Thursday, April 5, 2007

Working on float decks and other stuff

So far it's been a week of little things.

Last weekend I noticed that much of the keel taping on my first float, in the last two compartments (fore and aft of the aft bulkhead), was just plain terrible. Had some bubbles, but what seemed worse was that the glass was quite distorted and laying in different directions (this was from when I was doing the keel taping with the float on its side). So I spent Wednesday evening sanding those areas down to reasonable smoothness, and then retaped them.

Today after work I got busy prepping the floats and float decks for joining. I sanded down the float deck bottoms, as well as the float deck flanges and the tops of the bulkhead flanges:

(Side note: I've only recently discovered Festool tools. Wow - quite pricey, but they make some really nice gear. You can see my CT33 vacuum in the above picture, as well as the RO125 5" dual-mode sander; I also have a C12 screwdriver, and plan to buy more of their tools as budget allows. Using low-grit paper in "rough" mode is almost too much - you can take off a _lot_ of material in a hurry. I've been buying from Bill at Bill's Festool Supply who is local here in Washington State -- you can look him up at Festool USA on the "Find Dealer" page. I wouldn't quite call Bill a fanatic about Festool stuff, but he's a really nice guy who's willing to talk to you for hours about the tools, and just raves about them. He's also worked as a boatbuilder for several years (a long time ago -- what the heck is a "Piver"? Kidding!) so he's got some context on what tools work well on fiberglass and boat jobs.

And just in case anyone is wondering: all of my tools come inside the garage at night. :) )

Next up was cutting out the reliefs in the deck flange for the under-deck stringers:

The plans call for drilling small holes at the top of the fwd and center bulkheads, to help equalize air pressure. So I did that, right in the middle of the bulkheads. Then I drilled down into the top of the fwd bulkheads to make a hole for the location dowels, only to realize that the dowels would then block the air pressure hole I had just drilled in those bulkheads. Duh - so then I got to drill a slightly off-center hole in the fwd bulkheads to fix that. Always the little things that get you.

Here's the port float with its deck and dowels in place:

Both decks fit the curve of the hull quite well...not that it matters though, when the deck-to-hull-side join will have a large radius anyway. Gotta laugh at myself when I think back to how precise I tried to be when I was cutting out the float decks.

I also used a hacksaw blade to cut away the aft bulkhead flange glass that was partially covering up the access hole. Finally, I also sanded out a few bubbles here and there on the float deck bottoms and added some extra laminate over them before cleaning up for the night.

One thing I have not done yet is laminate the chainplates into the floats. I prepared the chainplate quite some time ago, around last December or something, but just put it away and didn't touch it until today. Well, I can't procrastinate any longer. Here's the chainplates after I cut them in two this evening:

Plenty of carbon over the tube, and the tubes are well-seated throughout in putty. I ran out of time to add the extra lamination so that will be my first chore tomorrow after work.

It's funny but if you look at closeup pictures of these chainplates, it's easy to miss the fact that each chainplate are just barely over 2" wide. Two inches! I showed them to my wife and explained that they are what holds the mast in place from side to side, and got a skeptical "really?". They look pretty dinky for the job they will do, but if I can't trust Ian's engineering then I'm in deep crap anyway. (I do trust him, for the record.)


Edward said...

I felt the exact same way holding the carbon chainplates... They just *looked* small for what they do. They look MUCH "beefier" once they are laminated onto the pad in the float ;)

Jay said...

Thanks Ed. You're right, they do look better laminated in place on the pad.

Jay said...

Postscript note to this post: I have no financial or other affiliation with Bill's Festool Supply other than being a satisfied customer.