When I installed the mahogany cabin side I very carefully scribed and made the cut-outs to fit the portlights with a little bit of slop vice mirror the existing too large cut outs. So, now there is a bit of a lip that still needs to be addressed. More on that tomorrow.
I clamped the portlights in place with two twist clamps. I then viewed the spigots from the outside making sure they were centered. I used a small bubble level to make sure they were level. I drilled through the portlight frame about 3/16” deep for all the holes. This made sure they were in the right place. I then removed the portlight then used a small home made drill guide to insure I was drilling perpendicular to the cabin side. The guide is a small 90 triangle about 1 ½” long on each side. Once angle is 90 degrees. I placed it on the cabin side and matched up the 90 degree angle to the bit and started drilling. I moved this little triangle around to keep the drill going in straight and plumb all the way through the cabin side. Then I inserted all the bolts to check for fit. It took all day to fit the10 portlights.
The next thing was to over-bore the holes to reduce the likelihood that water can migrate along the bolt threads into the exposed grain of the plywood. So, I drilled out the 3/16” holes for the #10 machine screws with a 5/16” bit. I would have preferred to use a 3/8” but it would put the edge of the hole very close the edge of the cut-out and the 3/8” bit I have just tears through fiberglass in an ugly uncontrolled manner. After drilling the holes I covered the hole on the inside of the boat with tape. Then, I filled a syringe with West Systems epoxy thickened with colloidal silica and carefully filled the holes till they were flush on the outside. I had to refill the syringe about five times. Last, I smoothed the uncovered end with a plastic stir stick and cleaned up any spill over with paper towels wetted with acetone. A few hours later I removed the tape covering the holes on the inside of the boat and the epoxy “plugs” looked good.
Tomorrow, I will drill through the epoxy “plugs” with the 3/16” bit and if I do it right I will have an epoxy sleeve that surround the bolts and keeps any water that get to the bolt from migrating to the wood grain.
So, now I am back where I started. Countersinking the holes in the stanchion bases and support brackets. I’ll place the order for the much easier to find flat head fasteners which are available in many more lengths than the round head fasteners.
Lessons learned. Some of the mistakes were probably unavoidable. I had no reasonable way of knowing that I would need 3 ½” long bolts until I had the all the backing plates in position (over half the bolts worked fine). Also, I had no way of knowing that they don’t make 3 ½” long round head bolts until I needed them . . . who knew? But, the real learning point was I bailed out on the countersinking without really running to ground why the countersink would not cut. I had a good plan that I had researched. A little more time investigating the cutting problem and I could have avoided all this ridiculousness. Sloppy analysis of the cutting issue created a chain of problems that were not necessary. Lesson learned (again) “work the problem” until you are sure you understand what the issue is. I failed to turn known unkowns into known knows.
I decided a while back that I would eliminate the stern pulpit and the bow pulpit. With the windvane, boom gallows, and perhaps a sculling oar the stern pulpit cluttered up the stern of the boat. We will run a safety line across the stern from one stanchion to the other. With the Cape Horn Windvane there is very little room to squeeze through anyway. The rest of the week will be spent working on a mock up bulwark to insure the proper placement of the bulwark support brackets.
I used ash for most of the cleating because it is hard, holds screws well, and is inexpensive. I used oval head screws for wood pieces I want to be able to easily remove without drilling out the bungs. I did not develop a solid protocol for oval head screws so it is somewhat inconsistent. I am pleased with how the varnish on the locker surfaces turned out. All the bare fiberglass will eventually get painted with grey Interlux Bilgekote. I will not apply the bilgekote until I am confident there is no further tabbing required, at least in the area to be painted.
The fasteners arrived for the bulwark brackets so I will start working on them this week.
No boat work tomorrow.