Thursday, August 2, 2012

Island Time

Unfortunately island time will not include sounds of ice clinking in a fluffy rum drink with the palms gently swaying in the trade winds overhead.  This island time involves me, my boat, a stifling 90 degree boatshed and the installation of chain plate islands that I cast last year sometime.  Sounds romantic doesn't it?

For this job I chose to try West System Six10 epoxy adhesive as my sticky tool of choice. I'd heard good things about it and liked the way you could really target where you were putting the epoxy; exactly what I needed.  It uses a standard run of the mill caulking gun though West advises that if the temps are below 60 the epoxy might not flow easily and you might want to use a more robust caulking gun.  Given the boatshed temperature today, I knew there would be no problem with the epoxy flowing.

The design of this product is really well thought out.  There is a screw down cap and a plug that separates the base and the catalyst that easily pop out and are just as easy to put back in place if you don't use a full tube.  The mixing head is also really cool; it basically forces both sides of the tube (base and catalyst) up through the static mixing head which is simple but elegant.  I don't have a good picture of it but it reminds me of what a sea shell would look like if it were digitized.  Sort of like a pixelated nautilus... Whatever, it's pretty neat; the only downside is that once you use it you need to throw it away.

So, back to the islands...  When I originally cast these last October (see here), I made them as rectangles, but when I dry fitted them last week there were 2 issues.  The first was that the corners were too sharp and were clearly going to make peoples toes very angry when walking forward.  The second was that they just looked odd when set against the curve of the bulwark.  I ended up grinding the corners off too fix both issues.  I took slightly less off the corners of island for the backstay because it is more out of the way.

Before I started gluing up the islands, I spent a bit of time cleaning up the chainplate slots with a metal file and fitting each one in place with a single bolt down below to make sure they were seated properly.  With that complete, I wiped everything down with acetone and 'fired' up the Six10 cartridge.  I'll say it again, this thing is slick.  It laid down a perfect bead of epoxy on the islands and then I carefully fit them over the seated chainplate and smooshed them in place.  Once I had set all of them I went back around with a rag and cleaned up any epoxy that had oozed out.  It only took about 10 minutes to get all the islands glued in place and cleaned up; very nice. When they are cured up tomorrow, I'll pull the chainplates (to make sure I didn't glue them permanently), and add a small filet of fairing compound where they meet the deck.

Next, I moved onto the hull-deck joint that had been previously patched (see here).  I had previously drilled 6 holes into the top of the bulwark along a 4 foot section to see what was going on in there.  I found that the bulwark was hollow except where 5200 had been injected in during the repair.  I decided that the best approach was to leave it alone for the most part but to put in epoxy 'plugs' that would tie the joint together and potentially stop any water from flowing into other areas of the bulwark.  Since I still had plenty of time left before the epoxy in the static mixing head kicked (they say 42 minutes work time), I used the holes I had drilled as filler ports and injected epoxy in until it squeezed out the sides.  I used up the remainder of the tube doing this and think that it will serve its purpose well.  I didn't take any pictures because there wasn't much to see.  When I install the caprail, I'll make sure to use extra sealant in this area to make sure that there were no areas I missed (not sure what I'm using next).

At this point I was still armed with a bit of time before I needed to get back to the real world, so I decided to try out some stripper that had been sitting around in my basement for a few years.  I'm not sure if it will still work (or if it ever did), but it's labeled as an environmentally safer stripper (Peel Away).  I slathered it on the cockpit seats and laid the paper backing (came with kit) on it to keep it from evaporating.  I'll pull it off tomorrow and see how it worked.

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