Monday, August 15, 2011

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

My slow plod toward the finish line helped me complete a big milestone this past weekend.  As of 6:30 last night I officially sealed the entire deck from the elements for a long time to come.  The last push began late last week when I sanded and prepped the aft and starboard side decks adjacent to the cockpit.

On Friday afternoon I cut and laminated biax glass for the pushpit mounting points and the backstay (4 layers for each).  I followed up with thickend epoxy to level it to the surrounding core and let that cure overnight. 

The next day I started by cutting and fitting glass for the aft deck area. At this point my 1708 biax cloth supply was running very low so I opted to gather up all the remnants from previous layups and use them for the first layer.  The first layer looked like quite the jigsaw puzzle, and combined with all the edges and odd corners on the aft deck, there was a lot of extra fitting work before I even began the layup.

For the second layer I used part of my remaining supply of 50" cloth to keep the seams to a minumum.  Once I had everything cut and fitted I layed both layers up at once with 3 - 16 ounce batches of epoxy.  I had a little leftover once everything was saturated so I thickened it up with aerosil and leveled out a few low spots (the previously laminated pushpit mounting points).  I covered everything up with plastic and sandbags and came back the next morning to find a nicely cured aft deck.

Prior to the first lamination of the pushpit and chainplate mounting points, I wrapped the backstay chainplate with a few layers of blue painters tape, followed by a layer of clear packing tape. This allowed for roughly 1/16" tolerance around the chainplate so once I re-bed it, the chainplate won't cause excessive loading on the deck when the rig is strained. I'll pack the area around the chainplate with butyl tape and chainplate cover to keep the water out. Once everything cured, it was a bit of a job freeing up the chainplate, but I'm really happy with the result.

With the aft deck complete, I only had about 7 feet of starboard side deck to complete and I had enough free time to tackle it yesterday. It was a fairly straight forward lamination except I added an additional layer of biax cloth to the already solid glass winch pad area because even with 6 layers it was still a little below the surrounding core. I let that kick for a few hours then did the final layup yesterday afternoon in 2 sections (more jigsaw patterns for the first layer). Again I had some leftover epoxy that I thickened up to level out a few low spots. I sand bagged the area and let it set up.

I know I'm no where near completed, but this is a big time milestone in my head at least.  Next steps are to start sanding the new sections flush to the old decks and to fill in any low spots so the final layer will sit flat and minimize the amount of fairing needed.  Of course all of my estimates for time are off, but I'm getting there.  So far I've used a little over 14 gallons of epoxy and gone through 30 yards of 1708 biaxial glass.  I know I could have gotten by with a lot less of both if I were more efficient, but it's a learning process.

I ordered another 12 yards of biaxial cloth today and will get started prepping for the final layer.  I'm looking forward to this because once the prep work is finished, the last lamination(s) will go fast comparatively.

Woohoo, decks.
A bit dirty eh?

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