Saturday, June 26, 2010

Varnish. Toerails. Again

Saturday was going to be the nicest day of the weekend with showers on Sunday. The WoodenBoat show is going on this weekend in Mystic Seaport and my girlfriend invited me to go. I think she figured if it involved boats I would be more willing to give up boatwork and spend a day with her. She was right.

So I crunched the weekend chores into Saturday morning and managed to get a second full coat of varnish on the toerails and rubrails. As I drove home I saw rain showers forming...

Oh well. The varnish was kicking off pretty fast in the heat. Its only a build coat. ...

Next weekend is the July fourth holiday weekend and I am juggling several social obligations which will probably push boatwork onto the back burner.

Its nearly July and I haven't mounted a single piece of deck hardware which was the priority for the summer. I guess I am doing about average this year.

Just keep pushing that stone up the hill ...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Too hot for varnish

Too hot for varnish but I did it anyway. I just couldn't wait and the liklihood of a cooler day with summer around the corner seems unlikely.

The varnish was starting to fail in many places on the toerail because I only had four coats down from last season. Now with the cover off it wouldn't be long before it completely failed. I am tempted to let it turn gray and sand it later but I can't do that to my nice toerail yet.

As it was, I sanded pretty aggresively and could have done more. A real complete heavy sanding is on the to-do list but not this year. With temps in the high 80's I thinned out the varnish some and crossed my fingers. It is not a stellar job but the wood is covered. Now I can only hope to get another 6 or so coats on it soon...

I used a tape designed to resist abrasion. I wish I could remember what it was called. I bought it through McMaster and Carr last year. It worked really well at allowing me to bump up against the hull with the orbital sander and not hurt anything. It worked only a little better than marginal as an edge to keep the varnish from getting on the hull. It worked well enough but I probably shouldn't have been so cheap and lazy and laid down real masking tape for the varnishing part. The abrasion resistant tape wasn't cheap, around $20-30 a roll, and the roll wasn't quite enough for my 56 feet of toerail x two edges but I think it was worth it. I would use it again.

I really can't call varnishing 'progress' as it should be a yearly maintenance thing. If anyone else is concerned over the pace of my work you are not alone. I think I am at the limit of what an apartment renter that commutes an hour to work can really accomplish. This is probably not the sort of boat for a person like that (which is me at the moment). Even with no new construction I think the yearly upkeep requirements would tax my schedule pretty hard. The weather, the distance, the lack of time all contribute to the endless delays.

The varnish and other yard duties was all I managed today. Tomorrow I have some other unrelated boat work that needs to get done so this is going to make for another pathetic boat work weekend.

I think after I finish this blog posting I am going to email my realtor friend about finding some buildable land for a boat barn. I was hoping to find a real home for the boat and me but now I think I just want something for the boat. I need a permanent shelter to get the spring chores done before Fall and have all the tools and materials in one spot. A bunk, a hot plate and a composting toilet and I can move in alongside the boat. What could be better?...

I can handle faded gel-coat and gray wood in my current circumstances but that time is now past and I am going to have to step up my game if I am going to keep up with my boat as it gets closer to 'completion'.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dodging Raindrops (yet again)

Another weekend of showery weather.

Making the best of it, I decided to fair some of the rough exposed sections of the hull alongside the cabin sole as well as the cut outs for the sole hatch boards.

After taping the edges of my new bamboo sole, I mixed up a batch of epoxy with low density fairing filler (WEST 407). I mixed it up thick enough to fill the fiberglass weave and other irregularities and thin enough to self-level before the epoxy kicked off. Another coat after sanding might be required.

And yes, the cut-outs in the under sole and the bamboo plywood don't line up. I think in one instance I measured from the middle of the sole and in the other I measured from the middle of the boat. One might assume these would be the same things but in a Triton that is highly unlikely. Symmetry does not exist with these boats.

No, I didn't spill anything on the new sole that didn't wipe right up. The slight stain on the port side is water stain where some water pooled up. I appear to have a small leak that wasn't readily apparent. The piece of paper towel was stopping the water from migrating back out into my fresh epoxy.

Taking advantage of a lull in the rain I decided to add more screws securing my teak rubrail. The original installation was pulling away from the hull in a few places, notably at the amidships joint.

I am still not happy with the rubrail installation. Even with the longer screws I didn't always get a good connection. In a few cases, while driving in the new screws, they would hit resistance and would pull the wood away from the hull along with the adjacent screws in the process. The problem is the rough contruction at the hull-to-deck joint. There are lots of voids, dry fibers and lumps of resin that the screws have a hard time gripping. In one instance, I hit a pocket with blew my drill out of the hole with an explosive bang, lots of white powder, and that intoxicating smell of uncured polyester resin. Next time - or if the current connection fails - I think I might use a more adhesive sealant like 4200 or 5200. I avoided these thinking I might someday have to repair the rubrail and didn't want to deal with these strong adhesives then. On a positive note, the rubrail is more decorative than anything so as long as it doesn't just fall off in bulk I can probably keep it in place for some time.

A curious feature of my rubrail is that every winter a larg-ish gap shows up between the rubrail and the hull. During cold weather I can clearly see daylight between the hull and rubrail and sometimes have over a quarter inch gap showing. When the weather warms up most of the gaps go away however. I guess that will be an ongoing issue trying to marry two different materials together over a wide span.

The original installation used 8x1.25 bronze wood screws about 12 inches apart. I put 8x1.5 wood screws in between, doubling the number of screws holding the toerail on. On top of this will be a brass half over strip, hopefully being installed this summer if I can get some decent varnish coverage before next winter...

I just found this view while adding the toerail screws and thought it looked nice. I love a nice clean foredeck.

And that's it for this weekend. More boatwork is on the schedule for next weekend.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Empty Nest

Well the Dove Saga is over. The nest was empty this week. I guess Momma didn't like her new digs after all. I kinda suspected that.

I am pretty sure I have mentioned that if I ever 'did it again' I would not start a boat project without decent covered storage. I think I need to amend that opinion. If I was to ever buy a boat again I wouldn't until I had decent covered and heated indoor storage.

I make this amendment as I look at my thinning-by-the-day-under-the-intense-summer-sun varnish trim on Jenny. The weather continues to be uncooperative to varnish and it wouldn't be where I wanted it even if I didn't have the little bird issue to contend with. I have decided that to maintain the boat in the condition I would like will require better storage options. My winter cover is nice but I am restricted in width by the boatyard rules so I can't get to the toerails while the cover is on. Even with a bigger cover the temperature and humidity hasn't been where I need it to be either. Of course a big part of my problem is that I am restricted to weekends only which is severely limiting my options. I really just have no time for wage earning work. My boat needs me.

I am really sick of boatyard storage even if I am in a pretty good boatyard. I think it is time to start searching seriously for a house for my boat. A house for myself would be nice too but I think that is out of the question considering what I have spent on the boat. I have gone this far for the boat's sake; I might as well buy Jenny her own house and THEN we will both be happy and content...

Fighting the heavy rainshowers, I managed to get some details done. A thorough washdown cleared away all the winter grime (and black sneaker marks from when I was too careless about my 'no shoes' rule). The cabin sole has a coat of polyurethane on it. The saloon shelving is completely installed and awaiting the cherry paneling.

and that is about it. Nothing really worth taking a picture of.