Friday, June 6, 2014


I'm staring to bump into logistical issues when moving forward.  There is a lot to do yet, but some projects are dependent on others that I don't have either the materials, time, or both so I can't always move forward where I'd like.

This is the current situation I'm in with the cockpit coamings.  I have them fitted and in place but I want to tap the bolts for them in so I can fit the coaming blocks before removing them again for fairing the sheer and sanding prior to varnish.  Unfortunately, the bolts for the originals were countersunk with bungs and I am planning on keeping them accessible for the new ones so they can be removed for maintenance without destroying anything.  I thought that I could get the screws I needed at the local hardware store (stainless 1/4" - 20 x 4"), but I was wrong, they need to be ordered so that has to wait.

Original coaming block prior to sanding. Note that the new
are thicker and don't seat flush in the rabbet.
I also originally planned to make new coaming blocks but I don't have enough Sapele left to make them.  I called over to Goosebay Lumber and they have some in stock, but they didn't have the 4" thickness that I need. Doh!  I tried to work out in my head how I could laminate up a bunch of blocks and then cut it down into the shape I need.  Doable - yes; a lot of work - yes.  At this point in the game I am looking to save a bit of time.

I took a step back and looked at the old blocks that were lying in a pile on the boatshed floor.  They were covered in dust and years of really bad varnish, but there was no rot in them and they were solid mahogany. Best of all they were already shaped.  So I took out some 80 grit paper and gave one of them a good sanding.  It didn't look half bad.  Sure there were a couple of old screw holes in the side where the dodger snaps were mounted, but I would likely be putting them back in the same spot anyway.  The second one looked good as well, so I went to town and really cleaned them up and after a bit of work, they really looked great and now I'm considering reusing them.

52 years old.
I still have a few concerns about reusing them though. While both Sapele and Honduras Mahogany are in the same family, Honduras Mahogany gets that deep red tone when exposed to sun and varnished while Sapele has more of a brown hue.  So I'm hoping they color differences don't stick out like a sore thumb.  I threw on a coat of varnish and will set it out in the sun over the weekend to compare with some Sapele samples I also have varnished to see if the difference is too bad.

The other issue I have with the old blocks is that the original coamings were not as thick as the new ones, so I will need to take about an 1/8" off the forward end of the new coamings for them to properly seat in the coaming block rabbet (see 1st picture in post).  I'm hoping I can work out these issues because it would save a ton of time and money (more spendy wood and epoxy), and it would be a nice touch to incorporate some of the original 52 year old woodwork in the new incarnation.  

The only other accomplishment yesterday was installing the sliding cabin hatch in the companionway.  This proved to be a royal pain in the ass.  It is build such that there is no way to get it on with both sliding rails screwed down.  I forgot this initially when I happily screwed down both aluminum rails into the new companionway trim and then hoisted the bulky hatch into place.  After a series of nicely timed grunts followed up by a descriptive narrative detailing my woes, I unscrewed the starboard rail and maneuvered the hatch in place before screwing the rail back on. As I did it, I remembered I had the same trouble trying to get it off when I first dismantled the boat back in 2010.

Anyway, once I refastened everything the hatch popped into place and slide reasonably well.  It sticks a little bit in places so I may have to fiddle with the rail screws a bit, but I'm pretty happy that I took a lot of care when I rebuilt the companionway, because the tolerances are pretty slim.

Finally, once the hatch was in place, I scribed the curve of the hatch on the new washboard and cut it out with the bandsaw.  After a bit of sanding I put the washboards in, closed the hatch and took in how my boat is actually looking a bit yachty again.  I finished up by putting a coat of varnish on the front side of the washboards and called it a day.

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