Sunday, November 21, 2010

Anatomy of a Toerail

Curiosity got the better of me this weekend after reading a post on the Plastic Classic Forum regarding the Alberg 35 toerail.  I cut out a 2' section just to see what the damn thing looks like under the mahogany.  Even though I will be replacing the toerail on Magic, I have deliberately left it in place because it acts as a nice epoxy 'splash guard'.

But I have been building up a disaster in my head for some time now, wondering what I would find when I opened it up.  It seems like whenever I uncover something on the boat or my house (built ~1860) I am usually greeted by something wet and rotten that I can't cover back up without fixing and doubling my original estimate for cost and time.

This happened to me this fall when I needed to replace 2 rotten boards on my front porch.  Of course as soon as I pulled the boards out to replace I found that the entire structure of the porch was built by beavers who had never heard of dimensional lumber (the main porch beam was literally a log with some bark still on it).   Anyway, to make a long story short, I spent 2 weekends and several nights after work gutting the entire porch and rebuilding from scratch.  This is the story of my life.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I pulled the toerail section off on the starboard bow, it seemed really clean.  No gaping holes, no delamination, and a hull to deck joint that actually appears sound.  I'm sure that once I take the rest of the rail off things will be different, but let me have my fantasy for now.

On the deck front, I finally got around to taking the port side deck off.  Now that it is too cold for more glassing, I decided to focus on getting ready for next spring.  First, I pulled the chainplates with little drama and found that 2 of them were 'new'.  By 'new' I mean that they were not the originals.  I haven't cleaned them up yet to see if they are worth keeping but they do look a lot cleaner than the old ones where they pass through the deck.  Once they were clear, I broke out the circular saw.

It's amazing how comfortable I am with taking a circular saw to my deck now.  When I first started on this project last spring, I agonized over cutting into the decks and actually lost sleep over it in the days preceding the initial work.  Today I just went to town and had the entire port side deck off in under 20 minutes.   As expected, the entire core was soaking wet and it didn't take much work to get the core out.  In fact, I was able to pull up most of the balsa in strips with my fingers and no chisel.

The areas around the chainplates were soo bad that there wasn't even any wood left around them.  I think it just completely dissoved and leaked into the cabin over the years.  There was just a top skin, a bottom skin and a bit of brown soup in between. 

I didn't have the time (or desire) to grind the bevels on the edges this weekend.   That will be next, I hope to get it out of the way over thanksgiving weekend, but given our tight schedule, I wouldn't be surprised if it got put off. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cool Stuff

One of the regular contributors on the Plastic Classic Forum contacted me the other day because she had found some references to one of the previous owners of Magic.  As it turned out, I had bought the boat from him almost 10 years ago and have kept in touch with him since.  Anyway, it got me to thinking about the first keeper of Magic (I am the 3rd) so I started digging through some of the paperwork that came with the boat.  I never did find the first keeper's name (I'll have to make some calls), but I did find a few cool items that I thought I'd share.  The first was a handwritten note still in the envelope with a an actual blueprint of the Alberg 35 line drawing.  Unfortunately, the drawing had been sitting in the envelope since 1984, so it wasn't in great shape, but the interesting thing about this find was that it was sent by none other than Carl Alberg, the designer of Magic and many, many other boats.   He was retired by 1984, but must have still had a stack of line drawings in his office.

So even though the blueprint was in poor shape I am going to see if I can get it flattened out to frame, but in the meantime, below is a copy of the same blueprint I had purchased from the Peabody-Essex Museum a few years back.

Oh my... what nice lines!

Back to reality for Magic though.  It's gotten too cold to really expect that I can do any more glass work over the winter, so I have to start deciding what projects I can get done.  There are way too many to count, but I will probably at least get the sanding prep for the third layer of biaxial cloth in the next week or so.  Beyond that I will probably get the port deck and poop deck cut off and grind the bevels over the next 1-2 months.  I sure wish I had some sort of dust collection system for the grinder because there is nothing more messy than grinding bevels in glass.  It just gets everywhere.

Once that's complete I think it will be time to pull all the ports (I pulled one last year just to see) and maybe get to working (or at least thinking about) the cockpit coamings and toerail.