Sunday, August 28, 2016

Boat on trailer

Yay, boat is now on the trailer for good:


My son-in-law Erik helped me again, this time things went very smooth and I think we had it dropped on the trailer in about 15 minutes or so.     Got the side-bunks (roughly) adjusted and then moved the trailer back in the tent.    Tent is not long enough anymore, the trailer tongue sticks out slightly so I can't fully close the front tent flap.   Guess I need to figure out long-term storage (fallback is to just leave the poor thing outside all of the time... :).    There are lots of little things left to do on the trailer: mount tie-down points, re-locate and mount winch-platform, etc.    Still, I am getting closer now to starting beam attachment work!

Tiller is a work-in-progress:

The tiller has three layers of glass uni on top and bottom, and one layer of glass uni on the sides, all (going to be) covered with carbon fiber.   I had thought I'd have plenty of slop on the portion that fits inside the tiller bracket, but it is already a tight squeeze fit - guess I shouldn't spend much time painting that part.   Good news is that the incomplete section above feels very light-weight as I hold it.   I also spent some time today gluing together a blank for the next section (mostly will be a straight piece).  

My Farrier-supplied rudder case has one small problem:   the hole in the tiller bracket blocks removal of the rudder pin from above.  No big deal, I plan to elongate the hole until it does work.  Just surprised that a factory-supplied part wasn't 100% perfect.

I finally - after about six or seven years - took the beams out of their shipping crate.   The packing tape had gotten very hard in multiple places on each beam, so I had to use De-Solv-It to (slowly) get it all off.  After that, each beam got a nice soapy wash...

...followed by a degreaser treatment.  I tried to be diligent during the cleaning process - don't want any adhesion issues due to the gelcoat or missed wax areas.   After that I sanded all four beams down to 150 grit (felt almost criminal having to ruin that nice gelcoat finish) and applied primer.  This is the first coat (looks blotchy because I'm brushing it on, second coat always looks more even):

I've never done any thread tapping before, so I spent time reading up on that process and have also ordered myself a combined SAE\metric tap and die set.   Will need this for mounting the wingnet support eyes in the sides of the beams.   

I mounted the bow bulkhead cover:

I am to going to get neoprene or similar foam-based compressible tape, to put under the flange of that cover to make it weather-tight.

The rudder compartment covers also got installed; I won't weather-strip these of course:

I made over-sized, epoxy-filled screw holes for each of these compartment covers.  It's not a make-or-break issue but I just wanted to try to do it right.   You can see in the foreground above my big blue anti-skid section on the deck of the boat.  Yeah it's kinda dirty right now.

Here is an inside shot of the windows and the storage compartment covers...

...just because I think it turned out nice looking.  Oh yes, I might be able to reduce bolt length from 1 1/2" to 1 1/4" - but not right now.   Anyway, more later.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Replaced float deck plates

I have not been happy with the sealing qualities of the screw-in style deck plates that I installed in my floats.   By end of the rainy season, there was usually 2-3" of water sitting on the bottom of each float section (which of course I would vacuum out, but that's not the point).   So when I heard about the Armstrong deck plates which use an entirely different principle to seal the hole, I decided to switch over.  

The new deck plates require a 6 3/4" cutout, the old ones were 6 1/2".   So after removing all of the old ones (eight little screws per each, glad to be done with those), I then had to jigsaw an extra 1/8" in radius around each hole.   Mostly I just free-handed this job:

Then I cleaned off the dirt and remaining silicon (ugh, don't think I will ever use silicon again).   Looked cool - I could see eight(8)-year old paint shining through :).  

As a final step, I then installed all six new plates (in less than five minutes, these things are great):

Look at all of the old deck plate hardware that now can get stuffed into the garage somewhere.

Truth be told, I think the leakage had as much to do with installer (me) errors rather than the design of the old deck plates.   From what I could tell, not using sufficient silicon and/or not applying it in all the right places, were probably the biggest issues.  It will be interesting to see how the new deck plates perform while sitting outside in a Pacific NW rainy season, and also interesting to see if the rectangular center hatches were a leak source or not.    The new deck plates are also going in the main hull, for the forward bow compartment and for the inside & outside capsize compartment holes.

Trailer update:  I got sick of continual pondering on how to make the bunk carpet lie flat (it kept bubbling up) on the bunk, and how to attach it securely.   Decide to brute-force it by gluing it down with contact cement on top, and aluminum bars screwed into the sides and bottom (on the ends) of the bunk:

The contact cement is supposed to be water-resistant, and I filled each screw hole with epoxy before screwing everything down for the last time.   Worst that can happen is that some far off future day I will end up attacking the carpet with a grinder to get it off.     I will hate myself at that point, but for now am just glad it's done.

Anyway, getting closer to putting the boat on the trailer for good.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hatches mounted

Installing these hatches was fun.   Sourcing down the right screws in the necessary lengths and materials was a larger time-consumer than expected.   And you would think that accurately marking and drilling a bunch of tiny holes would be easy, but not for me - at least one hole always seems to get moved slightly in the middle of the night.  

Rear cabin hatch hole ready to go:

Sealant applied around lower channel of hatch frame:

I got reasonable squeeze-out but would have liked a bit more (sorry no picture) - so I increased the amount for the hatch below.

Rear cabin hatch done:

Prep done, and parts and materials staged for forward cabin hatch install:

These are Lewmar hatches, not sure where they are made but the installation instructions call for metric M5 and M6 screws.    Wasn't going to do that - I don't want a mix of imperial\metric fasteners on my boat (before anyone asks, yes I'm a supporter of the metric system).   I substituted #10 and #12 machine screws (in stainless steel) instead, with washers and nylock nuts.

Sealant spread (yummy, looks like frosting):

Oh yes, I am using 3M 4000UV for a sealant.   4200 would work but seems like overkill based on the further reading I have been doing.

Better squeeze-out this time:

I swirled a little sealant around each (counter-sunk) screw depression before inserting each screw for the last time.   And I haven't looked inside the boat yet but it is is hard to do this job without pushing a bunch of sealant through the screw hole.

Cleaned up and done:

Like any boat builder I have bazillions of popsicle sticks laying around.   I found they work better for scooping up excess sealant next to the hatch, if you first cut them off to a square tip.

One trick I found while researching is to use a screw drill gun to do the initial tightening, but set the torque setting to very low (#1, ie the lowest) so you are just barely drawing the screws tight.   Later after the sealant has cured, you can go back and tighten all of the screws to torque setting #2 or #3, thus compressing the sealant just a little bit to ensure a leak-proof install.    Also, using the automatic torque setting helps ensure that you don't wrack the frame by over-tightening one of the sides.

I will have to remember to do a garden hose leak test on all of the hatches later on (rather than just trusting to luck that the job was good enough - although I certainly hope it was!). 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Windows installed

Here I am spreading beads of 3M 4200:

After laying down the beads, I flipped the window upside down and dropped a machine screw through each hole:

Then I carried it out to the boat, and carefully slid the window into place using the screws as guides.  My wife was helping me from the inside of the boat - she installed the washers and nuts, while I held the window in place and kept the screws from turning while she (carefully) tightened things down.  

End result:

We got decent squeeze-out around all windows.   I hope\think they will not leak.   :-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

More window prep

There are probably quite a few ways to figure out where to drill the cabin-side screw holes for the windows, this is how I did it:

The aft-most screw (bottom left in picture above) actually goes into the cockpit storage compartment.  This is how it has to be I think given the window dimensions on the plans (can't move them any farther fwd) .   I noticed some builders shortened the rear windows to avoid this, but I think it is ok like this.

Here I'm using a scrap piece of acrylic to figure out how long my screws should be:

I am using 1/4"-20 pan-head machine screws, with a rubber o-ring under the head, and a flat washer and locknut on the inside.   In the picture above, that is a 1 1/4" long screw, and the end of the screw did not quite reach the outside of the nut.   (Someone - me - must have gone too heavy on the fairing compound.)   So I ended up with 1 1/2" long screws.

Time for flame polishing the edges!

I had asked the folks at the plastic store if the protective paper should be left on during flame polishing, they said yes.    Being quite literal, that's exactly what I did:

Well, it turns out they didn't completely explain the procedure.   When they do it, they do leave the paper on...but they pull it back temporarily from the edge about 6" or so, in order to not scorch the paper (like I did above).   The scorched sections do not peel off - you have to scrape them off, tiny bit by tiny bit.    The plastic store folks recommended a product called De-Solv-it to help remove the scorched adhesive, I am going to try it.    The parts I've scraped off so far look ok, I am not re-doing these windows.    The good news is, the flame-polished edges turned out really nice and smooth.

It didn't occur to me until too late that if you are going to drill holes in a cored boat, then you need to seal those edges.    So my job tonight was scraping edge foam out of 58 tiny holes, taping the back (inside) of the hole, and filling each hole entirely with thickened epoxy:

I tried to set up things up assembly line style, so it would go fast.   Every hole has a loose bit of tape pre-staged, so that after I inject the epoxy and fill the hole (thank goodness for syringes), I can quickly cover the hole so nothing leaks out.    Tomorrow I'll have to go back around and re-mark and re-drill each hole for the windows.   Have to say, this method of mounting windows is very time-consuming (someone call the wambulance... :)).  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Windows drilled

When I got done attaching the trailer keel bunk today, I worked on drilling holes to mount the windows.  I considered mounting them with modern window adhesives but for some reason just wanted to try it this way.    I ended up with 29 holes for each pair of windows, or 58 for the entire boat.    Took awhile:

Pile of windows ready to be mounted:

All that is left is to pick up a cheap MAPP torch from the hardware store, so I can flame-polish the edges.   I tried it on scraps of acrylic with my propane torch, but it's not quite hot enough and takes awhile.  

A note about mounting hardware.   The plans say you can use barrel nuts for a cleaner interior look.  The barrel nuts I have been able to find are just way too expensive, so I'm going back to the washer-and-nut approach.  

Some trailer progress

First off, some OSB sheets made it possible to get the boat out of the tent and lifted with the new hoist frame:

I definitely felt better having made at least this much progress :).    One disadvantage of having hoists only on the side of the boat, is that you get "twist" as you lift it up, resulting in the sideways posture you see above.    Easily fixed with a few heaves to get it straight up and down.

Getting ready to slide trailer under boat:

Boat looks pretty cool against that backdrop of trees.

You can't see it (didn't get a picture), but there is a large old- (or second-) growth stump off to the right - didn't anticipate this, we barely had room for the trailer.   Phew - that would not have been fun if I had had to move the hoist frame around.

Once the trailer was under the boat, it took a couple of hours of hoisting and raising the boat, trying out various positions of the keel bunk, and the clearance between the bow and the tongue cross-member.  

This is the final position we ended up with:

My son-in-law Erik was helping me - thanks Erik, much appreciated especially on a very hot day!  That's him with my granddaughter Jocelyn just behind the bow.  She's perfectly angelic, btw.

I like my boat trailer, but I wish they had built it with a slightly longer length, to allow the entire boat to nestle in between the side I-beams.   As it is, it is impossible to do that AND maintain the per-plan specs (ie, the fwd-aft relationship between keel bunk, boat, and axle) with this trailer, since the bow would hit the tongue cross-member.   Having no choice, I raised the keel bunk up until the bow clears the tongue cross-member by a few inches or so:

I am nervous about what this will mean for launching and recovery, but can't actually try those operations until I actually get the boat to the water, so...  You can see we also had to unbolt the winch support post - it got in the way.  Fortunately there was enough brake line slack to allow this.  

This picture shows my main reference points:

The blue tape in this picture has been there since I laminated the keel bunk board directly on the hull - it shows where the the fwd edge of the keel bunk should be (boat is slightly off in this picture).   The black mark on the trailer I-beam marks the per-plan distance from the axle to the front of the keel bunk (keel bunk is located about right).   So we spent a lot of time jockeying the boat fwd and aft to get that right, while also raising and lowering the front and rear bunk supports in order to adjust (minimize) the bow clearance, while also (finally) monitoring the fwd-after angle (as judged by me based on studying the plans (sheet 60 and I have become best buddies).

One thing we didn't do was adjust the boat side-supports.   I am going to wait to do that until the boat is permanently sitting on the trailer.    Also, you may note my trailer doesn't have the keel roller near the bow, as called for in the plans.  I am going to add it myself later - didn't think its absence would mess anything up.

Today I crawled around under the trailer marking the attachment holes, drilling them out, and attaching the keel bunk to the trailer:

After that I tried to staple the bunk carpet I had bought, to the keel bunk.   Didn't work - my staple gun was just too weak to make much of a dent with the staples in the side of the board.   Backup plan is to screw thin strips of aluminum down the side of the bunk, in order to securely hold the carpet.   Not sure if I should glue the carpet to the bunk board or not, but leaning against it (though I've heard of other builders doing it).

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Frustrating boat hoisting\move problems

I've been fighting to get the boat fitted to the trailer.  To do that, I need to get the boat ON the trailer, which I've been trying to do with the overhead frame I built in my tent.   It turned out that I could not get enough "lift" with that frame.   The bow was reasonably high but the stern always ended up too low:

I know there has got to be a better way to do these things, but sometimes you just go with the first idea you think will work.   I couldn't raise the frame in the tent any higher, so yesterday I built a second frame outside to do the job:

Of course, that meant another trip to the hardware store, and more $$.

Today I was all excited to get this darn thing on the trailer and get it done.   I hoisted my boat up in the tent, put furniture dollies under the cradles, and started to move the boat outside on thin 1/4" plywood.   The dollies were ok from a weight-rating perspective, but their caster wheels were too small and the dollies wanted to slide out at every bump.    Decided to upgrade to casters bolted directly to the bottom of the cradles:

Of course, that meant another trip to the hardware store, and more $$.

All right - that ought to fix it, right?  Time to get this boat outside!   And at first, it looked like I had all of the issues solved:

The bow was the easiest to move since it's light.   Unfortunately, when the aft cradle hit the thin plywood sitting on the gravel, the casters wheels started breaking through the plywood everytime there was a depression in the gravel.   And when the caster wheel would stick, this often caused the cradle to start to tilt.    After some scary moments I gave up and we eventually got the boat back inside the tent.   No damage to the boat occurred, but it looks like 1/4" plywood won't cut it - need 1/2" I guess.  Of course, that means another trip to the hardware store, and more $$.   Sigh - I'm feeling a bit frustrated at the moment.   

Friday, August 5, 2016

Starting tiller and trailer mounting

Poptop is now fully painted; here was an intermediate stage where I was getting ready to paint a nonskid area on the top:
I had a major boo-boo. After fairing the outboard support bracket, it ended up too thick to mount the motor:
Sheesh - really?  How did I let that happen.  Anyway, had to grind back the fairing compound (both sides) before it would go on, tried to minimize impacting the glass as I went:
I started fashioning a tiller, one piece (straight, then bend) at a time, mocking it up by taping it together:
Tiller will be 1.5" across and 2" tall.   Using high-density foam at the tiller attachment point, and also at the "handle" area.    I still have enough carbon fiber left over, should be able to do the entire thing. 
Laying out windows:
The plexiglass cutting blades made by Bosch are awesome.   I free-handed all of the window cuts and the edges look great, should be easy to polish up.
Regarding windows, the plan instructions are confusing regarding degree of round-over:  different amounts depending on which window\edge?   Is it for visual impact?  Anyway, I would follow the plans if I could fully understand what they specify in this regard, but this is one tiny area where I just don't get the intent.  Will probably end up with a standard round-over on all edges - don't want to slow down for tiny cosmetic details.
Working on trailer mounting now.  Unfortunately, the trailer design does not allow for the original plan of screwing the keel bunk board directly to the cross members.  So I had to order, and wait for, some support brackets for the keel bunk board.  This is only at an initial dry-fit stage:
Brackets are heavy-duty:
More later.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Minor updates

Poptop inside is painted, and the slide tracks are mounted:
The white things are the acetal pieces that the front of the poptop slides on.   I like working with acetal - it feels awesome and is easy to work with.
Anchor door is painted (bottom too), and hinges are mounted:
Each screw hole (door and poptop) was drilled overside, filled with high-density bog, and left to cure.    Then I re-drilled screw holes of the right size and coated the screws in epoxy before finally mounting the hardware for good.   It is supposed to be stronger this way, which may be important considering (for example) wind loads under the poptop while trailering.
I had briefly considered using my tent frames to hoist my boat, but decided not to given the boat is much heavier now than before.   Instead I built an ad-hoc wooden gantry\frame:
No real science in designing this, just gut feel, but it feels solid in all directions and I've already been able to raise the entire boat out of the cradles using the chain hoists.