Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taking a holiday

Its hard to get anything done over the holidays. There are too many things and people vying for your attention. Having to maintain steady employment is more than a little bit of a drag too.

The only productive thing this week was I installed the fuel tank fittings.

I wasn't smart enough to specify exactly what size fittings I needed for the tank when it was built and the sizes were a bit more 'industrial sized' than I would have liked. I guess I should have expected it from a welding shop that builds tanks for the local commercial fishing fleet. I needed to reduced the sizes for the 5/16 inch fuel hose I am using (per Moyer Marine's recomendation- I think 1/4 inch would have been fine too). A problem I had is that the aluminum fittings aren't available and bronze would set up a potential for dissimiliar meta corrosion. I used a stainless reducer on the tank that goes between the aluminum tank and the bronze hose fittings. That brought its own set of probems. The stainless threads, being much tougher, tends to cut into the threads in the aluminum tank making it difficult to tighten sufficiently without destroying the tank fitting. I think I got it but I will have to see how it holds up.

I have a shut-off valve at the tank which should prevent any accidental fuel siphoning disasters. The hose runs to the forward end of the engine where I have a mini 'service center' still under re-construction. The hose will connect with a fuel/water separater, electric fuel pump, final inline fuel filter, second shut-off valve and then the carburetor.

The holidays are almost over and progress will accelerate shortly.

I promise.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snug as a bug in a rug

Snowstorms all weekend so I don't expect any progress.

Its not really the snow on the boat though. As you can see the cover sheds snow well and the boat is dry and comfy underneath.

The problem is all the shoveling around the house and the fact that I have barely begun my holiday shopping.

Oh well, that's what happens when you try to work on boats in the winter. If I get anything done this weekend I will post it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cozy warm

With the temperature around 20 degrees today there wasn't much I could do outside. I grabbed a blanket and tossed it over the companionway, fired up the electric heater, and surprised myself by sweating ten minutes later. With the heater running it was quite comfortable in the cabin. Not 70 degrees but maybe 50. Apparently, all that hull insulation is doing something. What a surprise :-)

I picked a temperature tolerant job today and plumbed in my raw water intake for the engine. Last spring I moved the raw water seacock to a point in the keel on the port side. Just like before I included a 'T' valve so I can switch between drawing from the seacock and drawing from a 4 foot section of hose inside. That makes running the engine on the hard really simple. Drop the end of the hose in a bucket of water and I am ready. I don't have to loosen the plumbing; just throw the valve.

I needed a few more 90 degree elbows so I stole them from another upcoming project of lesser priority. Actually, I think the new installation is much cleaner and simpler. I like it. I also replaced the normal engine water hose with heavy reinforced hose. I ran into problems with the suction line collapsing last time and the reinforced hose is much stiffer so I shouldn't have a problem again.

Because it was so cozy inside I decided to start routing the potable water fill lines. Not exactly high priority but a good inside job. You will have to forgive the mess. I did not have a vacuum to clean up after myself. I didn't secure the hoses in place either as I need to dress up the cuts I made (paint) and figure out a way to secure the hose in position.

The two fill lines drop down the starboard side forward of the main bulkhead in the V-berth. I sleep on the port side so these aren't a problem. The forward hose goes through the V-berth, turns 90 degrees and attaches to the V-berth water tank. The aft hose goes down and makes the same 90 degree bend to the aft end of the V-berth water tank, then hangs a tight 180 degree turn and ducks under the sole. I should have thought to put the inlet for the bilge water tank on one side instead of right in the middle. Oh well.

(leaving the water hoses in my basement for a year didn't make them look any nicer. Luckily they clean up easily...)

Temps should be warmer tomorrow so I might break out the sealant and get the cockpit scuppers in place and do some other plumbing under the cockpit sole.

Or maybe I will enjoy a day off...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Other People's Boats

Working for a living has been the story for the week.

Just before I was offered a new full time job last week, (that I accepted) I had taken on the job of bottom stripping another boat.

Now I have two jobs.

I initially started with 40 grit paper in my DA. This has worked for me in the past. After all, there was only a little bit of paint to take off...

Well, the red 'signal coat' that was supposed to be the bottom layer before the barrier coat was in reality just a layer on top of several more layers. The paint is quite thick. Sanding was going too slow and I was using a sandpaper disc every square foot. Since materials are coming out of my pocket I went to plan 'B'.

A couple of months ago I helped a friend strip another boat bottom. While I was there I was shown the proper way to use a scraper. It's brutal work but very effective. Putting one's full body weight into the scraper you can take off 10-20 years of paint in a single swipe. Its also a great cardio workout. Scrape for 30 seconds and then stand back and rest for a minute or two. It isn't fun but it gets the job done quicker and safer than any other method I have tried. Don't skimp on scraper blades, changing them on the hour keeps the progress coming.

I didn't take a picture but in the past, around the rudder, someone had used a pressure washer to remove paint. The pressure washer managed to fracture the laminate along with the paint and left pock marks in the hull. I looked into soda blasting the hull, supposedly relatively safe and effective, but the equipment is very expensive and the blasting media alone would cost around $500. If I had a full time business stripping boat bottoms this would be the way to go but since I am being paid a flat rate for this one boat, scraping was my answer.

The owner suggested a disc sander and we tried it. I was hesitant because I had seen grinders with sanding discs make a real mess of the hull; creating a scalloped surface. The disc sander was better but 36 grit was still incredibly slow and while 24 grit worked, it was leaving deep grooves in the hull that would have to be sanded out later. In a side by side comparison the scraping was still a bit faster so I just had to suck it up and scrape.

As far as my own boat, she is well. I took some measurements for some hoses so I can do some cold weather tolerant projects; namely, cockpit drains, bilge pump plumbing, and engine exhausts.