Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rain, rain, go away...

Rainy days has been the story for the past two weekends.

Last weekend it rained hard all day Saturday which meant no work at the boat. The following Sunday the sun came out but unfortunately the light only illuminated the lake under the boat. There was no way I was going to lay in the water to continue the hull patching. Instead, I made a run to Home Despot for some fir beadboard and cut out a pair of panels for the head area.

The fir is notorious for needing lots and lots of priming because of how the grain soaks up the paint. As a matter of fact, the stuff is pretty bad but its what I started with and I don't want to change right now. I did try to find some nicer quality birch beadboard but my two suppliers don't carry it any more. I have a bunch of the fir in place already and don't really want the mismatch of two different types anyway. I wouldn't jump at the chance to do it the same way again next time. Live and learn.

The beadboard looks okay in a rustic sort of fashion after lots of priming and painting so when I looked out the window yesterday and saw all the rain falling I decided to continue along that vein. More primer and finally some paint. I also put a few more coats of urethane on the shelf that goes inside the head locker too.

But wait! That's not all! In addition, I managed to build a step into the front panel of the engine cover. I was happy with the original step but I wanted to reduce the number of parts strewn about the cabin when gaining access to the engine. Building the step into the panel seemed like a logical direction to go in. The plan was to simply copy the original geometry but I noticed just as I was taking the picture that I must have measured something a bit wrong. The new step is an inch higher. I will have to try and rectify that this week.

Today was the first day (that wasn't a time clock punching sort of day) with some real sunshine and I managed to drag out the panels for some more painting in the sun before my obligations to celebrate the return of the Great Bunny. (Easter...)

Hopefully, next week I can get back on track with some real stuff. Launch time keeps getting closer...

Speaking of launch time. Did I mention the mooring rental is paid for? It is. Along with the required insurance. Plus, I am averaging about $250 a week in basic parts and hardware. Its funny, I knew when I launched the boat two years ago after so much work being done that it was going to be expensive with all the last minute things that needed to happen to make the boat seaworthy. Silly me thought that would be a one time deal. Now I am starting to wonder if my wallet will continue to hemorrhage every spring just before launch day. Hmmm....

Anyway, hoping for better weather in the coming weeks.

Had det bra saa lenge ;-)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Just like the good ol' days...

The weather was nicer this weekend so I took the opportunity to re-live my life from a few years ago. One of my old tools was not up to the task however.

My faithful 3M 6800 series full face respirator has been literally rotting away and is no longer fit for service- the rubber straps that hold the faceplate to the face were rotting/crumbling/breaking into itsy bitsy pieces. I once rebuilt the respirator, ordering all the parts it needed but the hassle of finding and ordering the bits and pieces wasn't worth the effort so I simply bought a new one.

Some may remember that on my last haul-out day, I got pinned against a rock and the only way to clear water was a dance through a whole rock garden. That left a few scars.

Yesterday was really the first time I took a really good look at the scars. Luckily, most of the scarring was only into the fairing filler from the last repair. There were 3-4 spots where the fibers had been scratched and one spot that was really 'damaged' in the true sense of the word.

When I bought the boat I discovered water dripping out of the hull from a boat that supposedly hadn't seen water in 2 years. After some investigating, it turned out the boat had run up on something and repairs had been made (poorly) using a polyester filler material. Water had wicked up through the polyester filler into the cracks that had not been completely removed, once I started removing old bottom paint the water started seeping back out.

I repaired that bit and added a few extra layers of 15 oz. biaxial cloth figuring the boat is likely to hit something again and a little extra wouldn't hurt. I was exactly right about that. The recent damage penetrated into the extra layers I had previously added but didn't get into the original hull structure.

blah blah blah....

Anyway, I used my grinder with the flap wheel attachment (overlapping sandpaper arranged like a fan on the grinder wheel- great tool) to dish out the damage.

Then I started adding new material. The weather felt warm but in reality it was a lot colder than the weather I usually do composite work in and I was grossly optimistic as to how long the epoxy was going to take to kick off. I spent an hour watching my first patches slowly try to pull off under the weight of gravity. Eventually the epoxy did kick but I was too scared to put on a second layer that day for fears the extra weight would pull the whole thing off. I really really want a vacuum bagging setup. Maybe for the next boat.

So the slow epoxy took up a lot of time. I also pulled the panel from behind the toilet and altered one of the holes for the hoses that come out for a better fit. Then, because I hated the painted plywood shelf I had made for the storage area behind the toilet, I cut out a new shelf with some pine I had left over from the settee storage locker shelving. I am much happier with the looks now.

I am sure I did something else on Saturday but I can't remember what it was now.

So Sunday, I applied a second layer of material to my patches but this time I applied clear epoxy to the damaged area and patches and then waited 20 minutes before applying the patches to the hull. That worked much better and the patches gripped within a few minutes. Much easier.

After that, I decided I needed to try and recover as much of the hardware that fell into the bilge a few weeks ago as I could. There was a lot of dust in the interior at one point and the bilge still manages to collect it along with some water which leaves a nice slimy mud in the very bottom of my deep bilge. I thoroughly enjoyed vacuuming up all my hardware out of the bilge and attempting to clean it all up. And I only spilled a little mud in my cockpit...

There were a few bits and pieces projects that got done but hardly worth the mention. Oh, and the poorly made patch from the old fuel fill fitting (I take full responsibility) got a workover this weekend. I decided not to hang upside down with a grinder in the cockpit locker and instead drill a few holes and injected thickened epoxy into the gaps in the bad 'glassing job. Then, where the deck had started to crack, I opened up a small hole and injected some more thickened epoxy. Its ugly but solid now. I was only worried about it because its about six inches forward of the jib cleat and I didn't want the cleat to depart taking a section of the side deck with it. Knowing me, I probably won't be happy with what I have done and I will hang upside down in the cockpit locker with a grinder and do the job I should have done in the first place...

and that about sums up my boat work for this weekend. The slow epoxy meant that I couldn't complete the patch job on the hull. I will clean up the patching next week and add a layer of 1.5 oz. cloth and epoxy with sandable fairing filler added. I want to add the 'normal' glass because it seems the filler from the old repair wanted to separate right where it attached to the biax and I think a layer of regular cloth will make for a better bonding surface. Who knows. More fibers is always better right?

Em tasol wantoks.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

8 weekends left

I can hear the countdown in my sleep now.

The plan was to do some fiberglassing this weekend but some items I ordered last week are taking their sweet time getting to me.

I started off the weekend adjusting my reverse shift cable. The original Atomic Four direct linkage was removed when I put a fuel tank where the shift linkage used to be under the cockpit. The replacement was a series 64 cable that didn't quite work out last time. It looks like it should work but the Atomic Four doesn't have a real reverse gear, just a friction band, and apparently the band wasn't getting quite tight enough to get the propeller turning backwards. I learned this the hard way when I hit the dock at 3 kts while trying to dock in a crosswise current. I came in with some speed for steerage and the only way I slowed down on arrival was by crashing into the dock. Not one of my proudest moments.

Anyway, I only had a little extra adjustment room to play with and I adjusted the cable as much as I could to get a little bit more postive reverse pressure on the transmission lever. It is definitely not the cabling holding the lever back so I can only hope it will work this season. I find it hard to believe that my engine spontaneously unadjusted itself and needs an internal adjustment but if my correction doesn't give me a good reverse then that is the only thing left to do. Or maybe Atomic Fours just shouldn't be controlled by cabling. I have heard that A4's and shift ables don't get along well.

I only lost one set of pliers to the bilge monster while making the adjustment. Not so bad.

After that I decided to try cutting my toilet outlet hose for the fourth time. Seems I cut the first three times a wee bit short every time. 'nuff said about that. The hose seems to fit now.

I forgot to bring the hose clamps and I want to modify the back panel a bit so I didn't make the toilet work permanantly. I think I have some chance of a working toilet this spring though. That should be a nice change. oh- I hated the shelf I made for behind the toilet so I am making a new one. That's another reason for not securing the panel behind the toilet.

I have some 1/4 inch plywood patterns for the galley counter top that have been filling in for the real countertops which I haven't started building yet. First thing yesterday, I stepped off the companionway ladder, bumped one of the patterns and watched four full (and open) boxes of stainless steel screws that had been resting on the pattern, disgorge their contents gracefully into the bilge. The bilge is about four feet deep back there by the way. 'nuff said about that too.

So then I decided to spend some quality time on the engine box. That was very satisfying work but it took forever. There was lots of fussing and 'aha' moments. I first cleaned up the original teak bottom step and decided to use it for the time being- at least until the rough work in the cabin is done. I needed to slide the step further forward which meant changing the position of the stop cleat. Then I noticed the step would tip forward when putting pressure on the forward edge so I built little cleats to support the step and keep it from dumping someone unexpectedly on the cabin sole. Then I realized there was nothing keeping the step from sliding rearwards so I installed a second cleat.

Then I realized there was nothing keeping the front panel from kicking out so I installed yet another cleat on top of the step to hold the panel in place. Then I cut the front panel and oiled it to match the rest of the interior. I still need to build the middle step into the front panel but I was done playing with the panel that day.

Sunday I had More Big Plans but my lower back decided it wanted a vacation and decided to lock up about 30 degrees from vertical. Over the course of the day it got a lot better but I never managed to get more done on the boat.

Now its just 7 weeks left...

Oh, I have decided to moor the boat in Salem MA this season. The benefits are a nice harbor with lots to see and places to sail to and readily available moorings. The con is the horrible traffic in and out of Salem. Salem isn't too far from my home but it will be over an hour's drive each way. Oh well, some people have it worse. Salem Water Taxi offers seasonal rental moorings at a good price (about half what I paid for the horrible mooring in the Merrimac river last time) which includes launch service. They have been recommended to me by a number of people. They also have moorings available immediately without a waiting list which is highly unusual on the North Shore MA. I don't think I want to keep the boat in Salem forever but I think it will be an interesting area to explore in the short term until I decide where the 'real' home will be - (most likely Maine)

em tasol.