Friday, February 26, 2010

ugh, long year

2009 sucked. I got fiberglass burn out. And general boatwork burnout.

Took a vacation with my mom to the Keys in May and she fell and broke her arm. Long rehab. Then my grandfather got really ill right after that and passed away in late June. I miss him. He was a great man. A hero not just to my family but also our country as he received 2 purple hearts and a silver star for his bravery on Iwo Jima. It was the worst time of my life. Major big frowny face. :( I miss my Paw Paw.

After spending a lot of time with my family going through all his things (you have no idea), I decided to buy out my aunt's half of his house. So my mother and I are co-owners. It was in need of a lot of work so August through December were spent ripping out floors and kitchen countertops, getting new flooring laid and new countertops, lots of painting, installing new molding and trim, etc., plumbing work, you name it. We moved in the day after Christmas.

It's a big house for us with a lot of property to take care of. But it's very special for me to get to live here. To have some of Paw Paw's things as he always had them. My dogs absolutely love the fenced in acre of yard they have now. It's a gorgeous property. The prize is the workshop. It has most of his tools and all the things a man in his mid-80's who had the mind of an engineer and liked to build things would have. It's like having your own Home Depot except all the things were my Paw Paw's. :D

The yard is so large we call it 'The Ranch.' It snowed a few weeks ago.

Finally, my dogs have room to run!

The good thing for Wahoo is the work shop has a 20-foot long enclosed garage adjacent to it. Wahoo slipped right in on the trailer. I had to remove the mast to and slide it in caddycornered, but it's a great setup, the best work layout the boat could possibly have. And now I get to use my grandfather's shop and tools to finish the job. He would like that as he built a fiberglass boat from scratch with the plans from a Popular Mechanics. He taught his kids and half the kids in town to ski on that boat. And he made the entire thing all by himself.

Anyway, I still have my old house to fix up and sell. That will take a a few more months of home improvement work and then I hope to get back to fixing my little sailboat. Don't give up, 'cause I'm not. Wahoo will have her day soon. She's gonna be a sweet little trailer sailor!

Cheers! 2010 is looking up!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Aft bulkhead is IN.... finally.

We finally got some weather warm enough to get the aft bulkhead in. Whew. Tough job. Glad it's almost over. Still a few little things to touch up.

And here is Wahoo's fly new booty (aft bulkhead)! :D


It took a freakin' ton of epoxy. Just to get the first fillets in took 14 batches, and none were single pumps, all were at least 3, usually 4. And then another 12 or so for the glass. Also used up almost an entire batch of colloidal silica for the fillets.


FYI - you could beat someone to death with that stack of cups.

Also, my friend Dan just wired the boat shop with all new electrical. He put us a 4-foot long fluorescent light so we can see what we're doing now. And more outlets than we could possibly use at once. Thank you, Dan! You rock, sir.

Thanks to that new light Dan installed I was able to snap this shot of all the bikes in my garage right now.


It's like a bike shop and a boat shop went out and got wasted and then threw up bike and boat parts all over my garage. Ewww. :D How many bikes? I count seven but there are a few more not in view. Anyone need a bike? :D

Anyway, I have something to do now while it's too cold for fiberglassing....lots of bike work.

Since it's February, winter is almost over the weather should be good for another big project this weekend. Hoping to install the bridge step support and the cockpit drain thru-hull. Woop! Woop!

Monday, December 29, 2008

almost ready to install the aft bulkhead

Spent the weekend recovering from the holidays and getting ready for the next big project, which is installing a new aft bulkhead. Had intended to get it in over the weekend, but somehow ran out of time. I'm not sure how it happened? I know there were beers involved... :D Seriously, by the time we were ready on Sunday, we realized we'd run out of weekend before we even came close to getting the bulkhead tabbed in. And remember, if your epoxy cures in between layers or coats, the bond will only be mechanical (not as strong), not chemical (stronger). We want a chemical bond, so I think the best bet is to get it all ready to go and start fiberglassing early next Saturday.

Part of this problem is that we are using a medium curing epoxy. It takes longer to cure so our projects all seem to get stretched out a bit more than desireable. I ordered a gallon of MAS resin today and decided to try out the fast curing hardener so I ordered a half gallon of it. Were it summer in Louisiana, this would probably not give me enough working time, but it's winter here so it should work good perfect. And one of the coolest things about MAS epoxy (besides it's price and quality) is the fact you can mix hardeners to create your own set time. Pretty cool.

But I digress...

First, as with every project so far, is a stop at Lowe's (or Home Depot if that's yer deal) to buy things I should probably already own, but don't. The main purchase this time were some clamps to hold the aft bulkhead in place while it is being tabbed in.


Next up, we installed the new bulkhead and set it up with clamps to hold it in place and then made sure it was in there even and level. And then we added the foam pieces underneath the bulkhead to avoid creating any hard spots on the hull.


All level and ready to go this weekend! So this Saturday will be spent tabbing in the new aft bulkhead and also installing the bridge step support. Yay! :D

Monday, December 1, 2008

boat building

Since we finally got the keelson in, it's on to the next structural pieces; the bridge step support and the aft bulkhead.

The keel winch on my boat was originally located inside the cabin, behind the companionway bulkhead, with the handle protruding from the bulkhead. A previous owner (I believe my boat has had many) moved the keel winch to the cockpit, most likely for easier singlehanding. We decided to keep it in the cockpit so it's going right back where it was. Unfortunately, the previous owner that moved it did a terrible job at keeping the water out and the wooden board (bridge step support) that was originally glassed in rotted. So a new one must be installed to give the winch something sturdy to attach it to. There is a lot of force at work when lowering and raising a heavy keel, so the bridge step support is important.

The aft bulkhead was more of the same. The boat was neglected and water was allowed to stand in the cabin. As a result the aft bulkhead had rotted near the bottom.

So this past weekend we picked up some wood and fabricated a new bridge step support and aft bulkhead. The bridge step support is a simple rectangle. No problem there. The aft bulkhead was a more complicated shape so we used a big piece of foam to do a mock up of the part to make sure we got it right. 'Cause wood is really expensive, and nothing seems to go right the first time anyway. :D


And then we installed the foam part and tried it out in the boat.


A few minor adjustments were made to the foam template to get the perfect fit. Then we traced the template onto a piece of hardwood and cut it out and routered all the edges.

Here are the two new pieces, the bridge step support on the workbench and the aft bulkhead is leaning against the wall behind it.


The Heineken is self explanatory. :D

safety update

This seems to help.


Since I began treating all uncured epoxy like the hazardous material that it is, I've had much better luck with my epoxy and fiberglass allergy. I don't handle the fiberglass tape at all unless I'm completely covered in protective clothing and don't even think of handling the uncured epoxy unless I'm wearing every bit of protective clothing I have, including a respirator and eye protection.

Since that pic was taken I found some nitrile gloves that are thicker (meant to be used again and again) and have a longer protective sleeve on them. I don't have to tape these gloves on, which is nice. I found that using these longer gloves, which offer more protection, work especially well if you put the cheaper disposable nitrile gloves on top of the thick ones. Then you can just peel off the disposable ones when they get nasty and the nice ones that offer most of the protection are preserved.

Safety is key, yo.