Today, I completed the staving for the double berth. I started this project a few days ago when I made a simple template with doorskin plywood strips and a hot glue gun. I was then sidetracked by the need to install the partial bulkhead that will support cabinetry in the forward cabin and which ties into the double berth. I completed that task yesterday so today it was back to the staving. It was a little tricky covering the narrow wood strip between the drawers with staving but it appears to have come out fine. I won't know for sure till the screw clamps are all removed and I trim all the edges with a flush-cut router bit.
Once that was complete I rigged some straight edges with clamps to "frame in" where the bulkhead would go. Then, I built a template out of doorskin strips and a hot glue gun. Per my normal procedure, I placed the template over some 1/2" BS 1088 ply and cut out the bulkhead. I checked the angle of the hull with a bevel gauge and cut a 15 degree bevel along the backside of the bulkhead. I test fit it to make sure it would be plumb and square. Then I removed 3/8" along the back edge to allow for the closed cell foam wedge that would be placed between the outside edge of the bulkhead and the hull of the Far Reach. I power-planed a 1/16" deep cut 2" wide along both sides of the outside portion of the bulkhead so the tape would lay flush with the surface of the ply. Then, I applied a couple of coats of unthickend epoxy to the outside edge grain of the ply. While it was kicking I sanded and performed an acetone wash-down of the inside of the hull where the tabbing would be placed. I precut the 1708 biaxial and set up the table and plastic sheeting for wetting out the biaxial.
When I was ready, it was simple matter to clamp the bulkhead in place. I previously cut a 15" long cleat from Douglass Fir with a 36 degree angle to secure the bottom inside vertical edge of the bulkhead to the double berth. The cleat provided additional help to hold the bulkhead in place. I wet out the surface of the ply, the hull, and the tape. Applying the tape was quick and easy and the job was complete.
There will need to be some staving here and there and around the galley and nav station but I will work on that later after the forward cabin staving is complete.
There is a real art to making something simple yet elegant at the same time. I am not suggesting I have achieved this lofty goal as I am still very much an amateur, but I continue to work towards that vision. A friend passed along a bunch of photos of the interior of the Pardey's Taleisin. With Larry Pardey's book "Classic Boat Construction" along side I poured over the photos. With the experience I have gained working on the Far Reach, and the brain-lock I have often endured trying to figure out how to approach each project, I am awed by the simple elegance they achieved. All the components are so perfectly worked out. They not only to fit ergonomically perfect but are also easily constructed and repaired. He is truly a master craftsman. Some of their ideas will not work inside the Far Reach due to bulkhead location, deck layout, cockpit foot well depth, etc. But, the philosophy thinking behind their layout and construction methodology continues to shape my thinking about how to build things and not just boats. Simple yet elegant.
I started off forward bulkhead fitting the staving individually just as I had for the rest of the boat. It worked fine but took a lot of extra time going up and down ladders to cut and plane each plank. For the aft bulkhead I decided to take the time to make a template for each section of the bulkhead (two per bulkhead). By doing so I was able to fit the staving to the template on the shop floor. I was able to cut the staving and use the planer to make the rabat cuts before I ever carried the planks into the boat. This saved a fair amount of time and a lot of energy.
I normally use West System Epoxy but the I am using System Three T88 for this project. It does not need to have any thickeners mixed in so it saves some time and it is a little less messy than mixing West epoxy with cabosil. I originally bought it last winter when I first started installing the staving. The T88 can be installed in temps down to 40 degrees and even in high temps like I am experiencing now the pot life is about 45 minutes. You can buy it in pre loaded cartridges that load into a caulking gun. It would certainly make the process easier but it cost about twice as much. I may try a few cartridges and see if it is worth it.
I only had time to install five pieces of staving due to the late start, but also takes a little extra time to get back into the swing of things. I have a good system in place and I hope to compete the installation of the staving on the this particular bulkhead by tomorrow afternoon. The one thing that really complicates it are the angles that have to be cut on the staving as well as some rabbet cuts on the top edge, near the overhead, to accommodate the biaxial tape that stands proud of the surface of the bulkhead. If you have been following along as I have worked on the Far Reach you know that I normally make a rabbet cut on the plywood where the tape will lay to keep it flush with the surface of the plywood. That makes it much easier and faster to install staving over the wood. I believe the work in the saloon will go quickly because there are few odd angles. I usually find its best to do the hardest part first and then you don't have to struggle towards the end of the project when you want to finish it up. Click here for more info on milling and installing staving.
This evening I prepared for installing more staving tomorrow. I moved the epoxy and all the tools I need onto the boat. I started climatizing the staving to the ambient temps.
I have been meaning to post before and after pictures of the gammon iron pattern and the cast gammon iron. I am very pleased with how they came out. It was a real educational experience. Pete Langley at PTF was fantastic walking me through the pattern making process. For more on the making of the gammon iron pattern click here. paragraph to your block, write your own text and edit me.
So, what now? I will start detail planning in the morning but I think the obvious places to start are to make the cuts in the deck for three deck prism lights, drill the holes for the chain-plates, and return to installing the vertical staving in the interior. Once those projects are complete I can begin work on the head, nav station/icebox, etc, at least that is what I am thinking tonight.
The paint looks very good. It's shiny and smooth.
Yesterday I woke up at 0430 and by headlamp wiped the deck of the Far Reach with solvent in order to start rolling and tipping by 0630. After the wipe-down I was drinking my morning coffee and reflecting on the difficulties of the past week. I was forced to admit that I would probably come unhinged if I had another painting disaster. It is apparent that we have simply passed through the spring time weather sweet-spot and to press ahead is to foolishly invite difficulties I don't want. Therefore, with great regret I decided to cease painting till the weather is more supportive--probably in the fall. Truthfully, it was a great let down to acknowledge was not going to accomplish this task before the summer. But it is what it is. We will take some time off and then reorient our efforts.
I suspect I will cut holes for the deck prisms, drill out the holes for the chain plates, and dinghy chalks, and return to installing the mahogany staving. There are lots of other projects. A little time off will be a good thing but I always have some trepidation when I stop work. There is risk when momentum is lost . . . especially after experiencing such an aggravating failure. Progress feeds motivation and continued initiative. Lack of progress creates apathy. 29 May 11: Sanding is my life . . . AKA "It's easy to be hard and hard to be smart, but if you're stupid you better be hard."Yesterday morning I wiped the deck down at 0500 and at 0730 we painted the cockpit, companion way and hatch areas with a second coat of Interlux Perfection. They look pretty good. Our skills are better but the biggest reason for change is we got ahead of the heat. We spent one hour painting. By 0825 when we finished it was 87 degrees on the deck.
Yesterday afternoon I started sanding the topside to remove the curtains and brush marks. As soon as I started sanding the brush marks became more obvious due to the shine being removed from the tops dulling them which contrasted with the shiny troughs. What to do? Sanding more than I originally thought would be required seemed the only acceptable option. There was no way I could live with a finish like that. I spent the entire day today sanding down the remainder of the port side and also completed the starboard side and both sides of the cabin tops . . . it was like "ground-hog day." Even though the relatively fresh paint sanded much easier than the epoxy primer, there are still some brush marks. I am reluctant to sand any deeper because I don't want to sand off the primer and have to start over--that just might put me out on the ledge. My disappointment is too great to either describe or spend any energy being mad about. So far, the exterior priming and painting have been the only disappointment of the rebuilding of the Far Reach . . . everything else has gone swimmingly well. As I sanded away in the heat today sweating like a pig (at 1500 it was still 101 degrees on deck with both transom hatches and all the "barn-doors" open in the shed--I was having flashback to being in the Al Anbar province during August) I considered why this went bad. - I pushed too hard to stay on schedule -- when the gammon iron arrived 6 weeks later than expected I should have shifted the plan and moved the painting to the fall when the temps would acceptable. - I tried to paint in too much heat and humidity not really understanding the problems I would create. Sophisticated two part paints have very specific environmental requirements that should not be ignored. - I think we stroked (tipped) to far back into the previously painted surface not really understanding that it was too hot for the paint to have time to level out. - I tried to paint too much on the first day given the rising heat. This was exacerbated by trying to get the painting completed before upcoming family events which would preclude painting until the fall due to expectation that the summer heat will then be in full swing. - Our general lack of experience with rolling and tipping. Some might think I am being too hard on myself but I don't think so. I have never tried for perfect. I try for very good results in everything I undertake knowing full well that my skills would make perfect unobtainable and a monumental waste of my time and resources. Nonetheless, these are valuable mistakes that I hope not to make again. Also, only documenting the things that go well defeats the purpose of the website . . . it was expected that mistakes would be made. They need to be reported so others can benefit from them just as I have benefited from reading about the mistakes of others. I think it is generally true for most people that we lean more from the things that go wrong than from the things that go right. It's just human nature.
This evening I vacuumed and then wiped the boat down once again. I am undecided if I will attempt to paint in the morning . If I do, I will wipe the deck down at 0430 and start painting the cabin sides by 0630. It may well be that the painting will be put on hold till the fall. Update 1800 27 May 11: I went up on the boat this afternoon. The area around the deck hatches, the companionway, and the cockpit look very good. The gloss is superb and there are few if any visible brush marks. The vertical face of the port side cabin top has a number of curtains. It was in the sun. The vertical face of the starboard side cabin top looks very good. It was in the shade. Most of the cockpit was in the shade. My assessment is that the increasing heat in the shed (it gets warm up high as the heat rises) as well as the sun's UV warming of the boats port side and decks, combined with our lack of experience on vertical surfaces were the culprits. New strategy: Divide the areas to be painted into smaller sections to manage the effect of the heat on the paints self-leveling capabilities. I will lightly sand a few blemishes in the cockpit tonight and we will repaint it and the area around the deck-hatches and companion way in the morning. I will more aggressively sand the cabin sides and hull top-sides on Sunday, to remove the runs and curtains, and we will repaint them early in the week.
With that said, we applied the first coat of Interlux Perfection after an exhausting week of sanding and prep work. After sanding yesterday, I vacuumed the outside of the boat and performed a solvent wipe down with 2333N. I performed another wipe down at 0600 and we started rolling about 0800 this morning.
Scroll-down for more photos.
We started out painting the hatches on supports in the garage. We began by thinning 5 percent--a mistake. It was too thick and we had a few runs. Our learning curve was vertical. We immediately added thinner and went to 10 Percent. I'll need to build some more supports since there was not adequate room between the locker-lids to roll and tip properly. We then went up onto the boat and painted around the deck and companion-way hatches. Then, we painted cabin sides. Next, we painted the cockpit. This took us to the three hour mark. Lots of intricate work. We were also continuing to develop a workable technique for rolling and tipping. The heat was really starting to rise. We finished up the first batch of paint and stopped to make more. Its about a 30-40 minute process by the time you stir, mix, let the paint sit for 20 min, stir in the thinner, and then transition back to painting. When we left the deck it was 97 degrees on the cabin top. You can't really expect the paint to work its best at that high a temperature.
We dropped down onto the shed floor and painted under the stern counter on the port side and then started forward on the scaffolding rolling vertically and tipping horizontally. By now the port side of the boat was warm due to the sun shinning through the shed plastic on that side. This was the area that gave us the most trouble. The paint was still too thick and the surface of the boat was so warm that the paint was setting up before we could fully tip it out. We had the most runs, sags, and holidays there. Once we moved around to the starboard side we had better success. We finally found a good rhythm and that side of the boat was better shaded, though the temps inside the shed were quite warm . . . about 97 degrees on the cabin top and about 88 degrees six feet above the floor. We finished up 5 hours after we started . . . much longer than I expected.
The current plan is to sand a few areas in the cockpit and around the hatches this evening. Then paint them again in the morning. As long as we paint the next day there is no need to do further sanding. This will allow us to paint a limited amount of surface area in the morning before it gets too hot. Sunday I'll sand the sides of the cabin and the topsides with 320 grit. Then during the first of the week we will apply another coat to the cabin sides and topsides. This will allow us to paint those two areas in the early morning as well taking advantage of the cooler temps.
On the good side, I think the extensive fairing work I undertook to glass the hull-deck joint together, the hundreds of holes I filled on the cabin top, and the extensive patches I applied to fill in instrument and engine control hoes came out very good.
We used 30 oz to paint the locker lids, around the hatches, companionway, and cockpit. We used about 50 oz to paint the topsides. Much less paint that I expected.
Lessons learned:-Anything above 85 degrees is going to cause problems. -Probably best to thin to 10 percent right from the beginning if you are painting vertical surfaces. -We tried several styles of brushes. White china bristles seem to work fine--"Sea-Fit Flag-Ship" from West Marine or Redtree Badger Hair Brush (they are the same brush sold under different labels--I called Redtree and talked to their brush engineer). -We seem to settle on rolling vertical and tipping horizontally. -We tipped back towards the wet-edge.-We used 30 oz of paint/converter (not including thinner) for the locker lids, cabin sides, companionway area, and cockpit.-We used 50 oz of paint/converter (not including thinner) for the topsides.-We used 4" long "Whizz" white foam rollers (as recommended by the Interlux tech reps).
I probably have two more days of sanding and prep work before we can paint. Sanding is now my life . . . . .
It was very hot today. I was soaked with sweat but much happier painting vice sanding in the heat. Because I was able to keep some air moving through the shed with the downwind doors and transom hatch open I did not don my respirator which I normally wear. I don't take a decision like that lightly. I think I am pretty safety conscious about the work I do but the reality is today I would have had heat stroke.
Tomorrow we start sanding but with any luck this will be the final sanding before applying Interlux "Perfection" two part LPU finish paint. I imagine it will take two or three days to get the surfaces smooth enough.
Ugghhh. It's been a very painful couple of days to say the least. The short version is this: I read the data sheet on Primekote. I discussed the procedures with the Interlux Tech rep. I applied the primer and it bubbled. I foolishly kept going thinking that since I had followed all the steps to the letter (or so I thought at the time) that the bubbles would evaporate (what was I thinking?). They were there as soon as the rollers moved across the boat. After the first batch I called Interlux and they said I was "not using enough thinner--go to 30 percent" I should even "make sure the rollers have some thinner wiped on them." Silly me. I added more. The bubbles got worse. The definition of insanity to do the same thing over the same way and expect a different result. Finally, I called Interlux again and talked to a different rep. "You are using too much thinner. No more than 20% max. It was too little, too late. The damage was done.
Mad and frustrated do not accurately depict my mental condition at the time. But, I had to get over it. All I could do was to get the sanders fired up and get too work. The bubbles went nearly all the way to the bottom of the new primer layer. The sanding was very difficult--a quick pass with 120 grit on an RO sander then 220 grit on a finish sander. Nine hours of very difficult sanding the first day to get to a smooth coat on just the topside. Twelve hours the second day for the cabin top and cockpit. Hot, tired, and wore out. The "Agony On Me" theme song from the old Hee-Haw variety show kept running through my head. It would have killed the average man . . . . :-)
This morning we tried again. Much better. No bubbles. I may need another coat of primer but I won't know till I start sanding. Moral of the story. Before you start a project like this know what the result is supposed to look like and what it is not supposed to look like and stop if you don't get the former. Oh, one more thing--go easy on the thinner.
I'll provide more details when my mental state is a little more rational.
I retaped the waterline using the same method I used before (click here for the technique I used) but did a much better job than the first time. It looks very nice to my eye. I retaped the waterline using the same method I used before (click here for the technique I used) but did a much better job than the first time. It looks very nice to my eye.
This afternoon, I walked around the boat circling any dings or unfair spots with a pencil. I marked for the areas that needed filler added as well as those areas that need additional sanding. Then, I mixed up some sky-blue colored Interlux Water-Tite epoxy filler and filled in the designated spots. It is apparent to me that I'll need to lightly sand the entire boat tomorrow. I found a number of spots that had the smallest vestige of stipple left over from rolling the Awl-Quick primer on last year. I remember struggling to get through it last year so I am not surprised to find it now as I examine the boat very closely. This should be much easier as the sanding requirement is pretty light. I'll use the vacuum attachment to control the dust since I washed out the shed about a week ago preparing for the upcoming painting. The Far Reach looks ready for the next step but she also looks very sterile and plain sitting there with her dull white matt primer. She and I are both ready for her to have some new clothes.
Last night, about 0200 we had a huge electrical storm. Some of the longest rolling thunder I can recall every hearing . . . like an endless artillery barrage. Everyone in the house was up. It lasted about 90 minutes.
Today, I taped off the portholes with plastic and tape. Then, I spent about two hours washing off about a year's worth of grime. Tomorrow I'll perform a 202 wash down on the deck and topsides. Then, if I have time, I'll repair any dings with Interlux, Water-Tite epoxy filler.