Thursday, December 23, 2010

December 23, 2010

New clamp boards are in place on the port side. Upper and lower with staggered scarfs about 20 feet long spanning from the lazarette to the engine room. Epoxied and screwed in place.

Bulkhead sanded and primed. The tank pad was made to bring the forward end of the tank up a 3/4 to allow the tank to run dry when empty. (The fittings are on the inboard face of the tank so it can be slid around.) The tanks are set outboard of the shaft alleys so they can be inspected and serviced.

Battery boxes are in place, engine room bulkhead is primed.

New absorbed glass mat 8D batteries. These are heavier than wet cell 8D's. Fun to tote around!

New roof beams for cabin roof overhang. We laminated full 16 foot 1 x4 pine, C and better... cherry picked for no knots and straight grain. We make the form out of 2x8's and skin the top with plywood. Then stick packing tape to the forms top, and align the first beam to the outside edge, and use blocks of the same dimensions to space them. Each layer is screwed in a staggered pattern, with epoxy and cabosil mixed to ketchup consistency. The beam is kept square by pushing or pulling the twist out of each layer until the face is smooth. On narrower pieces, we rip them all without changing the setting on the table saw so they are identical width. The boards are sanded on both faces, and set on the jig with one end butted to the jig. The jig is marked for centerline, and the beams are marked afterward. We are making 16 foot beams, but only need around 14 so we can cut off the excess, and make certain the ends of the finished beams have tight glue lines. The ends of laminations often fight you when pulling them down.

Tight working conditions, but we make it work... We are making 8 total, so that we can clear span the overhang and put a decent sized dinghy on top without springing the beams. The sawn ones in the old roof were doubled 2x material, this will be much stronger as several of the sawn beams had cracked at the grain run out in the ends.

We'll be be working on the starboard side clamp boards, and tank platforms after Christmas. The port fuel tank will be filled with fuel, to give an average weight to the aft end of the boat. Together when full the tanks will weigh just under 10k pounds, which means the aft end of the boat is going to go down in the water quite a bit. Since we are doing all of this floating, we have to do a good bit of weight shifting and forward thinking to make sure things look right. All this fuel talk is so that we can build the aft wall of the cabin, and build it plumb.

Thats all for now,


Friday, December 17, 2010

December 17 2010... Pictures

New ribs in the lazarette.  New bulkhead framing, as right at the hull it was in sorry shape...
Paint missing, as the planks of the hull were sanded and the ribs epoxied to them.  Hopefully I won't be the guy in 20 years reworking the planking on the port side...  The ribs are made of 1/4 inch thick pine, 3 1/4 wide.  Built up to a thickness of 2 1/4.  This picture is missing the middle clamp board.  The lower one is in place, and epoxied in.  

 New Lazarette bulkhead...  Epoxy coated, sanded to 80 grit and ready for primer.  Starboard side is much the same.

New frames in engine room.  Middle floor timbers (what would be floor joists in a house) ran at a funny angle.  You can see the bare wood where the original frames ran.  We compromised between the two runs of where it is, and where it should be...  68 year old boats.

The new wood on the floors is a pad to flatten out the run where the fuel tank is going.  We added 3/4 of an inch to the forward side to make certain that when both tanks are empty you'll be able to run the tanks dry, which means less sediment in the tanks.

The clamp is holding the scarf of the new clamp board running from the engine room to the lazarette...  It is easier to through bolt a scarf joint, after you can take out the screws and bore the holes and everything stays put. 
We made more curved corners...  For the aft wall of the cabin.  

The fiberglass work continues on days that seem suitable...  added infusion of technology to make things work.  Wind chill doesn't effect fiberglass...  Infrared thermometer makes it easy to balance out the cold spots between the light from 250 watt heat lamps.

New ladder...  So we can run stuff on the table saw and not have to move our surplus stainless yacht rail around.

We also made a pedestal for the new generator, two layers of 3/4 plywood epoxied together.  Rounded over, and fiberglassed, microballooned and puttied.  Ready for primer.

Next up:
Get the fuel tanks sitting on rubber strips, and wedged in place.
Set the generator, plumb for fuel, water, and exhaust.
Fill the fuel tanks half full.
Hang a plumb bob and define the angle of the aft wall of the cabin.  (Half full tanks splits the difference of empty and full.)

Build the back wall of the cabin, and rework the overhang.  The old roof was cut back to get the fuel tanks in with a straight shot from the crane.

Thats all for now,


Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 10 2010

Today we continued replacing frames on the port side of the boat from the tank room to the lazarette.   13 will be replaced, we are alternating every other frame so that Noel doesn't loose her shape.  We are using 3 1/4 inch wide x 3/8s inch thick kiln dried pine strips and epoxy, slid up under the shear clamp and notched into her sawn knees at the bottom end.

Since it hit a high of 55 degrees, we fiberglassed the rear deck.  We laid two strips 4 feet by 20 down the middle before calling it started getting cold.  It is a slow process to work with glass in the winter outdoors.  The resin flows like honey, and takes its time wetting out the cloth.  You have to heat up the resin and hardener to make them viscous enough to mix, as even sitting in the sun all day 5 gallons of resin doesn't flow very well after a 30 degree night.  The deck being 55 degrees, means it turns the resin back into honey.  That means it puddles under the glass when you wet the plywood on deck requiring you to squeedgee the excess from under the cloth, as it is now to thick to wet through the cloth.  If you leave the puddles, when you come back to fair the surface all the fiberglass gets sanded off, as the puddles are high spots.

Since we had a high of only 55, we were using fast hardener.  Things get interesting doing large surfaces with fast hardener.  We mixed 3 liter batches, only because my latest batch of mixing buckets liters is easier to see.  Grin.  West Systems epoxy works with 5 parts resin, 1 part hardener.

Once heated up the resin and hardener are mixed, after which you have a limited time window to spread out the resin on the cloth, before it cools back off and gels... or if you leave it in the mixing pot, the fast hardener has a pot life at 72 degrees of only 9-12 minutes.

With two people it isn't that bad, but both have to be in constant motion of rolling on the epoxy on the deck, the underside of the cloth.  Then the cloth is laid down, the top layer of cloth is then rolled with epoxy.  The cloth is then unrolled moving forward, while one goes back to squeedgee the excess out from under and off the top of the cloth, followed by air rolling with a ribbed roller...  Sometime between these acts, more epoxy is mixed and the process is restarted as it takes 2-3 minutes to mix a pot of resin of this size thoroughly enough that there are no spots that never harden.

It can be frustrating, wasteful, and risky doing glass work in winter... the show must go on.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 8th 2010

Today we had a high temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheit...

We put the final touches on the lazarette bulkhead, after having stripped (laminated thin wood strips together with epoxy) the frame in place.

We ground down the rest of the fasteners along the port side in the tank room, which awaits 6 new frames tomorrow.

I spent spent most of the day out on deck removing the screws and fender washers from the deck, and grinding off the glue blobs.  I have a bit of shaping to do to the rear deck.  The stern at the transom runs on a slightly different camber than the rest of the boat, from last falls repair.  We are getting ready for fiberglass on Friday.  Friday is supposed to be in the 50's, and with a heater down below deck we should have no problems fiberglassing the deck...  Though by no means a cake walk, as we'll be using fast hardener!

All for now,


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sunday December 4th

This week we finished locking the deck beams in place. We tied the beams together with a 2x8. We had to put a jack post under the front two to bring them up to an even line with the deck.

We had to cut out a 3 foot section of deck the width of the engine hatch, to strengthen the repair. Lest their be a section of the deck with 3 foot deck boards. Noel has a hatch built into her deck between two massive timbers to make it easy to repower her.

The boards were #1 kiln dried pine decking boards as they are the clearest of knots and sap pockets. They also come planed to 1 inch. The boards on Noels deck were 1 1/8th red fir. We picked up the pace by not having to run all 35 1x6's through a planer to bring 2x material down to size.

Noel was planked by popping a string down the center of her frames, and laying a board to each side of the centerline, working out on each side to a distance around 8 inches from the edge of the deck where she had cover boards that were cut with notches to allow each board on her deck run out square into the cover board instead of tapering to nothing. This is called a gunstock, which looks like... well, a gunstock. This may be a local term, haven't seen it in a book.

This is the fastest way to deck a boat, as you don't have to fit all the deck planks to the curve of the outboard edges of her deck. Since her deck planks don't curve, they don't need a king plank in the center to allow them all to notch in full width rather than running into nothing, or alternating sides in a herringbone pattern. Just lay the cover board on top of the beams and scribe it from the inside, and the outside... flip it over and cut it.

We spread epoxy on the beams with an empty caulk gun tube.

We screwed down the 1x6's which we ripped to 1x5 so they would lay in Noels existing spacing without having to notch anything. All told we used closed to a thousand 2 1/2 inch stainless screws.

That concluded Wednesday...

Thursday we sanded 7 sheets of 1/2 inch marine grade plywood and started fitting them. We had some grinding and fitting work that took most of the morning so that the plywood overlapped and tied new wood to old. I ground an 1/8th inch off the existing boards to make everything kosher so that the plywood would lay to it.

We then ground off the heads of any buggered up screws, sanded the deck to take off any high spots in the planks and laid down and fitted our plywood.

I wanted to try drilling air relief holes in the plywood to see that the board was making contact with the glue as it pulled down. Normally we mix up epoxy with cabosil to peanut butter consistency and squeeze everything together with 1 5/8 square drive screws. The thick epoxy and lack of relief for the air means that the plywood doesn't always lay perfectly on the surface of the deck. On a side deck, or the tapering bow it doesn't make much of a difference when fairing for paint.

The stern deck is a wide and doesn't taper out much, I wanted to make certain that the plywood was pulled down to the deck boards so that the crown remained consistent everywhere. I slipped the same square drive screws through some 3/16ths stainless fender washers. (Stainless works better with epoxy, as it doesn't adhere quite as tenacious as it does to steel.)

This is how we laminate transoms, and did the section of the back deck last year.

I spread thickened epoxy on the deck, and the plywood with a notched spreader.

It took a little more than 40 ounces of mixed epoxy per 4x8 sheet of plywood. I mix out of 5 quart mixing buckets on projects this scale. It took 48 ounces of cabosil per bucket to make a mix that just would stay up in peaks after it I spread it, but no thicker. To thick and it makes it hard to get the panels to fit in place. I lay one side of the plywood going down against the sheet that is already glued, and kick it into place with the cleated heel of my boot. If it is to tight, or won't go... a block of wood and a hammer. Don't hammer on the end grain of plywood it splinters.

We fit each of the plywood sheets in its home, and put black marker lines across each of the seams taking up one row at a time to glue, leaving all the rest in place. You get some glue on the next row that is currently dry, but everything goes together perfectly without having to sand or cut off pieces that no longer fit. We staggered the joints so that there were no straight lines across the width of the boat, which is much stronger than just laying the sheets where 4 corners come together.

From there it was a matter of screwing everything down. Fender washers make life easy... Lay them all as pictured in the photo stacking up with a width just wider than your fingers. With your hand palm down swoop in and grab 5 or 6. Flip your hand palm up, and start your screws between your fingers. This is the easiest way to do the job. (see pictures)

I put a screw about every 10 inches square, and added one here and there along the edges to pull it where the seams are smooth.

Since it was 44 degrees today, I was using Fast hardener. I had a big kerosene wick heater under the deck cooking for an hour or two, until the deck started to warm up. It took two heat lamps to bring my resin up to normal consistency... 60-65 degrees. To much hotter than that and fast goes atomic before you can work with it. I used 4 mixing pots, just for resin so I didn't have to heat all my resin, just what I was about to use. Boat projects don't feel wind chill... but it did make for a long Saturday for me!

Thats all for now...


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 24, 2010

We put in the deck beams today, with the exception of the one that is crooked at the back... As there is a bit of repair needed at that location.

The beams are pretty close to fair as they sit, the forward two are wedged partially under the sides of the deck, and will require a bit of shimming to bring them up to the line of the rest of the deck.

The work we are doing over the tank room is going back together with #1 treated kiln dried deck boards, which we have ripped the radius off each side allowing for a tighter fit. The original decking was 1 1/8th red fir, the salt treated boards are southern yellow pine. On top of that, we will epoxy a layer of 1/2 inch marine grade plywood, staggering the seams. Once that is down, we will fiberglass two layers of 1708 biaxial glass cloth over the top... then fair it smooth and prime for paint.


Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

Last friday we had a crane come by to set the new fuel tanks and generator in place on board Noel.

We finished cutting out the side decks along the length of the hole and started fitting the 11 new deck frames that are going in. We kept the toe rails, and an inch and an inch and a half of deck to the inside of them. We'll be blocking in between her deck beams from her plank out to the inside of the shear clamp to tie the new work to the old.

Noel's hull was framed on varying spacings from 10 inches to 14 inches, so her deck frames set in front of each of those frames. On account that half the frames have been sistered and are offset from where they started out life... we are putting the deck beams in on 12 inch spacing to make things a bit easier.

We went ahead and cut out the old bulkhead at the lazarette, as it was a patch work quilt of repairs... So the new one will be hung in place on the new deck beam, and we will be laminating a new set of frames for it to tie into the hull. These will be strips of wood 2 1/4 wide and 9/16ths thick in order to conform to the shape of the hull, we then take epoxy and lay the next strip in place screwing it to the first, and continue to the desired thickness, this is generally three inches, from there we scribe blocking to fit in the harshest part of the radius. We then stand up studs, and stud out the inside of the bulkhead. In this case, a true 2 by 2 1/4 on 12 inch centers. The plywood face is then fit into the hull, and epoxied in place. With the deck off, you scribe the bottom plywood sheet to the hull, then scribe the top sheet to the hull. We then mark the top as it lays against the deck beam, cutting it close and then rolling a router with a flush trim bit right across the top.

No pictures at this point, forgot to grab the camera!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

A cockpit? Drawing of some recent ponderings...

Last night we laminated 5 of the 7 deck beams required for the tank room out of douglas fir. 2 1/4 wide by 3 inches tall and 16 feet long. Being that the availability of 16 foot 4x10's is scarce, we had to stray from our normal method of sawn deck beams on the band saw. So, we made a mold out of two 2x10's cut to the curve of her deck and skinned it in plywood. I spent the morning sanding and ripping 3/4 inch thick douglas fir into strips... then we bent them over the mold and and screwed, glued them with epoxy and cabosil and clamped everything in place.

With the back deck cleared off, Noel is crying out for a cockpit... Certainly a different side profile possibility!


Friday, November 12, 2010

November 12, 2010

A ballad of destruction has been sung this week... Chain saws, sawzalls, and really big skill saws have been put to work. Given rest breaks, when the 5 foot long pry bars and splitting mauls came into play.

The back of the cabin is moving forward 8 feet 6 inches, essentially one window spacing. The ceiling had to move out of the way in order for the crane to be able to drop the fuel tanks in place. With the white Awlgrip paint job on the tanks we didn't want to man handle them into place with come alongs and pry bars like we pulled the old steel tanks out.

We added plywood knees to the sawn frames under the fuel tanks which takes a surprising amount of time to fit and epoxy in place.

While we were down there, we squared, leveled and adjusted the sole (walking surface) of the lazarette and tank room so that it was all one level to make it a smooth surface to roll around the new generator.

Back to the big hole in the deck...

The back deck had been 9 feet deep from the back door to the transom. This will be stepped up to 17 feet, allowing room for outdoor sitting and cooking areas. I have always joked that Noel could sleep 12 in supreme comfort... but on the back deck 4 was to many for sundowners.

We are reworking 15 feet of the deck, from our new back deck to the start of the engine hatch. Noel has a hatch built into her above the engines, allowing for their removal. The trouble, is that on a 68 year old boat things start to sag and her deck as people cut hatches and deck over them a fair number of the deck beams were compromised over this 15 foot stretch. The lumps and bumps wouldn't iron out with fairing so we are putting in new beams and a new deck.

We'll also be replacing the lazarette bulkhead, as it stood proud of the rest of the beams and had to be cut in order for us to remove the deck.

The back wall you see in the pictures is temporary and much further forward than where it will be at completion.

All for now!


Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24, 2010

We were rushed off the railway three weeks ahead of schedule... so another job could go up.

After 3 weeks of working till our pants fell off sunrise to sunset and beyond... we made it happen.

Nevertheless, we have reworked the steering gear to go from chain and cable to hydraulic. This entailed removing the existing rudder table and having a thousand dollars worth of machine work done to the rudder shafts to straighten the blades and cut a straight section long enough to install an upper bearing and tiller arm. Bircher Machine Incorporated did the machine work on the shafts, Jim is a great fellow to work with and made it possible for us to get back in the water in time by coming in over the weekend.

We took everything out down to the hulls planks, and started fresh with marine plywood laminated together for rudder blocks. Inside this, we installed a fiberglass tube. Inside the fiberglass tube, we bedded down the existing 3 1/2 inch rudder tubes and packing gland back filling it with epoxy and cotton fiber, with 3M 5200 around the top flange.

With that done, it is our hope that no water will be able to get into the planking or plywood sheath around her hull.

Next up we moved the stern thruster from the port side to the starboard side to get it as low in the water as possible. We had to cut one of the flanges down so that it would not hang below the boat.

Next we installed the brackets for the swim platform.

Photo's of this saga are missing some stages, as we didn't have a chance to slow down for much.
We put the rudders in, drilled the shaft collars and were pushed overboard within minutes... So no rudder shots.

Next week we will be plumbing the hydraulic steering system, installing the tillers and tie bar... and generally tying up loose ends that need attention from speeding along the last few weeks.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5th 2010

Since my last posting we have made some substantial progress.

The starboard fuel tank started weeping diesel, so we cut a hole in the deck large enough to slide both of the 5 ft x 5 ft x 3ft tanks out on deck. Each tank has around 540 gallons capacity. These two steel tanks are being replaced by a pair of coast guard approved aluminum tanks made by RDS down in Florida.

While the tanks are out, we removed the rear bulkhead of the engine room that had been patched in places, and are replacing it.

We removed both generators from her engine room, and purchased a Caterpillar C15 with a sound enclosure.

Moving outside, we finished removing the bulwarks on her bow. We pulled up the exterior plywood on her foredeck and put down a layer of half inch marine grade plywood bedded in epoxy. It was a repeat of the rear deck and side decks... pull it up, scrape tar and grind to bare wood. Right now we are working on the new toe rail that will widen towards the stem and gain height as it runs forward, trying to recapture some of her original lines.

While we have been working on the toe rail, it has come to our attention that the rub rails aren't straight... nor the same profile throughout their run. We'll be correcting that, so your first impression walking down the dock is that of a yacht.

The winch head and anchor chute have been removed, as while they are stainless... they were not a high enough grade to take and hold a mirror finish without rust spots reappearing. The owner wanted an all chain rode, so we tracked down two electric anchor windlasses. Anchorlift Aquarius, for those wanting a sneak peek... Two shots of 300 foot G14 3/8ths acco anchor chain are in her chain locker, with crosby alloy shackles. She had originally 3/8ths BBB, but the G14 offers substantially higher working loads.

The chain brought her bow down a bit. The bulwarks being removed took it back up a bit. Setting nearly 2 tons of steel tanks on her stern deck brought the bow up a bit... All these changes in short succession are the primary reason we have gone back to mechanical work and put the interior on hold. If the boat isn't trimmed out (meaning loaded with what she will carry normally...) the counter tops and beds will run at a different slope once she is loaded.

We made the choice to haul out for hurricane Earl, and are back out on the railway until mid October.

We'll be dropping the rudders, and having some machine work done on the rudder shafts to convert to hydraulic steering. The original chain and cable still functions, but it has enough questionable pieces that we want a fresh start.

While we are out, I will be moving the stern thruster further down. When I put it in after building her new transom, I goofed and put it much to high, trying to avoid cutting into her stern timber. They make snorkels to help with shallow installations, but I'd rather have it as low as it can go before adding something that makes it quite difficult to change props and replace zincs.

Speaking of thrusters, we've moved away from hydraulics on board and have on order electric heads to replace the hydraulics on the thrusters. When we went electric on the windlasses, it made sense to go electric for the rest.

Pictures of all that has been going on... soon.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18 2010

The last few weeks have been spent rebuilding the port side decks, reframing and plywooding the cabin sides. The plywood is all 1/2 inch marine grade, the studs are kiln dried #1 2x4's.

For the most part this half of the job was a rinse and repeat of the starboard side. The old plywood decking was rotten in a few places, with some fiberglass delamination. The cabin side wall had a pucker midway down it, and a few patches that needed to go. We decided the fastest course of action was to strip everything bare and start fresh. Once the plywood was up off the deck, we had to scrape and grind the layer of tar which was poured down when the boat was rebuilt the last go round. After the tar was up, we replaced a few bad deck planks and faired the decks to take off the high spots along her shear line to keep the toe rail fair down the line.

We discovered the side decks are narrower on her port side than starboard, and the wall follows a slightly different angle... Which in laymans terms is just another way of saying she is a boat. If we were building her from scratch, it'd be a more symmetrical boat... but there is a reasonable level of compromise on things, lest the project never reach completion.

We squared off the window openings, brought the port side door aft 16 inches, and added another set of windows center way on the wall. The rear most windows were running at a different angle to rest, trying to add some more shear to her lines. From Noel's middle aft, she doesn't have a whole lot of shear... so it looked a bit off to the eye.

When the new plywood was down on the deck, we built a toe rail along her edge matching what we did on the starboard side. Two layers of #1 salt treated 2x6's, the top planed down to an inch and a quarter thick. From there they were cut to fit around her waist, and scribed on the underside. The bottom layer was worked true with a long bench plane, and a 7 inch grinder to knock off the highs. The top was cut with a flush trim router bit. Then everything was disassembled with story marks, and reinstalled with west systems epoxy and a load of screws.

We are still in the process of developing her lines, the bulwarks on the front will end up being modified, at the very least a new cap rail will go on, blended to the toe rail. The blue tape on her in the top picture shows a few of the proposed ideas.

Moving inside, we have been priming and fairing the surfaces to be painted down below. That is a short sentence, but I'm beginning to believe the most expensive part about building a boat second to labor... is sandpaper.

We are using the Awlgrip system for paint and primers. Fairing compound we've been working with Awlfair, as well as Alexseals dark grey compound, and here lately system three's silver tip... which pulls the smoothest of them all.

Most surfaces are to an 80 grit finish. Which means we are past skimming with fairing compound with plastic spreaders, and have started spraying 2 part epoxy primers and sprayable fairing compounds. Very seldom does an electric sander come out, from here out its pneumatic airfiles, hutchins in case you are wondering, and human powered long boards.

Things are progressing nicely, when the weather gives us a break we will be glassing the port side cabin, toe rail, and deck. We'll move outside and make a big push, to try and get the boat into primer before it becomes to hot this summer.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

April 24 2010

This update shows the stage of the starboard side decks and cabin wall. Fiberglassed and faired. We are using Awlgrips Awlfair for the pink stuff. In boat yard slang, it's been pinked!

The staircase went through another spraying of Awlquick (a sprayable fairing compound) and some spot filling minor imperfections.

Sanding, sanding, sanding... It takes a lot of sand paper to build a boat.

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23 2010

We added a hanging locker, and a chest of drawers to the guest stateroom, and are continuing to work with the interior design to end up with the best utilization of space possible.

The staircase is in primer. It has been Awl Faired, Awl Quicked, sprayed in 545 primer, and now has a coat of sprayable fairing compound on it. It's turned out to be a surprisingly large surface. Lots of time has been spent long boarding to

The starboard side had a leak in the rain a few weeks ago, so we pulled up the plywood and glass off the deck, cut off the bulwarks off and stripped the plywood off the walls.

New 1/2 inch marine grade plywood went back down, on top of a few new boards. We used west systems epoxy thickened with cabosil to glue the new in place.

Once the deck was in place, we stood up new walls of 1/2 inch marine grade plywood, epoxy coating the back side and edges. With the boat water tight once more, we focused on the toe rail.

Using the cleanest kiln dried #1 2x6's we scribed the curve of the hull, and cut them down to 4 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches tall. They are epoxied in place, with 3 inch screws peppered through out.

With that done, the top edge of the rub rail was ground down, smoothing out the intersection between toe rail and rub rail for the new glass.

We glassed the deck, up and over the toe rail all in one shot. This was made a bit easier by the 1.5 inch radius on the corners of the toe rail.

As of yesterday, the cabin wall is glassed as well with a layer of microballoons fairing out the surface.

Now the sanding begins!