Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quarter-berth holes cut

I didn't cut all the way to the top of the access holes, wanting to leave a bit extra in case the cockpit seats didn't line up perfectly:

Dry-fitting the fwd cockpit seat fronts (the port side has been bumped out of alignment):

After getting happy with the fit, I tacked them into position with some bog. This is right after taping them into place:

The bottom edge of the quarter-berth access holes was rounded with a 1/2" round-over bit, then covered with a piece of A glass (I figured this little edge will get bumped quite a bit).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

More mount work; starting cockpit

These are the pieces of hardwood (maple) for the compression pad reinforcement; two thick coats of epoxy were applied to ensure waterproofness:

I glued them both in place (no glass yet) to ensure they wouldn't move around later, at the same time I glued on the fwd mount doubler plates:

Here it is after laminating the uni and C glass (hard to see details in this picture, I know):

I spent an hour or two sanding the exterior of the starboard front mount; sanding inside the beam mount "arm" gets tedious (can only get a few fingers in there), but I'm almost ready for glass on this one:

Next I worked on the fwd beam bulkhead "flange". Following Menno's example I used some leftover foam (I have more left than I want to admit) to form the mold flange:

The plans call for several layers of uni glass to wrap around the entire edge of the mold, forming the bulk of the flange; I didn't use any overlaps which resulted in a very long stack of glass:

The uni glass (well-soaked in epoxy with slow hardener - this was a long job and I wasn't taking a chance it would kick on me before I was ready) wrapped beautifully around the flange mold:

I also did the fwd-side layers of C glass while the uni glass was still wet; the thin crack in the picture above requires a few layers of C glass, which was difficult since I could barely get my fingers in there. Ended up shoving things in there as best I could with a brush; I hope it works.

Minor builder's tip: I don't know how other folks do it, but a strategy I use is to wet-out all of my tape outside the boat, and then carry it into the boat on a board. The tape gets wet-out first (even when using fast hardener, once it's laid out flat the cure will proceed slowly enough to give me time for the other steps); then I mix up some bog to use for fillet material; then I move the tape over to a small portable board covered in plastic; and then I carry the whole lot into the boat. Peel-ply gets pre-cut (as best I can predict) and pre-staged near the lamination site; once you've got the wet glass on the surface you want to move quick to get the peel-ply applied. I use the little 2" disposable chip brushes for applying the peel-ply (fingers tend to move the underlying glass around too much). This is some of the glass tape for the forward side of the bulkhead flange:

The uni-glass for the flange turned out awesome. Here it is the next day after stripping off the foam mold plate:

This afternoon I finished off the last of the flange glass. I did this lamination in two halves, starboard first, then port. The starboard side was easy; on the port half, the upper glass sections kept wanting to fall for some reason. To fix this I clamped a piece of wood to the flange to hold things in place:

I've also started on the cockpit. For some reason, I didn't notice until today that I could have already installed much of the cockpit stuff (bulkheads, seat fronts), way back on sheet 19. No big deal though, just means I had more room for doing the aft beam mounts. Good thing I noticed it though, because at the same time I realized that I still had not done the cross-cockpit uni glass that was called for on sheet 19; so that got done Saturday night. Today I taped the main seat fronts in place:

It might have been easier if I had cut the compartment access holes first before taping these in place, and also the drain holes...oh well. After studying the various options, I decided that I am going to make the quarter berth openings from inside the boat (mainly for more dry storage, I doubt we'll be doing any overnighters with anyone other just my wife and I); I also plan to make the safety-compartment as called for in the plans.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Forward beam mounts laminated

Managed to finish interior lamination on the forward beam mounts (front and back) this weekend. I feel like I accomplished something...this was a lot of glass and epoxy...

I screwed pieces of plywood (covered in masking tape) against the sides of my forward beam mount mold plates in order to cover up the gaps, and to give me something to work against as a guide when fitting in foam fillers:

This is the port forward beam mount, with my pieces of filler foam dry-fitted; I wish I had been more judicious with my hull trimming, so I didn't need so much foam (but thankfully bog hides all):

This is the forward side of the starboard mount, after lamination and after I removed the peel ply:

I had to cut one or two "darts" on the forward sides and then patch them, but otherwise the main C laminate was again done with one single piece of glass. I am again very happy with the laminate quality, things turned out just beautiful.

I also did a bunch of clean-up on the aft beam mounts: trimmed off the excess LFS flange material, cut\sanded off the jagged glass edges, and sanded off excess bog that squeezed through next to the mold plates. I also glued on the doubler plates to the aft mounts. Be careful, the doubler plates are also a slip-fit over the bushings, so before you fillet and glass one side, make sure the doubler on the other side is at least set into position first (or else you'll knock the first doubler out when you start hammering on the second side...). I'm getting close to being able to work on the cockpit furniture.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Aft beam mounts laminated

The geometry of the beam mount mold plates and how they get fitted into the boat may be interesting to some, so forgive me if I have quite a few pictures in this post. First up was the tedious job of finishing the mold plates and wrapping them with masking tape. This gives you an idea of how I held the pieces together:

Set into place:

I had a reasonably tight fit to begin with, but later I secured the mold plates with some duct tape to the outside of the hull to make sure they didn't move around. I also checked the mold plates for level and plumb, although this wasn't specified in the plan and therefore isn't critical.

Backside interior view:

Top shot:

Dry fitting the glass to get an idea of how big a piece I needed; once I had the first piece traced out, I used it as a pattern for the other pieces:

I used one single piece of glass for each of the main "C" layers. It really wasn't too bad that way, just takes time to massage the glass around all of the curves (of course it's easy on the aft mounts since there's a lot of room to work in).

I'm very pleased with the final lamination quality:

It was helpful that I did this on a very warm day, so things were curing nice and fast. I tried not to use more glass that was needed to get the specified 3" overlap, but in the middle of a lamination it's hard to remember to stop and trim glass...trimming wet glass is especially not-fun.

The mold plates popped out relatively easily, thankfully. The finished (exterior) surface turned out very nice (kinda hard to see in this picture though):

The beam mounts (unsurprisingly) require a huge amount of uni glass...my once gigantic roll of uni is shrinking rapidly:

Here's my "jig" for cutting "D" uni glass to a 3" width:

And finally, here's all of the uni glass required for both forward beam mounts, including the pieces trimmed to fit against the roof...phew, this was a lot of trimming and cutting!:

I am almost ready to laminate the forward beam mounts. Still thinking of the best way to close up some of the gaps between the hull and the mold plate.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Compression pad lamination

This morning I dismantled the beam mount jigs; there was only a little bit of "spring back". I sanded down all of the rough spots left from the bog job and filled the bolt holes in the LFS brackets per the plan.

Next up is the lamination process. I had previously made the compression pad formers, so that saved some time:

Laminating these things was a bit of a pain. My uni glass should be good quality stuff (purchased from Ian at beginning of project), but it is not very flexible and likes to return to its original shape. This particular lamination has several curves, and worse, much of it is upside down. After messing with the first one for a bit, I decided to not trust it and used the heat gun to speed up the cure while continually pressing the glass back into place.

Here's a view of a finished compression pad:

I also did the initial uni and C glass on the rear beam mounts:

Doesn't seem like much for several hour's work...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Beam mounts bogged in place

I didn't have much after-work time this week; only enough to spend an hour or two fine-tuning the jigs and the alignment. I dbl-checked everything this morning and took the plunge. All four mounts are now thoroughly bogged into place. I hope it's good enough, but in all honesty I don't think I can get it any better; my jigs are laser-levelled, mounted, and plumbed, and I've double-and-triple checked everything. Famous last words...I'll look back at this post with irony when my floats don't fold properly :).

In my last post I talked about disassembling the jigs in order to get bog thoroughly between the beam mounts and the beam bulkheads. I asked Menno about this offline; he said he didn't do it, and when I rechecked the plans they don't mention any such step either. So I decided to "build to plan" and just glue them in-place, in the jigs.

Starboard aft mount:

Notice that the LFS bracket area has a small piece of tape. I did this on on both aft mounts, on front and rear, as an attempt to force the mount to stay plumb once I un-jig them. I hope this works...

Starboard forward mount:

You can see in the picture above that I trimmed the hull back far too much; there's no way I could get bog to fill that much of a gap so I filled it with small scrap pieces of foam.

It requires some minor contortions to squeeze under the alignment board, in order to work on the front of the fwd mounts, made worse by the daggerboard case. A centerboard boat would have more room in this respect.

Despite my earlier statements, my fwd beam bulkheads turned out to be far from plumb (to the gunwale line). Disappointing but what can you do but carry on? The mounts themselves are jigged plumb, but this meant the mount could not lay flat against the bulkhead so I had to fill in the gap with bog. I was very diligent about getting plenty of bog down into the gaps so I think it will be okay.

One of the long-standing "mysteries" of this particular building step, is how much the LFS brackets would protrude outside of the hull, and at what angle. I'll be brave and show some pictures of mine, and hopefully I won't get an email that says "you did it wrong"... :)

This is the foward port LFS beam mount bracket:

It sticks out quite a bit, and looks really non-square. It will be interesting to see how this gets trimmed back and blended into the hull.

Here's the port aft bracket:

Clearly much of the "L"-shaped bracket edges will end up as scrap...

Finally, in the family news department: this past Wednesday, my son Zachary graduated with his Bothell High School class of 2009 - congratulations, son! Tonight we're attending our nephew Daniel's graduation ceremony; he's graduating from Lynnwood High School, class of 2009 - congratulations Daniel! We're very proud of both of you!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More beam mount prep

Only had the afternoon for working on the boat, but I am very close now to glueing the beam mounts in place. Despite my misgivings yesterday, things are starting to look pretty good: all four mounts are leveled, side-braces are installed, and the only thing left to work on is fixing the starboard forward mount to be vertical. It's not too far out right now, but I didn't realize until after I quit for the day that I was trying to adjust it with the mount still clamped to the bulkhead:

Here is one of the side-braces:

No the brace is not touching the hull, there's a sliver of space between them. When I first saw the side-braces in the plans, I thought they'd be flimsy and do almost nothing to help the beam mounts stay aligned. I was wrong, they actually helped quite a bit.

The rear beam bulkheads are not vertical unfortunately, and needed some shims to help get them there; I was thinking I may tape the LFS brackets on the rear mounts right after glueing, rather than relying just on fillets to hold them vertical:

Oh yeah, here's my stern support:

I haven't constructed an inside-the-boat brace to ensure squareness (like Menno) but I did check the diagonal measurements (at centerline+12" on each side) and only had a 1/8"-minus difference. So I am just about ready, since I don't believe more work at this point will result in more accurate results. I think I can fix the one not-quite-vertical mount during glueing with some careful shimming.

One thing that the plans don't mention, is how to apply bog\putty to the mount flanges (and behind the bulkhead 'bar') when the mounts are all tightly jigged into place....seems like taking them apart would be the perfect opportunity to throw everything out of alignment. I think though that the LFS brackets can be done "at leisure" after the upper mount flanges are glued, re-jigged, and re-aligned. We'll see.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Working on beam mounts

Well I took the plunge yesterday and cut the big holes in the side of the boat. I was still afraid of this step so I tried to cut the holes well on the inside of the lines, in case I made mistakes. This has led to lots of extra trimming and re-work in order to expand the size of the holes to get the mounts to fit properly, causing me to fiddle around with these things most of the day. Ian's jigs are just great - once I had the holes big enough to work in, and once I had the beam bulkheads trimmed and chamfered, everything started to line up almost perfectly. Almost as if I knew what I was doing - not!

Trimmed rear bulkheads:

You can see in the picture above that I haven't yet cut through the coaming completely. Yes, I do have the stern support in place (need to take a picture), so no real reason to leave it like this. That said, my coaming was so high that I'm able to fit the entire jig+mounts in place with about 1.5-2" of coaming left....that coaming was somewhat flexible before the mount holes were cut, but now it feels like it's under quite a bit of stress... I'll leave it for now and trim it if it gets in the way.

This is the rear beam mount jig:

I began working without the lower-folding strut alignment brackets in place, in case you're wondering (see below).

Forward beam bulkhead:

A forward beam mount in (roughly) the right position:

One comment: despite all of the previous precautions during the bulkhead taping stages so many months ago, it's pretty clear to me that my bulkheads are not vertical as they should be with the boat leveled on the gunwale lines. The rear beam bulkheads are not too bad, but the fwd ones are at least a 1-2 degrees off, and worse they're not both the same. I haven't fully thought this through, being more concerned for the moment about the rough fit, but will have to think of a plan tomorrow. Probably said "plan" will be to just make the jig plumb, then fill in any gaps with HD bog....

Last thing for the day was to disassemble everything and add the LFS alignment brackets:

Back at it tomorrow...it would be great to get the mounts glued in place tomorrow, but it takes a lot of time working single-handed to get this stuff done.