Friday, April 27, 2007

Starboard float exterior lamination begins

Yesterday after work I worked on preparing the form frames to help laminate the float hull sides. My approach was to first cut off a portion of the upper sections of frames #5 and #9:

(Little bit of a mess under that strongback. But this is an advantage of building outside: I don't feel compelled to clean all that crap up all the time.)

Then they were mounted in the usual locations on the strongback:

Then I padded them with some towels, and my son helped me lift the starboard float into position:

I was a little worried that the float would be too bow-heavy in this position, but that turned out to be a non-issue. I will leave the form frames like this for laminating the starboard float hull sides, then I'll flip them around and do the same for the port hull sides. The working height of the float hull surface is near perfect, and there's plenty of room to work on the bottom edge of the laminate as it is wrapped around the keel. Well anyway, none of this is rocket science but it was definitely quick and easy to put together.

Tonight after work I laminated the starboard side of the starboard float (seen above). Obviously you've got to lay out the glass first:

There's something really cool and fun about unrolling a ~21 ' length of glass out onto the float, then trimming it to fit. Having a single long piece also makes it very easy to work with. The downside is that you end up with a lot of long, narrow, trim scraps that may not be good for anything. I thought about laying the glass in vertical strips and having an overlap every 50" (the width of my glass rolls), but decided against it. I wonder what other builders do about this? And how small does a scrap have to be before it's not worth saving? (Comments, suggestions welcome...) If you really wanted to conserve on glass costs, you could laminate every scrap you had back onto the boat somewhere. I don't think I want to go that far though.

Lamination then began. Nothing too remarkable about this, but allow me to make two comments: first, the 18oz cloth doesn't wet out so easy - you have to work at it a bit more; and second, I can see why Ian didn't give these float hulls a knife-edge keel: it's much, much easier to wrap the glass around the gentle-curved keels -- I didn't even need to cut darts except at the bow and transom. Well, this might be one reason why Ian designed it this way, but it seems plausible given his "easy-to-build" design goal.

Here's a shot from early in the process:

And another, from a distance:

And here it is all done:

I was hoping to have time to laminate the deck of the port float, but doing the starboard float took took too long and I had to get cleaned up for dinner. I did check it over very carefully for bubbles before calling it a night, and things were looking good. I'm just hoping the Bubble Gremlin doesn't attack in the middle of the night.

P.S. My bow cap laminations turned out good...phew.

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