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.
30 Dec 12
After six coats of varnish on chart table top I reattached the hinges putting the lifting lid back in place. I am please with how the ice box has turned out. It was lot of work but I think well worth it. It should be many times more effective than the original icebox that was poorly insulated and positioned between the inboard engine and the stove/oven. I would like for the top to be wider but that is all the room I had. It's about 28" wide and 42" deep. With the toe kick I incorporated it should be very comfortable to stand at read charts and plot positions. I still need to build the "plug" that fits in the opening but I will do that when I start milling the walnut for the cabin sole and trim.
I'll build a book shelf at the far end of the chart table top.
The lid is held in place by the simple gravity latch which you can see holding the top left corner of the lid. I make the plug later.
I also, made and installed a gravity latch for the lid that I made from some teak scrap. It is a clever design I picked up from the Pardeys. The latch pivots on a center mounted screw but has a second screw in front of the center mounted screw that sits in an elongated hole. The elongated hole allows the latch to pivot up when the top edge of the lid makes contact with it. As the lid continues back the latch has a notch cut in it that captures the lid as it drops into place. When you are ready to close the lid, lift the latch up and the lid swings down. The latch returns to the proper position determined by the second screw. The nice thing about this latch is you can open the lid with one hand freeing the other to steady yourself while sailing--"One hand for yourself and one hand for the ship."
I have spend the last few days building the counter top for the galley. I am moving forward cautiously as I try to understand how the wood will move and how best to mitigate it. The gist of the issues are how to make a solid ash top with two panels to be joined perpendicularly to one another. That is one issue. Another is how to incorporate a raised "frame" to cover the end grain and capture spilled liquids, crumbs, or whatever. Overlaying these issues is how to accommodate the movement of the wood as it expands and contracts. Wood expands little to none lengthwise as the majority of movement is across it's width. The long panel top will expand and contract 'twartship. The short panel, under the sink, will expand and contract fore and aft. If I glue the frame to the panels and there is significant movement then something will have to give . . . most likely the panels will crack along the grain and the joints in the frame will open up. So, I have been thinking that I could make 1/2" deep dados in the frame and install the panels like a panel door. That way, the panels can expand and contract to their heart's content. Of course, if I do that, I can't use bedding compound or glue between the frame and the panels to keep liquids from seeping under the edge of the frame. I am not going to rush this project. Until I have a feel for the best way to achieve what I want I'll work around this project and move on to some others. I may even look into a stainless top for the small section under the sink or perhaps even some corian. The small section is 16"x23" so this should not be a big expense. But, there is no running down those options till after the New Year as all the shops around here are closed. Contrary to what some people think, varnish will not keep the wood from moving, only slow down the time it takes to move.
23 Dec 12 Ash Countertops
Today I ripped, edge jointed, and glued up the main part of the counter top for the galley. I will build a frame around the edge that is raised about 1/4" to help keep spilled liquids from seeping over the edge of the counter top. I'll also install a fiddle along the inboard edge. I have designed the top to fit up to the edge of the cabinetry so the whole thing can be removed and replaced or repaired without removing the cabinetry.
I jointed the edges with a router using the same technique I described in the 16 December 2012 post. I thought about ripping the flat sawn part of the 8"wide ash planks out then gluing up all edge grain wood. It would take twice as much wood with a lot of waste. I chose not to do that because I am not sure it is necessary. To ensure a flat surface I clamped both horizontally and then vertically as depicted in the picture. I applied packing tape over the edge of the wood clamps so they don't end up getting glued to the wood top.
Gluing up the ash countertop for the galley.
The plan is to leave them bare and just scrub them with bleach water and a scrubby pad as required which sounds a little unusual at first blush. However, if they are varnished you are stuck with keeping them varnished and varnish is not very durable when it comes to the abuse counter tops endure. I have mixed feelings about bare ash counter tops. There are other options but Lin Pardey swears by bare ash and I have discussed it with her on several occasions. The countertops on Taleisin have lasted a long time. Left bare, they should remain light colored which is a nice contrast in an all varnished wood interior (the chart table is varnished however). We have a maple top work table I built in 2004 in the center of out kitchen. I have oiled the top once. It gets used many times every day. It has held up beautifully. So, I have high hopes for the ash counter tops. Oh, one more thing. This is a very inexpensive solution. I will have about $50.00 in the counter top. No other solution even close to that.
21 Dec 12
After installing the horizontal cleats that support the shelves it was time to install the "cleat nubs" (that's what I call 'em anyway) that support the outboard edge of the shelves. This is not necessary if the shelf isn't very wide or if it won't be supporting much weight. I came up with the following technique after using a much more complicated method on the starboard cockpit locker. I started by determining the location where the nubs would be located by using a laser level and marked that spot with a "sharpie" marker. Next, I had to remove the paint and then abrade the hull. I could use my 4 1/2" high speed angle grinder but that is overkill and makes a huge mess. Instead I use a Norton Rapid strip. The Rapid Strip was suggested to me by one of the tech reps at West Systems Epoxy about a year ago when I was working on another project. He informed me that they have had better adhesion results with the rapid strip than with 80 grit paper when epoxying to fiberglass. What I like best is I can attach it to my cordless drill, it cuts through the Interlux Bilgekote paint quickly, and it abrades the fiberglass as well. I have good control and it does not make much of a mess. What's not to like about that? Next, I used my Starette "protractor head" on a small block of wood to determine the slope of the hull. I then cut small blocks of Doug Fir on my chop saw to the corresponding angle I determined with the protractor head. After test fitting, I performed an acetone wipe down and mixed up thickened epoxy. I trowled it on the block and pressed it into place. I formed fillets with the squeeze out and scooped up the rest. The next time I have the Bilgekote paint out I'll paint over the nubs. Pretty simple.
One of the "nubs" filleted in position with thickened epoxy. The number on the top is the degree of the slope of the hull in that area. In this case its 62 degrees.
20 Dec 12
Today, I began the work to install the cleat system for the shelves that will be located under the galley counter tops. Though I could install them with the counter top in place it is on my back and knees if I installed them first. I have spent some time over the last few months thinking about how best to use the space. Once I had a firm plan it seemed a straight forward project. I ripped some Doug Fir into suitable cleating stock and then used my laser level to make my marks, position the cleats and install them with #10 oval head screws or 1/4" pan head bolts as the situation required. It took several hours of tedious but not unpleasant work. I will probably use okume ply for the shelves but I will delay that project till later.
Looking forward from the aft most of the three port side galley storage lockers.
Looking aft from the middle of the three portside galley storage lockers.
Part of the reason I initially did not glue the fiddle on was I had "Tightbond III" on the brain. I was concerned I would have difficulty getting the squeeze-out cleaned up completely and it would show through the varnish. Then, like a bell going off in my head, I remembered the Gflex and T88 epoxy. Either of those very similar epoxies is a perfect solution. Neither requires adding thickeners nor are they visible under varnish. So, this morning, I removed the fiddle from the inboard panel (I had only applied one coat of varnish and that was to the under side). I taped off around the panel and then mixed up some Gflex. I spread it on, tightened the screws, wiped up the squeeze-out, and carefully cleaned up any excess with an acetone dampened paper towel. I set it aside to cure.
19 Dec 12
Today I made and installed the fiddle for the top of the icebox/chart table. It's 3/4" ash 1 1/2" high and about 27" long. I drew the design I wanted on the ends on a piece of scrap 1/4" ply. I cut the shape with a jig saw and smoothed it out with a file then sanded it smooth. I used the template to trace the pattern on the fiddle with a pencil then cut out the shape with a jigsaw. I sanded it smooth and routed it with a 1/4" round over bit. I sanded some more and generally fussed with it way to much. Finally, I installed it from underneath with three 1 1/2" long #10 FH SS screws. The ash really holds a screw tight. I test fit the whole thing then performed some final sanding and a wipe down. Last, I laid on the initial coat of Epifanes gloss varnish cut 50 percent with mineral spirits.
The fiddle is 1 1/2" high.
The top is hinged to swing up to gain access to the plug for the icebox. I'll build the plug later.
18 Dec 12
With the ash top glued up it was time to trim it to fit the top of the icebox, install the hinges, and prepare it for varnish (photo gallery below). But first, I decided it was time for another tool. I have wanted a lightweight laminate trimmer for a while but have put it off as unnecessary. With the need to install the butt hinges and my low level of skill with using a chisel to cut a straight line it seemed like a good time to pick one up. After using it yesterday and today I am already sold. It is super convenient and very accurate.
I started off by trimming the most inboard ash plank and positioned it first--this became the base line for the other two panels. With the first panel in position, I made a template for the second panel (two ash planks glued together about 14 1/2" wide) that would serve as the hinged lifting panel over the top of the icebox opening. With that panel in position I made a template for the most outboard panel (three ash planks glued together). This panel had to fit between two bulkheads and the aft bulkhead has a significant curve in it. I needed to scribe the edge of the panel to fit the curve but I couldn't get it into position to scribe directly on it. So, I made another template and hot glued a wide 1/4" piece of plywood to the outer edge of the template. I then scribed onto the plywood. I removed the template and trimmed the plywood it to the scribed line with block plane. I test fit it to make sure it was accurate. Then, I laid the template on the ash panel and traced the template on the panel. I used a jigsaw to make the cuts but stayed wide of the line. Next, I clamped the template back down on the ash panel and then used a pattern cutting router bit (the guide bearing is on the top (closest to the router), vice the end of the bit, and trimmed the edge smooth. I test fit all three panels. They fit nicely.
It was time to install the hinges which are extruded solid brass with brass pins . . . so they should be very durable in a marine environment. I clamped the two panels together making sure they were perfectly aligned. I used a small square to lay out the lines and then marked the edges with a razor knife. It is critical to get them absolutely square. When I was satisfied, I clamped another piece of wood to the edge of the panels to give me a wider platform to better support the base of the laminate trimmer making it easier to keep steady. I set the depth on the laminate trimmer, with a small 1/4" straight fluted bit inserted, and free hand cut with the router removing the wood between the layout lines. I cut just shy of the lines. Next, I used chisels and a light mallet to remove the tiny remaining wood and smoothed everything out with my cabinetmakers rasp. I test fit the hinges and going back and fourth a few time till I was satisfied with the fit.
For butt hinges you can align the center of the pin right on the edge between the panels. The barrel does not have to stick up very high above the surface of the top. Being careful to keep the hinge properly positioned I marked a center hole for the first screw. I drilled the hole and then dipped the 3/4" #8 brass wood screw in some wax to reduce friction when it is being driven into the wood. I use wax from a wax toilet gasket ring. It's cheap and it works great. I scooped a little into an empty spice jar years ago and have been using it ever since. I hand screwed in the fasteners so as not to strip them. Once they were installed, I took the top to the boat and checked the fit, which was very good. I took the top back to the shop and removed the hinges. I sanded the panels with 150 grit on a finish sander and then made a small jig to cut out the finger hole necessary to be able to lift the top up. I could have used a brass ring which is what most folks do. The problem with a brass ring on a hinged top is it is hard to get your finger out of the hole when the lid is moving away from you as it swings up. This kind of slot allow you to stick your finger under the edge and as the lid comes up you rotate your wrist over and now you have your fingers on the top edge. It's easy to do and you can do it with one hand while you are holding on to steady yourself at the same time. I made the initial cuts with a small saw. I removed the kerfs with a chisel and mallet. Then I used the jig I previously made and the pattern cutting router bit to get a smooth even cut. Next, I spent about 45 minuets undercutting the finger holes with the cabinetmakers rasp so there is a deep bevel under the upper edge. I finished it off with sand paper wrapped around a dowel rod. Once I was satisfied with the finish I reassembled the hinges and took the whole thing back to the boat. It fit very nicely. It was a good days work.
16 Dec 12 Making an Invisible Joint
There was a lot going on today so I was only able to work on the Far Reach a little bit. Yesterday, I planed the majority of the ash to 3/4" thick. I cut the planks a little long for the nav station/ice box top and for the galley. But, my focus for the next few days will be on the nav station/icebox.
I wanted an invisible joint. I don't care how true my table saw or jointer is I have never been able to get an absolutely tight fitting joint, unless the joint is short. I only know one way to make an invisible joint and it's not difficult.. Done correctly the joints are perfect . . . I mean perfect. I learned the technique five years ago when I was building sapele table tops for our home from a Wooden Boat magazine article written by Ruth Ann Hill and John Brooks (Feb 2007, Number 194, pg 32-27). If you want to make perfect joints it is worth the $7-$8 to buy the back issue. But, here is the short version.
I cut the planks to width on my table saw. Next, I laid out two saw horses and placed "sacrificial" cleats along the top of each saw horse (not across them). I laid the first plank across the saw horses on top of the cleats. Next, I placed a plywood guide bar on top of the plank and set it back 2 1/2" from the edge of the plank to be jointed. The 2 1/2" represents 1/16" less than the width of the outside edge of the router base to the closest approach of the edge of the router cutting bit (straight fluke by the way) on my router. I clamped the guide bar in place. The guide bar can be anything reasonably straight. I use a piece of 3/4" thick plywood. I set the router bit depth about 1/16" deeper than the thickness of the plank, thus the purpose of the sacrificial cleats. I ran the router down the edge.
Guide bar clamped in place 1/16" less than width of router base edge to edge of bit.
Now, for the magic part. I left the first plank and guide bar all clamped in place. I set the next plank across the saw horses and left a gap between the two planks 1/16" less wide than the thickness of the router bit. The easiest way to get the space just right is to measure the thickness of the bit and cut two spacer blocks 1/16" less than that thickness. I set the spacers between the planks, clamped the second plank in place, and then removed the spacers. Then, I ran the router back along the same guide bar but from the opposite direction because now the cut is on the opposite plank and you always want the router to cut against the direction you are moving the router (you don't want the spinning blade to "pull" the router along). Because I already routed the first plank and left the guide bar in the same place the bit is just spinning along the face of the first plank while the cutting is being done on the second plank.
After routing first edge use precut spacer blocks to set the second board in place. Clamp and then remove spacer blocks.
So, what is the big deal about this technique you say? Well, whatever imperfections are cut into the first plank by the less than perfect guide bar, the same imperfections are cut into the second plank and so when you push the planks together they fit seamlessly.
My router base is square on one side which makes it a little simpler than if the base is round. If your router base is round then you need to mark on the base and keep that mark running on the edge of fence to keep everything aligned. You also have to keep the sawdust from getting trapped against the fence and throwing off the cut. My wife holds the vacuum nozzle right next to the fence to prevent wayward debris from interfering with the path of the router. The article has some more specifics about how to approach and execute this technique so again I recommend buying the back issue, plus there is also an interesting article about beveling and chamfering tools in it too.
I staggered the joint for the photo so you can see where the joint is. It is invisible.
After making the joints I needed to glue them together. I wanted to spline joint the planks. I set up my slot cutter and made some test runs. But I did not like the way it was working. I intended to use some scrap 1/4" thick marine ply for the splines but it is just a hair under 1/4" and was not a tight fit. The smallest my dado set for the table saw is also 1/4" so I had no way to dial it down a little more. I could have cut some splines but to be honest it was more work than I wanted to deal with. For this application--alignment more than strength--I felt a tight fit was essential. Everything I have read says that a spline joint is stronger than a biscuit joint. But, there was no way to get around it unless I wanted to make a bunch of splines. I have made hundreds of biscuit joints. I spent the time a while back to tune the Dewalt and I can made an accurate cut. So, I dragged the Dewalt biscuit jointer out and made the cuts. I carefully cleaned out the slots and test fit everything together. Then, I glued it up with Tightbond III and clamped it in place. Afterwards, I noticed I had not alternated the direction of the grain between the two planks--what a dolt. I am usually very careful about this extra step but somehow I got the boards out of order early on when I numbered them. It's just a reminder that you have to always double and triple check what you are doing. We will see how it works out in the long run. If there is some trouble with warping there are solutions to address it. I'll deal with it then.
I clamped the top up using a strong back to make sure it would remain square. I used Tightbond III glue.
14 Dec 12
I completed installing the propane locker drain system. To begin, I taped off the outside of the hull around the hole. Then, I gooped up the through-hull with 3M 4000UV and positioned the fitting. Gayle held the through-hull in place with a special tool I made way back when I removed the through-hulls from the boat. Next, I crawled into the locker and tightened the nut from the inside. Then, I scooped up the excess bedding compound and then cleaned up the fitting with some paper towel and mineral spirits. Next, I cut the 5/8" ID hose to length. Then, I inserted the hose over the barbed end, added two hose clamps (there isn't room for two over each barb) and fit the other end over the custom made epoxy/biaxial drain I installed in the bottom of the propane locker a few days ago. Finally, I tightened the hose clamps down. There is not a lot of room in the locker but he hose can be inspected and replaced as necessary.
After completing work on the propane locker drain system I was able to reinstall the panels that isolation the Cape Horn Windvane quadrant from the rest of the lazerette locker. I painted these a few weeks ago but had to delay installing them until after I completed installing the propane locker drain system. What is good about this set up is I can disassemble different components to get access to everything in the boat. Unfortunately, the Cape Dory 36, like most production boats is not built with that in mind for all the systems. Nonetheless, I am happy to have this project behind me. I spent the rest of the day milling about 25 BF of ash to serve as the counter tops for the galley, nav station/icebox, and a few other counter top areas.
The painting is complete and the isolation panels are installed around the Cape Horn windvane.
11 Dec 12
Today I went right back to work on the propane locker. I started off shopping for two different kinds of 5/8" hose. I bought a short pre molded heater hose from auto zone and some heavy duty fuel line from a little chandlery up the road. Which ever one works best is the one I'll use. Then, I crawled down in the lazerette and confirmed where to drill the hole for the through-hull. As many holes as I have drilled and as much work as I have done on the Far Reach I still get a little anxious before performing major surgery. I measure several times and then usually go have a cup-o-joe or eat lunch and then come back and look at it again before I start cutting. Anyway, I taped the topside to prevent cracking the gel coat and drilled a small 1/8" diameter pilot hole from the inside of the locker. There was very little clearance under the propane locker bottom but I was able to use my Dremel with the flex cable to get to the right spot and drill the hole. Satisfied, with the way everything looked, I drilled a larger 1 1/8" hole up through the aft overhang. I test fit the through hull. It looked good. Next, I used a 1 1/2" diameter hole saw to cut a backing plate for the through hull then I drilled a 1 1/8" hole in the center, essentially making a small "doughnut" backing plate. Using some 80 grit abrasive paper, I sanded the backing plate, the epoxy drain plug I previously made, the area around the hole in the bottom of the propane locker and on the inside of the hull where the backing plate would be located. I vacuumed up the residue and then performed an acetone wipe down.
I mixed up some unthickend epoxy and wet out the inside of the beveled hole in the 1/2" thick plywood bottom of the propane locker then ( the entire locker has several layers of epoxy cloth on it--inside and out--and added some thickener to the remainder and trowled it on around the epoxy plug and pressed it into the hole. From the excess I formed a fillet around the underside of the drain plug where it passes through the 1/2" ply bottom to the propane locker. I scraped up the squeeze-out and trowled it on to the backing plate and pressed it into position over the hole I previously drilled through the aft overhang.
Next, I took some 8oz cloth trimmed into a 6"x6" square and cut a small hole in the middle and laid it over the top of the epoxy drain in the bottom of the propane locker. This small section of cloth serves as a barrier to seal off where the edge of the drain plug passes through the plywood. I wetted it out with unthickend epoxy and worked out any bubbles and left it to cure overnight. That was all the work for the day.
10 Dec 12
Yesterday I finished applying two more coats of varnish. The sanding was extensive as I had to completely sand all the wood on the inside of the boat twice--one before each coat of varnish. However, the varnishing went well. I alternated using a 2" and 3" badger hair brush each performing about the same. I continued to use Epifanes High Gloss Varnish. Each of the coats were unthinned.
The varnish now has that "deep" look I was trying to achieve.
This is a picture of the front of the icebox with only natural light. That is the reflection of the companionway in the varnish.
After the fifth coat the wood grain really filled in pretty well and began to get the "deep" look, though I can see why the experts say the interior requires about 6-7 coats. Having said that, I intend to stop at five . . . at least at this point. I'll complete the installation of the interior and then add a couple of additional coats if required.
I sanded by hand with my home made sanding blocks before the fourth coat but decided to machine sand with a finish sander before the fifth coat to better remove any ridges that were slowly building up. As before, I continued to use 220 grit abrasives. I vacuumed the entire interior of the boat after sanding then I wiped down all the wood and the cabin sole with clean lint free cloths dampened out with denatured alcohol to remove any sanding residue missed during the vacuuming. After applying the 4th coat of varnish, I allowed two days for it to dry. Then, I spent another whole day sanding. It took about 5-6 hours to apply each coat of varnish. I was very pleased that there are almost no runs, sags, or holidays. I think I am finally learning how to varnish though I think the vertical staving is pretty forgiving. The hours spent sanding were monotonous and just plain old tiring. The actual varnish work was enjoyable.
Today, I pulled the tape and then spent the day with the family. Tomorrow I will go back to work on the drain system for the propane locker then start work on the ash counter tops.
5 Dec 12
Painting and varnishing is not my favorite thing to do. But, with a spell of unseasonably warm weather on hand it seemed like a good time to apply some more varnish. All the mahogany has at least three coats of varnish as does the interior surfaces of the lockers. I'd like to have five coats on the vertical staving. Yesterday, I removed all the tools and whatnot from the interior of the boat. I vacuumed inside and the deck last night so I would start sanding with a clean surface. This morning I spent a little time lowering the shelf for the 23 1/2" tall spray bottle that is part of the shower system. Then, I started sanding. I have some simple home made sanding blocks I use. Basically, I sanded all the V-grooves first then sanded the flat faces of the staving. All I used today was 220 grit abrasives. It is not hard work but it is boring boring boring. It took about 5 1/2 hours to sand and then about an hour to vacuum. I finished off tonight with some initial taping. I'll need to do some more before I can start laying down the varnish. Before I varnish I'll wipe the all the interior surfaces with denatured alcohol to remove any dust. Previously, I varnished the interior in sections as I built the interior. This is the first time I will varnish the entire interior at one time--excluding the interior of the lockers. I am interested to see if it's a one day job.
I spent the day sanding the vertical staving with 220 grit abrasives in preparation for more varnish.
4 Dec 12
The cockpit locker painting is complete and all but one shelf is installed. To the right is a before and after picture of the area under the cockpit. Note in the before photo that there is no tabbing under the cockpit floor. The two layers of 1708 biaxial significantly increased rigidity of the cockpit floor. I was skeptical about painting the inside of the lockers with grey vice white paint but I am glad that I did. I am pleased with the color and they coverage provided by the Interlux Bilgekote. The wood required two coats but the fiberglass and epoxy only one coat. I am in the process of preparing the interior for two more coats of varnish (I need to do it before the temps plunge for the winter) before I complete the interior rebuild. After the varnish I will install the ash counter tops and then the cabinetry.
Under the cockpit just after I installed the control lines for the Cape Horn Windvane last year.
I think the grey Interlux Bilgekote looks good. I'll rerig the control lines soon.
Painting the lockers was a lot of work and I am certainly glad it is behind me. The lockers are small and difficult to work in. It seems having a locker too small to crawl into is asking for trouble. It's fine for a builder to make them that way as they install them before they fasten the deck to the hull. They don't have to work on them. The shelving I installed should increase the usable storage significantly. I have not reinstalled all the panels in the lazerette as I still need to install the vent/drain system for the propane locker and it is a lot easier to crawl down into the locker and work on the drain system with the cape horn quadrant removed from the boat. There is no question that the Cape Horn quadrant in the lazerette is inconvenient. I knew that when I chose the system but I think it will be a small issue in the long run
Starboard locker with kerosen tank and two shelves.
The Lazerette minus the vertical panels that isolate the quadrant for the Cape Horn Windvane.
The first drain plug I made for the propane locker was too large a diameter and I decided I needed it to angle aft as well. So, I made another one. It takes about 30 minutes to make it and another 30 minutes to trim it up after it cures so it's not a big investment in time or materials. This one has a 20 degree angle. Once I had it trimmed to size (except for length) I drilled a 7/8" diameter hole in the center of the locker. The propane bottles sit on 1/4" raised rubber strips--just like the dedicated shower water tank so the bottle won't block access to the drain. The outside diameter of the tube is 5/8". Today, I ordered a 5/8" bronze through hull with hose barb from Hamilton Marine. When it arrives I'll drill a hole under the aft overhang and complete the installation of the propane vent/drain system. The drain will be epoxied in place and then covered with a layer of 12 oz mat.
This is the second drain plug I made. This one has a 1/2" ID and is angled 20 degrees.
7/8" diameter hole. I beveled the hole with a chisel to match the bevel of the drain plug.
30 Nov 12 Sometimes You Have to Know When to Walk Away.
(4 Dec 12: Updated photos below) For the last few days I have been painting the cockpit lockers. I can just barely fit in two of the lockers to apply the paint which requires that you pretend you are pretzel. Anyway, yesterday I was trying to complete the installation of the shower water tank which I have been working on for a while. The painting was completed. The tank was in position. All the fittings were installed except for the last one. Of course, that was the one screws into the bottom of the tank as part of the gravity feed system. To that double ended male fitting is screwed a plastic 1/2" ball valve that is threaded on after the tank is positioned on the shelf. Problem is I could not get the plastic double ended male fitting to thread into the bottom of the tank. It kept wanting to cross thread. It was late and I was tired. I had been jammed into the locker too long. I wanted this project done. I was mad. Boy was mad. But, I managed to convince myself to put down the tools and step away from the tank--"do no harm" came to mind. So, I went to the shop and listened to some music. We had a family night movie. I felt better. This morning I went back to work. I took everything apart and removed the tank up to the cockpit. The threads were boogered up just a little at the beginning of the female fitting in the bottom of the tank. There was no way to get the plastic threaded one installed. So, I went with the brass one. I applied teflon tape to the threads and stuck a 1/2" dowel rod in through the hole in the fitting so I could keep it perfectly vertical while I used a 7/8" box end wrench to carefully spin it on. I prefer to use plastic with plastic to keep the same coefficient of expansion (COE). But short of sending the tank back to DuraWeld this was the best option. Then, I went back to painting the lockers.
The tank is well supported and very snug in the box. Two wood "cross bars" will be secured athwart the tank connected to the uprights to hold the tank down in the box should the Far Reach suffer a severe knock-down.
27 Nov 12
We took a week off for Thanksgiving and traveled to spend time with family. We had a great time. Since the last post I have been painting the cockpit lockers and shelves. It's slow going and it'll be a week before we can wrap it up. At the same time, I have started to work on the drain system for the propane locker. I built the locker a couple of years ago but did not install the drain system, which is a critical part of the locker. I had intended to use two through-hulsl--one for the hull and one for the bottom of the locker--connected by a hose. However, there is not a lot of room for the through-hulls as they were just two long. So, I decided to make the one that will fit in the bottom of the propane locker. That way it will be perfectly flush in the bottom of the locker and I can trim the length to get the clearance required.
The PVC pipe is inserted over a 3/8" diameter nail about 12" long. The nail is inserted through a hole in a piece of plywood. Plastic is laid down over the PVC. The wetted out biaxial is wrapped around the PVC.
The PVC pipe was pulled from the biaxial before it was fully cured. Later is will be trimmed and sanded smooth.
I made the drain the same way I made the drain for the icebox but a little larger diameter to be in compliance with ABYC standards. Click here for more info on the propane locker. Over the next couple of days I'll trim it and sand it smooth. It is made out for three to four layers of 1708 biaxial and epoxy. I used a 5/8" OD PVC pipe over a 3/8" diameter nail. I waxed the PVC pipe, slipped some sheet plastic over it. Next, I cut small slits in biaxial squares wetted them out and slipped them over the pipe. Then, I wrapped wetted out biaxial around the pipe and flared the bottom to get a wide overlap on the biaxial on the bottom. I finished it off with a thickened epoxy fillet. Four hour later, before it was fully cured I popped the pipe out and left it to harden overnight.
19 Nov 12
I have continued to work on several projects at the same time--shower water tank, ice box, and cockpit locker storage modifications. The shower water tank requires support on all four sides. I decided to raise it slightly to allow air to have access under the tank. I placed 1/4" thick rubber strips down. I drilled 1 1/2" diameter holes between the strips and routered them with a round over bit. The tall frames were positioned to allow cross beams to be through bolted over the top of the tank to keep it in the box should the boat suffer a severe knock-down. I built the box so it can be removed in order to pull the tank out of the boat if necessary. This was a time consuming job. I'll paint the locker, water tank box, and the shelving after Thanksgiving.
The rubber stirps support the bottom of the tank and allow air to circulate and water to drain out.
I test fit the box to make sure every thing fits properly. The tank will be plumbed to an on deck fill. It is the only tank so plumbed.
The port locker is fairly large but did not have a storage system other than for the batteries. The dedicated shower water tank now sits in that spot. In order to install more shelves I needed a way to support the outboard edge against the hull. I did not want to tab the shelf to the hull though that was an option. Instead, I used my laser level to draw a line along the hull. Then, I determined the slope of the hull along that part of the hull and cut small Doug Fir blocks to match the slope. I used thickened epoxy to attach them to the hull. I installed a cleat on the inboard side. A shelf with sit astride the cleat and the blocks. There is room for a vertical face forward of the shelf and that will allow storage underneath. As part of the locker improvement plan, I glassed the bulkhead to the underside of the deck. I glassed the forward side early on during the refit. The whole deck is much stronger now.
This is not a very good picture but you can see two of the four supports epoxied to the hull. They will support the outboard side of the shelf.
It is shocking to me how much of the deck was not tabbed to the bulkheads. The deck feels noticably more rigid.
There were 1/4" thick aluminum plates on the outboard faces of the two vertical plywood support that ran fore-and-aft under the outboard edges of the cockpit sole. I think the aluminum plates stiffened up the plywood to which was bolted the large steel weldment that was part of the pedestal steering system. Since I converted the Far Reach from wheel to tiller I probably do not need the plates but I decided to leave them anyway . . . you never know. However, the aluminum plates did not lay flat on the ply. They each sat on the tabbing all the way around the edge of the plates and there was a 3/16" gap between the aluminum plate and the ply. That did not seem right to me. The plate was pulled to the plywood in the center when the nuts were tightened down putting a lot of "spring" pressure on the nuts which secured the steel cross bar that supports the pillow block at the top of the rudder post. I decided to cut down the plates so they lay flat against the plywood which, to my thinking, better spread any load transmitted to the plates. I tried cutting the aluminum with a variety of jig saw blades without success. I could not cut it even with "steel cutting" blades. So, I tried using a metal cut-off wheel on my Makita 4 1/2" grinder. It worked very well. I couldn't cut a perfectly straight line but it was more than adequate for the job. After cutting the plates, I reinstalled them. The fit is much better.
It was time to fasten the outer plywood top to the icebox. I previously applied four coats of Epifanes high gloss varnish. Most of the top will never be seen as it will be covered with an ash top hinged in the middle to allow access to the plug that will sit in the beveled opening in the top of the box. I used a little brown Boat Life Caulk and was careful to tape the edges and mark where other fasteners were located so I did not drill into them. I predrilled the holes and installed 1" #8 bronze oval head screws to hold the top down.
14 Nov 12
While working on the frame for the shower water tank located in the port cockpit locker it seemed like a good time to further strengthen the cockpit sole. When I converted the Far Reach from wheel to tiller steering I removed a large steel subframe that supported the steering pedestal. The frame was bolted to the vertical plywood supports and through the cockpit floor to the steering pedestal base. When I removed the frame, I felt that there was less support for the cockpit. The cockpit is somewhat large and I felt it needed more support that it had. Additionally, the cockpit was tabbed on the outboard side of the foot-well, at the bottom, to the plywood supports but not on the inside. In fact, as I have previously mentioned there were a lot of bulkheads on the Far Reach that were tabbed on only one side or in some places, along the top, not tabbed at all. I decided it was worth the time and effort to tab the cockpit foot well on the bottom on both sides.
To do this, I sanded down the plywood and the fiberglass in the area the tape would be applied. Next, I vacuumed up the dust and also vacuumed out the gap. I performed an acetone wipe down (with a full face respirator and gloves). Next, I cut foam wedges from blue board with a 45 degree angle on one side and trimmed them to fit in the gaps. Then, I precut strips of 6" and 4" wide biaxial tape. Next, I mixed up West System 105 resin and 205 fast hardener and wetted out the biaxial. Last, I applied the tape, both layers together, worked out the bubbles, and left it to cure. This job cost me about a day of sanding, vacuuming, fitting the foam, and applying the biaxial. I am glad I did it. The cockpit has to be stronger and have less flex. I think it is the little things that help you sleep at night when offshore and mother nature is flexing her muscles.
Update 19 Nov 12. After the epoxy cured I washed the tabbing down with water and wiped it dry with paper towel to remove any amine blush. Next, I sanded it with 80 grit. It is ready for paint. The increased rigidity in the cockpit floor is impressive. Before, if you jumped up and down in it you could feel it vibrate. Now, it is rock solid.
11 Nov 12 -- Drill the Hole Already It's been six days since my last post and I have worked hard on the Far Reach everyday but with little to show for my efforts--thus no posts. This is the most frustrating kind of work. Sometimes, it just takes a lot of effort to move forward a little bit. But, you can either give up, slap something together and hope it works, or keep methodically working the problem. I naturally drift to the latter but it is not without its own set of problems. This is a dilemma everyone that takes on a project like this faces. Time, money, skill, attitude, and significance of the project all come in to play. There is no one solution that will work for every project and person. There are folks that are impatient and will just slap something together and press on. On the other hand there are folks for whom perfection is the only acceptable outcome. Though I have never tried for perfection, I would be forever disapointed with the results of I did, I do want to do a proper job. I don't want to do over what I did not have time to do right the first time. On the other hand, I firmly believe that perfection is the enemy of good enough. So, I just have to come to a solution that I feel good about and then proceed.
How can one little hole take so much work?
The challenge was I needed to solve how the sitz tub would be plumbed before I put the last panels in place in the head. Before I could commit to the plan I needed to order the grey water tank . . . and to order the tank I needed make sure the plumbing plan I developed would work. So, I started working through the options. This meant multiple trips to Lowe's, visits to our local chandlery, etc looking for parts, measuring components, drawing the plans out so I could visualize them, yada yada yada. I originally thought the grey water tank would be located forward under the sole in the head. That way, the sink and the tub could both drain easily to the tank located between the under the sole. But, I would have to route the 1 1/2"bilge pump hose and the icebox drain hose forward to the tank. There were some problems with that plan. Also, to remove the tank I would have to disassemble the head . . . not good. So, why not move the tank aft under the sole near the bottom of the companionway? That meant I needed to make a mock up of the tank and draw the location of the fittings on the tank top. Next, I needed to actually run the drain lines from the tub aft to the new location of the tank to make sure it was possible to do so. The lines needed to gently slope down and aft for the water to drain. This meant I would have to drill the hole for the hose through the tabbing at the bottom of the bulkhead and I was reluctant to drill 1 3/4" holes through the tabbing (I needed a hole big enough for the chafe protection around the hose) bulkheads, and staving without putting forth some thought. I looked, I measured, I drew some diagrams. I bought the Y-Diverter Valve and made sure it would fit in the location I had chosen. I bought some flexible hose. I was concerned it may not be the best choice. I bought some 1" PVC pipe to try out. I installed the drain in the sitz tub with brown Life Caulk. I procrastinated. In the mean time I varnished the head panels and the ply top to the ice box. Finally, I thought enough already . . . just drill the damn holes. So, I did. Four of them. It worked fine. They look good and have a reasonable slope to them. I'll post pictures of the entire set up when the grey water tank arrives and I start installing the components.
While working on the sitz tub drain system I applied three coats of varnish to the icebox staving as well as to the staving on the panels in the head. This is the only time I have used foam brushes for applying varnish to staving. They are OK. Not having to rinse the brushes is nice. I have had no runs, sags, or holidays either. But, I can tell the varnish is going on thinner. I have had some difficulty in the past applying varnish to big open spaces on verticle plywood (cabin sides) but never to the staving as it is very forgiving. So, I will use the badger hair brushes for the four and fifth coats of varnish to the rest of the boat. It's too much varnishing not to be able to get it on thick enough (providing it's not too think) for each coat.
While waiting for the varnish to dry I needed to have another project going. So, I decided to complete the retrofit of the port cockpit locker. That project includes installing a frame for the dedicated water tank for the sitz tub. Click here for more info on the sitz tub. I was almost out of 1/2" plywood and I don't really want to buy more when I need so little. So, I pulled together all my scraps to see what I could do. I cut the panels to the largest size possible and test fit them in the locker to check the fit and to further develop how they would be secured. Then, I epoxied in some plywood wedges with thickened epoxy to support the outboard panel. Tomorrow, after the epoxy has cured, I will remove the tank and panels and tape the ply supports in place.
10 November 2012
"On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date many thousands of men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history."
The above is an excerpt from General John A. Lejuene's birthday message to the Marine Corps in 1921 and is republished annually on the birthday of the Corps.
On this day, all around the world, wherever Marines are gathered, from ball rooms filled with Marines in dress blues, to mud filled fighting holes and dusty outposts manned by steely eyed Devil Dogs protecting us from those that would do us harm, Marines raise a glass or canteen cup in toast to the Corps. Happy 237th Birthday Marines. It was an honor to serve by your side in every clime and place.
5 Nov 12
Finally, I was able to do some real work on the head compartment. After completing the design work, I cut the panels and test fit them. Next, I attached the mahogany staving per my normal technique (click here for more info on staving). I milled the cleats from teak and iroko off-cuts. Then, I drilled the countersinks and installed the plugs after the photos were taken. The basic lay out is the sit down shower tub (sitz) is outboard. Inboard are the shorter compartment box for the toilet (forward) and the taller compartment for the storage of the two gallon pump up sprayer.
Both compartments will have teak lids. The toilet box will have two integrated hinged lids--the first lid is the one with the hole for the . . . well . . . you know. Then, hinged on top of it is a flat lid that serves as a regular seat in the down position. You step on the seat to climb into the tub, or you can sit on it to put on your sea boots, etc. The taller box holds the pump up sprayer, so you never have to remove the sprayer to use it. The 20 gallon shower tank is located in the port cockpit locker on a shelf. The bottom of it is about 12" higher than the spray bottle. The tank will be plumbed to the compartment with the spray bottle using gravity to work. There will be a short length of hose in the compartment with a plastic ball valve. When you want to take a shower you simply lift the lid to the compartment, unscrew the pump, turn the ball vale to the "flow" position and put water in the bottle, add hot water from a tea kettle (which can be heated on the refleks heater, if its running, or the stove), screw the pump back into the bottle, pump a few strokes and you are ready for a hot shower. The shower tank is separate so there is no worry about using too much water and then running out of drinking water. Because the water is metered by the spray bottle capacity we will know how much water we are using.
4 Nov 12
The last couple of day have been spent on the icebox and on the head compartment. I applied two coats of epoxy to the back side of the icebox vertical inboard panel. After it cured I washed off the amine blush and sanded it with some 320 grit to make it smooth. The next step was to install the insulation on the front and the top. It was tedious work. I made templates with doorskin and a hot glue gun for a tight fit. I staggered all the joints to reduce the chance for air leaks. All the panels fit very tight and I only added a little bit of caulk here and there . . . basically it did not need any. I applied a layer of aluminum foil to each layer of blueboard, shiny side out. This time I did not use contact cement. Instead, I just laid the foil on the panel and trimmed it very carefully. There is 3 1/2" of foam on the font (as there is on the sides) and 2 3/4" foam on top. I screwed the vertical panel in place, but I just set the top on as I will varnish it then drill for the bronze oval head screws. Once I have three coats of varnish on the top, I will apply some brown colored Life Caulk around the edges. I am very glad to have this behind me.
In between work on the ice box I also worked on the head compartment. I finished up the design work a couple of days ago. Yesterday, I cut the panels for the toilet box and pump up shower unit and applied the staving as well. Tomorrow, I will install the panels and post some pictures then.
2 Nov 12
This morning, I unclamped the panel. It was nice and flat. I removed the screw clamps and took the panel into the boat shed and prepared the tools to router the edges flat to the plywood. I used a flush cut router bit with a guide bearing. By letting the staving run a little wild all the way around the plywood when I epoxied it on it was a simple matter to router the staving with a flush to the plywood edge. Next I test fit the panel and then screwed to the vertical cleats I installed early on in the project. Next, I counter sunk all the holes from the screw clamps, installed wood plugs, and later cut them flush to the mahogany.
1 Nov 12
After I removed the icebox from the boat I took the hatch frame apart. Then, I reinstalled it adding a small amount of Life Caulk polysulfied--in teak color--to ensure no air could move between the various parts of the frame and allow heat to gain access to the icebox. Next, I had to mill some more plantation teak to finish up the hatch opening frame. The teak I had was 8" wide but my jointer is only 6" wide. I did not want to stop work to haul the planks to the Camp Lejeune Base Wood Hobby Shop. So, I decided to make a sled that would allow me to use my 13" wide thickness planer as a big jointer. I took a previous planed plank I had in the shop. I hot glued some small cleats to the plank at the front and back of the teak that I laid on top of the sled so the teak would not slip of the sled when I ran it through the planer. I used small shims to wedge the teak so it could not wobble side to side and ran the whole thing through the planer several times till I had one flat side. Then, I removed the teak plank from the sled and flipped the teak over and ran it though the planer with the now flat side down and planed the other side. It worked great. After a few passes I ended up with a 40" long plank about 1 1/4" thick and 8 inches wide. From the plank, I ripped what I need to finish off the hatch frame. I ran these pieces over the dado blade to create a 1/2" for the plywood top to rest on and to also make the plywood fit flush to the top teak frame. This step would also hide the plywood endgrain around the teak lid opening. Of course, I was feeling pretty smug since the whole project was just coming together really well until I test fit these last pieces . . . they were to thin by a half inch! What a dolt! While working out the final scheme I had two options. Some how, in my head, I got the two options all mixed up and screwed it up! Hahahaha. It had been a long day so it seemed like a good time to stop for the night and to reattack in the morning.
The next morning, I ripped some more stock from the plank I had planed the day before and dadoed it again. This time I got it right. I assembled the last parts and then I took the icebox back to the boat to check the fit. Excellent. Next, I used doorskin strips and a hot glue gun to make a template for the plywood top that would fit around the hatch opening. I used the template to trace the pattern on to some BS 1088 Okume 1/2" plywood. I used a block plane, cabinet makers rasp, and a bull nose plane to finalize the fit. Satisfied with the top, I took it back to the shop and applied two coats of epoxy on the underside. I don't know if epoxy is necessary . . . I'll varnish the top. But, everything I have read says I could get some condensation on the inside of the outer box. I hope not, but just in case I have applied epoxy to all the inside facing surfaces of the outer box as described in The Self Sufficient Sailor.
Next, I took the plywood that I have been saving for the inboard vertical face of the outer box and trimmed it to fit between the two bulkheads that comprise the fore and aft sides of the outer box. Then, I spent about 90 minutes attaching the V groove mahogany staving I previously cut and set aside for this project to the plywood. I used the last of my System Three T-88 Epoxy till I ran out. I then switched to West Systems G Flex Epoxy to finish up. I used my screw clamps to attach the staving to the ply (which I have used on all the staving I have installed). I have found that if I epoxy the staving to only one side of the ply and it is not clamped in place, or clamped flat with strong back it will bow the plywood towards the staving as the epoxy shrinks down as it cures. Usually, I attach the staving to the play all ready clamped or screwed in place in the boat where it is well supported. But since I attached this staving in the shop, I clamped it up with several strong backs so it will cure flat.
Tomorrow, I will probably varnish the plywood top for the icebox, install the wood plugs in the staving, and varnish the staving. The icebox will not be complete till I have made the teak plug for the opening and then installed the hinged 7/8" ash counter top over the whole thing.