Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stick a fork in me, I'm done (almost)

Tonight was the most surreal night of this entire project. On the agenda was deck lines, bungees, seat, sheer and keel strips. Surreal because it was so relaxing - the jobs at hand were not dirty (no sanding, no paint, no glue, no epoxy and glass). They were the finishing touches and that, in itself, was a joy!

Joins in the deck lines and bungees were whipped with dental floss and then wrapped in self-vulcanizing rubber tape. It looks pretty neat.

I've gone with the standard crossed bungees on the foredeck for now but will replace with a netting in time.

In my previous posting I wrote, at length, about Gorilla Tape. I mentioned that I was contemplating using it on the sheer and keel.  Tonight I made the "command" decision and went with both!!

The tape on the sheer makes for a nice transition from the blue to white.

Below are a  few shots showing the sheer tape and deck lines/bungees in place.

Seeing how easy the sheer tape went on and how good it looked, I kept going with the keel strip.  I like to call it the "sacrificial gorilla"

I simply ran the tape up the stern, then pulled out the full length to the bow but not allowing it to touch the hull. I lined it up by eye and laid it down on the keel. A little bit of jiggling and a nip and tuck at the stem/stern and here's how it came out!!  Any concerns of a twisted/crooked keel were allayed when I put down the tape - nice and straight!

The sacrificial gorilla to appease the Rock Gods!

Nip and tuck!

Sheer and keel. Notice the texture of the tape - looks like glass!!

Stern shot!

The plan is to try and get the boat out for a run tomorrow. Forecast is for light winds, sunshine and a temp of 4 Celsius.  Sounds good to me  so hopefully a trip to St. Philip's is in order!!

Thanks for dropping by  - won't be long now!!

p.s.  Tomorrow, April 1st, will be exactly two months, to the day, of starting this project!!

Time to talk about gorillas and other things . . .

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

I've mentioned in a previous posting that Gorilla Tape (GT) is my new "tool" of choice and since then it has shown its worth any number of times.

First case in point. The nuts holding in my seat are tucked in behind the hip pillers and are are hard to reach. I tried a number of times to simply lay the nut on my finger while I tried to line it up and thread it onto the bolt. No such luck. It kept falling off and escaping under the seat, prompting the need to remove the seat and start over. GT has a VERY thick adhesive so I figured I'd run a tape around my finger (sticky side out) press the nut into the adhesive. Voila, the nut stuck fas.  I was able to slip my finger in under the bolt and, on the first try, I had the nut threaded on!!!

Second case in point:  I wanted to attach my thigh braces but not permanently, lest I need to make adjustments. I tried some velcro but it was not holding well enough. I thought of using heavy duty double sided tape but had none on hand and did not want to buy any. GT only comes in single sided but can easily be made double sided!!  I placed a strip down on the thigh brace, doubled back over it again. Then I put some Lexel adhesive between the strips and, for good measure, ran thin strips of tape up and down each edge.  BADDA BOOM BADDA BING- extra sticky double sided tape.   The braces went in perfectly arnd are as solid as rocks!!

Third case in point:  I'm going to try a foam pillar for back support instead of a back band. I took thinner pieces of foam, glued them up with Marine Goop and then covered the whole lot with GT for protection.

Flash plays havoc with color of deck - it's not two-tone as seen above.

Fourth case in point:  Some of my pad eyes, are in loactions that cannot be reached by hand - those in the bow and stern. I needed a way to put them in place. I used a piece of wire and, you guessed it, a piece of GT. I fed the wire through the hole, glued up the pad eye with Lexel, attached the wire using the GT. I pullled the wire back through and, because the tape is thinner than the webbing, it came through the slot with no problem. The webbing, with a bit of pulling, came through as well with little or no problems.
Call me nuts but I am toying with the idea of using GT on both the sheer and the keel!!!  It's a very thick tape - 17 mil as compared to the thickest duct tape at 13 mil.  It's highly water resistant and, according my own testing, quite tough in terms of abrasion resistance. I've done tests with nails and rocks with good success. I've taken a scrap piece of plywood with glass and epoxy (actually cut outs from the deck for the hatches) and  placed GT on the surface and gouged it. The fibres in the tape protected the surface remarkably well for a single layer of tape. I put as much presssure as I could by hand with the rock (a semi-sharp beach rock) and only after repeated attempts, did it finally break through the the tape fibres. Similar tests on the un-taped surface gouged right into the epoxy/glass.  Tests with a more rounded piece of rock would simply compress the tape.  I did similar tests with a nail head (the edge) on a painted epoxy/glass surface. Putting as much pressure as I could on the nail head, it did not break through the fibres - it cut but, not all the way through until repeated in the same place several times. Tests on the un-taped suraface were as expected - heavy gouging!  Sorry no pictures of all this!!
Will it be worth it??  I can't say. The sheer tape will provide a nice transition from the blue deck to the white hull. It will also provide abrasion resistance at the deck line.  As for the keel, well, I guess any sacrificial strip is better than nothing.  If it works well, then it's just a matter of pulling off the strip when it's wore down and slap on another one!!  My only concern is the possible residue left over when the tape is pulled off. This is not a big issue if you plan on simply replacing the strip with a new one.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to give it a whir - just giving the paint a few more days to dry before I proceed.!!
Since my last posting, I'v painted the cockpit coaming black. I like how it matches the hatches, seat and, potentially, the sheer strip.

A slightly more "natural" color of the deck.
And a few obligatory fwd and aft shots.
The pad eyes are in place. Tonight I will do the deck rigging and, maybe, the GT sheer/keel strips, and then, for all intents and puposes, she's good to go.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Feelin' blue!!

Almost two months to the day of starting this boat, I finally get a real good idea of the finished product. I put the first coat of blue on the deck and I'm really liking it!!  After I finished, I looked at the boat and thought "something looks very familiar about this" Then it clicked. Back in 1979 I built an 11ft skin on frame. It was a wooden frame covered in painted canvas. The hull was painted white and the deck was almost the exact same shade of blue that I have on the new boat. Co-inkydink?? Perhaps, not!!

The images below were taken just after the first coat of blue paint. The masking tape is still in place. Any "blemishes" you see on the deck are the holes for the pad eyes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

On Deck - again!!

The third coat of paint was put on the hull on Thursday night. I contemplated a 4th but decided not too. If I ever need to touch up the hull, it's just a brush stroke away.

Friday was, believe it or not, a snow day. Even the Provincial Government was closed. Even with all this time on my hands, there was not much to do today. I did some work on my pad eyes - ground down the square edges on the plywood backing.

Then I set to work on preparing the deck for painting. I wet sanded the whole deck, the cockpit coaming and scrubbed the epoxy around the hatches because I knew there was amine blush there. Amine blush will turn your polyurethane paint to mush if you try to cover it!!  It was an easy day. Tonight we're asked out to supper so no work will be done further on the boat this day. My son has a basketball tournament tomorrow (Sat) but between games I should get a coat of blue on the deck.

I snapped off a few shots of the boat after I finished swabbing the deck. I popped the hatch covers on just for effect.  The white deck and wooden deck look nice - sorta Betsie Bay-ish!. But I can't go that route because of too many pencil marks and such found under the layer of epoxy. I put in a few pad eyes in and some deck lines to see what it would look like. The compass is laid in there as well. Tomorrow this deck will be blue!!

Tick tock.  Tick tock!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Point of No Return

There comes a time when you just have to say "that's enough" - especially when it comes to sanding. I finished off the 220 grit last night but had to fill in a few small blemishes. I hated having to do this but I could not leave them as is. I was being pretty picky with the feathering of tape edges because I did not know how much, if any, that the paint would cover any rough edges. Anyway, today I decided that I was finished sanding.  It's time to paint.

I knew that IMP Marine had some Interlux Brightsides in stock - this is a one part polyurethane paint. From the start I decided that I wanted to go with a white hull and blue deck. Not being one to concern myself with colours, I simply dropped by the store and bought what ever they had in stock. I went with Saphire Blue and Blue Glo White (which is just a very bright white)

I gave the hull a rub down with acetone and when the saw dust was cleared, it showed a lovely looking natural finish to the hull. 

A lovely soft hue!!
I taped the sheer with masking tape. Note to self - buy better tape. This just started to peel off as I was painting. I'll simply feather the paint edge when I'm finished and retape the deck - with proper tape!!

Taped sheer.
I flipped the boat back over and set to the task of painting. Did I mention that I truly hate painting?? I usually throw lots of paint at a surface and hope the first coat is enough!! But not this time. Too much work invested in this project to go and get sloppy!!

I happened upon a method that works great with polyurethane paints to give a mirror-like finish. I think the person who devised it must've been a kayaker because it's called "roll and tip".  You roll on a coat of paint and then tip or smooth out any bubbles or streaks using a dry brush. I used a foam rolled and a foam brush with pretty nice results.

Once I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy to do. I came close to having a few sags at the beginning but realized that a lot of paint was not required for coverage. There's two more coats to come, so why try to put on one thick one that'll just run like a river?

Port Bow

Port Quarter
I really like these two images below - one with flash, the other without - as they show the reflective qualities of the paint. Remember, this is the initial coat that has been applied directly over un-primed glass/epoxy. The second coat should be smoother as I'll sand this first coat before applying another. I also have a better understanding of the "roll and tip" method and should get better.

One sleek hull. Look at how the reflection makes the hull seem to disappear!

Made to slice the water, what?

Anyhow, that's the initial paint job. 16 hrs between coats is required so another one can't go on until tomorrow night. Plus, I'm staying out of the work area to prevent stirring up any dust. This all means that I can, with good conscience, take a break from building. Maybe I'll have a beer and watch a movie!! 

Thanks for dropping by - not long now!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fittin' and Finishin'

Things are moving into the nitty gritty stage now. Fittin' and finishin', so to speak.  Once I knew what seat I was going to use and where it was to be located, I needed to work on where my feet would rest. But before I get to that, here's a picture of my 11 yr old daughter sitting in the boat. Just before this, my wife, Cheryl, gave it a whir as well. It's funny but both had the same reaction - the fear to actually step on the boat. Both were afraid that it would break. I'll admit that my first time was the same. I was waiting for the big CRAAAACK as the plywood snapped under my weight. Well, there wasn't even some much as a creak!!

Here's hoping Bridget shows as much interest on the water!!

With the seat fitted, I now know where my feet will rest. I'm using the front bulkhead as my foot brace. I left enough space so that I'd have to fill in foam or some other material. Mini-cell foam is not readily available so I went with an alternative - foam floor "tiles" from Canadian Tire. 4 tiles @ 24" x 24" x 1/2" for 14.99 is not a bad price!!  I went with one full layer to fit against the bulkhead with 3 smaller layers for a) weight saving and b) a central gap in which to stretch my legs.  I glued them all together with Marine Goop. For those edges that would be kicked and rubbed, I ran a strip of Gorilla Tape and Goop. Gorilla Tape is now my "tool" of choice. Expect to see it again on this boat - in the most unlikely of places!!!

After much deliberation, I decided to epoxy my hatch rims in place. No screws or bolts.  I had some G-Flex epoxy which is a special adhesive by West Systems for gluing plastic. This was free so I figured I'd give it a shot. I threw in a bit of 406 filler and laid a good bead around the rim of each hatch. I popped the rims in the boat and laid weights on top to keep in place.  All went according to plan.

Rim with G-Flex.

While the rims were setting up, I finally got around to making the pad eyes for holding the deck lines and bungees. I needed a total of 23 units - which included cutting the small plywood backing, cutting a 3/4" slot and then epoxying the nylon webbing in place. It was not as tedious as I though and only took an hour or so.

I cut the plywood backing plates and made the slots in my work space in the attic. I decided to do the gluing up on the dining room table so that I could be with my wife as she worked on some sewing. I used to always work on my dining room table until we got a new one a few months back!! But I figured that gluing up the pad eyes was pretty benign work - as long as I provided adequate protection, i.e., a piece of plywood, for the table.

Funny but gluing up the 23 pad eyes took very little time and was without incident.  It was made much easier by the use of, you guessed it, those Schedule 40 clamps!! They were perfect for the task.

Mylar stops backing plate from sticking to plywood used to "squat" the nylon into the epoxy. The Schedule 40s were perfect for this.

A pad eye from below showing the nylon encased in epoxy.

All the pad eyes glued.

Sitting and gluing 23 of these while having a few drinks of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey (in honor of St. Patrick's Day) can certainly have an effect on you.

Thanks Cheryl for the lovely picture!!

Saturday saw me cutting into the deck - again. I needed to cut 23 slots in the deck for those pad eyes I made the night before!!

I devised a simple jig out of plywood. I'd simply use it to locate and drill 4 holes in the deck. Then I'd use a razor blade knife, file and sand paper to make the final cuts.

Simple jig that worked flawlessly.

Sometimes the most unlikely of tools will be the most useful.  I was tasked with making 23 slots that were 3/4" wide. I found that my garden variety file was just the right thickness and, once I marked off a spot, was exactly 3/4" wide. Once I determined this, it was simply a matter of working the file into the rough hole until it hit the tape marker - at which point I knew the slot was the exact size needed. Too easy!!  After about hour I had all 23 slots made!!

File in up the hilt means a perfect sized slot.

Here's pad eye laid in place. Nice and neat - and soft so they won't tear your legs off during rescues!!

Last night I just epoxied the rims in. Tonight I ran a good bead of epoxy around the rims to fill in any gaps.

Front hatch fully encased in epoxy.

The front hatch again.

While all this was going on I ran another coat of epoxy over the coaming and epoxied the sides of the pad eyes slots for better water resistance.

That's enough for one day especially when the builder is fighting a cold and feeling quite nauseous!!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Some days are dust and some days are diamonds . . .

Since my last posting I've done a fair bit of work on the boat. A lot of that was sanding the hull and deck. I opted to go with hand sanding as I didn't want dust to be going everywhere. Granted it did so even when hand sanding but it was a bit more controlled. It took about 4 nights of sanding to get the hull down to a reasonable finish. I'm down to the 150 -220 grit level now to make sure that all glass edges are feathered and any hump/lump/bumps are gone!!

With the semi-final sanding complete, the next task was the cockpit coaming. The plans call for a 3/4" plywood spacer that is 3/4" wide. Using a template, I simply cut the spacer from 3/4" exterior grade fir plywood. I used the Schedule 40 clamps to hold it in place while the epoxy set.

Clamps, clamps, clamps . . 

and more clamps

There's an old adage "measure twice, cut once"  I'd like to revamp this by saying "read many times, cut once"  I'm positive that the instructions said to cut the coaming lip to 1 1/4"  width. So I cut the lip to that size and epoxied and clamped it to the spacer. I sat back to admire my handiwork and browse the instructions one more time. Well, I'll be damed if those instructions didn't say 1 3/4" for the lip.Time to panic. Luckily the epoxy was not near set so I just pulled the lip off. Also luckily I had a piece of 1/4" subfloor plywood kicking around (I just used my last piece of 4mm marine play and had nothing big enough to make a new lip).  In 15 minutes or less I had the new lip cut and epoxied in place - phewww.  Yet another bullet dodged!!

Here's lip #2 being glued using Schedule 40 clamps!

Gluing the lip!

I purposely left the lip a bit wide so that I could be bit more careful on the final trimming. Below is a handy little device I came up with to make sure that had the lip the same width/shape all the way around.

I used a combination of Shur-form, small block plane and sandpaper (ohhhh, the amount of sandpaper being used in this project!!!) to get the lip into shape!

Using the Shur-Form

Oddly enough, it seems that I've made my cockpit about 2" longer than I had originally intended (16"x32" as opposed to 16"x30"). This is no biggie as I'm 6'3" 211 pounds and not as limber as I used to be. I can slip in and out of the cockpit quite comfortably. The only problem is that the longer cockpit with a 1 3/4" wide lip makes for a BIG sprayskirt. Unfortunately my  Shocker 1.4 ain't gonna cut the mustard. I tried a 1.7 nylon skirt I had but it too was too tight. I decided to cut back the lip and you guessed it - almost right back to the size of the one I ripped off the night before!!

The next day I picked up a new 1.7 Shocker. After a little more work on the lip, it fits like a charm!! Sorry no shots of the skirt in place but I'm sure you can get a mental image!  For those wondering, the smaller lip holds the skirt with great tenacity. I'm actually a little intimidated by the grip but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

I really like the seat in my Baffin. It has a raised front that puts your thighs in a slightly elevated position. I decided that I'd try to replicate this seat in foam. I went to the basement and pulled the seat out of the Baffin so it would be easier to work with. Just for sh!ts and giggles I decided to drop the seat in the new boat to see how it fit. Well, I'll be damned if that thing didn't fit just PERFECT!  With a little twisting it just shoe horned right in!! The hip plates/hangers snugged up just under the coaming and the base of the seat matched the hull shape ever so sweetly!!  Problem solved - I ain't going through the hassle of making a new seat. I'll just see if Boreal Designs will sell me one. Already got the email sent off to them. In the meantime, the Baffin will remain sans seat!!

I will be replacing the backband with a solid foam pillar that will give a little suppurt just to centre part of my lower back.

Lip/coaming epoxied, seat in place.

Profile of coaming.
Looking fwd from day hatch.

A very neat fit!! Backband is just hanging there for now. Don't be deceived by the camera angle - it makes the cockpit look asymmetrical.

Looking aft from front hatch.

Hatches laid in place.

Looking aft.
With the seat taken care of (for now), the things left on the "to do" list are  - sand and epoxy the coaming a few more times -  do some more sanding on the deck/hull - fasten in the hatches - devise the thigh braces (already got some good ideas)  - paint the whole thing and then affix the deck rigging.  Certainly not big tasks when you consider what I've gone through these past two months!!

Thanks for dropping by!!