Monday, 12 October 2020

Cleaning Up The Transom!

The installation of the transom is lost in the mists of time now, but when I did it I made a bit of a mess with squeezed out epoxy on the outside of the transom panel.

The hull side and topside panels also projected very slightly beyond the transom, and would need to be trimmed at some point.

My intention is to have a bright finish on the transom. That dark hardwood veneer will look great varnished, and it will be the only part of the hull to be finished that way.

So I had to be very careful not to scar the transom when cleaning it up.

Having had lots of practice in trimming the cabin roof and seatback top edges, I decided to clean up the transom while I was at it.

Again I used the sander as a grinder to remove most of the epoxy and excess ply, and then switched to finish sanding to complete the job.

In this pic you can see the before (starboard) and after (port) halves of the transom.


And here is the finished article.


You can also see that I have shaped and smoothed the big fat fillet on the outside of the boat where transom and transom skirt are joined.

That was fun!

Seatback Tops | Trimming To Size

When the seatback tops had cured I set about trimming off the excess material inside and outside the boat.

Again the marking device shown in the build manual came in very handy. Here is it is use.


Then I used the Japanese saw to remove most of the excess from both outboard edges.

Experience gained from trimming the cabin roof made this a quick and easy task.

The inboard edges were a little trickier.

There is nowhere to start a saw cut inside the boat, so I drilled a couple of entry holes and used a keyhole saw to remove enough waste to fit in a saw. Like this.


That allowed the Japanese saw to be deployed to cut out most of the excess material. As here. 


This was straightforward. A chisel was required to chop away the excess at each end.

Then, as with the cabin roof, the sander was used in rotary mode with a P40 grit to grind away what waste remained before switching to random orbital mode and P60 and P80 grit to clean up the inboard and outboard edges.

Here are both seatback tops trimmed, seen from astern.


She is starting to look like a capable little boat!

Transom Skirt Fillet

I had been putting off making a fillet across the transom where it is joined to the transom skirt.

But now I had to do it, so I could move on to other more enjoyable things.

I knew the first application would turn out horrible, and it did. Here it is.


Absolutely awful. So I got out the drill and a carbide burr, and dressed it to remove most of the rough stuff.

It looked a little better.


Finally, I sanded it some more and taped it up for the second layer which will turn it into a much more respectable fillet. Like this.


That's it for now!


Seatback Tops | Installation

With the roof trimmed to size it was now time to fit the tops to the cockpit seatbacks.

This was a straightforward exercise.

The tops were securely buttoned down with plenty of temporary screws and epoxy resin, being careful not to apply too much glue in way of the seatback locker tops where squeeze out could make a nasty mess.

I installed the port side first, using plenty of glue.

When satisfied that it was tightly held down by all the screws I scraped off all the flash on the outside.

Then I carefully scraped off and wiped away any epoxy on the upper inside edges of the locker. To do this you need to be able see inside the locker - doing it by feel alone will just make a mess. Here is my secret weapon for doing this.


It's an old bicycle mirror, used with a couple of small, bright lights to see into each corner of the locker. It works really well.

Lastly I pulled the blue tape from inside the locker.

Here is a view of the port seatback top from the stern.


I repeated the exercise on the starboard seatback.

This is what both seatback tops looked like when installed, seen from astern.


With the roof and seatbacks in place it feels like we are really making inroads to this build!


Cabin Roof | Trimming To Size

When the cabin roof had fully cured I set about trimming off the excess material around the edges.

But how to know exactly where to cut it?

It was then that I realised the real value of a marking tool shown in the build manual. This is what it looks like.


I made it from a piece of scrap ply. You merely slide it along the side of the hull and mark in where the point at the top aligns with the roof. Simple!

Having marked out its outline I then roughly trimmed the roof to get rid of most of the excess material.

Here is a view from the front of the port Dorade box area.


I had to drill entry holes to use a jig saw across the forward face of the cabin.

Otherwise a Japanese saw made light work of cutting all other edges.

Further trimming was done with the Rotex 90 sander set to rotary mode and using a P40 grit, turning it effectively into a grinder to remove most of the remainder.

Lastly I switched to using the sander in random orbital mode with a P60 and then a P80 grit to get to the final finish.

Here is the roof with its finished trim, viewed from the front on the port side.


Lastly, here is a rear view of the starboard side.


Looking good!


Seatback Tops | Getting Ready For Installation

 While the cabin roof was curing I prepared the seatbacks for installation in the same way that I had done in the cabin.

The only area in the seatbacks where squeezed out glue would be a problem is inside the lockers, so I taped the edges of the locker tops. This is the port locker top.


You can see that all the edges are protected by blue tape and plastic sheeting. The bottom of the locker is also covered with plastic dust sheeting to catch any drips.

The starboard locker received the same treatment, like this.


My plan is to reach inside the lockers when the tops are in place and scrape off the squeeze out before pulling the tape. We will see how effective that is in due course ...


Cabin Roof | Installation

When all the preparation was complete and all tools and materials standing by ready for use, I went ahead with the permanent installation of the cabin roof.

It went well, with little or no drama.

Here is a view from starboard of the roof glued in place and firmly buttoned down with plenty of temporary screws.


This is another view from the port side.


You can see that the roof is quite considerably oversized at the front, almost as if the original design had a longer cabin but the roof panel was left unchanged!

It's no matter - it is actually very reassuring to know that there is plenty of waste material around the perimeter.

The temporary screws into the carlins in the hatchway were insufficient by themselves to hold the roof down tightly, so I added some spring clamps to assist. As here.


That did the job nicely.

When all the screws and clamps were in place I cleaned up the squeezed out epoxy on the outside, and then hopped into the cabin to do the same inside.

Lastly, I pulled out all the blue tape which was protecting the interior of the roof and the Dorade boxes from squeeze out. It worked really well, as this pic of the port roof shows.


Luckily I took photos before the glue had cured, when I noticed that a strip of blue tape was still in place. So I quickly peeled it off.

This is a view of the starboard roof inside the cabin.


An this is the view looking forward.


The cabin will be entirely white inside, and will look very smart indeed!

Next job is the seatback tops ...

Friday, 25 September 2020

Seatback Fillets

It was time to make the fillets for the seatbacks, where they meet the rear cabin wall, deck and transom.

Two factors would impact how this progressed.

First, these are the most visible fillets in the entire boat and if they are not just right everyone will see it immediately. No compromise on quality can be made here.

Second, making fillets is my least favourite activity on this build. Nothing about it could be described as enjoyable, as readers of previous posts will know. So I was reconciled to not having fun for a few days ...

As always I mixed up a good quantity of wood flour fillet mix, and applied a generous bead all around the seatbacks. I made a bespoke filleting tool to get a nice wide fillet on the deck.

As always it cured like roughcast concrete, spiky as a porcupine.

Here is the first fillet on the starboard side.


It looked absolutely horrible. But I knew it would and was ready to apply two or more layers to get a good finish.

So, as always I dressed the fillets with a carbide burr in a powerful corded drill, and sanded them by hand and with a sanding machine. See previous posts for more detail, if you're curious about this awful process.

This is what the starboard fillets looked like afterwards.


Still horrible but ready for a second layer to make the fillets of equal width and to improve the surface.

Here the starboard side is taped up ready for a second layer.


And here is it is with the second layer in place.


It looks quite a bit better, but after it was dressed and sanded it still clearly needed a third layer for final fairing. I expected this from previous experience, so no surprises here.

Once again I taped up the fillets for the third layer, and this is what the port seatback looked like after application.


Much better. I haven't sanded this yet but it looks like it will turn out nicely. Any minor blemishes or holes can be faired with phenolic glass balloon mix. The key is to make sure the fillets are of even width and really smooth to receive their fibreglass cloth cladding.

Onwards and upwards ...


Cabin Roof & Dorade Boxes | Getting Ready For Installation

In readiness for fitting the cabin roof I used a lot of blue tape to make cleaning up the squeezed out epoxy resin as easy as possible, and to make less mess.

First I taped up the sheerclamps, carlins and cleats in the cabin. Like this.


The inside of the Dorade boxes were similarly taped up, and protected with some plastic dust sheet material. As here in the port box.


There is piece of old cloth in the bottom, in case of drips.

Lastly the cabin roof itself was prepared with lots of blue tape, like this.


You can see that I painted the roof inside the Dorade boxes, because I thought it would be a lot easier than trying to do it later.

I found that using tape like this was an effective way of achieving clean joints when fitting the cockpit deck panels. In this instance it should be easier because I won't be laying on my back underneath the deck, with epoxy dripping into my hair!

Let's hope so ...



Seatback Tops | Making & Test Installation

The seatbacks were ready for their tops to be fitted.

The build manual calls them 'decks', which I think is a bit grandiose for a strip of plywood 3" wide, so I will stick with 'tops'!

The first task is to trim the panels to the correct length. The panel is held in the correct position with a couple of bits of stiff wire in pilot holes while the ends and the sides are marked in with a pencil. Like this.


The ends are then easily trimmed with a saw and a block plane, as here.


The location of the sheerclamp and the upper seatback stringer are then pencilled in and holes for the temporary screws are drilled.

The stringer is quite flimsy so I used 3.5 x 25mm screws, with plywood washers to prevent damage to the panels. The screws are at 6" intervals.

The panel is then put back in place and the locations of pilot holes for the screws are marked in and then drilled. 

The panel is then test fitted using all the temporary screws to check for a good fit, as seen here from the front of the boat.


And here is a view of the starboard panel from the stern.


Lastly I had to drill holes for the boom gallows stanchion poles. The holes were marked in with a pencil from inside the seatback lockers and the panels were transferred to the bench for drilling.

Here is the port panel with the hole marked in. It is exactly the same size as a two pence coin.


This is a large diameter hole and has to be drilled with a Forstner bit, so freehand drilling was a bad idea. I used the drill guide and my small cordless drill, set to low speed for maximum torque. Like this.


And here is the hole drilled out. A piece of scrap ply is underneath the panel to protect the bench and the drill bit, and to prevent tear-out in the panel.


Lastly I made one final test fit to check the alignment of the holes. Here is the port panel in place.


And here is the starboard seatback top.


All was well so the panels were set aside to await installation.


Seatback Panels | Trimming The Tops

When the seatback panels had fully cured I trimmed the excess material from the top edges. 

This took a while but was a straightforward exercise. I mainly used the block plane, with a chisel to trim the ends where there was no room for the plane.

Here is the starboard seatback in the process of being trimmed.


And this is the same seatback finished.


You can see that there is a narrow gap at the front of the seatback panel where it meets the rear cabin wall.

It looks like the panel is about 1cm too short, but I have no idea why! The cabin wall and the transom are in their correct positions, so I just put it down to yet another PocketShip eccentricity.

The port panel is exactly the same. It doesn't matter in the slightest - the panels land securely on the wide cleats that I fitted on the cabin wall, and the small gap will be filled by the fillets.

Finally, here is a view of the trimmed starboard seatback from the front of the boat.


It's nice to see the cockpit looking a bit more three dimensional!


Seatbacks | Installation

The interiors of the seatback lockers were painted and looking good, so it was time to install the seatbacks themselves.

This would finally add some hint of three dimensional finality to PocketShip!

It was very important to protect the paintwork inside the lockers from epoxy resin drips and runs. To this end I taped up the joins inside the lockers, like this.

In the port locker I taped plastic sheeting on the deck and sides to catch any drips, which you can see in the above pic.

I had previously decided that the bottom edge of the seatback panel did not need a full set of temporary screws to hold it in place. I would instead employ some lead bricks to push it snugly up against the lower seatback stringer.

Here is the port seatback permanently glued in place.


The astute reader will immediately notice that lead weights alone were not enough to press the seatback panel snugly up to the lower stringer. I ended up employing a rather Heath Robinson array of blocks and clamps as well as heavy weights to do the job.

Here is a close up of the lash up.


Will I ever learn? Seriously. Will I ever?

It all turned out absolutely fine but I immediately decided to use more temporary screws along the bottom edge of the starboard seatback panel.

Here is the starboard panel, taped up ready for installation.


And here is the starboard locker.


I have improved the protective layer in this locker, using some plastic dust sheeting to cover the paintwork.

Finally, here is the starboard seatback permanently installed.


The addition of temporary screws along the bottom edge of the seatback panel made the installation much easier and ensured a close joint without any drama.

Looking good!