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.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Skegs finally finished and installed

With one thing and another, I've been working on finishing these skegs for far longer than I thought it would take.  In the previous post I covered how I shaped the skegs from two layers of 3/4" plywood.  The next step was to sheath them with fiberglass cloth.  

To make best use of the cloth I cut strips off the width of the 50" cloth.  It took two pieces per side, for a total of 8 pieces, which overlap on what will be the bottom edge.  

Because of the finger hold cutouts I didn't feel I could apply one piece from one side around the edge and down the other.  So applying one piece at a time on each side, I had at least four separate sessions to apply all the cloth.

Getting the cloth to conform to the fingerholds took a lot of prodding with the epoxy brush to keep the glass from pulling up and allowing air bubbles underneath.  That went on for an hour or so after laying the cloth until the epoxy started to cure.  

Before applying the glass I had rounded over the edges of the finger holds with sandpaper, except for one that I either forgot to do, or didn't round enough.  I could not get the cloth to stay down, so I put on a layer of release fabric and clamped a dowel of the right size in place.

That worked pretty well, though the dowel was a bit of trouble to break loose.  I could have just put packing tape over the dowel and skipped the release fabric, but I wanted to try out the fabric.

After I got all the fiberglass applied, I had multiple sessions of applying fairing compound, sanding it smooth, and iterating on the low spots.  While I had the fairing mix made, I took the opportunity to do a little more work on the rudder and centerboard, which I had set aside short of completion some time ago.

I'm going to put UHMW plastic on the edges of the skegs, so I ripped about 1/4" off my 1 1/2" wide stock, rounded the ends, and routed the edges.  I'm going to countersink stainless screws into this to hold it on.

To keep water from following the screws and getting under the fiberglass, I drilled oversize holes to fill with epoxy.  I'll then drill pilot holds into the epoxy plugs to drive the screws in there.

Here's a shot of my old Delta drill press, which has a swivel head.  I think this is the only time I've ever swiveled it...

Here I've filled the holes with epoxy thickened with wood flour.

And here's the result after removing the excess. 

To locate the skegs on the boat and ensure they are parallel and equally spaced from center, I taped down a reference line and measured out from that. 

I applied thickened epoxy, and braced the skegs from the ceiling.  Not much pressure was needed.  

I didn't find a specific measurement for how wide to space the skegs, so I guessed at a spacing that looked right to me.  I wanted to leave enough space next to the centerboard slot to allow for the fillet, the tape to adhere the centerboard slot gasket, and room for the gasket to flex.

After the epoxy cured, I ran a fillet around the edges.

Heres' an overall view.  Looking good!

I finished off the fillets by sanding them a bit with a small dowel wrapped in sandpaper.  It didn't take long and they smoothed out very nicely.  These are now some of the nicest fillets no one will ever see...

Now I will give the final sanding to the hull panels, and it will be time to slap on some paint!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shaping skegs using router and template

With the skegs rough cut and laminated, the next step was to bring them down to final dimension.  Keeping the curves fair and the right shape to fit the hull, and keeping both skegs identical was a daunting prospect.  

However, I realized that I could use the pattern I cut to trace out the parts as a router template to trim the skegs to final shape.  The first step was to screw the pattern to the rough-shaped part.

I then used a pattern bit with a bottom bearing in the router table to trim the stock to the final dimension.  As you can see, the bit is not long enough to to the entire side, and there is also a little lip on the bottom between the bearing and the bit.  This won't be a problem.

Here's a shot of the nice curve towards the stern. 

Once I went all the way around, I removed the template, and switched to a pattern bit with a top bearing. The bearing now bears against the part of the skeg that's already routed to final dimension, and brings the remainder of the edge into line.  I flipped the stock over to get both edges finished.

The masonite I used for a pattern was a little bit too short, so I now drew in the curve at the stern and cut that out with a jigsaw.

And shaped it to final dimension with my Shinto rasp. 

Looking good.  The fit to the hull is as good as you make the pattern.  In my case, I'll have to do just a bit of minor fitting before I'm satisfied.

Next I routed the finger grips in the sides of the skegs with a bit that looks like this.  This is 3/8" radius, and I cut about 1/4" deep.

The grooves look like this.  The gentle curve of the skeg was easy to run against the fence for consistent spacing.

I followed up with a 1/4" roundover bit on the edges so that my fiberglass cloth will lay over there nicely, and hand sanded the edges of the finger grooves to get rid of the sharp edge.

Next I put tape over the bottom of the holes where there were voids in the plywood, and poured in unthickened epoxy to fill those spaces.  

After that cures I will do a little fairing work to fill the slight depressions that are left, some edges that chipped out a bit, and any other irregularities.  Then I will fiberglass these parts.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Skegs under construction

Pretty much the last bits of boat to build and install are the two skegs on the bottom of the hull. These provide a stable base for the boat while on the trailer or beach and also are handy handholds to right the boat if capsized.

I looked through my bits of wood laying around and didn't find any solid stock that was inspiring, so I decided to build these from standard ACX plywood.  Two thicknesses of 3/4" ply is the right thickness, and as these will be completely fiberglassed  I think they will hold up just fine. And if not, I can always replace them with something else.

Working with the sheet plywood means that I won't have to splice parts together, and it should be easier to build parts that are straight.  Any voids I find I plan to fill with epoxy.

The first step in the process was a trip to the local newspaper, where I bought an end-roll of newsprint.  I unrolled a length and layed out the pattern for the skeg based on dimensions in the plan addendum.

I then perforated the pattern with an ice pick and mallet to transfer the curves to a piece of masonite, which I then cut out with a jigsaw.

I faired the curves with block plane and sandpaper and the result is shown here on the hull:

With the pattern made, I could trace out the four pieces I needed to cut.  Another alternative would have been to cut out and finish one piece, and then trace from that.

I used a jigsaw to cut the four pieces to rough shape,

And laminated the two pairs.

I was careful to ensure the glueup was straight.  In the foreground you can see a tall bar clamp applying a bit of down pressure, in the middle a stack of plywood cutoffs supports the center, and in the background the tips are under a ladder step to bend them down a touch.  I used a 4-foot level as a 'straight' reference before all the clamps were in the way.

Here are the rough glued up parts in approximate location on the hull.  I'll next bring the edges down to final dimension, fill a couple voids in the ply with epoxy, rout finger grips in the sides, and round over the edges that are not in contact with the hull. 

I'm thinking I will fiberglass these off the boat, since it will be easier to work on them.  When they are finished I'd then install them with epoxy and fillet them generously to the hull.  I'm thinking right now that I do not need to apply fiberglass tape to those fillets, and that will save time finishing that area.