Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wanting is...

the root of all unhappiness.

If I didn't want boat work to progress faster I would not be unhappy with the progress. Saturday was a demonstration in progress against all odds. Sunday was somewhat better.

During the week, I installed my new 1/8 inch blade in the new bandsaw and cut out backing pads for some of the deck hardware. After using hand tools for so long I forgot how nice a fixed shop tool can be. It was a much more pleasant experience cutting the blocks out. For the pads I used G10 which is great stuff (pre-made sheets of epoxy/fiberglass composite with a near perfect ratio of resin to fiber). McMaster and Carr has it among other sources. When I first got the boat I didn't know about it and was using epoxy coated plywood. It is working okay but the G10 is far superior. For some reason I had two pieces of G10 in 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch thicknesses. I have no idea why I had the 3/8 inch stock. The 1/4 inch was fine. All the same, I had to use the thicker stuff up so I used the 3/8 inch stock for under the stanchion bases. Had I been really smart I would have pre-painted the pads. I briefly considered postponing installation to paint the pads but decided I couldn't stand any more delays. The pads will most likely be hidden behind cabinetry and can always be painted afterwards in any case.

I had anticipated installing everything easily within a day. How silly of me. The little things took forever. First, I had to drill the pads for the mounting holes. I had already learned that I could not simply put the pad against the fitting and use the fiting as a drill guide. While the holes through the deck look straight, they are usually not, and after traveling though an inch of deck the holes don't come out directly under where they went in. In other words, somewhere in the drilling process a little crookedness is introduced. The solution is to drill one hole and then temporarily secure the pad via the single bolt hole. Then drill the opposite hole and run another bolt through to fix the pad into position. Then I was able to drill the remaining two (or whatever) holes in the pads. This means the pads are perfectly drilled... unless they get flipped upside down. Its a good idea to mark the orientation of the pads before walking away. No need to ask me why I believe this.

So, most of Saturday was spent drilling on deck and then going below to fuss with a pad and then going up and drilling a second hole and then going below... etc. I had to make several trips back home to pick up a forgotten tool or two. I was nearly done when my large and torque-y drill motor got the drill bit slightly stuck and promptly snapped the bit in two. I only had the one bit so I was finished with drilling for the day.

No problem, I wanted to mount my foredeck cowl. I used a taper drill to pre-drill for the mounting screws. I reached for my tube of sealant and found the end to be solid. No problem, I grabbed the first available tool - the new taper drill bit - and stuck it in the end of the tube and gave it a whirl. The new taper drill bit snapped in half.

Okay, I grabbed my utility knife and cut into the side of the tube and sort of spread the sealant out in a less than precise manner. I then set the cowl on top of the sealant and started screwing the mount screws down. Apparently I didn't drill quite far enough with the taper drill. Since I had just broken the taper drill I couldn't go back and drill a little deeper. I figured I could just muscle the screw down the last 1/8 inch. And that is how I snapped the screw in half. So, after pitching the remaining tube of sealant half way across the boatyard, I grabbed a roll of paper towels and wiped up/smeared around the sealant figuring I would try another day.

A long work week and temperatures in the 90's with 90%+ humidity might have contributed to my fatigue and set me up for the series of small failures. I was pretty disgusted with boatwork Saturday night.

Sunday I slept late and ate a good breakfast with 'my boys' at the diner which put me in a much better mood. I was able to buy some new drill bits and finish drilling the holes and then bribed a helper with a fried clam lunch to make installing the hardware go more smoothly.

Thanks Mom.

A few issues still managed to crop up. The pad for the aft stanchions straddles the division between the underside of the raw deck and the interior liner. The thickness is about the same but the angle between the two is a little off. That meant that the bolts that I had ordered were too short. Once I tightened one side of the stanchion base, the pad pulled away from the underside of the deck too far for the bolts to reach, I tried starting the bolts in different orders but in the end, I deemed it better to clean up and try again next week with longer bolts.

The other issue I had was that I had grabbed what I thought was 1/4 inch and 5/16 inch washers from my hardware rack. That is what I thought I had done. In fact, I had 1/4 inch washers with different sized outside diameters. The middle stanchion bases use 5/16 inch bolts and I didn't have any washers. I decided to mount the bases without washers. I was using the 3/8 inch thick G10 under the stanchion bases so I think they can handle nuts without washers. In two years when I re-bed the deck hardware I can add the washers.

Next, with my helper, I was able to mount the jib tracks. I didn't use a backing pad under the tracks, just some large area washers. There are 13 bolts holding each track in place so I think the washers alone will do just fine.

Yes, that is mold on the underside of the side deck. When there is water in the bilge, and the boat is closed up for a week, and the temperatures are in the 90's, mold spores go into a breeding frenzy. I didn't have anything on hand in the truck to clean it up and I wasn't going back home to get it.

After supplying my helper with the fried clam lunch I went back and installed the stern pulpit.

And by then I was pretty well cooked, working in the bright sun in the 90 degree weather.

The forward pulpit will have to wait until next week.

I might shift gears and get more varnish down if the weather cooperates. The three applications of varnish are looking a little thin already. No biggy. If I varnish I will continue with the cabin sole painting. There is always something to do.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Deck progress

Sorry, no new pictures. I had planned on working both days this weekend but Sunday had other plans for me. I left the camera at home Saturday thinking the intermediate pictures would be rather dull and the final pictures (might) be more interesting. Since there was no Sunday work, there are no pictures.

On Saturday I drilled through the holes I had epoxy filled last week to the final dimensions. Then I was able to insert a known length bolt into the holes and determine the hardware I needed to install the stanchion bases, pulpits, jib sheet tracks and forward deck cowl.

I noticed a problem for the first time with jib tracks. Well two actually but one is very minor. The minor issue was that after drilling out the end holes for the jib tracks and pinning the tracks in place loosely with bolts (so that I could use the tracks as templates for the intermediate holes) I realized that the aluminum tracks bend quite easily and I *could* have bent the tracks to follow the outside curve of the decks. That would have looked a bit nicer than the straight tracks I set up for. I wasn't going to correct the minor issue but next time I would probably bend the track. Just for a slight visual improvement.

The more important issue was the lifeline set up. In my head, I was going to install a support brace for the aft stanchion so I could attach a fixed lifeline to the forward end under tension, and install a short section of removable lifeline aft of the aft stanchion - between the stanchion and the stern pulpit- for easy boarding. The only purpose was so I could removed the lifeline for boarding and not have the whole lifeline sag down. That has always been my plan. However, now that I have the jib tracks being installed I realize that the support brace needs to attach to the deck right where the track is. I can't run the support brace aft because 1.) It wouldn't be as strong. 2.) it would look funny 3.) aft of the stanchion would put the brace right over the big deck drain. There just isn't any room.

So maybe I will let the lifeline sag or maybe I will attach some sort of crimp fitting on by the stanchion tube to hold the lifeline up. The crimp won't be as strong or as visually clean but the lifeline will only be disconnected when the boat is at rest anyway when the lifelines are not so critical to have.

As some fellow boat restorers are fond of saying 'Damned because it is all connected'. Everything you do effects everything else in a myriad of ways that you cannot possibly imagine before you start the project. The challenge keeps it fun I guess.

Once I figured out my hardware needs I put in an order with They are pretty good with the random small quantities I need.

Other than that, I sanded hull alongside the cabin sole in the area between the sole and the vertical cabinet panels. Another fellow boat restorer mentioned to me privately that filling and smoothing the hull sections would have been much easier before I had the sole installed. He learned that the hard way. I guess now I have too. Next time I will fill and smooth the hull before installing the sole. I managed to get it done but it took a lot more care and time than it needed to.

I was also going to fill in around the cabin sole hatch covers with another application of thickened epoxy but I decided to hold off and see if some foam tape might work well there. The tape would add the little height I need and would soften the contact area between the sole and hatch. The tape might also depress over time leaving the hatch cover slightly lower than the sole. I might try it and see how it works. I can always build up the lip that the hatch lids sit on later.

Sorry about no pictures. How about I post a few old picturs to remember how far the project has come and not always be thinking how far it has to go...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mixed progress

The only thing holding me back from sailing last season was a lack of deck hardware. So Saturday I was all geared up for deck work. After opening up the boat and getting some much needed ventilation, I realized I had left my power cord at home so I went back for it. At the house I looked up to see dark clouds. Halfway back to the boat the heavens opened up and dropped an ocean of water everywhere.

So all I managed to do Saturday was to get the insides all wet...

Sunday didn't look much better but I decided to dodge raindrops and get some work done where I could. I started by laying up the jib sheet tracks. I laid the four foot tracks equi-distant to the stanchion bases and far enough from the toerail to make it look 'right'. Then I drilled and filled the holes with thickened epoxy. I took a series of pictures of the operation in case someone doesn't know what I am talking about. Unfortunately, the white deck and bright sun washed out the photos beyond any form of recognition. I have a fancy camera but sometimes I forget to pay attention to what it is trying to tell me. Next week I will drill through the new epoxy for the actual mounting hardware. In the middle of this I had to button up and wait out a rain shower.

After the rain shower things cleared up considerably so I continued with the stern rail. The holes for the forward posts were the original ones but I had to make new holes for the aft posts. And yes, I will spend some time cleaning up the original pulpits before being permanently mounted.

With the weather continuing to hold I went ahead and set up the bow pulpit. Those holes I didn't have to drill and fill as they were the original ones. Next time I would have filled the holes before re-doing the decks and made new holes when I was ready for them. The pulpit has to be tortured a bit to get it into position using the original holes.

By this time the high heat and humidity were cooking me to something past well done. I spent a few more minutes and drilled and filled holes for my bronze cowl that I got off of Ebay last fall.

The heavy rain on Saturday that came in several hours early really upset my schedule. At least Sunday was partially salvagable.

Next week I need to cut out the backing plates for the rails (new bandsaw blade just for this is on order) drill out the holes and measure for the correct length hardware. And then I can finish mounting everything and have a working sailboat again for the first time in four years!

Then I need to finish everything else...