Friday, December 19, 2014

Starting to paint!

There's something about applying fresh paint that is very satisfying.  I've been doing my best to work clean, avoiding any epoxy drips and being careful to sand evenly, and now it's nice to see all that attention to detail pay off with a nice paint job.

With the hull upside down it's easy to paint the underside of the cabin top and other areas.  Here's a shot of the painting I've been doing under there at the same time I've been working on skegs and other things.  This is Rustoleum 'Canvas White'.  Against the gloss white in the interior spaces it looks fairly yellowish to me.  But it's lit by fluorescent lighting, so not sure what it will look like in daylight.  I'm going with it for now, and can always repaint later if I want to.

I have the boat sitting on blocks under the mast trunk, and on one sawhorse about in mid-seating area.  There's plenty of room to work underneath with that arrangement.

But here's what I'm excited about - paint on the hull exterior!  I started with a brush to do the skegs with their finger grips and fillets.

And then a foam roller for the remaining areas.  This is again Rustoleum paint from Menards.  It seems to go on well and look good.

Here I have two coats on the bottom and garboard planks, and one coat on the other two hull planks.  It's looking pretty good!  I'm holding off on the transom until I have the rudder hardware mounted, and a boarding ladder constructed.

Here's a shot of the pointy end, where I spent so much time fairing in the two layers of dynel cloth that I applied for abrasion resistance.  It's not perfect, but I would say there is no lumpiness, and that was my goal.

I applied this paint directly over the 80-grit sanded epoxy with no primer.  After the first coat, I could see the scratch marks left from the sander.  After the second coat, less so.  

I'm not really going for an absolutely glass-smooth high-gloss auto finish here.  I'm looking for something that looks good from a bit of distance and is easy to repair and maintain.  I'm thinking this level of finish is just about what I'm looking for.

Laminating a tiller

One of the things I've been working on between other jobs is creating a tiller.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, I decided to use an existing pattern created by Dale Simonson.  You can see the details of the layout here: Dale Simonson's tiller pattern

I drew out the pattern on a piece of scrap plywood, and glued down blocks that I could clamp to. Then it was just a matter of cutting the strips and planing them down to about 5/16" thickness. The thickest part of this lamination took just over 6 strips, and not all of the strips needed to be full length, since the profile of the tiller is not constant.  I used walnut and a contrasting strip of maple the second one down from the top.

Before gluing I put packing tape down on the form so the glue wouldn't stick. Glueup was then straightforward, using regular wood glue.  The curves are gentle and easy to achieve.

After the glue dried, I cleaned up  the squeeze out and then planed it down to a thickness that matches the opening in the rudder head.

I then glued up a smaller blank for the hiking stick.  I put packing tape on the tiller and laminated the hiking stick right on top, so that the curves match.

Then it was a matter of removing any wood that didn't look like a tiller.  The profile changes from square at the end that inserts into the rudder head, to roughly round at the hand end.

I used my Shinto rasp, a spokeshave, and sandpaper to shape this part.  I think it feels best when there is a little increase in diameter towards the end, like a pitchfork handle.  In this photo from above you can see that curve a bit.

I also like a bit of a knob at the end so your hand can tell where the end is.  Axe handles are like this.  I ended up glueing on another thickness of wood at the end so I had enough to shape.

I also found I didn't like the feel of the handle when it was completely rounded, so I put a little flat on the bottom side.  This also helps your hand know where it is on the tiller shaft.

I also rounded off the hiking stick and reduced the diameter on the end to fit into the Ronstan universal joint that holds these two parts together.  Here's how that looks.

To finish this off I need to drill out the hole at the rudder end and epoxy in a bushing, then epoxy coat overall and varnish.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Protecting the pointy end

With the skegs installed, I was looking forward to starting the hull paint job.  But as I viewed the bare hull my eye kept returning to the pointy end.  I thought about that one layer of fiberglass cloth and thought about the potential abrasion from all the beaches I expect to pull up on.  I knew I would feel better about the situation if I had a little more protection in place.

So I decided to delay the hull painting and put a couple layers of dynel cloth on the pointy part. Dynel is an abrasion-resistant cloth, and I have applied it to the front edges of the rudder and centerboard also.

Here is the first layer of cloth cut and marked with dots from a black Sharpie pen so I don't slide it too far out of place when applying the epoxy.

Here's the bottom layer wetted out with epoxy.  It takes more than the fiberglass cloth does, and seems to swell up a little as it absorbs the epoxy.

Here's the second layer in place.

I knew I would have to apply fill coats anyway, so I tried something new this time, and applied the first fill coat right over the wet cloth.  Seemed to work OK, and maybe saved me one iteration.

Here's one of the followup fill coats.  You can see the microballoon-thickened epoxy has sagged before it dried.  It's hard to get it thick enough so that doesn't happen.  If you mix it too thick it doesn't spread out smoothly.

Here's what it looks like when almost done.  You can see that I have sanded and filled multiple times, marking the low spots each time with pencilled circles.  

I don't think I'll be able to get this perfect, but I don't want it to look too lumpy.  I put one more coat on this evening and hope that will be the last one.