Note: I copy the daily log entries to their repective project pages almost daily. If you want to read all the entries for any project sequentially, go to the "Projects" tab and you will be able to navigate to the appropriate page. Most of the interior contruction projects will be found via links in the "Rebuilding the Interior" page. The rest of the projects have separate tabs on the "Projects" tab.
Note: I added another page under the "Projects" page that should allow smart phone and iPad users to access the separate projects via hyperlinks. I don't know why but it seems that smart phones can't access the drop down menus.
21 July 2014
The last four or five days have been focused on assemblying the mast.This is a multi-phase project and will require another week or so of work here plus some additional work after the Far Reach is transported to the boat yard. This face required us to assemble the spar and install the components. Some parts will be left on--spreader bars, exit box guards, trysail track, shroud support plates, etc. We will pull the splice apart as the mast will be transported to the boat yard in two parts and final assembly will be conducted there. I'll write more about it as we go. There is a photo gallery below with some additional info provided when you click on the pictures.
We decided to assembly the spar on the drive way since it is relatively flat. We knew it would be hot and that it would be a long project too so we decided to erect a portable canopy/shelter over the spar. We moved it around as necessary to provide as much shade as possible. It turned out to be a good move.
We padded the saw horses with 1/4" thick blue board. I also clamped in place some wood T blocks to keep the spar from rolling off the saw horses and to allow us to position the spar on any of the four sides necessary. Then we laid the spar section out end to end.
The mast is assmbled. It was great to see it put together even if we had to pull it apart again for transport to the boat yard.
Next, we installed the three part splicing sleeve in the lower half of the spar. We used 6mm x 16mm SS flat head screws (about 1/4" x 5/8") to fasten the splice. RQ, the spar builder, explained that he liked the 6mm for this application due to the slightly larger thread count and increased thread strength. After installing the three sleeves in the lower half we slide the upper section onto the side of the sleeves. It went on perfect. When we installed the other fasteners the spar was drawn up tight, flush, and straight. I was very impressed with the fit.
Spreaders. The next step was to install the spreader bars and spreaders and make sure they were aligned. We covered the aluminum support plates with UHMW tape from US Plastics. We riveted the support plates in place with 3/16" SS rivets coating each rivet with teff-gel to prevent galvanic corrosion.
Trysail Track. Next, we went to work installing the trysail track. RQ built a custom ramp from white UV resistant plastic so the SS 7/8" wide trysail track can ride over and span the goose neck assembly. This will allow the trysail to be installed on the dedicated trysail track and be stored in it's bag on the cabin top at the foot of the mast. All that will be required to raise the trysail is to drop and secure the main, move the halyard to the trysail and hoist. The track required only the most minor directional change to remain in line with the luff grove to it's full height about 25' 10" above the cabin top. We installed the lower half of the trysail track with #10-24 SS pan head machine screws. This would allow us to remove goose neck bracket if ever required without drilling out rivets. About 18" above the goose next bracket we switched to using 3/16" SS rivets. RQ had us alternate rivet lengths, two short rivets then a longer rivet, explaining that it mitigates a "tear along the dotted line" effect that has been known to happen if rivets are improperly installed or there is a bad lot or for any other reason. Bottom line, he felt it is a smart engineering step to take. So that is what we did. We coated each rivet with teff-gel to prevent galvanic corrosion over the long term between the aluminum mast and SS rivets. We switched back to #10-24 pan head machine screws when the trysail track crossed over the splice area then back to rivets for the final couple of feet. Using machine screws required that we tap the mast but it was not difficult though it did take awhile.
Shroud Tangs. In between working on the trysail track we also installed the SS shroud tangs, bolts, and their associated SS support plates. We covered the back side of all the SS parts with UHMW tape from US Plastics and riveted the plates into place. This is very nice tape and is an important step to keep the SS separated from the aluminum.
Mast Dam. Next, we installed the mast dam or plug, which I am chagrined to say we did not get a photo of as I was too busy working and forgot to take pictures. At some point, I will sketch the mast dam/plug and post it under the rigging section. Basically, it is structural foam about 1" thick. It is cut to perfectly fit the inside profile of the mast. There are two identical plugs separated by about 1 1/2". Through the middle of these two section, separated by about 1 1/2" is a piece of 1 1/2" ID PVC pipe, about 6" long. The PVC pipe is epoxied into the center of the plugs. I coated the top section of the foam plug, the part that will face up, with epoxy so it is completely waterproof. Next, we inserted the two layer foam plug into the bottom of the mast and pushed it up to the lower mast sheave exit box, which is positioned about three inches above the cabin top or about 85" above the bottom of the mast. Next, we drilled a 1/4" hole in the forward face of the mast so that the hole was between the two layers of the plug. We then inserted the tube from a can of water proof quick foam. We squirted the expanding foam into the hole so that it filled the 1 1/2" cavity between the two section of structural foam and left it to cure overnight. Here is how it works: Any wires (coax, running lights, etc) run down the mast through PVC conduit installed on an interior lip cast into the extruded spar--I'll also take pictures of the conduit later as well. The wires exit the internal PVC conduit about a foot above the cabin top. Via an access port on the mast side wall just above the deck, you can then route the wires into the separate PVC pipe epoxied into the two layer structural foam, forming a drip loop in the process, and drop down through the plug and in the lower section of the mast were they exit and are routed to the boat's electrical components as required. The PVC pipe in the structural foam rises about three inches above the foam plug and several inches below the bottom of the foam plug. Thus, any water that enters the mast finds its way down to the horizontal surface of the foam plug, then flows out the bottom of sheave box for the staysail halyard which is level with the top of the internal foam plug. Water can't enter into the mast below the cabin top as the PVC pipe in the foam plug rises above the horizontal level of the plug. A drip loop on the wire prevents water from flowing down the wires and passing through the plug. My original mast did not have a mast plug (AKA mast dam) and suffered significant corrosion on the bottom 6" of the mast. I have never had a mast plug/dam on one of my boats. I am interested to see how well it works, though RQ explained it is the "cat's meow."
Other Items. We installed the exit box guards on the mast for the where all the halyards exit. We finished off test fitting the winch pads, aluminum belaying pin rack, mast head fitting, and the forestay halyard exit box.
We wrapped up by pulling the splice apart and stowing the mast in two parts back in the boat shed. I spent about an hour removing a tap that broke off in the splice sleeve while tapping for the trysail track. Not a big deal but time consuming none the less.
Rudder Stop. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to prevent the rudder from swinging more than about 35 degrees port or starboard. This is not an issue when moving forward but if the boat were to be pushed back, for any reason, that big foil could be pushed over with enough force to damage to the steering system. The original rudder stop was made of steel and was part of the under carriage for the wheel steering system. Since I converted to a tiller all those components were removed. After much thinking, the best option I could come up with was to install a strong eye pad to the under side of the cockpit floor that would use a high strength line (dyneema, spectra, or even chain) connect to an eyebolt in the center of the rudder quadrant to limit the movement of the rudder side to side. The rudder quadrant serves no purpose except to connect the control lines of the Cape Horn windvane to the rudder post. I decided to use a hefty SS pad eye secured to a piece of 1/2" G10 with four 1/4"-20 SS machine screws tapped into the G10. I then secured the G-10 to the underside of the deck with two 3/8" bronze carriage bolts with the heads passing down through the cockpit floor, through the G10, and finished off with 316 SS lock nuts. I previously bored two one inch diameter holes into the cockpit sole, for the carriage bolts, and removed the balsa core a further 1/2" back from the edge from around the opening, to equal about a two inch diameter plug, and filled it with epoxy. I then drilled, chamfered, and molded the hole to accommodate the square corners of the carriage bolt. I decided to go this route as I did not want to have a backing plate on the outside of the cockpit floor.
The rudder stop pad eye will connect to the eyebolt in the center of the steering quadrant. Since the boat now has a tiller the only purpose of the steering quadrant is to connect the Cape Horn windvane to the rudder post.
14 July 14
Gary Gargone (GWG Boat Works) with his assistant Rick did a first class job of spraying three coats of Awlgrip on the spar. They were professional, thorough, and conscientious. We again dodged some thunderstorms but it all worked out. We let the spars bake for a few hours in the sun then hauled them into the garage and left them suspended overnight. Next day, we moved them into the boat shed where they will remain till at least a few more day. Then, we will start bolting on some of the hardware. The mast build may well get a bit delayed as we waiting to have some of the parts and the boom powder coated. Check another item off the list.
Top section. No drips, no runs, no errors.
Lower section. Looking down the luff groove.
This past week I worked on deck cleats and the rope chain pipe. I also mounted the windlass on a two inch thick teak block. Raising the windlass will help keep the chain off the deck and improve the ergonomics of cranking on the windlass. I also installed a teak riser block under the rope chain pipe. I think raising it a bit will help keep water out of the pipe. Instead of through bolting the chain-pipe, I drilled and tapped threaded holes for the #10 bronze, oval head, machine screws. Regarding the windlass riser block, I decided not to use the portside chain pipe ring opting instead for a separate chain pipe mounted foward of the windlass. The reason for this is that the rope locker is forward of the chain locker and allows the second bower to run through the rope/chain pipe more cleanly.
It was time to mount the compass (see photo gallery below). It was not a particularly difficult project but there were important steps. We did not spend a lot of time thinking about where to install it as it seemed pretty obvious where it needed to go. The companionway is offset to starboard so installing it to port seemed the best place as it put the compass closer to the centerline. It also meant that the back of the cabin top, on port and starboard sides, would be more comfortable for lounging against if the compass were out of the way. The only question was how high or low to place it and we spent a minute or two discussing it making sure we had good vision of the lubber lines from a seated and standing position then moved forward to the next step.
I taped the back of the cabin side in the area to be cut with 3M 233 tape to help protect the paint when the teeth of the saw would start cutting in to the fiberglass. I installed a 10" long 1/4" drill bit in lieu of the shorter stock pilot bit. This was necessary as the compass behind the mounting ring is angle down 20 degrees (in other words what is behind the globe and mounting ring is not perpendicular to the mounting ring itself). Richie, the manufacturer of the compass, instructed that the mounting ring needs to be vertical/perpendicular to the water line. Since the back of the cabin top is angled forward that meant I need to have a beveled fairing block between the compass mounting ring and the cabin top to ensure the correct angle.
A few days earlier, I glued two short pieces of Burmese Teak together with resorcinol adhesive for the purpose of making the fairing block. Now, I took the finished plank and ran it through the planer to ensure it was flat. Then I determined the bevel to cut by taking the plank to the boat and scribing a line on the sides of the plank corresponding to the required bevel. Next, I clamped the inverted plank on my work table and began removing wood with a power planer. Once I was close to the scribe line I transitioned to a block plane. I check for flatness with a straight edge then, when satisfied, I cleaned it up with a belt sander. Next, I used a compass to draw the inside and outside circles and cut just wide of the lines with my Bosch jig saw. I cleaned up the edges on the bench top sander. I routered the outside edges with a 1/4" round over bit. I cut small indentation on the inside of the faring ring for the lighting wires (though I currently have no 12 volt system). In the middle of all this I made a few trips up and down the ladder to check the fit of the block. I finished up the block by cutting a "caulking groove" in the back side of the ring with a small cove bit installed in my trim router. With the block cut, I took it to the boat and positioned it with double sided tape. Satisfied with the location I marked the center of the hole. I removed the trim ring, then drilled a starter hole. I cut a 20 degree angle on a 5" long piece of 1/4" ply to serve as a guide for the downward cut I would need to make with the hole saw so the bevel of the hole would match the angle of the guts of the backside of the compass. I cut the hole, first from the cockpit side, then back through from the inside out relying on the pilot hole to make sure the holes were matched from both sides. It came out perfect. Next, I drilled holes in the trim ring for four fasteners and counter sunk them for 1 1/2" and 1 1/4" flat head, self tapping, SS screws. I previously tested the screws with a magnet and against the compass itself to make sure it would not cause any deviation. Once I installed the fairing block it was a simple matter to install the compass. I will wait a few days before I bed the compass and fairing block to allow the teak to adjust to the increased outside humidity (the teak had been stored in my air conditioned shop). Having the compass in the boat helps the cockpit to look more finished.
10 July 14
Hurricane Arthur turned out to be a non event here with the eye passing 30 to 40 miles to the east. There was, however, significant flooding up in the Core Sound and along parts of the Outer Banks. I am quite relieved that were spared what could have easily been a very destructive early summer hurricane. Peak winds only reached about 50 mph in our coastal community. Once again, the bow roof shed performed magnificently, though the covering is showing signs of wear at five years.
We needed to get on with the painting of the mast. So, all our efforts since picking it up have been aimed towards that end. The mast has a number of small pieces--spreader tips, winch bases, access and reinforcing plates, doublers, etc. Though anodized, all or some of these parts need to be painted to match the spars. We started off building a rack from PVC pipe to hang the parts for painting. But, it occurred to me that we could make this a lot simpler if we could powder coat some of the small parts. With a little research, we located a local powder coating business with an impressive facility. It is owned and operated by a retired Marine. I dropped off a 10" cut off section of an anodized mast and asked them to powder coat it. When I get it back I'll test the bond. If it is a tough bond then we will powder coat the small parts to match the color of the mast.
The mast sections are fully primed--one coat of Awlgrip Wash Primer CF and two coats of Awlgrip 545 Epoxy Primer.
The next step was to thoroughly wash the mast section and the two part whisker pole. We used hot soapy water and a power washer. We left it to dry in the sun. The painters were scheduled to arrive the next morning to paint. In the morning, we wiped the spar sections down with Interlux 202 dewaxer using the two rag method. I then sanded the mast sections with 120 grit on my random orbital sander. We sanded the two part whisker pole by hand. We were careful not to touch the mast keeping our nitrile gloves on during the sanding. As previously arranged, Gary, the owner and operator of G&G Marine Services, showed up at the house with his trailer and an assistant. We were concerned about rain which, depending on the forecaster, might start early or later in the day. As it turned out, we received only a brief sprinkle (we hauled the spars into the garage and set them on racks we positioned for just such an event).
We used the compressor to blow the sanding residue off the spars. We did not perform a final solvent wipe down as both the Awlgrip instructions and the tech rep were adamant that we not wipe the spars after sanding due to concerns about small cloth fibers getting caught on the microscopic edges of the freshly sanded aluminum and serve to wick moisture into/under the paint surface.
Though I remain somewhat skeptical, there are new products replacing the previous method of acid etching with "alumiprep and alodine" followed by applying zinc chromate. All of those products are very dangerous for humans and for the environment as well so they are being replaced by less dangerous coatings. OK. But will the new products work? Awlgrip advertises the new stuff, Wash Primer CF, as chromate free and which uses a cross link chemical fusion process to bond the aluminum surface to the primer which the top coat paint will be applied over. Somehow, it also etches the surface of the metal. Anyway, the painters applied a single coat with two passes, the first one light and the second one heavier, in accordance with the instructions. The Wash Primer was left to cure for a little over an hour. Next, the painters mixed and sprayed two coats of grey Awlgrip 545 Epoxy Primer. The task was completed. G&G appear to have done a nice job. The surface looks perfect. Not a single drip or run and no gaps in coverage. With the painting completed, they packed up and departed and we left the spars on the racks for the remainder of the day to cure. Later in the afternoon, we moved the spars to racks in the garage. I am pleased to have this phase of the painting completed. The next phase is to lightly scuff sand the spar surfaces. G&G will then return in a few days (the next two days are forecasted for rain) and apply three to four coats of snow white Awlgrip top coat and we will declare victory and move on to the next task.
3 July 14 -- Hurricane Arthur
We spent the morning and early afternoon preparing for Hurricane Arthur. The eye is presently SSE of us about 40-45 miles offshore. Currently Cat 1 it is expected to transition to a Cat 2 tonight. We expect max winds around midnight though at 2100 it is starting to howl a bit outside. Today, I added some reinforcing screws to the shed, screwed the doors shut, rigged the guy lines from the cornice on each end of the shed with 5/8" line secured to engineer stakes. We patched some small holes in the plastic covering and covered the vents in the gables to help keep the shed from huffing. After putting away outside planters and chairs there was not much left to do. I am hopeful the shed covering can last another month as the frame of the bow-roof shed appears to be in good condition. More to follow.
We rigged the guy lines same way as we did for Hurricane Irene.
We secured the guy lines to engineer stakes.
2 July 14
We spent part of last week working on the interior--installed the back rolls for the settees and we now have the pilot berth and quarterberth cushions. They look great. Still some more work being done on the settee cushions and we will have them soon. Will post some pictures when it's completed.
But, the big news is we have the new mast and . . . we also have a date for moving the boat to the boat yard to rig the mast, splice the standing rigging, make final preps and yes . . . launch the Far Reach. Baring something unforeseen, we have tentatively arranged with Town Creek Marine to transport the Far Reach towards the end of the first week of Aug. Then, a couple weeks on the hard at the Beaufort Marine Center and then launch. That's the plan.
The mast. My good friend RQ built our mast over the last six months. We spent the last eight or nine months exchanging drawings, sketches, numerical calculations, etc. I hired Brion Toss to check my layout and he gave it the thumbs up. RQ and I talked several times a week for months. He had lots of great ideas and worked hard to build us a strong mast that would still be light enough to provide a good range of performance. I'll write more about the design and construction separately. But, the first challenge was to get the mast 300 miles from his home to our home. We did that with the support of another friend that loaned us his boat trailer for his 24' Carolina Skiff. A long trailer was important as the mast is in two sections 27' and 25'. We also needed to transport the boom. We built a cradle from scrap 2x4's from the shed and then cut yokes to fit the mast profile, which we had on hand. We used rope to secure the cradles to the boat trailer. Then, we drove 5 1/2 hours to RQ's house. We wrapped the mast in plastic and lots of padding then loaded the spar sections onto the cradle. We then installed the yokes to the cradle on site using deck screws. We strapped everything down with more rope and ratchet straps. RQ explained all the parts, screws, attachments, etc. Then, we made the long drive home. Total time on the road was about 11 1/2 hours plus about four hours at RQ's loading the spar. It was a long day but the event was completed without drama.
We left the mast on the trailer for a couple of days. We scouted the boat yards and met with a boat transport company that conducted a site reconnaissance of our boat shed and yard and determined they could transport the boat without a crane . . . just using their hydraulic trailer. But, we need to take the shed down first so they will have all the room possible to maneuver the trailer under the boat and then make the turn around the side of the house. This will be so much better than what we went through to get the boat into the yard five years ago. We met with the painter that will paint the mast and went over the protocol for the painting as well as the materials we will need. We got a bunch of supplies ordered.
Today, we unloaded the trailer and placed the mast in the boat shed as we make a few minor preparations for the arrival of what is expected to be Hurricane Arthur. Hopefully, this unwanted storm will not cause us any problems. Then, we spent the rest of the day drilling holes in the deck of the Far Reach to install the windlass, forward rope chain pipe, and bow and stern cleats. We drilled oversize holes and filled with epoxy. Tomorrow we will drill for the fasteners. I'll post pictures when it's complete. With luck, we hope to knock out the mast painting next week. More to follow.
We built the mast cradle in three sections and strapped it down to the boat trailer.
We transported the spar sections without fanfare. The long trailer was key. Fate smiled on us. No flats and no tickets.
We placed the mast cradle and spar sections in the boat shed and waited for Hurricane Arthur.
18 June 2014
Plenty of work but not a lot to show for it. The priority has been to complete the painting and varnishing of the bowsprit and and to bed the bowroller assembly. I test fit the roller assembly and simply had to mount the bowsprit on the Far Reach to see what it looked like. Next, I removed it, uninstalled the hardware, added a final coat of paint, and then bedded the bow roller assembly. I used dophinite so that the roller assembly could be removed with minamal fuss. I was going to use some 3M 4000 around the bolt holes but became concerned that they might be hard to remove since there is not much to grab to pull the bolts. And, because the two parts of the assembly are "spun-on" to the double ended threaded foward bolt you can't pull the castings off with out first removing the aft two bolts. Anyway, it should be farily simply to remove the roller assembly when necessary and that ended up being the higher priority. There are more pictures in the gallery below.
The final test fit of the bowsprit and rollers before I bed the rollers and cut off the end of the bolts.
The rest of the time has been spent installing some small pieces of trim and the final shelving in the port locker. I have been working through a short check list of items to accomplished. I ordered bulkhead mounted compass for zone one-- A Richie BN 202 Navigator. I learned that you can by a separate globe for different world zones for about 2/3s the cost of a new compass. Then, you just swap out the globes.
The new mast will be ready for pick up next week. I'll have to pick it up (an interesting adventure in and of itself I suspect) then prep it for painting. As soon as we have the mast painted and assembled with the trysail track, whisker pole track, and all the fittings we will start taking down the boat shed. While we are working on the mast I will start splicing one end of the standing rigging. We plan to splice the other end on the boat after the mast is installed and lined up with the halyards. There is a lot to be done for certain but with the exception of the sails the Far Reach could be ready for the water in about a month. I think we will wait for final deck fitting installation after the rig is in the boat so we can see where best to locate some of the fittings. The final list of things is not too bad . . . I continue to add a few here and there but I already plan to cut the list off as soon as the boat is ready for launch. We will finish some things later. I need to go sailing . . . and soon.
6 June 2014
I added the forth and final coat of paint to the bowsprit. I am pleased though there are a few dings here and there. I chose not to fill them in and spend days getting it just right. There will be time later . . . when it gets another coat of paint . . . to fill in those small imperfections. I am just happy to have it completed. It looks uneven on the side where the holes are but that's just the molded epoxy that fits under the bronze bow roller assembly. That actually will ensure a tight and proper fit between the assembly and the sprit . . . and you won't be able to see it anyway. I'll let the paint cure for a couple of days before I install the bow roller assembly and mount the sprit on he boat. I wonder what the boat will look like with the addition of the bulwarks and the traditional bowsprit. It's certainly a lot more functional . . . but hopefully it will look good to my eye.
The edge grain is up as it holds varnish better and is less suseptible to checking.
Along the side with the holes you can just see the uneveness due to the thickend epoxy base I made to conform to the uneveness in the bronze base of the anchor roller assembly.
I made another splice today. I took my time working to avoid mangling the wire . . . using a little more finesse, I did not open the lay as much. The tapering process seemed more straight forward which, along with some finesse, produced what I think is a cleaner smoother splice. It is the best I have done so far. I also got a little more comfortable with the vertical mounted splice. I think, for me, it is better than having the vise horizontal. I can see all the wire bundles and tucks more clearly. Dux or wire . . . I need to decide. I am thinking spliced wire. What do you think?
Front side of splice. Mo better.
The back side of the splice.
5 Jun 14
I have been practicing my splicing skills. I decided to try splicing vertically vice horizontally. I think it is easier and it leaves more room in the shop. I also think I could splice right on the boat when we install the new mast. The splices are better, though they still need to be smoother . . . and faster. I think I could do one in 45 minutes though I am in no way ready to push the time. I still am working on the basics. I am still waffling between the dynex dux and spliced wire. Dux is better for weight, breaking strength, and simplicity. The wire is better for durability, longevity, and expense. SS 316 5/16" 7x7 is nearly three times less expensive than 9mm dux. Plus, even if I went with dux I'd still need wire for the bob stay, sprit-shroud stays, and head stay. Hmmmm . . . .
I decided to try splicing vertically. I think I like it better than horizontal, which was the way I learned.
This is a better splice but there are problem areas. I am still learing how to unlay the wire for the tucks. I am still mangling the wire in a few spots. Better but not there yet.
3 Jun 14
It's crazy here right now. Too many balls in the air to keep count. But, I keep hammering away on the Far Reach everyday. I have six coats of varnish on the bow sprit and two coats of white paint. Pictures in the next few days. I spent some time trying to sort out the deck layout for turning blocks but no decisions yet. I have a list of projects to do that now only comprise one page and I knocked three off the other day--screwing down the watch seat, forward cabin seat, and installing some minor trim. I temporarily installed teak cap rails on the top edge of the cockpit coaming--more on that below. Tonight I worked on my wire splicing. We have some of the interior cushions back from the Upholsterer. So far, he is doing a wonderful job. We were a little hesitant on the color but it has really grown on us. It's sage green 100 percent acrylic velvet by Sunbrella It was not very expensive. I think we paid about $17 per yard. We should have the settees and berths back soon. We will also have some bolsters for the front and forward sides of the double berth. The forward double berth is 5" thick. All the other berths are four inches. The cushions are two inches of firm with 2" of soft on top. Very comfy.
The foward berth cushions are installed. They are sage green. The photo does not really show the color very well.
Installing the bare teak cap rail on top of the varnished mahogany cockpit coaming turned out to be a simple job. The teak is repurposed from the original 30 year old coaming. There was a split in one and they were just banged up and had too many holes to reuse. So, I ripped them on the table saw and then scarffed the strips together with resorcinol to get the length I wanted. I also used resorcinol to glue on the end blocks. The pictures below reflect the installation procedure. What amazed me is how good a shape the teak was really in once they were remilled. The color is gorgeous and they are as oily as new teak. They should last a good long while. The idea behind the bare teak cap rail is the teak will take the abuse of being stepped on, lines running across them, stuff getting dragged over them . . . all the while protecting the less robust varnished mahogany. In time, the teak will gray but will contrast nicely with the varnished mahogany. I did not have any teak colored polysulfide and its now on back order. So, I'll just let the rails sit in place and remove and bed them once the polysulfide arrives.
How to marry the bow sprit heel the bronze heel socket has really challenged me. I don't have any experience with this kind of thing so I have researched and read and talked to my mentors about it ad naseum. The initial plan was to go completely traditional . . . red lead paint, dolphinite, drill drain holes, and install. But, as I worked on trying to get the final fit beteen the curved part of the heel and the socket I began to have concerns. I was disatisfied with the fit. I was close but I thought that if I did not have it right when I install it--and the head stay, bob stay, and sprit shroud stays begin to compress back on the heel the wood my splinter and water would penetrate the endgrain. One suggestion was a complete molded epoxy fit . . . but I am not a big believer in coating wood in epoxy. Water will invariably get into the wood and the epoxy will trap it there. The heel will swell and there will be the devil to pay to remove it. I felt like I need to leave some room for swelling. I talked to a respected spar maker who told me about having to saws-all off swollen rotted sprits. But, If I left wiggle room on the sides to allow for swelling the sprit might move around and cause problems in the heel. So, after lots of thinking about it I decided to use a little of all the ideas. Some epoxy to ensure a proper fit, a gap on the sides to allow for expansion, red lead paint to protect the wood not covered in epoxy, some modern caulking to reduce the change of water getting in, and a drain hole to let water out.
I used thickened epoxy to ensure a snug fit at the back of the heel. I left the sides bare and painted them with red lead paint. I left about 1/8" of gap on the sides to allow for swelling. I previously installed a 1/4" thick G10 plate on the bottom of the bowsprit heel.
I drilled the nine 5/16" holes in the deck and temporarily installed the heel fitting and 1/2" G 10 backing plate. I taped off the bowsprit heel sides and brushed epoxy on the aft end and top of the heel leaving the sides of the heel bare wood. I waxed up the bronze socket and coated the end of the heel in epoxy thickened with 404 high density filler. I mounted the whole thing in place and pressed bow sprit into the socket and let it sit for two hours. Then, I removed the sprit while the epoxy was rubbery. I peeled of the tape protecting the sides and trimmed around the edges. I had a perfect fit and by allowing the epoxy to roll around the curved portion of the heel it locked the heel into the socket so it can't wiggle side to side . . . but there is still about 1/8" gap on the sides to allow for air and swelling. With that completed, I cut a shallow caulking groove where the forward edge of the heel fitting sits.
It's a compromise solution but it is the one that left me the least uncomfortable. The bottom lines is, I'll remove the sprit after a year and see how it looks. I'll adapt from there. And, in the end, I'll have a more experienced opinion about what works best for a fitting like this.
21 May 14:"A Man Has Got to Know His Limitations." -- Inspector Harry Callahan AKA Dirty Harry
The short version--The bow roller assembly is complete and installed . . . temporarily and I am pleased.
The longer version: I spent the last couple of days working on this project, which turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would. There were some nuances to the drilling and thread tapping that proved challenging to me. I have drilled a lot of holes and tapped many threads in bronze. But this project required the two flanges to be tapped and threaded for the forward holes and then for the two parts to line up perfectly on the sides of the bow sprit. Drilling the aft two holes was tricky and required patience. These two sets of holes tested my capabilities and that of my small bench top drill press and machine vise but I pulled it off and was satisfied with the results. However, I was unable to successfully tap the threads on the 1/2" silicon bronze rod. I was able, with difficulty, to cut the threads but I cold not get the threads aligned straight on the rod . . . and it was a lot of physical work. I stopped after cutting about 3/4" of thread. My hardware store dies were just too limited. I had to take the rod to Bircher Machine Shop. Jim Bircher is a great guy and extremely talented. It is a very high tech shop with multiple employees. Jim is a sailor and also builds cannons. Anyway, they cut the threads perfectly and exactly the way I wanted. It wasn't cheap, and I hated to not do it myself, but there was no other option.
The drilling of the forward holes were a different matter. The alignment of the holes and the tapping was very difficult. I did not appreciate, at the time, the kind of precision required for this kind of hardware design. I worked hard to make sure they were straight and the threads tapped properly. I was off, only a small amount to be sure, but I was initially frustrated with the result. I did not know I was off until I inserted the forward bolt. Because this cross bolt is threaded into the two opposing brackets the slightest misalignment is telegraphed. If the assembly used nuts for all three bolts it would be no problem as there would be some slop and everything would tighten down perfectly flat. I talked to Jim about it but he thought it was a non-issue. He loaned me a big clamp to pull the wayward aft ends in (about 3/16" on each side) flat and snug. Then, I drilled the holes through the bowsprit with my guide block and the bolts all slid right into place. I was pretty happy about it. But, I was once again reminded that a new skill, and the knowledge that comes with it, always has a price. I think, based on my limited skill for metal work, I would have been smart to have had those forward holes drilled and tapped at the machine shop. I could have drilled the others, but that forward hole was key, and I could have saved myself some serious aggravation and worry had I recognized Harry Callahan's sage advice. Nonetheless, I am declaring victory.
After clamping the bow roller assembly together I removed it and taped off the back of the hardware with clear packing tape. I applied some neat epoxy to selected spots that had some voids under the hardware since the part that lays against the bowsprit is not perfectly flat. I also applied some neat epoxy to the tip of the bowsprit where the cranze iron is positioned. Then, I mixed up some West Systems epoxy and thickened it with 404 High Density filler and a bit of colloidal silica. I applied it to the side of the bowsprit and reinstalled the bow roller assembly tightening it down squeezing out the epoxy. I cleaned up the squeeze out, put it back in the cup, and mixed in some douglas fir sawdust I collected from by belt sander dust bag to tint the color. I applied it to the front of the bowsprit and pushed the cranze iron into position. I cleaned up the squeeze out. I let the whole thing sit and cure for about two hours. While it was still rubbery, I tapped off the cranze iron with a dead blow hammer and removed the bow roller assembly. By doing this, I was able to fill any voids under the hardware which will still require bedding compound applied before the final install but now eliminates any unwanted gaps. Having smooth surfaces and a tight fit also reduces stress to the sprit when it is under load by ensureing a better fit.
I finished off the day by installing a 1/4" thick G10 plate to the bottom of the bowsprit that I recessed with my router a few days ago. I undercut the G10 plate making it slightly smaller around the edges to create channels for any water that gets into the heel to drain out a hole I have yet to drill in the back of the bronze heel cup. Also the bottom of the bowsprit will be elevated in the socket and only the G10 will make contact with the bottom of the heel cup. In other words, the G10 plate will sit on any dampness on the bottom of the heel cup vice the bottom of the wood bowsprit and there are channels for water to flow around it. I used 3M 5200 to glue the G10 to the Doug Fir because I wanted there to be some flexibility in the adhesive should the doug fir expand and contract. The next step will be to conduct final fit of the sprit to the heel cup, conduct final sanding, and then paint and varnish the sprit.
18 May 14
To the right and below are some photos of the latest round of varnish work. I used the same protocol as before: 1st coat cut 50-50 with mineral spirits, 2nd coat cut 25 percent with mineral spirits, 3rd coat cut 1- percent. After that the coats are laid on unthinned. Some trim needed to be taped. We apply a maximum of three coats then we pull the tape and apply new tape and apply another three coats. I usually, retape before the final coat. We applied between six and seven coats. To have a completly glass like surface will take about about nine coats which is more time than I am willing to invest. To my eye, six to seven coats looks great.
The ladder had a lot of inside edges and somewhat complicated taping but I think it turned out well. I am pleased. We only varnished one side of the shelving opting to leave the underside bare to keep the aroma of the bare juniper. It's not as pungent as western red cedar but it is nice nonetheless.
13 May 14
Not much writing but still working on the Far Reach every day. Gayle is away visiting with family so I am Mr. Mom this week. Home school, laundry, yard work, taking the kids to the beach, movie night, cooking, and yes . . . boat work too. Mostly varnishing this past week. My sister Tricia has been a big help with the sanding and some varnishing which really speeds the process along. I took about 10 pieces out of the boat to apply 6-7 coats of varnish (sanding required between every coat). We had five coats on as of today. I also applied three additional coats to the cockpit coaming for a total of six. I wanted to get a few more coats on before I applied the teak cap-rail (it will be left bare) to the top edge of the coaming. I also had two pieces of trim in the boat that I could not remove that also needed a few additional coats. Good progress.
Updated 18 May 14:Gallery below: I started the installation of the bronze bow rollers for the bowsprit. I had these cast two years ago from a pattern made by Larry Pardey for Taleisin. It is an interesting design. They are bolted horizontally to each other through the bowsprit just forward of the gammon iron. I had to find the right size rollers before I could proceed--I was just about to mill my own from a blank of delrin when I found these on line. But, I still had to enlarge the center hole. I spent part of today carefully drawing out drill marks on the bronze brackets and performing some initial drilling. I need to be very careful on these and drill as precise as possible. With luck, I will finish them up in the next couple of days. I'll add photos to the gallery as I make progress. Photos added 18 May 14--see photos for more detail narrative.
I have also done a lot of thinking about how to mount and bed the heel of the sprit in the heel fitting. I am thinking about fastening a piece of 1/4" G10 to the bottom side of the bowsprit where it fits into the bronze fitting. One line of thought is to use epoxy and modern bedding compound and try to keep water out. The other is that water will get into the fittings so drain holes should be added, channels cut to allow water to escape the fitting, and minimal bedding compound. Though unsure which is the best solution, my primary concern is water will get in the fitting and the douglas fir will always be wet, especially on the bottom of the sprit, and rot will occur. This approach will require that a corresponding amount of wood be removed from the bottom of the sprit in order for the sprit heel to fit into the bronze socket. This is something I am considering. Over the next few days I will decide and I'll post more pictures and provide more detail . . . if I go that route.
4 May 14
While working with the upholsterer it became apparent when incorporating a half back roll with our separate settee seat bottoms that the seat would have to be longer, i.e. deeper. So, over the last few days I rebuilt the seat bottoms, this time in ply vice juniper, and just finished applying the fourth coat of varnish today. I'll drop them by the upholstery shop tomorrow. In between working on the settees, I decided to clean up the portside end table ash top and add a 2" tall ash fiddle. I also planed down the top with a smoothing plane. I attached the fiddle with three 1 1/4" long SS screws. I'll get seven coats of varnish on the top in the near future.
The forward endtable in the saloon is ready for varnish.
I spent some time this past week researching the standing rigging--still working on the merits and costs differences of incorporating 9mm dynex dux synthetic rigging vice 7x7 hand spliced wire. The cost difference is significant. When everything is included, the dux will cost about three times what the wire costs. More on that later. I also continued to work on the fit of the heel cup for the bowsprit and today I scarfed some teak scraps together to make a teak cap rail for the mahogany cockpit coaming. The teak will be left bare and serve as a buffer and protector for the coaming. I cut a 10:1 scarf and used resorcinol as the adhesive.
Clamping up the cockpit cap rails with resorcinol.