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Further 36

I got the day started with some sanding on the coachroof.  After the second round of fairing compound, most areas were where they needed to be, but a few tool marks and minor voids remained.

Afterwards, I spot-applied more fairing compound where needed.

I continued work in a similar vein with the patched through hulls in the counter.

Next, I turned to the ongoing repairs in the cockpit, which were ready for core and top laminate.  Because of the small size of the repairs, and the flat nature of the new inner skins I’d installed, made from prefab panels, I saw no reason not to install the core, then the top laminate all in one operation.  So in turn, I wet out the core, prepared the openings, installed the core in epoxy adhesive, then, because the core was a bit below the surrounding edges, installed three layers of 1708 over the core (in the propane locker opening and pedestal opening) before installing the final two overlapping layers to complete these repairs.  For the engine panel, located in the uncored vertical side of the cockpit,  I installed two layers within the opening to bring it flush, then two additional layers over the top to tie it in.

Later, I sanded the sea hood once more, bringing it mainly to its final state of readiness, though there were a few tool marks that would require spot filling shortly.  First, however, I lightly sanded the underside, mainly to prepare the old paint for new coating, but also to prepare the slots left behind from removing the old structural ribs so I could fill them flush with an epoxy mixture.  ONce that was done, I could flip the part back over and apply fairing compound where needed on the top surface.

At the transom, earlier I’d ground out some cracking where the hull and deck moldings met, and now I installed some fairing compound to fill these areas.

I used up the remains of that batch of fairing compound to fine-tune a couple areas on the starboard sidedeck, and fill some of the smaller repairs and fastener holes that I could easily reach in the cockpit.


Further 35

With the large area of the coachroof, plus other areas to address, I spent the morning sanding fairing compound and patches, and cleaning up afterwards.  This left the coachroof in generally good shape overall, with low spots in the expected areas:  at some of the edges, where I was blending in between the molded nonskid and the surrounding areas; and around portions of the core repair to starboard, in particular.  The sidedecks were shaping up nicely with only minor work remaining ahead.

In the cockpit, I sanded flush the laminate over the instrument holes, and scuffed as needed the beginnings of the repairs to the larger openings at the aft end.

I sanded the first coat of fairing filler on the sea hood, and also the new laminate on the three patched through hulls in the counter.

In the afternoon, after final preparations, I applied more fairing compound to the coachroof, along with the instrument hole repair and the counter repairs, and some additional work on the starboard deck outboard of the cockpit.  Then, I applied more to the sea hood as well.

I made simple patterns for the core and laminate, as needed, at the cockpit repairs, then finished out the day cutting fiberglass and 1/2″ balsa core for these repairs.


Further 34

I would have liked to have been able to apply fairing compound to the coachroof last time, but just didn’t have time on that day, so my first order of business was to get this underway.  Before I could begin, I had a couple small preparatory tasks, starting with the mast wiring through-deck fitting, which I hoped to remove to clear the decks for the work ahead.  The nut unwound easily enough, but I couldn’t get the well-bedded fitting to budge; it was plastic and I didn’t want to destroy it, so ultimately I left it in place.  With the nut removed, I could lightly sand, fair, and later paint the decks right up to the fitting, then the nut would cover the seam later.

I took a moment with a 3-3/4″ hole saw to redrill the starboard cowl vent hole, then remasked it from below to prevent any epoxy from going inside the boat.

Finally, I removed the metal tracks on which the companionway hatch slid, which would later allow me to remove the hatch to allow proper preparation and painting in the area.  For now, I left the hatch in place.

After vacuuming and solvent-wash, I applied a coat of epoxy fairing filler over the coachroof, skim-coating the nonskid and beginning to fair in the various repairs.

There were several large openings in the cockpit requiring patching, including the instrument holes on the bulkhead, the old engine panel location, an unused propane locker opening in the lazarette, and the steering pedestal opening between the two cockpit sections.  During earlier sanding phases, I’d already prepared these openings for new work.  To begin, I started with the instrument holes, and, after masking from behind, filled the round openings with a thickened epoxy mixture before installing two layers of fiberglass over the top.

At the transom counter, I installed two layers of fiberglass over each of the three circular repairs to fill the through hull openings from the exterior.

For the large cockpit repairs, I cut prefab fiberglass (1/8″ thick) to fit the openings from the engine panel and propane locker, then epoxied them in place from behind/beneath, using temporary screws as needed to hold the panels while the epoxy cured.  I actually forgot all about the pedestal opening till I was in the process of installing the nearby repair panels, so I hurried to find another suitable piece of prefab that I epoxied in from the underside, using hot-glued braces from above in this case to hold it securely while the adhesive kicked.

Next, I applied a coat of fairing compound to the sea hood, beginning to fill the cloth texture and smooth in the transition between the overlay and the original hood on the sides.

To round out the day, I spot-applied fairing compound to the sidedecks as needed, mainly in those areas outboard of the cockpit, where there were transverse trowel marks from the last application that required easy filling.  The starboard side did have a pesky transitional spot where there had been a (more substantial than I first thought) change of elevation in the inner skin, leading to a bit of additional and ongoing work now to fair it properly from above.  Otherwise, this round of fairing was focused on some fine-tuning around the deck edges and fillets, outboard of the molded stanchion bases, and another pesky–but I thought now resolved–low area in way of a previous repair near the port chainplate.

Further 33

In a short half-day, I got to work on the coachroof, sanding not only the new core repair, but also all the small fiberglass repairs and a first good round of sanding on all the existing nonskid pattern to begin to smooth it out and transition the edges to the smooth areas.  Later, I’d skim coat and fair all this, though I didn’t have time at the moment.

In the cockpit, I sanded flush the various small hole repairs, and lightly scuffed the inside laminate of the counter through hulls.  Sometime later, I’d laminate and patch the outsides of these openings.

Next, I sanded the most recent application of fairing filler on the decks outboard of the cockpit, and the foredeck repair.


Further 32

The next steps for the coachroof core repair, after removing the weights and a light sanding, began with a simple paper pattern of the area so I could cut the top layers of fiberglass.   For the first two layers, which covered only the core and were necessary to bring the inner area flush with the surrounding flanges, I used the pattern I’d made for the core, and found I could use up some offcuts from earlier glasswork for these pieces.  Once I’d cut the two layers, I wet out and installed them in epoxy resin atop the core.

Next, I cut two final layers to tie in with the adjacent decks, and installed them as well.  I went right over the top of the large cowl vent opening at the forward end, as it would be easier to redrill the hole later than to try and cut material around it.

There were numerous small repairs to be dealt with on the coachroof, as well as in the cockpit and the through hull openings in the counter–places where I’d ground small dishes to accept fiberglass over permanently-unused fastener holes that I’d filled.  To prepare, I marked and cut two different sizes of fiberglass patches, which shapes would fit all of the repairs needed.  I cut some larger circles to fit the counter through hulls (both inside and outside), as well as some to fit the unused cowl vent opening on the port forward coachroof.  For the through hull holes, as well as a couple larger openings on the small deck forward of the transom, I masked over the holes from one side and filled the holes with a thickened epoxy mixture first.

Next, I wet out all the little circles and other patches and applied them all over the boat where needed.

The foredeck repair, and the decks outboard of the cockpit, required additional fairing compound in places to begin to fine-tune the shaping, and I did this next, along with a second layer on the accessible screw holes on the sides of the coachroof here and there that I’d worked on earlier.

I had enough time left in the day to make progress on the sea hood, starting by cutting away the excess fiberglass from the aft (open) side where I’d let it run wild during installation, then lightly sanding the whole piece to prepare it for fairing compound.

Further 31

First thing, I made a quick pattern for the core in the coachroof core repair.

Afterwards, there was ample sanding to keep me occupied during the morning, starting with the sidedecks, foredeck, and outboard of the cockpit on both sides.  The sidedecks required mainly finish sanding, much by hand, to take care of the new fillets along the toerails.  The foredeck and cockpit areas were now on their second round of fairing filler, and were beginning to become close to final contours and making easily known the remaining low spots to be dealt with.

I also lightly sanded the various small fastener holes where I’d reamed out and filled with one coat of epoxy.  Then, with a grinder, I took care of preparing the coachroof around the starboard core repair, removing gelcoat and laminate around the edges to provide the bonding area for tying in the new laminate, with the same treatment at the port forward cowl vent hole that was slated for permanent patching.  I lightly ground out various now-filled fastener holes on the coachroof to allow for a small fiberglass patch over each one and, in the cockpit, prepared a few other obsolete hardware holes for patching as well.

After an appointment out in the world, which also gave the shop time to air out and settle a bit after the morning’s sanding and cleanup, I got back to work on the coachroof core, using my pattern to cut new core as required.  At the cowl vent opening at the forward end, I omitted the balsa right around the opening, and prepared a 12/2″ prefab fiberglass panel to fit the area.  Then, after final cleanup and preparations, I pre-soaked the core in resin on both sides, and installed it in thickened epoxy adhesive, sandbagging it in place while the epoxy cured overnight.

Further 30

There was no sanding to start the day.  Whaaaaaaat???  I hardly knew what do do with myself.

Oh OK, there was a little sanding:  the coachroof core area required an easy sanding to prepare the inner skin and clean it up following the core removal.

With that done, I filled the void beneath the outboard edge with a thickened epoxy mixture, and skimmed more of the mixture over the inner skin to smooth and stabilize it, fill some minor tears from core removal, and begin to fill the large round hole at the aft end.

Next, I went around and filled all the fastener holes I’d bored out with the 5/8″ bit earlier, some of which would be re-used for reinstalling hardware, others of which were to be permanently filled and patched.  I also partially filled, in a couple different “lifts”, the obsolete cowl hole on the port side, starting by filling the voids around the edges (where I’d dug out core earlier), then partially filling the large hole.  Later, I planned to grind and patch this opening with fiberglass from above, but this was a start to the process.

After cleaning up the sidedecks, I applied another round of fairing filler as needed, mainly on the areas outboard of the cockpit and foredeck, though I touched up several areas on the main decks, and also created an epoxy fillet to transition between the sidedecks and toerails on each side, in areas where the bulk fairing was otherwise complete.  I troweled some of the fairing material into a series of small fastener holes in the cabin trunk that I’d previously prepared as well.

Next, I turned to the sea hood, and patterned a single layer of 1708 for the top skin to cover the core and complete the structure.  Once I had the piece cut appropriately, I troweled on a skim layer of slightly-thickened epoxy to fill any open kerfs in the core, wet out the surface, and fine-tune the epoxy edges surrounding the core.  Then I wet out and installed the fiberglass atop.  The narrow edge at the sea hood opening refused to hold the fiberglass on its own, so I resorted to some clamps to keep it in place during curing.  I intentionally left it long here for later trimming.

Further 29

Over the weekend, with some time on hand, I decided to tackle the teak boards for the eventual cockpit coamings.  I ordered these a while back, and they needed to be planed smooth and to the appropriate thickness.  I had not been looking forward to this as the boards varied quite a bit in thickness, and I knew it would take time with my little planer to get then properly planed.

As it happened, the job went smoothly.  I was prepared to change to new blades partway through, as the existing blades (carbide) had been on the machine for a while, and I didn’t know how much more life they had, especially with teak.  But they did the whole job, and the planer only stopped once from overload (this tends to happen routinely with difficult woods like teak).  I always take tiny bites with each pass, and after about an hour the job was done.   I stopped at 15/16″ thickness because all four boards were smooth on both sides, and I thought the extra heft would look good on the boat.  Happy to have this dragon slayed, I set the planks aside for now.

My first order of business for the work week was another round of sanding on the main sidedecks and outboard of the cockpit.  The forward portions of the decks were nearing final shape, so my sanding was with finish tools and by hand.  Some work still remained, which I’d take care of in the near future.

Outboard of the cockpit, this was just the first round of fairing filler, and sanding was still fairly aggressive as I smoothed the epoxy and identified the remaining low spots and other areas requiring more work.  But the overall contours were good and as expected.

With progress on the main decks well underway and a predictable pattern of work ahead, I turned to the coachroof now to address the various work and repairs needed there, starting with the large area to starboard where I’d identified wet core earlier.  With a saw, I removed the top skin from the area, and pried out the core beneath.  Much of the area still had core in good condition, and well-stuck, but the pattern of wetness was unpredictable and random enough that the general shape of my opening was what was required.  Most of the damage came from the handrail fastener holes, but some came from one or two of the sea hood screw holes further up, and it looked like I’d have to open a bit more of the deck there.  Same thing with around the cowl vent at the forward end.  I dug out most of the core from beneath the outboard deck flange (the core was mainly sound at the other edges other than where I needed to expand the opening a bit).

After a break, I made some additional cuts to open up the deck to the leaking sea hood holes, and in way of the cowl vent opening at the forward end.  I found clean core at the edges of these openings, so had no need to dig further.

Meanwhile, I went around the coachroof with various bits–countersink for small fastener holes, and a 5/8″ Forstner bit for many other holes, including all fastener holes that would be reused later–and drilled out the holes as needed.  This also provided a window into the core at most of the fastener locations, generally displaying clean, dry core with no notable damage, confirming my impressions from my earlier inspections.

At the large core repair, I dug out the remaining core from the outer edge, and used my wire wheel to clean out the slot as well as possible.  Additional new work on the core repair would have to wait till the inner skin dried out before more sanding and filling could occur.  After cleaning up and blowing out all the drill spoils and remaining bits of core, I masked over most of the accessible openings from belowdecks, preparing for new work ahead.

Continuing work on the sea hood, with the core now well-adhered in place I lightly sanded as needed, and gave all the remaining gelcoat on the part a heavy sand to prepare it for new work.  Then, I applied a thick mix of epoxy around the edges of the core, filling the space I’d left there and troweling the epoxy even with the sides of the sea hood, and top of the core.  I left the epoxy to cure overnight.

With just a bit of time left in the day, I took a moment to make a quick pattern of the curvature of the molded nonskid pattern on the coachroof, which also defined the curve of the handrails.  The owner planned metal handrails that would need to be slightly bent to fit the curve, and this pattern, based on the nonskid edge (located just barely inboard from the old handrail location) and a molded profile line in the cabin sides below, would give a ready reference should it be needed for anything.

Further 28

The day’s sanding duty began with the decks outboard of the cockpit, which I sanded as needed to ease and begin to fair in the edges with the surrounding decks, and to generally scuff the surfaces to prepare for continuing work.  At the toerail repairs, where I’d let the fiberglass run a bit wild at the top and sides, I first trimmed the excess material more or less flush, before hand-sanding the narrow top edge.

After cleaning up, I applied a first round of epoxy fairing filler to these decks and the inboard sides of the molded cockpit coamings.

I applied more fairing filler to portions of the sidedecks, focusing mainly on the inboard and outboard edges of these decks as faired in the raised molded nonskid with the lower borders all around.

The original molded sea hood from the companionway featured three prominent external ribs, which stiffened the part.  However, the shape and position of these elements would interfere with the ideal design of a new dodger, and during an earlier meeting the owners, canvas contractor, and I agreed that it would be best to remove the protrusions and rebuild the seahood flush on top.

The ribs were molded and hollow from the underside, and removing them would leave long slots in the top of the sea hood, as well as eliminate any stiffness in the part.  To provide the requisite stiffness, I planned to add core material and fiberglass over the top, which would raise its profile slightly, but ultimately provide the desired appearance and compliance with the dodger plans.  Before cutting away the ribs, I sanded away the paint from the underside and glued in some temporary strips of wood to help hold the piece in its proper shape.  Then, I cut away the three ribs, ground the openings smooth, and heavy-sanded the entire gelcoated top.  I didn’t see a reason to remove all the gelcoat.

To support the shape of the top while installing core, I built a simple support jig on the bench, with vertical members beneath each of the four sections of the top, and hot-glued it to the sea hood to eliminate any potential movement.  I added shims at the four outboard corners to ensure the hood would remain steady.

I cut pieces of 3/8″ balsa core to fit the top, leaving space around the edges that I’d later fill with solid material, then wet out the core with epoxy and installed it in a bed of thickened epoxy adhesive, securing it with weights as needed and leaving it to cure overnight.  Later, I’d fill the slots in the underside, and glass over the new core and onto the sides of the existing molding to complete the work.


Further 27

After final cleaning, I skim-coated the sidedecks on either side of the cockpit, smoothing any minor undulations in the surface, filling minor voids, and wetting out the surfaces.  Once that was done, I began wetting out and installing the initial two layers of material for each side.  These layers extended over the inboard edges of the coamings by a few inches, and also up the inside edge of the short toerail section where the original winch islands had once been.  I let the top edge of the fiberglass run a little wild at the toerail, giving it plenty of room to stick well to the edges of the existing fiberglass.

While those layers set up for a while, I cut the remaining two full-size layers for both sides.

The first laminations brought the field (cored) areas generally even with the adjacent deck edges, as intended, but there were a few variations.  With the initial layers cured to the tack stage, I applied a thickened epoxy mixture here and there as needed to ease some of the minor transitions between layers and edges around each side of the cockpit.

Once that had cured a bit over lunch break, I wet out and installed the two top layers of 1708 on both sides.

With the day’s main goal complete, I had enough time left before the end of the day to sand the most recent application of fairing compound on the sidedecks and foredeck.

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