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.

Installation of Port V-Berth Bulkhead and Cabin Sole Layout

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

The morning of November 14th began with water washing and sanding the engine room bulkhead as well as the cabin sole floor timber just aft of the port primary bulkhead.

One of two cabin sole floor timbers, shown below, sits just aft of the port primary bulkhead, or mast bulkhead.  This floor timber was constructed of three laminations of 18mm meranti, glued and screwed.  The gluing consisted of West System epoxy thickened with cabosil.  Just forward of this mast bulkhead, I will eventually continue the floor timber, and build it out of 2 laminations of 18mm meranti. 

     As I prepared the previous day's epoxy work for eventual tabbing / additional epoxy bonding, Tim began work on finding the position for the head's forward bulkhead - plumb and perpendicular to the boat's center line.  I joined Tim in time for positioning and templating of the inboard section of this two-part bulkhead.  Cardboard is a great resource for templating bulkheads, partitions, cabin soles, etc.  

Tim making final scribe marks to the inboard portion of the head's forward bulkhead.

     Off the boat, Tim and transferred the template to a fresh sheet of 18mm meranti, and proceeded to cut out the inboard portion of the head's forward bulkhead.  Once cut, we carried it back onto the boat, solvent washed the edges that would exposed to the hull, and also solvent washed the portion of the hull and overhead that would be receiving this second part of this two-part bulkhead.  With all surfaces cleaned with solvent (acetone), I headed down to my shop and mixed a small batch of "neat" epoxy to paint onto the edges of the bulkhead that would be in contact with the boat's surfaces (hull, cabin trunk, and overhead).  After I had brushed on the straight epoxy, I mixed another batch of epoxy, this time thickened with cabosil.  Lines drawn onto the hull and overhead for both sides of this bulkhead provided a place for the thickened epoxy to be spread.  Tim and I then placed this second bulkhead into position, working the squeeze out along the joint between bulkhead and hull, and bulkhead and overhead.  We filled any small gaps between the two sections of this bulkhead and cleaned of the remaining epoxy mixture.

Looking aft from the v-berth.

Next, we turned to the cabin sole layout.  The Westsail 32 water tanks are still being built for owners today, though with a plastic material. The original stainless steel water tank dimensions have been recreated with plastic tanks.  I will be installing two of these water tanks, and so their height dimension dictated the cabin sole height.  The previous day, Tim and I set the forward cabin sole floor timber at the height I desired, and that would leave sufficient room for the water tanks (15" from the bilge floor to the bottom of the plywood substrate).  We now extended a string aft, and using a string level found where on the engine room bulkhead the bottom of the plywood substrate would eventually intersect.

After marking the location of the bottom surface of the plywood substrate onto the engine room bulkhead, we drew a horizontal line across the lower portion of the bulkhead, and installed a temporary cleat.  Using various length levels resting on the aft cleat and the forward cabin sole timber, we spanned them out onto the hull sides and made level marks - these marks indicated where the bottom surface of the cabin sole substrate would encounter the hull.  Limited to a 4' level, we then took measures off the string for the middle portion of the roughly 11' cabin sole.    

Once we had level marks along the port and starboard hull, indicating the bottom surface of the cabin sole's substrate, we began to fashion small knees out of polyisocyanurate foam.  We shaped the small knees to the hull form, set just below the cabin sole marks, and then hot-glued into place.

Pictured below are the cabin sole supports (knees) hot-glued into place. The aft pair were later to be scrapped, as I opted for another floor timber (a lamination of 4 pieces of 18 meranti.

Shown below is the glued and screwed 4-piece meranti lamination.  In this photo the floor timber has been shaped, painted with neat epoxy, and then set in thickened epoxy. This wrapped up the day's work.

Total Time: 8.5 Hrs.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Engine Room Bulkhead, Floor Timber , Head Forward Bulkhead

     For an even deeper accounting of the day's tasks:  Tim Lackey Sailing, LLC

     On Wednesday, the 13th of November, Tim Lackey and I turned our attention to the starboard and primary bulkheads once again, and to prepare for eventual tabbing.  I started off by water washing the epoxy work done the previous day: spray with water, scrub with a Scotchbrite pad and then towel off the excess water and amine blush.  Amine blush is a film that is left on cured epoxy, and that must be removed prior to any further epoxy work.

I finished this task by scuffing up the cured epoxy with 40-grit paper to prepare the surface for a mechanical epoxy bond (tabbing in the bulkheads).  The starboard primary bulkhead...

...and the port primary bulkhead.

As soon as I finished water washing and scuffing the cured epoxy, Tim moved into cutting the finished width of both bulkheads.  We purposefully left both bulkheads oversize (in the width dimension), as we planned to later come back and measure for the width, drop a plumb line, and then cut to this width.

The port bulkhead being cut by Tim Lackey...

...and the starboard bulkhead being cut to the proper width.

     Next, we turned our attention to the engine room bulkhead - the aft bulkhead of the main salon.  We began by referring to the Westsail construction manual - a manual designed for the "kit boat" customer...a manual going on 40 years!  The placement of the engine room bulkhead called for 10' 10" from the primary bulkheads.  Prior to our eventual placement of the new bulkhead, we discussed maximizing the salon space by tucking the bulkhead under the bridge deck.  However, we quickly realized that pushing the bulkhead toward the stern of the boat would have potentially left very little room for the engine installation.  Amazing how everything on a boat (everything!) is connected in some way.  We also checked the installation of the factory engine pan prior to final placement of the engine room bulkhead - hull #667 came with a factory prepared engine pan ready for installation.  I lugged the engine pan down into what would eventually become the engine room to determine fit.  After consulting with Tim, and specifically with respect to the Beta 38 engine, it became apparent that this pan was far too narrow for this engine.  The Westsail 32, a large number of them, came equipped with the Volvo MD-17.  The MD-17 has a smaller footprint that the Beta 38 (less horsepower as well), so while the engine pan was fine for the MD-17, it was not for the Beat 38.  We decided that it would be best to scrap the "gorgeous" engine pan, and opt for building a custom engine bed and pan for the Beta 38 installation.  

     So, back to the engine room bulkhead placement.  We made a series of marks 10' 10" from the primary bulkheads, placing these marks on the aft portion of the overhead. We checked for square of the overhead line (running athwartship, and perpendicular to the boat's center line) by taking diagonal measures from companionway to center line, on various points.  Once we determined we were square with this line, we dropped the line to the hull through a series of plum-bobs - there has apparently been quite a technological revolution in plum-bob technology, as we discovered the crude nature of my particular plum-bob tool!  The following photo shows two lines, one of which would eventually help to place an engine room bulkhead.  We carefully discussed and sorted out the advantages of an inch here and an inch there, though finally, and with peace of mind, settled on the location of the engine room bulkhead - not far from the Westsail manual...but enough to call it "custom!"

Next, we began the carving and fitting of the bulkhead template.  Tim often does this with sheets of cardboard saved from deliveries made to his shop.  He also works with door skin material in addition, as this more rigid product provides and excellent way in which to model the final installation.

Once we had completed the template, we laid it out on 3/4" (18mm) meranti, and used a jigsaw to cut out the bulkhead.

Here is the engine room bulkhead being fit in its new home.

Finally, we wet out the edges of the bulkhead with straight epoxy, and then followed that with a thickened mixture (cabosil), spreading out onto where the bulkhead edge would contact the hull.  We cleaned up the excess squeeze out, and then looked for the next to-do.

Turning out attention the cabin sole, the first order of business was to obtain the height cabin sole substrate - the dimension from the bilge to the underside of the plywood underlayment.  This dimension was more or less determined by the overall height of the water tanks - to be installed beneath the cabin sole.  I needed at least 14" of clearance in this dimension - the dimension become greater as one moves aft, due to the slopping of the bilge.  A quick phone chat with Bud Taplin confirmed the 14" clearance. In addition to the water tank dimension, I also had to take in account my overall height and what would feel comfortable to me walking inside the cabin.  Ultimately and after considerable consultation with Tim Lackey, I settled on a starting point of 14.5" from the bilge floor.  From here, there would 3/4" meranti as the sub-floor, and then a 1/4" finished teak floor.  This additional inch left 77" to the overhead.  The overhead would need to allow for an inch to be taken up by overheads beams and the finished overhead material.  In the end, I was left with 6' 2" of head room at the mast bulkheads, and increasingly taller dimension as one moved aft - comfortable to say the least.

Once, I was settled on the starting point dimension, Tim and I prepared 3 cardboard templates for what would become a floor timber at the mast bulkhead (the primary bulkhead), and can be seen in the photo below.  The pictures ran out here, but this floor timber was eventually laminated together (3 sections) - glued and screwed.  The floor timber was set in thickened epoxy (cabosil) in its pictured orientation.   

The last thing we did on this busy day, was to find the location of the forward bulkhead to the head (which is also the aft bulkhead to the V-berth).  After much discussion about elevating shower pans and heads, we settled on the placement of this bulkhead and then prepared the template that would be used to cut out the actual bulkhead from the meranti material.  This bulkhead would also be a two-part bulkhead, and I opted to cut a dado down the adjoining sections for a more seamless marriage of the two sections.  I finished the day by cutting the dado on one of the two sections that would make up this bulkhead.

Total Time: 9 Hrs.