Monday, December 30, 2013

Engine Template (Beta 38)

In the early evening I set out to release the recently laminated mast compression block from its clamps.  As can be seen below, there was ample squeeze-out of the thickened epoxy binding these laminations together.  Over the next couple days, I will take time to clean up the surfaces and then bond two layers of 1708 biaxial cloth to further prepare for its installation.  As fun as that was, the primary focus of today's work was to build a template of the proposed engine installation - Beta 38.

First order of business was to deconstruct the pallet I had around the shop over the last couple of months.  The pallet delivered a load of meranti, and while it was not cabinet or marine grade plywood, it was good enough for an engine template.  

I started by ripping the board down to a more manageable size, with a width sufficient enough for the maximum dimension of the engine.  Next I found what would be the center line of the shaft / gearbox output - I struck this line down the length of the board.  Next, I found the maximum starboard dimension from the center line at ~9" - happens to be the air filter.  Alternately, on the port side, I found the maximum dimension to be ~10.5" - the alternator.  So from here, I had the maximum width of the engine, and struck two lines the length of the board to represent these measurements.  I then rip cut the board along these two lines, arriving at a width representative of the engine's overall width.

I then found the location of the center lines of the flexible motor mounts, roughly 8 and 1/8" from the shaft / gearbox output center line, and struck two lines the length of the board.  From the aft end of the board I measured and found the locations of the centers of the four flexible motor mounts, and then pre-drilled the board to secure the four blocks shown below and which represent the motor mounts. The Beta motor mounts have a vertical adjustment of roughly 1" - from 65mm to 90mm.  The blocks used to represent the motor mounts were cut at 3", or a the mid-point of the adjustment range.  Using the mid-point of the adjustment range in the template process, after finding the engine's future resting place, would allow for fine-tuning of the engine's actual installation. 

The template with "motor mounts" attached.

With the 'motor mounts' secured, I turned my attention to securing two blocks, forward and aft, to accept a string that will eventually be run from the shaft log and which will represent the shaft itself.  The center point of the shaft happen to be 3.1" below of the bottom surface of the engine template.  The bottom of the engine template represents the bottom surface of the engine feet - the engine feet are essentially angle irons which secure the engine to the flexible motor mounts.  It is worth noting here that the center point of the shaft / gearbox output is the datum from which all other measurements are taken.

With the engine template constructed, I'm looking forward to finding out if the factory engine pan is a "go" or "no go."

Total Time: 3 Hrs.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mast Compression Block, Interior Cabin Side Prep, Chores

After the excitement of the Christmas holiday, I took some time for a different kind of rest and relaxation - boat building.  Spending a "half-hour or so" in the boat, or the shop, often translates, literally, into hours!  Good times.  The goal for the short amount of time I had was to bond together the various laminations of the mast compression block, but quickly expanded into a few tasks that needed to be completed.  Before I went straight into bonding together the laminations of the compression block, forming one solid block, I brought the material into the boat for a dry fit.  I vacuumed up the fiberglass dust, from the last marathon round of interior surface prep, in and just around the targeted work area, solvent washed the keel underneath the floor timber at the mast bulkheads, and then placed the compression block in place for a dry fit.  The keel steps up roughly 5" inches at the forward end of the main salon - just aft of the mast bulkheads - and continues forward with a slight upward slope.  I placed the compression block on the keel and slide it underneath the floor timber.  The floor timber (a lamination of 4 18mm meranti boards) is installed level; however, due to the upward sloping keel, the void between the top of the mast compression block and the underside of the floor timber varied in dimension from front to back (sorry, no pic).  The aft portion of the void was roughly 1/4", and the forward portion roughly 3/16".  Most of the void would be filled with two layers of 1708 biaxial glass - to be installed prior to installation; and the balance of the void will be filled with colloidal silica-thickened epoxy used to bed the mast compression block in place.  The idea is to create structure from the mast step down to the keel, thereby transferring the load of the mast directly to the keel.  I will install a mast compression post  of Brazilian cherry (roughly 2" X 4") from the cabin overhead to the top of the floor timber - completing the mast step to keel structure.

The mast compression block consisted of four 6" X 6" solid fiberglass boards as the base, followed by a 6" square 8/4 teak block, and capped with a 1/2" purpleheart square.  The glass board will protect the compression block from lingering bilge moisture, and the density of the wood material will serve to provide great structure for transferring the mast load to the keel.

I painted out all surfaces with straight epoxy (no thickening agents), and then immediately came back with an application of epoxy thickened with colloidal silica applied to surfaces that would be bonded.

I wrapped the compression block laminations in plastic, applied 1/2" teak scrap to the exterior and clamped the block tightly while it cured.  The next step will be to apply two layers of 1708 biaxial cloth to help fill in most of the existing void between the top of the mast compression block and the underside of the floor timber.  As stated above, the balance of the void would be filled by thickened epoxy.

After the compression block was left to cure, I turned to cleaning out the smaller shop vac - the one dedicated to the boat.  The fiberglass dust does a quick job of clogging the vac's filter, to the point where it will fail to pick up large fragments.  This was a time-consuming chore, but necessary.

While I was in the boat dry-fitting the mast compression block, I noticed that I had only partially prepped the cabin sides.  This would be the last of the interior surface prep.  I started by removing a small amount of mahogany trim with a 1/4" wood chisel.  Most of this paneling had been removed a while back with a simple pry bar; however, a few stubborn areas remained.  Removing these well-bonded areas by hand would prove less difficult and time-consuming as opposed to using the sander.   With those areas at least 95% taken care of by the chisel, I set out to prep the port and starboard cabin sides.  Using my Porter Cable 7335 (outfitted with a 6" PSA pad), I made relatively quick work of the port side... 

...and the starboard side.  A few voids presented themselves through the prep sanding, and will be filled prior to applying the new wood paneling.

Before I closed up the boat, I brought the factory engine pan back down into the engine room for another test fit.  I was curious to see the fit of the engine pan after having just cut out the old engine beds.  It's a great looking engine pan, and sits very well in place.  The issue I am presented with is the engine's (Beta 38) oil pan and sump clearance, as well as getting access into the deepest part of the bilge - just below the engine pan. I believe I can overcome the engine clearance issue by bonding 3/4" G-10 boards on either side.  The G-10 boards would then be drilled and tapped to accept the motor mounts.  The added height would allow the engine's oil pan to clear the lower portion of the engine pan.  The second challenge: access to the bilge.  The roughly 12" long access just aft of the engine pan (see the "black hole") would be all I would have to get an arm down there.  Perhaps I could cut out a bit of the aft portion of the pan to allow better access...

Total Time: 4 Hrs.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Finished Up Interior Surface Prep

Today I completed the interior sanding, surface prep, in anticipation of further bulkhead installations as well as furniture.  Over the coarse of the afternoon, I worked my way from the bow to the forward side of the mast bulkheads, sanding the hull, overhead, underneath of side decks, and bilge.  I was just way beyond having the energy to snap some photos of the work, but did have some photos available from day one of interior surface prep - showing the engine room.

Starboard engine room.

All sanding was done on the Porter Cable 7335 5" and 7336 6" random orbital sanders, using 40-grit psa pads.

Cockpit locker shown below, port engine room.

Parting shot of the stern.

Total Time: 5 Hrs.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mast Compression Block

Getting some errands out of the way earlier in the day, I managed to grab a couple hours in the shop preparing the mast compression block.  This block will eventually find its home underneath a floor timber at the primary/ mast bulkheads, and is designed to take and transfer the mast's load directly to the keel through a mast compression post spanning the vertical space from the overhead to the floor timber.  The compression block will be a lamination of 1/2" fiberglass sheet, as well as teak and purpleheart woods.  The fiberglass will be used as the bottom layers of the lamination for its obvious density and ability to take load, but also to avoid deterioration of the block as a result of potential water contact - any water draining from the chain lockers will run along this upper part of the bilge on its way back to an aft bilge pump.

I began by roughing up the factory-finished surfaces of the 1/2" fiberglass sheet.  The pink-colored board you see in the picture below began as a fairly bright shade of red.  Abrading the smooth surface will promote a good bond in the laminating process.  Next, I divided the sheet into four 6" blocks.

Since fiberglass is so harsh on the blades, I put an aging, sacrificial blade in the table saw prior to cutting the 1/2" sheet.

I took the four 6" X 6" blocks up into the boat to take some preliminary measurements.  After stacking the four blocks on top of one another, I slide them underneath the floor timber, resting on the keel, and took a measurement aft of the floor timber...

...and on the forward side of the floor timber.

The measurements varied from roughly 2 3/4" forward to 2 3/8" on the aft side.  This variance was due to the port bulkhead "hanging" a bit lower than the floor timber that rested against it.  The void between the top of the fiberglass stack and the underside of the floor timber would be taken up by hardwoods capable of taking substantial compression force.  The species I have decided to use are teak and purpleheart.  I would of liked to have had a single block of teak to use in conjunction with the fiberglass lamination, but no such luck.  The 1/2" sheet of purpleheart will be placed on top of the teak and, having a modulus of rupture measure of 22,000 pounds force per square inch, would provide great strength in the overall mast compression block lamination.

The mast compression block as it will be laminated, and to be placed underneath the floor timber to span the space between the underside of the floor timber and the keel.

The compression block measures about 4.5" in thickness.  Epoxy, thickened with cabosil, will be used to set the mast compression block in place and to fill any small voids.  Next step will be to epoxy bond the lamination together to create one, solid block.  The block will also be completely sealed with epoxy as it is placed in its final resting position.

Total Time: 2.5 Hrs

Saturday, November 30, 2013

More Sanding

     Spent another block of time in the Westsail today, sanding away the old to prepare for the new.  I thought I would add a picture to demonstrate the work being done through this phase.  I was looking forward to getting in and beginning this sanding work because it is such a milestone:  with sanding finished, the surface is prepped for NEW construction!  This sanding work must be some sort of right-of-passage, a test to determine if you really have the stuff to outfit a boat.  Thank goodness the weather has turned cold (cold for Florida), as it allows me to at least be comfortable while working in the attire prescribed:  I am wearing a pair of thermal pants, tucked into high wool socks, a pair of work pants over the thermals, two long-sleeve shirts, a Tyvek suit with hood over my clothes, and I liberally tape up my ankles and wrists.  I wear a pair of thick rubber gloves and tape the Tykev suit to these gloves, finished off with another pair of heavy work gloves.  AND STILL, I FEEL THE ITCHY GLASS!  ARGGGHHH!  Thoughts of the end product remain the focus.

You can see the area to the left is yet to be sanded.  Sanding with 40-grit psa disks (5" and 6") on Porter Cable 7335 and 7336 sanders.

Total Time: 7 Hrs.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sanding Interior Surfaces

     I set off today meaning to sand the interior of the boat today.  The sanding is meant to generally prepare the surface for whatever may come...bulkheads, partitions, tabbing, painting, etc., and to clean-up 36 years of just sitting and collecting dirt and dust. The entire boat was my goal as I suited up this morning - Tyvek suit, full-face respirator, made sure to tape my arms and legs to seal out the fiberglass dust.  The entire boat, right!!  After seven and a half hours, I made it through the engine room, down to the bilge and including the overhead, as well as 75% of the port salon.  I just realized today how much surface area is contained within the Westsail 32!  To my credit, the engine room overhead has many interrupted surfaces, what with the cockpit well and the cockpit locker bottoms, etc.  Once I made it past the engine bulkhead, my pace accelerated.  I estimate at least another 2 full days of sanding to make my way through the entire interior - a massive space.

     My tools were the odd phillips and flat-head to remove the few fasteners in my way, but the real workhorses were the Porter Cable 7335 (5")and 7336 (6") random orbital sanders.  I used 40-grit psa pads, and found my happy place for over 7 hours.

Total Time: 7.5 Hrs

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Final Removal of Engine Bed

     In the coming days over the Thanksgiving break, I will dedicate a day to sanding the entire interior of the boat.  This grueling, messy task will mark the turn from tear-out (though there was very little of that in this bare hull) to build out.  I'll be removing 36 years of accumulated detritus, and then focusing on the creation of a custom interior for a superb blue-water boat.
     To prep for the masochistic exercise, I chiseled away the balance of the loose tabbing, cabin trunk veneer and what was left of the engine bed.  I used a 1/2" chisel and hammer to work over the areas needing removal, and to bring the surface down to the heavy roving used during the original layup of the hull.

The port engine bed, or what was left of it from tear out a couple weeks previous.  This material was a combination of wood and polyester putty used to bed the wood, as well as tabbing.  

Slowly moving down the bed, I chiseled away the putty. It came away in rather convenient chunks.

...leaving a relatively smooth surface ready for sanding.

Another pic of the port hull with old engine bed removed.

There was more of the same on the starboard side, and using the same technique made pretty quick work of the removal of this material.

There was roughly an inch worth of polyester putty to remove where both engine beds existed. Again, a starboard photo of what remained of the engine bed.

...and fairly clean, ready for sanding.

Final shot of the starboard side.  Sanding will be with a Porter Cable 7336, 6" random orbital VS with 40-grit psa pads.  Joy!

Total Time: 1.5 Hrs.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Extending the Engine Room Bulkhead to the Bilge

     On Saturday, November 23rd, I was finally able to get back onto the boat for a little bit of forward keep the forward 'momentum' going.  I started off by water washing the port main bulkhead tabbing.  The water washing removes the amine blush that forms on the surface of the epoxy as it cures.  Removing the amine blush is the first step in preparing the surface for additional epoxy work (if needed); it otherwise would prevent a good mechanical bond with any additional epoxy work.  Water washing it is as simple as using a spray bottle to mist the surface with water, a good scrub with a Scotchbrite pad, and then wipe off the surface with a rag.  Done.

While I was at the water washing task, I cleaned up the surfaces of the cabin sole supports too.

I then took a 40-grit psa disk and gave the port main a good scuffing.  Scuffing up the surface of cured epoxy, after it has been water washed, is the final preparation in getting it ready for additional epoxy applications.  The sanding creates microscopic 'nooks and crannys' that epoxy forms a mechanical bond with.

I also sanded the cabin sole supports in the same manner.  After I had completed the sanding of the port  main and cabin sole supports, I took the wet/dry vac to the surfaces to tidy up the space in preparation for another job - the engine room bilge damn.

During Tim Lackey's visit, we removed the engine room bulkhead and replaced it with fresh 18mm meranti.  Due to the companionway's max 41" clearance, we could not slide an entire 4'x8' sheet of meranti into this space.  The result of this constraint was to leave a gap of roughly 21" from the bottom of the bulkhead to the bilge floor.  After some back-and-forth in trying to decide whether or not to leave a gap, allowing water to pass underneath the bulkhead, I decided to partition the salon bilge from the engine room bilge.  This decision would also prevent engine room bilge water from flowing into the main salon bilge, where the water tanks would reside - a cleaner solution.  

I used a templating method that had proved successful on the cabin sole installation.  First, I extended the boat's center line on the engine room bulkhead down to the bilge floor.  I then clamped a scrap piece of lumber to the engine room bulkhead, on plane, resting on the bilge floor.  I then marked the boat's center line on the scrap piece of lumber.  My next task was to take small stir sticks and hit glue them to the scrap lumber, just touching the hull both on the port and starboard sides.  The hot glue gun (seen below) is a "sleeper tool" on a boat build.  These guns come in pretty handy while installing bulkheads, templating, among other tasks.  

My next order of business was to transfer the template to a scrap piece of 18mm meranti - that scrap piece in the photo is probably $45 worth of BS 1088 18mm meranti...scrap has a whole new meaning.

After transferring the measurements onto the surface of the meranti, I prepared to cut it out.

Using a jigsaw, and a well-worn blade, I removed the lower portion of the engine room bulkhead from the scrap piece of meranti.

With some final shaping and sanding while onboard, the piece fit nicely in its new home.  This lower portion of the engine room bulkhead would serve to isolate the main salon bilge (housing the water tanks) and the engine room bilge (fully planning to keep this space clean and tidy, but you never know). 

After I dry-fitting the piece in place, I removed it and prepared the surface for bonding.  Using my Porter Cable 7335 and 40-grit psa disks, I thoroughly sanded the surfaces around the installation area, including the bilge floor.  I then vacuumed the surfaces to remove any sawdust, fiberglass dust and wood shavings.

With the area prepped, I again inserted the lower portion and made scribe marks on the bilge floor and hull forward and aft of the bulkhead. The scribe marks would provide a good visual of where to apply the thickened epoxy for bonding.  I removed the piece after scribing reference marks, and gave all surfaces a good solvent wipe down.  Next, I painted straight epoxy on the edge surfaces of the lower portion of the engine room bulkhead to be installed and then set it aside.  I then made up another batch of epoxy, but this time I thickened it with cabosil (fumed silica).  I spread the cabosil mixture between the forward and aft reference marks, and then slid the piece to be bonded in place.  A scrap piece of wood was screwed to both pieces keeping everything plum and in line.

With a squeegee, I cleaned up the squeeze out and worked it into the very small voids around the circumference of the new installation.  The picture below is the forward side of the engine room bulkhead. 

The picture below is the aft side of the engine room bulkhead.  Fillets and tabbing will eventually be placed onto the bulkhead from bilge on up.

Total Time: 4.5 Hrs.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cabin Sole and Tabbing

For a more thorough and professional explanation, see Lackey Sailing, LLC

For Friday, November 15th 2013, we just a couple goals in mind for the day, I started off my water washing and sanding the previous day's epoxy work: cabin sole knees and port v-berth / head bulkhead. 

With the amine blush removed, and the surfaces sanded, further epoxy work could be done (i.e. tabbing).

Building the cabin sole substrate would take considerable time, so we focused attention on this talk.  creating a cardboard template of first the starboard half of the cabin sole, and then the port half, Tim and I cut out the cabin sole substrate.  With significant adjustments in the fit and shaping of the cabin sole, we finally arrived a "really good."  In fact, the fit was amazingly good.   With a hand plane, I removed material in the "high" spots until the fit was level and resting on its marks.

Cabin sole level.

Employing the same process for templating the larger portion of the cabin sole (sorry, no pictures are available), we created a template for the aft section of the cabin sole substrate.  The process involved aligning a sheet of luan, or door skin on the boat's center line, and then hot-gluing tongue depressors onto the sheet of luan, forcing out to just touching the hull before the glue kicked.

We then slid this sheet of luan over to the starboard edge of the hull, made another center line reference mark, and repeated the hot-gluing of the tongue depressors to match the hull shape.  Down on the ground, we transferred the template to a section of 18mm meranti  and proceeded to cut of the cabin sole.

Test-fitting the aft portion of the cabin sole substrate revealed more hand plane work would required.  The amount of wood shavings in the bilge post-shaping began to look a lot like a wood boatyard.  In the end, the fit was very, very good - very little thickened epoxy would be required when the cabin sole substrate is permanently tabbed to the hull.

Next, we turned out attention to the cabin sole hatch. This rather large hatch would access to and removal of rather large water tanks:  47" in length, two of them.

Running a Makita jigsaw, I carefully traced layout lines for a 49" x 20" hatch.

Towards the end of the work day, Tim and I turned toward some tabbing work.  As Tim prepared the tabbing wet-out station, I donned full-face respirator, gloves, and my porter-cable 7335 with 40 grit PSA disks and heavily sanded the areas that would accept tabbing for the cabin sole knees.  After sanding, I vacuumed the salon interior to clean the area of fiberglass dust and wood shavings.  Last step prior to tabbing would be to solvent wash the surfaces.

Pictured below, the cabin sole knees tabbed to the hull.  The polyisocyanurate foam essentially acted as a form for the epoxy-impregnated fiberglass.  The foam could be cut with a utility knife, but the 1708 biaxial cloth would be as strong as an ox!

Lastly, with just an hour or so of work time remaining, Tim and I tabbed the starboard primary bulkhead.  I first gave the tabbing surfaces a good solvent wipe to clean and residues that may contaminate and compromise the epoxy bond.  Tim mixed epoxy thickened with cabosil, and I created fillets on the bulkhead hull joint.  A fillet is a radius transition between two surfaces, and allows for fiberglass to lay across to adjoining surfaces without creases forming in the cloth.  

Finally, the tabbing is laid on the hull and bulkhead.  The tabbing (1708 biax) is 6" wide.  To prevent creases, and subsequently air bubbles (the enemy of a good bond), the tabbing is divided into manageable lengths of, say, 16" or 24".  The idea being that as the hull angle changes, shorter tabbing sections will more easily absorb the hull angle change without crimping or creasing.  Two layers of 6" cloth are being installed on Westsail 32 hull #667.

Total Time: 8.5 Hrs.