31 Dec 10 I finished installing the staving on the starboard side saloon bulkhead today. It went pretty fast with Gayle helping me out. By far the most time was spent fitting the pieces which took about three hours. The gluing with the T-88 took just over an hour with two people. When we finished up with the staving I trimmed the wood plugs on the portside bulkhead . . . my skills have already improved. Then I sanded in a few spots to see how the wood and the plugs would react. You can see the sanding spots on the port side. I'll hold off on any more sanding until I complete the installation of the staving on the partial bulkheads that separate the nav area and galley from the main saloon.
29 Dec 10 Today I started by finishing the installation of the mahogany staving on the portside main bulkhead. It took several hours. When I finished it I countersunk the holes on the previous section of the staving I installed last week, then screwed into the holes SS FH #6x3/4" screws. Then I installed mahogany wood plugs over the screw heads. In the photo to the left you can see the screw block clamps securing the staving I installed today (on the left side) and the wood plugs in the staving I installed last week on the right side.
The rows of screws are actually much more level than the photo indicates . . . I worked hard to get these as level as I could. There is a little play in the washers and the bocks are not perfectly square. There is only one screw hole that is off significantly (about 3/8") and that in the top of the first row I installed today--the first piece under the cabin side. Somehow the staving slipped down and I did not notice it till I was installing the next one. It will be behind the book case so no need to get excited about it.
You can also see how the new staving is a little lighter color than the previous staving. It's all from the same tree and the colors were much closer before installation began. Yesterday I thought maybe it was the UV light darkening the wood but I am not so sure. It may be just the air getting to the wood now that it's not stacked. I am willing to bet the wood I installed today will be darker in a few days. I have also read that besides mahogany getting a little darker over time, the color differences in the banding will also even out as well.
This was a pleasant day of work. I am getting a little faster and smoother at cutting, trimming, and installing the staving. I have a good system for mixing the T-88 now and it moves along quickly. The pot-life is excellent. I mix up enough to do 6-8 pieces of staving at a time. I have much less squeeze-out as well which makes the whole thing a lot less messy. Installing the wood plugs is time consuming but not difficult.
28 Dec 10 I started off today by trimming the wood plugs I installed yesterday in the forward cabin. I boogered up a couple so I drilled them out with a 3/8" forstner bit and replaced them. Not a big deal and not really very time consuming. I have not trimmed enough wood plugs that I have it down pat . . . I am pretty slow and methodical at this point. But, something tells me I should have it figured out by the time I finish installing the interior. Nonetheless it went pretty well and it was rewarding to see the forward cabin staving coming along. After trimming, I hit them lightly with a sanding block to see how they would react. A finish sander with 150 or 180 grit should smooth the surface especially when followed by six to eight coats of varnish. But for now, I don't want to get pulled off target. Keep focused on the staving man.
After trimming the wood plugs I removed the screw bock clamps from the staving on the port side bulkhead in the saloon. I laid out 11 pieces of staving, planned the ends and cut them to length. I dry fit five of the eleven before I ran out of time. Tomorrow I should finish up the staving on the port side bulkhead. Then I'll start working my way around the saloon. Soon I'll get a couple coats of varnish on the staving and the cabin sides. At that point, I should be able to start installing the berths in the forward cabin and the berths, settees and sideboard in the saloon.
Forward cabin staving.
27 Dec 10 The temperature continues to remain quite cold here. The same low pressure front that is barreling up the east coast slamming New England today and tomorrow passed through here yesterday. We got a bunch of rain that eventually turned to snow--only about 2"-- but it is mostly melted now.
This afternoon I got back to working on the boat. It was good to get back in there. Since I got a late start I decided to begin work by removing the screw block clamps from the staving in the forward cabin, countersinking the holes, and installing wood-plugs. I installed the staving around the first of December. It is a good thing I did not wait any longer. You can see in the photo a little discoloration where the block clamps were. I have to wonder if it isn't from UV light darkening the mahogany. If so, it would be a very small amount of UV light since the boat was mostly closed up. I think it will sort it self out over time. I will lightly sand anyway before I apply the first coats of thinned varnish. I will not let the clamps remain on any more staving longer than is necessary.
After removing the clamps I countersunk wood-plug holes in the staving and then screwed in SS flat head #6X3/4" screws. Then, I dipped the wood-plugs that I made two weeks ago in some Tightbond III--I could just as easily use TB II--and tapped them in with a plastic mallet. Tomorrow, I will trim them with a chisel. I may go ahead and start varnishing while I simultaneously install staving in the main cabin.
The temp in the boat today was 59 degrees so the heater is doing the job. The temp drops at night in the boat but has not gotten much colder than about 41 degrees on the very cold nights. Good enough for what I am doing.
We are forecast for high 50 degree temperatures later in the week. That would be nice.
Fwd Cabin Wood Plugs
24 Dec 10 Christmas Eve. No boat work. Just a quick update to the "writings" tab. I substituted, on the "Musings" page, the original and slightly longer version of why we decided to rebuild an older boat vice buy a new boat since I continue to be asked that question. I ran across the original the other day when I was cleaning up the computer hard drive. I think it provides more depth and detail regarding that important decision. Click here for the "Musings" page if you are interested.
23 Dec 10 I made good progress today installing more V-groove staving. I am getting more efficient. I was also able to make the T-88 epoxy go about 30 percent further than I did yesterday. The largest amount of time is spent trimming the planks to length, cutting the angles to match the slope of the hull, and planing some wood off on the back side, near the top of the plank so it would lay flat over the tabbing. Nonetheless, even that went much quicker today. I installed about 9 pieces of staving in three to four hours. I used the wonkiest grained staving behind where the sideboard/book case will be since they will mostly be hidden. Click here to see a drawing of the location of the sideboard/bookcase.
The sun was out today so the SRF warmed up quite a bit. It was pleasant enjoyable work installing the staving. Tonight I finished cleaning up the website cataloging entries from the Daily Log to the various "project" pages. I also added a new tab to give me a place to store some stories I posted on the Daily Log that didn't fit well anywhere else. The website is getting bigger and it is difficult sometimes to know how to organize the various projects. Hopefully, it is not to difficult to navigate and makes sense.
I'll take the next two days off to spend with the family. They are calling for snow in the next few days which will thrill the kids. Merry Christmas to all.
22 Dec 10 I finally got started on the staving in the saloon. It took a while to everything ready. I set up the various stations in the wood shop--epoxy mixing station, jointer station, sanding station, etc. I set up a small portable work bench in the cockpit with the Bosch jig saw for trimming the ends of the staving. Then, I donned my respirator and soaked a clean rag with acetone and wiped down the bulkhead thoroughly to get remove the surface oil in the teak. I repeated this step until the there was no wood dust on the rag.
Once the air was clear I marked horizontal lines on the bulkhead where the screws will go. Then, I took all four pieces of staving up to the boat at the same time. I measured for length and used the jig saw to cut them to the proper length with a slight angle cut on top end to match the slope of the cabin overhead. Then I tested for fit. I did all four and positioned them on the bulkhead. They looked good. Next, I took them to the wood shop. I planed 2 1/4" back from the top end to a depth of about 3/16". This allows the top of the staving to lie flush over the slightly proud tabbing at the top of the bulkhead. Next, I flipped the staving over and sanded the back with 60 grit on a finish sander with the vacuum hooked up. Then I vacuumed any wood dust off and wiped the backs with acetone.
Staving finally going up in the saloon.
I mixed up a batch of 4 oz of T-88 System Three epoxy. It is very thick. Mix ratio is 1:1. I used 8 oz graduated mixing cups to get the amount right. I pour/scraped the resin and hardener into a 16oz plastic bowl and stirred till it was thoroughly mixed. It was creamy thick and had a strong epoxy smell . . . like 5 min epoxy. It has a pot life of several hours at the 60 degree temps currently in the boat. I took the mixed epoxy up to the boat and sort of slathered it on a premarked section of the bulkhead and on a piece of staving. I used a notched plastic spreader to spread it out evenly. Then, I positioned the staving and marked for the top hole to be even with the horizontal line I drew previously on the bulkhead to make sure the wood plugs would be on an even line. Then I screwed in one of my screw block clamps. Once the first one was in place, I marked the rest, drilled, and screwed in the remaining five screw blocks. Then, I repeated for each piece of staving. It took an additional batch of epoxy for the last two staving pieces. I used 4 oz of resin and hardener each, for a total of 8 oz of epoxy for the four pieces of staving. That is more than I thought I would use. Much more than the tightbond I used in the forward cabin. I will probably need at least another gallon for all the staving. I don't have an opinion on the System Three compared to the West Epoxy yet. Using Tightbond III was a lot simpler but the advantage of the T-88 System Three is I know it will hold and it works down to 35 Deg F which is really the key consideration. As I have said before, if I could maintain 65 Deg F in the boat for 24 hours I would use Weldwood UF glue no question. I have the electric oil heater going in the boat with a couple of heat lamps. The temps are supposed to drop to 28 Deg F tonight and my heater set up should keep me above 40 Deg F (at the cabin sole level) in the boat so the plan is working for now.
Getting the system down for this first batch of staving with the new epoxy was time consuming. I had just the right amount of epoxy squeeze-out. I did have a very small amount of squeeze-out up through the V-groove in a couple of places but I was able to clean it up with acetone and a rag. It will take a little more time to figure out exactly how much epoxy to apply to the staving but I am pretty close now. When I finished installing the first four pieces I went ahead and trimmed, planed, and sanded the next four pieces but I ran out of time to install them, so they will have to wait till the morning. I'll get a lot more done each day now that I have the stations set up and I have a feel for what needs to be done. I am not sure how long it will take to install the staving in the saloon and the head. Maybe a week or 10 days if I don't get distracted and if I put in an honest days work every day. Then, I should be able to get a couple of coats of varnish on and start installing the furniture.
The 1/2" X 4" silicon bronze bolts for the bobstay fitting arrived today These will replace the stainless steel ones that originally fastened the bobstay fitting to the stem of the boat. When possible, I'd like to keep bronze with bronze. It was hard to find bolts with shoulders that I could buy individually. Others I found had to be purchased in a box of 25 or something like that. What would I do with 25 1/2" bronze bolts? . . . and they are not inexpensive. Each bolt will have a washer, lock washer, and two nuts. These are also the extra heavy duty nuts.
20 Dec 10 The project pages are a little dorked up right now. I had six weeks of daily log entries to move and I did not finish it up last night. In the next couple of days I'll sort them out.
I thought this was also a good time to add some additionally strengthening to the main bulkheads. Though they are otherwise in good shape, the tabbing had separated in a few places on two of the forward bulkheads. So, today I levered the gap open and squirted in as much quickset 5200 as I could get in there. Then I through-bolted the four main bulkheads every six inches with 1/4" pan-head bolts using fender washers on both sides and nylon locking nuts. Though the tabbing seldom separates from the glass hull, it is not uncommon for it to eventually separate from wood, especially oily grained teak. Unlike epoxy, polyester resin is not a very good adhesive. On the Far Reach, the tabbing separated from the wood in just a couple of places but I through-bolted along the length for good measure. All the bolts and nuts will be hidden by the trim. I will probably through-bolt all the structural bulkheads but I ran out of fender washers so I went as far as I could for now.
Afterwards, in preparation for installing more staving, I sanded all of the bulkheads with 40 grit using a RO sander with the vacuum attachment. I usually buy my abrasives at McMaster-Carr. But I ran out a while back and went to Lowe's and bought a 10 disk package of "Gator" PSA 40 grit. I did not know how much better the McMaster-Carr abrasives were until I used something else. There is simply no comparison. The Gator paper backing is thin and tears easily. The abrasive wears out quickly. The McMaster-Carr abrasive disks have a very thick, almost cloth like, backing, and are very durable. When it comes to abrasives, you get what you pay for.
Port side bulkhead with 5200 and through-bolted for added measure.
Starboard side bulkhead through bolted.
19 Dec 10 We have had some dreary weather. Rainy, windy, and cold. After spending a couple of days working on the shop, setting up the dust collection system, and trying to get my motivation back I dove back in to the boat around noon today. I could just start back in on installing the staving but I decided I wanted to get everything done that I could before I started so I would not have to stop once I got going. So, today I retrimmed the bulkheads for an even tighter radius (more on that later) and then built and installed the extension to the starboard side partial bulkhead that separates the saloon from the nav area. The drawing below depicts the need for the extension--to extend the bulkhead to support the starboard settee that is 4 1/4" closer to the centerline. This makes for a wider settee and provides room for a pilot berth.
After measuring for the extension I milled a piece of bald cypress. Once I cut it to the dimensions I wanted I used my biscuit cutter to cut slots to ensure the extension would remain in the correct position for the epoxy work. I could have just epoxied the extension on with the biscuits but it is in a vulnerable place. It will support the aft end other starboard settee and will probably get leaned on and generally knocked about. So, I decided I would epoxy tape both sides for added strength. Since the whole thing will be covered with mahogany staving, the biaxial will have to be flush so the staving will lie smoothly across the width of the bulkhead. A single layer of wetted out 17.7oz biaxial is approximately 1/16" thick. Thus, after cutting the slots and testing for fit, I used the power planer to cut 1/16" deep recesses, just over two inches wide on each side of the bulkhead and the extension to allow a single layer of 4 1/4" wide biaxial to lie flush. The length of the planer causes some limitations with cutting recesses when you don't have unrestricted access to both ends of the wood. I had to start at the top of the installed bulkhead otherwise I would not get an even depth. Using a small fence to maintain the correct width of the cut, I ran the planer down the length as far as I could before the planer bottomed out on the cabin sole. I then planed the extension stopping the same distance from the end so I would have matching recesses on the lower ends. After checking again for fit I pre cut the biaxial.
Next, I mixed up some slightly thickened epoxy and spread it on the end-grain of the plywood and on the edge of the cypress. I liberally brushed the epoxy in the slots and installed the biscuits. Then I pushed it into place. After that I mixed up neat epoxy and wet out the wood and also the biaxial for both sides of the extension. The temperature was pretty cool so I wet the cloth out in the wood shop where it was warmer. I then rolled the biaxial into place working out the bubbles.
Next, I I mixed up some more epoxy thickened with 407 medium density filler and spread it over the biaxial to fill the weave and the slight gaps around the edge of the biaxial tape.
Last, I set up some heat lamps and cranked up the electric oil heater in the boat to keep the temperature in the high 50s or low 60s.
The air cleaner/filter arrived on Friday so I spent the afternoon putting it together and working on the shop. The next day I spent some time designing a simple set-up for the "big gulp" scoop to collect dust for the chop saw. It is always tough to get a good vacuum set up for chop-saws. I needed to be able to move the scoop around to be repositioned when I swing the saw for miter cuts and I didn't want it to take up more room than necessary. I am satisfied with the set up. I tested it chopping up some scrap wood and it seems to work pretty well. I can remove the scoop and use it to collect dust for the drill press and it might even work for my dovetail jig.
I have not used the new collectors enough to know how well they will work but my first impressions are that this will be a good system for the space I have. The machines seem to be well built and are powerful and relatively quiet. They both had good reviews. The air cleaner has five speeds (two would be fine) and five time settings. It has a pre filter and an internal bag filter that collects down to one micron. The whole thing runs off a remote control so it was simple to install. The power cord just reached a receptacle near the clamps but I need to install one in the ceiling so the cord will be out of the way. I'll do that some other time. Right now I want to get back to the boat.
16 Dec 10 Today I went to work on the bulkheads that separate the saloon from the nav/galley area. I recut the heavily rounded edges to a tighter radius on the outside as well as the inside corners. I did this for several reasons. First, I need to extend the starboard side bulkhead out about 4 1/2" since the settee will need to be extended out toward to the centerline. I cut back the portside (galley side) bulkhead about 3 1/2" to try to maintain a similar size passageway width between the two bulkheads. Second, I also lowered the starboard side bulkhead about 2" so that it is the same height as the portside bulkhead. Last, by tightening down the radius I don't have to move the side of the cabinet outboard as far as I would if I kept the same gentle curve . . . essentially tightening the radius gave me more room to work with when it is time to install the cabinetry. Of course, gentle curves are supposed to be easier on your body if you are thrown against it. I am not sure either would be very comfortable if you were really thrown on to a hardwood corner. Nonetheless, I think it looks much better. I always thought the two different heights were distracting. The starboard side (nav side) bulkhead was taller to accommodate an upward sloping chart table. The chart table was set up so that you could sit on the head of the quarter berth and face forward to use the chart table which sloped up, forward, away from you. Call me silly but why would you want to sit on the head of the quarterberth . . . what if the off--watch was trying to sleep? I never thought that made much sense. And if you tried to use it standing it was awkward because it was sloping to your left and there was no toe-kick so you were bent over trying to use. No good. So, the new chart table will be a standing only table, with a toe-kick, and as such will be level. Therefore, the two bulkheads can be level with each other. Clear as mud right?
You can see the starboard side radius is not very round. That's because that was all I could cut given that I did not mess with the inboard edge. It was easy to get the radius cut on the portside since I cut 3 1/2" off the end of the bulkhead. I'll cut a little piece for that when I scarf on the extension. Staving will cover all of it anyway.
Bulkheads before recutting.
Bulkheads after recutting.
Just as I was getting a head of steam up on the boat the UPS man arrived. Well I had to stop and put the new dust collector together . . . there was just no way to resist the temptation to see how it would work. It came in several boxes. The directions were terrible, as I had been forewarned, but within an hour I had it up and running. Wow! Talk about suction. I bought a couple of quick disconnects so I can move the hose between the jointer, table saw, and chop saw. Once I had it running I played around with it and promptly, though accidently, sucked about a 3" long 2x2 into it, which went slamming into the turbine blades. That got my attention. I had to take the cover plate off to get the wood out. Fortunately, I did no damage. This is not designed to be used as a hand held vacuum. It needs to be hooked up to a machine . . . or have a protective guard over the opening. Unlike a dust collector, anything that goes into the hose will be pulled through the spinning turbine blades.
Though it is not the 5HP Clear View Cyclone I covet, it looks to be a suitable machine given my space limitaion and budget. I waited along time to get a decent dust collector. Much too long. I wasted untold hours cleaning up the shop after even the simplest project . . . always wearing a full face respirator. I did not budget for this but the other options were worse . . . and quite frankly I was just fed up with the mess. The Oneida mini-cyclone/shop vac is a great setup, but it was not designed for what I was asking it to do. The new collector will get a good work out in the next few months. Once I know more about it I'll provide my assessment on the tools page. In the meantime, I'll do my best to keep blocks of wood out of the machine.
13 Dec 10 Brrrrrr...... OK, so cold weather is relative. But here in coastal North Cacalacki this is pretty cold. Supposed to get in the high teens here. Not a whole lot done on the boat today. I don't want to attempt to install staving with the temps this low. I am not sure I can keep the boat interior temps over 40 degrees so I think I'll let this cold snap pass.
In the last few days I finished up the milling the staving. I sorted it by grain and color as best I could. Then, I moved back into the wood shop where it is sitting on wood racks. I figure this is a good place for it to further stabilize after the milling. It's ready to go. The T-88 is ready. Wooden backing blocks with screws and washers are ready.
Today, I took more measurements in the boat. I have to cut down one of the partial bulkheads to widen up the passage between the galley and nav station and into the main saloon. Not a big deal, but I want to get it right. I'll probably make the cuts tomorrow. After measuring, I started work on making up the mahogany plugs I'll need to plug the holes I drilled, and will continue to drill, to install the temporary screw clamps in the staving. This was a pretty simple undertaking. I set up my drill press with a tapered plug cutter. I used some scrap mahogany off-cutts from the staving as the source. I cut a double row of plugs on one side, then ran the wood through the table saw. The plugs just fell out on the tablesaw. Then I took the half that was left and cut more plugs. Then, I ran it through the table saw "releasing" those plugs and so on and so forth. I filled up a quart jar pretty quick.
This may be a pretty good time to start work on the pattern I'll need to make to have the gammon iron cast in bronze.
Freshly milled mahogany V-groove staving.
Cutting mahogany wood plugs.
During some down time this week I decided to work on the shop. It's not a very big space and its shape limits layout options. Also, I have not invested much time in putting it together. From the day we have moved into the house, when I wasn't deployed or at work as an active duty Marine, the shop was in use as I used it to support finishing out the house, building furniture, or working on the Far Reach. I have made little improvements when I could but was just too eager to complete all the other projects to stop work and spend much time on it. I bought the Oneida mini-cyclone last year to help with some dust collection. What I really wanted was a big cyclone dust collector but I just don't have the room. The mini-cyclone has done heroic work. Having said that it was awkward to use and drag around as I moved from machine to machine. So, the other day I took a sheet of 1/2" ply and some scrap soft wood and built a stand that stacks the mini- cyclone over the shop vac. I used some wheels I have been saving for just this project. Nothing fancy. What a difference though. It takes up less than half the space, is easy to roll around, and is much more convenient to use. I also moved the open face half cabinet from the left side of the work bench to the right side. That freed up room for the dust collector and gave me more room for clamps. It moved the open face cabinet away from the major dust producing power tools as well. I will eventually make cabinet doors for this shelf system.
Now, the bigger issue is that with winter here and the shop more or less closed up the mini-cyclone just can't handle the amount of dust I am producing now that I am into major wood work on the boat. I wear a full face respirator when milling but every time I do much cutting I spend a hour or more just sweeping and vacuuming up the dust . . . and I never get it all. Fine wood dust is also very bad for your health. So, last week I bought a Penn State Industries 220 volt, 2HP, 2000B, 1500CFM bag style dust collector. It has a good reputation and was within my budget. It's wheeled. It also has about the same foot print as the stacked mini-cyclone. I'll store the cyclone out in the garage and place the 2000B in the shop in it's place. I also bought a Penn State Industries AC620 air filter that will hang from the overhead and be controlled with a remote. It is supposed to be capable of exchanging all the air in the shop 13 times per hour and collecting the dust in two separate filters. Along with the dust collector this should largely handle the dust I produce and keep the shop cleaner and more importantly safer. This equipment should arrive this week and I'll take a day or so to install it. Now, I can use the mini-cyclone for what it was really intended to do which is be a versatile vacuum instead of a mainline dust collector.
8 Dec 10 I finished the half laps yesterday. I made a couple of hundred more MDF blocks to use as clamps. Spent a good part of the day just running staving through the router to cut the V-groove. I should finish it up tomorrow. The T88 epoxy arrived a few days ago. It was 26 Deg F in the SRF this morning. They are calling for warmer temps by Friday. I should be able to install more staving in the next few days though I have a couple of house projects that are competing with my time . . . it will all work out. I'll post some pictures as soon I have some of something other than sawdust.
5 Dec 10 I ran about 1000 linear feet of mahogany through the table saw today . . . a ton of saw dust. I estimate I had about 500 linear feet of nearly one inch thick mahogany that I resawed to 3/8" thick. After resawing the first piece, I had to run the sightly thicker second piece (the one to the left of the blade) through to make it the same thickness as the first piece . . . thus about 1000 total feet. I filled a full 42 gallon trash bag with saw dust. During the cleanup I sifted some of the sawdust with a flour sifter and filled a 5 quart pale with mahogany wood "flour" dust. It may come in useful later when mixed with epoxy. Needless to say, I was in a full respirator the entire time I was in the shop to include the clean up.
Tomorrow I'd like to get started on cutting the half laps and maybe even the V grooves. It would be great to get it all taken care of, though I may be a little short of the entire amount of staving I will need. If I run short I can always get some more mahogany from my supplier though since he has another 500 BF of QS A Mahogany arriving next week.
I have been thinking about how I can keep the boat warm enough to do some epoxy work inside with the lower winter temperatures coming on fast. I bought one of those oil filled electric radiators from Lowe's today. They are pretty inexpensive and I think more economical to run than an electric ceramic heater with a fan. It's also a lot safer. Anyway, I placed it in the boat and turned it on this afternoon. I went back about two hours later. The temperature in the SRF was about 40 deg F but the temp in the boat was a balmy 62 degrees. The outside temps are dropping to the mid twenties tonight so it will be interesting to see what the new heater can do.
4 Dec 10 Yesterday I didn't do anything on the boat. It was family day and we took a road trip.
Today, I started milling the remaining mahogany. I had already ripped it to about 2 5/8" wide. First, I had to reconfirm my cutting plan so I spent part of the morning going over the math for how I would precut the wood to length to reduce loss when I recut it to straighten it out. I did not want to be too precise or it would get too complicated and reduce flexibly during installation. Once I was satisfied with the plan, I cut to length all but about eight pieces on the chop saw. Then I stacked the wood in the garage and set my jointer up out there so I would have more room to work. The garage and the wood shop have a common wall so it's only a few feet from one to the other. I have double doors between the garage and the woodshop so access is easy. Then, I started running the mahogany across the jointer. As soon as I had one side straight I took that piece to the table saw in the wood shop and ripped the opposite side. It took maybe five hours. I wore a respirator as there was no way my little dust collection system could keep up with the debris I was producing. Once the wood was cut, I stacked it and began a the cleanup. About twenty percent of the wood is kind of ropey/wavy and may not lend itself to being resawn. I'll know more when I try it. About twenty percent of the wood is gorgeous, even colored, and very straight grained. The rest is kind of in the middle.
The next task is to resaw each piece on the table saw--to make two planks from one-- and then to cut all the half-laps and the V-grooves. Once that is complete it will be more or less ready to install.
We are forecasted for temps in the high teens in the next couple of days. I need about 40 degrees in the boat to epoxy the staving in place and the temps needs to stay above 35 degrees in the boat for a week. I can heat the inside of the boat but I am not sure I can keep it warm enough for that long. So, I may let this very cold (for here) weather pass and then begin installing the staving. I have some other projects I can work on in the shop if necessary. Nonetheless, it is good to be getting close to the final phase of milling the staving.
1 Dec 10 Who would think it would take most of the day to finish up such a small amount of staving? The first five or six pieces went on without a hitch. But, the last few were more complicated. The staving had to be trimmed to fit the curved side of the hull. Many trips up and down the ladder. The bulkhead was uneven so there were trips to the jointer and power hand planner. I had to use epoxy on a few pieces. As silly as it sounds I couldn't find a secure purchase for my feet while leaning against the sloping hull. I got it worked out but there were some pretty humorous moments. I also took a little time in the middle of the project to shift gears and sink a few SS #14 1" flat head screws through the tabbing and into the bulkhead. This was just to add a little something extra to keep the bulkhead securely connected to the tabbing in the years ahead.
I also continue to have reservations about the Tightbond III as an adhesive between the teak bulkhead and the mahogany staving. It might be fine, but based on a suggestion from someone I trust, I ordered some System Three T88 epoxy adhesive. This epoxy is formulated for gluing wood together. It's thicker than their general purpose epoxy which is similar to West System. It is supposed to bond down to 35 Deg F while West Epoxy is good only to about 50 Deg F. It mixes 1:1 and does not require any pumps. You don't mix in fillers. I talked to the tech department today and they said just make two puddles about the same size and mix them together or use little cups. Sounds simple. It is also structural and formulated for oily wood. I ordered a gallon from Jamestown Distributors. By the time I finishing milling more wood, which I never got to today, it will arrive and I'll be ready to go.
Though I am moving like pond water when it comes to the amount of progress I would like to be making vice what progress I am making, I feel pretty good about the milling and installing of the mahogany. I went through the whole process without any problems. I took the wonkiest of the wood and had no trouble milling it to a standard I was happy with. I got a very good fit with the staving. The screw clamps seem to work fine. I experienced no issues other than it takes time. For the next two weeks or so I should be working on nothing but staving. Once it is applied to the bulkheads I can add some key cleats and then get a couple of coats of varnish down on the staving and the cabin sides. That will be nice.
30 Nov 10 Finally, the staving is going up. I started off this morning by gathering all the materials I would need to start installing it. I set up the drill press and drilled oversize holes in the 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" MDF backing blocks that I cut yesterday. Then I applied packing tape to one side. The backing blocks, with a fender washer and a #6 1 1/4" pan head screw are the clamps. The packing tape will keep the blocks from becoming attached to the staving if there is any glue squeeze out through the screw hole.
Next, I laid the staving over some saw-horses. Then, I sorted them by color and grain to get a reasonably consistent pattern. Because I did not plane down the bulkhead to get a flush fit before I added epoxy tape along the top (over a year ago) I had to run the tips of all the staving over the jointer and remove a little wood. Otherwise the staving would bulge at the top of the bulkhead. When that was completed, I moved all the supplies up to the boat.
Next, I drew lines on the bulkhead where the screw-clamps would go . . . about four inches from the top under the overhead and under the side deck. I carried that down 14 inches for two rows to where the cleat will be located to support the top of the berth (for the long staving I carried the hole pattern down to the floor beam). The row above the cleat will not be visible due to the thickness of the mattress so the spacing will looking even. When I was ready, I began by test fitting the two long pieces of staving closest to the centerline. They need to be full length because the double berth will butt up to the staving and there needs to be a good surface for the backing cleat to be attached to. I also need some staving on the front side of the berth for the trim to fit over. I elected not to run staving across the whole bulkhead. The double berth will cover much of the space and it will save some wood, of which I have a limited supply. The bulkheads in the head and main cabin will get full coverage because the area covered with the settees is pretty small and I won't save that much wood. I will limit coverage in a similar manner in the galley and nav station area since most of that area will be covered with cabinetry.
Once I stated it went pretty smooth. Measure and cut to fit 4 pieces at a time. Apply glue, lay staving against bulkhead, drill hole, fasten screw block, drill the rest of the holes and then secure the remaining blocks . . . so on and so forth. The last two pieces that cross over the vertical part of the tabbing next to the cabin top side I applied with thickend epoxy since wood glue will not stick to the epoxy tape. I wanted to make a neat job of it so I scribed the top of the staving so it would follow the overhead along the top edge of the bulkhead. It required a few trips up and down the ladder and back and forth to the shop. It wasn't too bad though as I would mark and cut several pieces at a time. Since I only had enough staving milled to do this one bulkhead it was not worth the effort to set up a work table in the cockpit and relocate the chopsaw and jig saw there. I will probably do that for the rest of the bulkheads. I ran out of time to finish it off today. Everything is ready to go tomorrow so I should have the rest of the bulkhead finished before noon then afterwards I will go back to milling more mahogany .
After much thought I decided to go with Titebond III glue. This is not the best glue but I think it is the right glue for the conditions I am working under. I would prefer resorcinol, then Weldwood, and then Titebond III in that order. The first two glues require 70 degrees for 24 hours. I can't get there from here--we are headed into a week or more of lows around 30 degrees F. That meant I needed a cool weather glue. Titebond III can be applied down to 45 degrees F. There should not be any stress on the staving so it should be fine. Thirty minutes of clamp time is all that is required. But, I'll leave them on till I am ready to plug or until I need the backing blocks to apply more staving. When I am ready I'll countersink the holes, install #8 flathead screws, then plug the holes with matching bungs.
I think it looks good now but it will look even better with multiple coats of varnish. As much as I wanted to get the staving up on the main bulkhead where I could see it I think installing it in the fwd cabin first was the right call. Tomorrow I will pick up where I left off and finish off the bulkhead. Then, I will start milling more staving.
Sorting and grouping.
Drilling oversize holes in the MDF backing blocks.
29 Nov 10 Today I started working on the mahogany staving in earnest. First, I needed to make some more featherboards. I used a scrap piece of 3/8" thick mahogany. I cut 30 degree angles and then drew lines three inches deep 1/4" apart. I then ran my jig saw down the lines to create the feathers. This is a whole lot cheaper than buying them and they work just as good or better than store bought featherboards as you are not limited to locating them in miter slots.
Next, I resawed the A. Mahogany that I cut more or less to length yesterday. Resawing 15/16" thick planks yielded two boards 3/8" thick. By using plenty of featherboards I got nice even cuts. I did not have much trouble with burning which is a common problem with mahogany, especially when you are cutting it on end and running the blade through 2 3/4" of wood--I have the saw set up properly, I kept the wood moving over the blade, and I am using a new 24 tooth thin kerf Freud Diablo blade. This is the second Diablo thin kerf blade I have owned. I am pleased with how well they cut.
After the resawing I switched to a stack 1/4" dado blade to cut the half laps. I set the height for a hair over 3/16". Next I clamped on the auxiliary dado fence that I used to keep the blade from chewing up my good fence. With feather boards to keep the wood firmly pressed against the fence and down on the table I got nice cuts. I eased my way into the first few cuts checking the fit of two board to make very minor adjustments in depth.
After completing the half-laps I set up my bench top router with a V-groove bit (no bearing) and set the fence to give me the cut I needed. I examined each piece of wood carefully so that I could choose the side I wanted to have facing out when they are installed. I took my time running the boards over the bit. Earlier in the summer I practiced this to learn how to make this kind of staving and to make sure I would be happy with the mahogany. During that practice session I boogered up a couple of boards when I was cutting the V-groove. But, this time, with lots of featherboards and working carefully I had no problem. I am pleased with the way the staving looks. Yes, this stuff is a little wavy for narrow staving but that's OK. I am saving the straight grained for the more visible areas of the boat.
After milling the staving I was curious how much it weighed . . . 14lbs. That's not very much. I'll be adding a little more on the starboard side of the fwd cabin but not enough to even mention. I am not covering the entire bulkhead either--from the overhead to just below the bottom of the berth. I figure the head will require about 40 lbs of staving total (two sides) and the two main bulkheads a total of about 35 lbs. For all of the boat I am estimating about 115-130 lbs of staving. Not much weight at all.
Tomorrow I will install the staving I cut today. It should be an interesting day.
Milling the V-groove.
28 Nov 10
"Grab 'em by the nose and kick 'em in the ass."
OK, I admit it. I sometimes have difficulty getting started in a new phase. There are things I don't know how to do, research that has to be done, options considered. I'll work on small projects while I try to gain some momentum to start the new phase. It can be frustrating. I can understand why many boats end up being sold as half finished rebuilds. People just run out of mental energy. A project of this size, especially when you are often in unfamiliar territory, is just flat mentally difficult sometimes. It is easy to put things off because the decisions are not always intuitive and making and then implementing them is taxing . . . and then one day you just give up. I think there is a whole psychology to taking on a big project like this. The boat building books never talk about this aspect of the project--the dirty little secret of the DIY boat rebuild. My best friend, Steve Chase, is a retired fighter pilot. We have been friends since college. We went to Marine Corps OCS together. He is the Godfather of my kids. We routinely talk four a five times a week. He is building two airplanes in his shop behind his house. This is a guy with a lot of balls in the air--did I mention he still has a full time job too. We talk about this topic quite a bit. We have concluded that the best medicine is just to keep going--not in a hurry mind you but just keep making progress of some kind. Too big of a gap in work can be risky . . . try to do something on the project everyday. It's like combat operations. You have to gain and maintain contact with the enemy. Patton described it as "grabbing 'em by the nose and kicking 'em in the ass." I have found it to be pretty good advice in combat . . . and in boat building.
Click here to visit Steve's project and don't forget to check out the tribute to his father who escaped from the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula, linked up with Philippino guerillas, and fought against the Japanese for the rest of WW II. You don't have to look very far to find inspiration. It's all around us. 'Nuff said. Now, back to boat building.
I spent Friday packing up the SS anchor roller system and the Sea Frost refrigeration system and putting them in the mail--somebody bought them. Good for them. Both pieces of equipment still had a lot of life left in them.
Today, I leveled the partial bulkhead in the forward cabin. This bulkhead used to support the V-berth. Now it will support a portside double berth and also serve as the aft end of the chain for the chain rode. Because 280' or so of 5/16" high test chain is heavy I want to move it out of the old locker which was all the way forward just behind the stem of the boat. Though some sailors store their chain there I think it is a lot of weight that far forward in the boat. I can move it back about three feet which will help some. The chain pipe will have to angle back slightly but the double bunk will still be about 78" long and almost 48" wide.
As previously discussed every horizontal surface in the boat must be re-leveled. In the first photo below you can see how far out of level the partial bulkhead was. Look closely and you can see a pencil line drawn just under the top edge. After marking it, I clamped a straight edge to it and used a router with a flush bit with an end bearing to cut a new edge.
Next, I made a template from doorskin ply wood and laid it on top of a plank of 5/4" cypress. I made it an inch wider (taller) to allow for a 1" deep rabbit cut that allowed it to sit on top of the old bulkhead but overlap the front so I could through-bolt it to the old bulkhead. That way all the weight is on top of the old bulkhead. The bolts just keep it from moving. I cut the pattern out and then cut the rabbit with a 3/4" stack dado on the table saw. I test fit it and drilled the holes then secured it with three 1/4" X 1 1/2" bolts with washers and nylon lock nuts. The new top edge effectively raises the berth about two inches which will provide a little more width to the berth and create a little more room for chain storage underneath the forward part of the berth.
Finally, after much aggravating delay, I started work on the mahogany staving. I began by sorting the pieces I will use for the bulkhead in the forward compartment. Some of the mahogany was a little wavy when I ripped it on the table saw. Thus, tension was tension released in some of the pieces which caused them to "hook" slightly. By cutting some of these pieces to length and reducing the overall length of each piece I reduce the amount of wood that has to be removed on the jointer before I resaw, lap, and cut V-grooves. Pre-cutting the lengths makes the whole process much more cumbersome but straightening out these 10' long pieces on the jointer would just waste a lot of fine wood. I will use these pieces in the forward compartment where they won't be easily seen though I think they will still look fine . . . they're just not as straight grained as the rest. It will also give me a chance to get a feel for the technique I will use for installing the V-groove in the rest of the boat.
23 Nov 10 I was able to work on a couple of different projects today. First, I worked on the bobstay fitting. I drilled the holes yesterday after installing a new G-10 backing plate a couple of days ago. I moved it about 13 inches lower on the stem than it was originally installed. This was necessary to get a better angle on the new longer bowsprit. I got all the hardware together but found it was difficult to get the bolts to go in. Not sure why since I didn't have any trouble with it yesterday when I did a quick test fit. So, I just kept at it and with a little tapping the bolts finally went in. I went up in the boat and installed the washers and nuts and used a ratchet to tighten the nuts down to make sure everything fit properly. Then I climbed back out of the boat and got the camera to take a picture. As soon as I looked through the view-finder I noticed it looked funny. The thing was on upside down!! A very professional job. Well that explained why the bolts were hard to install. So, I had to go back up into the boat, take off the nuts and washers, and then reassemble. This is not the final install though. After the boat is painted I will make the final install with caulk and bronze, vice the original SS bolts.
Next, it was time to trim up the edges of the original bulkheads. Because I shimmed the floor beams (the interior was not level) the edges of the bulkheads were now not perpendicular with the cabin sole. They were out about 1/2" over six feet of vertical height. I took a 2x4 that I keep on hand to use as a strong back and straight edge. I run it over the jointer now and again to make sure it is straight and square. Then, I clamped it to the bulkhead and used my level to make sure it was plumb. Next, I installed a 1/2" collet flush cut straight router bit with a guide bearing on the end. I set the depth so the bearing ran on the clamped 2X4. Then I ran the router along the edge of the bulkhead. Nice and straight. Easy. As soon as I finished the first one I other bulkheads really looked wacky crooked. It's amazing how a little out of square will really catch your eye when juxtaposed to something level or plumb. I took care of the others over the next hour or so. I could not get the last little bit next to the cabin sole because the base of the router was in the way. I will tackle that last bit over the next few days but I did not want to delay what was to be the major project of the day--installation of the forward bulkhead. The boat looks a lot "sharper" with the bulkheads trimmed. Glad it is done . . . or almost done.
Before I started on the bobstay fitting this morning I wet out the edge of the forward bulkhead with a couple of coats of epoxy to protect it from any moisture it might come into to contact with. I then worked on the other projects while it was curing.
Once I was ready I started off by marking off a line 2 3/4" from the edge around the bulkhead with a speed square and a pencil. Next I ran another line around at 1 3/4" from the edge. Now I have two pencile marks that go all the way around the bulkhead. I then ran the power hand planer around the bulkhead using the 2 3/4" line as I guide. I set planer to cut 1/16" deep. Then, leaving the depth set at 1/16" I ran it around again guiding on the 1 3/4" line. I basically had a stepped rabit cut in the bulkhead. This would allow the first layer of 4" wide tape (1 3/4" on the wood and then span the beveled foam then 1 3/4" on the hull). The 6" wide tape would go on top of the 4" wide (2 3/4" on the wood bulkhead and then span the foam, then 2 3/4" on the hull) and the whole thing would end up being flush with the surface of the bulkhead. Normally, I would not care but I need to install the mahogany V groove staving later and I need a flat and fair surface for the staving to fit against. I cut foam for the bulkhead yesterday so it was quick to contact cement it in place along the edge of the bulkhead. Once done I took it up to the boat and test fit it. then I vacuumed (I sanded it the other day) and gave it a thorough acetone wash down. Once the air cleared I reinstalled the bulkhead and used my hot glue gun and a scrap piece of wood to hold the top edge in place. I made up a brace with clamps to hold the bottom end in place. I rechecked to make sure everything was square and plumb. I then wetted out the bulkhead with unthickened epoxy and the hull with slightly thickened epoxy. I wet out the precut cloth tape and laid down the 4" wide tape first, followed by the 6" wide placed in their respective rabbit cuts. I worked out the bubbles and went over the whole thing with a finned roller. I could not do the top edge because the wood block that was holding the top in position would be in the way. I'll do the top edge tomorrow. Later, after I have cut out the opening, I'll crawl inside and apply multiple layer around the inside. This bulkhead is not normally structural in a Cape Dory 36 but the sampson post will be bolted to it so it is structural now and thus has to be really strong. Also, I usually follow West System protocol and lay the widest tape down first except to get the flush fit I needed to lay the narrower one down first this time. I am pleased with how it went. It will be great to start installing the mahogany staving which I should be able to do soon.
21 Nov 10 I was able to squeeze in a couple of hours on the boat today after all. I needed to glass in a new backing plate for the bobstay after removing and discarding the original aluminum plate last year during the destruction phase. This is another one of those weird Cape Doryisms--bronze bobstay fitting, SS bolts, and an aluminum backing pate. I don't understand that why they did that. Nonetheless, I started out with final sanding on the backing plate for the bobstay fitting that I cut from some G-10 yesterday. I used my Bosch Jigsaw and a carbide tipped blade. The carbide blade is critical. G-10 is very hard stuff as I had learned when I cut the backing plates for the through-hulls last summer. I cut the backing plate 17 inches long and about 2 1/2" wide. To fit into the narrow part of the stem of the boat I had to cut a bevel on each side.
Beveled edges on the bobstay backing plate.
G-10 Bobstay backing plate glassed in.
I cleaned up the edges with the bench top sander, and then used a sanding block with some 60 grit to scuff it up on both sides. I rechecked the fit. I also sanded the stem area with some 40 grit, vacuumed, and did a thorough acetone wash down. Next, I mixed up a bunch of epoxy and thickened it to peanut butter consistency with colloidal silica and some 404 High Density filler that I am trying to use up. I toweled it into the stem area and on the backing plate and pressed it into position. I cleaned up the excess with a plastic squared off stir stick.
Next, I went to work glassing in the last two forward beams that I cut to fit a couple of days ago. I started off by sanding the Douglass Fir and then vacuumed and wiped it down with some acetone. Then I brushed on some straight epoxy to soak into the grain. While it was tacking up, I mixed up some more epoxy and just added a small amount of silica to thicken it a little. I brushed it on the DF and then clamped it in place. I checked to make sure the beams were level and hovered around a while to make sure they would not slip out of position.
After lunch I went back and mixed up some more thickened epoxy and filled the small gaps under the edge of the beams out on the ends and then made fillets all around to drain away any water that might find its way there down through the cabin sole. I will probably add some small sections of single layer biaxial as additional strength.
I finished up by working on the forward bulkhead template that I cut yesterday. Just some light trimming with a block plane to improve the fit. Tomorrow I will use the template to cut the 3/4" BS 1088 ply for the actual bulkhead.
20 Nov 10 Today was forward bulkhead day. First, I used a string taped to the inside stem of the boat and measured back a set distance and made a mark on the hull with a magic marker. Then I swung it across to make a similar mark on the other side. This would be my guide to help me align the bulkhead perpendicular to the centerline. I used a vertical brace hot glued in place as a guide to find "plumb." Then, I hot glued some small wood blocks to the hull to give me something to place the pattern against as I built it. Next, I cut some 1/4" ply strips and hot glued them together following the general trace of the hull and deck using the blocks I previously hot glued in place to made sure the pattern frame was plumb perpendicular to the centerline (see pictures below). Then, I used tin snips to cut 1 1/2" wide door skin strips into small pointed strips and hot glued them onto the 1/4" ply frame work working my way around the frame.
Next, I traced the pattern onto a sheet of inexpensive 1/4" ply and cut out the template with a jig saw. I used a block plane to smooth up the edges. Then I cut a small hole in it so I would have some way to maneuver it as I checked the fit in the bow area. If I cut too big a hole the template would be too flimsy. The actual bulkhead will have a big section cut out so I can crawl inside the compartment to apply epoxy tape on the inside (Oh joy, I can hardly wait for that fun). I checked the fit and trimmed a few times as necessary till I was satisfied.
Last, I placed the template on a section of 3/4 BS 1088 ply I have been saving for this purpose and traced the outline. But, the light was fading and the kids were in need of some company so I called it a day. Tomorrow I may work on it a little but Sunday is usually family day. Will see if I can squeeze in a little boat time.
19 Nov 10 Not a lot done though I was on the boat most of the day. This morning my wife and I spent quite awhile discussing the interior arrangement and getting into some of the details. Then, we got to the galley and worked through many options. We narrowed it down to only five or six. :) Seriously, it was a great discussion and we have a better feel for what we want. There is plenty of time before we get to the galley. Afterwards I spent some time gathering some old articles and papers I have saved on galley designs, cookware, stove, etc and handed them over to Gayle for her to sort out. She is very clever and will come up with stuff I would never think of.
Next, I scrubbed the newly applied epoxy tape with water and a 3M pad and wiped it dry with paper towel. Then I lightly sanded it with 80 grit on the 5" Porter Cable right angle DA sander with the vacuum hooked up to debur the edges and lightly scuff it up. Then, I reinstalled the water tanks now that the installing the locker bottoms is complete. It is great to get the locker bottoms glassed in. They feel very solid, in fact the boat feels more solid and seems to vibrate a little less when I walk through it . . . but it could just be my imagination. Nonetheless, I am very pleased with how it turned out.
After that I spent some time thinking about the forward bulkhead, the one that separates the chain locker from the forward cabin. I worked on the forward floor beams a little and then sorted out what happens next. Install the bobstay backing plate (G-10); glass in the last two floor beams now that final fitting is complete; and then build the pattern for the bulkhead, cut it out, fit it, and install it. After that, I think it is on to installing the vertical staving.
18 Nov 10 Today I epoxy taped the settee locker bottom in. I started by scrubbing off the amine blush with water and a 3M maroon scrub pad that formed on the underside of the locker after applying three coats of epoxy yesterday. Then I lightly sanding them with a RO sander with some 80 grit followed by some gentle hand sanding with 60 grit. I test fit the ply to make sure every thing fit properly. I sanded the portion of the hull that the outboard edge of the ply would lay against as well as the area the epoxy tape would contact the hull. I also sanded the area the tape would be applied to on the supports that the beams are bolted to. Then I vacuumed and did a thorough acetone wipe down. I marked off on the hull where the outer area of the tape would lie and cut two layers for each side--a six inch and a four inch wide strip of 17.7oz biaxial tape. Next, I mixed up a bunch of epoxy thickened with cabosil and a little 407 to make it smooth. I gooped it on the beveled outboard edge of the ply and positioned it against the hull. I kept applying more thickened epoxy till I completely filled the gap between the ply and the hull I smoothed the excess to a nice fillet. I checked to make sure the locker bottom was level. When I finished the starboard side I moved over and repeated the same steps with the port side. I gave it an hour to set up. Then, I wetted out the tape, the appropriate area on the locker bottom and on the hull and applied the two layers of tape.
Next, I cut 12 four inch wide strips of 17.7 oz biaxial six inches long. I cut some foam wedges and contact cemented them to the sides of the supports that the beams are bolted to and the inside edge of the locker bottom sits on. I wetted out the tape and applied some slightly thickened epoxy to the area where the tape would go. Then I applied two layers of tape to bond the bottom of the locker to the beam supports--two layers of tape on the three supports for each side. I used a heat gun to accelerate the curing since the temperature was beginning to drop.
After the tape was begining to harden I used a razor knife to cut out the tape over the small drain holes I cut in the locker bottoms yesterday.
That finished up the day.
Epoxy tape under locker bottom.
Port side settee locker glassed in.
Drains in locker bottoms.
17 Nov 10 Today I was able to get a fair amount accomplished. First, I took the 3/4" plywood settee locker bottom out of the boat. I sanded the underside with 80 grit on a RO sander. I cut a couple of notches on the outboard edge that will correspond to each of the compartments under the settees. These notches will allow condensation to drain down into the bilge. Then I rolled and tipped three coats of unthickend epoxy on the underside of the plywood. I applied the coats over several hours, allowing the previous coat to get tacky but not dry before I applied the next coat. Tomorrow, I will scrub the amine blush off with water and a 3M scrub pad and then epoxy tape them into the hull across the support beams and the cleats that I installed yesterday.
In between applying epoxy to the underside of the lockers I made doorskin patterns for the last two floor beams left to install in the Far Reach. I used a 2x4 as the strong back that I keep on hand for just this kind of thing. I have two in fact. I run them over the jointer now and again to make sure they stay true. The strong back makes sure the beams will be at the proper height and that the cabin sole with be uniform as it spans multiple beams. I used a hot glue gun and doorskin that I ripped to 1 1/2" strips that I trim into "pointers" to depict the curves of the hull. After making the patterns I laid them on some Douglass Fir that I have been saving for this occasion. I ripped them to width on the table saw and cut the curved ends with a Bosh Saber Saw. After cutting them out I test fit them and then marked where they needed to be further trimmed. I was able to do all the trimming in the boat with a spoke-shave. It took a little while but it was pleasant work using hand tools as opposed to a power tool (don't get me wrong I love my power tools but it's nice to have some quiet. Plus, it's enjoyable to hear and feel the wood being shaped with a hand tool). I stopped to apply each of the coats of epoxy as described above and then went back to work until I completed both beams. I designed these last two beams so there is just the slightest rise as you walk from the two inch step through the head compartment and then into the forward cabin. I am pleased with how they came out. They will need to be coated with epoxy as well since they span the head compartment where the sitz bath will be located and where they will likely get wet.
After completing the final fitting of the forward beams I applied a single layer of biaxial tape to each of the locker bottom cleats that I installed yesterday. After that I mixed up some thickened epoxy and made fillets on the high side of each cleat. I did this to allow any water that comes down the hull from condensation to be channeled down into the bilge.
Building doorskin patterns to make floor beams.
The last two floor beams.
Cleats to support the outboard edge of the bottom of the settee locker.
16 Nov 10 I spent part of the morning going over the diagrams I drew up for the settees and pilot berths. Basically I used a level and ruler and just spent time checking my math. This is not something I want to mess up! Once I was satisfied with the math I went back to work on the boat.
Next, I removed the water tanks so that I will be able to get into the bilge and be better positioned to epoxy tape in the settee locker bottoms. Then I bolted in the riser/beam at the forward end of the main cabin with two 3/8" SS bolts. Then I repositioned the temporary cabin sole. Next, I made some cleats to provide additional support to the the outboard edge of the settee locker bottoms. I used a sliding bevel gauge to determine the angle. I used some Iroko I had on hand and cut the proper angle on the table saw. Once satisfied with how they fit I positioned them with some thickened epoxy. The locker bottoms will be supported by the knees on the inboard side and by these cleats on the outboard side. They will also be epoxy taped to the hull with two layers of biaxial, so the cleats are just additional support.
14 Nov 10 I was a little uncertain what I was going to work on today. I spent some time on the boat looking at what needs to happen next. It became apparent to me that I have a few other tasks to do before I can install the staving . . . rats! First thing is I need to cut back the locker bottom on the starboard side to accommodate the low platform for the Refleks heater. See the drawings by clicking here. Because the starboard settee sticks out about four inches past the bulkhead the passageway between the settee and the mast will be tight. By angling back the corner of the platform that the heater sits on towards the bulkhead, I can open up the passage way and still ensure the heater has the required "stand-off" from the bulkhead, pilot berth, and settee. To make the angled platform though, I will have to cut back the okume ply locker bottom, since with the angled cut the plywood would otherwise be visible, and replace it with black walnut to match the rest of the cabin sole. The forward end of the locker bottom needs a support, once cut back from the floor beam, so I had to measure how wide the heater platform would be then cut the ply, in the right spot, and then glass in a support underneath it.
I made a template for the support from 1/4" ply scrap. I chose to make the support from some scrap 7/8" thick mahogany. Once I was satisfied with the fit of the support I temporarily screwed it to the bottom of the okume locker bottom to hold it in the correct position. I then spread some thickened epoxy on the bottom of the support and placed the ply locker bottom in position. When the epoxy squished out between the bottom of the support and the hull, I used a rounded plastic stir stick to make a fillet for 17.7oz biaxial tape that I'll apply tomorrow. I will remove the screws and proceed to glass in the bottom of both the port and starboard lockers.
Once the support was in place I decided to work on installing the last of the floor beams. I used some 1" thick Iroko for the beam that will raise the forward sole 2" above the main cabin sole. I am raising it for two reasons: 1) the bottom 6" of the mast has a lot of corrosion from a poorly designed mast step that did not drain water well so I will have to cut 6" off the bottom of it and raise the step accordingly--thus the sole needs to be raised a bit to accommodate the modification; and 2) I never liked the steep rise of the forward cabin sole. The 2" step-up will greatly reduce the steepness of the rise of the forward sole without sacraficing much headroom.
The first beam is not that hard. It's a 5" wide piece of iroko that get through-bolted to the original beam, but the next two beams, that run into the head compartment, must be shimmed before I can build them up. The interior was not installed level, or maybe the deck was crooked . . . who can tell. Anyway, I have been shimming the beams to level up the port side so these next two beams have to be shimmed as well. I measure how much the shims had to be tapered then cut the appropriate tapers in some douglass fir on my table saw with a jig. In the bottom photo you can see the iroko step, clamped in place (the face will be covered with some thin mahogany later, the strongback that serves as the datum point for installing the beams, and the two shims sitting on the original beams. I'll glass them in over the next day or so then install the new beams on top of the shims.
Tonight I spent some time dragging the last month's worth of daily log entries to their repective projects pages.
I should have included a picture of the propane locker with the hatch in the 12 Nov entry along with the other pictures of the locker. I think it looks pretty good. You can see the locker lid sits a little lower than the surrounding cockpit horizontal surfaces. That is because I built the rain gutter rim about 1/2" lower to allow for a 1/2" thick gasket which I won't install until after the Far Reach is painted in the spring. I also purchased a set of bronze hinges from Spartan Marine that match the other cockpit locker hinges.
12 Nov 10 Today I finished Phase II of the propane locker modification. The phases are: Phase I build the hatch assembly and the box; Phase II epoxy the box it into the lazerette; Phase III fill the voids and build brackets for the bottles, and Phase IV plumb it for propane.
It took a little twisting and contorting to get down in the lazerette and get my arms under the box to apply the tape. I glued some foam wedges in first to allow the tape to gently bend across the 90 degree angles. I wetted out the surfaces with slightly thickened epoxy. It was tricky getting the wetted out tape under the box and applied evenly. I only put one layer across the bottom edge to the bulkhead (there are two on the inside bottom edge of the box). I applied two layers of 17.7oz biaxial on each side of the supports. It seems to be rock solid. I am pleased with it overall. The box will need to have foam blocks glassed in later to eliminate excess space--though there isn't much. Tomorrow I'll go back to the locker briefly and scrub off any amine blush and knock down the roughness with some light sanding. Eventually this will get painted.
After completing the glass work on the locker I moved into the wood shop and starting ripping the African Mahogany that I will use for the vertical staving. It has a beautiful color. Tomorrow I will finish ripping the mahogany and then start setting up the table saw to cut the half laps. I'll need to make a few more feather boards to make sure the wood is properly supported against the surface of the table saw as well as the fence. After the half laps I'll cut the "V" groove on the router table. It's good to be moving along and making progress.
11 Nov 10 Got most of the propane locker epoxied in today. Got a late start after spending time deciding on staving width and talking to the tec rep at CP Adhesives.
I was unsure about the staving width and after going back through my notes and looking at some pictures I finally decided to make the visible part of the staving 2 3/8" wide. That means the A. Mahogany will be ripped 2 5/8".
I have been undecided about what adhesive to use for the staving. It is too cold to use Weldwood UF glue which is my first choice. Polyurethane glue (like gorilla) is too messy, as is epoxy for this kind of work. It's too cold for resorcinol and there is no Aerodux 185 to be had in the US (so far as I can tell) for at least another month. Since the stavings are not structural and are not under stress or tension of any kind I may just go with tightbond III. Not as strong as epoxy or resorcinol but much easier to work with especially given the colder temperatures. Not my preferred choice but it seems to be, as Jack Aubrey so famously said, "the lesser of two weevils."
Next, I filleted the inside corners of the locker then tabbed them with a single layer 17.7oz biaxial tape across (except two layers at the bottom forward inside corner). It went smoothly and without issue. It just took more time than I thought it would. The tapping on the inside of the locker is not really necessary. That sucker is bonded very well from yesterdays tabbing. Nonetheless, I added a layer to ensure it is sealed air tight. After the tabbing I added some epoxy, thickened with cabosil to peanut butter consistency, filleting over the tabbing in all the corners to made sure they are air tight. I have only one photo of the inside of the locker below . . . the rest are pictures of the outside of the locker taken from inside of the lazerette. I am very pleased with this glass work. It will not been seen and eventually it will all be painted. The only thing left to glass in is the under side of the forward edge of the locker to the awtharship bulkhead and the supports to the bottom of the locker. I'll take care of them tomorrow.
Back and right side of propane locker. To the right is the aft end of the awarthship bulkhead that runs under the aft end of the cockpit.
10 November 10
"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. Happy Birthday Marines. I am proud of you and proud to have served by your side for 26 years.
Today I jointed one edge of the A. Mahogany. It is ready to rip and resaw. Then I glassed in the propane locker on the outside edges with two layers of 17.7oz biaxial. Tomorrow I will glass in the inside edges with the same and begin the preparations for final milling of the A. Mahogany for the vertical staving.
9 Nov 10 Sometimes rebuilding a boat is agonizingly slow--a battle of inches instead of miles. Today was one of those days . . . though not necessarily bad. I learned a lot and laid some important ground work that had to be done.
First, my planer has been acting up. It has been great piece of equipment. But the slow, finish speed, was on the blink. I did some research but there wasn't much out there. So, I took it apart and was able to repair it. Nothing more than some sawdust jamming the gears behind the two speed lever. While I had it apart I lubricated the gears and rechecked the alignment of the out-feed rollers and cutting head. It took about two hours.
Next, because I was unhappy with some of the fuzz and tear out that occurred yesterday I learned about using card scrapers to clean up hard woods, or any kind of wood for that matter, from the effects of planing. I was able to locate a Stanley card scraper at a local hardware store and spent some time tuning it up and then practicing with it on a couple of the African Mahogany planks which it cleaned it up nicely. Its a very effective tool and I am impressed what a difference such a simple device can make. Here is a link that explains what it is and how to sharpen one (Fine Woodworking article). There are also a lot of videos out there that show how to sharpen and use card scrapers.
UPS arrived with more cabosil and 3m #233 tape recommended by Tim Lackey which I need to finish off the propane locker and mask the cabin sides for varnish. I sat those items aside for now.
I finished off the day with a phone call to Port Townsend Foundry. Pete Langley very kindly walked me through the nuances of building a pattern for the gammon iron so it can be cast in bronze. He sent me a reading assignment yesterday and with our conversation this evening I now have a much better idea about building a pattern. It remains to be seen if I can build one he can use but that is on the short list of things to get done. Probably in the next couple of weeks.
Tomorrow I will take the mahogany to the base hobby woodshop to use their big industrial jointer to edge one side of the planks so I can rip and resaw them on my table saw. I have a jointer but it is not very big with only about 40" infeed/outfeed tables. The base planer is much bigger and just does a great job putting an edge on 10' planks.
It is agonizing not working directly on the boat but I am better off in the long run for running these things down.
Repairing the Delta 22-580 planer.
8 Nov 10 I spent the day milling about 120 BF of African Mahogany. It's all quarter sawn but in about half the planks the grain is wavy with a fair amount of interlocked grain. The wavy stuff is difficult to plane and not get some tear-out. The rest, however, is very nice and pretty straight grained. I'll use the straight grained in the most visible spots and the less straight grained in places that will be covered by book shelves or other furniture.
Today I planed both sides down to just under 1" thick . . . maybe 15/16. I did not joint the wide side first because it's too big for my jointer, it was pretty flat to start with, and because it will end up resawn to about 3/8" thick x 3" wide and I'll be able to glue it flat. Wednesday, I'll joint one edge then rip to 3" wide, resaw it to get the two 3/8" thick planks, then cut half-laps, slots, and a "V" groove in the same manner as the test panel I put together in early Sept. Once the milling is complete I'll start installing it on the bulkheads.
Below are a few pictures from today's work that includes the small Oneida mini cyclone I use to capture wood chips and dust before they get to the shop vac. In this picture I am using the shop vac/cyclone system to collect the wood from my portable Delta 22-580 two speed planer. The advantage of the mini-cyclone is that it vastly reduces the amount of wood chips/dust that make it to the actual shop vac. Though I would sure love to have a big permanently mounted 1200CFM system it's just not happening. So, I bought the cyclone to make use of the shop vac that I already had. It's limited in what it can do by the power of the shopvac that can only move about 300 CFM. But I am satisfied with it. It's a pretty good system for what it is designed to do. The cyclone is a lot faster and easier to empty into a garbage bag than the shop vac, which is heavy and awkward to flip over into the bag, and I seldom have to clean out the filter so the suction on the shop vac stays strong. If you rely on a shop vac the cyclone is a very useful accessory.
Just planed straight grained quarter sawn African Mahogany.
7 Nov 10 I removed the peel-ply release fabric today. I used a sanding block to knock down some of the rough edges. You can see the supports are off-set to account for the box extending a little to the port side to provide space for the propane gas line and shut off valve. If you look closely you can also see the limber holes cut on the forward bottom edge of the supports to prevent water from being trapped there. Then, I spent a couple of hours in and out of the locker with some fittings thinking about how they would be aligned to properly vent the locker in accordance with the ABYC standards.
The locker was designed to look like it belongs there. It will completely conceal the tanks. It will hold three 10 lb composite bottles. It is built on the center line. The only draw back is that it takes up a good chunk of the lazerette. I'll also have to allocate some space for the quadrant of the Cape Horn windvane. That will leave some space mostly for fenders and other light bulky things of that nature. I suppose the loss of space also works to our advantage as there won't be enough room in there to throw in all the stuff we don't need and weigh that boat down in the worst possible spot . . . the stern.
In a couple of days I will glass the locker in all around the edges with multiple layers of epoxy and biaxial as well as glass tape the supports to the bottom of the locker. I hope I never have to cut this sucker out.
Supports for the propane locker.
5 Nov 10 It is supposed to warm up tomorrow so I elected not to varnish tonight with temps dropping to the high 30's. Instead, I glassed in the supports for the bottom of the propane locker. I built the box part in the shop last winter when it was too cold to do any glass work on the boat. Click here to see how it was built. It has been sitting in the SRF getting in the way. The Top of the box will be glassed to the underside of the deck around the hatch opening I cut out of the cockpit last year. The sides and the bottom will be glassed to the lazerette side of the vertical aft face of the cockpit. I believe it should also have some support under it. Not so much because it will have three 10lb propane bottles in it (though it won't hurt) but because I want to structurally tie together the aft deck/cockpit similar to what was there before I cut the cockpit seat out.
To build the support I first made cardboard templates then transferred them to some 3/16" luan ply. I trimmed these a little more to improve the fit and once satisfied I transferred the pattern to some 1/2" marine grade Douglass Fir. I fit these to the exact spot and leveled the top and also trimmed them to accommodate 3/8" closed-cell bevel cut foam and placed it between the ply and the hull. I don't think it is necessary to do this if the supports were just holding up a shelf but because it is all tied together and supporting the aft deck I followed the recommended procedure for installing a bulkhead. I decided to offset them slightly to one side since the propane box extends to the port side about 4" more then to the starboard to provide room for the gas shut off valve, etc. This will place the supports an equal distance from each outside edge of the box. Once I measured everything and test fit the whole thing I rigged up a 2x4 across the aft cockpit and clamped some vertical pieces of wood that I could use to hold the supports in place with squeeze clamps. Next, I mixed up some slightly thickened epoxy and wet out the area on the hull and back of the cockpit where the biaxial tape would be laid. Then, I wet out a 6" wide and 4" wide layers of 17.7 oz biaxial tape for each side of the support, both the horizontal and vertical edges. Once I had smoothed out the air bubbles I covered the epoxy tape with some release fabric. I used release fabric because I do not want to use water to remove the amine blush and get the wood wet. The release fabric will allow me to glass right over the epoxy once it is cured. I finished off tonight by placing a shop light in the lazerette and covered up the hatch openings. It will stay plenty warm in there for the epoxy to cure properly.
Tomorrow I'll remove the release fabric and test fit the propane locker. If all goes well I may glass it in and be done with it. That would be nice.
Looking down on the vertical supports into the lazerette that the propane locker will sit on.
4 Nov 10 Personal business took up much of the day. When completed, I checked the weather report for the next few days to see when I could start varnishing and learned that we will have lows in the high 30s starting tomorrow night. I have been thinking about how I will keep the inside of the boat warm this winter. This will be important if I am to be able to epoxy, glue, and varnish once the temperatures drop. So, I spent the afternoon developing a simple system for keeping the heat in the boat.
When I go to Lowe's to pick something up I always walk down the aisle that has insulation on it. I am always interested in what they have that I might be able to use for hull and icebox insulation. For the last year or so I have noticed a product called Reflectix. It is essentially a double layer of bubble wrap, 5/16" thick, with reflective foil on both sides. When my son and I sailed on Bill Primeau's boat in Halifax this summer he made a point of showing me how he had used Reflectix to insulate his boat and how happy he was with the performance of this material. Last week, I ran across an article in the back of the Nov Ocean Navigator that described using Reflectix as a hull insulator. So, I went to Lowes this afternoon and picked up the smallest roll of Reflectix they had. I took the plywood "cut-outs" from the plywood cabin sides and stapled some reflectix to it. Then I pressed them into the openings in the cabin sides. They filled the holes nicely. They are just pressed in there. I then made a template from 1/4" ply to fit the dorade and mast openings and did the same for these holes. It looks like it may do the trick. Next, I cut some 2'x2' squares from some scrap plywood and attached thin foam weather strip to the align with the flange on the hatch opening in the forward and main cabin. Tomorrow I'll make something similar for the companionway hatch. With all these openings plugged I believe I'll be able to keep the inside of the boat warm enough with a couple of electric space heaters this winter so that I can epoxy, glue, and varnish. What appeals to me about this system is it mostly used what I had on hand, it was easy to throw together, and I can quickly remove them as the SRF heats up from the solar heat during the day then plug them up as the temps fall in the afternoon.
I'll run some tests over the next few days to see how warm I can keep the boat when the temperatures drop into the 30s. Since the hull is not insulated, I'll need to also see if I get a lot of condensation and, if so, where it forms to better understand how it might also cause a problem for the curing of glue and epoxy.
Reflectix Insulation to keep the heat in the boat.
3 Nov 10 I started off the morning doing some research on the copper tape that needs to be installed in the boat. Having spent many years in reconnaissance units and teaching HF comms with small manpackable HF radios I am pretty familiar with HF used under specific military conditions. But, I am not experienced with it for long haul comms on a boat. So, I have been doing some homework to getter a better feel for what I am dealing with. I have been reading about the KISS-SSB ground plane. I spent some time revisiting some forum entries on the Seven Seas Cruising Association website. There is some pretty interesting info in the SSCA forum about this specialty ground plane system. After reading a lot of positive entries I called the manufacturer and talked to Craig. He is a cruising sailor and just came back from four years in the South Pacific on his Peterson 46 and had a lot to say about how this ground plane has specially cut radials built into the wire and how it eliminates the need to ground to a through hull. He and the others that have used it claim there is no need to glass in copper flashing tied to a through-hull or dyna plate. Just hook this baby up to the counterpoise out-put on the tuner and you are in business. It's not that I am skeptical but I am a "show-me" kind of guy. Nonetheless, the thought of not having to glass in 40-60 feet of copper tape definitely appeals to me. For the time being I will plan to go with the KISS SSB counter poise. I still have a dyna plate in the hull that has nothing hooked to it so it will be available if I need it.
Next, I spent some time looking over the boat then realized that I would be varnishing the cabin sides soon (as soon as the rain stops) and I had not drilled the tiller to accept the tiller straps that are part of the tiller head assembly. How are the two connected you may wonder? I want to varnish the tiller at the same time and I want the holes drilled out before I varnish it. Besides, the tiller has been sitting in the shop unvarnished and I would like to get it varnished and out of the way.
It was not going to be a simple job though. My best friend gave me a spare bench top drill press in early October but it had not been tuned nor did it have an auxiliary table that it needs if it is to be used as a wood-working drill press. It's not a very big drill press but it fits my shop well and should do the jobs I need done. I used a half inch piece of scrap ply for the table. I drilled some 5/16" holes in the ply over the the slots in the small steel table that is part of the drill press proper. I counter sunk the holes and then with backing plates I bolted the ply auxiliary table to the steel table with 5/16" flat head machine bolts. Next I checked the accuracy of the drill press for trueness. It was true from left to right but needed to be shimmed slightly to lift the back side of the auxiliary table. Satisfied with the fit I then drilled and screwed a hardwood cleat to the underside of the front edge of the table to keep it flat.
Next, I checked the fit of the tiller strap assembly to the tiller that I made in September. I improved the fit of the tiller to the box section of the strap assembly by shaving just a tiny bit with a spoke-shave. Then, I cut a 2 1/8" wide piece of pine from a 2x4 scrap and used a scratch awl to prick holes through the holes in the tiller straps onto the scrap wood on both sides. Then I drilled them out with the press. Once nice hole all the way through so I was satisfied the drill press was accurate enough for the job at hand.
The trick with the drilling the tiller to match the holes in the tiller straps is they are both tapered but different tapers. The tiller strap assembly came with the holes already drilled. It is a big heavy assembly designed to fit over a 1 1/2" rudder post. I would have to drill the 1/4" holes in the tiller and have them line up exactly with the predrilled holes in the straps. I spent some time measuring and once I was satisfied I repeated the same procedure I used with the scrap pine--I placed the tiller strap assembly on the tiller and used the scratch awl to mark the center of holes to be drilled. I removed the tiller strap assembly and then spent some time clamping the tiller to the auxiliary table. I had to shim the other end of the tiller to hold it level. I checked it several times and with then drilled the first hole just over half way through the tiller. Then I flipped the tiller over and repeated the procedure on the other side drilling just deep enough for the holes to connect. I think this is the safest way to get the holes to line up. If they are off a little then it will be in the center where the misalignment can be drilled out more easily. If you try to drill all the way through, and you are off, you risk having the exit hole way off and then you have to booger it up to get the holes to line up and you have a mess. It took about 30 minutes but all the holes came out fine. I admit that I breathed a sigh of relief when it was finished because I kept thinking how pissed I would be if the holes were off and I had to start all over. But, fortune smiled on me today. So, I pushed the SS 1/4" X 4" pan head machine bolts through and then added nylon nuts and washer. I did not cut the bolts though. I think I will order some bronze round head bolts. It will look much better. Below are a few extra pictures of the drill press modification and the tiller strap assembly mounted on the tiller.
Tomorrow I will go back into the boat figure out the next task.
Auxillary table for the bench top drill press.
Tiller drilled and straps installed.
2 Nov 10 Today I applied two coats of epoxy to the centerline cleats and then pulled down the brown paper that had been protecting the mahogany plywood cabin sides. I was concerned about the tape pulling off some of the wood since it had been on there for nearly three weeks. I very carefully applied a little heat from a heat gun and the tape came right off. In a few places there was some tape residue so I wiped it down with some denatured alcohol.
In the photo to the right you can see the 5200 bead that holds the cleats to the overhead as well as the epoxy filled kerfs. It took a lot of time to get them filled. I have not yet scrubbed the epoxy on the cleats with water to remove the amine blush. Because the cleats are overhead I did not want to drip any water down the unprotected cabin sides. The plan is to get three coats of varnish on the cabin sides and coat the edge grain on the porthole openings with epoxy. Then scrub the cleats down. We are expecting rain for the next three days so no varnish till the end of the week.
After working on the cleats I spent some time determining the footprint for the Refleks heater. Once I make a decision about that I can make the cut in the starboard settee locker bottom that will support the platform for the heater then I can glass in the locker bottom. However, I am not sure what the next task will be. I will sort it out in the morning. I may start milling the African Mahogany I'll use for the vertical staving or I may glass in the locker bottoms. Then again, I can't go much further before I epoxy in the copper foil tape for the HF radio. It's just a question of the proper sequencing for the next couple of steps.
It feels good to be moving along. I am looking forward to roughing in some of the furniture. Though I have made a lot of progress, I still can't see any light at the end of the tunnel. No matter, I know its out there. Just got to keep eating the elephant a bite at a time.
31 Oct 10 Lot's of progress the last two days. All the over-head and under side-deck cleats were installed with 5200. All the kerfs were filled with cabosil thickened epoxy. Tomorrow I'll bush on unthickened epoxy to the edge grain of the plywood cleats. Pictures to follow. Vikings-Patriots game and Trick-or-Treating has priority.
29 Oct 10 I experimented with several techniques to trim some test cleats to span the old mastic adhesive. I didn't like the way any of them came out. So, I marked a path where each cleat would span the side deck, got a chisel and mallet, and chipped it away. It took about two hours. Then, I suited up with the tyvek paper suit, respirator, and gloves. Armed with the Porter Cable DA right angle, RO sander and 40 grit hooked to the vacuum, I cleaned up the path. Problem solved. I spent the rest of the day cutting, trimming, and installing all the remaining cleats. Tomorrow, I'll check them over and make any corrections necessary. Then I'll apply quick set 5200 to secure them in place.
27 Oct 10 Though it was not hot today, it was very humid. I spent the day installing cleats to the underside of the deck. I finished up all the overhead with the exception of under the foredeck. I was able to complete about half of the cleats under the side decks. All of these are of course only temporarily installed with self-tapping screws. Once I have them all in and I am satisfied with the fit, I'll remove them and apply quick set 5200. Then I'll use the screws to put them back in place till the 5200 cures then remove the screws.
This is more time consuming than I thought it would be. There are so many imperfections in the underside of the deck that it takes all kinds of grinding, beveling ,and shimming of the cleats to get a good fit. Also, in the bottom photo you can see the original mastic adhesive that held the one piece fiberglass overhead liner to the underside of the deck. Last year when I was grinding the inside of the boat I attempted to grind this stuff off and it got the better of me. It was a beast. I don't give up on anything easily but after hours of holding a high speed grinder with a 30 grit flapper disk overhead (I easily went through a half dozen of these supper aggressive disks) I reconsidered the necessity for removing it. I stayed with it long enough to remove the mastic from around the bulkheads where they needed to be tabbed in but that was about it. So, I am paying for it now since I have to to notch the side deck cleats to span the mastic. Each of the side deck cleats, except the ones next to the bulkheads, has to be scribed then trimmed with a jigsaw. Plywood does not scribe that well when cutting the long axis so I have been using Douglas Fir for these. The one good think about the side deck cleats is I don't have to cut kerfs. The mastic is very tough. Last year, before I made my decision to leave it be, I tested its strength by epoxy taping a small piece of wood to it. After it cured I could not break it off and had to grind it down. So, it is pretty strong and there should be no problem using 5200 to secure the cleats to it. Besides, the cleats and the v-groove panels they will support are not structural.
With luck, I'll finish up the cleats tomorrow then I can get organized to install them permanently.
26 Oct 10 Tonight I made some changes to the website. I stripped out the scrolling entries under "rebuilding the interior" under the "projects" page on the menu bar. In its place I created links to separate pages for each of the numerous projects associated with the interior rebuild. There are still separate links under the projects tab for many other projects but to list all the interior projects as well would make the drop down list to unwieldy. I think this change will make it easier to follow individual interior projects. There is still more work to be done to better organize the site but I think this is a step in the right direction.
Regarding boat work, I spent the vast majority of the day installing cleats in the overhead. I made a lot of progress. I hope to finish it up in the next few days and then I'll upload some pictures.
I took about a 45 minutes break today during the cleat work to modify the SS elbow that came with Refleks kerosene heater that arrived last week. After doing a lot of research I decided on the model 66MK. It has good heat output and the cast iron top and 90 degree elbow is supposed to increase the amount of heat that it radiates. I had it made to operate off of kerosene since I don't plan to carry any diesel fuel. Propane heater are convenient and put out a lot of heat but they use way to much fuel.
I initially thought I would get a larger model but it wouldn't fit in the space I had and then I received an email from Beth Leonard who suggested the model 66 would be a very good size for our boat. That piece of advice solved a lot of problems.
I ordered it with an elbow so I could determine how big the space would need to be to accommodate it. The elbow was about 4" long and as you can see in the top photo it stuck out much too far. All it did was make the footprint bigger. I needed to cut it off but I don't have a miter box. I looked at Lowes but the miter boxes they had were too expensive or cheap plastic. So, I built my own from some scrap 3/4" ply. I made it just wide enough to hold the pipe. I used drywall screws as fasteners and a jigsaw to make the narrow kerf so my hacksaw would not drift around while I mad the cut. Once I determined where the elbow needed to be cut I wrapped some tape around it and marked it. I inserted some door-shim wedges to keep the pipe firmly in place while I made the cut. I clamped the miter box to my out-feed table at the end of my table saw. I used a hacksaw blade I only use for cutting SS. I am very pleased with the cut--it came out nice and straight. I cleaned up the edges with a half-round file. Then I inserted it on the Refleks flue to check for fit. Perfect. I will set it aside for now and once the cleat installation is complete I'll use the Refleks to determine the footprint necessary to rough in a custom built space just forward of the starboard settee.
Refleks Heater Model 66MK with an excessively long elbow.
Elbow trimmed to within 1/2" of sea rail.
25 Oct 10 Personal business precluded any work on the boat today.
Tonight I worked on the website. I spent some time moving entries from the daily log over to the appropriate "projects" page. There is probably a better and simpler way to manage it but I have not figured it out yet. Maintaining a daily log is straight forward but it eventually needs to be categorized and organized and that is the challenge. The website service I use (Network Solutions) allows 100 pages for a set yearly fee. And with an eye to the future, it is easy to see how that limit could be exceed. However, piling entries into several long scrolling page is not very user friendly, for visitors or for the webmaster. I'll probably make some changes in the near future. The longer I wait, the more time consuming the changes will be.
I am glad I have been keeping the site though. I was encourage to create it by friends that have undertaken similar projects. They pointed out that it would become a repository of historical info for the boat rebuild and be of great use to me to see the progress I had made and to have a data base of exactly what work had been competed, when, how, etc. I am amazed how easy it is to forget the amount of work that has been completed to date or the details of how the projects were tackled. It is also rewarding to share the project with sailors undertaking similar projects.
Most of my entries are made in the evening after the kids go to bed. I don't write that well at night when I am tired, but if I don't get the entries made then they either won't get done or the details will be forgotten. Usually, within the next few days after an entry is posted, I'll go back and reread it and find errors and convoluted syntax and such. Sometimes it makes for pretty humorous reading. That's fine. I am not expecting to get a Pulitzer . . . the purpose is capturing information. I usually clean it up so it is reasonably understandable and press on.
24 Oct 10 Not a lot of entries this past week but still a lot of work on the Far Reach. For the last several days I have been developing the plan for installing the overhead cleats that will support the anchoring of both the overhead v-groove panels and the deck beams. This required a lot of mapping with 3/4" blocks, hot glued in place, and string to better understand the surface of the underside of the deck. I also spent a lot of time just sitting in the boat looking at the overhead and sorting out how this project should unfold. Once I had a feel for what I was dealing with I began to install some cleats.
There are a lot of recesses and protrusions on the surface of the overhead. The outside edge where the overhead and the cabin top sides meet is very uneven. To achieve any sort of consistent camber I have to cut the ends of the cleats about an inch or so from the cabin top side. Some of the unevenness is caused by thick wood substituted for balsa core in the deck to reinforce high load areas. Others are due to extra roving and matting. Since the boat originally had a one piece fiberglass headliner the builders didn't have a reason to make sure the unseen skin was smooth and fair. To deal with these imperfections I cut shims for the low spots under the cleats and trimmed away some of the cleat in the high spots in order to get a smooth uniform camber. I initially tried to spring the 3/4" ply cleats in place without cutting kerfs but they snapped. So, almost all of the cleats running athwartship require kerfs. After they are attached with 5200 the kerfs will be filled with thickened epoxy.
To this point, I have only temporarily attached the cleats with some small self-tapping screws. Once I am satisfied that this is the right approach I'll attach them with 5200.
This is frustratingly slow work but when complete progress should pick up. The Refleks heater arrived a few days ago so I will have what I need to get the right measurements for the starboard settee modifications.
Test fitting the overhead cleats.
20 Oct 10 I started off this morning working on the portlights. They have been out of the boat for about 14 months and have been in the SRF collecting dust. I washed them off in soapy water and laid them out to dry. While they were drying I went back to the boat and prepared to router out the holes I cut the day before with a saber saw. The base on a full size router is too big to get between the cabin top, the porthole opening, and the clamps I need to hold the template in place. I don't have a laminate router, which is smaller than a full size plunge router, but I do have a roto-zip with a wide base. With a 1/4" collet Bosch straight cut carbide bit and integral bearing I thought I could achieve the same results without having to buy another tool (I know, I can't believe I passed up the opportunity to acquire another tool when I actually had a good reason to get one). After wiping it down with acetone to remove any oil or grease, I covered the metal base of the roto-zip with plastic packing tape to protect the mahogany plywood. Then, I took the template I made a few days ago and made the opening a little bigger. I wanted the opening of the template to allow about 1/4" gap all the way around the portlight spigot.
By then my friend Ron Mason had come by to give me a hand and speed things along. We positioned the template over a porthole centering it more-or-less over the original holes (with the exception of the most forward porthole we were able to get them all level on top). Once we were satisfied with the position of the template we clamped it to the cabin side with three squeeze clamps. Then, with a mask, hearing protecting, tyvek sleeves, and gauntlet gloves I routered each hole flush with the template. Ron worked the vacuum from the outside, moved the clamps in succession always keeping at least two in place to prevent any movement of the template while repositioning the third clamp, and made sure the template was not moving. It went pretty fast and I am pleased with the results. The portholes have a much more refined look. It's always great to have a knowledgeable helping hand, especially someone as skilled with tools as Ron.
With the routering complete, Ron departed and I went back to cleaning up the portlights. With a heat gun, multi-tool scraper, SS brush, and a file I went to work. The original Sikaflex was pretty hard and firmly attached to the bronze flange. There was also a fair amount of silicone on the flange where the PO had attempted to stop leaks around the portholes--it didn't work as evidenced by the water streaks I discovered on the inside of the cabin top and hull of the boat when I gutted the Far Reach. Despite the thick hard Sikaflex, the heat gun worked wonders softening up the the old bedding compound and the multi tool worked well scraping it off. I was able to get five cleaned up before supper.
It feels pretty good to be moving along with some visible results inside the boat.
19 Oct 10 Yesterday I removed the deadmen that were serving as braces for the plywood panels adjacent to the companionway ladder. It worked out very nicely and I am pleased with the results. I spent the rest of the day mapping out the overhead for cleating. This is important because the inside skin of the overhead is not smooth and even like the outside. I have to address these dips and bumps before I cleat the inside skin or the final product (v-groove panels and mahogany beams) will not be straight.
Today, I removed the clamps that had been holding the mahogany ply wood panels on the cabin top sides for the last seven days. Next, I removed the paper carefully so I could reuse it after I cut out the portholes. The plywood needs to be protected until I can apply several coats of varnish which I plan to do after the portholes are cut out and the overhead cleats are installed.
In order to cut consistent holes of the proper size I made a jig by tracing around the spigot of one of the bronze Spartan portlights on a piece of plywood. I used a jig saw to cut the hole out slightly larger than the spigot. I carefully sanded it smooth. Though counterintuitive, a portlight spigot that fits too tightly has an increased risk of leaking because you can't get the proper amount of sealant between the spigot and the surrounding wood/fiberglass.
Next, I placed the jig over the old porthole cut out, still visible from outside the cabin and traced the slightly smaller hole on the plywood. I used a level to make sure the tops were horizontal. However, the forward two holes are angled up slightly. That is the way they were cut from the factory and there isn't room to level them. The cabin top is level/horizontal but as the shear of the boat/deck rises the relative height of the cabin side is reduced, thus less room for the portlight. You can see this different angle from the photo taken inside the boat. Note the aft most three are level and then the next/fourth porthole is angled up. After I I traced the new holes I used a jigsaw to cut the holes out.
What a difference in how the boat looks from outside and inside. The FRP cabin side has a slightly bigger hole (original hole--and cut pretty poorly I might add) than the hole in the plywood I cut today. You can see it in the photo shot from the outside of the boat. The slightly smaller hole in the plywood will allow me to take the jig I made today and clamp it in place tomorrow whereupon I will use the inside edge as a template to cut the proper size hole with a router and laminate bit. The bearing on the laminate bit will ride against the plywood template to ensure a smooth clean cut. Once that is complete I will slightly champher the edge of the plywood hole from the inside and then lay on several coats of epoxy to seal the exposed edge of the plywood. By having a slightly larger chamfered hole I can better fill the gap with butyl rubber and seal it properly. That way, the portlight will be "floating" in the hole and can expand and shrink as it is heated and cooled from changing outside temperatures. The gap needs to be large enough to fill it with enough butyl rubber to provide the elongation necessary to resist breaking the seal. Right now, I don't plan to install the portholes till next spring, after I paint the outside of the boat.
16 Oct 10 Not so smooth sailing today. This was supposed to be an easy day. All I had to do was to install the last two panels on the aft side of the cabin house and use quick set 5200 so they would only need to be braced for 24 hours. How hard could it be? I had no difficulties putting up the side panels earlier in the week and that was a much more complicated project. The only challenge for this simple project was that I would have to use some long (about 12 feet) "dead-men" to apply pressure to the panels. The braces would be wedged between the panels to be installed and the main saloon bulkheads. I would need to clamp some ply wood supports on the intermediate bulkheads to support the middle of the dead-men. I used backing plates (3/4" ply" to protect the wood though the saloon bulkheads will eventually be covered with 3/8" thick vertical "v-groove" African Mahogany staving) and double wedges that I would drive in to apply more compression to the panels. Before I installed them, I prepared the panels by washing off the amine blush on the back side that I had coated with two coats of epoxy the day before. Then I roughed them up with 80 grit paper on a RO sander. I vacuumed and then wiped them down with acetone. Because the dead-men were so long I needed some extra hands so my wife helped. We rehearsed each step with a dry run. Everything went fine. With the front side of the panels covered in brown paper to protect the mahogany I applied quick set 5200 to the back side. We got the panels up and the dead-men in place. I hammered in the double set of wedges to apply compression. Done! "Nice job John . . . you're a pretty smart fellow to come up with this plan." Then as I was leaving for the day I noticed one of the panels was slipping down! I pushed up on it and I could just move it back into place. I ended up having to quickly cut some supports for the bottom edge of the panel while my wife held the panel in place. I laid down a temporary floor beam from the step that supports the bottom of the companionway ladder horizontal to the hull. I added some padding and then cut a 2"x2" support that fit between the temporary beam to the bottom edge of the panel. Then quickly removed the wedges and reset the angle for the dead-men so there was more upward pressure. This was quick set 5200 and it sets up pretty quick. So it was rush, rush, rush, hurry, cut, and drive the wedges in again. I guess I was just lucky to have looked at the panel one more time before I left for the day. Sometimes luck is more important than skill.
It turns out this was all caused by the fact that the back of the cabin top slopes down and a little aft. I originally had the dead-men set horizontally applying pressure straight back. So, the panels went the only place they could to escape the pressure . . . down. I noted that the cabin sloped back the other day but dismissed it as unimportant. Ha! That will teach me to ignore simply physics and the laws of gravity.
Bracing the paper protected mahogany plywood in place.
Double wedges driven in to increase compression.
13 Oct 10 Smooth sailing today . . . so to speak. My friend Ron Mason came by to lend me a hand with clamping the mahogany plywood to the port and starboard cabin sides. Yesterday, I took the patterns I had made for the port cabin side the day before and traced them onto 1/2" marine grade mahogany plywood. I followed the same procedure that I used on the starboard side. After I beveled the edges to get a better fit along the curved edges of the cabin top I applied two coats of unthickend West Systems epoxy. I also made more bracket-clamps so I could clamp the ply to both cabin sides at the same time. I decided to save the limited number of tubes of quick-set 5200 that I have for another project and use regular 5200 instead.
We taped off the fiberglass around the portholes on the outside with painters tape and brown paper to reduce the mess caused by any squeeze out. We also covered the good side of the african mahogany with brown paper (which you can see in the photos) to protect them from any 5200 we might inadvertently get on our hands. Next, with the ply temporarily clamped in place, we used an indelible marker to traced the porthole edges on the backside of the ply. Then we applied 5200 directly to the plywood. We laid beads around the portholes, along the edges of the ply and back and fourth across the panel. Then, with Ron on the outside pushing the bolts through, I held the panels in place until we could fit the cardboard protectors, backing plates, washer in place and screw on the nuts. Then we tightened the nuts down with a socket wrench until we got good squeeze-out around the portholes. It went very smooth. No problems, no drips, and no mess. Easy day. They need to stay clamped for seven days.
Tomorrow I will start making the templates for the plywood to cover the forward face of the cabin and the two athwartship section on each side of the companionway ladder.
Port side mahogany ply "glued" with 5200 and clamped in place.
Staboard side clamped in place.
11 Oct 10 Today I sanded the fairing compound I applied around the portholes yesterday. Then I temporarily installed the full starboard side mahogany plywood paneling. The tape was applied to protect the mahogany veneer while I rolled and brushed two coats of epoxy to the back and edges of the plywood the day before yesterday. Before I permanently install the ply with 5200 I will protect the veneer with thick brown paper and tape. I don't want to varnish yet, thought that would be a good way to protect the veneer from 5200 seepage. I will screw and glue the lower trim and I don't know where the edge of the trim will be located so I don't really want to varnish yet. Also, the best place to varnish, at the moment, is on the boat. There is just too much dust and traffic in the wood shop or garage.
After putting up the panels on the starboard side I built the patterns for the portside. Tomorrow I will cut out the port side panels and apply epoxy coating the back and edges of the ply. I'll make up some more bracing and backing plates. I'll also tape and apply protective plastic sheeting around the outside of the portholes to limit the mess created by 5200 squeeze out.
Temporary fitting of the starboard cabin side.
101010 Sorry, I couldn't resist . . . a binary code date.
Yesterday, I drove to Winston-Salem NC to meet with Ken Elliot who has his own saw mill. A very interesting guy with a pretty neat setup. All though I was there only a short time I learned a lot. He had some beautiful walnut. We discussed both quartersawn and plain sawn and the advantages and disadvantages of both. I have about 50 sq feet of sole to cover. This will, of course, require that I buy more than 50 boad feet since I will buy it 5/4 rough milled and there will be some wastage. My task now is to decide between QS and PS.
I spent the day with my family but this afternoon I managed to mix up some fairing compound and spread it around the portholes and then faired it with a straight edge and a plastic squeegee. The FRP cabin side are not perfectly flush with the plywood when it is placed against it. This results in a few gaps around the edges of the portholes between the FRP and ply. Hopefully this will result in a better fit.
Prepping the cabin sides with fairing compound.
8 Oct 10
This has been another interesting week. A lot of work, mostly mental, but not a lot of visible progress. It became apparent at the end of September that the first order of business for building the interior was to install the cabin sides. Once the cabin sides are in the overhead cleats which support the plywood "V-groove" paneling and the false beams can be installed (I'll use 5200 to secure them to the overhead). To get the spacing right I needed to get the cabin sides in first. Also, because I will use 5200 to secure the 1/2" mahogany ply to the cabin top sides, I need to install them before I install the interior, else the 5200 drip down on the vertical staving and . . . well it would be a mess. It takes a lot of planning to get the sequence correct for the many individual projects I don't inadvertently install something that makes the next task more difficult. Since this is my first time building a boat interior I have a very limited knowledge base to rely on. I have to slow down, think about it, research it, draw it out.
I had planned on using the "mish-mash" trim rings that were part of the original interior. You can see them in the first photo below. They were installed to fill the gap between the one piece fiberglass headliner and the FRP cabin trunk. I wanted to incorporate them because they were molded to the bronze Spartan port-lights. But, to use them would have created an air gap between the backside of the plywood sides and the FRP cabin trunk. Additionally, the depth of the port-light spigots could not properly span the thickness of the ply, the "mish-mash" trim rings, FRP cabin side, and external bronze port-light trim ring. So what to do? I drew out some schematics, revised, measured some more, revised again, considered, talked to boat builders I trusted, and then thoughts some more. Finally, I decided to removed the mish-mash trim rings. They came off in an hour with a chisel and mallet. Then I sanded the inside of the cabin side smooth and while I was at it, because I love grinding and sanding fiberglass so much, I sanded the over head some more where the cleats will go that will support the false beams.
Next, I bought a couple of sheets of 1/2" type I marine grade mahogany plywood. I thought about how far down the trim would need to go on the bottom edge of the plywood cabin sides. I would like to incorporate a drip rail and I would like to have some false beams under the side deck to cover the seams in the 1/4" ply "v-groove" panels, etc, so the trim would have to accommodate these things. I made some more diagrams. To support the buildings of the patterns on the cabin side and to make sure the bottom edge would be lined up properly I fastened some temporary cleats to the underside of the side deck with a hot glue gun. Then, I made patterns with doorskin strips and hot glue gun. I secured the patterns on the cleat ledges and clamped them to the cabin side through the portholes with squeeze clamps.
I took the patterns down and laid them on the 1/2" mahogany ply. Normally, I like to lay them on the back side of the ply I am working on and cut them face down so the edge is cleaner from saws that cut upward. But, I wanted to match up the wood grain pattern I best as I could so I marked and cut them face up. I took the freshly cut ply up to the boat. To hold them in place I had made up some clamps that would hold the plywood sides tight to the FRP cabin side after I applied the 5200. What I came up with were plywood backing plates, some bolts, and 2x4 braces. I drilled a hole through the backing plate, then with my wife holding the plywood in place, drilled through the plywood in the areas that would eventually be cut out to make room for the port-lights, then through the 2x4 brace. A bolt was inserted through all these holes and tightened forcing the ply against the FRP cabin side. It seemed to work well. Once I had all the ply temporarily clamped on the starboard side, I looked it over. I was satisfied with the plan.
I removed the plywood and took them into the wood shop. I laid some plastic over the assembly table in the garage. I taped the edges of the mahogany side of the ply to protect them from any drips and flipped the ply over and laid it across some 1"x1" sticks with the plastic mahogany side down. Then, I mixed up some unthickend epoxy and rolled it on to seal the back side of the ply. I dragged a foam roller, cut length wise in thirds with a strip of wood for a handle, to removed any bubbles. I finished off by carefully brushing epoxy along all the edges of the ply to seal it as much as possible. No matter how much you work to maintain your boat, water will eventually find its way into any holes. Hopefully, the sealed wood will provide some protection if I wait to long to rebed the port-lights. After the epoxy was tacky to the touch I applied a second coat.
In between the work on the plywood cabin sides today I applied two more layers of 17.7oz epoxy tape to two bulkheads. They did not have a proper radiused corner against the skin of the FRP cabin side. It was a mistake I made last year but now was the time to correct it.
Tomorrow I go look at some quarter sawn black walnut to see if it will be suitable for a cabin sole.
Two layers of epxoy to seal the back side of the plywood.