Sunday, August 1, 2010

Changes in the weather

A change in the weather meant a change in plans.

For the past month, the temperatures have been in the mid 90's (F) with 90%+ humidity most days.

This weekend, the temperature dipped into the upper 70's low 80's with 50-60% humidity. Perfect varnishing weather. During times like these there isn't any choice. One must drop whatever plans one had and pick up the varnish brush.

So that is what I did. One coat on every piece of wood on Saturday and another coat on Sunday: Toerail/rubrail, engine instrument frame, companionway trim, water deck fitting block, coamings and winchblocks, forehatch, and misc. bow woodwork. That makes a minimum of five coats of varnish on all my wood so I am getting close to an acceptable amount of coverage. At least I won't be worrying about it all the time (for at least a month).

Other than that... I continued to build up the surface that the cabin sole hatches rest upon with a couple of coats of epoxy thickened with WEST 407 (low density fill). My earlier plan of using foam tape fell apart after some thinking. I figured over time the tape would compress and I would either have the hatches sitting too high initially or too low after a period of time. I didn't like either result. Instead, I mixed up some epoxy leaving it just thin enough to self-level before it kicked off. An application last week and the first application this week brought the hatches just about perfectly aligned with the surrounding sole. I applied an additional coating Sunday to help fill in any low spots and give something to sand smooth. Next week I should be able to prime and paint.

Yes. I need to clean out the bilges and apply a fresh coat of paint. Its hard to keep the boat clean while working on it.

I really like my bamboo plywood sole and I only have one caveat about it. Let it sit anywhere near a moist environment for more than a few minutes and mold will spontaneously begin reproducing right in front of your eyes. Mold loves this stuff. It isn't just on the boat either. My stock in the garage grows moldy in no time flat and I have had to clean up my stock a few times. A solvent rag takes care of most of it. A light sanding usually finishes it up clean.

To make the mold problem go away, the bamboo plywood needs to be sealed up. I cleaned up the undersides of the hatch covers where I had not applied any finish before and then gave them all a coat of clean polyurethane on the bottom surfaces. One more coat and they should be good to go. Any of the bamboo that has been sealed this way exhibits no tendency to mass produce mold babies.

Sound like nothing happened. Maybe. Setting up for varnishing everything on deck takes more time than I would like. Nothing looks better but it does take some work. Beauty costs.

On another note. After some emails with a fellow boat restorer I need to add some thoughts about on last week's projects.

I woke up the next day thinking about the broken taper bit and the bronze screws I was using to secure the bronze foredeck cowl. After reviewing the failed installation I realized that I did not like how the screw felt going into the thickened epoxy plug. My email correspondece confirmed a better technique I was thinking about- drilling and tapping for machine screws. Taper bits just don't work well in epoxy. I think the tapped machine threads is a much better solution. Now I just need to order the machine screws. On a different note, with the cowl over the new hole in the foredeck I noticed a vast improvement in the air quality below decks when I went below after a week away Saturday. The ventilation is much better now.

The second idea we talked about was one I had heard of and then prompty forgot. The time consuming method I had for drilling the mounting screws through the backing pads could be dramatically improved with a hot glue gun. Mix up some thickened epoxy and goop it on the backing pad, apply hot glue to a few points on the backing pad and stick it into position. The hot glue sets up in a minute and holds the backing pad while the epoxy takes a full cure. Then it is a simple method of drilling through for the mounting bolts. Of course that means the backing pads will never come off again but why would anyone want to take them off ?...

Finally, the green composite material I was using for backing pads is not G10 after all. It is a polyester layup. Completely adequate for what I was using it for but I feel the need to make the correction public and reduce the amount of bad information found on the Internet (a hopeless task I know). I don't know where that stuff came from. It has been in my stock pile for a few years now and I guess I just forgot what it was.

So that was the weekend and another month of summer is gone. I have the bow pulpit, jib sheet cleats and stern cleats to install. I hope to get my new Monitor wind vane mount out of my basement where it has been taking up space for the past five years and finally get it installed on the boat. I am still trying to get enough done on the actual sailing hardware list to be able to spend some time and money this Fall on some interior paneling. If I can keep plugging away I have hopes of some interior installed before Old Man Winter comes to visit again.

I say, I say, I say... That's all folks!

No comments: