Sunday, January 24, 2010

Itchy and Scratchy

Not sure who this monkey is, but he sure has a stylin 3M 6900 Full Face Respirator with some sweet pink particulate filters. In the past I have done some really stupid things when working around dangerous debris, chemicals, etc... and decided that this time I would invest in a quality respirator, instead of using those cheapo dust masks that really don't do much of anything except remind me how bad my breath is. It worked really well, no fogging problems and the strap system keeps a tight seal with no discomfort.

I finally got everything I needed to remove from the boat finished (almost of course) and decided it was time to man-up and set the circular saw loose on the decks. I had considered using the rotozip with a tile cutting bit but had heard mixed reviews so I stuck with the circular saw. I'm not sure how much I will open up at one time before actually recoring with new balsa, but my thoughts right now are to manage it by section. So, start with the cabin top around the companionway, then move forward to the mast step area, and then move onto the side and foredecks.

I am pretty pleased with how easy it was to open up (I wish the same could be said in reverse). I was a bit limited because my saw didn't have a full charge in the battery (Note to self: buy another 18v battery), so I really only tackled about 1/3 of the cabin top around the compainionway. The skins came off with very little struggle, and as expected, a good portion of the balsa was pretty much mush and could be yanked out easily. What I didn't expect was how much of the balsa was still intact and in good shape. Not sure what I should do about it, I hate to yank it if it is still good, but it might be more difficult trying to match them up... I don't know.

Here are a few pictures from what I did; note that the balsa that was saturated is much darker in color, the lighter stuff looks brand new and if I decide to rip it out, I think it will be a hard job.

First cuts with the circular saw above... A very scary few minutes. Cutting your
boat with a circular saw is not for the faint of heart.

Note the dark areas; those are waterlogged.
The lighter wood seems to be dry and seem
to be well bonded to the bottom skin.

This is the waterlogged mess I pulled out.
Wherever the balsa was wet, it came out with
virtually no effort. See the skins above the
pile of wood. By the way, it is not end grain
balsa, it looks like it is 2" strips with a grain
pattern that goes with the length.

The final picture above is what I finished with. About 3/4 of the balsa was removed,
and I left only what I felt was 'the good stuff'. I may end up removing that later when
I finish pulling the skin off that section of the cabin top.


  1. Hey!!! I have an alberg 35 as well. She is a 62 as well. No idea the hull number...where did you find yours?

    You found out that Albergs are so old they used planks not end grain!! Fun stuff.

    I have some I need to do as well, but am putting it off as long as I can!!

  2. Hey Ric,
    I've got a '62 as well, hull # 18. Discovered that by checking the sails, as the original #1 genny is still with the boat, and the number is on that. Later A-35's have an emblem on the face of the bridge deck with the number stamped on it, but mine either never had one, or it's long gone.