Sunday, September 27, 2009

Closing in the Hulls

It was a good feeling earlier this week when I permanently installed both cabin roofs - at last completely closing in the hulls and marking the last big pieces to go into the construction of them. They had been cut and test-fitted as I wrote about in a previous post a few weeks ago, but now they are glued on, trimmed and edge-shaped, and awaiting fiberglass sheathing.

Here's a view of the completed undersides of the roof panels taken earlier this week. The longitudinal carlins were glued and filleted in place to provide the necessary stiffness and to define the sides of the front opening hatches and the outboard side of the companionway hatches.

The carlins, combined with the slight camber I've addd to the tops, has made them incredibly stiff even before fiberglassing. The next step, other than sheathing these, is to begin building the landings for the forward hatches and the framing for the companionway hatches and dropboards.

Fiberglassing the Mast

It's been an unbelievably long time since I finished building the mast and last posted about it here in (October 2007). Things do get in the way, despite best intentions when undertaking a project like this! Anyway, the mast has been hanging from the rafters all this time, covered in the dust of building and fairing the hulls. I lowered it down last week and pulled it out enough to get to the masthead end and begin the tedious task of sheathing it in fiberglass:

Round objects are not the easiest things to fiberglass, but it's not as bad as it would seem if you plan in advance and use the masking tape method to avoid epoxy runs and ragged fiberglass cloth overlaps. As seen above, the masthead section has the additional complication of the shroud hounds to go around, as well as the mast cap and crane.

The other sections, as shown below, are simply round and are best done in by going around half of the circumference at time. After the epoxy cures, the tape is cut away, a weave-filling second coat is applied, and the mast is rotated 180 degrees to complete the other side. I'm working in 4-foot sections, as the roll of 6-oz. glass cloth I have on hand is 48 inches wide.

There are specially-made fiberglass sleeves that fit on like a sock that some people use for processes like sheathing round masts, but with the hounds and mast step protruding from each end of the spar, it seemed to me like this might be difficult to get on. In addition, these sleeves are much more expensive than ordinary glass cloth. At any rate, by using the taping method, this is a straightforward operation and will result in neatly-sheathed spar when it's all complete and the cloth has been filled, faired and sanded. The mast will be painted the same Off-White as the decks.

Below, the top 12 feet or so is now sheathed. The short PVC pipes protruding from the masthead are the wiring conduits, which will be cut shorter and capped off with PVC elbows to keep rain out once the wiring is run.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Emerging from the Shed

Well, part of the way at least. Today I moved the hulls out approximately 10 feet. This was made possible because of finishing the foredecks this week - not the final coat of paint, but enough to protect them and allow mounting of the forward hatch covers and inspection plates.

I've been wanting to move the hulls out this far for awhile now, to make it easier to finish the cabin interiors and fair and paint the cabins and stern decks. Controlling dust in the back part of the shed has been a continuous issue.

Before proceeding further with painting the decks, I first had to lay out the non-skid patterns for the walk surfaces. Most of the foredeck area got non-skid, except for where the crossbeams go and a 1-inch margin around the toe rails, hatches, inspection plates, etc.

The non-skid I used was the Petit non-skid additive - really just fine, uniformly sized grains of sand. I mix it thoroughly into the paint and apply two coats with a foam roller, allowing to dry overnight between coats.

Additional fill coats over the non-skid that are applied when painting the rest of the deck surfaces help to fill it in some and take the edge off, while still leaving it very effective. The decks will get a couple more coats in the final finishing stage. It's a bit hard to discern the non-skid areas in these photos, but they are quite visible despite the fact that everything is the same color. For ease of maintenance and to keep the decks cooler, I chose to paint all deck areas the same off white.

Below you can see the forward hatch covers and the horizontal partitions that fit in the forward holds after a final coat of paint was applied to these.

After painting the foredecks, I also had to bring the topside paint up to the cut line at the bottom edge of the sheer stringer. I had left the top 3-4 inches bare while working on fiberglassing the decks, to allow bonding the deck glass to the layer already on the stringers. I like the way the green contrasts with the off white. The topsides will also get additional paint coats when the hulls are completely finished.

Today I finished the assembly of the two-wheeled carts I had started early in the build.

The V-cradle of the cart fit to the mid-section of the hull perfectly. With the carts strapped in place just slightly aft of the balance point, the hull was easy to move single-handed. I raised it up with my webbing straps hung from the rafters to lift it out of the stern cradle.

Since I had the hulls on wheels and could move them easily, I pulled the port hull out farther to take this photo. It's hard to photograph a 26-foot boat in a 28-foot shed!

Now that the bows at least can see the light of day, I feel like I'm getting closer to moving the hulls all the way out. The next step is to get the cabin interiors finished so I can install portlights, the cabin roofs and hatches, and build the companionways.