Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Creek is Rising!!!

The progress has been steady in the Shipyard since the last post.  The anchor well at the bow of the ship has fiberglass and the breasthook installed.  The Dorade boxes have been built and installed in the actor well area and decisions have been made concerning electronics and how to route wires. I also fitted the transom skirt.   It seems a majority of the time I have been coating surfaces with epoxy.  Every square inch of wood on this boat, inside and out,  has been slathered with multiple coats.  I think I may get carpal tunnel from all the stirring of the epoxy.

Laying up the cloth in the anchor well.

Inside of the starboard dorade box in the anchor well.  The timber epoxied on the inside is backing for a mooring cleat.

A lot of the work has gone into the seat backs.  Lots of framing, sealing with epoxy, and hand planing.  Once the framing was built, the tops of the seat backs needed backers for the jib blocks to screw into. Kinda like a 2X4 for a towel bar behind the sheetrock in a bathroom.  Massive ten inch long pieces of timber are epoxied in place to give the screws something to hang on to.  Same thing at the aft end, but with a shorter 6 inch block for the mooring cleat and boom gallows.  These blocks really make things feel solid.

The backing for the screws that will hold the jib blocks. On top of the transom the skirt can be seen.
 The aft end with the shorter backers for the mooring cleat and boom gallows.

The forward area of the seat backs are filled with foam for safety flotation.  The aft end of the seat backs have a little storage compartment.  There are two different schools of thought of how to fill the seat backs with foam flotation.  One method is to build everything but the leave off the cap of the top so that a mixture can be poured into the top that chemically reacts and turns into foam that takes on the perfect shape of the interior of the seat back with no voids.  That sounds really cool to me and a lot of fun!  The other is to cut foam insulation in little pieces and stack them inside the open area.

Well I had bought the stuff at the start of the build and never gotten up the nerve to  use the stuff yet.  I had read on other pocketship blogs about how great it was and how it can cause a mess. I was prepared! I looked for some technical data on the stuff and could not find anything, but who am I to read directions anyway.   I had all my hazmat gear on and a plan of execution.  I even tested a sample to see how much time I had for the reaction (not long according to my tests).

Looks like serious stuff.
The first pour went really well.  I mixed up about a quart of the stuff and quickly poured it in the seat back without spilling a drop.  The reaction was taking place creating a bit of heat and began to fill the compartment.  It was kinda like bread rising, except I was wearing a respirator, rubber gloves, safety glasses...well it looked like fresh rising bread.

See it does look like bread.

I was really happy with the stuff and continued on to round two of the pour.  I figured I was getting pretty close to the top, so I went with a much smaller batch to fill the rest of the area.  Well not small enough.  Turned out the first batch was not finished rising and the second batch was a bit bigger than it should have been (ok more than a bit).  Things changed from a scene in a lovely bakery into horror scene from "The Blob" very quickly.  I had huge gobs of foam overflowing over the sides with volcanic ferosity (ok not that bad but it just kept coming!).  It was spilling inside to the cockpit and overboard down the side on onto the floor but not before covering my shoes first.  I decided that spilling overboard was the lesser of two evils and pushed the emerging mess with a 14" 1X4 away from the cockpit.  At this point I was really regretting my decision to use this toxic blend of horror.  Having not swept my floors in a while,  the mess was compounded by all the wood shavings created by my hand plane.  With the foam coating the bottoms of my shoes, these curly shavings were now stuck to the bottom of shoes because not only is this stuff toxic, it is sticky too.  Now that the goo has hardened this compound of shavings and hardened foam has become one with my shoe soles.

Finally the chemical reaction subsided and I was left with a pretty good mess.

After the reaction stopped.

Looks like the boat got sick.

You may notice the blue tape in the pictures.  I put the blue tape on the are that I plan to leave bright when I finish the boat.  I figured if I keep it covered it will lessen the chance of epoxy spills and whatever from keeping the wood from looking uniform once the varnish goes on.  Well it paid off for this episode.

Now for the upside of this event.  Everything came out fine.  The floor scraped up clean without too much effort and the foam leveled off nicely and looks great.  I am really happy with the results.

Cleaned up nice!

On the starboard side I decided to go the route that the manual endorses ... i.e. cut foam.  I did this not because I was afraid of the expanding stuff (hell, I was on my way of master of the product) but because of some wiring and conduit I installed on the starboard side.  I cut piece after piece of foam insulation until I filled the void.  Not nearly as much fun, and none of the trauma, but done none the less.  I epoxied on the seat back over the foam and called it a night.

All filled up.

Santa brought some electronics.  More on that later...

Monday, December 1, 2014

This is Really Getting Fun!

Every minute has been enjoyable working on this boat, but since I started working on the topsides the fun factor has increased exponentially.  I have mostly a woodworking background before I built a couple of kayaks and started this boat.  It is nice to be back in my comfort zone of cutting and shaping wood.

This is an old picture framing trick to get the gales to match up perfectly.

The manual calls them cockpit shear strips.  The strip continues past the cockpit all the way to the bow where they bend together and meet.  To get the angle right where they meet I used a picture frame trick.  Get them close and saw where the two strip meet.  The kerf of the saw takes out just the right amount of both pieces to leave a perfect fit.  

The strips need to be installed proud of the plywood sides.  This is especially critical in the cabin portion of the strip.  After the epoxy cures there will be enough wood to create the bevel to match the angle of the cabin roof, otherwise there will be an unsightly gap between the roof and strip.  I continued the bevel all the way to the point of the bow making the angle flatter the farther forward until they met at the bow.  I did this because there are mooring guides that mount on top of these strips and if the strips had too much angle the guides would not work properly.  I also didn't want these strips flat because the angle has a lovely look of elegance.

Checking the bevel to match on both sides.

Every three inches from the bow to the cabin I made a small cut on the inside of the rails.  This made the bending much easier where the bending angle becomes steeper. The cuts will be filled and the wood will be finished with paint.  The consistent spacing of the kerfs made the curve fair.  I could have set up a steam box but I was just too lazy.

The anchor well has become a great tool tray.
Dry fit of the upper breasthook.
View of the shear strip in the cabin area left proud of the plywood sides.   I thought the curly cut looked cool too.
Installed stringers for the seatbacks.  The hole is for a speaker.

The Pocketship manual is great but it really understates the difficulty of the making of the cabin cleats.  What you have is a strip of wood that has two compound angles on the ends and oh yeah, it has to be perfect in length too.  On bulkhead two (the front of the cabin) there is a rolling bevel that needs to be cut on the top of the curved cleat.  This is really not too bad because it can be done after the cleat is epoxied in place.  The underside is square to the bulkhead.  The cleats on the aft cabin wall (bulkhead 3) are not so lucky.  There is another rolling bevel that must be cut on the underside.

In picture below you can see my method of cutting these strips.  I found it fairly easy to make one end fit with one compound angle so I would cut one and then the other without any worry about length.  I then clamped the two pieces in place and screwed a "splint" to hold them together in exactly the orientation and length.  Then I used the result for a pattern.  It was a method I came up with myself and there are probably some trim carpenters who daily install crown molding laughing at me right now, but it worked for me.

Two strips with their compound cuts clamped in place.

Two strips with their "splint" creating a perfect pattern for cutting the real one.
Tight fit!  Bevel work on top will be done after the epoxy cures.

This is the rolling bevel on the underside of the rear cleat.

Closer look at the bevel angle.

This Lie-Neilson spoke shave is the greatest tool ever.  The marks show where I have been on top and where I am going on the end.

After many dry fits it was time to butter up with epoxy and put on the squeeze.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Much More to Show this Time

When building a stitch and glue boat there are times when very little work result in huge transformations .  It has been a while since one of these transformations has taken place.  The last was stitching the hull panels to the keelson and bending the panels together to form the bow.  Epoxying the cockpit deck and footwell in the last post were big but the additions I have made over the weekend are huge and a lot of fun too.

Thar she is!
This weekend the upper panels, bow deck and cabin wall were stitched in place.  It is fun to see the lines and get a real feel for what the boat is going to be like.

Drill press was in the way to back up enough to get the whole boat in the shot.
View from the stern.  Builders take note... the two holes in the cockpit decking make things nice to not only mark the cleats for locating the screw holes but also allow you to reach your hand in for squeeze out clean up.  The holes will be much bigger when the holes for the hatches are cut out so there is not much concern about their neatness or exact location.

One of the foam pieces stacked in the bow section for flotation.  The whole section was filled except  for a tunnel slot left so that I will have access for installing the the bow U-bolt.  Also installed the inspection access in bulkhead 1.  This is the backside.
Installed  the inspection plate in the centerboard trunk.  One item I forgot to do before I installed the cockpit deck.  No big deal I just had to lay down on my side underneath the cockpit deck.  It was really quite comfortable.

This is a PVC pipe I picked up at Lowes.  My friends insisted that I have built in cup holders for some reason.  I will use this pipe for a mold.  Somehow I will build in a drain in the bottom that I probably run to the footwell.  I'll have to think about that one a while.

Wooden "washers" used to prevent damage to the plywood when holding down the deck for epoxy.
The little soldiers have don their job.

I found it is good to stay busy when epoxy is curing.  Here I am working on interior dead light trim.  Dead lights are portholes that don't open.  The trim is mahogany.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chipping away...

The progress continues!  Yesterday was one of those days where everything I touched on the boat just made things worse.  It was the old one step forward three steps backward.  Today was much better and maybe I dare say even productive.

Finally everything under the deck that needed to be done to install the cockpit deck has been.  I finally was able to start a new chapter (literally in the manual) and proceed to the upper parts.

One of the tasks I had to complete is what to do about the separation of the foam flotation under the footwell.  There are several schools of thought on how to tackle this area. I almost went with what the original Pocketship bloger  Dave  but instead I went for maximum  volume for storage and protect the foam.

Mostly pictures this post.  Some of them may be only interesting to builders...

Added a seal (wall) in the lazarette.

Covered with fiberglass and epoxy, added a fillet and a bit of bondo to smooth things out.

A different view showing both sides.
Finished product sanded and painted

Footwell sole.
There has been a bit of discussion among Pocketship builders about this footwell being a bit too narrow.  Allegedly the designer is over 6 foot tall but has tiny feet.  My size 12 is a little tight.

Epoxy filled pendent hole.  This is where the line to operate the centerboard will go through.  It is located at the front of the footwell.

Added shims inside the centerboard trunk for the roller that the pendent line will roll on.
Roller installed.

Deadlights came in!!!
Tip to builders...tape for squeezout.  It is worth the tape and effort.

Also tape the underside of the deck for squeeze out too.

Tape the cleats and underside of the cockpit deck for squeeze out.  After marking the cleat positions it is easy to tape.  I gave myself about an 1/8th of an inch of room on both sides of the lines.  Problem I had was being able to mark the underside in the hatch area without the hole for the hatch making the area sealed.  I cut the hole (can be seen in picture above) where the deck hatch will be cut (but much larger) so I could get my hand and a pencil in to mark the underside.  The hole was also was nice to reach in to scrape squeeze out too.

While waiting for paint or epoxy to dry I have been getting my electronics together and building a dashboard.  More on that next post.
After a lot of fitting the cockpit deck goes on!  Wow I need to clean the shop.
View from underneath.  The squeeze out tape doing its job!

Cockpit deck installed with wooden "washers".

Monday, October 27, 2014

It is not perfect...

Most of the work lately has consisted of sanding.  The sanding has taken it's toll on my left arm and elbow. The tendonitis is only on the left, the right side seems to hold up better.  Rest, ice, elevation, Ibuprofen...however the saying goes, just quit sanding left handed.

The good news is that I have finished with almost all the interior sanding.  Most interior sanding has me working on a concave area so the sanding is somewhat confined.  From here on I will be sanding on the outside and on mostly convex surfaces where I will be able to get away with more power sanding and less hand sanding.  As soon as I finish this step everything will be covered in cardboard and newspaper to avoid drips and dings while working on the rest of the boat.  It will be a while before I see my handiwork again.  I will take a lot of pictures.

Breaking down the progress I have made in the last few weeks goes like this, take out all the floorboards, sand and finish them, finish sanding the hull, paint & finish it's surface, and reinstall the finished floor.  Along the way, I builtin speaker boxes that I designed and installed in the front locker between bulkhead 1 and 2.  Also spent some time figuring out the electronics, and did a little more work on the tiller that I laminated before the kit arrived...seems like a long time ago.

Painting (along with electronics) has always been my weak point.  On the kayaks I would prep the surface and have an auto body friend spray for me.   I decided to have a go at it myself this time.  Those pros can make it look so is not.  It went ok but I found myself recovering from my ineptness with a spray gun with more sanding.  After the second coat I sanded the finish with 320 until I had a nice dull level surface.  Just for an experiment I sanded an area with 800 grit and then hit it with my power polisher.  The result was a really nice glossy finish.  I figured it was not going to get any better so I finished off the rest of the hull.

I strive for perfection but there is always a point when you have to say "good enough"or the project will never get finished.  I know where the mistakes are but I have learned over the years to just not point them out and it is very rare that they are ever discovered.  It is not perfect but it is done!

Bilge primed sanded and ready for a top coat of paint.

Locker near the bow with fabricated speaker boxes in the corners and mounts for the battery down below.  The hole in the center is an inspection port.

Locker after a coat of paint.
Bilge after first coat.

After some polish.

Floor finished and reinstalled.
Another view of the sole without the lift out sections installed.  The lift outs will conceal the lead  ballast.
Overview of the project.