Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nothing Ever Gets Done Around Here

It seems like the closer I get to finishing the boat, the more I have to do.  Honestly I feel a bit overwhelmed because my list keeps getting longer and I can't seem to completely check anything off it.  The good news is that the weather turned out a bit better than I had expected today and it allowed me to do get a few things done that I didn't expect.

I started the day with the usual rudder fairing which is frankly getting a bit old.  One of my great weaknesses is the inability to properly estimate how long it will take to do epoxy related projects.  I know all the steps, and how long each one will take, but there is a logistics algorithm that somehow involves cure time and fairing time that I can't seem to do the math properly.  As a result, I am consistently surprised at how much time is eaten in the process.  I don't want to count the hours but I have spent on the rudder, but it has taken many. The only saving grace is that it was the last bit of fairing before I put the final 6 ounce cloth on (and then some more fairing).  I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After that I headed over to boat shed and since the temperature was in the mid 50's I took a chance on doing some epoxy work.  I glassed in the rudder tube collar using my tube of Thixo epoxy (Jamestown Distributors).  I really like the tube system for small jobs where you need an instant fillet of perfect consistency.  I know there are others on the market that have exactly the same thing, but Jamestown has been really good with shipping.  If I place an order before noon, I almost always have it the next day.   The only downside to using this type of system is that the mixing chambers can't be reused and is kind of wasteful.  

Anyway, glassing the collar in was uneventful and only took a few minutes.   I wanted to knock some more things off my list though, so I vacuumed the 3 aft lockers (and around the rudder tube) and then wiped it all down with acetone.  A friend of mine who lives close by and is restoring a Dickerson 35 gave me some industrial strength epoxy paint that he did his bilges with last year so I broke it out and mixed up a 600 ml batch.  Seriously nasty stuff; a respirator is an absolute must for this stuff, but I expect it will hold up pretty well.  It was a bit thick (I didn't thin it at all), but it still rolled out nicely and covered all the lockers and around the rudder tube.  

I think some of the fumes from this stuff must have gotten to me, because I decided that I would get another layer of biaxial cloth glassed into the forward half of the cockpit.  So I ran back to the house, got my big roll of 1708 biaxial and cut out a 2ish foot by 3ish foot chunk for the cockpit, mixed up 12 ounces of epoxy and got to work.  Of course the fumes from the paint were still really bad so I never took the respirator off.  

Still feeling ambitious (and maybe loopy from the paint), I thought that I might as well mix up a batch of primer and get the sliding hatch painted.  I had done all the prep work last fall and it has been sitting in a corner of the shop waiting for me to give it some love.  The only misstep I ran into was I mixed up 300 ml of primer which was way too much (I forgot it goes a long way), so I put the mixing pot into the freezer to slow the reaction down after I put the first coat on.  After a few hours I thinned out the cold primer and did a second coat.  Probably not the best technique, but I didn't want to waste it and the only part of the hatch that will actually be showing shiny paint are the sides and front and the rest will be covered in KiwiGrip.

Finally, I ended up the day by sanding the fairing compound I had applied earlier and glassed up the outer 6 ounce layer on the rudder (the side that is has no exposed bolt pocket).  This was altogether uneventful as I find myself getting back into the swing of epoxy work and the light cloth is really satisfying to laminate because it wets out so fast, works nicely (as long as you don't have a frayed edge) and lays really flat.  I find that this type of cloth works best if you can have the edges laying out over the piece so you don't have to contend with wetting out an edge.  It's so light that it is easy to trim the next day with a pair of shears while it's still green.

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