Sunday, October 31, 2010

Starboard Sidedeck

It seems like whenever I estimate time for a particular segment of this boat project I am WAYYYY off. Even when I estimate how long it will take, double it, and then add a 50% overage factor, I still seem to be wrong. If this were my business, I think I would quickly go bankrupt. Anyway, true to form, my estimate was off again, but the starboard side deck project actually took less time than expected even though I almost blew it by laying up the epoxy when it was too cold.

I started Friday afternoon and used the same approach as the foredeck. Cut out 2 layers of biaxial cloth, the first covering just the balsa core and the second covering the core and the beveled taper along the cabin and edge of the deck. The only notable difference from the foredeck section was the chainplate cuts. I wrapped each chainplate with 3 or 4 turns of clear packing tape and set them about 2" in their holes.

Layer 1

Layer 2
It was about 4:30 by the time I got everything ready to go and didn't have anything else going on so I decided I would do the layup right then.  The only problem was that it was cold; probably in the low 50's by the time I started.  Because of the cold I wasn't worried about anything kicking too quickly so I mixed up 2-24 oz batches of epoxy (16 resin, 8 hardener) and got to work.  I got the first layer and part of the second wetted out and in place before I ran out of epoxy.  By that time I was really feeling the cold and decided that I would finish in the morning because the epoxy was getting pretty thick (not from hardening, but from the cold).   
When I got up Saturday morning it was about 35 degrees and no more than 40 degrees in the shed.  The layup was hardening up, but Very slowly.  I had hoped to finish the layup right away since it was still very green, but it was clear that an amine blush was starting to form (the surface felt greasy).  This worried me enough to post to the Plastic Classic Forum to see if I should proceed prior to washing the surface and removing the blush.  I'm glad I did because Tim thought that it would be best to get the blush off before I continued even though the epoxy was still green.  I put 3-100 watt work lamps close to the layup and left it to warm up for a few hours.  When I came back everything had hardened up more and I was able to wipe the blush off with some soapy water and a sponge.  I put the lamps back on and let everything dry for a few hours and then finished the layup.

I ran the 100 watt lamps all night last night and it hardened up nicely. Still green but on it's way. I'll probably keep the lamps on again tonight to make sure everything cures properly. It's certainly not perfect, there are a few bubbles that I would rather not see, but all and all I am happy with my progress. Below is a photo of one of the chainplate holes. I think it looks pretty clean. Note that you can still see the solid glass plug underneath (6 layers of biaxial, no balsa).

Given how cold it is starting to get (and no warm days forecast for the next 10 days), this may be my last layup for the season. I'd really like to finish up what I've done by getting all 3 layers of biaxial down, but I might be pushing my luck at this point.


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