Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rabbets and Glue

It's been hectic around here lately, my inner ski bum is battling with my inner boat bum and it's been a really even match even though April starts tomorrow.  The snow is still really deep in the woods and the spring corn snow is prime right now.

Anyway, before epoxying the hatch up, I did manage to cut out a perimeter rabbet 1/2" x 1/2" on the new hatch partly with my router and a sharp chisel in the corners.  It always takes me longer than I expect, but I always do a few test cuts when using the router because it sure can make a mess of things when it gets out of hand. Fortunately it behaved nicely, but I played it safe and stayed away from the ends of the boards which slowed things down more because I needed to carefully chisel out just enough to make a nice 90 degree corner once the boards were joined.   All went well and I'm happy with the way they turned out.


Next I mixed up a small batch of un-thickened epoxy and brushed it into the joints on all the boards, then I added enough Aerosil to thicken up the remaining epoxy along with some fine sapele sawdust to color up the mix for the joints.  Then I just slathered it in all the joints nice and thick so any gaps in the joints would be filled.  I assembled all four rails together and inserted a piece of 1/4" plywood into the rabbet (I had previously measured so it would fit perfectly).  For now the plywood is just there to make sure the hatch is square, but I will eventually laminate it in to provide the substrate for teak decking strips.  Finally I clamped it all up and let it cure.

Next, I'll start working on laminating up the hatch deck.  Right now, my thoughts are to use the 1/4" plywood along with 6oz cloth on the top and bottom.  On the bottom side I will laminate sapele strips to the underside so the plywood will not be visible, and on top will be the teak decking.  The original hatch I did was built in a similar fashion, but I used mahogany strips in place of the plywood.  At the time I was literally swimming in mahogany cutoffs from a friend who was replanking his NY32.

Test fit of plywood sub-deck just before gluing up rails.




Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm Back

Wow, what a winter!  This may be a record for most days I've skied in a year.  I lost count at some point, but I suspect it even beat out the days when I was an unofficial ski bum in college and got a job as a lift operator just so I could get a season's pass.  Unfortunately, most of the ski areas are going to close just as the really nice spring skiing gets going; I was at Waterville Valley today with my son and by mid afternoon the temps were approaching 40 degrees; just warm enough to soften things up a bit, but not so warm that your trying to turn in thick mash potatoes.

Whats left of old hatch
Anyway, this is a boat blog, and even though I did zero boat work over the winter, I got started on my must-do projects for the year.  First and foremost was a new fore hatch which unfortunately wasn't secured well when the boat was hauled this fall and flew off the boat on the highway and was pretty much destroyed.  Damn shame because I built that hatch myself about 10 years ago before the restoration and I was really proud of it.  Although I had other boat projects planned for this spring, this needs to be done and since I always like doing these sort of projects, it should be fun.


The old hatch was a varnished mahogany affair that was really pretty, but it was slippery when standing on it, and it didn't match the sapele coamings and rails that well.  So this one will have a teak deck top and the side rails will be made of sapele.

Late last week I stopped by Goosebay Lumber and picked out a nice 5' length of 6/4 sapele and got started on the hatch.  Fortunately, I was able to get the measurements I needed off the old hatch, so the initial setup was fairly straight forward.  I was going to do hand cut dovetails, but I ended up doing box joints because I just don't have time to do the dovetails.


The box joints still look nice but are easy because most of the work can be done on the tablesaw with a mortise and tenon jib.  Its just a matter of setting each offset and then running the four sides through the saw.  Then move onto the next offset and do the same; repeat until done and the use a fret saw to cut out the waste (Awesome fret saw).

A little filing here and there gave me a really good rough fit that will come together nicely with a little more tweaking.  From there I transferred the deck camber curve to the front and back sides of the hatch and cut them out on the band saw.  Some more filing to smooth out the curves and I did a quick test fit over on the boat to make sure I hadn't totally screwed it up (I hadn't) before I called it a day.




Thursday, February 5, 2015

Snowmageddon

The boat work has come to a complete halt and I'll be on a boat hiatus until the fluffiness melts away. Until then, I'll be skiing out in the woods of New Hampshire.  See you in the spring!



Monday, December 1, 2014

Close Call

I haven't been doing much on the boat over the past 2 weeks, but I have just about finished up the port bulkhead and just need to install the final trim pieces and re-install the chainplate.  I'm going to try and get to it this week, but the holidays have thrown everything off (the cold doesn't help either).

Speaking of cold, we had some really cold weather the past week and finished off with a day before Thanksgiving snowstorm that dropped about a foot of really heavy snow that made for a big mess. Awfully pretty, but I'm not ready for winter yet. The heavy snow knocked down hundreds of trees in the area and we were one of 300,000 customers without power over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Fortunately we have a big wood stove to keep us warm and the in-laws were only about an hour away and didn't lose power, so we went there for the feast.

The boat and shed narrowly missed getting clobbered during the storm by an old maple that decided to attempt a kamikaze run but fortunately missed. Just barely.  It took me about an hour to cut and pile the attacker and will use it for the woodstove next year.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Bulkhead Progress

After a bit of a reprieve from normal New England temperatures this time of year, the thermometer has started to head down.  The temperature yesterday never got much above 38 degrees F, but unlike previous boat work years, I was able to get a bunch of work done down in the cabin with an electric heater and the hatches shut.  It was quite cozy.

Before installing the beadboard I put a coat of semi-gloss acrylic latex paint (good grade household interior paint) on the front and back of all the boards.  Once that dried, I picked up a few tubes of construction adhesive from the local hardware store and got to work.  A note on construction adhesives: there are so many different types I had trouble making a decision.  I hope what I chose will work; it's a general adhesive that should bond wood to multiple surface types so I'll cross my fingers.

The process for installing all the boards was simple. Lay each one down backside facing up and run a wavy pattern of adhesive along the back and then press into place.  Repeat until done.  I ended up using just 1 of the 3 tubes I purchased.  It was way easier than I thought it would be and didn't run into a single snag.  I had blocked off 2 hours of time to get it done, but found it only took about 30 minutes, so I ended up putting another coat of paint on before I left. 

After letting it set up overnight, I came back the next day and use a few pieces of paper to template the section around the chainplate bolts for a piece of mahogany.  I didn't want to put the beadboard there, because the soft wood would crush under the tightened down chainplate bolts.  I took the template back to the shop and cut out another piece of the old coamings and planed it down to 5/8". I traced out the template pattern and cut out the shape on the wood with a jig saw.  


I headed back to the boat with a rasp and the new chainplate board (I don't know what to call it) and after a bit of filing away, I had the board fitting nice and snug.  I screwed the rest of the trim (I still have a few small pieces left to make) and was happy to see that everything fit quite nicely.  Of course all the trim had to come off to get sanded and the first of several coats of satin varnish (I'm just using Helmsman Urethane for the interior) before final install, but it's looking more done than not now.  

So given that both bulkheads are almost identical in size, I can estimate now that for each bulkhead the cost breakdown is as follows: $14 per package of beadboard (used just shy of 1 package), $3 for each tube of construction adhesive (used 1), and $3 for a box of 25 3/4" stainless steel #6 screws (will be enough for both sides).  This brings my grand total for each side to about $18.50.  Of course, I had free trim mahogany so if I had needed to purchase it, I would say it would have probably doubled the price, but still one of the cheaper boat projects I can think of. 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Cheap, Fun Project

Now that the boat is back in working condition and the topsides are squared away, it's time to turn my attention down below.  The interior was never in bad shape, but it needed a little updating.  The woodstove has been gone since I've owned the boat but I never bothered to patch up the hole in the bulkhead and the steel heat shield that was leftover.  It just looked a bit crappy and wanted to give the interior a more classic look.

The hole in the bulkhead had to be fixed but there weren't that many options that didn't require ripping the entire bulkhead out and replacing with a new one.  After a bunch of googling, I realized that I could simply cover the bulkhead and discovered that beadboard is commonly used in classic wooden yachts.  There were two options, beadboard plywood or real beadboard.  I've never been a huge fan of beadboard plywood and decided that it would be a bit of a pain to cut out and fit a big piece of plywood with lots of crazy angles and curves.

I found some solid pine beadboard at the local hardware store and decided to give it a try. I started in the center of the boat where the bulkhead meets the door to the head.  Using this as the 'straight' line, I measured the length with a tape measure and simply cut the board to fit it.  The boards are only 3/8" thick so it was easy to cut with a Japanese pull saw. Then it was just a matter of cutting the next one at an angle slightly shorter and generally following the contour of the headliner.  I ended up at the chainplate on the outboard edge of the bulkhead.  It didn't have to be perfect because the edges will be covered with a mahogany trim strip.

I really wanted to keep this project cheap because it's entirely cosmetic.  The total cost of the beadboard for both sides of the bulkhead was just $28, but I didn't really have a large supply of wood suitable for trim (ie. mahogany/sapele).  I considered going over to the sawmill to see what I could find, but realized that the old partially rotten cockpit coaming boards that I replaced were sitting on top of my woodpile holding down a tarp and might have some decent wood left in them. 

I cut a chunk out of it and ran it through the thickness planer and found that the wood was still in good shape once I planed off the front and back surfaces.  Excellent, free Honduras mahogany!  I proceeded to plane down the rest of the coamings and then cut out a bunch of 1 inch strips for the trim.

Some of the trim that ran along the cabin headliner needed to be curved so taped up a paper template in the cabin and trimmed it so it fit perfectly along the curves of the headliner.  Then I traced the pattern on a wide piece of the planed mahogany (I planed the old coamings to 3/8") and cut it out with a jig saw.  I took a rasp and rounded over one of the exposed edges and took it back over to the boat for a test fitting.  I was pleased to find that everything fit pretty darn well and I would only need to make some minor adjustments to have a perfect fit.

To finish up, I took all the cut beadboard and gave the front and back a coat of acrylic latex semi-gloss interior paint.  I wanted semi-gloss so it could be easily wiped down, but didn't feel it necessary to spend much money on marine paint.  House paint would do just fine for this since it won't be exposed to anything other than humid conditions.  

I ran out of weekend to get everything re installed, but I'm hoping I'll find some time this week.  My plan is to use some liquid nails on the beadboard backing along with some screws to get it fixed in place. Then I'll put some more paint on before getting the trim installed.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's a Wrap!

Well, the season's officially over.  I had the boat hauled back to the boatshed a few weeks back and have been working on getting her all tucked in for the winter.  I had Magic hauled a bit early because I didn't want to wait until it was too cold to get anything done and I especially wanted to get a few coats of varnish on the rails before the weather got ugly.  I had only gotten 5 coats on the rail before launching and I didn't want my efforts wasted and have to sand the whole thing down again.  
I was able to lay down 2 more coats over the past few weeks so I'll have a head start next spring.  I also got the engine winterized and the fuel filled and a number of other minor things done.  I'm starting to ramp up to rewire the boat and do some interior cosmetic work but that won't get started for a while.  

In the meantime, the folks at Good Old Boat magazine were kind enough to publish an article of mine that detailed the restoration.  It's a 2 part article and I just received the first issue (November/December 2014).  If your reading my site then chances are you either have an old boat or want one and you will love Good Old Boat magazine.  Every issue has lots of info and usually showcases somebody's project boat with lots of good technical info.  Definitely check them out at Goodoldboat.com.

Magic on Good Old Boat