Friday, April 25, 2008

Who's got sole?

That would be me. Or rather, that would be my boat.

Yesterday I settled the sub-sole in place for the final time. Fussing with the position, trying to keep the curved shape matched to the curved hull surface at the correct place for a consistent height along the entire length took a bit of time. Walking on the sub-sole - since there really isn't anywhere else to stand while doing this - caused the sole to flex making the operation that much more interesting. The sub-sole has also been my sometimes work surface for the past year and had a slight bow to it which made it fun beyond all expectations.

In the end, I got it all pinned down where it needed to go with several braces from the cabin top pushing the sole firmly into position. Then I filled in the slight gaps along the edges with thickened epoxy gluing the sub-sole into its final position. With all the braces and with the sole flexing whenever I got near I had to call it an early day.

Today I returned and I noticed an immediate and positive difference when I went below. The sole already felt rock solid. Much better than it ever did before. I am really not sure how much flex is in the hull in this area and I didn't really want to trust the epoxy alone to hold the sub-sole in place so tabbed the edges with 6 inch biaxial tape. Good stuff-glad I bought the 300 foot roll.

The whole operation was a bit messy and I was glad I didn't have finished decks to tiptoe across. I added a little bit of extra sanding to my future checklist. Working on the narrow sole meant an inadvertent footstep or drip in the wrong area which I couldn't seem to help. Luckily there isn't any of the final cosmetic stuff in the boat yet that I have to worry about. Soon, but not yet.

The sole took a surprisingly large amount of epoxy to secure in place (rough estimate = 100 pumps with the normal WEST SYSTEM pump dispenser). I thought my edges were pretty tight but I still managed to use up a lot of thickened epoxy and those 8 foot biaxial tabbings soak up even more epoxy. I think I am going to have to bite the bullet and buy another jug (4.35 gallons) of epoxy resin. This will be my third (or fourth) on this project. That will be more than enough to finish this boat but there will always be another boat in my future I suspect.

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