Monday, May 31, 2010

More settee work

It feels like all I did this weekend was work on the settees.

Using a template to mark access holes for the storage compartments:

Mold plate for the settee back taping:

Mold plate for the upper taping:

In hind sight, I think the taping could have been done from above, through the access hole covers, especially if the window cutouts were already done. It turned out okay though:

After the taping was done, I spent a lot of time cleaning up the insides of the compartments, plus digging the foam out of the access hole edges and filling it. I also trimmed the jagged tape edges with my Multimaster tool; forgot to take a picture of the end result, but trust me it looked great :). Here's all of the trimmings though:

In the picture above you can also see my coaming compartment access hole - I filled the edges on those holes too this weekend. In fact I spent a LOT of time digging out edges this weekend. Here's the settee tops getting done:

And here we are with the settee backs glued into place (not yet taped):

The idea with the settee compartments is that they are accessible via lift-out access covers, but the space on top forms a storage "tray" itself for casual items, bags, etc. I also filled the edges on all of the access covers:

I thought for a long time about extra amenities like a sink, stove, etc, and how and where those might fit into the cabin. In the end though, I'm trying to keep it simple - we can always bring along some water jugs and a camp stove. I don't see us going on anything longer than a 2-3 day trip anyway. And oh yes, keeping it simple means I might actually finish the boat one of these years....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coamings laminated

Here's the dry-fitted and dry-cut glass for the fwd cockpit coamings:

Wetted-out and peel-plyed:

The glass that wraps-around into the beam mounts was a pain, and I suspect some of it probably lifted off after I quit for the night; will have to fix that later.

You can see in the pictures that I already did the rear cockpit coamings; I used a red sharpie pen to mark the cut lines, but it looks ugly so from now on I will keep to black :).

Here I'm scribing the settee storage compartment top:

Scribing is one of those things that once you "get it", your life becomes much's a very cool technique.

That first night I taped the undersides of the settee tops (lots of fun), then did the top taping the next night:

I've also been trying my hand at welding. I can safely say that it will take some practice before I try to do anything important:

Here's some observations on welding from a complete newbie:

  • It ain't as easy as it looks on YouTube. :)
  • Heat control is everything. The tenth bead in a row on a piece of aluminum requires a lot less heat (amps) than the first one.
  • "Dipping" the rod without contaminating the electrode takes practice - each of the dark spots in the picture above is a spot where I screwed up.
  • Proper sharpening\shaping of the tungsten electrode makes a huge difference in how the arc behaves.
  • The foot control is easier than the hand torch finger control (since you already have the "give it the gas" instinct from driving a car).

Those of us here in the U.S. of A. have a three-day holiday coming up (Memorial Day), so hopefully I can make some good progress over the next few days.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rear beam mount taping plus settee work

I've been forming the rear mount tape flanges by using pieces of plexiglass as mold plates; it was a slow process, basically doing just one side at a time, but I was able to complete the job without having to roll the boat over, and without too much contortionism:

Tonight I glued on the foam pieces:

Tomorrow or Saturday I will be able to trim these up, round the corners, and start laminating them over.

I started working on the poptop setup again. Before our move to the new house, I had drilled pivot holes in the coaming, but they were too low - the bolts could not bottom out. So I filled those holes and then redrilled new ones a bit higher:

You can see I am trying out the plastic bearing pads, but it is hard to get them smooth and clean looking - I think I will switch over to a ply-based pad.

Here I have dry-fitted the settee backrest and am drawing a cut line (with a very crude jig) to make the top of the backrest parallel with the settee seat:

In a previous step I also positioned the backrest to be parallel with the front of the settee seat. Due to a lack of any real sailing experience, I have been unfortunately very indecisive about how to organize most of the storage space in this boat. Deciding that any decision was better than further delay, I've decided to organize the settee rests (both port and starboard) into three simple compartments:

The top of these storage compartments will be a piece of solid foam\laminate; the storage space (what there is of it) will be accessed via small removable doors in the backrest (to be hidden by the backrest cushion).

I also formed the reinforcing shoe for the back of the daggerboard case; here it is, not yet laminated over:

In the "New Toys for Jay" department, I just bought myself a new welder this afternoon, from the Central Welding Supply store in Redmond. It is a Miller Diversion 180 TIG welder:

You can argue that this is overkill for finishing up the small handful of parts on this boat (and you would be right) but I look at it as an investment for additional projects down the road. For starters I plan to make a welding cart to wheel this thing around, then I will move onto the mast support pieces and the pulpit. No I have never welded before, but I've read several books on the subject so I'm sure I'll have no problems (that was humor, by the way).

I am also looking at anodising options for all of the aluminum pieces on the boat (no other builders seem to mention this - are most folks skipping this step as a "nice to have"?). So far I have not found a business that will do small jobs for any kind of a reasonable price. My backup option is to learn how to do it myself. Reading around on the internet, the process just doesn't seem that hard (famous last words? :)) and there are DIY kits available, for example from Caswell Plating. You can even get color dyes to jazz up the boat a bit.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back in action finally

Here's the port rear coaming, after a lot of trial-and-error trimming:

Unfortunately I made a minor mistake back when I was taping in the cockpit seats, by fiting & taping the seat all the way up next to the beam mount recess glass. Here's the part I need to cut away in order to attach the rear coaming panels per plan:

After I realized my mistake, I looked more closely at the various plan sheets, and sure enough the information was there had I just read things more carefully. That happens more often than I'd like to admit. RTFM! Anyway, the inner coaming side pieces are bogged into place, tomorrow I start taping them:

On the bright side, having to trim the seat (right next to the beam mount and outer hull) motivated me to invest in my very own Fein Multimaster. A very nice tool, but pricey - yet, it's really an investment that I can use on lots of other projects. :)

You can also see in the above pictures that the forward coaming tops are glued on, and you can also see that I have opted to trim the cockpit side to be flush with the seat; originally I was going to extend the coaming all the way back, but I had second thoughts after wondering where any water on the seat would go. This way hopefully it drains right over the side.

I have also formed the flat spot for the mast step, along with trimming\blending the last exterior beam mount.

I have the aft-cabin traveller almost done. Here I'm getting ready to laminate the blank:

I regret now, buying so much 4.2 oz/yd^2 carbon fiber uni glass, since the plans called for several layers of 13 oz glass. So for every plan-specified layer (four of them), I had to actually cut and laminate three layers of the 4.2 oz stuff, for a grand total of twelve layers. My 4.2oz uni came in a 12" wide roll, so I had to trim it up:

Laminating so many very thin and long (6') layers of carbon has other challenges too: really need to watch out for air entrapment, and it is harder to keep so many layers from moving around while you're working out any bubbles. Both sides of the traveller have their uni done now, moving on next to glassing the ends and the final carbon wrap. So far it's turning out really nice, will post a pic when done.

One thing: after laminating the uni onto the first side (bottom) of the traveller, I set it out in the sun to cure, on top of the black plastic covering my floats. I swear that the traveller was 100% straight and plumb before that - but when I went out to check it, the heat from the sun and the black plastic warped it slightly, resulting in a very slight bow in the middle (in the vertical direction). I am still scratching my head on this, it doesn't seem possible especially with the aluminum insert running the length of the traveller. Weird - but I'm not going to worry about it for now.

I've been working on the daggerboard too, trying to finish the fairing. Here I'm chugging away, drilling a knot-retaining hole on the wrong side of the board:

Not sure how I did that. Note to self: see comment above, under Plans: Not Reading Closely Enough. I repaired the damage by packing the useless hole with high-density bog, which will hopefully wear better than the cedar, so maybe it turned out okay.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Moving the boat into the garage

Our usual spring rainy weather continues on, and it has been depressing since it's difficult to work on the boat while it was tarped down. I can't setup my boat tent yet either, because the location needs to be graded for better drainage and then gravelled. I did get a quote for the grading and gravel work, but it was too expensive to consider right now. So although I can work on small jobs just fine, I was still feeling a bit bummed by all of this (our rainy weather sometimes doesn't cease until after July 4th). Luckily my wife came to the rescue and suggested that I just move the boat into the garage. She must really love me I guess :).

Here's my son standing in front of the boat after we pulled off the plastic:

Using my old neighbor Sean's dollies, it was a piece of cake to get the boat into the garage:

Working indoors on my this will be a treat! Once I let the boat dry out, and give it a good vacuuming, it will be ready to go.

I also glued together the blank for the traveller, dado-cut a slot for the aluminum piece, and glued the aluminum into the blank. This was mainly because it could be done in the garage, but I think I need to focus on catching up on small tasks that have been accumulating. In no particular order:

  • Exterior glassing of beam mounts
  • Finish cockpit construction
  • Finish fairing the daggerboard
  • Fit poptop hardware
  • Fit the interior settee-backs and glass them in.

There's more, but those are the big items I remember. I have a busy summer ahead of me.

Finally, I also built six drawers this weekend for underneath my bench. This may not sound like much, but I have never built drawers before so I feel pretty good about getting them done. I glued and screwed them together this afternoon, will start installing them tomorrow. All in all, a productive weekend.