Friday, November 1, 2013

That's a wrap

That's all folks!



For this season anyways.

I did get a lot done this year. Not as much as I would have liked but this project is proving to be one heck of a lot more work than I thought it would be. Working along most of the time doesn't help. Even when I had help, and I was glad to have the company, they often slowed me down.

When the building weather arrived in April I only had 1 layer of glass on the keel. I rushed this particular layer of glass and had to sand away a lot of sins to get it in shape for the next layers to go on.

Within the next week or so I was ready to lay down the first of the very heavy fabric on the bottom panels. This stuff is 33 oz per sq yd and that's pretty stiff material to work with and it sucks up epoxy like a sponge!

Using it did save me having to prep one more layer of fabric and the associated sanding that goes along with it.

One thing I noticed on a boat this big is you learn a lot on one side and apply those lessons to the other. Both sides of the boat couldn't be more different in how they look and how I actually did them. There's a ton of advice out there on the interwebs and I try to assimilate that info that I think will help. If I remember correctly it took me 11 1/2 hrs to do bottom panel 1 by myself and used about 5 gallons of epoxy. The second bottom panel took me 4 hrs with a helper and 3 1/2 gallons of epoxy!

Fellow boat builder Peter Lenihan came all the way form Montreal to spend some quality time in the boat shed. Peter launched his boat two years ago and was missing his boat shed terribly so I invited him down for a day of fun sanding and fiberglassing.

After he got finished correcting a lot of my mistakes we laid out some basalt fabric for the transom. He hadn't seen it before but I assured him it worked just like fiberglass!

I use air tools a lot in the shed. Earlier in the spring I upgraded my compressor which helped a lot. The workhorse of my tool stable was the 6" RO air sander. This was a cheapie I got at a flea market but it worked very well. Unfortunately it couldn't hold up to the rigors of the heavy fiberglass and kicked the bucket. I tried to take it apart and fix it but it was hopeless.

Good by old friend.

Laying out the fabric for the side panels was a big milestone for me. I looked forward to this with a bit of trepidation but in the long run no one else was gonna do it for me so headlong I went doing both sides over the course of three days.

Once again I tried differing techniques on each side. One was done with peel ply and the other without. High temps and high humidity caused a few problems but nothing that couldn't be corrected with a sander.

The bubbles you see in the pic above were sliced open, filled with epoxy and clamped shut. Bubbles in the glass are problematic. I had to do many such repairs. Eventually I figured out what I was doing wrong and moved on.

I put a goodly amount of effort into keeping the hull as fair as I could as I went. Hoping this would pay off down the road with a better finish to the boat. What it actually meant was hours and hours of quality time spend with my sanders! ;-)

There were some days I spent 10 or 12 hrs sanding. Major grunt work but well worth it in the end I hope.

The second layer of reinforcing fiberglass to go on the hull was the 0/90 biaxial fabric. This is a different animal than the other stitched fabrics I've used. It moves around a lot and it's harder to keep the fibers oriented as the fabric stretches over the compound curves of the hull.

The same fabric goes on over the side panels with the help of my friend 'Jimmy "Sticky Fingers" Campbell'. :-) The results were pretty good which boded well for the final cosmetic layer that would come later.

The final layer of fabric to go on the outer hull was the 10 oz satin weave fabric. This is a much lighter weight material that is pretty easy to work with compared to the structural layers.

I was able to get both sides done quickly and efficiently. Again one side I did with peel ply and the other without. The side without peelply requires sanding before anything else goes on but that wasn't a big deal.

The blue tinge is from a filler I concocted to fill the weave of the 12 oz fiberglass. It just serves as a guide coat when sanding. It also made it easier to see in the low contrast light of the boat shed.

I traced out the cutouts for the windows in the main cabin so that I could get some quotes on the windows. Just about what I figured they'd cost, $2900 for all of them.

The next step in the preparation of the hull is fairing. This is a process of using light weight fillers to get a nice even surface that's ready for primer and paint. I tried  a few recipes shared by other boat builders as well as some commercially available products.

I was a bit frustrated getting constant results but think I have one recipe worked out that'll get the job done. It uses one part coloidal silica, two parts microspheres (glass beads) and 1 part epoxy. This creates a nice smooth spreadable filler.

The blocking tools (torture boards) or fairing boards I have are commercial automotive tools called 'Dura Blocks'. They high density foam sanding blocks that work pretty well. One of them I have is 30" long and is supposed to do a better job at larger flatter surfaces. I wasn't getting the results I wanted so I'm thinking of buying a tool called 'Flexicat' sanding tool.

This tool comes highly recommended by those that have used it. I think it'll be a good investment on a project of this size. I can always sell it afterwards recovering most of my investment.

The last thing I did this year was fit up the rudder. I knew there'd be modifications required for it to fit and work properly so I needed to stick it up there and get it measured up.

The shaft ends will have to be shortened and the shaft split just above the bottom panel here. Two SS flanges will be welded on so that the two parts can be bolted (and unbolted) together for removal/repair without having to dig a hole to get the rudder out. The rudder shaft will also have to be cut at the top and a hex cut into it for an emergency tiller attachment.

That's pretty much where I left off for the season. Too cold to do any fairing and besides I was just making a big mess that I'd have to sand off anyways! :-)

So thanks for looking in and putting up with our nonsense. I'll try to make better video's next year.

Stay warm this winter. Standby.