Sunday, December 21, 2008


Das Boot Stripe

Yahr, matey! Let the wild rumpus continue. A racing bottom it's not, but a-float it will. I'm jittering with excitement... or is it the coffee and allergy meds? Gotta scoot.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sanding Again

Saturday morning after eight and a dense fog advisory until nine. I'm warm and comfy in the boat and thinking about my impending state. Yes, that's right, I'm about to moonsuit up and sand the bottom, the boot stripe, and the cabintop stripe. Yippee. Plan is for Chica and me to come back up over new year's weekend ostensibly to roll on four coats of barrier coat, one coat of bottom paint, and as many coats of boot stripe as we can. Of course, it is widely known that our timing coincides with the rat island oyster roast, so you can find us there, too. Chica doesn't know it yet, but we'll probably get to painting the name on the transom. Progress...

As Kevin famously notes, "I'd rather suck an egg out of a chicken's ass than moonsuit up and sand the bottom of a boat." I'll second that and note that I would rather have #14 tooth ground to a stump and have a crown put on than manage an IT project using SAP Project System and comply with CMMI requirements. This should go a long way toward an explanation of why I'll find myself enjoying bottom sanding.

It's still foggy and wet out there. I've run out of things I can stand to type on this here touchscreen. Sorry about the auto-de-formatting that gets applied to the text (fixed, no longer sorry). Off to gear up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Clarity and Light of Hindsight

OK, I'm not too good at this, but let's look backward at the whole window / pilot house panel thing for a moment. So far, the Starboard HDPE 1/4" panel idea is great. I really like what it does to the inside of the boat, to my concern about rot, and to my need to keep a clean ship. This is nice stuff.

First, words are somewhat less pleasant than pictures because they cause your mind to work harder to translate the symbols to concepts.

>> Here's the pix, if you want to relax for a moment.

Initially, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to stick the HDPE to the FRP cabin sides. My primary options tended to be really expensive, hard to get, bulk order only glues like 3M DP8010NS ($18.84 / ounce) and Reltek B45TH (which may just be rebranded 3M stuff). Secondary options were mechanical fastenings like unsightly, carefully measured screws and kayak footbrace mounting studs.

The parts I ended up with were:
  • (2) CPG Seaboard 1/4" x 54" x 96" Polar White UV from World Panel Products ($345). The Fabrication Guide goes into detail for your project.
  • (1) West System G/flex 655 2 QT kit from West Marine ($70) - Note: WM says "tube" but what you get are 2 quart paint cans. I had to scrounge up some syringes to extract and mix properly. I probably used 1-1/2 cups of mixed glue, total. Now I have a bunch for other projects. Also, I don't buy from WM unless necessary... which it was because of delivery times. G/flex instructions are here, and here, and here, and here.
  • Other bits and pieces.
The new windows that I got from Mark Plastics (951.735.7705) use clamp rings on the inside. These hold the Seaboard panels nicely for fitting and afterward during the curing period for the glue. Also, the old teak trim can be used to hold the panels to the FRP if I select and drill for screws of proper length. Finally, the brass Gulf insignia in port and starboard outsides of the pilot house are held on with screws that burrow into the HDPE a little, so they help hold it on.

Useful hint: denatured alcohol will remove "permanent" magic marker from HDPE

So, the whole installation went very well. It takes two people to do it comfortably and quickly. I performed the install in my head, writing down work instructions which I took along to the boat and immediately disregarded. However, having gone through the process in my head a few times to get it right, I was then able to improvise off of an established script. Chica-san and I were able to complete easily in 3 working days while being generally friendly with neighbors and going out to eat and such. For you in Alaska (you know who you are) who are launching into a similar project, I submit the gorey details:
  • remove brass "Gulf" insignia, port and starboard
  • Remove ply window hole covers
  • Clean residue from gelcoat
  • Dry fit new windows and adjust holes as necessary. Tape off with masking tape for silicone squeeze-out while new window is in hole.
  • Remove remaining ply from FRP inside & remove amine blush
Dry Fit Panels & Windows:
  • Starboard Side:
  • hold up & align
  • fit trim pieces to hold (pay attention to corner location to account for both panels - e.g. Stbd side to Port forward)
  • round all sharp edges on HDPE - sander / planer
  • drill / screw in Gulf Insignia with screws
  • J to hold aft window area
  • T to mark for trimming
  • Repeat for forward window area
  • Remove trim, Gulf Insignia, trim window holes out, reserve holes to use as hinged (?) window covers
  • Remount panel with trim pieces, using clamps in window holes
  • Drymount windows as workspace becomes available
  • Confirm that new screws are enough for new windows - purchase more if needed
  • **>> consider using old windows as panel clamps? would need to assure they are not glued to hole by squeeze-out. do initial squeeze-out with clamps, mask old windows? work this out.
  • Port Side: Repeat as above, applying lessons learned
  • Forward Port & Starboard: Repeat as above, applying lessons learned
  • Aft Port & Starboard: Complete.
Glue Panels
  • Dismantle and stage dry installations. In order, install Stbd side, Port side, Forward Stbd & Port, Aft Stbd & Port
  • Wipe glue areas on FRP with denatured alcohol & mask gelcoat and other appropriate squeeze-out areas
  • Mark glue areas on HDPE with permanent marker
  • Mask glue areas as appropriate to account for squeeze-out
  • Wipe glue areas with denatured alcohol & flame treat (flame touching, moving at about 1 foot per second - practice with known distance to get speed right). Have 30 minutes to get glue on before having to flame treat again. mark time, keep flame gear around.
  • Mix & apply glue
  • Mount panel to pilothouse cabin side, affix with clamps and trim pieces, Gulf Insignia (sides) and hinge screws (aft)
  • 10 hours before cure (at 70F, longer for colder which will be the case)
Install and bed windows
  • Window frames are PVC Vinyl - no lacquer thinner or MEK
  • clean window frame material with denatured alcohol or acetone
  • mask outside of flange to prevent squeeze-out sticking later
  • lightly sand gelcoat where silicone will adhere
  • clean gelcoat with acetone
  • starting at bottom middle, apply continuous ~1/4" caulk bead to flange only
  • place window in opening
  • screw gun on low speed, and screwing slowly to prevent melting plastic...
  • screw middle top and bottom screws
  • install rest of screws, alternating diagonally opposed from middle to outer sides (adjusts for any cabin side curve present)
  • use rounding edge on stir stick to clean up squeeze-out on each window
  • allow silicone to cure
  • remove masking tape
more fun with boats.

Monday, December 1, 2008

PH Panels

A quick shot of the panels. Still need to replace the cabin top liner
material and refinish the teak trim - light deks olje, probably.
Getting there.