Construction - VI
Progress Report - July to Dec. 2000
Believe it or not I feel
like I'm getting to a point of termination. Whenever I
leave a store I think, "That's the last (of that) I
need to get." I don't need any more wood. I don't
need any more epoxy. There's still a lot left to do,
however, so I have learned to contain my enthusiasm.
The first part of this report period was spent putting the
fiberglass on the deck, cabin house, and cockpit.
Although somewhat more time consuming than the glassing
the hull, everything went according to plan. Next was
glueing on the finishing trim pieces and completing the
sliding hatch cover.
This picture shows how everything looks on the cabintop. The handrails
were made in 2 pieces because it conforms to a pretty
good bend. The pad between the handrail and the
hatchframe near the aft end is for a small winch and 2
cleats. I didn't put one on the other side.
This shows a bit more detail of the hatch. The plans suggest installing stainless
steel pieces on the hatch to help it slide along the rail.
I've decided not to do this for now; I'll wait to see how
much it wears. I do know that shiny metal sitting
under the summer sun becomes really hot, so I'm trying to
avoid that situation. Epoxy doesn't like extreme
heat. I designed the hatch so it can be slid
forward off the rails at any time.
Turn Over II - The Sequel
I got a number of comments over the last year questioning why I
had decided to turn the hull before I had completely
finished the bottom and topsides. My answer was that I
wanted to do the sanding and painting all at once, and
since the turn over process was fairly easy I could do it
several times. Not much wisdom involved here. But as I
proceeded with attaching the deck, I found that my
decision did indeed contain great wisdom. As I worked
around the gunwale with the deck, fiberglass, and
finally, the trim, little rivulettes of epoxy would run
down the topsides. Had it been painted I would have had
quite a bit of resanding and repainting to do (not to
mention another problem detailed below).
I used the same technique as before, with some slight
modifications. I reinforced the blocks in the ceiling,
and used the mainsheet and boom vang blocks for more
purchase to raise the boat. As expected, the line around
the stern was tight enough to play a tune. Last time I
didn't sweat; this time I did. The boat now weighs an
estimated 850 to 900 lbs. and was no easy task to turn it
by myself. Memo to me: Get help for the final turn-over.
I got a question of how I supported the boat after I turned it over. It was
pretty simple--shown in this picture. Four sets of
these concrete blocks held up the boat and wood boards
were placed on the top to protect the deck from the
rough surface of the blocks.
After it sat on the blocks for a bit, I checked to see if there was any
deformation of the deck around the blocks indicating too
much stress. There was none. This boat is
pretty strong so far.
Now having the hull upside down, I started in working
on sanding and cleaning up what I call "pimples".
These are small spots where the fiberglass has not
adhered to the layer underneath so it shows up as a small
discolored blister. As mentioned before I cut them out
and filled the remaining space with epoxy filler. In this
process I accidentally discovered some sticky goo in one
part of the bottom. It didn't make any sense, so I
investigated further. Poking my razor blade around I soon
discovered that the goo was actually epoxy that had never hardened, and I
could easily peel up whole sections of hardened epoxy
from the never-hardened epoxy underneath. My reaction was
a classic filmmaking moment:
Movie Director: "...and,
Movie Director: "Cut!"
I kept rooting around and peeling up the top layer,
some with 10 oz. fiberglass in the goo, until I got to
where the epoxy had bonded correctly all the way through.
It came to about 1/2 a square foot in area, but it really
made me nervous. Were there other such areas? I checked
carefully but everything was sound. So I filled the
uneven holes with my usual patch of epoxy and collodial
silica. I remember that during the bottom fiberglass job
I was mixing up large batches of epoxy. Somewhere during
the 10 oz. layer I didn't mix it thoroughly enough and
this patch never solidified, although the succeeding
layers did. I don't think anything bad would have
happened had I never caught it since it was still sealed
on all sides and water couldn't penetrate the wood. But
it still goes to show that there can be goof-ups here and
there. Memo to me: Fire the Quality Assurance Engineer.
Then it was a-painting I do go! Two coats of the
barrier epoxy were applied to the hull, then I taped 2
inches above the waterline and applied 3 coats of one-part
polyurethane up to the rail. I followed the
directions to the letter and everything went much easier
than I would have thought. I don't plan to paint
the bottom--instead leaving it as white barrier epoxy.
The boat will not be in the water long enough to worry
So I got this big chunk of aluminum plate cut by a machine shop to the
right shape. But the leading edge is perfectly square.
Not exactly hydrodynamic. So on the advice of my neighbor
I used my belt sander with 50 grit paper and turned the
leading edge into something closer to parabolic. Worked
out pretty well and went quicker than I expected. The
designer recommends tapering the trailing edge, but since
the plate is only 1/2" thick to begin with, I'm not
going to worry about it. The machine shop was supposed to
drill the holes for the pin and the pennant, but they
blew me off. That turned out to be a blessing since it
gave me some flexibility of size and location. I hadn't
decided until late in the game how the pin would be put
together, and it turned out that the pennant attachment
had to be moved.
This exercise also gave me my first experience with 3M's
4200 Fast Cure goop. I've chosen 4200 because 5200 is too
permanent; I want to be able to undo it at a future date.
All deck hardware and attachments will be sealed with
4200, and the centerboard pennant block and pin was an
excellent starting point. I learned that the moniker
"Fast Cure" means that it starts curing
immediately after you purchase it at the chandlery. After
buying the larger tube and having it solidify on me after
the first application, I bought the smaller tube that has
a screw cap so you can seal it back up. Much better.
After some thought on the subject, my plan for the
centerboard pin was to eliminate any electrolysis caused
by connecting dissimiliar metals in salt water. So I
seized upon the idea of using an aluminum bushing between
the centerboard and the stainless steel bolt that would
hold the whole thing in place. A piece of aluminum
conduit did the trick.
Here is the centerboard in its entirety followed by a closeup view of the bushing
and centerpin hole. Notice also how the leading
edge looks after having been rounded off.
Now came the really tricky part. After enlisting the help of my bride
to install the pennant block inside the case, I was
ready to put the board in. Well, let me put it this way: I was ready but the case was not.
After struggling to get the board over the slot, it
wouldn't go. "Doctor," I thought, "I'm
feeling a severe pain in my chest." The board is 1/2"
thick; the case is 3/4" wide. But my
exuberance in sealing the end grain of the bottom sheet
of ply made the slot much narrower. Less than 1/2". Out came my dremel
tool and a-sanding I did go. Any exposed wood I had to re-seal
with epoxy, so a week later I was ready to try again.
This time it went in, but it soon started to bind with
sounds of mangling wood. "Doctor," I thought,
"Everything's fading to black!" The pennant
cable shackle was not following the planned groove in the
trunk (see Constr. I, barely visible in the last picture),
so I had to move the attachment. Of course, more wood to
re-seal. A week later a friend helped me maneuver the
whole thing in place and install the pin/bushing. Then,
the moment of reckoning was at hand. Slowly I let the
whole thing slide down, and it did so with no complaints
until it was all the way in! Well, almost, that is. It
still sticks out about 3" on the aft end, probably
because it is bumping into something like the pennant
block guards I made. I don't mind at this point. "Doctor,
Now a side view of the centerboard in place. The block and rope is to
prevent the board from allowing gravity to take its
course. The board is not extended fully here as it
would bump into the garage door, but you get a good idea
of the intended purpose.
Another picture before the board was sent home into the trunk. Here you can
see the subtle change between the barrier epoxy and the
polyurethane at the waterline. It's not much more
than a change of gloss, which is exactly what I wanted.
There will be no bootstripe.
But nagging questions remain. What if the board becomes
jammed in the case? I have no mechanism in place to fix
this problem. The hole at Blkhd E where the pennant wire
comes out is inappropriate for any other use. I can see
myself raising the board to go downwind in a race,
reaching the leeward mark to go back upwind and not being
able to get the board down. That would be, to put it
mildly, a disaster. My thought now is to drill a hole in
the top of the case just a few inches aft of Bkhd E. Then
I could ram a rod down the hole to help things along. The
hole could be plugged when not in use.
Turn Over III - The Final Episode
By now, a piece of cake. I did get a friend to help so I
didn't have to sweat. Instead of setting the boat down on
the floor like last time, I built a cradle out of scrap
lumber to hold the hull. I'm hoping that this cradle will
allow me to slide the boat out of the garage when the
Here's a gander at the foredeck, complete with the quarter-round trim that
graces the rail. Again, since it is made of
mahogany, it was tough to bend into shape. I
screwed it in place, then after the epoxy dried I backed
out the screws and filled the holes with more epoxy.
You can also see the half-round trim on the sides of the
Oh-my-gosh! The whole deck is now primed white, ready for my color
scheme. The change is quite dramatic, I must say.
Lastly, I submit a picture
of the oars. The one on the right is not coated
with epoxy yet, the left one is. They are built to
a stretched pattern provided by Jim
Michalak. Made of 3 glued sections of ash, 9.5
ft. long, they were cut, planed, and sanded to this point.
They'll be painted as well.
So it's back to sanding, sanding, a little painting, and
sanding again. Most of it is now temperature dependent, and since
winter has arrived the painting process will be haphazard at best.
Once it is done, looking around for a trailer will be next
I am now having a new house built, so most of the funds I had
earmarked for the boat will be redirected to financing the new
boatbuilding site...I mean, the new house. As a result the boat
project will take a back seat for awhile.