Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fairing started

I really wanted to start fairing on the bottom of the boat, but am reluctant to turn it upside-down while top-side projects are still uncompleted (eg: motor mount, mast support holders, traveller supports).   So I have started fairing (yay! not!), first on the cabin-sides:

For the picture above I was using one of the West System plastic notched trowels...it works ok at first but then the sharp points of the notches get worn down to nubs, causing the depth of the ridges to get less and less.   Despite that I am pleased overall with how the cabin-sides are faring (punny) and have also moved on to the main cabin top (this time with a home-made trowel):

I'm not going to spend a lot of time describing the fairing process....except perhaps at major milestones. 

Motor mount part one (fail)

I tried hard to come up with something "innovative" for the outboard motor mount, but in the end decided to simply copy Jim B. and Ed (and probably others) and just build a mini-transom on the swim-step to hold the motor.    I was concerned that the tie-down clamps of the motor mount would have too much compression for a normal composite beam, so I decided to go with 1/4" marine plywood (leftover from my dinghy project) over a foam core, with two layers of "A" glass over that.    There will also be a fwd-and-aft beam to support the corner of the mini-transom.   Here are the blanks for these materials:

(I'm not a composite engineer but if this isn't sufficient then I guess I might as well have just glassed over a 2"x6" wood beam...)

After laminating the blanks I then cut the main support to fit the swimstep...

...bogged it in place (no tape), and then mounted the motor and rudder cassette to try things out.*     Note, the support here is only bogged in and it seems perfectly capable of holding the motor:

I think the rudder-to-motor clearance is good, but the darn motor can't pivot all the way up before it hits the aft cabin rear bulkhead.    I estimate I needed about another 1" of clearance.    In retrospect I guess I should have mocked this up (although that's hard because the motor is heavy) - I was mainly using the motor dimensional specs and measuring against the boat.   Well, on the bright side this gave me an excuse to buy a reciprocating saw which I will use tomorrow to saw through the bog holding the motor support in place.    Then I'll work on relocating it back farther.

*Full disclosure about a year or two ago I decided to speed up progress by "cheating": I bought Ian's pre-made rudder cassette and rudder.   Progress stalled anyway, unfortunately...

Poptop working

My poptop is built almost exactly to per-plan spec; I "upgraded" by using SS316 hardware whereever possible.   I had built some of the parts at my old house, but had let myself get stalled trying to figure out how to produce the slight angle that the plastic pieces were supposed to have.   Well after some eyeballing and playing around with a protractor, I finally settled on 8 degrees as the proper offset so that the tracks would fit well against my poptop.  Here is what that looked like, with the jib track slide attached:

Producing four such blocks that are completely identical seemed to be a challenge, but it only took two tries.   (Cutting UHMW plastic with the tablesaw makes the garage smell like I'm burning candles...)  The poptop appears to be now fully operational; this is just with only a few screws to hold the tracks in place):

It slides pretty easily already but I think it will get easier once it is installed for the final time and I add some grease to the slides (and some stop-screws to keep the tracks from sliding off the end).   Here is an inside view when closed:

Lastly, my hardware collection:

I may spend time later rounding off the sharp edges and polishing the aluminum....but for now this job is done, time to move on to the next thing.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Boat tent lives again

My faithful boat tent has been in hibernation since we moved.    I had always planned on resurrecting it once it was time to paint the boat; unfortunately, initial fairing on the cabin sides has convinced me that fairing the whole boat would destroy our nice garage with dust and whatnot (not to mention primer spraying).   So I decided it was time to set it up again:

If you look closely at the picture above, you can see where I brought in several yards of new gravel (from Cadman) to level out that part of the "driveway".    I don't think it was perfectly level, but good enough.   Then I started setting up the tent again - overall it turned out great, no loss of parts from the move and I got it up with about a day's worth of work.    Here's a view from inside the garage:

My son helped me maneuver the boat out of the garage and into the tent;  here it is starting to emerge:

Here's a sight not often seen in the middle of a Pacific NW forest:

Another view:

I laid down some cheap OSB boards to make a "floor" in the tent; here's the boat after it was inside:

In other news, my outboard motor mount did not work out so well - not enough room for the motor to pivot all the way up.    So much for measure twice, epoxy once.  Now I get to saw it off and start over.    Will post some pictures on that fairly soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wingnet tubing rails

I chose to use actual fiberglass tubing for my wingnet rails, instead of PVC.   Partly this is because I am worried about the weight of the boat (PVC tubing requires an extra layer of glass), and partly because the rails built from PVC-tube have always struck me as slightly "fat" looking - I was able to use 5/8" ID glass tubing with 1/16" wall thickness.    Ian had previously approved the joining together of smaller (4' long) glass tubing for this application; so I built a small jig to align the tubes and made the joins with 6oz cloth tape (since it was thinner and I was worried about bulges....but one join broke during installation and had to be redone):

I did not obsess on precise placement of the tubing; I used screws to hold the tubing against the boat (thought this would be hard, it wasn't), eyeballed it a bit and made some minor adjustments, and then called it good:

Initial bogging to allow removal of the screws:

Fillet buildup of one of the rails:

Poor-man's vacuum bagging was done on all four rails: 

With two-three layers of glass in spots (due to overlaps, etc) the laminate wanted to lift quite a bit - I suggest being conservative with the fillet radius.   Real vacuum bagging would have been useful here if I felt like taking the time to do it, but instead I just baby-sat the laminate keeping the glass in position until the fillet material started to take hold.   I still had some bubbles that required injecting with thickened epoxy, but nothing too bad.  End result after cleaning up excess tubing looks pretty good:

Glad to have this behind me... :-)

Happy to report that all beam mount exteriors are completely glassed as well.   I have started fairing the cabin sides to prepare for window cutouts, using the notched-trowel method.   Finally, I am also working on an outboard engine mount.   More details soon...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Starting up again

So...I am finally back to building again.   I have been catching up with other folks' blogs and I'm impressed with the progress (way to go Menno and Tor).   Me though...I am in my sixth year of building.   I kept hoping for the boat building fairies to show up and finish the job, but no joy.   Bottom line, these projects don't get finished by themselves and so it's well past time to get my rear back in gear.   Some good building advice I have heard in the past:  "just get on with it already".  

It has been so long that I went back and re-read the plans, and looked the boat over carefully, to make sure I knew where I was.   I decided to start off doing a little bit each day on the exterior beam mounts.   These are tricky laminations and I am glad I am doing them in warm weather.    Here's the boat rolled on its side to make it easier to work on the mounts:

Here's an exterior mount all nicely shaped and ready to laminate:

This was the first beam mount I did, and it was all laid up in one go:

It actually turned out great, but the other mounts I have been doing piece-by-piece...less stressful that way, easier to peel-ply, and I want to be sure these are done right.   Port side mounts are now completely done, and starboard is a few days away from being done.  

In a week I will be on vacation and plan to spend it at home on the boat (intermingled with a few day trips with my wife).   I don't want to make any predictions, but I would really like to have the boat faired and painted before vacation is over.   I may not get it in the water this year, but hopefully it will be lacking only a trailer, mast, and rigging.  

P.S. In the personal news department, my daughter got married last year, and one year later, gave us our first granddaughter (easily the world's cutest - trust me).   I get to see her quite a bit and she is a joy...life is just too short sometimes.   Of course, now I really need to finish the boat so she can go sailing with her grandpa.   We also became foster-parents a little over a year ago, and that too has been an incredible difficult and fulfilling experience (all at the same time).   So this has definitely a busy year - but as I said above, it's time to finish the boat. :-)