Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Remains of Winter

A stormy week and cold temperatures this weekend. What the boat really needs is a good interior scrub and fresh paint and the temperature was not going to make that easy. I contented myself this weekend with other household chores instead.

We have had an awful lot of wind this winter. Twice this past week the winds have been above 50mph. Under these conditions I have been very impressed with my bow shed boat shelter. It has taken a lot of abuse, including the 90mph winds last month and 10+ days of 50mph winds over the winter, and the structure has held up well.

There are two areas where I think I could improve the structure.

One is how the structure is anchored down. The sections under the boat have held the structure down quite well and kept it from blowing away. On the other hand, the ends have been pushed around a lot; sometimes into some very odd shapes. Its not uncommon on a weekend to see one side set in an 'U' or 'S' shape. The little garden stakes I used were not up to the task. I think I need stronger ones - the front edge of the structure actually flattened a stake as it pushed over it in the 90mph winds- more of them, and on both sides of the edge rails to keep it all in position and aligned correctly would be a big improvement.

The second weakness has been the covering. A better manufactured tarp might have made all the difference. In general, the heavy duty silver tarps hold up well. At the moment, I am using a tarp that is on its third -very roughly handled - season. Its just this latest tarp which the poor quality grommets and holes right from the start, that couldn't handle the conditions. I haven't forgotten that the conditions included a near hurricane so I am not completely condemming my lastest tarp.

If I knew the boat was staying put for a few years I might consider shrinkwrapping which seems to be a stronger alternative. What I like about the tarp though is that it can be removed in nice weather or opened on the ends. Plus, a tarp is tons cheaper than shrinkwrap. I haven't tried greenhouse plastic which is what is recommended. That would probably be the best option if I knew the structure was going to be in place for a longer length of time.

Overall, the bows have held up well and show no signs of fatigue. Considering the winter we have just had I am very impressed and can't recommend the bow shed structure enough. By the way, I spent less than $400 in materials for the structure.

What I REALLY want is a spot of land for a permanent/semi-permanent structure. Just a roof would be nice. Maybe next year.

I think this weekend might be Winter's last gasp. That's what I hope for anyway. I am looking forward to packing away the structure for the summer and having free, wide open access to the decks again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring cleaning

Beautiful weather yesterday. 70 degrees and sunny. Unfortunately (for the boat) I had prior plans to meet friends at the Maine Boatbuilders Show in Portland Maine. Its easily my favorite show. Hardly a bland one piece deck mold to be found anywhere and they actually had boats I could think about affording. Not an inefficient power hungry hideous looking piece of frozen snot that costs more than my house to be found. Well, there was one, made by Sabre, but overall I think they are one of the better made boats and it was easy to walk past that one. No sign of Hinckley. I think for all intents and purposes they are dead.

Anyway, after the great weather saturday I was hoping to install my cabin sole on Sunday. Unfortunately the nice weather didn't quite hold. I used the day to fiddle with my engine box and do a much overdue general cleanup. Anyone that has taken more than a passing glance at some of my photos over the winter has probably noted the increasing level of clutter, shavings, sawdust, dirt and just plain grunge. I didn't have a scrubber so the grunge is still there but I cleaned up everything else.

The interior was last painted two years ago and I have done a lot of work in there since then and I think a fresh coat of paint is called for. I think it is also time to stop treating the insides like a workshop and start treating Jenny like the quality boat that she is becoming. It is going to be a tough transition considering my level of laziness but I think it is time.

I need more paint on the engine box sides I tinkered with today so I didn't install them. I am really going to miss that wide open access. I am really going to like having a framed in galley though.

Other than that, I applied more coats of clear satin polyurethane to the shelving.

Here is a picture that just shows how the bamboo and cherry paneling are going to look put together.

And that is it. Hopefully, the weather this weekend is here to stay and not just a teaser.

Em tasol wantoks.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring showers...

Well, calling them spring may be a bit premature and calling them showers would be gross understatement. Late winter rain deluge is probably a more accurate description. We are under a flood watch and expect 5 inches of rain in the next 24 hours. Not much if you are from Ketchikan but around here that guarantees a lot of mud and swimming pool cellars.

My camera battery died so no pictures this week. You will have to trust me when I say I accomplished some work on Jenny.

Basically, I prepped and started the painting process on the bamboo and pine shelving I cut last week.

The 'plyboo' bamboo plywood was sanded to a nice finish and then oiled. I debated leaving the bamboo bare before applying a clear urethane finish but the bamboo, when laid up alongside some varnished cherry, looked too white/bright and contrasty. A coat of oil, which I was going to use on the underside in any case as a preservative, gave the bamboo a light yellow-ish tone that matched the cherry much better. I wanted to let the oil dry completely before any other coating so that was it for the bamboo this weekend.

The pine shelving I wanted to keep as light colored as possible so I just routed the front lip with a half inch quarter round bit, sanded smooth, and applied a clear satin poly-urethane. I managed two coats on the underside and a single coat on the visible side.

Other than that, I decided to go through my lumber rack and re-organize it. I save too much. Now I have a pickup truck load of scrap plywood pieces, 2x4 offcuts and odd fixtures for structures that don't exist anymore. I also have all the original teak trimmings that came out of the boat stored in an organized way so I can find them when I need them. Those are too valuable to simply toss away (given my current budget anyway).

Next week is the Maine boatbuilders show. One of the best boat oriented shows that I know of. At least for me since they display a lot of materials suppliers and small boats that I can actually think of building or buying someday, unlike the ugly glossy $800k two piece molded fiberglass behemoths at the big boat shows. I should still manage to get more coats of urethane in place and maybe I will find some special boat show prices on the veneered plywood I need to really bring Jenny's interior alive.

Stay dry everyone!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunny days are here again!...

50 degrees, sunny, and no conflicting schedules. Nirvana.

The silver lining with my tarp ripping apart is that the old tarp is shorter and only extends to the gunwales so I can just duck under the cover and get in the boat instead of having to untie everything and spend five minutes just gaining access to the boat. I just thought I would mention that.

Before I put in the plywood paneling inside I needed to prepare the side locker shelving and get started on the engine cover.

I have been tempted to try the zebra wood that is available at my local exotic hardwoods dealer. I was thinking an inside locker would be a good place to try it out without overpowering the interior decor. In the end though, I decided some nice light pine suited my needs better.

In this particular locker the back panel took on a curved shape that was difficult to straighten out. I cut the back of the shelf to match instead. I also made a short lip to keep stuff from spilling out when the doors are opened.

Then I decided to use the leftover bamboo plywood from the cabin sole to make the top shelves behind the saloon settees. At $200 a sheet I didn't want to waste the material and I think it provides some continuity with the cabin sole - horizontal surfaces (light colored) bamboo, vertical surfaces (dark-ish) cherry.

I was a little short on material and had to stretch it a bit. I had just enough as it turns out. The forward starboard locker is going to remain open on top which made using the bamboo sheet possible. I was hoping to cover the edges with the bamboo but I can find something equally nice to look at.

So then I turned my attention to the engine bay.

Yes. The plywood is ugly but I assure everyone that it is perfectly sound. The fir strips take the load anyway. The plywood is more of a backing for the sound deadening insulation. I used some old (but good) 3/4" fir plywood just to add a little rigidity and a lot of density to help muffle the engine noise. Paint cures a multitude of ills...

And then I glued and screwed the shelf facing and engine bay sides together.

Sanding, painting and installation coming right up. I might have to bribe my budget master and order some cherry veneered plywood. I could use it really soon.

Or maybe the weather will continue to stay nice and I will switch to exterior varnish and installing the deck hardware. Its all good and with the improvements in the weather I couldn't be more excited to get back to work.

Em tasol wantoks.