Sunday, March 18, 2007

Starboard float half joined

(Back in college, I made brownie points with an English Lit professor by submitting for extra credit an "unpublished" canto from Dante's Inferno. The ne'r-do-wells who inhabited this new level of Hell were...Literature professors. The professor took it with a sense of humor; in retrospect, I was lucky.

I may have to add a new canto for whoever invented inside taping.)

It has been a busy week. I found time to plank most of the third float half on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. On Friday I finished up by puttying between the planks. Saturday was spent on laminating this float half. Pretty straightforward at this point.

Today though, I joined my first float; this one will be the starboard float. It was a very busy day and I didn't have time for a lot of pictures, unfortunately. The upper float half (my 2nd float half) fit the bottom one pretty well everywhere except for the transom - not sure why that area gives so much grief. Lots of fine trimming (and cussing) going on. (As usual I was working all by myself. Fortunately, I am big enough that manhandling a float half by myself is not too difficult -- wonder if I'll be able to say that with an entire float.) Eventually the fit was good enough and I went ahead with the joining.

I used Medium hardener for my putty, which was good because the temperature sneaked up to about 68 deg F today, a nice surprise. I had plenty of time though to putty all of the join lines before setting the upper float half in place. I used strap come-alongs to force the upper half down on the bottom one. (At first I tried bungee cords -- you might be able to get away with bungees if you have a perfect fit, but alas I needed the come-alongs. Plus I'm always a bit nervous around taut bungees.). I ran out of come-alongs, so had to use a field-expedient method:

After getting the top half located and locked down, I went around and started making fillets for the bulkheads, and smoothing out the excess putty at the keel line. The bulkhead fillets were not bad except for the bow bulkhead -- it's just darn near impossible to do a good job up there in that tiny space:

(this picture makes the space look bigger than it really is)

I ended up just sticking a blob of putty on the end of a brush that was screwed to a long stick, and shoving it up into the join line, then brushing the putty back and forth to try to form something that at least resembled a fillet. There's enough putty up there that it won't move after the putty and the tape cure, but it's not the prettiest job in the world. Hope that doesn't invalidate the warranty.

Doing the inside keel taping was also a pain in the rear. Last night I had pre-cut 50" tapes for the long keel sections. Unfortunately, working with a wet, 50" tape using a brush-on-a-stick is not the easiest chore in the world. I ended up cutting all of my tapes down to ~20" or so to make them easier to handle with the brush-on-a-stick technique. If anyone out there has some tips on better ways to do this inside taping, I'd love to hear them.

I'm now wondering what would be wrong, with joining the float halves but only taping the bulkheads and transom, and leaving the keel taping and bow bulkhead taping for later while the float half is upright. Maybe it's just slower? Anyway, tomorrow night I'll unmold this float, then move on the fourth and final float half. I also need to think about throwing together some cradles to hold the floats once done.


Ed said...

I agree completely about the inside taping! I can tell you this about not taping the bow bulkhead (as we didn't tape the last one in favor of trying it upright) - just the bog fillet on the bulkhead (using cab-o-sil for all bulkheads) was not strong at all and broke the whole fillet as soon as we lifted the hull. Had to re-glue and fillet once upright, but it was easier to reach at least.

Tor Rabe said...

I also agree on the almost impossible access to the bow bulkhead. I did't even try to do the keel taping, just added about 4" of tape in the middle between every bulkhead to make sure the hull was stiff enough to unmold and set in the cradles. Keel taping in upright position was ok to manage.

Jay said...

Thanks guys. I might try that next time.

Jay said...

Just to add a postscript comment here: I taped the keel joint on my second float today while it was upright, and I definitely recommend doing it that way (not that you should need further confirmation after Ed and Tor suggested it in the first place :).