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.
1 Jan 2015
Last week I made the templates for the lee cloths. Because of the foot well for the pilot berths they don't have to be very long. Due to the individual bunk boards under the cushions, vice a long sheet of plywood secured to the framing, the lee cloths have to be secured to the back of the settee below the bunkboards. It's makes the pattern a little more complicated. To keep them thin, but strong I am considering having them made from 8oz sail cloth vice sunbrella. I dropped them off with a sail maker to get an estimate. They said they would let me know in a couple of days. If it's too expensive, I'll make them myself from the cadet grey sunbrella I have on hand.
One of the three templates for the lee cloths.
I'm still fussing around with the hooks for the lee cloths. I think the wood ones I made from ipe are plenty strong. But, I am not confident that two #10 wood screws are strong enough to do the job if an adult is sleeping in the berth and the boat where to take a sudden knock down. I was unable to find any on-line that meet the requirement. So, I decided to make a pattern for hooks that would be cast in bronze and secured by four fasteners. I used the experience I gained making the pattern for the gammon iron. I had to design in "draft" so the foundryman and pull them from the casting sand more easily. After filleting the inside corners and sanding them, I coated them in orange glazing compound and sanded them smooth to remove minor flaws and pin holes. Then, I painted them with grey primer and sanded them again. This is how they will be shipped to the foundry. The design is ok. Simple and strong. I would have liked something a little more elegant, but my artistic side seemed to be on vacation.
After making the pattern I coated them with glazing compound then sanded them to remove pin holes and minor flaws.
Next, sprayed grey primer on the patterns. This is how I will ship them to the foundry.
26 Dec 14
I spent the better part of the past week working on only a couple of projects. The material arrived for the lee cloths so I have been planning for that project though to be truthful I am considering having them made since my sewing skills are pretty limited. I spent a little time sewing tonight to see if I can sew the curtain for the wardrobe closet and the area under the head sink. I wasn't impressed . . . but there is still hope. The rest of my efforts have been spent on the heater. I visited various metal fabricators looking in to SS sheet metal. I called the tech lines for Force 10 and Dickinson Stoves. I made some mock ups. The tech rep at Force 10 told me I would not need spacers. The SS directly on the mahogany would be fine. He informed me that the SS is really relying on its reflective capabilities and if polished will be more than up to the task. That was news to me. The both though polished aluminum would work as well though it might be susceptible to warping at the thinner gauges. The general consensus seems to be that polished 20-22 gauge SS would be about right. Anyway, no decision yet.
I also spent a lot of time trying to eliminate an air block between the kerosene tank and the ball valve tap under the companionway ladder . . . the fuel flowed fine to the heater (down stream from the ball valve) but only trickled out the ball valve tap itself. After a lot of fussing, draining, etc, I decided that there simply was not enough head pressure to drive the air out of the line between the "T" off the main line up- hill to the ball valve, though it was below the bottom level of the tank. So, I spent a few hour reconfiguring it slightly by eliminating the "T" and uphill climb to the ball valve. The line now runs from the tank to a "T" directly on the back side of the ball valve then straight to the heater that is low enough in the boat there is plenty of head pressure for the rest of the line. Works great.
The EcoFan model 810 arrived and I tested it a couple times on the top of the Refleks heater. Though the tests were limited, I am impressed. It moves a fair amount of air and it is whisper quiet. A very neat device that I think enhances capability of the heater. Below, there is a movie clip of it in action.
The fan seems to be pretty secure on the stove top, though I will need to come up with a handsome way to secure it in place yet be easy and quick to move. I like the fact that the fan can be easily reoriented in just about any direction desired. While using the sitz tub the fan can be turned to blow warm air towards the tub . . . or across the cabin to the opposite settee . . . or back towards the aft end of the boat. For more on the refleks heater installation, click here.
16 Dec 14
I did not have a lot of time for working on the boat today. I have been tackling small projects on the list as I have time since we have slowed down a bit lately. Today, I installed a heavy duty 3/4" galvanized thimble to the 8' military surplus Bureau of Ordanance parachute sea anchor we purchased a few months ago from Fioeintino Para-Anchors. I used #42 tarred nylon twine to "serve" the apex of the suspension lines. After bending the served portion around the thimble, used clamps to hold it in place. The thing was too big for my splicing vise. Then, I used the same nylon twine as whipping to secure the suspension lines together and secure the thimble in place. Later this winter we will make a canvas bag for the parachute and supporting swivel and shackles.
The sea-anchor, US made HD thimble, and 5/8" US made forged swivel cost less than $200 complete.
I "served" the suspension lines with #42 tarred nylon twine and then lashed it with the same line to secure to a HD 3/4" thimble.
13 Dec 2014
For the last few days I have been working fire up the refleks heater. I installed a model M-66MK a while back--click here for more info on the installation. I had to fuss with the fuel line for a few hours as the fuel did not want to run through the fuel line, fuel filter, past the diverter line and separate pet-cock, and to the heater regulator. After a little while I finally came up with the right combination of steps to bleed the air from the line. Starting the heater up was an interesting experience as the directions don't provide a lot of info--they are translated from Danish to English. The key, however, is to start with good fuel. I started using Sunnyside Pure A1 Clear Kerosene a few months ago to solve some issues with my cabin lights. I found it at our local hardware store. What a difference over standard died kerosene I used in round which heater we use on occasion in our garage. Absolutely smokeless. Very little to no odor when burning.
Pure clear kerosene improves performance dramatically. I experimented with a gallon of fuel to make sure it was of good quality. Then, I bought it in five gallon cans and saved about 15 percent.
Looking down onto the cast iron cook top there is a small hole. Looking into the hole you can see the flame in the fire box and you know the fuel is burning.
To run the heater, I opened up both ends of the shed and the transom hatches to make sure the exhaust would vent out of the shed. I admit I had a brief vision of the shed catching fire from a run-away heater and burning down around the boat. But, now was the time to test it so I shook that vile thought off and pressed ahead. Since our heater regulator was set by the factory for kerosene (paraffin), vice the standard diesel, I started off by lighting it using just the kerosene in the drip pot. It worked OK but was a little finicky, smoke some, and made some "woofing" noises that were kind of frightening, though, it finally smoothed out. I ran it for 45 min and shut it down. I varnished some wood then when back and tried it again using the directions for diesel fuel heaters and poured in 5cc of denatured alcohol then set the regulator to "pilot" allowing the oil to mix with the alcohol. I used a small piece of paper towel which I lit and dropped down the top (with the cast iron cook top removed). The flame lit, but I did not like this technique at all. Lots of smoke and more woofing noises as it heated up. I shut it down. Today, I took the regulator apart. Very simple to do. I wanted to know how the adjustments work. The "pilot" setting looked to me like a max setting and nothing more. I reassembled the regulator. Then, I experimented by looking into the drip pot while I turned the regulator to different settings and timed how much and how long it took the fuel to flow into the pot. That knowledge helped me come up with another approach. This time I poured in 5cc of denatured alcohol keeping the regulator off and lit it. I let it burn for six minutes, with the cook top off, making sure the fuel pot and coil basket were good and red hot. Then, I opened up the regulator to the lowest setting and put the cook top back in place. That did the trick. It ran like a champ. I am not convinced it is the best way to light the heater but for now it gets the heater running with minimal fuss and practically no smoke or weird noises. I ran the heater for five hours today. It ran smooth without any hiccup. I checked on the fuel fittings from the tank to the regulator looking for leaks but everything was tight and dry. There was no smoke of any kind coming off of the smoke head. After it cooled, I removed the cast iron cook top and looked inside. No soot of any kind. That's impressive.
The M-66MK may only be rated at 5500 BTUs but it puts out some serious heat. At the lowest setting it quickly got up to about 350F-375F. After watching it for a while, I set the regulator to position 3 of 9 settings. The temp quickly climbed to about 455F. The wood behind the heater, that is to say, on the starboard side of the boat was warm, but not hot even when the heater was at 450 degrees (there is the largest air gap on that side). However the wood on the forward side of the boat, the main bulkhead side, was very hot to the touch (there is a much small air gap on this side). But it was hot only over about 12-15" of vertical distance--half extending below the cook top level and half above. The wood was barely warm near the flue all the way up to the deck head. It is clear to me that I will need heat shielding. I'll do some more experimentation to determine how much shielding I need and exactly where it will need to be positioned.
At the lowest setting the stove top is about 375F or about 185C.
At setting 3 of 9 the temp is about 450F or 260C.
My initial thought is to install a 90 degree wrap-a-round polished SS heat reflector that is about 15" tall that extends about 7.5" above and below the level of the cook top and follows along the forward bulkhead, turns 90 degrees and extends back along the starboard side behind the heater. I don't think I need any for the flue. I'll need to find a source for the heat shield. I also need to gather some info and send it off to Refleks to see if they recommend another way to start the heater given that it is metered for kerosene vice diesel fuel. I am impressed with the heater so far. Lots of heat. I plan to order an Eco fan to put on the cast iron cook top and better distribute the heat.
10 Dec 2014
The past week has been devoted to small projects. I vacuumed the exterior of boat then wiped it down with warm water to clean off the grit that had accumulated. I bedded the diagonal supports on the aft most stanchions. I cut some small trim pieces for the forward cabin and have been varnishing said trim (today was the fourth coat of varnish).
For a while I have wondered how I was going to secure the upper corners of the lee cloths that are an important component of the three permanent sea berths. I looked at lots of hooks but never found the thing I envisioned. After thinking about it, I decided to make them. I have some ipe which is in the ironwood family. Ipe is very hard and heavy. I made a pattern from some 1/4" plywood, then traced it onto the ipe. I cut the inside corners with a 3/8" paddle bit so they would be rounded. Then, I cut them out with a Bosch jig saw. I used files and sand paper to radius the outside edges and smooth the wood. I drilled holes and chamfered them and test fit them with various bronze fasteners. They looked pretty good but there were file marks that were very hard to remove because the wood is so hard. I decided to try polishing the wood using my buffing wheels (sisal and soft wheels) and polishing compound that attach to a big right angle grinder I use to polish bronze parts. What a difference it made. It took the files marks out and polished the wood to a high sheen. I am not sure if I want to make the lee cloths or have them made. Something to think about.
Cleats for the lee cloths made from Ipe polished to a high sheen.
As anyone that has been following this project knows, we have very few systems on the boat. Right now there is no electrical system--which means no radar, depth sounder, mechanical pumps, water maker, radios, refrigeration, electric running lights, wiring, control panels, etc. Having said that, I think the boat will be very comfortable for sailing and cruising. It just depends on what you need and what your idea is of comfort.
We have been homeschooling for six years. Until this year we did it all with text books, etc. However, this year we transitioned to a computer based program for algebra. We started using Teaching Textbooks which we like a lot. But, it means that we need the capability to recharge at least a laptop or tablet since the program runs on a computer. I discussed the issue with Teaching Textbooks and they told me they are working on a program, to be released soon, that will run on a tablet vice the current requirement to run off at least a laptop. A tablet would be more rugged than a laptop since it has a flash drive not a spinning hard drive. A tablet would also be much easier to recharge.
I suspect that over time we will add some systems to the boat but we want those decisions to be based on what we determine we need not what the boating industry tries to convince us we need. I have looked into solar systems and of course there is no end to what you can install to generate power or the money you can spend to create it or effort and expense to maintain it. As we have done all along, our motto remains the same: simple but elegant. There is no doubt in my mind that solar systems are a fantastic way to meet one's electrical requirements. But, right now, I don't want to add any brackets, towers, or arches to support the panels or add any unnecessary complexity or expense. I have been looking into flexible panels that can be rolled up and put away . . . or moved about the boat to stay in the sun. However, they are very inefficient compared to glass panels. The Pardey's have given me a few tips and shared with me some ideas about how I might approach it. Their ideas sound interesting and of course they are a very simple and fairly inexpensive solution. I will be considering what our needs are and how we want to approach this new requirement.
2 Dec 14
Today I finished up installing the kerosene stern light. I used ipe which is in the iron wood family. Very hard and rot resistant. I cut a concave slot along the length of the ipe on my table-saw where it fits against the stanchion and matching the outside radius of the stanchion. I considered drilling through the ipe and tapping into the stanchion and then using machine screws to attach the ipe. But, I am not certain the lantern location will work and lashing seemed like a better temporary solution. Besides, I thought it would be a good time to learn about lashing. I used the Rigger's Apprentice as a guide and #42 tarred nylon twine. Lashing is a skill and there is a lot more to learn than I know. I could not use "frapping" turns due to the way I made the bracket so finishing it off was a little more difficult. I think it is a reasonable fist attempt though not very fancy. I was impressed by how strong and tight the ipe is secured to the stanchion. I couldn't budge it. I also spliced the snap hook to 1/4" Dacron three strand security line. Simple after a liverpool splice in 7x7 wire.
The stern light is held on to the ipe support via a female sleeve on the back of the latern that slides over a bronze male bracket.
The ipe wood support is lashed to the stern stanchion via #42 tarred nylon twine.
Synthetic Life Lines. A while back I ordered about 90' of 1/4" Amsteel Blue dyneema line to use as life lines. It cost about half of what Dynex Dux from Colligo Marine. Dux is a great line but I thought is extreme low "creep" was overkill for life lines. I think the breaking strength of the Amsteel Blue is about 10,000 lbs, which is far more than the stanchions can bear. It was time to install the life lines. This is a good place to mention that Evans Starzinger has posted a tremendous amount of information on research he has been doing on running rigging. This is the link I used to gather info about installing synthetic lifelines. This is a link to the line load testing data base they are posting on their website. I decided to use a modified brummel splice I learned watching a very well done video put out by John Franta at Colligo Marine. It was easy to follow and the splice is very simple. I started off by making a standard modified brummel on one end. I also lock stitched it, though I don't know if that is really necessary. Anyway, I "cow hitched" the loop around a shackle I installed in the kranze iron and then ran the line back through the stanchions to the cockpit. Next, I spliced an eye around a fat 7mm SS thimble. The Colligo Marine explained how to make a modified brummel around a thimble as well so it was also pretty simple. I had some short lengths of 1/4" sta-set that I used to temporarily draw the lifelines tight. I will install new lashing soon, once I figure out what I want to use.
This was simple project that anyone can do. I am not thrilled about terminating the life-line to the shackle on the top of the kranze iron but it is the best solution I can come up with for now. I would prefer to install "shouldered eye bolts" in place of the shackle pins in the shackles that hold the spritshrouds to the kranze iron but I have not had time to pursue that course of action. I'll look into it at some point.
28 Nov 14
I have completed all the splicing for this phase of the rigging project. The sprit-shrouds (bowsprit stays) and bobstay are complete and are temporarily installed. The remaining standing rigging (two D-1 forward lowers, two D-1 aft lowers, two D-2 uppers, two cap shrouds, the head stay and back stay all have a thimble spliced on one end and the wire is cut long enough to provide for a splice on the other end with about 6" extra length to mark the wire on the boat before I spice the end. The forestay (staysail stay) will be synthetic Dynex Dux, running back stays will be Amsteel Dyneema--I'll deal with them later.
This has actually been very enjoyable work, though my hands are in pretty rough shape. Partly it is due to pulling on the wire, tucking it, unlaying the strands before each tuck, and breaking off the individual wire strands. But, the weather has also turned cold and is much drier and that is also hard on the skin. It's a minor inconvenience.
No sissified hands here.
Attaching the sprit-shrouds to the kranze iron posed an interesting challenge. Normally, you would use double jaw toggles as the connecting link. I looked at dozens of SS ones on-line but I did not like any of them. I could not find any bronze ones though I am sure if I did they would be ridiculously expensive. After checking with someone I trust I decided to use shackles, of which I have plenty on hand. To get the eye of the shackle through thimble, U had to cut part of the solid thimble away. There is still plenty of meat in there and the loads are not that great anyway.
I cut a portion of the solid thimble out so I could insert a shackle to attach it to the kranze iron.
If you look closely, you can see the SS shackles used to attach the sprit-shrouds to the kranz iron. I think the new bowsprit looks pretty good.
Barring the splices coming unwound and the rig falling down ("God between us and evil" as Jack Aubrey would say) I have to say I am very satisfied that I spent the time to develop such an interesting and versatile traditional skill and pursued this project. It's easy to argue that it would be much faster and easier to use 1x19 wire and mechanical fasteners such as sta-loc ) or some other compression fitting) or swages--which of course is true. However, everything I have read suggests that, all things considered equal, spliced rigging should far outlive mechanical fasteners as it pretty much eliminates work hardening (the real scourge of mechanical fasteners and the reason most wire fails) as the spice is flexible along its length while mechanical fasteners have a hard spot on the wire where it emerges from the mechanical fastener (that is where the wire strands eventually break) on 1x19.
Learning to see order in disorder. In this photo, I have just returned the splice to the vise after I "faired" it with a mallet on a wood block. This is the final step before breaking off the individual wires.
One of my recent splices. I am now turing out a much more consistant and tight splice.
Unlike swage fittings, there is no worry about water getting into a hand-splice and cracking it (which I have experienced with swage fittings) or a compression fitting failing. Also, nothing is hidden. You can see the splice and inspect the wire from one end to the other, so if there is a problem, you should be able to see it and take action before it becomes a problem . . . as long as you routinely inspect the rig.
The cost of the 7x7 is less than 1x19 and the thimbles cost about 1/3 as much as compression fittings. The bronze thimbles will never rust. The cost of the wire and thimbles was about $1400. Now that I have the reusable thimbles a complete new rig would cost about $750. I can also splice a new rig anywhere--as long as I can get wire. This is not to suggest it is for everyone as it is seldom used these days. But, for those willing to invest the time (not a small thing to be sure) and who enjoy working with their hands it is very rewarding.
The 7x7 wire is heavier/larger diameter than 1/19 to get similar strength but as Brion Toss has pointed out, it maintains higher strength over the course of it's life than other methods as it eliminates work hardening. Of course, I will feel a lot better about hand splicing my own rig after I have sailed it in significant wind and the gained confidence in it that will only come after it has been put to the test.
After I spliced an eye in the wire, I took the spool outside and ran the wire along a 100' tape measure. After allowing for the amount of wire I needed to splice the other end --17"-- (as well as an additional six inches) I marked the wire with some electrical tape and used Swiss made Felco C-16 wire cutters to cut the wire. The Felcos are expensive but are considered to be the Cadillac of wire cutters--capable of being handed down from generation to generation. I have been very impressed with their performance. I got a good price on them from Seco South in Florida. I don't think you ever regret buying a good tool. But you almost always regret buying a cheap one.
Running a cap shourd out for cutting. The Felco C-16 wire cutters are impressive.
A 47' long cap shroud ready to be installed on the upper end of the mast. I'll splice the bottom end once marked by stretching it down to the bottom thimble installed in the turnbuckle.
Elisha Webb Splicing Vise. The vise continues to hold up well, though as I have mentioned before it is not a high end peice of equipment. So far, it has prooven to be a great value for my purposes. Also, it's aluminum, except for the threaded bolts that adjust the clamping arms, so it won't rust.
I have made several minor modifications to help it perform a better. First, the vise came without any grooves in the camping arms necessary to hold the wire securely in position. A SS wire bent around a thimble exerts a fair amount of pressure on the camping jaws without the grooves the wire can wiggle and even slip out of position. There is constant twisting forces applied to the wire, and subsequently the camping arms, as the spike is twisted and turn back and forth as you insert wires and seat them with the spike. I initially used some of my rat-tailed files to make small grooves. Because the clamping arms are curved I could not get the file down into the concave area. I used it like that for a while, which worked fine with the galvanized wire, but the 316 SS wire needed to be held more securely and I felt like I was really torquing down on the clamping handles to keep the wire and thimble held securely in place.
Thus, second, I deepened the grooves and then smoothed them out with a conical shaped abrasive stone in my Dremel. That additional step made a big difference. The wire is firmly held in position with normal clamping pressure.
You can see the grooves I cut into the clamping arms to hold the wire more securely.
Third, occasionally the clamping handles seemed to bind when I turned them. I removed the vise from the wooden platform to which it was attached. The fasteners that secured the sliding camping jaws to the vise base (they are on the back side of the vise) made contact with the wood base (in other words they stood proud of the vise). The binding was due to friction between the wood base and the fasteners on the underside of the vise. So, I added washers between the vise and the wood base. That simple fix lifted the base about 1/32", which was all the separation required and the handles then turned smoothly.
Last, I kept trimming the wood base (two pieces of 3/4" plywood stacked one on top of the other) to best allow me clamp the vise as securely yet not obstruct the clearance necessary to turn the handles. The modification of the wood base continues to evolve. Note: I needed to stack the ply to get the offset I required to line the vise up with the overhead attachment point in the ceiling to which I run the line that stretches out the wire. The eyebolt needed to be installed into the joist located forward of the front of the work bench.
A single washer under each mounting screw, between the vise and the wood base, eliminated the binding I was experiencing.
18 Nov 14
Splicing the Standing Rigging.Photos below. For more on splicing, click here.My goal is to turn out consistently serviceable splices in 5/16" and 3/8" 7X7 316 SS wire. I counted up the number of practice splices that I made before I spliced the first wire for the boat two days ago. I spliced 24 practice eyes. About ten were in 1/4" galvanized wire to learn the basics. Then, about 14 in 5/16" SS. This was over a period of about 2-3 years while I worked on other projects. In the last three days I have made nine splices for a total of 30 splices. I now have a pretty good grip on the science of splicing, for the type and size of the wire I am using. In the last few days, I have learned a lot more about the art of hand splicing. I no longer get lost. I can "see" the next step and find my way around the wire easily. I am neither using any notes nor do I need to have "The Rigger's Apprentice" open for constant reference. I have the steps mentally locked down. I can pretty much see when the splice is not developing correctly and, importantly, have some skill in correcting it. The splices I am producing are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But, I am getting a much better feel for the wire, what each step is supposed to look like, and some skills in how to massage the wire to get a more consistent result. Every splice reveals something new for me so my learning curve is still rising though not as steep as it was just two days ago. For me, I think consistency is the key. I am pleased with what I am producing though not satisfied, if that makes sense. Creating a consistent ribbon through unlaying the individual wires is still hit or miss. Now would be the perfect time to get some one on one instruction from Brion Toss. I think I am at a place where a little instruction would really resonate. However, as I said, I think these are serviceable splices that will keep getting better over time. I should have it figured out about the time I install the last piece of standing rigging on the boat.
I have completed the three complete wires (six splices) with 10 more to go: Starboard and port side spritshrouds (bow sprit shrouds) and the bob stay. The sprit-shrouds are in 5/16" wire and I completed them on Sunday and Monday. I completed the bobstay today (Tuesday). It is 3/8' wire . . .much more stout wire. It will wear you out if you try to man handle it. I am learning how to finesse it. Make it go where it wants to go. Brion Toss sent me a video link to an Aikido demonstration as a reminder to not fight the wire . . . to deflect and redirect its energy where you want it to go. This is the art part of it.
If you are interested in splicing buy his book, "The Rigger's Apprentice," and get his video, as I would not even attempt to describe it here. But there are a few things that stand out for me and I list them below as much as a reminder for me as for anyone else that is just beginning to learn this wonderful skill.
- Use a #7 Snap-On awl and file the point flat like a duck bill. Then sand the file marks out. It needs to be very smooth.
- I am having good success with my Elisha Webb aluminum splicing vice. I had to tune it up some but it seems to be working well at this point (just for saying that it will probably break-in-half tomorrow). I paid $200 for it new. I think it is up to $250 now. Still, it's a bargain when all the other vises I could find start at about $1000.
- I tried splicing horizontally and vertically. They each have some advantages. I started horizontally. After about 20 splices I tried vertically, which was immediately easier. Splicing vertically has helped me better able to see all around the splice without bending over or under. I am told, I can use the vertical method to splice on deck or on the dock next to the boat. Probably most important, in my little shop, horizontal splicing just clobbered the shops limited space. Vertical splicing takes up very little room.
- The first tuck, the #6 wire is the key. I had a tendency to insert it too far inboard into the standing side thinking that's "where it wanted to be." I have found that inserting it more outboard (up to two more strands outboard than I think it should be) makes for a much better splice. This, so far, has been a very important discovery.
- The first set of tucks, to include rolling in the heart, is about 90 percent of the splice. If the first six tucks are right, its simple after that. Larry Pardey says splicing 7x7 is as simple as knitting . . . I would only add that, for me, at this point, simplicity starts after the first set of tucks. Once you figure out what you are doing it's just a matter of making enough splices that you become comfortable with what you are looking at from start to finish. This takes time. All those strands being pulled out for the taper looks like the essence of chaos. It is easy to get distracted by all the little wires. The first half dozen splices were like a rubics cube. But, patience and persistence provided a clarity. I don't even notice them any more.
- Use the duck bill on the splice to massage the wire into place and to lay flat against the wire you are spiraling around. The spike does a lot more than just pry apart the wire. I am still learning it's many capabilities.
- Breaking the lay and understanding how much or how little is a real art and takes some finesse. I am still learning how to make the wire do what I want it to do. How much to open it. When is too much. The wires respond differently as they thin out during the taper. I kind of jog back and forth across that line . . . a little to much on this one . . . not quite enough on that one.
- Both index fingers were raw from pulling and handling the wire. I finally wrapped the some white athletic tape behind the first knuckle (on the second digit) and that has provided a lot of relief. I suspect some of the tenderness is simply from trying to man handle the wire. Though I am using a lot more finesse now, I am sure it is all relative to one's experience.
- Breaking off the wires is an important skill. Done correctly, there are no meat hooks. The finished product is absolutely smooth to your hand. The key is to pull the wire down into the slot between the wires and to quickly rotate the wire 180 degrees, while pulling on it at the same time. The wire snaps off down below the surface of the strands from which it emerges. It is all technique and not that hard to learn but when you mess up you are left with a barb that extends beyond the surface (a meat hook if you will) that has to be dealt with. So, practice it while you are learning the splices and master it. You'll have plenty of practice. You have to snap off 49 wires, I think, for each splice.
The next step is to pull the mast out of the shed on to saw horses in the drive way. Install the spreaders. Make a jig that reflects the level of the chain plate off sets, and measure for the shrouds. My plan is to splice one end of each shroud and head and back stay. Then, cut about the wire about 6"- 8" longer than it needs to be, after leaving enough for the thimble circumference and the splice tail for the second splice. I'll splice the other end after the mast is in the boat. In other words, I will install the mast with the the spliced end of the wires installed on the mast. I'll position the mast in the boat with halyards and then physically mark the wire dangling wire to the extended turnbuckle (with the thimble to be spliced actually installed on the upper end of the turnbuckle). It is definitely more difficult this way, but several riggers have suggested it is the best way to ensure you get it right when you are dealing with a taller mast and no pre-existing wires to duplicate. I couldn't be at this phase when the weather was nice . . . that would be too easy.
13 Nov 14
I have not kept up with the website the past 10 days.Nonetheless, we have been working away. Some photos below of a few small projects. In addition, I temporarily installed the bowsprit to measure the spritshrounds for splicing; gathered up all the bronze thimbles for splicing the 7x7 standing rigging; cleaned up the shop in preparation for wire splicing; reviewed information I have on allowing for constructional stretch and elasticity of the wire after splicing; ordered some hardware (brass sliding bolts, interior brass grab handles, fasteners, stern anchor line, etc) and made a series of double braid eye splices for the running end of the internal boom outhaul system as well as my first dyneema splice for the standing parts. I test fit the end caps on the boom after temporarily installing the outhaul and reefing winch on the boom. Everything looked great. With luck, I'll make another practice splice in the 5/16" 7x7 tomorrow and then go into the full on splicing mode for the standing rigging. More on that next time.
Additional Mast and Boom Hardware. I have a few more pieces of hardware left to add to the spars. Recently, I added some Shafer pad eyes to the end of the boom to serve as attachment points for the preventer for downwind sailing. I wanted to through-bolt them as I could easily reach the inside of the boom through the end. I cut some small 1/4" G10 backing plates and radiused them to fit the concave shape on the inside of the boom. I drilled 1/4" holes, test fit the pad eyes, marked the bolts for length, and cut them with a hack saw. Next, I dropped the bolts in some Stellar Solutions 77 "passivating" solution to neutralized and ferrous metal debris from the cutting of the bolts and to neutralize any other impure contaminates on the SS surface. I have been doing this for a year or so for every external SS fastener or exterior hardware (Though I don't have much SS on the exterior of the boat). The directions say to leave the product bathed for 30 min. If it's the end of the day, I leave them overnight. I pour the used solution back into the bottle. I was told by an engineer that has used it for years that returning the used solution back to the bottle does not make any difference to the effectiveness of the remaining solution. Then, I applied UHMW tape to the bottom surface of the pad eyes (to prevent galvanic corrosion), cut the holes out with an exacto knife and installed them after applying some Teff Gel to the fasteners where they made contact with the aluminum. I also installed some pad eyes on the mast below the winches and belaying pin rack so that I can secure the tails of the halyards.
I have spent a few hour for the last couple of nights working on the outhaul. I decided to use some extra 1/4" Amsteel Blue (dyneema) for the standing end of the 6:1 outhaul purchase. I made a continuous loop splice so that one end loops around an anchor point on the forward end of the boom and the other end connects to a shackle to non-moving end of the purchase. I needed a continuous loop as it will hold the standing block horizontal in the boom allowing me to reeve the purchase for a right angle set up, which ensure the running end of the line (the end you haul on) will come off the block in such a way as to maintain a fair lead to the exit slot on the boom. It sounds complicated but it is simple. I'll add some pictures of the whole set up when it is completed. I also made my first brummel splice to 3/16" amsteel blue dyneema for the outhaul pendant (it connects to the moving end of the block/purchase and exits the end of the boom and to the clew of the mainsail.
1/4" Dyneema continious loop splice. This line connects the forward end of the outhaul purchase to an anchor point on the front of the boom. The line and the purchase are all inside the boom . . . you can't see them when they are installed.
1/4" dyneema with brummel splice, whipping, and cow hitched to shackle. The shackle connects to the block on the moving end of the 6:1 purchase. The ohter end of this line will connect to the clew of the mainsail.
Mast Collar. I completed the mast collar project. Previously, I painted the area around the new base with Kiwi Grip. All I needed to do was to prepare the surfaces for bedding compound. I tapped off the area around the partners and bedded the mast collar with 3M 4000UV. I tightened down the fasteners, cleaned up the squeeze out, and checked this project off the list.
4 Nov 14
I completed the fairing and painting of the base for the new mast collar. I applied a light coating of kiwigrip yesterday and then another with the textured roller this morning. Tomorrow, I will bed the mast collar with 3M 4000UV. The boat is in need of a bath. But, it will have to wait a little longer. The focus of my efforts has shifted back to the rig. I am working on the outhaul for the boom and prepping for splicing one end of the standing rigging.
The fairing and painting for the new mast collar are complete.
The Oak Cleats. Gayle applied about six or seven coats of varnish last week. The look great. Mounting them was pretty straight forward. Before we varnished them I mounted them to check for fit and location, so all the drilling was already accomplished. I also applied some varnish to the chamfered holes on the insdie of the coamings while the cleats were being varnished. So, today was simple. I once again mounted them and the taped the area off for the bedding process. I then removed the cleats. I filed the bevels of the fasteners to eliminate any burns that might tear the wood as the fastener is tightened down. I applied some wax to the threads, applied Boat Life mahogany colored polysulfied then installed the cleat. I cleaned up the squeeze out with mineral spirits (you should not use acetone on varnish) and removed the tape. Four cleats. Task complete. For more on building the cleats click here.
I taped off the cleat with 3m 233 tape.
The heads of the fasteners are exposedon the inside face of the coaming. I filed the underside of the bevels to make sure they were smooth to protect the wood as I tightened down on them.
The oak cleats are installed. They match the oak tiller.
Boom Outhaul. The boom outhaul has an internal 6:1 purchase. I needed to splice a short length of double braid line that will be attached at the forward end of the boom to the purchase. The purchase part of the outhaul will be 1/4" sta-set, while the pendant (attaches to the other end of the purchase and then to the clew of the mainsail will be 1/4" amsteel blue (grey color) dyneema. I did not want to use an all dyneema outhaul as I think it would slip when it is cleated off. Also, I think there might be a lot of shock load with an all dyneema system. Fine on a race boat, especially if you don't mind replacing broken hardware. But, I think the sta-set run through a 6:1 will be fine. Anyway, I had not made a double braid eye splice in years so this afternoon was slow going as I had to nearly re-learn the splice. It was good to shake out the cobwebs. Later, I'll splice the 1/4" sta-set when the proper fid arrives.
I spent some time relearning how to splice double braid. The green line will be entirly inside the boom so it will never been seen. Ugly color.
The finished eyeloop is lock stitched. This end will be secured to a fittin on the forward end of the boom.
2 Nov 14
I lost some time this week but it was necessary. I went by the sail loft, about 90 min away, to pay for the sails--they look very nice--a new main, a 1 1/2 oz drifter, and a bonneted jib. We will fit for the stay sail and the trysail after the rig is in the boat. I also needed to pick up some fasteners and swing by a consignment shop where I scored three unused large ABI bronze pad eyes (they have been out of business for several years now) for $75 and a used 1/2" bronze turnbuckle toggle for $5. That pretty much took the whole day. We also completed varnishing a few trim pieces and the oak cleats for the jib and stay sail sheets.
However, the main project is getting the new mast collar installed. The original opening was too large for the new mast and was oval while the new mast has more of a wedge shape. Also, the hole was off center and I needed to fill one side of the hole to ensure the mast will be properly aligned. I used white oak. This was not a complicated project but has lots of steps, measuring, grinding, mixing epoxy, fairing, tapping holes, etc. A big part of the protect is to create a flate base on the curved deck for the deck collar to sit on. Becuase the deck collar, and it's base, are cast aluminum it could crack if it is tightened down on a cuved deck. The key was to use packing tape and paste wax on the bottom of the mast collar and around the edges to make sure the collar did not stick to the thickened epoxy which will comprise the flat base. Also important is to allow the epoxy to cure fullt before trying to "pop" it off the epoxy. If the epoxy is not rigid enough the "give" in it makes it harder to separate the collar from the epoxy. I used West Epoxy thickened with 404 High Density filler. The HD filler does two things: first, it has tremendous compression resistance and; two, it acts as a heat sink helping to prevent excessive heat from building up as the epoxy cures. This is important when a lot of epoxy will be used at one time and applied in thick amounts. The steps are contained below in the photo gallery. There are few more steps to go such as tapping the threads, final fairing, and applying Kiwigrip deck paint. The cold temps are here--forecasted for 30 F degrees tonight, however, we are forecasted for some warmer weather this week.