Friday, September 14, 2012

Still fairing away

Port side is coming along:

Cabin overhead fairing:

Supposed to be a nice weekend, should make good progress!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

More bottom fairing

Here's a few pictures just to show progress.  This is Thursday evening after more block-sanding and patching:

This was taken today (Saturday morning), showing the results of Friday night's sanding and patching:

As you can see the hull is level again, this is so I could do the port-side notch coat:

Then I propped the hull back up again and block-sanded the starboard side and keel areas again:

You can see the patches are getting smaller and farther apart - yay!  Truth be told though, I don't think the keel area is going to turn out perfectly fair - but it will be good enough, especially for an area only seen by the fishies.

Trivia tidbit:   I have used nearly fifteen (15) lbs of phenolic microballoons to get to this point - obviously a lot of that ended up getting sanded off, and probably 1-2 lbs ended up on the garage floor as excess dust from the mixing process,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bottom fairing

Notch coat sanded down:

Sanding the keel area was done by climbing on top then kneeling down - I couldn't reach much of it otherwise.    This was too bad since the keel area had a lot of areas that will be needing fairing attention and I don't think I did the area justice (yet).

First fill coat on:

A fly decided to donate himself as reinforcing material in the fairing compound:

The next day I got busy on sanding the above areas again.   This is where things get hard, dusty, and sore, and you just have to suck it up.   I climbed up on top and started sanding down the keel area....well, the hard-core attitude lasted about ten minutes - at which point I quickly decided that it would take forever to sand the keel area from above and started thinking of a way to prop up the boat at a better angle.    I decided that my cradles, turned on their side and cushioned with baby mattresses, would do the trick:

Note the 2"x4" scraps screwed to the OSB floor sheeting to stop the cradles from sliding.   This new position definitely allows better access and productivity - I wish I had done this to begin with.  Better yet I was able to do all of this myself; the hull is nicely balanced and not too heavy for one person to maneuver. 

This evening I did some more block-sanding and then put on another very thin fill coat (my notch & fill coats didn't work as well as I had hoped, but at least I'm headed toward a fair surface):

It's starting to shape up.   I still have the port side to do after this part is done, but one thing at a time.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

First boat flip

Went back to work last week, so progress has slowed.    I sanded the aft-cabin area again today to a reasonable surface that I think is ready for primer (I hope), along with a few other areas.    Then it was time to flip the boat over and start on the bottom - no more waiting since I am starting to run out of summer and nice weather.

I wish I had some sophisticated cranes or whatnot to assist with the turnover, but alas no such luck - this was a manual job.    My nephew Daniel was visiting so of course I drafted him to help out (actually no coercion was necessary - thanks Daniel!).    This is after removing the cradles and sliding the boat over to the side of the tent:

Starting the flip:

We then slid the boat again over to the left, to have room for the flip.   I don't have any pics of the boat sitting vertical on the cabin-side since I was busy either running around or holding the boat.    Daniel was the "pusher" on the flip (and supplied most of the effort to be honest).    Once we had the boat almost on its back, I told Daniel to stay put (lol) while I took some pictures:

Once flipped, I cleaned up the laminate rough edges on the bottom of the boat, as well as some light sanding to scuff things up in preparation for the fairing compound.   I then managed to get a notch coat on the keel area and starboard side before dinner time:

You may notice that I'm not using the candy-bag method.   I have to plan these steps carefully therefore, because if I don't sand the notch coat tomorrow and apply the fill coat, I would then have to deal with the secondary-bonding issue (ie, would have to sand in between the notches).    So far I have had successful timing\scheduling throughout the fairing process and haven't had to deal with that.   First thing tomorrow morning I'll be out there sanding...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cockpit fairing

Halfway through sanding the fill-coat in the cockpit:

The (extensive) patch coat after finishing the above sanding:

In the picture above notice that most of the interior joints do not have any added fairing compound - those joints take a lot of time and work to produce - so I prefer to leave them alone once they are done, and blend any adjacent flat patches into the joints as needed.

And after more sanding:

I applied a bunch more fairing patches (the fourth "coat") on the cockpit today - the patches are getting smaller which is a good sign that I'm getting closer to done.    Everyone tired of sanding pics yet?  :)

The traveller has been laminated to the supports, here it is with its initial bog coating:

More later...

Friday, August 24, 2012

More top-side fairing

I'm inching closer to flipping the boat upside down...the main cabin interior is mostly faired (that word "mostly" is a scary one, I now realize):

The forward-most deck and under-settee areas was just a nightmare - you can see on the left where I started to spread some fairing compound, but then called it all off when I found I had almost zero access to the area.  I could stick my arms up there but had basically no leverage for sanding.   So I called it good enough on the spot :).  Will have to live with just a quick primer coat, minimal sanding, then a topcoat finish in that part of the boat. 

I haven't touched the aft cabin yet though - I am trying to resist the temptation to leave it "unfinished" since I don't think I'll want to start dust-production activities in the middle of an otherwise finished boat.  

The final patches on my window cutout fix:

I'm pretty happy with how that repair turned is fairing nicely into the other well-faired portions of the cabin-side.

Sanded notch-coat in the cockpit:

With the fill-coat on:

And I finally glued on the traveller:

Note the arrow on the end of the traveller to indicate the top-edge (with the embedded aluminum plate).   Truely it would be a travesty to tear out the traveller only to tack it back on tomorrow.

Otherwise, progress today was minimal due to maintenance tasks around the house (mostly mowing and weed-whacking) but I'm feeling good about where I am.

F44SC plans

As has been noted in many places, Ian Farrier will stop selling all F-boat plans as of September 25th;  see yahoo F-boat group announcement here, but here is the pertinent excerpt:

The production F-22 is now not far away, which will mean an increasing amount of work required to both implement full production, and do all the necessary marketing and boat shows etc. This is going to leave little time for anything else, and thus it has been decided to withdraw all Farrier plans from sale as from September 25th, 2012. This will then allow full time attention to all the many aspects related to the production F-22, and any other future production designs. 

Building my F22 has been one of the more fun activities in my life, so I am saddened to see this announcement (even as expected as it had to be someday...) since it will terminate the dreams of many...but I cannot argue with Mr Farrier's reasoning (it's his time, his business, and his life's work after all!).     Regardless, this marks the end of a fantastic era for amateur multihull boat builders.    

So with that all said...I must admit to being one of the dreamers.   I've mentioned before (here and there) my desire to someday build an F44SC.   After explaining the situation to my wife (ie, buy the plans now or forever hold my peace), she agreed to purchasing the plans so I can keep the dream alive for now.  (It wasn't even a difficult discussion, which surprised me, but I guess this is one of the benefits of having a wife that truly loves you!)  I wired the cash yesterday and am looking forward to poring over the F44SC plans - although not too much - I have an F22 to finish first!!!  :-)

If things don't work out, then I guess I'll be putting the F44SC plans up for sale to a private party (presumably at a loss - I'm not looking at this as an "investment" opportunity) - but obviously I hope things work out.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Window cutouts

I decided it was past time to finally get the window cutouts done.    I confess to being quite conflicted over the precise placement of the windows...but in the end decided I could not afford hours or days of contemplation on this chore (and didn't want to even if I had the time).  Here's one side marked up and ready to cut (in pencil, may be hard to see):

Port side windows after being cutout:

I did have a major *!#$@$ screwup though...I forgot to take the main cabin aft bulkhead into account when drawing the port aft window cutout, causing me to jigsaw my way all the way into and partially through that bulkhead:

Sigh...I admit to being tempted to slap some bog in the crack and just move on (the urge passed quickly).  The right fix is to re-tape this area on the inside and outside.   Which means having to grind away the fairing compound on the outside and re-fair the area (dang it).    (The inside wasn't faired very well yet, thankfully.)

Otherwise I spent most of the last few days doing battle with the interior.    I think the boat is winning the war though :) - I'm getting tired of trying to sand in weird positions with no leverage.  I am trying to save some energy to fabricate a couple of storage shelves in the aft cabin, but otherwise I'm keeping it simple.   On a positive note, my Fein Multimaster has been a godsend in the small spaces and corners. 

I am fairing and sanding everything up to the deck-line; the overhead will be saved for when I flip the boat over.  Otherwise, everything forward of the fwd beam bulkhead is ready for primer though (IMO, using my "good enough" standard), and I am getting very close to fairing the deck (floor) in the main cabin.   This picture was taken through one of my new windows:

(I'm curious, did any other builders fair the underside of the settees??   I'm not going to! :-) Unless someone gives me a good reason to do so...)

On a personal note, several nieces and nephews are staying with us this week so I've had lots of curious company checking in on me as I've been working.  I have to remember that fairing compound looks mighty tempting to little fingers!  Also, I am BBQ'ing a couple of pork shoulders for dinner - I put them on our BBQ (Weber Smokey Mountain smoker) around 6:30 am, which means I had the tantalizing aroma of hickory smoke wafting through the boat all day long.    Life is good - I'm building a boat, my granddaughter is visiting, and a tasty bbq dinner and a well-deserved beer (or three) are in my very near future...

(Edit:   this is my 200th post!   Feels good - although maybe if I posted less the boat would be done by now... :) )

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Traveller supports attached

Both traveller supports are glued on and covered with carbon fabric:

Check out that aft-cabin top - looks nice and fair, eh? 

The wingnet rail laminations covered up some compartment drain holes; my festool drill 90-degree attachment helped me to open them up again (drilling from the inside):

I love my festool stuff...wish I had more!

Otherwise I've mostly been fairing, with a lot of time spent on the transom and beam mount - although they're still not primer-ready.   I have to switch to other jobs occasionally to keep morale up.

It's hard to spend hour after hour on fairing without wanting to share some personal insights...  For most exterior hull sections I am using the notched-trowel method of fairing.    Granted, it is not a perfect method - I still have to do a lot of minor patching to get a truely fair surface.   It is however more efficient and easier in the long run (IMO) though than the "trowel on a flat layer" approach that I used almost exclusively back when fairing my floats.    Also, sanding through the fairing compound into glass occurs much less often this way than it did with my floats.

Here is the notch coat on the next hull section:

After curing and sanding down flat:

You can see some of my Dura-Block sanding blocks in the picture above - they work great, I'm very satisfied with them.  

And then the initial fill coat:

I find it is important to resist the urge to sand the notch coat as far down as possible - you would expect that the initial fill coat will end up flush with the top of the ridges, but it doesn't work that way.  The fill coat usually shrinks or settles just slightly, such that it sits slightly below the ridges - so if the ridges are left at bare minimum to begin with, you will have a hard time getting a fair surface without potentially sanding into glass.    So it is better to leave the ridges slightly higher than minimum, then sand them down as needed to meet the fill coat.    (After that, normal patching proceeds as needed - the notch coat method just helps to get you close to a fair starting point.)

I spent a lot of time today spreading fairing compound on the main-cabin interior (no notch-coats in there - just not enough room to do a good job in most spots).    Fair warning, my goal is to get the interior to a "good enough" state - don't want to spend the time for anything better.  

I am also trying to make a molded-channel to hold the acrylic main-cabin hatch cover pieces (similar to what Tor did).    Rather than making mine in-situ as Tor did, I am making a channel blank which will then be glued\laminated to the boat.   I'll share details on how it turned out in a later post. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Traveller supports (worthy of the Hulk)

The plans call for a 5/32" minimum thickness on the 100% carbon fiber traveller supports that glue to the sides of the aft cabin.    I approached this task by cutting a bunch of carbon fiber pieces (half at 90 degrees, half at 45 degrees, to be alternated during lamination) and measuring their compressed thickness while dry.    When I got to 3/16" I figured that was enough for a safety factor and did a wet layup of the whole mess (don't know anymore what weight of carbon I had on hand, but it took 20 layers total), using slow hardener.   Then I laid it over the mold and put in the back of the car to help it cure:

Notice how the mold plate is laying at an angle?   This caused a near-disaster:  once I left it alone, the carbon fiber started sliding slowly down the mold, all told about 2-3 inches before it (fortunately) started to harden up (thank goodness for warm summer days).    The part that slid over buckled around the mold edge making removal a fun chore.  Nevertheless, there was enough carbon left in the right areas to still make the support:

And notice how much wastage there is in the blank shown above?  I feel bad about this, but on the other hand if I had tried to minimize the size of the blank (and hence the amount of carbon used), it would have turned out too small (or of non-uniform thickness) - it's very hard to keep all the pieces in a multi-layer layup exactly together so it helps to give yourself some room for error.   (Especially when dealing with fiber cut at 45 always wants to distort.)

On the other hand...I ended up with a 3/8" inch thick (darn near uniform) piece! This thing is strong - I cannot flex it at all by hand.   There is zero signs of voids along the edge - not bad for a hand layup, if I do say so myself.

The first support consumed nearly all of my remaining carbon fiber, so I ordered a bunch more 11.1oz carbon from Fiberglass Supply (using next day shipping, ouch! - sometimes instead I drive up there for a will-call pickup, but it's a three hour round-trip and I was busy this time.) for the second one.    I wanted both supports to have the same thickness, so I used the same method - cut enough pieces until I got to a dry thickness of 3/16", hoping this would end up the same.  This time it only required about 16 layers.    Here's my carbon cake in progress, only a few layers to go:

Freshly laid over the mold (note the supports underneath to keep it level this time!):

I let it cure overnight then gave both supports a half-day-long post-cure in the car (80+ deg F day today!).  

Unfortunately, my laminate-thickness dead-reckoning techniques suck...the second support turned out substantially thicker than the first one, right around 7/16"+:

Ah well, at least it's lightweight (although fairing these monster supports into the rest of the hull might be a chore).  

I carefully marked how the supports should be mounted to get the correct angle, then removed the jig:

I decided I wanted to fair the aft cabin top without the supports being in the way, so they have been removed for the time being.    Here's the current state of my fairing efforts at the aft end of the boat:

The weather man has predicted more dust clouds in my area tomorrow... :-)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Aft mast support sockets

These are pretty easy to make, but here's a few pictures anyway.   This is right after pouring thickened epoxy into the mold next to the aluminum tube:

Note that before doing this, I cleaned the tube with acetone, sanded it with 80 grit to give the epoxy something to "key" into, then cleaned it with acetone again.   They turned out looking good:

After mounting against the transom and glassing over with a single piece of "A" glass:

Next was a light piece of cloth to cover the tops of the sockets and join them to the swim step deck, followed by the drain hole (1/4" hole located 1/4" from the bottom of the tube).    Filling the bottom of the tube with bog was easy - just enough until it started to run out the drain hole :).  

My only other comment on this work, is that I wished I had used small bolts instead of threaded rod (that I cut to fit) of the threaded rods stripped itself out of the hardened bog and I had to re-inject the hole through the rudder web access holes in the aft-cabin, then re-insert the rod and wait for it to harden again - not much fun.   

Traveller jig and support mold plates

Here's a picture of the completed jig I built to locate the traveller at the proper location and angle:

I measured the angle as best I could from the plans, ending up with 57 degrees from horizontal...hope it's right but I doubt a few degrees either way will make a difference.   

Making the support mold plates seemed like it was going to be really difficult, since the two planes of the support meet at odd angles.   It turned out to be not so bad though.  I first clamped a piece of wood to the underside of the traveller, then located another piece of wood (roughly trimmed to fit) against the bottom of the first piece of wood to form the rough mold blank:

I then added a bog fillet and a single piece of glass to lock the two pieces in this position:

The rest was easy; let the glass cure, remove the mold plates, trim off the excess, make a gentle transition curve, and voila:

Obviously the above picture is for the port traveller support; there is a similar one for starboard.

The temporary jig for all of this is a pain to maneuver around, but I decided not to tear it down and set it up again later - too much wasted work.   So it will stay up for a few days until both traveller supports are fabricated and attached to the boat.   Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Visiting Victoria BC via catamaran

Last three days my wife and I were gone on a short trip to Victoria British is a nice city and we really enjoyed ourselves.   We sailed there and back on the Victoria Clipper which is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think "catamaran" but it was a nice, smooth ride.   All of their catamarans have water-jet propulsion; check out these rooster-tails:

As you can see the Strait of Juan de Fuca was very calm....I've heard things can get much more exciting during the winter months.

Most of the trip was non-nautical, but I very much enjoyed visiting the Maritime Museum of BC; although the whole museum is fun, the main exhibit I was interested in was that of Trekka, a 20' boat sailed around the world in the 1950's by John Guzzwell.    His book Trekka Round The World is a inspiring read if you haven't done so already.

The boat itself appears to be in fantastic shape, although I did not try to climb aboard and poke around (there was a sign saying not to).   Here's a couple of pictures of the exterior though, one from the bow...

...and one from the stern...

It was a nice break and we had back to fairing and other work tomorrow.