Friday, April 30, 2010

Winding Down

Well, I'm pretty exhausted.  Working from 7 in the morning to 9 or 10 at night is taking its toll but I have gotten a lot done; not as much as I had hoped, but pretty good for a amateur.  Because of previous commitments, I won't be able to get much done this weekend so progress will now slow down.  Originally, I thought that I would be able to get everything recored and glassed back to the forward end of the cockpit.  I must have been pretty high.  I did manage to recore everything but the port side deck, but was only able to fully glass the cabintop.  I may have enough time to get one layer of glass on the foredeck before the weekend is out, but probably not.

I last left off with the new foredeck core cut out and ready to glue in.  Since this was such a big section and I was still unsure about how much epoxy I could mix and spread out, I enlisted the help of my wife for mixing duty so I could focus on getting all the pieces glued in.

Here is the routine that seemed to work:
1. Mix and spread unthickened epoxy on inner skin and scrim side of new balsa core. 
2. Mix heavily thickened batch and force under tapered edge.
3. Mix slightly thinner thickened batch and notch-trowel onto inner skin.  Place core in place and wiggle it around
4. When all the pieces of core are in place, put a smooth layer on the core and work it into any exposed kerfs.
5. Cover with plastic and weight down with plastic bags filled with sand.

Everything went pretty well except at one point I lost my footing and landed right on my ass into a section of freshly notch-troweled epoxy.  My Carharts are now bulletproof in the rear end. I am still amazed at how much time doing this takes.  If you ever do this job, take the time you think it will take and triple it.

Next up I sanded down the new core on the cabintop and applied 2 layers of 1708 biaxial cloth that I had cut out earlier using paper templates to size.  I think this is one of those jobs where it helps to have experience (I don't).  I learned a few days later while applying a third layer that it's easier if you roll up the cloth and unroll it once you have spread out epoxy. Fortunately, 1708 is very forgiving (unlike single weave cloth which skews and stretches if you try to move it around once it is in the epoxy).

I really like using bags of sand because you can sort of mold them to fit any curve you need and they seem to apply even pressure to layups like this.  I found them at the grocery store and they are simply 2.5 gallon ziplock bags.  I filled each one with roughly 10 pounds of sand.   They are nice and portable and can be used for small applications or larger one provided you have enough bags.  I think I used 19 bags for the cabintop.  To the right is what it looks like after 2 of 3 layers.  I would have applied them all at once, but I had only intended to use 2 layers... but when I pulled the bags and plastic off the layup, it was clear that I would either need to fill the surface fair or use another layer. 

While waiting for everything to cure properly,  I removed the starboard chainplates which actually came out easier than I expected given that they have been in place for almost 50 years.  I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I'll need new chainplates.  These ones are probably not safe anymore.  After the chainplates were removed, I braced the side deck from underneath with a few 2x3s and I used the 7-1/4 inch circular saw to rip out the starboard side deck.  That came out really easy because the core was pretty much entirely saturated and had debonded from the top and bottom skin.  It's amazing there was any strength left at all in the deck.  With the exception of one small area most of the core came out easily. 
Start to finish time for removing 13 feet of skin and core and cutting out notches for 3 chainplates and 3 stanchions took about 2 hours.  I went to lunch to let the nooks and crannies dry out with the help of a blower on the area and came back and ground tapers along all the edges (Not to brag or anything, but I am getting really good with the grinder).  Including the necessary vacuuming cleanup after grinding tapers it took another 2 hours.  So, roughly 4 hours to be ready for new core. 

I finished out the day by getting the sidedeck core cut and fitted.  A lot of time was spent building paper templates and figuring out the best way to do the cutouts for the chainplates. I also did a general cleanup of the shop area since I seemed to be sticking to everything I touched.

This morning I glued in the sidedeck core pieces, but ran out of mixing buckets before I could go further, so I had to take a trip up to Home Depot to get some.   For months I had been saving 1 quart yogurt containers and thought that I would have enough for the entire job... Wrong.

I worked on filling in the cutout areas in the foredeck for various through deck fittings.  For all of the loadable fittings I epoxied in 5 layers of biax cloth.  For anything else I just filled with aerosil thickened epoxy.  The one exception was the very forward part of the foredeck.  The boat had a anchor roller mounted through the decks but I'm not sure that I want to use that particular roller again. Anyway because I don't know what I am going to be using, I decided to glass the entire forward linear foot of the foredeck.  I cut out 5 layers of cloth and glassed them in place.  I came back a few hours later after it had kicked and filled up to core level with aerosil thickened epoxy.   If all goes well, I should be ready to sand and get a layer of glass on before the weekend is over.

1 comment:

  1. Did you consider building up a mounting pad for an anchor roller on each side of the bow fitting? My boat had a very ugly bit of lumber in there to take up the space between the roller and the deck. I'd like to do something more "professional" looking.