Once satisfied, I braced the knees in position carefully checking to make sure they were aligned properly. I mixed up thickened epoxy and filleted them in place. While the fillets were kicking I cut the ladder supports, from some construction grade 2X4s, to length and cut 20 degree angles on the top and bottom of the vertical supports. Then I went back to the boat, removed the bracing, and epoxied in three layers of 17.7oz biaxial on both sides of the knees.
While the biaxial was curing I cut the steps for the ladder. I angle cut the face so they would match the angle of the ladder. I made the ladder 19" wide (OD) and the three treads were spaced 11 1/2". I fastened them to the ladder with 3" deck screws.
I took the ladder into the boat and since I can't install the platform until the knees are fully cured I placed the feet of the legs on the vertical plywood support that the platform will be laying across (the feet will be 3/4" higher once the platform is installed). I was able to put my weight on it and get a feel for the angle. When the platform is laying across the knees in the rear and the vertical plywood riser in the front the edge of the platform will extend about 1 1/2 inches forward of the vertical plywood riser. This will allow for 3/8" to 1/2" vertical staving that will cover the plywood riser. This also means the foot of the ladder will be able to come forward a bit more.
In the bottom picture you can see the general location of the bilge pump. The handle will remain installed, out of the way, but completely assessable. The bilge pump does double duty emptying the grey water tank for the shower so it need to be easy to reach.
It's great to have a way to get in the boat without having to do acrobat maneuvers. Tomorrow I will install the platform.
The knees that support the back of the platform.
12 Jul 10
This morning I drove I picked up a couple of sheets of 3/4" birch plywood to use as a temporary cabin sole. I visited a machine shop whose owner did some work for me on my rudder post extension and got some advice about welding bronze--pros and cons.
When I got home I went straight to work cutting the birch plywood for the temporary cabin sole for the galley area. I used the templates I made yesterday. I laid them on the plywood (upside down), traced the outline and cut it with my circle saw. Then I stood the plywood on one edge and set my Bosch jig saw at 30 degrees and cut a very shallow angle to match the slope of the hull. Next, I laid the play wood horizontal and upside down and dressed the angle I cut with a smoothing plane. Lady luck was smiling on me 'cause the sole fit almost perfect the first fitting. I trimmed it a little here and there but I was more than satisfied. It was also a good experience to learn about the techniques and thought process I'll need when it comes time to install the final hardwood cabin sole. I screwed down the two outside panels with 1 1/2" #10 square drive SS screws and then drilled one inch finger holes in the two center hatches so I can lift them out. What a treat to sand on a level surface in the galley area. I will need to think bout how to work around the sink drain sea-cock when I install the hard wood sole in that area.
I ran out of time before I could even get started on the companionway ladder. I'll tackle that tomorrow along with gluing up the tool box and building the handle.
11 July 10
I started the day by thinking about the interior arrangement some more. My wife and I had a good discussion up in the boat about some additional modifications to the saloon galley area. I will capture these modifications in writing in the next week or so as I start to make the detail plans necessary to begin the next phase of construction. I bolted in the additional beam to the aft side of the one that was misaligned. Then I set about to build the templates for the curved part of the temporary galley cabin sole. I ripped a 2X4 into 1/8" strips and took them up into the boat along with a pair of tin shears and a hot glue gun. I laid down a couple of strips of 3/4" ply and then glued up a lattice work of wood strips on top of the wood blocks which will show the correct height for the top of the plywood sole. That will represent the widest part of the floor since most of the edge will be beveled back as the hull slopes inward at a steep angle. I did not have enough plywood to finish the sole so I set the template aside for the time being. I will head up to Atlantic Veneer tomorrow to pick up some plywood and take a look at their hardwoods.
I went back to work on the tool box in the afternoon. I drew a tracing on some brown paper of what I wanted the risers to look like. I used a piece of 2" ID PVC pipe to trace the rounded top of the riser. I cut the tracing out and laid it on a piece of 1/4" luan plywood. Then I cut the pattern out with a jigsaw. I took a block plane to the plywood pattern and planed the edges straight. Then I laid the plywood pattern on some sapele and traced the outline. I took my jigsaw and cut the pattern out making sure to stay about 1/16" out side the tracing on the sapele. I marked the direction of the grain on the edge of the sapele so I would not accidentally cut against the grain. Cutting with the grain helps reduce the chance of tear-out. I put the pattern back on the sapele and secured it in place with some 5/8" brads.
Next, I set up my portable router table and installed a straight bit with a roller bearing on the top. I adjusted the depth of the bit so the roller bearing stayed on the pattern and the blade of the bit cut only the sapele. Then, I routered the sapele, making sure I went with the grain. I removed the brads and the pattern and took the riser to my wood vise and smoothed the edges with a block plane. Then I took it to the combination belt/disk bench top sander and very carefully smoothed the curved rounded riser top. Then I switched out the router bit for a 1/8" round-over bit and routered a soft edge all the way around the riser to give it a more finished look.
Then, I took a few basic tools that I thought I would carry in the tool box and imagined how I might customize the box to hold the tools. Nothing fancy . . . just a few basic ideas. Then I took a piece of scrap cypress left over from when I built our deck a few summers ago. I planed it down to 5/16" enjoying the fruity smell of the wood. I used this fairly thin plank to build a few dividers for the tool box and I made a simple box to fit on top like a tray. I ran out of time to build the handle but that will come in the next day or so. In fact, in the bottom picture nothing is glued up. All the parts are just pressed together. The little drop-in box has simple half-lap joints with a dado slot for the 1/4" maple plywood bottom. I keep the good Marple chisels on the work bench. The red handled ones I bought at Lowes are my everyday beater chisels. They work fine and I keep them sharp on a water-stone but I want them out and available vice kept in a roll that is hard to get to. I will eventually make a cloth roll for the Marples but that will have to wait for another day.
Tomorrow I will tackle the galley floor first, then the temporary companionway ladder, and work on the tool box if I have time.
10 Jul 10
It's been a frustrating couple of days. I made a couple of mistakes and I spent a fair amount of time sorting them out. The biggest mistake is the beam/knees I glassed in 20" forward of the companionway step-up somehow moved out of alignment, by 5/8 of an inch, after, or perhaps during, the application of the wetted out biaxial cloth. I never noticed until the next day. The bottom line is it is not perfectly perpendicular to the long axis of the boat like the others. It was a dumb mistake. The result is that when I install the planks for the cabin sole I will have to cut them on the bias to have them meet over this beam. I am not doing that and I'm not going to grind six layers of biaxial X two knees to redo it. So, what to do. I decided to install another shorter beam on the aft side of those same knees. That will provide enough perpendicular width that the plank edges will all match.
Because I am in a new phase on the boat I decided to reward myself this afternoon by building a carpenter's tool box. Before, the only tools I needed on the boat were grinders and sanders, a wet out table, biaxial, epoxy, my Tyvek suit and a respirator. Now, I am using clamps, combo squares, scribes, countersinks, chisels, hole saws, drills, levels, hand saws, block planes, etc. I looked around the boat and I have a lot of stuff scattered around. Working in the wood shop I have drawers for everything and places to hang tools on the wall, etc. Time for a little organizational upgrade for the boat. I ran across an article in Woodenboat Magazine and thought, "that would be nice to have and help me stay organized inside the boat." Now, I am not building the one in the magazine, but one to my own design . . . besides, I can't spend a week building a tool box! I rummaged through the woodshop this afternoon and found some cypress and sapele. I drew out the basic design that I thought would meet the requirement. I dragged out my dovetail jig and went to work. To the right is the basic box. It's 26" long and 11 1/2" wide (outside dimensions). Next to the box some Sapele that I will use to make the risers tomorrow. I have some mahogany scrap that I might use for the handle or maybe a piece of Douglass Fir.
While working on the toolbox tomorrow, I will finish up the temporary cabin sole in galley area and begin construction of the temporary companion way ladder.
I am still undecided as to what kind of wood I want to use for the vertical staving inside the Far Reach. To the left is a picture of a couple of different pieces of wood each with at least one coat of varnish. At the top is Douglass Fir, in the middle is Bald Cypress, and the bottom is African Mahogany. All are good choices. I think a darker interior is easier in your eyes in the tropics while the DF and cypress will make the interior a little brighter or dark and cloudy days. There are other woods I'll look at but these pretty much represent the range of color. The nice thing about the AF Mahogany is it's quartersawn and fairly inexpensive. Something to think about. I'll have to decide soon.
8 Jul 10
It has been one long hot week. The temperatures have run in the upper 90's and it's been well over 100 in the SRF. Nonetheless, much progress has been made. Though the pictures don't really tell the story, the fabrication and installation of the knees for the galley/nav area cabin sole were quite challenging.
From my perspective this is a critical modification. I wanted to change how the ladder came down into the boat. The original ladder was a SS and wood ladder that gently sloped down and forward. To be comfortable the companion way hatch had to be all the way open otherwise you were bent over backward to keep from hitting your head. With a 9' hard dinghy on the cabin top, the companion way can't open all the way and I want the ladder to be comfortable to use when at sea as well as when anchored and the dinghy is over the side in the water. What to do? Well, I decided to make the ladder steeper and not protrude so far forward. Also, I wanted the ladder to land on a platform that would essentially serve as the first step. The platform would give me max storage and provide a place for my bronze Edson model 117 manual bilge pump. More on the pump later. The height from the top of the bridge deck to the saloon floor is 57." That allowed for five steps with a 11 1/2" rise per step. That seems high but because it is steep, a taller step exposes more tread. I spent hours looking at this at the beginning of the week. I finally got my sketch pad and drew it out--where the beams needed to go, how they would be secured to the knees, what the general shape of the knees would be, and most importantly where the aft plywood riser would go. Once I thought I had a good plan I went to work.
Following the same technique I used for the knees in the saloon, I clamped a strong back from the beams over the saloon area and extended it back to where I thought the ply wood step-up would go. I used cardboard to scribe the initial mock-up for the plywood step and then transferred the pattern to 1/4" ply, and test clamped it with a temporary 2X2 beam clamped to the strong back. Once I was satisfied I transferred the pattern to 3/4" BS 1088 Marine plywood and cut it out. Then I placed the plywood step-up on 5/8" closed cell foam that I cut with two 45 degree bevels to serve as fillets for the biaxial cloth. I had to trim the step-up to allow for the thickness of the foam. I marked the thickness of the beam on the plywood so I would not cover that area with the biaxial. This ensured the beam would fit flush and tight to the plywood step-up. Then I epoxied it in place with three layers of 17.7oz biaxial on both sides. Next, I followed the same technique for cutting the knees 20" forward of the plywood step-up. Once I was satisfied with them I epoxied them in placed with three layers of 17.7 on both sides.
The beams are Douglass Fir and this time instead of varnishing them I tried something different after reading an artical in Woodenboat Magazine. I applied two coats of clear shellac. It coat dries in an hour, is supposed to be more waterproof than varnish, and is a lot easier to work with. I have used shellac before in furniture making. It has some limitations for sure. It will disolve if you get alcohol on it. And it is not as tough a finish as varnish. But since it is under the cabin sole it seemed like something worth trying. Woodenboat really talked it up for sealing wood so I'll see how it works out. The beams are bolted to the knees with 3/8" SS bolts, washers, and nylon locking nuts.
I spent a lot of time thinking about where to put the bronze Edson bilge pump. We intend for the sitz tub to drain aft into a grey water tank that will be located aft of the water tanks in the deepest part of the bilge. The ice box will also drain into this tank. We will use the bilge pump to pump the grey water tank after we shower. So, we want the pump to be located in a place that is out of the way but where it will be convenient to use and where we can keep the handle in the pump all the time. We also intend to run the bilge pump through a "Y" valve so we can turn the knob to either pump the bilge or the grey water tank as needed. The best place for the pump is behind the step-up platform and to the side of where the companion way ladder will go.
This picture show the knees for the pump looking aft over the step-up. Later I will install a fore-and-aft-partial bulkhead to the port side of the handle that will either be the inside edge of the ice box or separate the ex-engine space, now storage space, from the fix mounted galley stove (you would face aft to cook) . . . if we decide to do incorporate that idea. In this picture you can see the knees I glassed in that a plywood platform will be fastened to and the pump will sit on that. You can tell it will be mounted with the intake slightly down and the pump slightly off the center line of the boat. To the right will be the partial fore-and-aft bulkhead which will itself be mounted about four inches to the inside of the existing fore-and-aft bulkhead that runs below the cockpit footwell. Clear as mud right? These knees are also epoxied in with three layers of biaxial on both sides of each knee. Disregard the 2X2 in the back ground. I wedged it in there to give me somthing to lay my level across to see where the sole will be relative to the top of the bilge pump.
This picture depicts the one of the original floor beams. I will need to either "sister" another beam to it to give enough "shelf" for the cabin sole to fall on or just glass in another, slightly smaller beam. I'll decide tomorrow. Regardless, to the left you can see where the builder drilled five 1" diameter holes to run water and fuel lines through this beam. I think this greatly weakened it--there isn't that much wood left on that side. So, I drilled our some plugs today and epoxied them in with thickened epoxy--five on the port side and one on the starboard side. This is another reason why I will probably glass in another beam along side it instead of bolting them together--I don't want to drill more holes into this beam.
1 Jul 10
I bolted the floor beams in today. I used 3" X 3/8" SS bolts. You will note the forward most beam, it straddles the forward tank, is positioned on the forward side of its associated knees, while the other two beams are on the aft side of thier knees. This was not a mistake but was done by design--the forward beam had to be positioned out of the way of a fitting on the tank and I wanted to keep the knees evenly spaced.
Temporary saloon cabin sole.
After I bolted the beams in place I cut some 3/4" Birch plywood to use as a temporary cabin sole. I get this stuff much cheaper than comparable ply at Lowes. Except for the very expensive ply Lowes their ply is always warped. The Birch ply that I buy at Atlantic Veneer is dead flat so I don't have to screw it down. I cut it in four sections and it represents exactly the footprint for the permanent cabin sole--32" X 76". The permanent sole with be hardwood planks (maybe teak if I can find quartersawn for a price that will not take me off budget. It felt great to final walk on a flat surface after years of walking through an open and sloping bilge.
After I laid the sole down I went to work on designing the knees and beams for the galley/nav station area. This is a very complicated project. I spent well over just sitting there thinking about the design of the companion way ladder and how the aft knees and beams will have to be designed and positioned to support it. After thinking about it for a long while I got out my sketch pad and began drawing and measuring, laying it all out on paper, so I can see the details of what I need to do. This will, no doubt, take a couple of days to complete.
29 Jun 10
Other obligations delayed work on the boat till later this afternoon so I was only able to get a little work done today . . . but a little work is always better than no work.
Before I can install the floor beams in the saloon area I needed to reinstall the water tanks. The bottom of the trays are a little rough and I have been concerned that with the boat bouncing around in seaway there could be some abrasion to the tanks. So, a few days ago I ordered some 24" X 12" X 1/8" thick EPDM rubber from McMaster-Carr. This will put a thin layer of rubber between the polyethylene tanks and the epoxy trays. I trimmed the rubber with a box cutter and cut it to fit in the bottom of the trays. Once I was satisfied with the fit I cut holes in the rubber with a 1 1/2" hole saw to match the holes in the trays that are intended to allow any water that gets into the trays to drain out. The tanks fit snug in the trays so I think this was a good move.
Next, I checked the positioning of the tanks with respect to the recently installed knees. Once I was satisfied with the tanks location I gently removed them so the trays would stay in place and screwed the trays into the runners I installed earlier in the spring. Then I set the beams generally where they will go and checked the alignment for the tanks and the beams. In the photo to the left you can see the beams. They will obviously sit higher when they are through bolted to the knees. I will use two planed and level 2X4s as the strong-back to check the alignment with the two preexisting, though shimmed, original floor timbers forward and aft of the tanks. Tomorrow I will through bolt the beams and begin work to lay the temporary plywood cabin sole in the saloon. At some point I will epoxy in the blocks, wedges, and SS straps that will hold the tanks in place.
28 Jun 10
Last night I went for another night sail in the Sweat Pea, our 9' Fatty Knees dinghy. It was very dark on the river since the moon did not rise till well after I set sail. The breeze was warm, balmy, and steady at 10-12 knots. I took my headlamp (I never turn it on) and a D-cell flashlight--to signal boats should they get too close. It was slow going against a strong flood tide and it took an hour and 45 minutes and about 40 tacks to sail all the way to the Swansboro bridge. Early in the sail, I saw a couple of fishing skiffs racing home before full darkness arrived. Just before I reached the bridge--the turn around point--I was overtaken by a bay shrimp boat working his way out of the river with a powerful search light. Other than that I owned the White Oak. Just as I began the run back home, the stars and a low and very orange full moon were washed out by fast moving clouds. I could hear the low rumble of thunder and see flashes of light on the southern horizon as a summer storm began to move into the area. The river banks and small grass islands were mostly hidden in ink black shadows. It was very rewarding to find all the marks on so dark a night on this fairly wide but shallow river, yet never seeing them till they were close aboard. The darkness of night and the heavy humid air seemed to magnify the sound of water burbling along the hull. There is nothing like the heeling of a boat under you and the warmth of the breeze on your face to make you feel close to the earth and her awesome sky, wind, and water.
Back to boat building . . . . This morning I cut the floor beams, that will be bolted to the knees in the saloon area, to the proper length. Then I applied two coats of varnish to protect them from the humid environment in the bilge. I picked up some SS 3/8" bolts that I will use to fasten the beams to the knees tomorrow. Then I drove to my neighbor's wood import business and we looked over some quartersawn African Mahogany, Sapele, and Spanish Cedar he has in his warehouse. Of the three, the African Mahogany seemed the most promising for the vertical staving I would like to install. I have used sapele before, to build desk tops, and it's beautiful, but I think due to its sometimes wavy nature and the striping that often runs through the wood, it will look too busy when cut into narrow 2 1/2" wide planks. Matt gave me a 5/4 sample of the African Mahogany to use as a test piece. I brought it home and ran it through the planer. There was no tear-out. Then I ripped a 2 1/2" wide piece and applied a first coat of spar varnish thinned 50 percent with mineral spirits. The color looks great. The grain is tight. If I use it for staving I'll resaw it to get finished pieces not more than 3/8" thick and then mill it for half laps and "V" grooves to get the look I desire. I will also use it to rebuild the cockpit coamings since the originals are cracked. I'll probably use it for other trim that I intend to varnish.
I'll need to build some more racks in the wood shop to keep it dry and out of the way till I need it later in the summer or early in the fall.
27 Jun 10
Ft Hickory is complete. It took two full days and a small part of two more days to build. The hardest part was the very hot weather we are having. I must have drank about two gallons of water on the second day. The kids are happy with their fort, so I am too.
Tomorrow I return to the Far Reach. I'll start by cutting the floor beams to length and then applying a couple of coats of varnish to them. Then, bolt them in place. I have a line on some local quartersawn African Mahogany so I'll try to find some time tomorrow to take a look at it. As soon as the saloon beams are in place I'll lay down some temporary plywood for a cabin sole and then install the knees and temporary floor in the companion way/galley/nav station area.
I have been corresponding with Lin Pardey who has most graciously shared with me some of Taleisin's interior measurements that will help me incorporate some of their ideas into the Far Reach. Other than the coastal Carolina heat, we are just on the verge of getting to the fun part of the rebuild.
Finally, last night, my 10 year old son and I went out for a terrific sail on the White Oak River in our 9' Fatty Knees dinghy Sweat Pea. We got underway just before the end of evening nautical twilight. We could just make out the faintest hint of slate blue through a break in the cumulus clouds in the western sky as we sailed away from the dock. The stars were already popping out. The wind was a soothing steady 10 knots. We beat down river against the tide. Though there were lights shining from the houses on the shore, it was very dark out on the water. Eric stood on the bow with one hand gripping the mast taking in the view while I sat back with my feet braced against one side of the hull and my back on the other. We tacked back and forth and about 30 minutes later deep orange full moon came up through the low clouds on the horizon. We could clearly see the "seas" and we wondered aloud which one was the Sea of Tranquility. Beautiful. We sailed for about an hour. Then, we loaded her up on the dolly and together we pushed her 250 yards through the neighborhood back to the house.
21 June 10
We've been on a family vacation for the last two weeks, thus no entries on the website. I opened the SRF yesterday as soon as we returned to check on the Far Reach and increase the fresh air flowing through the shed.
I am on the hook to build the kids a wooden tower, with hatch and rope ladder, to add to their playground. That will take about a week. Then, back to the boat. I can hardly wait.
6 Jun 10
The last couple days have been spent on preparing for and completing the rolling on of bottom paint. Two days ago I spent some time filling some small blimishes in the barrier coat with 407 thickened epoxy. Yesterday I rolled on the last (fifth) coat of Interlux Interprotect 2000. Then, we followed that with the first coat of Interlux Micron CSC. I used 1/4" rollers since that is what I had. It took about a gallon for each coat.
Today, I moved the boat stands around and then applied the 2nd coat of bottom paint. As soon as I finished rolling it on I pulled the waterline tape. Wow! Even with epoxy primered topsides she looks great. It has been a long long time since the Far Reach looked this good. For striking my first waterline I am pleased with how straight and level it is. Striking the waterline is a bit of a learned skill I think. I'll get another chance anyway . . . next spring when I paint the topside down to the bottom paint, I'll raise the bottom paint about a 1/4" to cover the transition between the topside paint and the bottom paint.
I used a combination of green Frog tape and blue 3M tape for the waterline. I put the Frog tape down first to mark the waterline and then used 2" wide 3M to extend the protection of the topside so I wouldn't inadvertently roll paint over the 1" wide Frog tape on to the topside. Using the Frog tape was probably a mistake. Though it left a pretty clean line, when I pulled it, there was patches of adhesive left behind about every 12"-18". I was able to remove it pretty easily with acetone on a soft rag.
As soon as I finished cleaning the adhesive off the topside I went right back to work on the interior and completed glassing in the last two knees in the saloon this afternoon. You can see in the photo that they are not as wide as the other knees (also you can see in the photo the tanks have been moved out of the way for glass work. The tray for the forward tank is still in place, but I removed the trays for the two aft tanks). These knees will support a beam that crosses over the middle of the forward water tank. Without it, the fore and aft span for the cabin sole would have been 36". This way, it will be 18" which is the same span across the two beams aft of the forward tank. The other beams cross between tanks so the knees can be be longer with the inside edges closer to the centerline. But the knees I put in today can't be as close to the centerline. In fact I had to carefully measure and place them to provide 3/8" clearance between the inside edge of the knees and the outside edge of the water-tank. I used four layers of 17.7oz biaxial on the aft side of the knees and three layers on the forward side.
Preliminary measurements indicate the vertical face of the two settees will be 32" apart. That will provide enough room for settees that are 20" deep and a pilot berths that will be 24"-26" wide at the shoulder.
3 June 10
All three seacocks were installed today. It went smoothly. Per yesterday's post, I basically followed the technique recommened by Tim Lackey. Below is the sequence I used:
1. I measured the through-hull for correct length by placing it through the hole from the inside. Then I mark on the threads where it exited the hull. Then I add the depth of the threads inside the flange base and subtracted 1/4". This makes sure the through-hulls will not bottom-out in the base before it is fully tightened. 2. I screwed on the bronze nut that came with the through-hull, marked the through-hull for the correct length, and taped the threads to protect them and also to steady the hacksaw blade (I also have a special blade I only use on bronze so I don't contaminate the metal with carbon steel shavings. 3. I placed the through-hull in the vise and cut it to the proper length. I never take more than 4-5 strokes with the saw without stopping and checking the angle of the cut. If a hacksaw gets away from you it is hard to correct. 4. I took a file to the newly cut edge to smooth out the sharp edges. Than I took it to the combination belt/disk sander and ground a slight bevel to the outside edge of the through-hull. 5. I cleaned up the threads by unscrewing the nut from the through-hull--it's only purpose. 6. I dry fit all the flanges, through-hulls, and ball-valves and rechecked the alignment. It is very important to number the through-hulls, flanges and ball-valves. The ball-vlaves don't stop in the same place with different flanges and if handle placement is important you need to use the same combination for each hole. I numbered them all with an indelible pen and marked on the backing plate where I wanted the drain plug to be so I would not goon it up. Also, by using the triangle shaped backing plate you loose some flexibility regarding placement of the ball valve if you did not check the fit ahead of time. If you don't like the handle location you have to rotate the whole flange/ball-valve assembly 120 degrees. A round backing plate would give you max flexibility but is not as clean looking or as easy to cut out of the G-10. 7. Once satisfied with the fit, I drilled the holes for the flange base bolts using the flange holes as the guide. A good piece of advise from Tim Lackey is to drill a hole then drop one of the bolts through from the inside to keep the flange from moving around and throwing off your alignment. After drilling the second hole, drop another bolt through until you have all three holes drilled. 8. Then, I removed the hardware and counter-sunk the holes from the outside. 9. I Vacuumed and acetone washed the area to include the flange base and through-hulls. 10. I then gooped up (with 4200) one bolt and inserted it from the outside of the boat (the 4200 holds it in place). 11. I gooped up the flange base to include circles of 4200 around each bolt hole. I took it into the boat and made sure I had the alignment right using the one bolt sticking up to hold it in place. 12. I went back below the boat, gooped up the remaining two bolts and inserted them through the holes. 13. Then back into the boat again and placed the washers, lock washers and nuts over the bolts and tightened them by hand until I saw the smallest bit of squeeze out. 14. I went back under the boat and gooped up the through-hull to include the threads and screwed it into place. 15. I used my home-made through-hull removal tool (see tool page) to tightened the through-hull tight. 16. Then I went back into the boat and tightened down the nuts. 17. Cleaned up the excess squeeze out.
I'll cut the excess bolt length off tomorrow and install the ball valves.
I bought a Milescraft right angle drill attachment for $20.00 at Lowes this morning. It worked great. Without it I wound not have been able to get the drill in to the tight spaces required to drill through the flanges holes. I posted a picture on the tools page.
One more misstep to avoid--though I was very careful about checking the alignment and clearances for all the components, I did not simulate screwing the ball valve onto the flange base over the through-hull hole. To my surprise, I had to remove two of the ball-valve handles to screw the ball-valve barrels on the flange bases after I had caulked and bolted on the flanges. I was lucky today and it all worked out. I won't make that mistake again . . . I hope.
2 June 10
I worked on the backing plates for the seacocks today. There is a lot of info out there about installing backing plates and seacock installation. But, it is apparent to me there are a lot of boats with backing plates and seacocks improperly installed. Though most of the techniques are similar there are differences. What I decided to do after gathering all the info is to use Tim Lackey's technique. He is very good at balancing a proper job with some common sense. Here is a link to one of his projects that is well worth the read on the subject of seacocks and backing plates.
I used 1/2" G-10 that I purchased from Jamestown Distributors. It is not inexpensive. You could also make your own backing plates by laminating some biaxial with epoxy on a waxed sheet of glass. But, I had never used G-10 so I decided try it and see what its properties are. I decided I would cut the G10 in a pattern that followed the outline of the flange base--essentially a triangle. When I talked to a distributor in Virginia about G-10 they told me it would be too hard to cut with normal blades and I would need a diamond blade to cut it. Tim Lackey suggested a carbon tipped jigsaw blade. I could find neither at Lowes and since I did not have the time to order something special I bought three Bosch steel cutting blades for about $7.00 to fit my 5 amp Bosch Jig Saw. I traced the pattern with an indelible marker making the pattern about 5/8" wider than the flange base all the way around. I clamped the G-10 to the table, but on a long sleeve shirt, dust mask, eye and ear pro, and work gloves. I was expecting a big mess of dust. It wasn't that bad. At first the saw cut the G-10 pretty easily and I thought "OK this will work fine." But, after about 6" of cutting the blade was dead . . . just like that. This stuff is very hard. I was able to nurse the three blades I had to get the material cut. I also cut a backing plate for the bronze dyna plate as well.
After competing the cutting I took the backing plates to the combination bench top sander and smoothed the edges. Then I sanded both sides with some 40 grit on a RO sander. I sanded a "round-over" on the top edge of the backing plates to remove the sharp edge and make it easier to paint when the time comes.
Next I located the center of each backing plate and cut a 2" diameter hole with a standard hole saw. No problem. I test fit them in the boat with an assembled seacock. I checked that the handle would be convenient to open and close and also I made sure the winter drain plug was on the low side. I traced the position of the backing plate on the hull with an indelible marker. I had one hole that still needed to be cut. I drilled a 1/4" pilot hole from the inside of the boat. I went to the outside to confirm that it looked good, then I used the hole-saw to cut the hole from the outside to the inside.
Next, I sanded the area the backing plates were to be located, vacuumed, and finished with an acetone wash. I retraced the outline for the location of the backing plates. I mixed up some 406 thickened epoxy and epoxied the backing plates in place making sure the holes in the hull were lined up with the holes in the backing plate. I ensured there was good squeeze out all the way around. Then, I cleaned up the excess and wiped the base top and the hull down with an acetone soaked rag so as not to leave any epoxy runs, drips, etc.
Last, I laid out all the parts I will need tomorrow to install the through-hulls, flange bases, and seacocks.
31 May 10
An interesting day. More on that in a minute.
Today I epoxyed in two of the three pairs of knees that will support the floor timbers and subsequently the cabin sole in the main saloon. I only glassed in the forward face of the knees. Tomorrow I will glass in the aft face of the knees and also glass in the third set of knees that will allow me to put a beam over the middle of the larger forward water tank.
I used three layers of 17.7oz biaxial: one 8" wide and two 6" wide, per knee. I also wet out the bottom edge of the plywood knee to seal it from possible water intrusion. I'll wet out the rest of the knee edges when I unclamp the floor beams.
A while back I was having difficulty getting the boat level. I had the deck level but then everything inside the boat was off though it was square and plumb to itself. By that, I mean, if I leveled the existing floor timbers in the boat then the bulkhead edges were perpendicular and the cleat for the counter was level . . . but then the deck was not level. It was not off just a little either, i.e. with the deck level the floor timbers were out of level by 9/16" over a span of just 45 ". That's a lot in my book. I thought about this for a while and corresponded with a few boat builders I respect. The problem was that I did not know what the true level was--the inside of the boat or the deck. There was no good solid single datum point that could connect the two. The deck could have been placed on crooked when it was installed or when the builders installed the interior (the deck was put on after the interior was installed) they did not have the boat level.
What to do? Well, I decided to leave well enough alone. I would build the interior to the original level and paint the waterline to the level deck. Who would know . . . boats are always moving around and slightly out of trim, etc as you work through your water and stores. I probably wouldn't know either. Besides, if I tried to level everything to one datum point, I had a 50 percent change of that not being the true level. I figured I would live with it because I did not know how to link the two different levels. But, it gets better . . . .
You may recall from yesterday's post that I was having a hard time getting the port and starboard knees that support the floor timbers in the saloon to match. I couldn't do it. I cut my way through three pair of knees and no matter how I tried to compensate the starboard side was always smaller by an inch in length than the port side knee, or else it was way out of square on the inside corner. I racked my brain over that yesterday and last night. If you look in the photo from yesterdays post you can even see the port side knee is shorter than the starboard side knee. Today, I sat there for the longest time thinking "something is not right here." Then, I had one of those "ah-ha" moments . . . the knees did not match because even though the floor timbers were level, the hull they were sitting in was canted to one side--the starboard side. I decided to test this theory. So, I leveled the boat with a bubble level on the deck. Then I went down inside the boat and shimmed the forward and aft beams--the original ones, at the forward and aft end of the saloon, by raising them on the port side 9/16". I laid my strong-backs back in place. I checked them with the level--athwart-ship and fore-and-aft. Next I took the starboard side knee--larger of the knees--and placed them on the port side. They fit perfectly. I then dropped a plumb-bob through the hole for the mast and over the mast-step. It was off about an inch. With the deck level and the floor shimmed, the floor timbers are exactly perpendicular to the plumb-bob but the inside edge of the bulkheads are off.
After much thought I decided to correct what was obviously a mistake made by the Cape Dory builders. I spent the rest of the day making tapered shims for the forward and aft beams. Then I cut two more knees that matched the starboard side knees and now they are all the same and they all fit correctly. At some point, I will have to shim the bulkhead edges with trim when I am installing finishing trim. I'll also have to address the mast step.
Though I had resigned myself to two different levels, installing the knees provided the clue that I did not previously have. It was the key data point the connected the level deck to a level interior. What does this say about boat builders? I'll leave my thoughts on that for another post.
30 May 10
Since my last entry I was able to get three more coats of barrier coat on the hull--this included moving the boat stands around . . . an event that always keeps you on your toes. Since UPS did not deliver the Groco through-hull flanges Saturday, I went to work installing the floor beams and knees. For a look at a real professional job installing floor timbers--and an impressive job building a 34' Lyle Hess cutter from a bare hull--vist Kaj Jakobsen's site. Kaj sets a pretty high bar for construction and finish work. If very much like the interior look his boat and the construction techniques he used are valuble in developing my own skills.
Back to the Far Reach. First, I ran a couple of fairly 2x4s over my jointer to give them a straight edge. I used two of them for strong backs as an aid to ensuring the beams and knees will be in exactly the right place. I would have prefered to use only one strongback down the center, but I needed to be able to lift the water tanks out without disturbing the floor timbers during the test fit. Next, I used some inexpensive 1/4" ply and my compass to scribe some mock-up knees. Then I used clamps and a 1"x1" as a template for the floor beams. Once I was satisfied with the templates, I took them into the shop and cut the actual knees out of 3/4" BS 1088 plywood. I used some D. Fir for the beams. I was going to use some white oak I have been saving but I think these will work fine and if I change my mind this will not be a huge thing to change a little later on. The ply will be sealed with west epoxy and the beams will get a couple of coats of varnish. Last, I took the pieces up to the boat and clamped them in place to test fit them.
In the photo to the right you can see the 3/4" closed cell foam between the knees and the hull. It is cut with 45 degree angle and keeps the plywood off the hull and from causing hard spots. The epoxy/biaxial tape will go right over the foam, which provides a more gentle bend for the biaxial, and secures the knees in place. The beams will be secured to the knees with bolts and nuts--this way they can be removed to facilitate removing the tanks.
The bottom picture shows two of the three beams in place. I need to cut one more that will span the middle of the forward tank. This will provide good support to the hardwood cabin sole I plan to install later--teak (if the budget allows . . . probably not) or perhaps walnut (about 1/8 the cost of teak). The maximum span for the 7/8" thick hardwood will be about 19". Either way, the sole will be completely removable without tearing the boat apart. The tanks will also be removable. Before I glass all this in tomorrow I need to do some more work on the knees to make them symmetrical--there is a story here but I am not giving it up that easily!!
If I can complete this tomorrow I will be ready to install the seacocks on Tuesday/Wednesday.
This seems like a good time to comment on the budget for the DIY restoration/rebuild. I think it is so easy to get carried away and try to make the boat perfect. Sometimes it can be tough to push-back against that desire. But the reality is, unless you are prepared to sink everything you have into your boat (I am not) you have to know where to draw the line and have the conviction and discipline not to cross it without good reason (of course the line is different for each person, but you should figure out where the line is before you get started) . . . . stuctural issues are an example of something that can't be ignored. I am not talking about cutting corners or doing sloppy work. If you want to do it right , some things just cost money--epoxy, biaxial, primer and paint, fasteners, solvents, tools, etc--and time and effort. The time ande physical effort to tackle some of these projects is not for the feint-hearted. This is still a huge project and, sure, it's expensive. But, without a plan and some discipline it could also be a bottomless money pit.
26 May 10
The G-10 epoxy sheet I plan to use as backing plates arrived a few days ago. Today, when I took it out of the cardboard sleeve it was shipped in one corner was cracked. Very frustrating. It was poorly packaged. UPS will pick it up tomorrow. Jamestown Distributors is sending another which I should have by Saturday.
In the meantime, I have been unable to roll on anymore barrier coat due to the high humidity we have had for the last couple of days. So, I decided to start work on the rudder post/tiller head cover plate. To the right is a mock-up I put together to see how the design will work. The mock-up uses 1/2" plywood and a tube of epoxy and biaxial I made last winter in the shop. I like the design. It is simple and not difficult to make. The final product will use 1/2" G-10 and the epoxy tube. After I cut the cover plate from the G-10 I'll radius the edge to soften it and router out a caulking groove on the bottom side. I'll counter sink some holes and use oval head bronze machine screws with washer and nuts to hold it in place. Then I'll set the plate in place and slide the tube over the shaft. Next, I'll fill the gap between the tube and the cover plate with a fillet of thickened epoxy and apply some epoxy tape to the bottom side of the cover plate/tube to make it plenty strong. After it is cured, I take it off and brush on unthickend epoxy to fill the weave on the tube and complete any final fairing required. The whole thing will be painted white.
The brown paper and green tape in no way reflect what will be the tape out line for the non-skid. It's just on there to provide some protection to the epoxy primer on the cockpit sole while I stomp around on the boat.
I also began work today on the cabin sole--measuring for additional floor timbers. And, I spent some time on the phone with Robert Quates, the Chief Engineer at Sparcraft. He was very helpful and gave me some great advice regarding how to address the corrosion on the bottom six inches of my mast. I'll put together a separate write up on that later.
Mock-up of the rudder post cover plate.
24 May 10
I spent the last few days prepping the hull for Interlux 2000E Barrier Coat. As I was washing the hull to prepare it a couple of days ago, I noticed there were some spots that were not sanded that well. So, what else . . . I put the paper suit back on and spent about an hour on each side just cleaning up those rough spots that needed just a bit more sanding. Then I vacuumed the hull and wiped it down with MEK to make sure all the residue was removed. Last night I tapped the waterline. Today, I applied the first coat of barrier coat. It was great to finally get all the repair work covered up. It went on pretty easily. I mixed up a total of three batches. I used a total of 3 1/2 quarts (to include the converter). This amount covered everything except the bare spots on the hull behind four of the popits (and the rudder that I previously barrier coated before I shipped it). Tomorrow, I'll move the boat stands and then apply another coat, this time covering the spots left uncovered today. In fact, I'll probably get at least two coats on tomorrow. You might notice the three spots along the bottom of the keel where it sits on the support timbers that I could not coat of course. I'll attack those after we transport the boat to the boat-yard for final prep and launching.
Today, I also cut out the remainder of the patches for the eight through-hull holes that need to be patched on the inside of the hull. I patched the outside of the holes a few months ago.
First coat of barrier coat.
20 May 10
I haven't accomplished much work on the boat in the last few days. Instead I have spent a lot of time researching options regarding seacocks. After a lot of reading, emailing, calling, thinking, and a few visits to some marine chandlery I have decided not to reinstall the Spartan seacocks. I have been moving this way for awhile but anything that pulls me off my rebuild budget gets very close scrutiny. However, this is the right decision for several reasons. First, I don't have a lot of confidence in the Spartan seacocks, not because they are old or poorly made, but because there is some corrosion on the tapered plugs and I have no reliable way to make sure they won't leak. Second, they were leaking when last in the water, and the plywood backing plates were rotten and disintegrated when I removed them. Third, they were very stiff and difficult to operate. Fourth, I don't want to reinstall them and find out upon launching they are leaking without a recourse to repair them or replace them without rehauling the boat.
What to do? There is no question the Spartans are well made. They are classic, heavy, cast bronze, seacocks. Properly taken care of they can last decades. But, if they start to leak, and many do, there are not a lot of options. Tighten the plug to stop the leak makes the handles hard to turn. Greasing them helps but turning the handles can push the grease off the tapered plugs and they start to leak again. That leaves lapping them. Not hard to do, but if that does not correct the problem, you have no option but to replace the whole assembly. It's a lot of work and they are not cheap.
Groco and Apollo make very strong bronze flanged base ball-valve seacocks. These appear to be a pretty good system but based on what I am learning the ball-valves, though water tight and easy to maintain, don't last as long as the integral bronze flange bases--the ball-valve is the weak link (same as the Spartan tapered plug valve). So, in 10-15 years you have to replace the whole thing. Many sailors have been using bronze ball-valves incorrectly, and dangerously, screwing them directly on to through-hulls. Through-hull walls are surprisingly thin. Also, through-hulls have NPS threads and ball valves have NPT threads. They don't match and it is an inherently weak assembly . . . but people do it anyway because the ball-valves are easy to replace. Just screw off the old one and screw on a new one.
Enter Groco. They have developed a special three bolt bronze flange base called the IBVF that has NPS threads on the bottom to screw to standard through-hulls and NPT threads on the top to screw to standard bronze marine ball valves. The only problem with this solution is that the seacock and the handle/valve assembly are two parts vice one. This means that the combination, screwed together is not as strong as a single cast unit. Conceivably, some large object, like a battery or tool box, could break its lashings and fall on the ball-valve assembly during a violent knock-down and break the ball-valve off the flange base allowing water to enter into the boat. With the ball-valve broken off there would be no quick way to shut off the flow of water. You would have to resort to locating and driving the old stand-by wooden plug into a hole of gushing water. Not a good situation to be in.
Part of my education this week included learning that ABYC requires that for a seacock to be approved for below the waterline use it must meet the following standard. "Mounted so that 'the assembly will withstand a 500 lb. static force applied for 30 seconds to the inboard end of the assembly, without the assembly failing to stop the ingress of water.' " So, I called Groco today and talked to the tech department about the new flange base IBVF assembly and how strong it is when used with a separate ball-valve.
Here is what they told me. First, the walls of through-hulls are thin, but the threaded top of the flange base is very thick and the threads match the ball-vall threads. Second, Groco conducted a series of static test to the ABYC standard on all the combinations I described above. The through-hull to ball-valve combo broke the through-hull shaft either below the ball valve or just above the nut on the through-hull at 190 lbs. The cast bronze, integral flange base, ball-valve seacock assembly did not deform or break after having 1000 lbs applied to it. And, the bronze IBVF combo, in the picture to the right, deformed, but did not break or leak, at 992 lbs of static force. Thus, the separate flange base and screw-on ball valve exceeds by two times the required ABYC standard. Third, the tech rep told me the IBVF combo is UL approved for underwater seacocks and approved by the "Pipes and Fittings Committee" of ABYC as well.
What this means to me is, installed properly to include proper installation of other nearby objects, such as water-tanks, tool boxes, batteries, etc, this combination should be fine. What I really like about it is that you don't have to remove the flange base/through-hull when the valve assembly goes bad. You can just carry a couple of spare ball-valves and unscrew the one that is sticking, leaking, or causing some problem and screw on a new one. And, the Groco flange base will take any standard NPS though-hull and NPT ball valve.
Is there some risk? Sure, but it seems very reasonable to me and a thoughtful well thought out installation will mitigate most, if not all the risk. Plus, its not terribly expensive. About $170 for a complete, 1 1/2" through-hull, flange base, ball valve, and pipe to hose adapter as ordered today from Jamestown Distributors.
By the way, though I ordered an entire Groco system, I leaned yesterday that Apollo seacocks are cast and assembled in "SC" . . . that's South Carolina and not South China. I like that. I would have gone with them but I chose the Grocos because their handles are reversible which provides me more options when I install them.
Some additional news is that although I previously I reduced my through-hull requirement from ten to four, today, I figured out a way to further reduce the requirement to just three 1 1/2" through-hull/seacocks: two for cockpit scuppers and one for the galley drain. The fourth through-hull, a 3/4" one, was to provide salt water to the galley. What I have decided to do is install a bronze "T" fitting in the hose that connects the cockpit scupper to the seacock. The "T" will be installed below the waterline but above the seacock. I'll screw some reducers to the horizontal barb of the T fitting so I can bring a 1/2" or 3/4" line to the galley and put a ball valve on it to provide us with salt water as needed.
I think this will be a good modification to the boat. It will be simpler and easier to maintain and still more than strong enough to meet the requirements I have for the boat. Here are some links that provide more info on the flange base/ball/valve combo for use as a seacock.
Who would've thought it could take so long to clean up some bronze seacocks and through-hulls.
I spent a large part of the day cleaning four seacocks and through-hulls. These are the four I selected from the 10 that I took out of the boat. The were pretty grody and covered with verdigris. I disassembled them and kept each seacock and its associated parts together so they would not get intermixed. Then, I washed them individually in a small bucket of mineral spirits. Next, I washed them in hot soapy water, dried them, and brushed on a paste made up of flour and vinegar. I let them sit for 30 minutes or so. I washed it off with water and a scrub brush. I'd say about 80 percent of the verdigris came off. Though not perfectly clean, I am satisfied with the results since they are just going to turn green again anyway. The tapered barrels look OK as do the main bodies of the seacocks. I have mixed feelings about using them. Though they are very strong bronze fittings, the tapered plug seacocks are notorious leakers. I think the bronze ball valves with stainless steel balls are better in the long run. But new fittings are not in the budget. It would run about $800 to replace these four seacocks. So, I'll see if I can make them work. They need to be lapped so I'll do that tomorrow. I ordered a small sheet of G-10 that should arrive in the next day or so. I'll cut it into backing blocks for the seacocks and have some left over for backing blocks for deck fittings.
In the mean time I'll wash the hull and prep it for barrier coat. I'd like to have that completed by the end of next week. I also cleaned up the dyna-plate I removed a few weeks ago. I filled the old bolt holes in the hull with biaxial patches both inside and outside the hull. The bolts--for lightening ground--protruded into the interior of the bilge where my grey water tank will be so I will move the plate aft about 18 inches. I ordered new bronze bolts for the dyna-plate and the seacocks and they arrived today. In the picture to the bottom right the dyna plate is cleaned up and the new bolts are installed. I'll drill the holes tomorrow and then install it after I get a few coats of barrier coat on the hull--same as for the through-hulls.
Spartan bronze seacocks and through-hulls.
15 May 10
The rudder install and tiller conversion are essentially complete. I still need to make the cover plate with the rudder tube and a tiller, but the the hard part is finished. I spent the day adding what may be the final fairing compound to the glass repair work around the rudder shoe. I built backing blocks for the pillow bock support beam. I had to make them twice after I boogered up the first ones I made out of a piece of scrap white oak. They were a work of art, but I drilled the holes in the wrong place. I was not happy. All I had left was some 5/4 Southern Cypress so I planned it down, cut to my pattern, and sanded them. They will get painted when I paint the lockers but that is a long way off--or I'll replace them with some marine grade plywood or hardwood later.
The self aligning bearing and pillow block beam were installed with some 3/8" X 2 1/2" long SS bolts, washer, and nylon locking nuts. My 10 year old son helped me install them. I ask him for help every so often when I think the task will hold his interest by being challenging enough but not take too long. You can't start'em too early learning to work with tools and their hands. He worked the ratchet down inside one of the lockers. We had to audible a couple of times and did a great job. It's also nice to get him trained to go down in those tight spaces so I have to always turn myself into a pretzel! It went fine except that when I was finished and I went down to the ground and rotated the rudder back and forth there was a clunking sound coming from the shaft area. I thought maybe I had a bent shaft and I have to admit my heart sank a little. But, I found I had not tightened down the bolts that hold the top part of the self-aligning bearing and I could actually see it hopping around as the shaft was turned. A couple of turns on the bolts and that problem went away thankfully.
The middle picture shows the components of the rudder post modifications much better than the pictures I posted yesterday. You can see the SS stop collar, then the self-aligning bearing bolted to the support beam, then above that you can see the coupling that joins the rudder post and the 9" extension. You can see some tuff-gel that I coated liberally on the ends of the shafts before I inserted them into the coupling. Tuff-gel is supposed to prevent galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals, allow them to come apart more easily, and prevent galling. No doubt, at some point this will have to come apart . . . but hopefully not anytime soon!
Wheel to tiller conversion complete.
Self aligning bearing and rudder shaft coupling.
Cypress backing block.
14 May 10
For the last few days I have been off sailing. A friend ask for some help to sail her Cape Dory 36 from Wrightsville Beach NC to Oriental, NC. We went outside from Wrightsville Beach to Morehead City the first day. It was a great 11 hours of sailing. Pretty much a run the whole way. The winds started out light from the SE at about 10 knots but by noon were a steady 15-18 kts from the SSW. By 1600 they were a solid 20 knt with a few gust to 25 kts. Very nice sailing. The next day we motored up the ICW to Oriental and then sailed back and forth across the Neuse River a few times to just enjoy sailing her upwind. It was great to get a heeling deck under my feet and fun to sail on a CD-36.
Today I went right back to work on the Far Reach. In the morning I added some more fairing compound to the previous glass work as part of reinstalling the rudder shoe. Then in the afternoon I picked up the rudder post extension (9" SS 1 1/2" diameter shaft). I had keyways cut in both ends. A 3/8" keyway cut on the bottom end to fit the shaft coupling and a 1/4" key way on the top end to fit the bronze Edson tiller head.
I brought the new parts home and my neighbor, Bruce, helped me install them. The top picture shows the shaft sticking up through the cutout in the cockpit floor with the tiller head installed. It just clears the back of the cockpit. The next picture was taking from below where the engine used to be. Nothing is bolted in but it is all assembled to see how it fits together. From the bottom you can just see the top edge of the stuffing box for the rudder post. Then you can see the long key way that originally supported the quadrant for the wheel steering (Ironically I'll reinstall the quadrant but this time for the purpose of connecting the Cape Horn windvane control lines from the vane to the rudder via this quadrant). Above the quadrant keyway is the SS stop collar to keep the rudder from becoming "unshipped" should there be a hard grounding that impacts the rudder. Above that is the Edson self-aligning bearing (AKA pillow-block) that supports the upper end of the rudder post. This is a new bearing as the old one was galled and had become seized to the rudder post. I had to have the hole of the bearing ground out a little to freely rotate on the rudder post. It was too tight a fit. The old one was the same way and it was not right. Supporting the bearing and keeping it in place is the pillow-block support beam. This is mild steel (another one of those Cape Dory foibles) and was rusted when I took it out. I cleaned it up and painted it with POR-15 and it came out very nice. I have a post on the POR-15 under the Rudder Project section. Above the pillow-block you can just see the bottom of the 4" long Edson bronze rudder post coupling. It has a 3/8" key way cut in it and it joins the top 2" of the rudder post to the lower 2" of the rudder post extension (which is 9" long). The rudder post slide in one end and the extension in the other. Both the rudder post and the extension have a 3/8" key way in it matching the one in the coupling. The coupling has four bolts (on the back side that you can't see) that you tighten and it clamps the whole coupling down on the shafts. It seems like a pretty solid set up.
Tomorrow I'll position and secure the pillow-block support beam with four 3 1/2" long X 3/8" SS bolts. Then I'll build a cover plate and insert the custom epoxy rudder tube I made last winter to support the extension and keep water from getting into the boat from around the rudder post extension. I'll trim the tube to fit. Eventually I'll glass the epoxy tube to the cover plate and caulk and bolt it through the cockpit floor. Then only thing left on the project after that will be to build the tiller. I'll probably build it out of white oak and sapele or walnut or something like that.
Bronze Edson Tiller Head
To the right are pictures of the glass work I did right after I "peened" the rudder shoe in place back a few days ago. For some reason I found this a tough nut to crack. I think this might be because the area to be glassed was wavy after being ground down, but needed to be finished flat. The waviness was a result of how the keel area around the bronze heel shoe had to be ground down to remove the shoe itself. First, I made fillets along the edge of the shoe with 406 thickened epoxy. Then, I traced the area to be repaired on a piece of plastic sheeting and used it as a template for cutting out the layers of biaxial fabric--this is my standard technique. Next, I brushed on epoxy slightly thickened with 406 to fill any little voids or uneven spots. Then, I wetted out and applied the first layer of 17.7 oz biaxial. The first layer was the largest. Then the next layer a bit smaller, etc. The first three layers were all one piece and ran from one side of the keel, underneath, then up to the other side. After the single piece layers were applied I cut small individual pieces to fill the low spots caused by the way I had to grind the keel down to get the shoe off. The least number of layers is three while the low spots have maybe seven to eight layers of biaxial. I added the each layer before the one below had cured so there is a complete "chemical" bond all the way through. I finished off by covering the whole thing with release fabric and sqeegeeing out the excess epoxy. This is the strongest kind of bond you can make with epoxy. Next, I'll start adding multiple layers of 407 thickened epoxy till the repair area is completely smooth and ready for barrier coat.
In the morning I spent about 30 minutes mixing up another batch of epoxy thickened with a combination of 406 and 407. Much more 407 is added though so that it will be easy to sand. This is about the third or fourth layer of fairing compund. I got tangled up this afternoon getting the parts for the tiller assembly and failed to get a another coating on this one. That's fine. It will be cured in the morning and I'll wash the amine blush off and then sand and add what I hope to be about the final fairing. You can see some imperfections since this is not sanded. I'll fill it in though and it will be very smooth and fair by the time I am finished with it.
8 May 10
The rudder is finally shipped for the last time. This morning I completed the last amine wash-down and sanding. Then we laid a 6x6 across the 3 1/2 foot deep hole with some wood wedges to hold the rudder in place. Next we slathered on some 406 thickened epoxy around the bottom of the sternpost where the bronze shoe fits, to fill some small voids and unevenness, and slipped the shoe on. We held the shoe firmly in place with a 4x4 run across the hole and topped off with some wood blocks and wedges. Then, to keep the holes clear for the 3/8" diameter silicon bronze pins, we pushed plastic straws through the holes in the shoe and keel. We let the epoxy cure for about 4 hours.
Next, it was time to "peen" the bronze pins. I had previously cut the bronze rod to length, about 1/4" proud on each side, and tapered one end with a metal file so they would more easily "find their way" though the opposite hole in the shoe when it was time to hammer them into place. Even though we had placed the straws in the holes we still had to redrill them very carefully with a 3/8" drill bit. Once that was completed we lightly tapped the pins into place. I had never "peened" a metal pin before but my neighbor Bruce has done all kind of manly things like this so he guided me along and held the facing hammer on the opposite side. I don't have a real facing hammer but we were able to substitute an 8 lb maul that I use to split wood. He held the facing hammer on one side and I hammered away with the ball-peen hammer on the other side. There was nothing to it. The key was just to get the head starting to flair then strike glancing blows along the edge to continue to "mushroom" and flair the head until it completely filled the chamfered hole in the bronze shoe. We went back and fourth from side to side a few times until we were satisfied we had a proper head on the both sides of the pins. The first one took about 10 minutes or so and the last one we did took about half that long.
Next I filled the hole that had been staring up at me since last fall. I have to admit I was sick of that hole. The pile of dirt was always in the way and there is nothing as demoralizing as constantly being reminded that there is a major task started but not completed. So, it was with great pleasure that I shoveled that pile of dirt into the 3 1/2' deep X 4' long hole. I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the SRF and enjoying having a smug look on my face.
Tomorrow, I will start laying on the biaxial fabric and epoxy to repair what I had to grind off to remove the shoe and drop the rudder. Then I will spend a few days fairing in the repair work. While that is taking place I will start work on the floor beams in the cabin, complete the rudder installation by mounting the rudder stuffing box and self-aligning bearing, and begin work to install the tiller head and tiller.
The rudder is "shipped" for the last time.
5 May 10
This morning I shipped the rudder to check the work I did yesterday.
The top picture shows the gap that existed when I originally reinstalled the rudder about a week ago. It is a little hard to see because there is a pink construction string running along the gap that I rigged up to get a feel for how big the gap was and how much I would need to extend the trailing edge of the keel to eliminate the gap. The gap slowly increased from the bottom, where it was OK, to the top where I could stick my fingers through to the other side. This gap, though a little less obvious, existed before I took the rudder off the first time to fill in the aperture but I never noticed it till I went back and looked at photos I took of the boat last year. Of course the gap was not as big or noticeable but it was there nonetheless. I think this was because the rudder tube was installed about 1/2" to 3/4" too far aft. That is why the gap increased from the bottom to the top. Also, because there was a very large propeller aperture separating the back of the keel from the rudder, near the top end, the gap was not so obvious. Of course, I had to fill in and fair the aperture in the back of the keel and I may of left it a bit shallow but I could not know till I test fit it for the first time last week. To minimize turbulence around the leading edge of the rudder the gap had to be eliminated. A gap that big would definitely affect the slow speed (light air) handling of the Far Reach.
After thinking about numerous ways to eliminate the gap for several days the best option seem to be to extend the trailing edge of the keel. Every other option seemed to have too many second and third order consequences. So, chose the course of action that best focused on the problem. I built a jig and added multiple coatings of 406/407 thickened epoxy to extend the trailing edge. It was delicate work. After test fitting the rudder for the third time, and satisfied I would have at least 45 degrees of rudder arc on both side of a centered rudder, I wrapped all the work from one side to the other with 8oz tape which you can see in the middle picture. The purpose of the epoxy covered 8oz tape is to add strength to the new trailing edge and provide some protection. Then, this morning, after washing and scrubbing the epoxy to remove any amine blush, I shipped the rudder again and test fit it for the fourth time. It looked very good. You can see the difference in the bottom photo. After taking this picture I dropped the rudder again and added a strip of 2" wide 8oz tape down the side overlapping the tape I applied yesterday. After about 2 hours I brushed on some unthickend epoxy to fill the weave. Tomorrow, I'll fair in the tape work after I have sanded it and I am satisfied with the final fairing I will ship the rudder for the final time.
The last thing I did today was to spend sometime measuring the boat inside and out to develop a plan to deal with the fact that the interior is not level with the exterior of the boat. The best I can figure is this. The deck and cockpit are definitely level. The floor timbers and vertical faces of the bulkheads seem to be in synch with each other but up a little on the starboard side. After rechecking the water tanks, they are slightly down on the starboard side making the floor look higher on the starboard side than they really are. So, I ordered some 2" wide, 36" long, hard rubber strips from McMaster-Carr today both 1/8" thick and 1/4" thick. I'll use these to shim the trays up on top of the starboard water tank stringer. Then, when I install the cabin sole I'll shim the floor timbers up on the port side to get them level with the deck. There When I add trim to the edges of the bulkheads I'll make them as plumb as I can.
4 May 10
There are things you will never know about your boat until you rip it apart and rebuild it. I have learned many things about the Far Reach during this project. Today I learned there are few, if any, horizontal surfaces that are level with each other anywhere on the boat.
Today, for example, I installed the water tanks. All went well. After I sat them in the trays I installed yesterday, I checked that there were level both athwartship and fore and aft. I removed them from the trays then I used #8 SS self-tapping screws to secure the trays to the stringers--they are temporary screws as they were the shortest ones I had on hand. After I reinstalled the tanks I sat back to admire them. I was thinking how much more proper they look in a boat than on a garage shelf. Then I noticed they were not level with the forward floor timber. Hmmmm. So I checked the tanks with the level. Dead on. Then I check the floor timber . . . high on the right and not just a little. I check it against the other floor timbers. They were also high on the starboard ends. I check the cockpit-- dead level. I check the cleats the supported the settees "back in the day." Level. Very interesting. Either the deck is on crooked or the boat was not level when the builder installed the floors. I will investigate this more tomorrow.
After working on the water tanks I went back to work on the stern-post. I added a layer of 8oz tape to the newly faired trailing edge to protect it. I'll ship the rudder tomorrow and see how it looks then remove it and make any corrections necessary to improve the fit. Hopefully, it will be close and I'll wrap-up that project soon.
Later, I spent some time just sitting in the boat and thinking through some of the options for the interior. I have seen a lot of great interiors and some very useful modifications. I have firm plans for the general interior lay out but now I need to start thinking about some of the details--especially about how to best use the large space the engine once occupied.
The fun part is about to begin.
3 May 10
I have spent the last several days fairing the trailing edge of the keel (sternpost) to cover the leading edge of the rudder. There was a significant gap there and since I filled in the aperture on the rudder and on the back of the keel I had not had a chance to test fit them. So, several days ago I shipped the rudder and of course there was a gap there that was not acceptable. I have put in too much work not to have this right so I have since shipped and unshipped the rudder several times to check the fit of the fairing I have been working on. There will be a separate post on this whole project when it is competed. After fairing the trailing edge some more this morning and waiting for the epoxy to cure I decided now was a good time to install the water tanks.
Last winter I ordered three water tanks from Dura-Weld in Florida. They are 3/8" thick FDA approved plastic. They were built to my exact specifications and cost a little less than half as much as 316 SS tanks. After the tanks arrived in November I made epoxy molded trays for each of the three tanks and epoxy stringers on which they will sit. When the temperatures dropped during the winter I could not install them in the boat so they have been patiently sitting on a garage shelf waiting there turn to fulfill their destiny.
Today, I epoxied the stringers in place in the bilge. First, I laid down a wetted out 1" wide piece of 17.7oz biaxial that each edge of the stringer would sit on (this was just to provide some more cloth between the polyester glass over the lead ballast and the edge of the epoxy stringer). Then I placed each edge of the stringers on the wetted tape and then filleted each side of the four stringers with 406 thickened epoxy. When it had kicked sufficiently, I laid down a 3" wide strip of 17.7oz biaxial to each side of the stringers. Tomorrow I will attach the trays to the stringers. I will use self tapping screws to fasten the trays to the stringers. That way I can remove the tanks and trays when I want to wash the boat out. The design of the stringers holds the tanks 1.5" above the bottom of the bilge and allows any water that gets into the boat to run under the stringers to the sump. The tanks will eventually be held in place with wedges and straps so they can't move around.
The bottom two pictures to the right are photos I took this winter and they show how the whole thing fits together. The forward tank is the closest to the front. The tanks get deeper as they go aft because the bilge slopes down and back. The aft two tanks were divided otherwise they would not have fit through the companionway hatch. Each tanks has baffles and an inspection/clean-out port for every baffled compartment.
Today, I also filled the tanks with water to see how much each tank would hold. The forward tank holds 35 gallons, the middle tanks holds 18 gallons, and the aft tank holds 20 gallons. With the 30 gallon quarter berth tank that gives me just over 100 gallons. I'll add another 25 -30 gallon tank at some point.
Stringers for the water tanks.
Each tanks sits on a custom molded epoxy tray and the tray sits on the stringers.
Three tanks for a total of 73 gallons.
28 Apr 10
I think it is a good think that we sometimes have no idea what we have taken on, else we might never have the courage to attempt it.
The sanding is now complete. It took four days of hard work. It took two long days to machine-sand the topsides and the deck. Then, it took two more days to hand-sand all the inside and outside corners. Wet/dry sand paper and a slow stream of water from the garden-hose proved to be the key to the all the corner work. I burned through in a few areas on the deck and the corners which you can see in the photos. It was very difficult to sand the corners, especially the outside ones, without burning through. But, I don't think it makes a bit of difference. The boat looks great.
After I completed the sanding I washed down the inside of the SRF to include the vapor liner. Then I washed down inside and the outside of the boat. I opened all the doors and let the breeze and relatively dry air we have today dry everything out.
I am very happy to have this behind me. We are in a new phase.
Tomorrow I will start work on the back of the keel to improve the fairing around the leading edge of the rudder. There is too much of a gap. At the same time I'll start work to install the water-tanks and some additional floor timbers. It will be great to get a temporary plywood cabin sole in the boat and a decent temporary ladder to make it easier to get in and out of the boat.
26 Apr 10
So far, I have done a pretty good job of staying on my boat rebuild budget. I am ahead in a couple of areas and a little behind in a few others. However, one area I grossly underestimated is abrasives. I am truly stunned by the number of sanding disks, flapper wheels, and square sand paper I have gone through . . . and I'm not finished! I have lost count of the disks--5" PSA in 40, 80, 120 grit; 8" PSA in 24, 36, 40, 80 grit, 4 1/2" flapper wheels in 36 grit, ROLOCs, Dremel disks. I have probably spent three times what I budgeted for abrasives.
I managed to complete the sanding of the deck today. I also started sanding the inside corners of the cockpit which has proved to be quite a challenge. Sanding down the stipple in the inside corners required some thought. I finally resorted to using some insulating closed-cell foam cover for copper water pipe I had laying around. I wrapped the sand paper around it and it fits pretty good in the larger inside corners. I also have been using a hollow rubber "D" shaped gasket which seems to work fine for some of the tighter inside corners. It is tedious boring work.
I played around with sanding the outside edge of the hull-deck joint for a little while this afternoon. On the deck edge, the primer sands very easily and immediately clogs the paper. I tried a little 100 grit to see what it would do and it did not clog but it is too aggressive. Then I tried a little 220 wet sandpaper with a piece of foam around it to conform to the outside edge of the deck. I used some water and that seemed to do the trick. With the hose running gently I think it won't clog. Since I don't want to get the boat wet all over and not be able to use all the other sand paper that isn't waterproof I'll do the outside edge of the hull-deck joint last.
With some luck, I'll finish up the sanding tomorrow.
25 Apr 10
I had no idea how big a 36' sailboat was until I started sanding it. I had a lot of time to contemplate this today.
In an effort to stay ahead of the continued curing of the 2 part epoxy primer, I started sanding the topside this morning. Initially they were easy to sand, however, within a few hours the primer had become noticeably more resistive to the sandpaper. By 1900 tonight I had sanded all the topsides and the vertical faces of the cabin top and the cockpit foot well. I used a DeWalt palm sander with 150 and 220 grit paper. I had been advised to use the palm sander on all the parts of the boat that would receive gloss paint because the more powerful RO sander will leave swirl marks that finish primer and paint will often fail to hide. I will use the RO sander on all the horizontal fiberglass that will be covered with non-skid.
The hull-deck joint looks very good. Tomorrow, I'll finish finish up the vertical faces and then work on the deck and all the inside corners. Hopefully by tomorrow night the exterior sanding will be mostly a memory.
The start of a very long day.
23 Apr 10
I finished rolling on the fourth coat of primer today. Tomorrow I start sanding it off in an effort to get a smooth finish. This will be especially important for any area that will have a gloss finish, e.g. the hull deck joint, the topsides, vertical faces of the cabin top, etc. The Awl-Quik primer is a two part epoxy and is supposed to get progressively harder over time. I have been warned that after a week it will be extremely tough to sand. So, tomorrow I will attack it unless it is gummy. The aim will be to remove the roller stipple and get a smooth surface with 220 grit. I'll probably use the vertical axis RO for the surfaces that will be covered with non-skid and rely on the palm detail sander for those surfaces that will receive gloss LPU.
What a difference the primer has made. There is little-to-no evidence of the numerous repairs to the deck and especially to the hull-deck joint. As I walk around the boat I have seen only a few blemishes along the hull-deck joint. I can see a little bit of washboard on the horizontal deck edge but that will be covered by non-skid. The vertical face of the deck-edge--the part at the top of the top-sides looks very good. The propane locker gutter assembly looks very good. I am delighted.
Hopefully, I won't be sanding off most of the primer taking me back to a patchwork looking boat!
23 Apr 10
It was a very long day but I was able to add two more coats of primer today which gives the boat a total of three coats of Awl-Quik primer. So far, it looks pretty good. There are a few runs and sags but that was to be expected. The hull-deck joint and the other repairs seem to be pretty unnoticeable so far so I am very pleased. The second coat took about 4 hours and the third coat took about 3 1/2 hours. A huge improvement over the first coat that took 7 hours. Tomorrow will seem downright leisurely with only having to add one coat . . . but I'll pay for it after that with the sanding!
The third coat of Awl-Quik primer.
22 Apr 10
Today I finally got the first coat of primer on Far Reach. I'd hoped to get two coats on but, as is often the case, the first time you do something new it always takes longer than you expect. My learning curve was vertical. I got a later start than I expected and it took a full seven hours to paint the boat and all the hatches. Based on what I learned today, tomorrow I think I can do the whole boat in about 4 1/2 hours. If I get a early start I should be able to get two coats on. That's the plan anyway.
I used Awl-Quik, a two part medium build epoxy primer. I used Interlux 2333N thinner which the Alwgrip Tech Rep told me would be fine. Based on Tim Lackey's recommendation I used 3/16" mohair rollers exclusively instead of the foam rollers and foam brush tip-out method recommended by Awlgrip. Tim had a lot of trouble trying to tip out this same primer when he first primed Glissando, his Pearson Triton. He did a thorough job of documenting his 2001 effort on his website which should be anyone's first stop who wants to attempt a similar project. Click here to read about his experience. He offered that it would be much better to deal with roller stipple when sanding than brush marks which often can't be sanded out without going all the way to the bottom of the primer. So, I used 7" 3/16 mohair rollers I bought from Jamestown Distributors and some skinny 4" mohair blend rollers from Sherwin-Williams that fit on those single prong roller handles. I used the small rollers for the tight spots around the portholes, cockpit, and on the inside corners of the cabin top. The only time I used a brush was in the inside of the gutters of the propane locker. There was no other way to get in there. And, just as Tim forewarned, there are now deep brush marks there.
The hardest part was working out a routine for mixing and thinning. I was clumsy when I started this morning and very conservative about how much I mixed up. I started off mixing up 4oz of base, 4oz of converter and thinned it 25%. It was almost like water but when if I was careful, when I rolled it on it seemed to stay put without running. The next batch I doubled in size, then for the third batch I mixed up two parts of 20oz each. Finally, I was mixing up about 30oz each of base and converter and thinning to about 30% or 20oz of 2333N. Looking back, mixing up only 16oz seems laughable, but you have to start somewhere.
When I started off, because the batches were small, everything I mixed I dumped in the paint roller tray. Then, as I became more comfortable with the mixing and rolling process I just just put a lid on the pail of mixed and thinned primer and filled the roller tray as needed. After awhile I began to get a feel for the primer and could determine when to add additionally thinner. Tomorrow I will be more aggressive in thinning and because I have developed a routine I will mix up large batches which will save me a lot of time.
I started off by priming the hatches which I had placed on some saw-horses in the garage. Then I went to the boat. I began there by working in the cockpit and exiting out on the starboard quarter-deck. Then I rolled out the cabin top and cabin sides and foredeck. Once the foredeck was completed I dropped down on to the scaffolding and painted the side decks from the starboard bow around the stern and back to the port bow. I was beginning to drop beads of sweat and working from the scaffolding seemed the best way to keep the sweat off the deck and out of the primer. Once I completed priming the deck I went on to the topsides. I started at the transom and then when all the way around the boat again.
I had originally estimated that I would use about a 1/2 gallon each of base and converter per coating but I used about 20% more than that. I think that was because I was rolling back over just rolled on primer to try and get better coverage but that was only working against me. I had to remind myself that I would be rolling on four coats and to let the process work.
The mohair rollers seemed to work well. They did leave stipple though. The primer is a creamy off-white. But what a reward to see the boat a single color instead of the nasty patch repair work of white, brown, cream, beige, etc. Best of all, I did not have any disasters today. I managed to keep the bucket-O-primer upright, did not kick the roller tray off the boat or scaffolding, or drop any of the rollers, etc.
I kept the 3M 6000 series full face respirator on the whole time which was mandatory. This stuff is nasty smelling and quite dangerous.
Though it is too soon to tell for sure since the primer is a flat cream color, the repair work did not stand out when covered with the primer. I was especialy happy to see that the hull-deck joint looked very smooth, especially on the vertical face of the topside.
First coat of primer.
You can just see the slight flair of the solid hull-deck joint.
18 Apr 10
Somedays it feels like I am taking two steps forward and one back. I thought I would be ready to prime tomorrow. Not going to happen. Unless something else unforeseen happens . . . it should take place on Wednesday. Yesterday evening I had to fair a few spots that I had missed. I didn't notice them until I did the final sanding. This morning they were not fully cured. I left the SRF closed up so the temperature would climb and it did.
While that was taking place I decided to go ahead and barrier coat the rudder. It would be a good chance to see how the Interlux 2000 would handle. No real issues. I was able to roll on four coats over about 6 hours. I'll apply the fifth coat to the rudder when I apply the fifth coat to the hull of the boat. I think it looks pretty good without the propeller aperture. It will be nice to see it on the boat since it has been in my wood shop since last fall.
Newly barrier coated rudder.
While the fairing compound was curing, and in-between rolling on the barrier coat, I went out to the SRF and rummaged around in the boxes of boat stuff I have. I dug out the four bronze seacocks and through-hulls I'll use on the Far Reach. Two will handle the cockpit scuppers, one will support the galley sink drain, and the fourth will support the saltwater intake. The first three are 1 1/2" and the saltwater intake is 3/4". I put a wrench on them and they came right apart. I may lap them very mildly but I'll wait till they are all apart, washed in mineral spirts, and cleaned up before I decide. ABYC no longer requires the through-hulls to be bolted to the hull. If I do bolt them it is much harder to do maintenance as the seacock will not come off unless you pull the through-hull. That's something to think about. I also pulled out my rudder post stuffing box and picked up some new flax. I have some Teflon packing material on hold at West Marine as I would like to try the technique that Nigle Calder recommends. He suggest sandwiching the Teflon packing material in-between the traditional greased packing flax.
Finally, I was able to work towards striking the waterline. After the last of the fairing cured I sanded it and then washed the whole boat with soap and water. Then I began moving some of the scaffolding around so I could use it to support the string and levels that Tim Lackey uses. This technique is also featured in the May/June 2010 Wooden Boat magazine.
I found the scribed waterline last week when I stripped the bottom paint from the boat. I don't know how accurate it is so I am taking a big leap of faith here. The boat is level fore and aft and side-to-side but this technique only requires it be level side-to-side. I made a pencil mark 4 1/4" above the scribed line at the bow, stern, and max beam on both sides. I used a level and a carpenters ruler to make sure the mark was accurate due to the hull flaring out from the scribed line. Tim has some good pictures of how to do this. Click here to see his technique for striking the waterline.
Once I had the marks in place I added some risers to the outside edges of the four scaffolding supports I would be using so they would be tall enough to reach above the scribed waterline. Then I scarffed together a couple of pieces of bald cypress I had from when I built our deck a few years ago. I made them 12 feet long since they have to be wider than the max beam of the boat which is 10'8". I didn't want to drill holes in the wood so I clamped them together. Then I clamped the boards to the scaffolding so they were parallel to the ground and I checked them with a bubble level.
Now read carefully--I wanted to raise the waterline 4 1/2" above the scribed line. So, I raised the boards till they were 4 1/4" above the scribed waterline which would allow me to bring the primer down 1/4" below where I want the final top edge of the bottom paint to be. Got that? Good, because it took me several weeks of thinking this whole thing through to figure out what would go on top of what. After the primer is on I'll take the barrier coat and bottom paint to that same line, retaping of course because I'll be painting from the top to the bottom for the primer and from the bottom to the top for the barrier coat and bottom paint. Then I'll retape it for the topside final paint next spring and then raising the waterline another 1/4" for the bottom paint to cover the very bottom edge of the topside paint. If you are confused then you are in good company. I am sure I could make it harder but I haven't figured out how yet. But, I digress . . . .
After the leveling boards were in the right place and checked for accuracy with the bubble level, I ran construction string from one end to the other and hung paint cans from the strings to keep them tight. I brought them right up to the maximum beam of the boat. Here is what stumped me and took the wind out of my sails, so to speak, for the rest of the day. The fore and aft board are 4 1/4" above the scribed waterline. But the line on both sides of the max beam is only 3 1/4" above the scribed line. How is that you ask? I don't know. If the scribed line were actually the line for the boot top maybe that would make sense but it is the waterline mark. Doesn't matter though. I know the bow and stern are straight and true. I'll prime as marked and perhaps raise it another 1/2" for the barrier coat and bottom paint. There is always going to be something that makes you scratch your head--it is a boat after all.
Tomorrow I'll tape the waterline, stage all the paint and rollers and other items I'll need. I'll wipe the boat down tomorrow afternoon and unless the weather goes to hell I'll prime on Wednesday.
17 Apr 10
I have found it a lot easier if I keep up with the website every day. If I am working on the boat and don't make entries for a few days it becomes onerous to go back and update. My normal routine is to make the entries in the evening of the same day. Usually though, I am pretty tired. So I just hammer out the entry, upload the pictures and publish the site. Every couple of days I go back and clean up the spelling and fix the grammar. If I try to get it just right that night, it takes too long and I won't do it. I do find some pretty humorous misspellings and twisted grammar. I guess it's good for a little entertainment though.
Today I started off scrubbing the clear epoxy with a scotch-brite pad and water to remove the amine blush. When I was finished I began to wash the whole boat with soap and water and then I noticed the water beading on the freshly applied epoxy. I looked close and it was beading all over. So I went back and reattacked with the scotch-brite pad and water and got it all removed. It was a lot of work and kind of aggravating. After that I wash the boat with soap and water. While is was drying I went to Lowe's to look at some options for putting a drain with a small plastic ball-valve in the bottom of the lazerette so I can control when I want the water to come through the limber hole and when I don't. By having a ball valve it becomes a water tight compartment. If it works out I may do this to more compartments and lockers.
After the boat was dry I wiped the deck and topsides down with Interlux 202 dewaxer/degreaser. Then I spent some time sanding and preparing the rudder for barrier coat which I hope to apply tomorrow.
As reflected in an earlier entry I had a tough time using my laser level trying to "strike" a waterline for the boat. I decided to use Tim Lackey's method. Then, low and behold, what arrives in the mail today but the May/June 2010 Wooden Boat magazine. There is an article in it about the different ways to strike the waterline. One method discussed is the same method that Tim uses.
It looks unlikely that I'll be able to prime on Monday. It will probably slide to Tuesday.
16 Apr 10
Over the last few days I have worked on several projects.
Today I vacuumed the deck and wiped it down with acetone. I then applied two coatings of unthickend epoxy to any fairing that had 410 microlight in it. Apparently, the same thing that makes it easy to sand makes it vulnerable to some solvents. I emailed the MSDS sheets of the thinners and paints I'll be using to prime and paint the deck and topsides off to West Systems for their chemist to look at. In the meantime I'll lay a coat of epoxy over the micolight. The picture to the right shows the shiny epoxy curing on the hull-deck fairing. Tomorrow I'll wash the deck, wipe with Interlux 202 dewaxer-degreaser one more time, then sand with 120-150. Then Monday I'll prime.
Yesterday I finished filling all the holes for the portlights. I initially thought if I left them unfilled I could use them as a guide when I install new interior plywood to the cabin-top sides. But it occurred to me that I would never get the holes to line up exactly with the portholes. So, by filling them I start new. A safer bet I think.
Last night I spent some time using my laser level to level the boat and strike a line to mark the waterline. It was an exasperating event. I had read Tim Lackey's description of how he does it and it seemed like a lot of work. How much easier it would be with my laser level. Wrong! All I did was chase the beam around. The problem is in the SRF I can't strike the whole hull at one time Just one side and I have to move the laser twice to do it. Tim's method essentially builds the surface of the water around the boat with stings and then you level the boat to a planar surface and mark the waterline. So, I'll do use that technique on Sunday and be ready for priming on Monday.
This is a picture of the sea-hood and companionway hatch. You can see all the holes. Yes, I have a thing about holes. There were three holes that held the wood stop bar on the top of the sliding hatch and three that held an opposing piece of teak on the bottom side of the hatch. All the other holes were for the spray dodger. These holes were drilled into the cored seahood and pop-rivets were used to secure the twist locks that connected to the dodger. Once again, there were no oversize holes drilled first, filled with epoxy, and smaller holes drilled into that. They just drilled into the balas core and were done. I drilled 3/8" holes into all the holes. I fished out the the bottom of the rivets left inside after I drilled the heads off. I taped the bottom side of the hatch for those holes that went all the way through. Then I used a syringe to inject unthickend epoxy into the holes. After they cured topped off each of the holes with 407 thickened epoxy. Later I added more and sanded them smooth.
I drilled out the holes and used a countersink to widen them for fairing.
After I removed the release fabric I sanded all eight of the patches with a RO sander and 80 grit paper. Then I vacuumed out the dust and wiped them down with acetone. Next I applied 407 thickened epoxy to each of the patch areas and began the process of fairing. It took two applications to fair it properly. I am still amazed at all the holes in the boat. Most boats have lots of holes--in the deck and in the hull. Not only does every through-hull become another opportunity for disaster but it increases the maintenance one has to do on one's boat. And if you don't maintain the through-hulls and seacocks, or delay it because it has become to onerous then the chance of a through-hull failure increases. This is part of keeping it simple. I wanted to eliminate the two through-hulls for the cockpit scuppers but there was no good way to do it without cutting out the cockpit sole and reversing the slope so the cockpit would drain at the aft end via through-hulls above the waterline. That is the way the boat should have been built. So, I will have four through hulls. The two scuppers, one sink drain, and a salt water intake. The sink in the head, if I have one, will drain into the grey-water box. That gets pumped over the side via the main manual bilge pump.
12 Apr 10
I spent the majority of the day patching the old through-hull holes. I was able to get all eight patched. I basically followed the West Systems guidance located in a PDF file on their web site called "How to Fill Machined Holes in Fiberglass Boats." I used "example 8." Though I have already ground down a similar bevel on the inside of the boat I have not applied the inside patches yet. I need to stay focused on the external parts of the boat so I can finish the primer, barrier coat, and bottom paint while the weather is cool.
Below is a series of photos that depict the sequence I used to patch the through-hull holes. Very simple and straight forward. A couple of things to note. Though it is counter-intuitive, the widest patch goes against the hull first. This provides the best bond according to West Systems. I also use release fabric when I can. It prevents amine blush from forming, it allows me to squeegee out the excess resin which makes a stronger patch that conforms better to the surface it is bonded to, and it protects the patch from shredding due to pressure applied from the squeegee.
The diameter of the ground out area is driven by the thickness of the hull. West Systems recommends a 12:1 bevel. So, a hull that's 3/4" thick where the hole is would have a 9" radius bevel from the outside edge of the hole to be filled which would be a patch nearly 20" diameter!!
You can make it smaller doing two things. First, I ground bevels on both sides of the hull--inside the boat and on the outside--which meant I only needed to bevel to half the thickness of the hull. That cut the radius of the patch in half to 4.5". Still too big. Second, I glassed in a 1/4 inch thick epoxy puck I made by pouring epoxy in a small plastic mixing cup, then popped it out of the cup after it cured. I ground it to size to fit the hole and glassed it into the hole with thickened epoxy. I completed that before Christmas and the arrival of cold winter weather. That reduced the thickness of the hole to be filled to about 1/4" thick on each side of the puck. This means the radius of the bevel only needed to be three inches from the outside edge of the hole or about 6" diameter. Much better. The number of layers of biaxial is determined by how thick an area you are filling and how heavy a material the biaxial is. I am using 17.7oz biaxial which is about 1/16" thick when wetted out.
After I ground the bevels, I traced the outside bevel and the through-hull hole on the same sheet of plastic with a sharpie pen. Then I cut the tracing out. I knew how thick the hole was thus I knew how many layers of biaxial I needed. Then I made a corresponding number of concentric circles between the larger tracing of the bevel and the smaller hole in the center of the tracing. Then I started with the largest tracing, laid it over the biaxial, traced the size/shape on the cloth, and cut it out. Then I cut out the next size tracing from the plastic, laid it over the biaxial, and cut it out and so on and so forth till I had a stack of biaxial circles that matched the tracings. In reality, I placed the outside of the puck about 5/16" from what would become the faired surface so that equal five layers of biaxial. The inside patch will only require about three layers of biaxial.
I stacked all the wetted out layers together and apply the entire patch at one time. I smoothed it out against the hull with my gloves--I always were latex gloves whenever I handle epoxy or solvents--then I covered it with the pre-cut release fabric. I squeegee it firmly working from the center of the patch out to the edge and scrape off all the excess epoxy that come out deposit it in a plastic bowl to cure--then I throw it out. After I was satisfied with the patch I placed the precut sheet plastic which is larger than the release fabric and placed a 3/8" closed cell foam disk on top of that. The foam is from an old sleeping mat. Next I placed a small round 1/4" ply disk (small disk if it is a concave surface or a bigger square piece of wood if is it convex). I propped the whole thing in place with a dead-man stick to keep pressure on it and ensure it cures tightly and in the right place. Tomorrow I'll pull the stick, plywood, foam, plastic and release fabric. The patch will be ready for sanding and fairing.
Consequently, this is the same technique I used to make the new deck over the balsa-core I previously repaired on the boat. I used the same technique to fill the instrument holes, engine box control hole, etc. It is basic epoxy hole repair 101.
Prop up "dead-man" sticks in place.
9 Apr 10
I spent the morning removing bottom paint from under the keel. I put my tyvek suit back on, respirator, and gloves since the dust caused by grinding all the bottom paint off was all over the ground and boat shed. I dug shallow trenches between the cross-timbers that the keel is sitting on. Then I laid down and working on my side I was able to get the Porter Cable Right Angle grinder under the keel. After awhile I used a mirror to see exactly what I was grinding. That worked well. I found an area just forward of the rudder shoe that will need to be ground out with a high speed grinder and patched with biaxial. It is not through the laminate but there is some minor damage no doubt caused by a minor grounding at some point.
After I finished grinding every thing I could think of I took all the tools off the boat and out of SRF and then spent about two hours vacuuming the deck, the inside of the boat, all the shed framing, the SRF floor, etc. I took the drop cloth out of the SRF and swept up the grinding debris that fell on the cloth. I cleaned out the vacuum and wiped down on the tools. Then I took the dual cartridges (vapor and particulate) off the mask an threw them in the trash along with the tyvek suit.
After that I took a hose and a bucket of warm soapy water up on the boat and washed it down. I scrubbed all the surfaces with 3M general purpose scrub pads. Next I washed the topside and finally the hull. Finally, I placed a fan on the floor of the SRF and one over the forward hatch. I left the shed open tonight to dry out.
It is great to get this behind me. Below are a few pictures of the freshly ground hull. I'll let the SRF dry out tomorrow. Then go back to the fairing of the deck and repair some minor dings in the hull. There are a few blisters in the barrier coat that will need to be dealt with. Then it's on to priming the deck and topsides.
A layer of bottom paint dust covered the boat.
All cleaned up.
8 Apr 10
I admit it--I am tired tonight. About eight hours in the boat shed--six hours of grinding. I sweated out about a gallon of water. I am not sure why, but the port side was more difficult to grind. Maybe its because I was sore from the day before. Doesn't matter. The port side is finished. It took 64 five inch 40 grit disks and 10 eight inch 40 grit disks.
I also moved all the boat stands on both sides of the boat and ground off the bottom paint under the poppets. I went back to the starboard side and cleaned it up a bit with some more 40 grit. Tomorrow I will dig some small trenches and attempt to sand the underside of the keel between the crossbeams.
I learned a couple of things here. First, whoever did the original barrier coat did not do a very good job. They didn't even coat the areas under the poppets. Also, It took me a couple of days to figure it out but I now know why the waterline area was so difficult to grind--I was struggling with sanding the bottom paint off the portside forward waterline when I had one of those "a-ha" moments. When the PO raised the waterline, they raised it to the top edge of the original dado brown boot top stripe--which of course has some spring at the bow and stern. They only removed the boot-top stripe in a couple of place--the yard manager probably got called away and whoever was doing the grinding just skipped that part. They didn't even bother to tape for the barrier coat. You can see it was just rolled up close to the waterline and it stopped. In some places it is six inches below the top edge of the waterline and in others it is an inch below. Then, they painted a new boot top stripe above the new waterline--which was wavy to boot (pun intended). I ground that off earlier in the winter. This explains why I could not figure out why the top edge of the water line wasn't level. The boat is in fact sitting level in the SRF (Sailboat Restoration Facility). The waterline was sloping up in the front and the back. I kept thinking about why that would be for the last few days. I kept rechecking the trim of the boat and trying to come up with a reason for the waterline not being level. This is just another example of the fact that we, the sailing public, put far too much trust in boatyards to do a professional job. They did it the easiest way possible. There is more to this story but I'll save it for another day . . . .
All that training in MOPP gear paid off.
Port side complete
Tools off the trade and 75 spent sanding disks for one side of the boat.
7 Apr 10
Well, today seemed like the day to try out grinding off the bottom paint. I looked into strippers. But, I thought I would try grinding to see if it would be feasible. I have never had that much luck with strippers so grinding seemed worth a try. I was pleasantly surprised. My arms are tired for sure but the bulk of the grinding on the starboard side was done in two hours. It took two more hours just to grind off the top three inches of bottom paint that ran along the waterline. But I felt like I got off easy compared to what some folks have gone through. I did not attempt to grind off the barrier coat. It was very hard. I ground it off in a few places to look at the gelcoat underneath. It would be very hard to grind it off and not have the divots all over the bottom of the boat. Better to leave well enough alone I think.
I used my Makita 8" VS grinder with 40 grit PSA disks and a few 24 grit when I ran out of the 40 grit. I had to use a light touch with the 24 grit. I also used the Porter Cable Right Angle DA RO sander with 40 grit. I am more impressed with this sander all the time. What a workhorse. I used the PC most to follow up over the area that I preceded with the Makita. I used a couple of scrapers as well. I placed a drop cloth under the work area. I was suited up in a hooded Tyvek suit with a full face 3M 6000 series respirator, and gauntlet style work gloves. It was hot work but the temperature was not that bad. The mess in the shed is tremendous. Tomorrow I will tackle the port side and then vacuum up the she and the boat.
Before I started grinding I applied three layer epoxy patches on the inside of the boat over all the remaining above waterline holes--engine exhaust, old bilge pump and refer outlets, tank vents, etc. After the patches were kicking good I applied epoxy thickened with 407 to holes on the outside. They will need sanding and more fairing for sure but it was good to get them mostly out of the way. I also applied a four layer patch on the inside of the boat over the three holes that held the bobstay on in its old location. I previously filled those holes with 404/406 thickened epoxy.
4 Apr 10
No pictures tonight.I was too busy filling all 735,331 remaining holes in the boat.Well, that’s not entirely accurate.I still have three holes to fill in the transom, two under the port stern counter, six biaxial patches for the holes left when I removedthrough-hulls/sea-cocks (actually twelve patches as I have to patch inside and outside for below waterline holes), and a biaxial patch for the holes associated with the bobstay which I am moving 10” lower, though it will still be above the waterline.Tomorrow I’ll tackle the holes above the waterline and sand and reapply fairing compound to any of the holes I filled today that need more attention.
I also applied a little more fairing to the former instrument and engine control box holes. They look ready for primer.
The current plan is to get the boat ready to prime.Then strip the old bottom paint, ship the rudder, tape the waterline, prime the deck and topsides, reapply a few more coatings of barrier coating, then apply bottom paint.At that point, I will move inside the boat and start working on the interior.I’ll paint in the fall or next spring before launch . . . if all goes well.
Regarding barrier coating.I have done a lot of research about this enigmatic boat yard and marine industry money maker.I have to say that there is a lot of conflicting info out there and I am just skeptical enough to believe that barrier coating as a prevention for blisters may be a scam.Obviously, you have to repair blisters—the required action is pretty straight forward.But coating the hull with barrier coating may or may not work and in fact some folks have good evidence that it may do more harm than good.The best I can determine is that if you don’t have barrier coat and don’t have blisters, don’t add barrier coat—Do No Harm.
However, I already have barrier coat and I have looked into what I have to do to remove it.It’s a lot of work.I read the article in Practical Sailor from last summer about stripping barrier coat, ugghhh.I called Interlux about it and they advised me to remove it and reapply it every 10 years.I don’t understand that at all.I questioned the tech rep at length about it and he would not budge.I pointed out that barrier coating is essentially epoxy, to which he agreed.I suggested that you don’t remove epoxy repairs that are under water and re do them every ten years.It did not matter.He had a product to sell and, in fact, he was pretty smug about it.
The West Systems tech reps agreed that they believe there is no know life expectancy for epoxy barrier coating.Their only concession was if it has been on a long time and if in the process of removing bottom paint for many years you have inadvertently removed some barrier coating then you might want to apply some more.That makes sense.Anyway, since I am not about to wear myself out to take it off, and since my hull is completely dry—this I know for a fact—I will just apply a few more coats over what remains, call it even, and press ahead.It’s a compromise I can live with for now.
4 Apr 10
How many holes can we put into our boats?
Today I filled holes, a lot of 'em. There must be more than 500 holes in the deck of the Far Reach if you include the 115 on each side in the hull deck joint, which does not include the 70 5/16" bolts I left in. All the holes in the hull-deck joint have been filled and covered by three layers of biaxial. But what about the rest. Well, in the photo to the right, which is the aft starboard end of the cabin top, between the dodger, the coaming, the grab rail, the companion way and the porthole, I count 43 holes. Seems like a lot of holes to me. Is that something to get excited about? I don't know. Only the holes that were in the vertical face of the cabin side were in solid fiberglass. All the rest in this photo go into a cored deck. Not one was filled as every credible book dictates . . . the hole should be drilled oversize and filled with epoxy. After that cures, the smaller hole is drilled into the epoxy plug to accommodate the fastener. Maybe if we are less inclined to drill holes into our boats, we would be more inclined to do it right when we have too. After making major repairs to the deck and replacing too much soggy core, I know I will be very thoughtful about drilling into the boat.
Too many holes.
2 Apr 10
I long boarded the hull-deck joint today. It only took about 45 minutes. All in all, it looks pretty good. Then I faired some small dings and little imperfections. Though I know it is not perfect, I can't really see the point in fairing the H-D joint anymore until I really know what needs to be faired. I think it may be ready for primer then I will see what needs work.
I removed the backing boards and plastic sheeting from the holes where the instruments and engine controls were. I washed the cured epoxy with water and a scrub pad then dried them with a paper towel. Next, I sanded with 40 grit on the Porter Cable DA Right Angle RO sander. Then, I mixed up some fairing compound and spread it on. Tomorrow I will sand and fill any holes and imperfections with 410 Microlight fairing compound.
Tomorrow I will also get to work filling all the holes in the cabin top--eye brow trim, holes that secured the dodger, holes associated with the coaming, and other assorted holes.
1 Apr 10
Normal routine for the day. Washed the hull-deck joint with water and scrub pad to remove amine blush. Dry with paper towels. I started by sanding port side with long board. It looked pretty good. I went to starboard side--April fools. It was not fully cured. I used 206 slow hardener in the thickened epoxy the day before because it was hot and I needed more time to work it. So, I decided to go to work repairing the holes from the windspeed/direction and depth sounder instruments (backside of cabin) and the engine control box.
I traced the outside dimensions of the patch by placing sheet plastic over the area to be repaired on the inside of the boat. Then I traced the holes themselves. I then drew two more outlines between the larger outside and the smaller inside dimensions thus creating four patterns each a little larger than the previous pattern on a single sheet of plastic. I took the sheet plastic templates to the wet-out table. I cut out the largest pattern first and laid it on the biaxial cloth. I traced the outside edge onto the biaxial and cut that out. Then I cut the next size smaller patter out and did the same till I had completed all four. The last pattern cut is the same size as the hole.
Next I cut some scrap 1/4" plywood, 3/8" closed cell foam (a former sleeping mat), and some sheet plastic. I laid the sheet plastic over the outside of the hole to be repaired. I placed the foam over that, then the plywood. Last, I braced it into place. This provided me a hard flat surface over the hole to work against from the inside of the boat. I mixed up some epoxy with 406 to ketchup thick. I brushed it all around the repair area on the inside of the boat (I had previously sanded these repair areas last fall with 40 grit) I acetone washed them to make sure they were free of dust or other contamination. Then I wet out the patches and placed the largest on first. Then I applied there other patches from the largest to smallest. This patch sequence can be clearly seen in the two bottom pictures. I squeegeed out the excess epoxy. I ran the roller over the patches working out any air bubbles. The patches were pretty warm from having four layers all applied at one time. I'll need to be careful doing that as the temperatures start climbing in the days and weeks ahead. When I remove the bracing, plywood, foam, and sheet plastic I should have a flat repair area slightly recessed from the exterior surface. I apply fairing compound and sand until it is flush with the adjacent outside surface.
After I completed the patches to both of the repair areas I took a look at the forward compartment. I will need to decide where the new forward bulkhead will go. My current plan is to put it in the same area where the old one was. This one will be 3/4" plywood, vice the old 1/2". It will be tabbed on both sides.
I measured out a few options I have been considering regarding the replacement bowsprit. I am undecided as to which one I will choose. A couple of months ago I worked out the center of effort (CE) of the sail plan, the center of lateral plane (CLP) for the hull, and the difference between the two (the lead). As a result, I think I can increase the bowsprit length. This will give me a little more sail area, reduce the sheeting angle, and reduce the weather helm.
Bracing the forward face of the repair areas.
Backside of the repair to the engine control box.
Backside of repair to old instrument holes.
31 March 10
I only used the long-board today. The last application of fairing compound was mostly 410 Microlight so it sanded reasonably well. Then I vacuumed and followed that with an acetone wash.
After three days of fairing and sanding I thought it was time to tackle the outside edge of the deck--the roundover, if you will. I wasn't sure how I was going to get smooth even coverage over the edge. There was no good way to do it with a dry wall knife or a squeegee that I could see. I kept thinking about it while I was working the flat part of the tape the last couple of days. It finally occurred to me that I needed something flexible that would bend around the curve. I cut up an plastic container that formerly held deli-meat. I cut the curved corner part with scissors and trimmed up the edge. Then, I mixed up more epoxy and added the usual ingredients--407, 410, and 406. I used a dry wall knife to spread some of the compound along the edge. I dragged the flexible plastic along the edge applying even pressure which smoothed the epoxy out along the edge. It gave pretty good coverage. I used a total of about 8oz of unthickend epoxy or about a pint of thickened epoxy.
I took the small amount that was left over and started filling in the holes in the cabin top that were from the "eye-brow" trim. I am not putting it back on . There are 28 holes on each side of the cabin top. They leaked quite a bit.
After sanding the third coat of fairing compound.
Freshly applied fairing compound to the edge of the deck.
Filling the holes from the "eye-brown" trim with fairing compound.
30 Mar 10
Yesterday I mixed more 410 Microlight in the fairing compound and today it sanded much easier. I went back to the long board and also used the 5" vertical axis RO sander with 80 grit. I am still working on my sanding technique and trying to find the right balance between the different sanding tools. After vacuuming the hull deck joint and surrounding area I did a good wipe down with acetone. Then I began applying the third coat of fairing. I used mostly 410 Microlight today with just a little 407 and a touch of cabo-sil (406). I used a stiffer 5" knife today. It worked well. I focused on filling in the bevels between the gelcoat and the widest layer of tap--both above and below the hull deck joint. There is still a little washboard but it is definitely coming along. I used a total of about 15oz of unthickend epoxy today or about 30oz of fairing compound.
Later in the day I marked up the template for the biaxial patch for the holes where the engine control box and the wind instruments were located. If all goes well, I will apply those patches tomorrow along with sanding and applying the fourth coat of fairing compound.
Fairing the bevels in the gelcoat above and below the hull-deck joint.
Still not there but a big improvement.
29 Mar 10
This morning it poured down raining. The power went out in the house but I headed out to the SRF anyway. The shed was dry and comfortable since the air temp was about 60. In July it will be raining and 95 degrees. I started off by scrubbing the fairing I applied yesterday with a scotch-brite pad and water. I then dried it with paper towel. This removed any amine blush that may have developed when the epoxy was curing. I do this every time with epoxy unless I use release fabric which eliminates the amine blush. I let the hull deck joint dry for an hour.
Next I started sanding with a long board and 80 grit. I have had good luck with a long board in the past but I have never tackled as big a fairing job as this. I chose the long board to get a more level finish but to tell the truth it became evident in a hurry that it would take several years to properly sand the hull-deck joint at the rate I was going. I climbed into my tyvek suit and with a full respirator I switched to a Porter Cable vertical axis RO sander recommended by Tim Lackey. It is a good sander . . . not as aggressive as it's more powerful right angle brother which would have been too much for this job. With 80 grit paper I finished the starboard side in about an hour. By then I had a much better feel for this particular sander and the job I was asking it to do, so I moved down to 40 girt. A much better choice since this was the first fairing coat and it was pretty rough to start with. Another hour or so and the job was complete. I vacuumed up and ate lunch while the dust settled in the SRF.
The rain stopped and the sun came out. I opened up both transom hatches on the shed and one door. The temperature was about 70 degrees in the shed. Very nice conditions. Next, I wiped down the hull-deck joint with acetone and starting mixing up the fairing compound for the second coat. Yesterday, for the first coating, I mixed all 407 Medium Density Filler (micro-ballons) with a little 406 collidal silica (cabo-sil). Today I mixed about half 407 and half 410 Microlight. The Microlight is much easier to sand but not as rugged as the 407. I added a small amount of 406 to give more body to the compound and make it a littler stickier. Once it was mixed properly I spread it out on an 18"x18" piece of plywood. Then I used an 8" wide drywall knife to spread it on the joint. This time I dragged the compound perpendicular to the long axis of the hull deck joint. The compound spread easily. It was pleasant work. I made up about six batches which equaled about 32 oz of unthickend epoxy or about a 1/2 gallon when thickened. That's a little more than half as much as I used yesterday. It took about two or so hours to fair both sides. All in all a good day.
28 Mar 10
Today I started fairing the hull-deck joint. The first coating was pretty rough. Though the material is totally different, I think my drywall taping experience was helpful. Nonetheless, it took a while to figure out what would be a good technique. By the time I finished the starboard side I seemed to have a reasonable approach.
After discussing with both the West Systems tech reps and Tim Lackey, I elected not to wet out the hull deck joint with unthickend epoxy before applying fairing compound. Tim felt it made it harder and was not necessary. The West System's folks suggested a couple of approaches at least one of which did not require wetting out the area to be faired. I went with Tim's suggestions and I think it worked well.
I mixed up about 8-10 oz of epoxy and added 407. I also added a handful of 406 to help it thicken up and hang better. Once the epoxy was mixed, I spread it out on a 18" x 18" piece of 1/4" plywood to keep it cool and provide more working time. I used mostly 205 fast hardener . . . no real reason except the temperature was a nice 65 degrees and I want to save the 206 slow for hotter temperatures. The 205 worked fine. I had plenty of time. I applied the compound and pulled across the tape to load it up. Then I pulled the knife along the direction of the hull-deck joint angling the blade to push excess away from the outside edge (away from the deck edge). Then I scooped up the excess and applied it to the next area in a leap-frog manner. This resulted in the bevels and the low spots created between the different width tapes to get filled with fairing compound. When I used up all the compound, I mixed up another batch. I probably used about 48 oz of unthickend epoxy. Throw in the 407 and I must have used close to a gallon of compound.
I'll start sanding tomorrow with a longboard and the random orbital.
A nice day to be working on the boat. With all the doors open on both ends there was a nice breeze.
26 Mar 10
I pulled the release fabric off today and got the first look at the new lamination. There are a few air bubbles and a little washboard unevenness in a few places that you can see when you look down the top of the new joint. But, I think most, if not all, will fair out. Overall, to my eye, it looks pretty good.
After pulling the release fabric I suited up with a tyvek suit and full respirator and sanded the new lamination with the right angle DA RO sander loaded with 80 grit paper. I went though about 20 disks. I concentrated knocking down the edges and giving the whole thing a light once over sanding. The temperature is dropping tonight to the high 30s. That meant no fairing today. I spent an hour or so cleaning up the shed. Below are some pictures of the new hull-deck joint after the sanding.
25 March 10
In addition to the fairing required to complete the hull-deck joint, in the next week or so I will need to tackle the job of repairing/eliminating the holes where the original engine controls, Benmar auto-pilot controls, and instrumentation were located. At the time of this writing there is no desire to replace any of these controls or instruments. Should I reinstall engine controls at some point, even though they may be in the same location, by necessity the control box would be a different size so this repair is required for the time being.
The only instrument planned for the cockpit is a bulkhead mounted compass and probably a depth sounder. I can pretty much tell the velocity and direction of the wind by just looking around and by the behavior of the boat . . . keeping it simple and basic. These holes will be patched from the back side with multiple layers of biaxial and then faired on the front side with 410 Microlight.
I will also be filling the many holes around the cabin top that were drilled to install the dodger and the useless wood "eyebrow" trim--56 holes just for the eyebrow trim. After I removed the headliner the water streaks down the inside of the cabin top from these many holes was plain to see. None of the holes drilled for the dodger were oversized and filled with epoxy to protect the bala-cored deck--just drilled and screwed into the fiberglass. I am not sure what I will do about the dodger. I sold the one that came with the boat. Perhaps I will replace it at some time or maybe not. I'll let necessity determine if it is required. "Less is more."
24 Mar 10
Today was a banner day. We completed the long awaited task of covering the formerly leaky hull-deck joint with three layers of 17 oz biaxial glass tape. I hoped we would finish it in one day but I was prepared for a two day project. With the help of my wife, and my heroic neighbor Bruce Wheeler, we finished it in about 6 1/2 hours! Bruce is a kindred spirit. He has rebuilt a 28' wood trimaran and is currently building a 16' Weekender Sloop in his garage across the street. He is documenting his project at www.whiteoaksails.com.
This morning we taped up some painter's plastic to keep any epoxy sags from running down the hull. Then we basically ran an assembly line. My wife mixed the West 105 epoxy resin with the 206 slow hardener. Bruce wetted out the biaxial tape, rolled it up like a sausage and handed it up to me on the scaffolding. I unrolled the tape along the joint, "squeegeed" out excess resin and applied the release fabric. I kept the area to be glass-taped wetted out with epoxy slightly thickened with 406. The weather was a perfect sunny 70 degree day. We opened up the shed and had a nice breeze as we worked. The epoxy never got away from us kicking before we were ready.
It took 80' each of 4", 6", and 8" wide tape for a total of 240 linear feet. We used about 2 1/2 gallons of epoxy. I thought it would take much more epoxy.
The speed of the job was made possible by having three people working together, pre-cutting the tape and release fabric yesterday, and preparing the work areas last night.
I am very happy to have this behind me. In a day or so I'll begin the long process of fairing in the hull-deck joint.
Final preparation with painters plastic to catch the epoxy sags.
Three layers of tape with release fabric over the top 8" wide layer.
In the next day or so I'll remove the release fabric and begin the process of fairing in the hull-deck joint.
23 Mar 10
I have spent the last few days fairing the hull-deck joint. Tomorrow, I will glass it over with three layers of 17oz biaxial tape. I will start with 4" wide, then cover that with 6", and finally 8" wide tape. I have put a lot of effort into preparing the joint area to make the job go as smoothly as possible. For the last few days I have been filling in the old holes, sanding, filling in low spots, sanding, filling in some more, sanding still more. Though I did use both the RO sanders a little I had the best luck using a simple long board with 80 grit paper. All the fairing was done with 407 medium density filler, with a little 406 mixed in to give it a bit more structure. For the final sanding, I ran the vertical axis RO sanding with 40 grit over the area to be epoxy taped to make sure there would be enough "tooth" for the epoxy to grip. The sanding has not been difficult.
Yesterday afternoon I laid out and cut all the biaxial tape to the proper length. I was able to get good quality 4" and 6" wide tape but the 8" wide I had to cut from a bolt of 17oz biaxial. It was not hard to do. I made a 1/4" plywood template to make sure all the pieces would be the same length and squared on the ends. I used the template and a marker pen to trace the shape then cut it out with my neighbor's massive heavy duty scissors.
I will use 105 Resin and 206 slow hardener. I plan to start on the bow and establish a staggered joint. The first 4" wide piece will be 5' long, then the 4" piece will be 3 1/2' long, and the 8" piece with be 2' long. After that, all the pieces will be 4' long. I will butt joint the pieces of the same width and cover that butt joint with the wider tape above working my way around the boat. I'll cover the whole thing with release fabric in an attempt to make the work cure as smooth as possible. It may be more trouble than it's worth. With luck, I might finish in one day as I would like to get a complete "chemical bond" between all the layers.
After today there will be many days of fairing.
It took several days of fairing to get the joint prepared.
I used a simple jig to making cutting to length and square easier.
Pre-staging the supplies for glassing the hull deck joint.
20 Mar 10
Today I started work on the hull-deck joint. The first order of business was to sweep and vacuum the whole deck, focusing on the hull-deck joint and especially all the holes. I wanted to eliminate any lose detritus that would interfere with the adhesion of the fairing compound. Next, I went below and did an acetone wipe down of the underside of the deck flange. Then I covered the holes from underneath with some painters tape. With those steps compete I was ready to begin.
I mixed up some unthickened epoxy and wet out all the holes and the edge of the deck where it was uneven or jagged. I let it kick for about an hour. Then I mixed up 407 thickened epoxy. I added little 406 to make it thicker and less likely to sag. I spread it out on a 12"X12" piece of 1/4" scrap plywood to slow the exothermic reaction. Then I applied the epoxy with a 4" drywall knife. It took a couple of hours to go all the way around the boat. Working off the scaffolding made it much easier than working off ladders. After I applied the fairing compound all the way around one time, I mixed up some more epoxy and went back and hit any low spots where the fairing compound had retreated down in the holes. Tomorrow I'll wash the hull-deck joint down with water and a scrub pad and dry with paper towel to remove any amine blush then sand it smooth. I'll apply more compound to any area that needs it and then early in the week I'll begin applying the three layers of biaxial tape.
Acetone wash complete. Ready to start filling holes.
The first layer of compound applied. The number of holes in the boat is shocking.
17 Mar 10
Below are a few pictures of on-going projects. The propane locker hatch look good. It should look original when it is complete. More fairing work is required in the gutter assembly but it gets better everyday. Fairing is a slow process for me. If I rush it, it just makes it worse.
The balsa core around the cut-out for the aft dorades was never replaced with epoxy as should have occurred at the factory. It got wet . . what a surprise. So I dug it out. This is a picture just before I filled it. I did the same thing to the balsa core around the cut-out for the main hatch and forward hatch. Here you can see the freshly applied epoxy.
I am in the process of converting from wheel to tiller steering. To make the transition complete I need to refine (make smaller) the old emergency tiller hole that was covered with a bronze inspection port cover. It was a little off-center. I dug out the water damaged balsa core (also not sealed with epoxy at the factory). I covered the bottom of the hole (from underneath the cockpit floor) with a three layer epoxy patch. I used a jig saw to cut part of the patch out and make the hole a bit smaller than original and centered a little more to the starboard side of the cockpit. You can see it is a little oblong now which is fine becuase it will eventually be covered by a teak cover-plate. Then I filled the space from which I removed the balsa core with thickened epoxy. Next, I'll apply the patch to cover the new epoxy core. Though it is counter-intuitive, the wider patch is laid down first, then the middle size patch, and the smallest patch last. This ensures the biggest patch has the most contact with the primary surface. There are a few occasions when you might not do it this way but most of the time this is the correct sequence. I will do it the opposite way when I cover the hull-deck joint because the huge fairing job will be a bit easier with the widest patch on top. Finally, I will fair it 407 thickened epoxy. This opening still needs to be bigger than the rudder post because there will be a coupling just below this that will joint the main rudder post with the 8" extension that will protrude up though the cockpit floor and to which the tiller head fitting will be attached. The opening will be covered by a "rudder post cover-plate." I have already made the rudder post tube that will fit through the cover-plate. I made it by wrapping about 3' of wetted out biaxial around the rudder post (waxing it first and using it as a mold). Once it cured I had a perfect tube that fit the rudder post exactly.
16 Mar 10
Today I asked Tim Lackey for some advice on how to approach the repair.He suggested it was likely not structural but probably some kind of void that a PO had tried to repair and never put a patch over.In other words, they just filled the hole with some kind of resin and never covered it with cloth and epoxy as a proper repair would require. So, water migrated in and reacted with whatever the filler was I was digging out.His advice was to avoid making something that is not structural into a bigger problem.In other words, "do no harm."He suggested that I fill the cavity if I could, but focus on a good patch and if done properly water wouldn't get into the void.Good advice and it framed my plan.
I decided to call Gordon Reed at Robinhood Marine to see if he had any ideas about the nature of the machine drilled hole.He knows the Cape Dories inside and out and has always been very helpful to me whenever I have had a question about a construction related issue.He could not think of any reason why there would be a machine cut hole there.He surmised it was an old repair job but was unsure as to why. He suggested it may have been related to the integral holding tank that used to be in the aft most part of the bilge. This past fall I converted that part of the bilge into a water-tight compartment. In my opinion, this is just one more reason to shy away from integral tanks. If you must have one, I think it should be in an area that you can access and repair if need be. The hold holding tank was impossible to do anything with if it had a problem. The entire aft end of the boat has to be torn out to get to it and it is so deep and narrow you can't get any grinders or cutting implements in there to do any repair work . . . but I digress.
I then called West Systems Technical Service to see how I could fill the hole without creating excess exothermic heat from pouring in a large amount of epoxy into the cavity.They told me to take advantage of the cooler 50 degree day we were having and use 404 high density filler that does not get as hot as 406.They suggested a tube and a caulking cartridge filled with thickened 404.That way I could shove the tube up the hole and fill the top of the cavity slowly pulling it out filling all the air space.
Lucky for me I had all that stuff in my West Systems Warehouse. So, I wetted out the inside of the hole and let is sit for about two hours to get good and tacky. I mixed up a lot of 404 and added some 406 to make it thicker (404 seems to get more doughy instead of like peanut butter). I loaded up the caulking tube and filled the top half of the hole then stuffed a paper towel cardboard tube wrapped with some plastic into the hole to hold the epoxy in the top half of the cavity. Several hours later I pulled it out, filled the rest of the hole with more thickened epoxy, covered it with a piece of sheet plastic and clamped it in place with a piece of foam and 1/2" thick plywood. That is it for now. When I mount the rudder later in the spring, I will grind down a bevel around the hole and cover it will three or four layers of biaxial and fair the whole thing in.
15 Mar 10
I have been working away making a lot of progress even though I have not made many entries on the website.Competition for the computer has gotten tough lately.
Besides continuing to fair the propane locker gutter assembly, I decided to tackle that small hole near the rudder shoe that has been there for a long time.A few years ago I saw some weeping coming from what I thought was a blister. So I dug it out. It was about 1 ¼ inches wide and maybe ¾” deep. As I have looked at it off and on for the last year I decided it was not a blister but a void from when the hull was made. I thought I would eventually grind down the area around it and fill it will thickened epoxy and then put a couple of layers of biaxial over it, fair it, and be done with it.
As I started to prep it for repair I noticed there was some kind of loose grit in it. So I got a chisel and started digging. Soon I had a large pile of grit and a much larger hole.The hole turned out to be exactly 1 ¾” across and perfectly round at the opening.It was a machine cut hole.The hole goes straight back, maybe and inch, but then makes a sharp bend up. Part of the hole angles up, forward, and across to the port side but does not break the surface there. I kept digging out the grit with a ½” wide chisel till I had created a much larger void kind of like an upside down crescent moon with the crescent going fore and aft. I drew the general outline on the outside of the keel that approximates its location on the inside. Most of the hole goes up with the forward part angling towards the other side . . . it goes almost 4”. I have no idea why there would be a machine cut hole there.
11 March 10
Yesterday and today I worked on the hatch assembly that I previously glassed into what will be the propane locker. I have not been able to do any glass work on the boat for the last few months due to the low night time temperatures. It was great to start back on the boat with some small projects working my way up to the hull-deck joint that I will start in the next few weeks. I think it is a good idea not to rush straight in to a big project on the boat itself. I need some small projects to get myself sorted out and get the tools and components I need for glassing all set up. It is nice to get out of the wood shop and back on the boat.
Yesterday, I added some fairing compound (a mix of 406 and 410) to the inside vertical edge of the deck to which the hatch assembly is glassed. Then I added a layer of 8oz tape, 3" wide on the inside lip and deck area of the fore and aft section (which is deeper) and 2" wide on the athwartship section ( which is shallower with a narrower beveled area) to give it more strength. In December, I removed the exposed end-grain balsa deck around around the hatch openingg and filled it with 406 and 407 thickened epoxy. This tape covers that filler and wraps onto the horizontal part of the deck that I previously beveled. If you look closely you can see the cloth tape. Today, I spread 410 microlight fairing compound over the tape and tomorrow I will sand it.
I called West System today and talked to the tech department. I asked about the warning in the West System manual not to use the 410 fairing compound under dark colors, e.g. the darker paint I plan to use on the deck non-skid. The tech rep told me that West Systems is going to revise that warning in the next printing of the manual. Apparently they have run some tests and haven't had any problem with the 410 and the dark colors that tend to heat up the surface on which it is painted. The tech rep told me that the light gray paint I will use in the non-skid area will not be an issue. This was good news because as easy as the 407 is to sand the 410 is much easier. It also hangs on vertical surfaces much better than 407. It will make fairing the hull-deck joint a little less difficult. He did say I should put a final coat of unthinkened epoxy over the cured 410 fairing after it cures to preclude "print through" with light colored paint.
Preparing the propane locker hatch assembly for fairing.
8 Mar 10
I am finally getting around to posting the pictures of the work I did on the top of the rudder during the last couple of days of February. After the work to fill in the aperture in the rudder last fall I set the rudder aside and went on to other projects. This winter when it was too cold to do any glass work on the boat and I had about sanded every thing I could think of I decided to haul the rudder into the heated wood shop and work on the top edge of the rudder where the post enters. Looking closely I could see what appeared to be a very tiny gap between the rudder and the entry point for the rudder post. It is possible that water gained entry into the guts of the rudder here.
Before I started this last phase of the rudder modification, I hauled to rudder up to Bircher's Machine Shop in Morehead City to have Jim Bircher look at the immersion corrosion on the back side of the post about three inches above the top of the rudder. It's a small area about 1/2" wide and 2" long vertically. He thought it was not too big a deal. His comment was that the rudder post had lasted for 20 years and the corrosion was pretty small. He told me I could have a new post machined, build a new rudder, and it could look the same in two years. He thought the rudder post would easily last another 10-12 years. This was all just an educated guess but it worked for me. I decided to keep pushing forward and use the rudder I have. I'll be able to keep an eye on it because I can see this spot with the rudder mounted. He did say one should avoid putting any anti-fouling paint on SS. Once deprived of the protective oxygen it can quickly corrode, which is probably what happened.
Back to applying the epoxy on the rudder. There was a couple of ways to attack this problem. I thought about taking a high-speed grinder and aggressively cutting back the fiberglass all around the rudder post. Then rebuild the whole area. But after thinking about it I decided "less-was-more." I realize this is a first for me but sometime you have to change your pattern to keep your adversaries off-guard. I decided to use my Dremel with a very small steel headed wedge bit about 1/8" wide so I could keep it from gouging the rudder post. More like surgical work vice destruction work. I very carefully ground the glass back about 3/16" wide and deep (see top photo to the right). I then roughly sanded the fiberglass with 40 grit paper back about two inches from where the post enters the rudder. Then I used a small epoxy brush to fill the crevice with unthickened epoxy. I let it start to tack up then I created a heavy fillet with 406 thickened epoxy completely around the post (see middle photo to right). Before the fillet was cured I cut a strip of 17oz biaxial about 1" wide and 4-5" long. After wetting it out I wrapped it around the the fillet for added strength to this area (I failed to get a picture of the biaxial tape). Before it was fully cured I covered it with 407 thickened epoxy and faired it as smooth as I could while it was still soft. I let it cure for a couple of days then I faired it smooth. The new faired top "should" fit easily inside the wide entry point for the rudder tube. The rest of the rudder only requires minor touch ups with 407 thickened epoxy before it is ready to barrier coat, apply bottom paint to provide UV protection, and reinstall. Installation will occur later this spring after I have competed the hull-deck joint.
The top of the rudder around the rudder post "dremeled" out.
406 thickened epoxy is applied and filleted around the post.
Biaxial tape over the fillet then faired with 407 thickened epoxy and ready to go.
7 Mar 10
Though it is still cold at night it was a very nice day today. The air temperature got up to about 58 degrees though the water temp remains a very cool 43 degrees. It seemed like a good time to take the Sweet Pea out for a sail. She's our 9' Fatty Knees dinghy. During the summer the kids often go with me. They enjoy sailing over to an island in the White Oak River that is part of the state park system. We bought the Sweet Pea used about five years ago (part of our long range plan). She is a fine little boat. She sails and rows great. She will be the tender for the Far Reach. I have her on a Sitech Dolly in the back yard and we just roll her down to the neighborhood boat ramp and launch her into the White Oak when we want to sail. This close to the ocean (about two miles to the inlet to the Atlantic) the White Oak is very much a tidal river.
Today, I decided to sail her down stream to the Highway 24 bridge and back. I like to sail on the last part of the flood tide when going down stream so I have it going with me on the way home, always nice if the wind dies. The tide here can rip along pretty good, though with a decent wind I can normally make good headway into the current.
Today the wind was perfect. About 10-12 knots and steady. The wind and tide were on the nose for the trip down the river. It took about 15-20 tacks and well over an hour to make it to the bridge but it was an easy and all-too-quick 20 minute sail back home. The Sun was out in all his glory. The sky was a brilliant blue. There were some wispy cirrus clouds off to the northwest. It was great to get out on the water, feel the boat come alive, smell the saltwater, and hear the water burbling along the hull.
Beating down the White Oak River.
A nice run home.
4 Mar 10
Wouldn't it be cheaper in the long run to buy a new boat than gut and restore a 30 year old boat . . . and wouldn't you be sailing a lot sooner with a new boat?
I have been asked these questions many times. The short answer, in my opinion, is a qualified no to the first part and yes to the second part.
If you buy a well built "classic plastic," resist the temptation to put a lot of unnecessary high tech equipment on it, and do the work yourself you should come out well ahead of buying a new boat. I have heard the argument that buying and rebuilding a used boat comes out to about the same cost as buying a new boat in the long run. We would agree--if you pay someone to restore/rebuild your boat, then buy a lot of expensive equipment, e.g. water-maker, chart plotter, radar, electric auto pilot, electric windlass, generator, high-end SSB with modem and email, etc, and pay someone to install it. In our case we got a great deal on a well build boat boat. We don't plan to install a lot of high tech equipment (almost none). We buy used equipment (no junk, thank you) whenever we can. We are doing all the work ourselves (it does occasionally "scares the wits" out of us). In the end, we should end up with a completely rebuild boat for about 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of a new ready to sail off-shore capable boat of a similar size and quality. Plus we will have the benefit of knowing our boat inside and out and enjoy the reward of restoring/modifying it ourselves.
It will take longer to get out sailing but we think 2-3 years to get the boat we want--not perfect by any means--will be worth it in the long run. We think there is a real advantage to having the skills to fix everything on it. There was no real alternative for us anyway. A $300,000 boat was just out of the question. We didn't want a boat loan. We didn't want to sell our house to pay for the boat. We chose not to get sucked into the "instant gratification" trap. We want to be able to sail when and where we want and come home when we want. We could certainly do some less costly and less time consuming alterations but that is a choice we have made based on our own needs and desires. Every sailor has to chose what he or she feels is best and what they are comfortable with. The bottom line is there are many ways to get the boat you want (maybe need is a better word) set up the way you want, and still have enough money left over to go sailing or for other things in life . . . you have to know what you can spend, make a realistic plan, then ruthlessly execute it.
2 Mar 10
The splicing continues. I have made progress and find it is getting easier each day. The splice takes me about 2 1/2 hours to make and 45 min of that is spent just breaking off all the little wires after I "fair" the splice. I think it will go much quicker with the 7x7 wire since there are fewer wires to trim.
Having make up a half dozen splices in the last couple of days I am finding the splice fairly easy to make. Today I only needed to refer to the book one time. Tomorrow I think I will be able to do the whole splice by memory. I am developing a feel for the wire and how to use the marlin-spike to make the wire "go home" more easily.
The top picture show six tucks complete. All that is left is the Ashley Quick Taper--a final tuck with just three of the six strands. The middle picture shows the splice with all the the tucks complete and the excess wires held down by a constrictor knot in preparation for fairing. The bottom pictures show the completed splice. It is absoultely smooth. No meat hooks or wires of anykind protruding to prick your hands or fingers.
Brion Toss says you need to learn to not get distracted by all the wires sticking out and focus only on the six that are getting tucked. The first few times it was difficult to not get lost. In fact I had to destroy two splices part way through because I got lost and could not figure out where I made the a mistake. It was like looking at a jigsaw puzzle. I now found it much easier to trace the wires and know where I am at all times. This has proven to be a very rewarding undertaking. I ordered 25' of 7x7 stainless wire to practice on. If it goes well I'd like to move up to 1x19. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Learning to see order in chaos.
Ready to fair and trim.
A finished liverpool splice.
1 Mar 10
I have made a few splices over the last few days just trying to make them tighter, smoother, and stronger. Of course without having it swaged on the other end and broken in a testing machine I can't really know the strength of the splice. That will come later. Nonetheless, the splice to the right is the best splice to date, by far. I think it is better because I am getting more comfortable with the wire. Also, instead of "nipping" off the tapered wire strands I am breaking them off the way Brion Toss showed my last Oct. This is a much better technique because the individual wire breaks off down in the groves between the strands on the standing end. I also finished off with an Ashley Taper which seems to make a smother more controlled taper.
I do believe though that the 7X19 may not be the best way to start learning how to splice because the wire is so flexible--maybe too flexible. Also, each strand of 19 wires needs to be tapered in a very careful and controlled manner and each of the 19 wires is very small and hard to peel out of the bundle in a manner that contributes to a proper taper. I'll be looking for 7X7 in the next few days. I also spent some time "customizing" the vise and my unlaying line and anchor point for stretching the wire out. All in all, a good day.
A much improved 7X19 splice.
26 Feb 10
Though I have continued to work on the boat I have been glued to the Winter Olympics since they started so I did not have the time to post anything on the website. During the day I worked on the propane locker by continuing to fair it smooth. I also worked some more on the rudder by adding some epoxy and biaxial to the top of the rudder where the rudder post enters. I'll post a few pictures in the next couple of days.
I am just about out of projects with the weather still too cold to do any epoxy work on the boat. So, today I hauled out my splicing vise and started working on my Liverpool Splice again. Though it does take some practice to develop the skills it is not that difficult. I started this last year and put it aside once I got the boat into the backyard. I use Brion Toss's great book "The Riggers Apprentice" as my guide. I saw Brion at the Annapolis Boat Show this past October. He was kind enough to give me a lesson on the splice and helped clear up a couple of trouble areas I was having some difficulty with. We then had lunch together and went over the plans I have for some rig changes. He had some great thoughts on a few things I could do to strengthen the rig and improve the sailing performance. He also encouraged me to work towards splicing 1X19 since I would be able to use the same size rigging the boat currently uses--9/32. If I use 7X7, which is easier to splice, I would have to go up at least one wire size because it is not as strong as 1X19.
Though very few people choose to splice their standing rigging there are many advantages to doing so. First, there is no work hardening of the wire which is what really shortens the life of standing rigging that uses either swage or mechanical end terminals--a splice is flexible along the entire length. Second, a proper splice is extremely strong, often exceeding the breaking strength of the wire. Third, the splice does not suffer from rust and subsequent cracking like swage fittings and none of the wire is hidden so you can fully inspect it ( if you don't serve it). Fourth, it is far less expensive to splice your own rigging than pay to have it swaged or buy Sta-loks. Last, you can repair/replace your rig anywhere without having to find a swage machine or find new fittings for a different size wire (metric?) if that is all you can find. Granted, most folks won't do this and that's OK, but I find it rewarding. Time will tell if my splices are of the quality they need to be.
The pictures to the right are of some practice splices with inexpensive 7X19 galvanized wire--the bottom splice in the lower picture was created today. With the cold temps I probably just keep splicing this next week working on improving my skills. The vise I use is a relatively inexpensive aluminum vise I bought from Elisha Webb & Son Co. So far, it seems to work fine and cost about 1/4 the amount of a high-end bronze vise.
A practice splice with 7X19 galvanized wire.
16 Feb 10
I lost heat in the woodshop over the weekend. This meant that I could not do any glass work. The woodshop heat is provided by secondary ducting that comes off primary duct work for an upstairs room. A relay switch had gone bad and the fuse to the thermostat also blew. The secondary ducting does not provide a lot of heat but on a really bad day it will stay just below 60 degrees, which is enough for epoxy to cure properly. When doing glass work in the shop I usually augment the heat to keep the epoxy flowing better. Nonetheless, The heating company replaced the relay and my very clever and talented neighbor helped me troubleshoot the thermostat so the shop once more has heat. As soon as the temperature was back up in the shop I went back to the epoxy work on the propane locker.
The first picture shows the epoxy that I had applied to the corner gap a few days ago created during the stitch-and-glue process. I mixed up the epoxy with 406 and then gooped it on the gap with a mixing stick. Then I used a very soft piece of thin flexible plastic to drag over the corner and make a "round-over." After it cured I sanded it using a sanding block. I was not looking for the perfect round-over but just enough to help the biaxial bend around the edge of the locker. The top picture shows the edge after I sanded it.
The bottom picture shows the locker after I applied two layers of biaxial tape in the same manner I used on the inside of the locker--a 6" wide strip down first, followed by a 4" wide strip. I added an extra piece of biaxial around each corner to provide extra strength and ensure the corners are air-tight.
Tomorrow I will start covering the locker with 12oz cloth to make it strong and water and air tight.
The round-over epoxied edge ready for biaxial tape.
The outside edges with two layers of biaxial tape.
13 Feb 10
Our big Coastal Carolina snow storm finally arrived. Snowball fights and building a snowman were the first order of the day. The kids are thrilled--my son's Christmas wish was for "a lot of snow" so he is ecstatic. I think we received a whopping 5 inches! Nothing compared to the pounding the rest of the country has had . . . but a big event here nonetheless. The Far Reach is all snug and tucked into her cocoon. The shed has held up great--the snow just slides off. A couple days ago we had wind gusts to 50 mph and while working in the shed I could hardly tell there was any wind blowing at all. I suspect I'll work on the propane locker today . . . then again we may stay inside next to the fire and watch the Olympics.
12 Feb 10
This morning I took the mock up propane locker back into the boat one last time to get a fresh look to see if there are any changes required. It looked good. I will build the locker incorporating the stitch-and-glue method which I have never used before. This is supposed to be a good technique for bonding light plywood. It uses copper wire to hold the pieces together and epoxy fillets and tabbing as the glue. Since the bottom of the locker is 1/2" ply and the sides and back are 1/4" ply I used two separate techniques. For the bottom joint I cut a small 1/4" deep and wide rabbet with my table saw and rounded over the outside edge with a disk sander. The 1/4" ply sides sit in the rabbit joint. I used the stitch-and-glue for the sides and back.
The first pictures shows the tools required for stitch-and-glue.
The second picture show the wire ties run through the holes and twisted tight. A key point is to create an exposed corner. The corner will be filled with a "reverse" epoxy fillet rounded over to allow the tabbing to bend around the corner--you want to avoid 90 degree turns. You need to use this technique because the 1/4" plywood corner is too thin to really round over and the outside fillet adds strength to the joint.
The third pictures shows the same corner from the inside.
The fourth picture shows the fillet in the bottom joint made with 406 thickened epoxy. You can see the tabs I used above this to lightly bond the sides so I could later remove the wire and then fillet and tab the vertical joints. This is not the standard technique. I read about this in The Boatbuilder's Apprentice by Greg Rossel. All the other sources I have read tells you to leave the wire in and fillet over the wire. Then when the epoxy fillet has kicked, but before it is hard, you snip the wires on the outside and pull them out with pliers. If you can't get them out, you cut them short, grind down any protrusions and tab over them. Well the technique I read about in The Boatbuilder's Apprentice sounded better so that is what I did. I used 8oz finishing tape trimmed down so I could fillet over it. But I don't like the way it came out. I think it looks messy and it is not real smooth. I will reserve my final opinion after I try to fillet and tab over it tomorrow. The last picture shows the completed tabbing around the bottom joint. I applied a 4" wide tab of 17oz biaxial then covered it with a 2" wide tab. Eventually, I will cover the sides, back, and bottom (inside and out) with 12oz cloth that will overlap the wider 4" tab and run up to the edge of the 2" wide tab completely covering all the plywood. That will best insure there are no gaps for water to find its way into between the cloth and the tabbing. I think it will make the locker very strong--which it needs to be.
11 Feb 10
I started the day adding another coat of 407 fairing to the propane locker hatch lid.It’s slow going but that’s the way it has to be to get it right.After applying the fairing I returned to more work on the locker.The top picture depicts the underside of the rain-gutter assembly.I failed to include this picture earlier but decided to include it here because I think it makes it much more clear how the assembly is glassed into the bottom side of the deck around the hatch opening.
The next picture depicts the three 10lb cylinders that the locker is designed to hold.They are 17 ½” tall and 9 ½” in diameter.I would like to have had 20lb cylinders but the taller cylinders meant the bottom of the locker would be closer to the static water line than I wanted plus the locker would have probably “bottomed-out” on the inside of the hull below the locker.As it is, the locker bottom is about 4” below the bottom of the cockpit floor and 3 ½” from the hull at the corners as evidenced by the 2x4 blocks holding the locker in place.With a single drain/vent on the centerline, and the lockerbottom about 16” above the “scum waterline” I don’t think there will be much likelihood the locker will flood with sea-water but I will have to sail the boat to be sure.
The bottom picture shows the mock-up locker in place.I used some cheap ¼” ply for the back and sides and ½” ply for the bottom.That is what I will use to build the real locker out of.Doing it this way allows me to make sure everything fits the way I want before I cut and glass together the much more expensive marine grade plywood I will use for the real locker.I used ¾”x ¾” cleats and dry wall screws to hold everything together.I had to carry the mock-up up and down the ladder from the boat to the woodshop and back to the boat at least a half dozen times to get the tight fit I was looking for.The locker fits snug around the outside of the gutters, under the bottom of the deck that you can see in the top photo.It will be glassed in all around the top, sides, and bottom on both the inside and outside.It will be strong and air-tight.The real locker will not use cleats or screws. I will build it using the stitch-and-glue method.This method is essentially a technique using epoxy fillets and glass tape to fasten the parts together.I will cover the inside and outside of the entire locker with 10oz cloth and epoxy.
The rain gutter assembly glassed in to the underside of the new propane locker hatch opening.
The locker needs to hold these three 10lb composite cylinders to ABYC standards.
The mock-up of the propane locker. The real locker will not have wood cleats.
The mock-up blocked into place and trimmed to fit.
The picture to the left is shot from the fantail of the boat looking down through both the lazerette hatch opening and the opening into the propane locker. In this picture you can clearly see the 2x4 blocks holding the mock-up locker in place.You can also see in this photo that the locker is longer (wider) on the left (port) side of the boat than the right side.In fact, it is about 3” wider to the port side.This is necessary to make room for the gas ball valve that I will install through the forward face of the locker (which is the bulkhead) with a 6’ long bronze rod running forward that will allow the valve to be manually operated from the galley. The next photo shows that the locker came out both level fore-and-aft and side-to-side.To be truthful, I was a little relieved to see that it was dead-on. Building something square, level, and plumb is essential to producing a professional product. I had thought about angling the locker down and aft to use gravity to help any gas or water in the locker to better make its way to the vent.But after thinking about it for a while it just made building the locker harder than it needs to be.
The last picture shows the mock-up with the three cylinders installed.There is more room in the locker than I would like.The locker size is driven by the outside dimension of the gutters to which I will glass the box.I thought about making the sides angle to make the box smaller but, again, it would make the locker harder to build and it might compromise the strength.So, I will likely fill the voids in the locker with Styrofoam and trim it to fit.Then I will cover it with a layer of cloth/epoxy.Depending on the work I want to do, I could form-fit the bottles.By decreasing the space in the locker it leaves less room for seawater to get into the locker and less space for gas to collect should there ever be a leak inside the locker. After I was satisfied with the locker fit, I took it out of the boat and back into the wood shop.I disassembled it and used the parts as templates for the marine grade plywood which I will use to make the real locker.Tomorrow I will start building the locker.
A good fit but with a little more room than I would like.
9 Feb 10
Yesterday I started fairing the propane hatch cover. It is slow going. I can only fair a small part at a time. Today I worked on it a bit more. With the temperatures only in the mid 60s in my wood shop the epoxy takes a full 24 hours to cure.
After applying the fairing material to the hatch cover I began work on the propane locker itself. I spent awhile on the boat measuring for the locker. Then I used a piece of inexpensive 1/4" plywood to make a template. I cut some poplar on the table saw to use as cleats. I used dry wall screws to fasten the locker together and took it up to the boat. It was too big so I hauled it back down to the shop, took the cleats off, and trimmed some more. I reassembled the box and took it back to the boat. It fit nicely. All three of the composite 10 lb bottles fit and best of all I can take anyone of the three bottles out without moving the others. That was a pleasant surprise. I also test fit the propane gas regulator and the manual shutoff valve that I intend to use. The locker is on the centerline and the through hull vent, which I will install later, will exit about 16" above the scum- waterline. There will be a single vent off-set just a few inches to the portside of the centerline of the boat. I think this will work out nicely. The box and the entire gas system will be built to the ABYC standard.
The shut off valve is brass T-valve used to turn the gas on and off in a fireplace. I will use this in place of an electric solinoid. What is nice about it is the body bolts through the propane box and the lever is inside this part of the valve. The one I have looks just like the photo to the right. The valve is threaded under the escutcheon. That part will be mounted horizontally through the vertical face of the locker under the port side seat. The gas line will run from the regulatro to the this valve. Then continue on through the locker wall (sealed to keep gas in the locker and out of the boat should there be a leak) and on to the stove. The short gas key depicted in the picture will be replaced with a bronze rod (about 6' long) that will run from the valve just under the lip of the port seat locker and exit through the bulkhead that separates the galley from the lockers. It will be capped with a bronze lever. Standing at the galley stove you will reach your hand out to the left and the lever will be right there. Turn it on to let gas flow to the stove. When you are finished cooking you turn off the valve. The flame goes out. Then you turn off the stove. You know the valve works. There is no electric solenoid to fail. This is the same kind of system that Lynn Pardy uses on Talisen--except their bottles on deck and my bottles are in a propane locker--which they don't recommend. We will incorporate a gas sniffer in the bilge as an added safety measure.
Tomorrow I will cut the marine grade plywood I will use for the propane locker (1/2" for the bottom and 1/4" for the sides) and start glassing it up. I will do all this in the shop. I won't be able to install it in the boat though till the temperature comes up.
Gas valve used to turn propane on and off in the propane locker.
7 Feb 10
With the new hatch lips and fillets cured, I carefully measured and in a series of cuts trimmed the hatch to fit the recently build rain gutters. The gutter assembly had already been installed in the opening of what will soon be the new propane locker.
Then I mixed up some epoxy and thickened it with 407 and started the process of fairing hatch lid. The first to be faired is the minor beveled "trough" that remained from the process of grinding the edge to accept the three layers of biaxial that formed the lips on three sides of the hatch.
The newly built hatch lips trimmed to fit the rain gutters in the propane locker.
First fairing on the new hatch.
6 Feb 10
Today I removed the hatch from the plug. I used a chisel and a hammer to pry up the edge of the lip in several places. With very little effort the hatch popped right out.
Next, I washed the hatch and the new cured epoxy with water and a scotch-brite pad to remove any amine blush. Then I wiped down the inside of the hatch with Interlux 202 to ensure no release wax from the wood plug remained on the epoxy.
Then I mixed up some epoxy and thickened it with 406 and made fillets all the way around on the inside of the lips to both fill any minor voids and to soften the 90 degree edge to prepare the edge for a layer of biaxial tape. I left the fillet for a couple of hours to kick and get to the point where it was firm but not fully cured.
Last, I laid a single layer of 17oz biax that I trimmed to 3" wide to cover the fillet and add some addition strength to the lip from the inside of the hatch.
The hatch fresh out of the mold.
Fillit added to the inside edge of the hatch lips.
Single layer of 17oz biaxial over inside fillit.
4 Feb 10
Today I continued to work on the propane hatch. I started by sanding the 2X4 plug/mold that I built yesterday. I sanded it smooth starting with 80 grit then progressing through 120, 150, 320, 400, and finally 600 grit paper. I used my finish sander to get the best finish possible. Once it was silky smooth I waxed it with Minn Wax which is the same past wax I use on the surface of my table saw and jointer.
I need to build only three sides to the hatch since the front of the hatch incorporates 2" of the vertical face of the aft cockpit. The biaxial tape, however, dose need to just wrap around the beveled edges of the front lip. You can see this in the bottom picture. Next I measured and cut single lengths of biaxial tape. West Systems recommends the longest/widest be laid down first but I chose not to do it that way to allow the longest/widest tape to go on last to aid in getting the best fairing job possible. Also, there is no need to achieve maximum structural strength for this project. The emphasis is create the hatch lips to help keep water out of the locker and execute my best effort to achieve a quality aesthetic result.
I made three lengths starting with 54 1/2" long then working up to the last layer at 55 3/4." This would allow each length to slightly overlap the previous layer length wise. I cut the shortest one down to make it 2 1/2" wide, the next 3" wide and the last and longest length I left at 4" wide--this would allow overlaps as well, width-wise. Then I wet out the beveled edge with slightly thickened epoxy. I left it alone to start to kick and tack up. With the surface slightly tacky, the wetted out tape has something to stick too otherwise it just slides off the beveled edge.
I wet out each layer of tape, in turn, and applied them over the beveled edge with the shortest and narrowest first layer just going over the edge of the beveled surface. I cut "pleats" for the corners after the tape was wetted out and on the seat--one has to remember to clean the scissors immediately with acetone when the job is complete. That way they are in the right place and make the best fit. Once I placed the last layer on I used a 5/8" roller to work the three layers of tape and squeeze out any air. This also helped work the tape down over the edges and corners of the hatch to resist pulling up.
Tomorrow I will begin fairing in the minor depression between the inside edge of the tape and the line that forms the start of the gel coat.
Eventually, when the final fairing is complete on the rain-gutter I will cut the hatch lips down to match the angle and depth of the rain cutter. The lips will be longer towards the front of the hatch and less in the rear.
Three layers of 17oz biaxial. The new lips will be cut down significantly to be compatible with the depth of the rain gutters.
The lip in the front was part of the cut-out from the aft cockpit seat. It is the correct depth. The sides of the hatch will be cut down to match the angle of the rain gutters. In this case, the side facing will be trimmed to match the front lip on the right corner and cut at an upward angle going to the left. The back lip will only stick down about 1/2".
3 Feb 10
I tackled several projects over the last few days. I sanded the cabin trunk and the cockpit with 80 grit. After that I worked on grinding out the stress cracks on the deck and around the cabin trunk.
In the past I have used a Dremel with a small wedge shaped grinding stone to grind back the gelcoat and prepare the surface to be filled with epoxy. But this time I used a technique I learned from Tim Lackey. Tim says that the Dremel technique does not make a wide enough cut for the epoxy filler to have the strength to prevent the gelcoat crack from reemerging. Instead he recommends using a Roloc grinder which is essentially a 2 inch round sanding disk that fits into the end of a drill. I bought mine at Lowe's. It cost about $12.00. It worked like a champ. The grove is a shallow "U" shape and about one inch wide from side to side at the top end. The drill was easy to control and in less than an hour I ground out several dozen stress cracks on the side decks and around the holes that were drilled to fasten the "eye-brow" strip to the side of the cabin top.
The Roloc style grinder attachement--perfect for grinding out stress cracks.
The roloc grinder creates a shallow but wide groove.
Next I went back to working on the propane locker. I build the plug for and installed the rain gutters a couple of months ago--see the propance locker project. When the temperatures got cold I stopped working on it and have been grinding the last month and half. Now that I have just about run out of grinding projects--finally--I decided to shift back to epoxy work that I can perform in my wood shop where I can control the temperatures.
Today I took the seat top that was left over from cutting the hole for the locker and began the work to convert it into a locker lid. That means it needs to have "lips" all around. When I initially cut the hatch lid out, I cut down the cockpit seat face 2" to create a lip on the front but there was nothing I could do about the sides and rear of the seat/lid. They have to be fabricated. I could just leave them flat without lips and rely on a gasket to keep the water out. However, I think I can do better than thant and I want to try to create a factory look. First I cut the about 1/2" off on each side and also 1/2" in the back to create room for the new 1/4" thick lips and room for the hatch to clear the sides of the rain gutters when it is closed. Anticipating this project, a few months ago I ordered the bronze factory hinges from Spartan( $45.00 each!) so all the hardware in the cockpit will match.
Next I ground a beveled edge back on the hatch lid for a 12:1 bevel. Then I built a jig out of some 2X4 scraps. I built it to fit the hatch so I can lay the biaxial cloth over the top bevel and down along the jig--which will be sanded very smooth to 600 grit and heavily waxed. I cut out the end grain balsa where the hinges will go and filled the void with thickened epoxy. Tomorrow I will wet out the cloth and build the sides.
27 Jan 10
I have not worked on the boat in the last two days except to sweep up a bucket full of gelcoat powder from the deck. I have spent some time researching and measuring different bowsprit options--from wood to SS. I have also researched and measured for fit a Beta-Marine 14 HP diesel engine. Not sure I want to go that route but I am keeping the door open at the moment.
Below are the latest pictures of the deck and hull-deck joint.
The deck as of 27 Jan 2010. You can clearly see the gelcoat ground back along the deck from stern to bow.
The 8" of gelcoat ground off--4" on deck and 4" on the hull--is clearly evident in preparation for fiberglassing over the hull-deck joint.
25 Jan 10
It took a couple of days of grinding but I completed the removal of a 4" wide strip of gelcoat from the deck and a 4" wide strip from the hull today. The mess in the shed and on the boat is indescribable but I am glad it is finished. The bare fiberglass seems very fair except along the deck edge itself where there are a 125 holes per side as well as a few voids and the general unevenness that was hidden by the toerail. I will have a lot of holes, gouges, and voids to fill in order to create better "roundover" for the biaxial tape. Once the temps are consistently above 50 degrees I will lay the biaxial cloth and seal the joint. That will signal many days of fairing and sanding to get the hull deck joint perfectly smooth and ready for priming and painting.
Tomorrow I will begin sanding the cabin sides and the cockpit which I have not started on due to the work on the deck and the hull-deck joint. This is about the time a 36' boat feels like it's a 100 feet long.
As mentioned the conditions in the shed are terrible. But, there is no sense doing a complete shed clean up till the cabin sides and cockpit are sanded. Then, perhaps, I'll perform a good cleaning. No sense in going hog wild though sense there will be much more sanding before the deck is completed.
21 Jan 10
Who would have thought grinding fiberglass could be called joyful.Based on the difficulty of grinding the deck portion of the hull-deck joint yesterday I was prepared for a miserable day today.I had expected my arms to be flat worn out given today’s task to grind back the gelcoat on the vertical portion of the hull-deck joint.But it went smooth and relatively quick.I am not sure why.Maybe my grinding technique has improved or maybe the gelcoat is thinner on the hull.Yesterday I needed to change disks every 3-6.”Today I went at least two feet between disk changes. In about two hours I knocked out about 25 feet of grinding on the starboard side.If I had had a bit more time today I would have completed the starboard side.
The exposed fiberglass laminate feels pretty smooth and fair.I cut a couple short layers of biaxial cloth—4”, 6” and 8” wide and laid them over the freshly sanded areas to check the width of the exposed laminate.Seems to fit just right.I can see, however, that there will be a lot of fairing involved in this project if I am to achieve anywhere near a professional result.The scaffolding worked great.
Grinding back the gelcoat on the hull portion of the hull-deck joint.
20 Jan 10
Today I started work on the hull-deck joint.I used a small plastic speed square to mark off 4 ¼” both above and below the deck edge.This defined the area of gelcoat I need to remove to get a good lamination bond between the biaxial cloth/epoxy and the fiberglass substrate of the boat.Before I begin laminating, I will spend some time applying and sanding fairing compound to eliminate the ragged edges and gaps in the hull-deck joint. I'll also fill in all the holes (would you look at all the holes in the deck!!). And, I'll make sure it has a nice even ½” round-over to allow the tape to bend smoothly over the edge.
The plan for lamination is 4” wide tape, then 6” wide, and finally 8” wide 10oz finishing cloth.I did not remove the bolts securing the hull deck flange.They are counter sunk and the heads will be covered with epoxy then the glass tape.So, they should not be able to leak water into the hull. I figure they will add something to the strength of the joint.
For the actual sanding I used the 5" Porter Cable Right Angle DA RO sander with 40 grit paper PSA disks.However, today I paid with double digit compound interest for the relatively easy job sanding the topside yesterday. The gelcoat was hard and thick.I estimate up to 3/32-1/8” in some places.It was tough going.It took about 5 hours of sanding and 21 disks to get 30 feet of the horizontal deck edge sanded.I think the vertical face of the hull will be much more difficult.Nonetheless it has to get done. I am sanding carefully so I create as smooth a bevel as possible to reduce the amount of fairing that will be required.
The scaffolding has worked out great.What a pleasure to be able to walk all the way around the boat without having to move ladders and planks.The sun was out.The temperatures came up to about 60 degrees.I opened the doors of the boat shed and all in all enjoyed the day sanding away . . . .
The hull and deck are marked. The gelcoat will be sanding off to get a good bond.
The first day's effort sanding back the gelcoat.
18 Jan 10
I completed sanding the topsides today. The starboard side took two hours to complete. The port side took about three hours. It went much faster than I thought it would though my shoulders definitely got a work out. I used (26) 80 grit disks. I used the DA right angle RO sander on the boot stripe. I used the vertical axis sander on the rest of the topside. I misted the topside with spay paint as a visual aide to see what I had and had not sanded. The spray paint worked very well. It did not come off easily so I am confident I did thorough job sanding off the old clear coat. The next project will be to sand back the gelcoat along the hull-deck joint in preparation for eventual glass work.
The shed is a mess. It doesn't make any sense to clean it up till the sanding is complete. Before I started the deck and topside sanding I covered the work benches and stacks of wood up with tarps. i am not sure it helped all that much. It will likely take the better part of a day to clean it up. That's OK. We are making progress.
Sanding the starboard side.
The starbord side sanded with 80 grit.
18 Jan 10
After building the scaffolding I found out the supports on the lower part of the leg were in fact to low. They wouldn't fit around the boat stands. So I spent most of the morning removing them, recutting, and raising them to the same level as the first step. This is much better and I should have recognized that this was the right way to lay them out the first time. I also had enough scrap would and screws that I built another scaffold for a total of six. Now, combined with the other stands I already had, I have planks all the way around the boat.
I thought I would start sanding the gelcoat back on the hull deck joint to prepare if for eventual lamination. But after thinking about it a bit it made more sense to go ahead and sand the top sides. I started with 80 grit. It was hard to see exactly where I had sanding and where I had not unless the light was right. And, because I have a clear coat on the topside I must make sure I get it off or I will most certainly have adhesion problems later when I paint. With some trepidation I decided to "mist" the hull with some black lacquer paint. Don Casey recommended it in This Old Boat as a way to see where one has sanded. I have also heard from very reliable sources that this can backfire and cause all kinds of sanding problems. But it went well. The photo to the right shows where I sprayed and then sanding off part of the spray paint. My vertical axis RO sander would not really cut the paint on boot top. I switched to the Porter Cable right angle DA RO and it took it right off. There is nothing like having the right tool for the right job!
It was also a small milestone to sand off Far Reach's name and the hailing port of Philadelphia. They had been on there since I bought the boat. I have nothing against Philadelphia but it obviously had to go. I have been wondering for years when I would get this far so I feel great about reaching this point.
Tomorrow will see more sanding and hopefully much more progress on the topsides.
Scaffolding around the boat. The platforms are set up on the middle level for sanding.
"Misting" the hull with black spray paint to make sure I get even sanding coverage.
17 Jan 10
It is time to start work the long awaited work on the hull deck joint. I have enough ladders and platforms to work one side of the boat at a time but I want to be able to around the entire boat without having to relocate ladders and boards. Though the shed is great and there is a lot of room, when it comes to moving heavy platforms around it can be a tight squeeze to get the them between the boat stands and the side of the shed.
Yesterday I few up a sketch of some platforms that would be easy to build, be narrow enough to walk past, and stable enough to work five feet off the ground. The design also allows three heights--2', 3 1/2', and 5'.
I picked up the supplies yesterday from Lowes. total cost was $105.00. That bought (24) 8' 2X4s, (5) 10' 2X10s, and 2 lbs of 3" deck screws. Today I build the stands. It took about 5 hours. I only needed two angles--5 and 15 degrees. They are stackable. Tomorrow I'll put all the scaffolding in place and begin sanding back the gelcoat as preparation for the three layers of glass tape and epoxy.
Stackable scaffolding with three platform heights.
15 Jan 10
I sanded the entire deck with 80 grit today on the right angle DARO sander. It took less than 2 hours since I was not having to remove the non-skid, just smooth out the roughness caused by the 40 grit. Next will come 120 grit though I will wait to use the vertical axis RO sander.
Though I removed the cockpit hatches a couple of days ago I had not sanded them. I removed the hardware and bagged the hinges and hasps so I wouldn't loose them. Then I sanded the hatches with 40 grit followed by 80 grit. I also finally removed the wood trim around the companionway hatch. I don't know why I waited so long to do it. It's funny the things we will avoid somehow thinking it can be left in place and save some work . . . talking about living in a fantasy! The wood was beat up pretty bad so I must have known all along it had to some out. It took about an hour to remove it and in fact it splintered coming out due to be installed with screws and 5200. Nonetheless, I kept it to be used as a template for new trim.
I am holding off on sanding with 120 grit until I complete the hull-deck joint glass work and that may be another month while I wait for the temperatures to come up. Next on the list is to install about (50) 5/16" bolts to replace the 1/4" bolts I had installed then removed because they were to small (these replace the original bolts used to fasten the hull-deck joint together). To be able to glass over them though, I'll have to increase the countersink hole size . . . tedious but not difficult.
The wood trim is removed. Note the caulking that needs to be removed with acetone and a chisel.
The compaionway trim.
Compaionway trim removed. The deck has been sanding with 80 grit.
13 Jan 10
I spend the last two days sanding the entire deck with 40 grit on my right angle DA RO sander. It took a total of 10 hours of sanding. The goal was to remove all the non-skid and make the entire deck smooth to all proper application of the primer. At this point I intent to use Interlux Epoxy Kote designed to support Perfection two part LPU. That's the plan. However, there is a lot of work to be done before I get there. I will need to eventually sand the deck several more times increasing from the 40 grit I used today to 80 then to 120. But before I do that I have a lot of repair work to do. There are stress cracks that need to be repaired. I think the stress cracks were caused by the deck being two flexible due to bulk heads being bolted at the top to the headliner vice tabbed to the deck. I fixed that after I cut the headliner out. But, the damage still needs to be repaired. There is the hull deck joint to be glassed over. There is the propane locker hatch to complete. And I can't do any glass work till the temps come up. I need 36 hours above 50 degrees to ensure the epoxy cures properly. So, in the mean time. I sand.
The non-skid removed.
11 Jan 10
I spend the day today prepping the deck to start sanding. In fact, after this picture was taken, I removed both cockpit hatches and the wood hatch coaming and started sanding on the foredeck for an hour. By then it was getting dark and it was time to knock off for the day. Tomorrow I will go at the deck hard. I am using 40 grit and my Porter Cable Double Action Right Angle Random Orbital Sander (what a mouth full). I think I'll just have to refer to it as the DARO.
The plan is to sand off the non-skid, then go back over the entire deck, to include the gelcoat, with 180 grit. I sand the deck edge back 3 1/2" with 40 grit, probably through the gelcoat to get it ready to glass over with three layers of biaxial and epoxy. Though it might be a month or more before the temperatures come up enough to epoxy I'll get as much done as I can in the mean time.
Just about ready for sanding the deck.
10 Jan 10
Since the last entry much has been accomplished. I recently added a "projects" tab to the navigation bar to help locate and individually track separate projects. The inside of the shed was a disaster due to stuff piling up. So I built another shelving unit to get scrap wood up off the floor and out from under my feet. I also built a vapor liner to keep condensation from dripping on to the boat. Most importantly, I began prepping the deck for glassing the hull and deck joint together. This consisted of washing the boat down with warm soapy water and then wiping the entire deck and topside down with Interlux 202 Solvent Wash. Then I "routered" a round over in the deck edge. Next I begin sanding the deck and topside to prep for the glass work itself (when the temperatures come up) and then priming the deck and topsides. In the meantime I have several projects backed up also waiting on the temperature to come up--completion of the propane locker, finish installing the rudder, finish installing the water tanks, etc. Since it is too cold to epoxy I have just kept moving on to other projects not affected by the cold.
31 Dec 09
I finished reassembling the ABI windlass a few days ago. It works great . . . "smooth as butta." Since then I have had to go back and remove some bolts in the hull deck joint that I installed last spring after I removed the toe rail. The problem is I used 1/4" bolts which are what the drawings in the Cape Dory 36 owners manual indicated were used . . . and that is true except where the genoa track was bolted down. Those are 5/16" and I didn't figure it out till I completed the installation of nearly 50 bolts. Anyway, since they are structurally related to the hull deck joint, I pulled them out and have been cleaning out the caulk. Then I will drop in 5/16" bolts before I glass over the hull deck joint.
For the next few days I'll be performing some boat shed maintenance. Do to the cold outside temperatures I now have some condensation problems which result in water dripping down on the boat from the inside of the sheds plastic cover. I also have a couple of small holes, 3/16" diameter, along the ridge pole. So, I am adding an inside layer of plastic sheeting to the ribs of the shed from the ridge pole 10' down each side of the shed. That should allow any water that condenses on the inside of the outer plastic cover to drip onto the inner sheet and run down the side the shed clear of the boat. We will see how well it works.
21 Dec 09
I called West Systems today to talk to the tech department about how cold the temperatures and can be when working epoxy. They recommended no work below 50 degrees unless I use heat lamps, etc. The boat shed usually heats up to 55-60 degrees during the day but goes to air temp at night. Lately it's been dropping down to near freezing. So, I decided to set aside glass work for a few days and instead will start rebuilding my ABI windlass. To follow this project click here.
Bronze ABI Windlass
18 Dec 09
Today I worked on building the system that will secure the water tanks in the bilge. The temperature is too cold to do any "glass" work in the boat shed so I have been fabricating the fiberglass trays and runners in the heated wood shop. Click here to see how the water tanks are coming along.
I also cut out biaxial patches for the eight through-hulls I prepped a few days ago. As long as the temperature keeps dropping below 40 degrees at night I will hold off on applying the patches. There are plenty of other things to do while I wait for the temperature to cooperate.
Preparing through-hull patches for the outside of the hull. Patches will also be prepared for the inside. There is also a 1/8"-1/4" epoxy plug between the interior and exterior patches.
15 Dec 09
No work on the boat today. I made the epoxy trays for the water tanks yesterday and they are in final cure phase. I'll take some pictures of them tomorrow. Tonight I uploaded a picture of the final painting of the steel beam that supports the pillow block. Click here then scroll down to see the series of pictures showing the before and after pictures.
12 Dec 09
The water tanks have arrived. I think they look great. They were built by Dura-Weld who were great to work with. The pictures depict how the tanks will line up in the bilge. The top picture is looking from what will be the forward end (shallow end of the bilge) of the tanks to the aft end (deep end of the bilge). Then "down angle" of the tanks reflects the bilge sloping down as it runs aft. I am not sure of the capacity but I think somewhere between 60 and 80 gallons. When the weather warms up I'll fill the tanks with water to determine their capacity. There are three tanks. The forward tank is about 34" long and the aft tanks are each 16" long. All have baffles. I had to divide the aft tanks in two because they wouldn't fit through the companionway hatch otherwise. The tanks are made from polypropylene and were nitrogen welded. They are FDA approved for potable water and are supposed to impart no taste to the water. They are supposed to be very strong (3/8" thick). Each baffled compartment has an inspection cover.
I'll build shallow fiberglass trays, molded to fit each tank bottom. I'll fastened the trays to fiberglass runners that I'll glass into the bilge. The trays will keep the bottom of the tanks from moving around. I'll use blocks on the top end of the tanks and SS straps to hold them in place. The temperature are pretty cold here this week so I'll work in the garage (it's insulated and easy to keep warm) vice the boat shed.
Looking from front to rear
Looking from rear to front
9 Dec 09
I got a lot done today. Unfortunately it required what I hope is the last day of heavy interior grinding. I completed all the prep work to ready the eight through-hull holes to be patched. That meant I needed to grind a 12:1 bevel on both sides of the hole--interior and exterior. By patching on both sides I kept the overall diameter of the patch much smaller. The radius of the patch is 12 times the thickness of the fiberglass to be repaired. But according to West Systems, because the holes are "machined holes" I can do even better by using an epoxy plug 1/3 the thickness of the hull and by grinding on both sides. So, I made some 3/16-1/4" thick epoxy plugs, trimmed them down to fit the various through-hull holes and epoxied them in the center of the hole--centered between the interior and exterior surface of the hull. Then I ground down a circular area around the hole to a 12:1 bevel. A hull thickness of 3/4" requires a plug of 1/4 inch in the center of the hole leaving 1/4" of thickness on both sides to be beveled. This requires a bevel radius of only 3"--on the inside and on the same on outside of the hull. If I tried to patch with a 12:1 bevel on only one side of a 3/4" thick hull without a plug the bevel would have a radius of 9" from the edge of the hole or a diameter of 18" plus the width of the hole! Click here for the link to the West System web page that details how to make the repair.
I removed the bob-stay fitting and prepared the holes to be filled. I will relocate the fitting down the stem about 8-10 inches, still above the waterline, in order to have the best possible angle to the cranse iron for the new and slightly longer bow sprit.
I also ground "paths" along the overhead that I will eventually secure plywood strips to in order to screw the tongue and groove panels for the overhead.
Lastly, I did some grinding to prep the holes that used to contain the wind instrument dials (aft end of cabin top), engine controls (starboard side cockpit foot-well), and diesel and holding tank bronze fittings in the cockpit floor.
The boat and the shed are a disaster area. I hate it when it is a mess like this but it goes with the territory. I will spend the day tomorrow cleaning up the boat, the shed, and the tools. The next project will be to apply the epoxy patches to all the through-hull holes and finish up the propane locker rain gutter system. I will eventually add pictures when I have something completed to show.
8 Dec 09
That hatch gutter system for the propane locker is installed. I spent the day fairing the inside edges. I have also begun filling all but two of the through-hull holes. I will work on that for the next couple of days. I'll post some pictures of the propane hatch system and the through-hull hole repair soon.
3 Dec 09
I took some time off over Thanksgiving.Since then I finished tabbing the bulkheads that CapeDory only tabbed on only one side.It’s nice to have that done.This will make the bulkheads attachment stronger. I would estimate about 1/3 (eight) were only tabbed on one side. I can’t see any value in only having them tabbed on one side.
Today I also worked on the propane hatch gutter insert that I molded a few weeks ago trimming the opening per the specification in my drawing.There are few small spots that need fairing in the actual gutters caused by a few small bubbles that formed between the mold and the first layer of cloth.I will attack that tomorrow and then work on creating “lips” for the propane hatch.I will add some pictures tomorrow.
22 Nov 09
Since my last entry I washed the boat out with a hose in preparation for finishing up the tabbing of the bulkheads. I also spent a day cleaning up the boat shed which was a mess and all my grinding tools. Then I built the propane locker hatch coaming that will be installed to the underside of the locker opening after Thanksgiving. Click here to see how the propane locker is coming along. Finally, I added the pictures showing the construction of the aft watertight compartment that I build earlier this fall. Click here to see I that project came out.
17 Nov 09
I pretty much finished up the grinding today. I swept up another 5 gallon pale of paint and fiberglass dust. Then I vacuumed the boat out. I may wash it out tomorrow or I may just clean it up some more and fishing tabbing a few bulkheads that Cape Dory only tabbed on only one side. If i chose to tab, I don't want to get any of the bulkheads wet washing the boat out. I'll decide tomorrow.
16 Nov 09
Today was more grinding. With a full face respirator, a tyvek suit with a hood, and long gauntlet gloves with the tyvek sleeves pulled over them, the grinding is not too bad. I just about finished off the main cabin and the forward cabin. I worked on the overhead as well.
After measuring for a while I decided to remove the forward bulkhead. Not too difficult--roto-zip saw and saws-all did the job. The plan will be to install something "more better." I think 3/4" ply and moved aft about a foot. For a double berth on the portside I will have 6'4" on the inside edge, about 7' in the middle, then about 7'6" on the outside. With the bulkhead moved aft a foot, it will be easier to relocate the bobstay fitting (down the stem about 8" and still about 6" above the waterline) which will give me the angle I need for the longer bowsprit. Moving the bulkhead aft also will give me a bigger chain/rope locker and allow the chain and all its weight to come aft a bit more. I also gain more storage in the chain locker for some light weight items like fenders and such that don't really weigh anything but take up a lot of room. I might be able to fit in an integral water tank increasing my water capacity and serving as a watertight bulkhead.
With luck, I'll finish up the major interior grinding in the next couple of days. Since I plan to glass over 6 of the 10 holes in the boat, I need to grind a bevel on the inside of the hull now--half on the inside and half on the outside to reduce the diameter of the patch--so I can reduce the grinding I'll invariably have to do later.
From there I may go ahead and begin sanding the decks and topside and work towards getting primer down before I go to the interior.
15 Nov 09
When it comes to working on a boat is there anything more awful than grinding fiberglass? Well if there is, I haven't experienced it yet. I have spent the last two days in a tyvek suit with a full face respirator, armed with an assortment of grinders, sanding away the paint and damaged fiberglass tabbing, etc on the interior of the boat.
Yesterday I spent about three hours down inside the three cockpit lockers, including the lazarette, wedged like a pretzel, grinding old paint. There is no other way to remove it. I tried peel-way a few weeks ago with little luck. The paint had to come out because I intend build shelves and add few bulk-heads here-and-there at some point. I also need clean fiberglass to mount the various blocks for the Cape Horn Windvane. Since I am not sure where any of these things will be mounted at this point, I decided it is better just to sand down as much of the paint as possible now. Today I spent six hours grinding off the old paint and tabbing in the main cabin. When I finished for the night, I swept up about half of it and it filled a 5 gallon bucket! The boat is a giant mess and the boat shed is a disaster and paint and fiberglass residue everywhere.
I have talked with a few folks that have performed major restorations and they all advised the same thing--to the extent possible get as much of the interior sanding done at one time.
The tools of choice have been my 8" Makita VS grinder with a soft Stikit pad and 36 grit PSA paper. I ordered some 24 grit but it did not arrive Friday as I hoped. I also rely on the 5" Porter Cable RO VS DA sander. My latest weapon, recommended by Tim Lacky, and mounted on my 4 1/2" Makita right angle grinder, is a 4 1/2 inch Norton, 40 grit, flapper wheel. An amazing sanding disk. The small makita is easy to hold and get into tight spots. It's also a lot lighter than the big 8" Makita. But at 11,000 RPM you have to be very careful. This thing can get away from you and cause some real damage if you are inattentive for even a second. Tim told me to use great caution when employing this combination and he was right. Still the majority of sanding has been with the big Makita and the Porter Cable.
I also ripped out all the old copper foil that had been installed as the ground plane/counterpoise for the SSB. I assumed it had been in the boat for at least 20 years. It was installed in a amateur fashion with resin that had dripped and run down the inside the of hull. It was unsightly. Also, I could see significant corrosion on parts of the copper foil and if it was compromised now was the time to remove it.
I hope to finish up the sanding tomorrow but expect it will be Tuesday. Though I truly detest the sanding it is exciting to think that the majority of it might be behind me . . . then again I have to sand the deck, the topsides, and the hull at some point. But that's different since they are all on the outside . . . right?
II Nov 09
Today it poured down all day. This is the remnants of Hurricane Ida that came ashore in Louisiana a couple days ago.
I faired the rudder again. I think it is about finished. I also built the wooden "plug" for the propane locker. To see how it is coming along click here.
Tonight I spent a couple of hours continuing to reorganize the website. I hope it makes it easier to navigate around. It was getting a little unwieldy. This should make it simpler to find specific projects.
10 Nov 09
Happy Birthday Marines!
Though I have not made an entry in a few days I have been working hard on the boat.
I made some changes to the website to organize it a bit better. I added separate pages for different projects to make it easier to follow each project along, e.g. if you click on "Restoration Hull, it will take you to a separate page that will give you navigation options for different projects.
I have spent most of my time fairing the rudder--very time consuming. I can't really sand the thickened epoxy till the next day even using fast 205 hardener. The keel fairing is complete--just a little more to go on the rudder. I completed restoring the steel pillow block beam with three coats of POR 15, two coats of barrier coat, and two coats of Rustoleum Marine Alkyd paint. It looks nicer than I expected. I'll post pictures tomorrow.
After much thought, I also started work on building an integrated propane locker. For more information on the locker click here.
3 Nov 09
More progress was made on both the rudder and keel aperture. I epoxyed in the plug for the rudder today and began fairing in the groove in the back of the keel. I also did some fairing along the sides of the keel aperture plug. Pictures Here.
2 Nov 09
Today I added some more biaxial cloth to the sides of the keel aperture plug. I also added 6 layers of 1.5 oz woven roving to the groove I built yesterday. It looks pretty good so far. I also cut out the template for the rudder side of the aperture with my skill saw and then routered a "round-over" to match that on the leading edge of the rudder. Then, since I had not had my daily dose of grinding, I "suited-up" and spent about 30 minutes grinding a bevel on the rudder to accommodate the biaxial cloth I will use to glass the plug into the rudder.
1 Nov 09
I worked on fairing in the aperture on the keel today. I also laminated four layers of plywood that I will cut out tomorrow that will serve as the plug for the aperture in the rudder. Fairing in the aperture on the keel is more complicated than I thought it would be. This is due to my desire to create a "groove" in the trailing edge of the aperture plug that is seamless with the groove molded into back of the keel above and below where the aperture was. The rudder fits into the groove and increases the streamlining of water across the gap between the back of the keel and the rudder. Go here to see how it is coming along.
31 Oct 09
Yesterday I scribed the curve of the rudder from one side to the other. I think the rudder is pretty close to symmetrical after all . . . not great but pretty close. However, there are definitely some waves in the surface.
I painted three coats of POR 15 on the pillow block beam. I faired the rudder for the third time and I laminated in the second layer of plywood to the propeller aperture. Not a lot of work today but between soccer games and Halloween . . . not too bad. Pictures of the work posted here.
29 Oct 09
Today I sanded down the first fairing coat on the rudder. In the process, it appears to me that the rudder may not be symmetrical--this can cause significant steering issues. Though measuring is the only way to be certain, to my eye the rudder appears to be flatter on one side than the other. I'll scribe some lines from one side of the rudder tomorrow and check them on the opposite side. I also noticed that the trailing edge of the rudder is not tapered for maximum water flow and efficiency. Instead of being tapered down to a 1/4" - 1/8" squared edge, it's more of a 1/2" rounded trailing edge. The former is far more efficient. It may well be that a Cape Dory 36 is not a high performance cruiser but sailing is sailing. There is no reason to be less efficient just because you are not out to win silver. I'm not sure I can do a whole lot about this without significant work so I may let it go for now and keep pressing ahead. But at some point I'll fix this.
I also started glassing in the "plug" for the propeller aperture. Yesterday, I laminated four 1/2" Douglas Fir marine grade plywood pieces together to form the plug that would serve as the foundation for filling in the aperture. Today I glassed in the plug using west epoxy thickened with 406. I secured the plug in place while the epoxy cured with two ratchet straps. Over the next few days I'll add a few more tapered layers of plywood and epoxy and eventually fairing compound to create a smooth surface completely eliminating the old aperture. When I finish faring the repair to the rudder crack, and taking any action to correct any lack of symmetry between the rudder sides, I'll glass in a similar plug on the rudder side of the propeller aperture.
27 Oct 09
Yesterday I ground out the crack out on the bottom of the rudder and filled it with thickened epoxy. Today I taped it with three layers of 17oz biaxial cloth. This afternoon I began the fairing process by coating the repair area with epoxy and 407 medium density filler. I also cut out and laminated the plywood that will serve as the foundation for filling in the propeller aperture in the keel. The photos are posted on the hull restorationpage.
24 Oct 09
Over the last few days I sanded the back of the keel in preparation for glassing in the propeller aperture. Yesterday, I picked up the rudder from the machine shop. The rudder post was cut down about 2" and a new keyway cut to fit the coupling that will join the extension to the rudder post. The machine shop also made a delrin bearing that fits over the lower part of the pintle to reduce some minor wiggle in the bottom of the rudder. I also removed the steel beam that the pillow-block was bolted to. It was rusted but not to bad. I was able to keep it "blasted" and it cleaned up pretty well. I plan to paint it with POR-15 then epoxy barrier coat it. For more on the rudder job go to the Hull Restoration page.
21 Oct 09
Today I goofed off. I went fly-fishing for False Albacore off of Cape Lookout with a friend of mine. The air temp warmed up to about 75 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. The water laid down nice and flat which it has to do to go out by the Cape as there are sandbars and breakers for many miles off-shore (we worked south of the outer banks and stayed well away from the "Graveyard of the Atlantic." We ended up chasing groups of breaking fish off-shore for about 10 miles. In the back ground of the one photo you can see the breaking fish. Sometimes there would be hundreds of Albies slashing at the bait schools and literally surfing on their sides as they chased down bait-fish skimming on the surface. We caught a bunch of fish. It was a terrific day and a nice change from grinding fiberglass!
20 Oct 09
I spent the day working up a list of supplies to order from Jamestown Distributors, laying out the design of the propane locker, and confirming the measurements for the bilge mounted water tanks. I did get some sanding done to the back of the keel where the rudder attaches. I hope to get the rudder back from the machine shop this week.
19 Oct 09
I learned yesterday that the keyhole in the top of the rudder post is not the same as the keyhole for the steering quadrant. The steering quadrant key hole is 3/8s while the key hole in the top of the rudder post is 13/32--1/32 larger. This is a problem because the coupling I bought from Edson, which will join the rudder post extension to the top of the rudder post was machined for a 3/8" keyhole. I took the rudder to a machine shop today to discuss the options and the machinist/owner saw the solution right away. Instead of cutting off 1 1/2" (to keep the coupling below the cockpit sole) and extend the current key hole another 1 1/2", he suggested cutting an additional 3/4" off the rudder post for a total of 2 1/4" and then cut a new matching 3/8 key hole that is compatible with the coupling. Perfect solution. Another 3/4" will make no difference in the overall stiffness of the upper rudder post. The coupling will be used to connect about a 7-8 inch extension that will pass through the cockpit floor and be keyed to accept the bronze tiller head.
I ordered a new self aligning bearing (pillow block) from Edson today to replace the one that was galled and chewed up.
I also started sanding the bottom paint around the keel where the rudder attaches.
17 Oct 09
I successfully removed the rudder this morning. Not a small undertaking but it had to be done for a couple of reasons: 1) the rudder stock needs to have 1 1/2 inch cut off the top to allow for the coupling and rudder extension to fit properly and allow the tiller head to fit over the extension and not hit the back of the cockpit well; 2) the keyhole in the top of the rudder post (originally intended to support the emergency tiller) needs to be lengthened; and 3) there is a very long crack in the bottom of the rudder that needs to be repaired. When the boat was hauled, the water settled into the bottom of the rudder. Then when the temperature fell below freezing, the water froze and when it expanded it cracked the bottom of the rudder.
For more info on the rudder removal and pictures go to the hull restoration section.
Keel without the rudder
16 Oct 09
Though it has been two weeks since my last entry I have been getting a fair amount of work done. I did, however, take a week off to visit a very good friend near Annapolis, Md and while there took in the Annapolis Boat Show. I was able to spend some time with Yves Gelanis who designed the Cape Horn Windvane. He is very clever and gave me some great ideas for my boat on a variety of topics. I glassed in the aft watertight compartment over the last few days. I will post some pictures soon.
I spent a couple of days building templates for the bilge mounted water tanks I will install. My best estimate is the tanks will hold between 70-80 gallons. Have considered a wide variety of tank material from Epoxy to stainless steel to plastic. I may go with welded plastic. The best quote so far is about 40% the cost of SS 316L tanks. Weldon plastic makes it possible to install baffles and shape the tank to any design. There are pros and cons to each of the materials. I still have some time to decide.
I have also prepared the rudder to drop in tomorrow morning. Yesterday I grinded most of the glass down around the bronze rudder shoe. Today I knocked out the bronze pins and dug a very big hole under the rudder. Then I removed the "pillow block" and the stop ring that prevents the rudder from accidentally unshipping. They were difficult to remove 27 years after being installed. I had to beat on them with a hammer, heat them with a torch, spray PB on them and finally was able to remove them with a small wheel puller. With luck, the rudder will slide right out (not!).
1 Oct 09
A good day. Spent some time on the phone this morning with the tech dept at West Systems Epoxy. I have probably talked to them a half dozen times and they are always helpful. I talked to them today about concerns regarding epoxy and "matting." I have read that epoxy does not have styrene which dissolves the chemical binder that holds the matting to the biaxial cloth and thus can be hard to work with if you use them together. I noted that MAS Epoxy, which I have been thinking about using on my water tanks, specially mentions not to use their epoxy with matting as part of biaxial cloth. The West Folks told me this should not be a problem. They have a paper on their website that addresses it. They told me that almost no one manufactures biaxial cloth/matting with the binder anymore and that most mat is now stitched to the cloth. They said even if there is binder in the cloth it only makes the cloth a little "stiffer" and harder to wet out. I have used a fair amount of biaxial cloth and matting and have had no difficult so far, but then again this is the only system I have used so I have nothing to compare it to. I may do some experimentation with some different resins at some point to see if there is a better way.
I was able to epoxy cleats in the bilge area to support the top that I will glass-in either tomorrow or Sat. Also did some glass work in what will be the sump area. I also cut and fitted the douglas fir plywood that will be the top and front of the compartment that will enclose the after bilge area. I'll insert pictures tomorrow.
29 Sept 09
Today I worked on glassing in the area where the old holding tank was joined to the hull. I cut the tank out a long time ago. I also cut the floor timber out and will replace it later. It was pretty chewed up. This will be a multi day project. When complete I'll post some pictures and it will make sense. Bottom line, I am glassing in the old space at what will be about half the size of what the holding tank comprised. Where the top of the holding tanks was, I'll glass in a top about a foot below that point that slopes down to a point about 6" above the aft end of the lead keel. That will give me more space above the top and a sump area in the same place as before. I won't do anything with the void--just glass it in and put an inspection port so I can check in there if I feel the need.
28 Sept 09
Picked up two large sheets of cardboard today then 2500 lbs of "crush and run" for the shed. Shoveled it along the inside edge of the shed all the way around to keep out the flooding that occurs with heavy rain. The yard is pretty level and when the rain comes pouring off the shed it seeps under the edge. Then when the sun comes out the humidity in the shed sky rockets. Along with the gable vent additions this should help with the ventilation plan. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll actually do something that resembles boat work.
27 Sept 09
Spent the weekend with the family and thinking about the next couple of projects. I'll pick up some large sheets of cardboard tomorrow that I can use for templates. Will likely tackle the old holding tank area next. I intend to seal it up, create a place for a gray water tank, and a sump for my bilge pump pick up tube. After that, I'll probably drop the rudder to effect repairs and make final mods to complete the conversion to tiller steering.
Listed a bunch of items for sale tonight on the website. I am not looking to make much but there is no need for these things to sit here, since they all have life left in them, when they could be put to good use on someone else's boat.
24 Sept 09
This morning I built a 8 foot long shelf above one of the two primary work benches in the shed. Then I spent the rest of the day dragging out all the boxes of boat stuff I have been storing since I gutted the boat. Some of the items I'd like to sell vice take it to a consignment shop--water tanks, Edson steering system, CQR Anchor, dodger, anchor chain pipes, Anchor rollers, Harken Roller Furling System, etc. I threw out a bunch of stuff that wasn't worth keeping or selling. I added a link on the web page but have not listed anything yet. I'll take some pictures tomorrow and post some of these things in the near future.
Tonight I moved much of the info from the 16 June entry describing the bulkhead repair to the bottom of the "interior restoration" page. I also added some info and inserted some pictures.
23 Sept 09
This morning I pulled down the transom hatches in the shed and installed gable vents. They were simple to install. I build a shelf in the next few days to support a box fan so I can push air out the vent and pull it in the other end. I hope this will improve ventilation in the shed. I spent the afternoon cleaning out the shed work area in preparation for more serious work to begin.
22 Sept 09
It is great to be working on the boat again! As I previously mentioned, the boat was more than just dirty after months of neglect and baking in a steamy hot greenhouse. It was filthy. I power-washed the deck and hull. Then took a hose to the inside and washed it down. I dragged the Edson bilge pump up the ladder and placed it on some plywood laid across the floors and pumped the bilge dry. Then I set a couple of box fans up in the boat to get the air moving. What a difference. It is cleaner than I ever remember.
I spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the boat shed. There will be more work to do organizing and cleaning up the shed getting it ready for the work to come but tomorrow I'll pull down the transom hatches in the peak of the shed and install the gable vents I bought from Lowes Hardware. I have now seen first hand what can happen with out proper ventilation in the shed. I can't always be here to open the shed every day. It's also a good example of why a boat interior needs to have good interior ventilation to retard the growth of mildew.
19 Sept 09
I have been planning the work necessary to build a propane locker.I think the best place for it will be under the cockpit seat where the helmsman would normally sit.I should have enough room and can vent the locker each side and install the vent tubes under the transom but above the waterline. That way the lock can vent regardless of which tack I am on. After a lot of research I ordered three 10 lb composite bottles that are 9 ½ inches wide, so they will fit in the space availible. Thirty pounds of propane should give us at least 8 weeks of fuel if we are cooking everyday. The cylinders arrived yesterday.There is nothing to rust or corrode and the literature states they do not explode. You are supposed to be able to see the propane through the translucent bottle. They are made by Lite Cylinder http://www.litecylinder.com/ and I bought them through RV Supply Warehouse.I suspect I will buy the components through Trident Marine. At some point in the near future I will take my jigsaw to the cockpit and begin on this project.
15 Sept 09
Well it has been a while since I entered any thing on the daily log.In fact it has been a while since I worked on the Far Reach.In late June I took all the tools out of the shed and we took the kids on a nearly six week long road trip out west—Mammoth Cave, the Arch in St. Louis, the Badlands of SD, Mt. Rushmore, the Little Bighorn Battlefield, the Beartooth Mountains, Yellowstone Park, the Tetons, and the Oregon Trail.Then back across the Midwest.We camped much of the time and had a great trip.
When we returned home it was late July and the middle of high heat in coastal NC.It was too hot to work in the boat shed and besides I had been putting off some house related building projects.So I took on those jobs thinking I would be back to work on the boat by 1 Sept.But, the projects have taking longer than expected (isn’t that always the case?).With some luck, I’ll have this project wrapped up by the middle of next week and then I will be back working on the boat full time.
In the mean time I have not been completely idle regarding the boat. I ordered some fittings for my bronze Edson gallon-a-stroke bilge pump . . . and my Cape Horn Self-steering Wind Vane arrived and it is a piece of artwork.My wife has accused me of paying homage to it daily.
The very first boat project will be to wash the boat down inside and out.It has suffered some mildew due to the heat and humidity generated by being closed up in what is essentially a green house.I could not ventilate it (open the doors) while I was on the trip out west.When I returned, I failed to ventilate the shed thinking if I stayed away from the boat, I would get these other projects completed quicker and get back to the boat.By the time I recognized the growing mildew it was of course already there.Since then, I have been opening the shed every day.I have also decided to install a pair of gable vents, one in each in the shed, in the transom hatch, to allow hot humid air to naturally exit the shed.I’ll also build a shelf on the inside of the shed, next to the gable vent, to help push the air out thus drawing in cooler air at the other end. It’s exciting to be getting close to working on the boat again.With some luck I hope to make a lot of progress on the boat this fall and winter.
Cape Horn Windvane
16 June 09
Well it has been a while since I added anything to my daily log . . . but that does not mean I have not been working on Far Reach. My computer hard drive crashed and I temporarily lost pictures and the ability to add to the website. Fortunately a local computer shop was able to recover the data from the hard drive. Additionally, other projects have slowed work on the boat and interfered with the time it takes to maintain the web site.
Since my last entry I repaired the bulkheads in the boat. This took nearly two weeks . . . much longer than I would have liked. It required more grinding--ugghhh--and some interior paint removal which had to occur before I could bond bulkheads with epoxy.
12 May 09
Today I was able to pull all the through-hulls and the speedo and depth sounder. I also was able to install all of the screws between the bolts that secure the hull to deck. I have a couple of bolts left to install. When I ran out today I went to my local chandlery to buy about a dozen 1/4" x 20 SS machine bolts. However, when I tried to install them, the nuts would bind up about 2/3s of the way up the shaft. The nuts were also #20 but for what ever reason they would not thread all the way home. So, I ordered a bunch more from Jamestown Distributors. The last bunch I ordered from there gave me no trouble. Despite that, I was very happy to get a bunch of work done. I played around with the new tiller head, coupling, and bearing for a while. A plan is developing but I have some time to refine it.
The through-hulls came out with very little trouble once I came up with the right tools. I'll post the tools I used on the tool page.
Hopefully, later this week I'll start filling in all the holes and gouges in the hull deck joint. Then it will be on to glassing the hull and deck joint together--a major project.
11 May 09
I did not work on the boat this week end. At the end of last week I finished up removing the remaining caulk and the above-the-waterline through-hull fittings. I went through a gallon of acetone and had to resharpen my chisels about a dozen times.
Today I was finally able to do some "constructive" vice the never ending "destructive" work I have been doing since Far Reach arrived at the house. I installed about 50 1/4" SS bolts that replaced the ones I removed when I took off the genoa tracks and the toe rail they sat on. I counter-sunk the heads first so I can glass them over. Tomorrow I'll countersink and install the #14 SS screws that will fill the holes that held the toe rail on. Then all of these fasteners will be glassed over with epoxy and three layers of biaxial fiberglass cloth tape. This will prevent any water from entering the boat via these bolts holes. There are numerous signs of where water leaked down the inside of the hull when it got under the toe rail and then ran down the bolts into the hull. I will not be reinstalling the toe rail. In its place I'll install a raised bulwark. This will eliminate standing water on the deck.
I also removed two of the eight below the waterline through-hull/sea cocks. I will remove the remaining six and then reinstall the only two--one for the galley sink drain and one to supply saltwater for the galley sink. Two of the sea cocks were nearly inaccessible. I will be glad they are gone and I won't have to worry about them.
My bronze tiller-head, rudder post extension coupler, and extension post upper bearing arrived from Edson today. All are massive. The project to install them is not simple but it should be worth it--I hope. Once I get all the parts lined up I'll cut out the cockpit floor, build a new one with the scuppers in the aft end to allow the cockpit well to drain via though-hulls mounted above the waterline. One of the problems with the cock pit well is that it is too wide. It was designed this way, I believe, to accommodate a larger wheel. This causes three problems: 1) the well is large and will hold a lot of seawater if/when the cockpit gets pooped; this will cause the boat to squat in the back and become vulnerable to succeeding waves which can be dangerous; 2) the well is so wide that when sitting on the high side you can't brace your feet on the opposite side; and 3) the wide well makes the seat a bit narrow and makes the cockpit hatches very small--about 9 inches on the starboard side locker and not much better on the portside. The lockers themselves are large enough (if that is possible) but the openings are so small you can't get large items into the lockers (fenders, inflatable dinghy, outboard engines, etc.) So, I have been thinking instead of just cutting the floor out, I could cut the whole well out, except for the forward and aft vertical faces and then build and install a narrower cockpit well. This would have many benefits. The volume of the well would be smaller making getting "pooped" less dangerous, the seats would be a bit wider and more comfortable for sitting and sleeping on, you could brace your feet on the opposite of the cockpit seats, and the locker hatches would be much larger. What's not to like--except the work! I'll think on it for a while, but if I am going to do it it needs to happen before I begin work on the interior, which means after the hull/deck joint is glassed together.
3 May 09
For the last couple of days I have continued to remove old caulking and silicone that was under decking fittings, around port holes, and under the eyebrow trim. I also removed the metal "buttons" that ran across the cabin top from one side to the other that the dodger was fastened to. 48 holes! I am not suggesting a dodger is a bad idea. I'll probably install one but there ought to be a better way to attach it than penetrating the cabin top so many times. I'll do some research and ponder this a for awhile.
The bronze tiller head, and rudder post coupling that attaches the rudder post extension to the rudder post, and upper rudder post bearing I ordered a week ago should arrive in the next week or so. Once I have them, I'll shift work to determine the length of the rudder post extension required to connect the tiller head to the rudder post. I have limited room at the back of the cockpit for this conversion to work. Once I have that sorted out, I'll cut the cockpit floor out and begin work on the new floor. This may seem pretty radical, but I'll be able to eliminate the two sea cocks whose sole purpose is to drain the forward cockpit scuppers below the waterline. If I slope the cockpit aft, I can move the scuppers to the back and drain the cockpit well above the water line eliminating these two potential holes in the boat.
It is slow going right now and I am not spending that much time on the boat every day but working as much as I enjoy. I figure it is the proverbial "marathon and not a sprint."
29 April 09
Today I measured for a Cape Horn Windvane. Since each vane is custom built for every boat I needed to ensure I provide Cape Horn with the right measurement so the vane will work properly on my boat. This took several hours of crawling around in the lazerett and under the cockpit with a tape measure and level, reading through the measuring instructions, hanging a plumb line, measuring some more, and determining which of the several installation options I want to use. I'll recheck my measurements tomorrow before I send them off to Cape Horn.
I have researched self-steering windvanes for several years. I think the Monitor windvane is a very capable system. But I like the Cape Horn. I have corresponded with Yves Gelinas and he has been very helpful. There is a lot of great info on his site that is well worth reading. I met him at the Annapolis Boat Show last year and he was just as helpful in person. I like his windvane design because it is simple and very unobtrusive. The Monitor just dominates the stern of a boat. Like the Monitor the Cape Horn has proven itself offshore in tough Southern Ocean conditions but is has also proven itself in the light breezes as well. Since he designed the vane for his own boat, an Alberg 30, and since my Cape Dory 36 was also designed by Alberg and is very similar in design I believe it should work equally well on my boat. It should arrive in July. Time will tell if this was the best choice. My Grandfather used to tell us, "Sometimes you just have to pay your money and take your chances."
27 April 09 I have spent the last three days removing the old sealant where the toerail, rubrail, and bowsprit were. I used my Dremel Multi-Max, a chisel, a lot of acetone, and green scouring pads to scrape and then clean off the adhesive. I finished the gunwale today and tomorrow I'll clean up the gelcoat where the "eyebrow" trim and deck fittings were.
I ordered the tiller head and rudder post extension coupling from Edson Marine today. After these parts arrive, I'll determine how much I can raise my cockpit floor. Then I can determine how long the rudder post extension needs to be. After I order the extension, I'll cut the current cockpit floor out and begin to construct the new cockpit floor along with glassing the hull/deck joint.
24 April 09
I spent the last two days working on what I thought would be an easy "to do" item--remove the key from the keyway on the rudder post. It turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated. But it is done and now I can drop the rudder when I am ready to repair the split that runs along the bottom from front to rear.
22 April 09
Successfully removed the bowsprit backing plate. I was prepared for a multi-day effort but it came out intact in less than two hours. See "deck restoration" for the pictures and the details.
21 April 09
I was able to accomplish a fair amount of work today. First I removed the bungs on the bowsprit. Then I finished cutting out the vertical anchor locker divider. Next I pulled the nuts off the eight bolts that secured the bowsprit to the infamous backing plate and was able to get the bolts out without destroying the bowsprit. It took about three hours of hammering hardwood wedges between the bowsprit and the deck in a leapfrog fashion but the bowsprit came off in one piece.
Tomorrow I will attempt to cut the steel backing plate out of its very tight and confined space under the foredeck. I have a plan . . . .
19 April 09
I removed the chain plates today and the bow pulpit. No major issues with them. However, when I pulled the aft deck dorade sleeves I learned that Cape Dory did not cut the balsa core back and fill the exposed inter skin area with thickened resin or epoxy. This a requirement from every book I have ever read on boat maintenance or boat building. Should not be to hard to repair depending on the degree of water intrusion.
18 April 09
I did not get to the chain plates today. My 9 year old son and I rode our bikes to the beach and played in the sand. By the time I made it out to the boat most of the day was gone. I did have time to remove the wood trim and rub rail that were on the stern. I also removed the two turning blocks, the lazerett hatch and the stern pulpit.
17 April 09
Today I removed the rest of the bungs and screws for the port side toe and rub rail. Then I removed both toe and rub rails. The rub rail came off easily. The toe rail required the use of the hardwood wedges and the mallet. Still, not too difficult. Tomorrow I'll remove the wood trim that runs across the stern, the chain plates, and begin the work to remove the bow sprit. Right now I have about eight nice long half-oval strips of bronze approximately 1" X 3/4." The longest are about 12-14 feet long The bronze strips were screwed into the wooden rub-rail which in turn was screwed into the hull. I do not intend, at this point, to reinstall the rub-rail. I don't think it really protects the topsides much (I could be wrong about that) and it puts about another 150 holes in the boat. On a good note, the screws that fasten the wood rub rail to the boat do not go "through" the hull. They screw into the edge of the inward turning flange.
14 April 09
Today I worked on the port side toe rail. I removed the bungs and pulled out some of the screws that hold the rail down. I spent the rest of the day working on the website.
A very grimey Lewmar 44
13 April 09
Today I finished removing the starboard side toe rail and rub rail, the port and starboard side stanchion bases, and both the primary winches. They are beautiful Lewmar 44 Self Tailing winches. When I lifted the cover to remove the bolts that secured them to the deck I was appalled at the grime and dirt in there. I suppose it should have been expected since they have not been used or cleaned in the last eight years. I bagged them and will completely rebuild them sometime in the future. I also removed the large teak mounting bases. I'd like to replace them with the bronze winch bases from Spartan Marine. I'll have to see if the budge will support it.