Construction - IV
Progress Report - Jan. to Mar. 2000
My Y2K testing began on
January 1 by waking up and turning on the light. It came
on so that was good. The next test was to open my garage
door and see if the boat project was still there. It was.
Unfortunately no Y2K elves (opposite of bugs) finished
the boat for me, so there was no choice but to dig in.
I mentioned in my last page that I was doing things in a
chaotic fashion and this continued to hold true. A quick
look at the building instructions revealed that I was
working on 5 line items at once. Essentially, the order
I've been proceeding has depended on how I perceive
things to be several steps in advance. There is no good
or bad way of going here, just personal preference, most
From the last sequence of pictures, the most obvious
is the slow development of the cabin house. The center
stringer is in place, as are the carlins that form the
cabinsides and coaming rail. The curved bulkhead tops
that used to be slightly wobbly are now firmly locked
into place. That gives me comfort because I need them all
the time to help me climb in and out of the boat.
My plan was to use up my supply of 1/4"
ply to put the cabinsides together. Since we're getting
down to the short strokes I don't want to buy more
material than I need. The side stringer is still
oversized (or stands proud, as traditionalists say); it
will need to be planed down to match the cabintop. At
this stage, there are precious few measurements listed in the building
instructions. Mainly because you don't need them. Most
measurements are taken off the boat and transfered to the
material. It takes a bit longer, but at least everything
fits in the end.
Obviously my camera angles haven't improved much. It's a bit limiting when the boat
fills up the whole working space (have I mentioned that
before?). So you'll have to bear with me until I can get
the whole contraption into a different setting.
This picture shows how the interior is progressing. The bunk
platform has been glued and screwed down. The things left
to do in this picture are glueing the port "head",
the starboard "galley", and the hand lockers on
each side (located below the porthole in the cabin side).
Everything has been glued together with an eye that it
serves a structural function. So each seam is glued,
screwed down every 7 - 8 inches, and then given an epoxy/silica
fillet. The designer's notes mention the need to
distribute torsional stresses by installing the furniture
and deck so they form one homogeneous unit with the
hull. I can say that the hull itself is pretty solid
right now, based on how things went in the Turn Over. Now
with the bunks, and eventually the deck, it should go
from pretty solid to rock solid.
Here's a picture of the "head"
on the port side. You can see the installed eyestraps
that will help hold the lead ingots in place. Also
slightly visible here is the epoxy coating mixed with
white pigment. It's not pretty, but I'm looking for
sealing properties here, not beauty. The white pigment
was intended to make it look slightly finished, but as
you can see, my formula isn't quite
right (More pigment, Igor! More pigment!). By the time I
finished the last coating near the stern, I had the shade
to just about what I wanted.
This picture that shows the cockpit coaming carlins. A rope stretches across the ends
because they aren't supported until the plywood portion
is glued in. Speaking of plywood, the outside coaming and
the cabin side is theoretically all one piece. I stopped
at Blkhd E for now because it was a good place to divide
the fore and aft sections. Plus it's easier to deal with smaller pieces of
wood than larger (remember the topside hull panels...Uck).
For the outside coaming ply, I measured and cut the starboard
side plywood first, then used it as a template for the
port side. Hopefully this would make each side exactly
the same curve (see boat profile on the Boat Page). For
those places where the coaming carlin didn't match the
curve cut in the ply, I forced it in place during the
glueing/screwing, then sanded it smooth later.
This picture also shows another development in space
reduction; my 3 bicycles now hang from the ceiling near
the port bow. My son's bicycle handlebars are just
visible in the lower right corner. Huh? Oh, right...I've
mentioned the space problem before.
At this point several things have my full attention.
The first is the rig. The designer recommends a
fiberglass mast, since it would bend correctly and carry
a lower center of gravity than an aluminum one. The
recommended builder of these spars no longer exists,
probably due to the owner's death in a plane accident.
Other NIS builders have opted for spun aluminum, carbon
fiber, or a combination of wood, fiberglass, and carbon
fiber. Prices and techniques vary all over the map, so
I'm still reserving judgement until I have as much
information as I can.
The second attention draw is paint. What type, what
system, what color? So I'm glued to brochures and other
advice sources. Several builders have recommended
painting the interior before the deck is on since it will
be harder to reach those infernal nooks and crannies. So
I'll be following that plan shortly.
Third item is the cockpit layout. Since the inside
furniture phase is nearly complete, it's the only major
section left. I want to install a traveller, since as a
racer I enjoy the added control benefit. I also want it
to be close enough to the hatch so I can reach it and the
mainsheet from inside the hatchway (you know, so I can
dump the main if caught in an unexpected gust). This and
structural considerations pretty much dictate that it
needs to span across the cockpit at Blkhd F. I'm sure
that underway this will become known as the "shin-banger"
or less politely formed descriptions. It also defines the
mainsheet system as being "mid-boom" rather
than "end-boom" arrangement. In addition to
this complication, there will be 6 hatches in the cockpit
seats to access the space below them. Although quite
voluminous, the small hatch size may limit the use of the
space. Maybe it won't be as bad as it looks now.
The 300 hour mark
So it has come to 300 hours of labor. The hours
leading up to this milestone were spent mostly on the
cockpit. As with most boats, this area is fairly complex
and has required quite a bit of measuring, cutting,
fitting, glueing, coating, and then repeating it all over
Another milestone done during this period was planing
down the sheer log and top cabin side rails to their
exact dimensions. Now for the first time the graceful
shearline is evident and also ready to receive the deck.
And with that, I've started cutting and glueing the
forward deck pieces.
The bow forward of bulkhead A is the most structurally
critical part of the whole boat. This is where the mast
tries everything it can to tear itself free. As a result,
the designer has indicated reinforcement at the hull
bottom and the deck. The amount of doubling (laminating 2
pieces of ply together) at the deck was shown to cover
the mast step area, but not all the way to the bow. I
know I'm going to install a fairly hefty cleat forward of
the mast, so I decided to double the entire area forward
of bulkhead A. The next statement about using a
continuous sheet of ply from the bow back to the cabin
and beyond is logical but not practical. The difficulty
is that the deck flares out beyond 4 ft shortly aft of
bulkhead A. So obviously a butt block joint was needed,
but where? After some engineering-inspired thought, I've
decided to place a butt seam athwartships just aft of
bulkhead A. The end result will be a foredeck that is
almost entirely laminated to 3/4 inch thick, plus
fiberglassed on the top.
I'm a stickler for wasted movement. I'll do anything
to prevent having to make the same cut twice. But for the
deck around the cabin and cockpit I'm putting aside this
idiosyncrasy. Over this area the sheeting has to follow 2
curves: the hull curve at the gunnel, and the cabin/coaming
sides. The outer curve at the gunwale is easy--just cut
the sheets oversized like I've done many times before and
pare them down after glueing. But the inside curve of the
cabin and coaming affords no such luxury. So taking a
step straight from "Dynamite" Payson's book, I
clamped a scrap piece of ply next to the cabin and drew
the curve using the block-with-a-pen-hole trick. Then by
cutting the curve in the scrap, it'll serve as a template
for the real piece. Fortunately I had the right sized
scrap to do this. My lumber supply pile has disintegrated
into a jumble of increasingly unusable junk.
Another milestone is deciding on going with the
Interlux paint system. It's not really an endorsement of
the company, just a decision based more on color choices
and the amount of BTDT (Been There, Done That)
information I was able to find. The most important thing,
I think, is to stick with one product line. Mixing and
matching different products from different companies
could lead to tripping at the finish line if you don't
know what you're doing. And I don't know what I'm doing.
Here are my interior paint plans:
- Coat interior with a thin layer of epoxy. Just
enough to seal the wood
- Wash with water to remove any traces of amine
- Sand with 100 grit paper
- Vacuum, clean with Interlux Fiberglass Solvent
- Apply a coat of Interlux 404/414 Epoxy Barrier-Kote
- Sand with 100 grit, repeat 5 and 6 if necessary
- Apply coat(s) of Interlux Premium Enamel
I'll give an update on this system later.