Saturday, April 4, 2015

Shaping Up

Progress has been pretty decent with the hatch over the past few days.  I epoxied in the 1/4" plywood subdeck to the rabbets running the perimeter of the hatch and then coated it with a layer of un-thickened epoxy.  Originally, I was planning on laminating in a layer of 6oz cloth, but I was a little worried that the additional thickness would cause the teak planks to sit proud of the perimeter of the hatch.

Basically, the rabbet I cut was 1/2" deep and the 1/4" plywood plus 1/4" teak decking fills that rabbet up with no room for anything else.  It probably would have been fine, but I decided that instead I would laminate a piece of 1706 biaxial fabric to the underside of the hatch before putting on a wood facia.  That would probably be overkill so I may end up just doing a 6oz layer, but I want to get a feel for how stiff the center of the hatch is with both teak and plywood laminated.

Anyway, after I epoxied over the plywood deck, I noticed that the center of the hatch had a slight depression in it.  A straight edge revealed that I had an 1/8" depression.  I want the teak to sit as flat as possible so I mixed up a batch of Quick Fair and troweled it over the depressed section.  I didn't totally eliminate it, but took care of most of it.

Next, I did some shaping at the corners and cut a 6 degree sloping angle from the bottom up on the sides to give it a 'sporty' look.  Not really, but one of the things I didn't like about my last hatch was that even though it was curved to fit the camber of the deck it looked a bit boxy.  I think this should help.

With that complete, it was time to measure and cut the teak strips.  The fore and aft length was easy, just measure total distance between the rabbets and subtract 1/2" (1/4 gap for black caulking on either end), but the side to side proved to be more challenging.  It felt like I was back in grade school and was faced with a word problem that went like this:
You have 10 pieces of wood, each 3 inches wide and they need to be evenly spaced over 21.125 inches.  Each piece needs to have a .25 inch gap between the next board.  How wide does each board need to be?
 The answer: 2.065 inches.

Once I had checked and rechecked my calculations, I went ahead and ripped them on the table saw. Fortunately, I was correct, and they all fit nicely.   At that point it was time to glue them in, so using a tube of Jamestown Distributors Total Boat Thixo (the epoxy that is in a caulking tube and mixes when squeezed through a nozzle), I globbed on a bunch on the back of each strip and squished it in place.  Once I had them all on the hatch, I used rubber tile spacers to keep 1/4 inch between each board.
I stacked a bunch of weight on top and let it cure up overnight.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out; I had never worked with teak decking to any degree before, hopefully the black caulking that comes next will work out too.

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