Sunday, September 13, 2015

Light at the end of the tunnel

I'm coming up on almost 2 years working on this project. Granted, it's not been full time, but some days and weekends it has felt like it was full time. I estimate I have around 1500 hours into it. At any rate, Friday morning I received a shipment of my last few pieces of okume, and set about putting the decks in place.

I've been looking forward to this part of the build for some time. From what I could tell, it did not look particularly difficult, and that proved to be right. I used the large 4x8' pieces of cardboard to create templates for the various parts of the deck, cut those out with an exacto knife and used the template to trace the outline onto the sheets of 6mm ply. I made the edges a little proud of the line with the intention of trimming back once the glue had set.  All the cuts were made and glued up by Saturday evening, and this morning I attacked the boat with an edge router and my palm sander. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

What's left? I still have to make my boom and finish my bumkin. I need to install the coaming and cap rails. I need to carve out some wooden horn cleats. I need to do some sanding and finishing. I need to splice my lines and get the rigging ready, and bend on my sails. I figure maybe another 3 or 4 weeks depending on how much time I can dedicate during the week.

Anyway...some of the latest pictures from this weekend's work.

Slightly oversized. Used a jury-rigged marking gauge to lay out the line for the screws. Back filled with epoxy putty 
Nice to have different kinds of clamps. I really like the Irwin and DeWalt quick clamps. The large wooden clamps toward the bow were really handy for holding the deck down to the stringer as it approached the king-plank. In a later picture you can see I'm going with a rounded cockpit front. 

The mahogany lower rub-rail was helpful to temporarily clamp down the deck. There's quite a bit of curve at this part of the boat. Some slight compound curving as well toward the forward coaming area. 

By Friday night I had trimmed most of the remaining decks. 

Everything nicely cleaned up. 

I have yet to finish trimming the forward coaming edge. 

Nice view from the tip of the bowsprit. The anchor well is roughed in. I need to trim that a little better so that it matches the angle where the bowsprit tapers back to the anchor bitt/samson post. 

Starboard quarter view as the sun was setting today. 

The chain plates came through without any fuss. Used my trusty multi tool to cut a small slot. 

The hole for the main mast was cut with my palm router and a straight bit with a bottom bearing. I'll probably need to take a file to it to open it just a bit more, as I plan to leather that hole to avoid chafe on the mast. Down below, the hole going from the seat to the mast step is coated in the black rubber deck caulking. You can just see that in the next photo.

There she is from the port side. Looks like a right little ship with her new deck on. 

Parting shot after cleaning up the shop. You can see that I've varnished the transom and (mostly) attached the rudder. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Laid decks

Beside the fact that it was almost 90 degrees out and extremely high humidity this weekend, I figured it would be a good time to get my oak decks caulked. So I spent about half of the weekend masking and caulking.

I ordered up a box of TDS caulk (Teak Decking Systems). I wanted to go with sikaflex, but there are so many varieties and I couldn't tell which sku was the kind best suited to my application. So in the end I went with TDS based on some favorable online reviews. 

I had a lazy man's idea to just squirt the stuff into the cracks and then clean up with a spatula. Boy was that a disaster. After only one seam caulked I had made such a mess that I envisioned spending the next 12 months simply sanding off all the excess. 

So instead, I invested in 4 rolls of blu masking tape and spent five hours or so on Saturday taping each and every seam. Sunday morning I proceeded to squirt the black goo. Let me just say that stuff is an ungodly mess to work with. It sticks to every single little thing it comes in contact with. There's also a lot of waste in the application but I'm not sure how it could have been different.

If you've never used this material, pay close attention to the recommended application method. It will save you time and effort of redoing work later. What I mean specifically is that you can't simply take the excess squeeze out of a caulking run and slather it into the next crack. Doing this tends to trap air under the compound resulting in poorly adhered seams once the compound cures. I thought I would try to save material by pushing the excess in, and consequently spent a few hours cutting out poorly laid caulk seams and re-doing them. The correct process is to lay a thick bead into the gap and let it crown a little bit over the top edge. Then drag a spatula or putty knife across the top at an angle in order to push the compound completely into the bottom and sides of the gap. This will result in a LOT of waste material. But as I said above, I'm not sure how it could have been done differently. 

I ended up using 9 tubes of 10 oz each to fill all the seams. In the process of pulling up the masking tape, I discovered a few seams that I will do over again, so by the end of the project we could probably call it 10 tubes.

Some people said to pull up the masking tape while the compound is still setting up. I tried this with some good success the tape came up easily enough. I got tired though and went to bed before the job was finished. I woke up early this morning worried sick that the remaining masking tape would be attached forever to the deck, but it turned out to be almost as easy to pull up dry as when it was still tacky...albeit with fewer collateral black smudges. 

I used some furniture scrapers to clean up some of the overspill and to smooth the decks a bit. I'll come back with a sander to finish the job later this week when it's had some time to cure properly. Anyway...some pix follow. 

Next week: top decks and coamings. Almost done. :)

Masked seat tops. Rather than use a razor to cut through the gaps, I carefully laid 1" tape on either side of each plank. A 1 7/8" plank means the tape overlaps a little in the middle which is good for masking AND for removing the tape later. 

Here you can see tape partially removed after the caulk has been applied. 
I tried to follow Barrett Faneuf's method for "fancy cuts" It turned out ok. Once sanded, I think this will look really nice. This is the rear starboard quarter where it intersects the transom.
This shot gives you a preview of the pre-sanded pre-oiled finished product.  I used a set of cheap furniture scrapers to "shave" off some of the flashing. The scrapers also make short work of smoothing out the oak planks. Once I have the rest of the masking removed and scraped, I'll finish up with some fine-grit sand paper and then put an oiled finish on it. Can't wait to see how it looks!