11 May 11 I spent a little time tonight cleaning up a few poorly organized pages. I had two bowsprit pages with documentation scattered between them. I consolidated them and now have one page--"Bowsprit Modification." I also moved the gammon iron and bobstay work onto that page. That should eliminate some confusion.
I was able to work on several projects today. I am pressing to get the boat ready to paint. The summer heat will be here in a few more weeks and that will complicate the painting.
This morning wiped off the release wax with a rag soaked with Interlux 202. I used the two rag system: one rag soaked with 202 to wipe across the wax and a dry rag to wipe it up. Interlux 202 is very strong stuff with naphtha and other nasty chemicals so I wore my full face respirator. Next, I scrubbed the whole faired surface with water and a 3M medium maroon scrub pad and wiped it dry with paper towel. Then, I applied two coats of thickened epoxy as part of the fairing to support the gammon iron. I used West Epoxy with 407 and a little 406 stirred in to make it non-sagging. I think it is starting to look like it belongs there. As I mentioned yesterday, the bulwarks will make all the difference in the world. I applied the first coat and about and hour later, when it was firm but not hard I applied the second coat to fill in some of the dips and hollows. After it cured later in the day I repeated the water and scrub pad wipe down and then sanded the whole thing. It will require a little more work but with luck it will be finished tomorrow afternoon.
I would like to have put this off longer but installing the supper hose is part of the prep work to get the boat ready to paint. How so? I need to wash the boat. In the past, I just washed the deck and water flowed in the cockpit scupper drains and into the bilge. Then I scooped it out with a bucket and sponge and then dried the bilge with a towel. With the scupper hose attached I don't have to deal with that mess.
I started off yesterday by assembling the seacocks. They had been lightly screwed on but without Teflon tape or pipe dope. So, I unscrewed them, wiped down the threads, applied pipe dope, and tightened them down with wrenches.
I decided a while back to use white head sanitation hose. It's approved for below the waterline use and I like the clean white color. yesterday, I cut them to fit and of course the boat monster reared its head. The tail piece on the seacock is 1 1/2" and the scupper drain pipe is 1 5/8". Go figure. I tried all my normal tricks to get the hose on to include immersing the hose in boiling water to soften it, coating it with dishwater soap to lubricate it, and then quickly try to push it on before it cooled. No luck. Today I used my heat gun to carefully soften the hose and it went right on. I didn't tighten down the hose clamps as there is no water pressure to worry about right now.
Its another task accomplished . . . small victories . . . I'll gladly take it.
I have been storing most of the cockpit hatches on a shelf in the garage. As part of the prep work to paint the boat, and the hatches, I dragged them out and washed them off. I sanded them with some wet sand paper and water since I never did final sanding on them last year. The bolt holes need to be enlarged and filled with epoxy then redrilled. Will deal with that tomorrow.
10 May 11 The gammon iron arrived yesterday. PTF did a nice job. Looks just like the pattern I mailed in early March. I wasted no time getting started. The fairing has to be complete, before I can paint the boat. It looks kind of big sitting out on the end of the boat all by itself but it will blend end once the 4-5" high bulwarks are installed. Here is the sequence I followed (pictures posted in the photo-gallery below):
First, I checked the fit of the gammon iron. I want the bowsprit to follow the sheerline of the boat. That means it needs to tilt up about 4 degrees--the same angle as the last 6 feet or so of the deck as it runs up to the stem. The old plank style platform rose at about 1 degree. I never liked the way the original bowsprit "stuck out" nearly horizontal to the water while the sheer swept up. Did not look pleasing to me. Of course the new sprit is longer than the original by about 2 1/2' for a total of about 42 inches forward of the stem. Of course the real advantage to this gammon iron is the sprit will not be bolted to the deck so the chance of rot should be greatly reduced. But, I digress . . . .
Second, I heavily waxed the bottom and edges of the gammon iron with paste wax to serve as a release agent.
Third, I sanded off the old primer with 40 grit on and RO sander where the fairing needed to take place so the new epoxy could adhere to the older epoxy laminate and previous fairing, vice hooking on to primer. The heavy grit will improve the mechanical bond of the new fairing.
Fourth, I mixed up two batches of West Epoxy heavily loaded with 404 High Density Filler. I added small amounts of 407 silica to improve its ability not to sag. The 404 fillers are mineral based and according to West Systems serve as a better "heat-sink" than straight 406 and reduce the likelihood excessive exothermic heat that could damage the epoxy. As Tim Lackey pointed out to me, the bronze itself would also help dissipate the heat. Once I mixed up the thickened epoxy I spread it out on a fairing board to reduce the heat build up and give it a little more pot life.
Fifth, I trowled it on to the deck and stem of the boat.
Sixth, I pressed the gammon iron down onto the bow and braced it into position with a purpose built 2x4 braced between the center post on the boat shed that separates the two "barn doors" and the gammon iron to hold it in position.
Seventh, I spent about 20 minutes fairing in the epoxy "squeeze-out" and another 20 minutes wiping up epoxy dribbles and smears with an acetone soaked rag.
Once I was satisfied the gammon iron would stay in place, I ran some errands. This evening I took my dead blow and tapped on the gammon iron kind of gently testing to see if it would come loose. It popped right off. There are two small voids. Overall, I am very satisfied with this first step. Tomorrow, I'll wash off the amine blush and continue fairing probably switching to 407 micro balloon.
After working on the gammon iron I applied pipe-dope to the two scupper sea cocks that had been just lightly screwed together. I also cut the scupper hose to fit between the cockpit scupper drains and the tail pieces on the seacocks. I ran out of time so I'll continue to work on them tomorrow.
7 May 11 I spent the last few days leisurely finishing up the staving. I cut 1/4" wide half laps on each staving using a dado blade on the table saw (see pictures below). The key to getting a good tight fit is to make sure the wood pieces are held firmly against the table saw surface and the fence. Any movement here and the half-lap will get fouled up. The depth of dado has to be accurately dialed in. I always dedicate a practice strip of wood that I and run test cuts on. The staving is exactly 3/8" thick. I set the dado for 3/16" inch cut. I make one dado cut 1/4" wide and the other about 1/32" narrower. That leaves the inside edge between two staving pieces very tight, but on the back side there is 1/32' gap. This small gap leaves a little space for excess epoxy to flow into instead of being forced up between the staving pieces when they are clamped to the bulkhead.
After all the pieces have been half-lapped then I run them across the router with a standard V-groove bit (no bearing). I use the fence to set the offset and feather board to hold the staving piece down flat. I don't use a feather board to push the staving against the fence because it gets in the way of controlling the wood moving across the bit. This is one step that requires patience--feed the wood too fast and it will cause tear out.
I am very pleased with how straight these staving pieces turned out. Every piece has vertical grain and all the wood is straight and without bows or hooks. After finishing up I staked all the pieces on a rack in the wood shop.
I had hoped the gammon iron would arrive on Friday but it did not. I feel a little like a rudderless ship, pun intended. I need to fit and fair the gammon iron in place before I paint. I am stuck in a holding pattern. So, I am working small projects--cleaning up the shop, doing some research, etc. Today I prepared the chain locker for some 12oz cloth by sanding the wood with 40 grit, vacuuming, and conducting an acetone wash down. But then I got distracted and it was too late to epoxy the cloth in position so I left everything staged and ready to go.
Staving, nice and straight, and ready to be installed.
2 May 11 Work on the Far Reach continues while we wait for the gammon iron to arrive from Port Townsend Foundry. We would like to paint the topsides and the deck house before the temps get too hot (the weather is perfect now) but, we can't prime and paint till the gammon iron arrives as it must be fitted and faired first. The good news is that PTF told me today that the gammon iron is in the mail. In the mean time I have been tackling little projects that would allow me to change gears as soon as the gammon iron arrives.
Yesterday, I starting milling about 60BF of African Mahogany that should give us all the staving we need to complete that part of the interior rebuild. Today, I ripped the planks to 2 3/4" wide and then resawed them to 3/8" thick. Tomorrow, I'll continue milling by cutting the half-laps and "V" grooves so the staving will be ready to install.
Last week, I ordered paint, primer, and associated supplies in preparation for painting the topside and deck-house. We will go with Interlux Perfection preceded by a coat or two of Interlux Epoxy Primer. Even though I applied three coats of Alwgrip 8003 two part epoxy primer last year after taping over the hull deck joint it made sense to apply the Interlux finishing primer before applying their paint.
Two days ago I spent the better part of an entire day removing every thing out of the SRF and power washing the inside to knock down two years worth of fiberglass dust, grime, dirt, etc that had gathered along the shed frame, etc. I want to eliminate as much of the dust as possible before we paint.
I have also been practice splicing 7x7 SS wire. I have not spliced since this time last year when I made up about a dozen galvanized 7x19 splices. The SS 7x7 seemed easier to splice to me than the 7x19. More on that when the rig becomes the focus of effort.
About 60 BF quarter-sawn African Mahogany ripped and resawn. The next step is cut half-laps and V grooves.
Also last week I tabbed in a divider in the wardrobe closet. The aft side will be a hanging closet and the forward side will be converted into shelving and a counter top for a small round sink as part of the head "system." With a sitz tub on the port side and a toilet there was just not enough room for the sink. We discussed installing a folding sink but decided it was not the right answer for us. We needed a permanent sink to support four people. This seemed the best way to meet the requirements. We don't think we need a 30" wide closet.
The divider/bulkhead is 1/2" BS 1088 plywood. There is a single layer of 1708 biaxial on each side both top and bottom. I power planed the ends down 1/16" so the biaxial would lay flat with the surface of the plywood to make it easier to apply the staving. I left a space between the back side of the bulkhead and the hull so there would be room to remove the chain-plate.
23 Apr 11 For the last couple of days I have been working on the bunk boards for the pilot berths. The easy way to have made them would have been to use a one piece 1/2" thick plywood lid screwed in place with cut out hatches to gain access underneath. However, I have had that system on previous boats and I never liked it. I was always struggling with a full length cushion and little hatches that make it hard to find what I was looking for. These individual bunk boards allow full access to the entire compartment. They will be topped with a pilot berth cushion that will be split in the middle. Place one cushion on the other and you can lift and stack the individual planks to gain full access to the storage locker below.
A few weeks ago I came across some Juniper at my wood merchant. So, I bought some rough cut 5/4 planks about 6" wide. I thought this would be a good wood since it is moderately rot resistant and very light. It also smells wonderful. Once I was ready I cut them to down to about 44" long which was just longer than the required length for the bunk boards. I ran them over my 6" jointer to make sure one edge and one side were flat and square. Then, I ran them through the thickness planer to get two flat sides. Then, I ran them over the table saw to clean up the last edge. Next, I stood each plank on one edge and resawed them on my table saw (it would be better to use a good band saw but I don't have one . . . yet) using a thin kerf blade so I had two boards that were each just over 1/2" thick. Then, I took the boards back to the planer and took them down to a nice smooth 1/2" thick by about 6" wide and 44" long. Next, I cut them to fit across the beams of the pilot berths to meet over the center beam. The starboard berth is about 1 1/2" longer than the port berth so they are custom fit for each berth. I had to scarf two boards together for the outside boards (the ones against the hull as the curve of the hull nearly exceeded the width of the boards. I used a 1/8" slot cutter on my router table to cut the slots and used 3/4" marine grade ply for the splines, which I cut on the table saw. I glued them up so I had four boards that were 10"-12" wide. Next, I used a 1/2" round-over bit on the router to create a radius on all the edges for all the boards. Then, I "scribed" the wide boards, that I glued together, to fit against the curve of the hull. Once I was satisfied with the fit I used a 3/4" paddle bit to cut the finger holes. I routered the inside of the holes with the same round-over bit I used on the edges and then sanded them smooth. Finally, I cleaned up any machine marks with a cabinet scraper.
I am pleased with the way they came out. In the next couple of days I apply a couple of coats of varnish. Too bad since they make the inside of the boat smell like a cedar forest.
Some folks will wonder how we plan to keep the contents of the lockers in the locker in case of a severe knock-down. When we are sailing off shore we will have a strap and buckle system that will lock the boards down but not interfere with the use of the berth. We will still be able to easily gain access to the locker. I'll save the specifics of how we will do that for another time.
18 Apr 11 If I wasn't convinced before, I am now . . . I think it would be a lot easier to build an interior in a bare hull vice reengineer, modify, and install a new interior in an old boat. Note to self: If I had to do it over, I would remove all the bulkheads in the boat to include the ones under the cockpit. Then start fresh. I made the mistake of leaving all the existing sound bulkheads in the boat and worked my interior plans around them. As much work as it would have been to install all new bulkheads I don't think it would have been as difficult as what I have had to deal with--endless grinding, constant modification, and head numbing math. As my Granddaddy used to say, "It's just one damn thing after another." Of course it would have been easier if I reinstalled a new interior based on the original layout but, for reasons explained elsewhere on this site, the original layout would not have worked for us.
Today I tabbed in the plywood vertical panel that will support the starboard side of the stove/oven. I cut the support from a 1/2" sheet of Okume ply several days ago but decided to install the dividers for the vertical galley cabinet panel before I installed the support for the stove. I planed a rabbet on both sides of the top edge that fit under the bridge deck so the biaxial would lay flush. I tabbed the bottom edges with two layers of biaxial--6" wide and 4" wide--because I wanted it to be extra strong given that it supports an 80 lb stove. The aft edge has a 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" cleat glued and screwed to the ply to help stiffen the panel. I will epoxy in a piece of ply to fill the open slot that you can see at the back of the compartment later.
The stove compartment has been difficult to install due to our desire to incorporate a sliding door on the vertical galley cabinet base between the sink and the stove. The door will slide back between the stove and the galley cabinet base. The measurements are critical and having never built one I have had to spend a lot of extra time diagramming out how I plan to construct it.
14 Apr 11 Today I took the patterns for the divider supports for the galley cabinets, that I made yesterday, and traced them on the remainder of the 1/2" ply left over from building the the fore and aft support for port side of the stove. I made the patterns with strips of doorskin that I cut 1 1/2" wide on the table saw. Then, I glued them together with a hot glue gun to create the shape to properly fit between the cabinet base panel and the hull. After tracing them on the plywood I used a sliding bevel gauge to determine the angle of the hull against the 90 degree oriented divider. I used my Bosch jig saw to cut out the pattern. I cut an eight degree bevel on the curved portion of the divider to mirror the shape of the hull where the divider will be positioned. Next, I positioned the "divider" and used a compass to scribe it for a tighter fit. I used the jig saw to trim away the marked portion. Once I was satisfied with the fit, I used the compass to mark off 3/8" back from the curved edge of the divider to accommodate the 3/8" closed cell foam wedge that I like to fit between the divider and the hull. I test fit them again to make sure they fit properly.
Next, I marked the outline of the portion to be cut out from the center of the divider. Normally I would not do this but I need to be able to access into those compartment from the center sliding door. It's a little awkward but it would be even more difficult to only be able to access into the bottom for these lockers from a small "hatch" in the counter top. After cutting out the center section I routered the inside edge with a 1/8" round-over bit to give them a more finished appearance. To compensate for any loss of strength of the divider I will bolt on a 1 1/4" X 2" beam along the top edge of the divider which will have a half lap joint tied into the vertical cleat already glued and screwed to the cabinet face panel. You can see the vertical cleat in the photos to the right. The curved part of the plywood is 4" wide and will be epoxy taped with 1708 biaxial on each side of the divider. Later, I will epoxy tape in a narrow 3/4" okume horizontal shelf to the hull laying across these supports where they are epoxied to the hull. The ply will essentially act as reinforcing stringer. The 3/4" ash counters will butt up to the plywood shelf. Cabinets built over the counters will conceal the plywood "shelf."
Tomorrow I will tape in the "dividers," cut and fit the horizontal beams (cleats) that will be screwed and glued to the top edge of the dividers, and make final preparations for installing the fore and aft panel that will support the port side of the stove. Once that is complete I will turn my attention to installing a small amount of black walnut to the hull in the galley and across the floor beams over which the sink-cabinet will be built.
Templates made from strips of doorskin and a hot glue gun.
Test fitting the dividers. Note the foam wedge and the limber holes to allow any water that gets into the locker to drain forward and pass through another limber hole to the bilge sump area. I routered the inside edge of the cut-out with a 1/8" round-over bit.
13 Apr 11 For the past week I have been working on the galley. The measurements are critical if everything is going to fit properly. I found it difficult to accurately measure such a big space. I decided to return to my base line measurement for everything I have installed in the interior--I ran a string down the centerline and started measuring from there. The one thing I could not change was the size of the stove. I pulled my old Seaward stove out. I bought the propane conversion kit (it was originally CNG) a long time ago thinking I would keep it. Though I think it has a lot of miles left in it, for many reasons, it made the most sense to buy a new stove. We knew we wanted the stove to be a fixed mount vice a gimbaled stove. Why? You can survive a lot of injuries . . . bones can be set, lacerations can be sewn up, etc . . . but burns are horrendous. I have seen some bad burns in the Marines and they left a big impression on me. Though I have never done so, I have read that sailors are advised to wear a full length rubber apron when cooking while sailing off-shore with a gimbaled stove. And, with children on the boat we are more willing to go to the extra effort to reduce the potential for burns. We think installing a fixed mount stove that is oriented fore-and-aft should reduce the likelihood for the a pot of hot something being dumped on a member of the crew. There are some tradeoffs. Access to some cabinet space is more difficult. We will have to use deeper pots and perhaps not push the boat as hard as we might otherwise while meals are being prepared. We might need to carry a small removable one burner gimbaled burner we can also mount fore-and-aft when we need it. All-in-all we think it's worth it . . . at least we hope so.
So, I decided on the Force 10 Model 75331, fixed mount propane stove. This particular stove is only being made for a few more months. Soon, Force 10 will only make a gimbaled stove. If you want to fix mount it you'll have to buy an optional fixed mount accessory kit. But the oven and burner top will be about an inch narrower for the same box sized space. Last year they changed the design of the stove to put the big single burner up front and the two smaller burners to the rear. This makes a lot of sense. It looked odd to me when I first saw it. The main course meal is often in a single large pot and it is easier to tend up front. Also, it's easier, and safer, to lift one big pot to the front burner vice to the back of the stove. This is also a good looking stove. In the picture below it is still protected by the plastic sheeting but it's all SS--no black face plate under the knobs or wooden handle. The fit and finish are very good. The nicest part was the cost. I don't normally buy from West Marine, but because this stove is being discontinued I was able to purchase it for 40 percent off the list price. It was too good a deal to pass up.
With the stove measurements on hand, I was able to determine where things needed to go. I built the template and installed the cabinet face panel for the base of the main galley cabinet. Because we wanted as much of the stove as possible over the flat cabin sole we cut back the landing under the companionway ladder to move the stove inboard another inch. This also provides one inch of space between the stove and the main galley cabinet base to incorporate a sliding door to access the under counter storage areas. I think it will be much easier to use a sliding door in the U shaped galley than to fight with swinging cabinet doors while underway. Most of the sink is over flat cabin sole and with a toe kick it should be much more comfortable to use than the original Cape Dory design.
Next, I built a mock up of the stove and sink basin to check the ergonomics. Gayle spent some time there going through the motions of being in the galley to see if it would work to her liking. She gave it a thumbs up with some minor adjustments. We picked out a sink so we know how big the cabinet base for the sink needs to be. Then, today I cut the plywood panel for the starboard (inboard) side of the stove but did not install it. I decided that I need to complete the bracing for the galley cabinet face panel before I install the stove panel to make sure the measurements are consistent. So I finished off the day by building templates for the bracing system.
2 Apr 11 I spent yesterday and today installing additions to the partial bulkhead that forms the aft end of the chart table and the forward end of the quarter-berth. I basically scarfed two piece of 1/2" Okume ply on to the original bulkhead. The original bulkhead was only about 18" above the cabin sole. This top edge went all the way to the hull and then went vertical to the under side of the deck. the vertical part was only about 8" wide. You couldn't do much with it. The original chart table in the Far Reach was laid out just like every production boat of similar size that I have ever seen. You sat on the head of the quarter-berth facing forward with your legs underneath the chart table. Between your knees and the bulkhead supporting the forward side of the chart table was a narrow vertical set of three drawers. The top of the chart table lifted for chart storage underneath--about 2" deep. There was no back to lean against. If someone was sleeping in the quarter-berth then you would have to stand with the chart table gently sloping aft to your right . . . or sit on their head. I guess this arrangement is OK but it seemed a big waste of space to me.
I decided it would be an improvement to turn the sitting chart table/nav station into a standing chart table. The top will be 30" wide and about 43" deep. I would like to have made it wider but that would require the quarter berth to be too short. There will be a 12" deep book shelf on the deep end (against the hull) that will be set slightly above the chart table so one end of a folded chart can slide under the book shelf. We've thought about installing a couple of drawers underneath the chart table top to hold more charts but out current plan is to install the ice box underneath the chart table and stow the charts under the forward double berth. This moves the ice box completely away from the engine compartment and the stove/oven. The old layout had the icebox on the portside between the engine and the gimbaled stove/oven. Call me silly, but that doesn't make a bit of sense to me. Why would you put the thing you are trying to keep cold next to the two things that generate heat? We also plan for the chart table to have a hinged top. After you lift the top up and it hooks on a self-catching latch, you will then lift the "plug" to gain access to the icebox. This provides a completely smooth surface for the chart table. Also, when you want to get access to the icebox, you don't have to remove the chart, just lift the top.
I could have cut the old bulkhead out and replaced it. And knowing what I know now I would have. But, when I started the rebuild I was not all that confident about my bulkhead installation skills. So, here is what I did. I measured and then cut the two pieces of ply I wanted to add to the existing bulkhead from 1/2" okume plywood. I test fit them to make sure they fit properly. Then I used my router with a 1/8" slot cutter set 3/8" deep and cut a slot across the top of horizontal part of the bulkhead. I did the same for the vertical part. Next, I cut matching slots in the plywood additions. I cut 1/8" x 3/4" splines out of scrap 3/4" marine plywood. I tested everything to check the fit. It looked good. Next, I used my power planer to plan down a 2" wide strip on each side of the joint line where the plywood would join together. I planed the forward and aft sides as well. This allowed me to lay a 4" wide strip of biaxial in the recessed rabbet. Again, I checked for fit. I precut the biaxial strips and the foam wedge for the top against the underside of the deck. That completed the first day.
Today, with every thing pre cut and ready to install the work went quick. I vacuumed and performed a thorough acetone wash down of the appropriate surfaces. Then, I brushed epoxy on the splines and slots and installed the plywood additions. Then, I wet out the plywood along the recessed rabbet. I wet out the biaxial and laid it on smoothing it out to remove any air bubbles. Next, I mixed up some more epoxy slightly thickened with 407 medium density filler. I trowled it on and worked it into the previously installed and sill wet biaxial tape filling in any gaps around the edges. This will ensure I have a flush surface for paint or mahogany staving as the situation requires.
The top edge of the bulkhead/divider addition is not perfectly horizontal. I knew that when I test fit it and thus I made it a little taller than it needed to be. I will use a guide bar tomorrow with a flush cut router bit and trim it level. It will be 35 1/4" high. The 3/4" thick solid ash chart table surface will close down on top of the aft bulkhead. The forward bulkhead will rise above the chart table and match the height of the portside bulkhead that divides the saloon from the galley.