Monday, March 5, 2007

First float half bulkheads mounted

Today was another incredibly balmy day for the Pacific NW for this time of the year. When I left work it was 62 deg F. So when I got home I thought I would get started on mounting the bulkheads, but wasn't sure how far I would get. By the way, I've decided that this float half is going to be the inner starboard float half.

I had not yet made up the chainplate mounting pads, an oversight I was now kicking myself for. That was the first task of the afternoon, gluing up some foam for those parts. Then I moved onto the bulkheads.

I want to thank Ed for posting pictures of the bulkhead mounting jigs he used. That saved me time not having to think much about how to do it. So it was pretty quick to get to this point:

I'm probably making too big a deal of this, but yet, it was pretty exciting to see this thing start to take shape. Which is probably the reason I kept going when I should have stopped there for the night.

All of the bulkheads fitted nearly perfectly., something which seems amazing (but really shouldn't). Some small trimming was needed down by the keel edge, but I'm pretty sure this was due to my aforementioned rough job in that area. The transom was a bit tricky -- at first it seemed too long to fit into the specified place. Then I realized that the top and bottom edges needed to be mitered where it meets the keel and the deck flange, and that helped to make it right. The plans say the bow bulkhead is to line up with the aft edge of Form Frame #1 -- but this means it is not flush with the front of the bow planks which just looks, well, weird. I honored the plans and didn't bother Ian about it (worst comes to worst, the cavity can be filled in with putty :). This slightly rearward placement of the bow bulkhead also means that the bow stringer will likely be in the way, unless you accounted for this when you placed the stringer. I had seen Ed run into this in his pictures, but forgot all about it until tonight, so I ended up having to cut a small recess for the stringer as well.

I have formed epoxy fillets on previous projects, but unfortunately it is a skill for which mastery still escapes me. I did my best to make everything look clean and professional, but only succeeded partially (good thing these aren't visible). I also think my fillets were a bit larger than required; I jumped into the job without having made a specific filleting radius tool, so I had to eyeball it. You be the judge:

I will work on having a decent fillet tool ready before the next such job comes along.

After the fillets were all done, I then did the taping. Here is my vacuum bag board, converted over to tape cutting duty:

(Side note: I recently bought an EC Cutter from Jamestown Distributors . I didn't really need one, but it looked like a cool toy to try, albeit a bit expensive. My first impression is that as long as the battery is charged, it definitely does the job -- fast, easy cutting, with little or no damage or runs to the cloth. However the battery seems a bit on the small side although you can use the tool while plugged into the wall.)

Getting all of the bulkheads taped took me longer than expected. First you have to measure and pre-cut all of the tapes. Then, one by one I wet out each individual tape in the garage and carried them out to the tent and placed them. I worked through dinner because I was afraid of being out there all night. All this after a full day of day-job work too; I'll sleep good tonight. :)

Here is one final close-up picture of a completed tape job:

Although the chainplate pads were probably cured enough by this point to form and mount them, it was getting late. So I cleaned up my messes and called it a night. At the moment though the heat lamps are still on. I'll turn them off before I head off to bed but hopefully things will get at least to a semi-cure before that.

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