Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bottom Jobs

After laminating the 1708 biaxial tape onto the keel of the starboard hull, as described in my last post, I turned port hull upside down as well to give it the same treatment. I decided at this point to go ahead complete all the work on the bottoms of both hulls, all the way through painting the anti-fouling below the waterline. That way I won't have to turn them back upside down when the decks and cabins are completed and the hulls are much heavier.

Below you can see the fairing process of building up thickened epoxy to smooth the transition between the heavy 1708 tape and the rest of the hull surfaces.

In addition to the bottom of the keels, I also laminated the 1708 tape around the leading edges of the skegs and around the stems all the way from the keel to the stem heads above the deck. This will provide a degree of protection if I should hit some floating object in the water, or bump the bows against a concrete dock as I did once with my Tiki 21.

This heavy biaxial tape conforms easily around a tight radius like the stem edges, but requires a lot of filling and fairing to blend in the transitions.

Here you can see the tape with the first fill layer of epoxy mixed with phenolic microballoons and silica. This thickened layer was brushed on to fill the weave completely. The subsequent fairing layers were applied with drywall finishing knives.

In the photo below you can see that most of the transition has been faired. There is still some minor filling and more sanding to be done, but once it is complete the biaxial tape will be indistinguishable from the rest of the hull sheathing.

I'm closing in on the fairing, as shown below, but there is still more minor filling and lots more sanding to do to get the hulls ready to paint.

It's summertime in Mississippi now and at least 90 degrees in the shade every day. Sanding and fairing the hulls is hot, dusty, and monotonous work. This part of the project is probably the least fun aspect of building a boat, but I'll soon have it behind me and will be moving on to more interesting phases like completing the decks and cabins.

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