Tuesday 28 January 2020

Putting Her To Bed For A While.

As mentioned in the previous post I am about to leave for an extended vacation, and decided to cover up PocketShip while I am away. Just in case.

So I cleaned out the interior and removed the plastic sheeting that I had taped in place to protect the paintwork while I was installing the footwell.

I did this because I was not sure what effect the tape would have on the painted surface over a lengthy period. It's only masking tape but I noticed it left a sticky mess on a cupboard door when left for a long while, so better safe than sorry ...

So I laid the cockpit deck panels in place, and covered the cabin area with an old sheet. Like this.

Then I laid the forward deck panel in place and weighted it down, as here.

That's it for a while. It will be April before I get back to the build, and I must admit that I am leaving it with a heavy heart.

Fitting The Centre Board Pendant Sheave

I decided to fit the centre board pendant sheave next. This has to be complete before the deck panels are installed, so it can't be postponed.

And I am going on vacation soon and this is a relatively small task that I could complete before leaving.

First, the starboard shim was glued in place. Here it is.

There is very little room for clamping inside the centre board case, but a couple of spring clamps did the job.

Then the port shim was installed, as here.

There was even less room in the slot now, thanks to the first shim. I only realised this after I had glued up the port shim, but luckily a pair of smaller spring clamps were to hand!

I aligned the shims with an old bolt while they were glued up, and removed it before they had fully cured.

Now came the installation of the sheave itself. This is the installation kit.

You need an 8mm twist drill to clean out the bolt hole; a spanner to tighten the nut; and a piece of wire twisted around the sheave to allow it to be positioned easily.

I did the latter after dropping the sheave through the centre board case a couple of times!

This is the sheave in place with the wire still attached.

And here is the bolt in place.

You can see the small recess that I made on the inside edge of the cleat to ensure that there is plenty of room for the stainless steel washer. There is.

And here is the acorn nut in place, with its own washer.

Finally, here is the finished article.

The sheave runs freely on the bolt, so all is well. I will seal the nut and bolt with marine caulk when I install the centre board inspection hatches.

Friday 24 January 2020

Cockpit Deck | Dry Fit

While waiting for the footwell sole to cure I decided to make good use of time by dry fitting the cockpit deck.

I laid both panels in place and fastened them down with the two temporary screws previously used when trimming them to fit, so they could not move.

Then I used a sharp bradawl to mark the position of each screw hole on the deck frame and centre board case underneath both panels. At six inch intervals there are a lot of temporary screws - sixty in each panel!

After removing the panels I drilled all the pilot holes with a sharp twist drill bit.

The starboard panel was then refitted and fastened down with 3.5 x 25mm general purpose screws, each with a thin plywood washer to stop it digging into the deck.

I chose 3.5mm screws because 4mm is too big for the quite slender deck framing, and 3mm is too small and flimsy.

In the process I found that I had missed a couple of pilot holes so marked their position with  pieces of tape. And a couple more screws and pilot holes were needed in one place to hold the deck down fully against the frame. I marked them with bits of tape too, so I would know exactly where to drill the holes.

Here is the starboard deck panel, dry fitted in place. You can just make out the bits of tape.

Then I laid the port panel in place, and held that in place with the two previously deployed temporary screws, like this.

When satisfied that the alignment was correct I removed all the screws in the starboard panel, drilled the missing screw and pilot holes, and refitted the panel with a few screws to keep it in place.

This is the deck panel dry fitting kit - drill driver, tub of screws and 'washers', and a stiff piece of wire to check the alignment of screws with pilot holes. 

Then the whole process was repeated to install the port cockpit deck panel. This is what it looked like when fitted.

I was pleased with the outcome. If I had not carried out a full dry test fit the small problems found at this stage would have become significant dramas during the glued fitting.

Both panels were then taken out and set aside pending their final installation.

The whole thing took an entire day, but it was a lot of fun!

Wednesday 15 January 2020

Fitting The Footwell Sole

When the footwell sides were permanently installed I carried out a test fit of the footwell sole. It needed a small amount of trimming with the block plane to achieve a snug drop fit, like this.

Then to ensure that it was fastened down properly I drilled holes for temporary screws at six inch intervals all around the panel, and did a dry installation.

Because the cleats are quite narrow the holes are very close to the sides, bulkhead and transom.

This is where a Christmas present from my son became an essential tool. It is a Dewalt flexible drill driver extension, and it worked brilliantly! This is it with the sole firmly buttoned down. Thanks Nick!

Satisfied that the sole was solidly fastened down at all points, I then pondered how to glue it in place without making an awful mess. It would require plenty of glue to ensure the joint is not starved, and there would inevitably be a lot of squeeze out all over the place in the inaccessible areas under the sole.

I decided to mask the vertical faces of the support cleats with blue tape to catch most of the squeezed out epoxy, as shown here.

I doubled the tape over at each end so it would be easy to reach and pull off, and sloshed on plenty of thickened epoxy with an 'icing bag' made from a plastic bag.

The sole was dropped in place and screwed down firmly.

Here it is held down with the temporary screws.

With some contortion I managed to get under the panel in the cabin area and scrape off most of the squeeze out, pulling off the tape to get a neat and clean finish. The tape worked really well.

It was much harder to do this in the stern compartment where it is impossible to get under the sole. It would have been easier if I had delayed fitting the two deck frame stringers between bulkheads eight and seven until later - they impeded access a lot.

Again the tape worked well in the stern and caught most of the squeeze out, but there was some which I missed and could not reach.

It all went surprisingly well and when cured these epoxy runs will be easily sanded off with the Rotex 90 sander.

Job done!

The next tasks are to add epoxy fillets to the interior of the footwell, which I will doubtless not enjoy, and then to paint the footwell sides inside the hull, which will be fun.

Fitting Footwell Sides & Finishing The Deck Frame

In a previous post I said that I had to dry fit the footwell sides to trim the cockpit deck panels to size.

Here they are, held in place with temporary screws.

I did this before Christmas. The festive season then knocked a two week hole in the build, and it was early January before I glued the sides in place.

It was a straightforward exercise but a problem occurred when I removed the temporary screws. Three of them sheared off at the head.

It was my own fault for using flimsy, used packaging screws which had been in my cupboard for a couple of years. I threw them all away.

The three that broke were of course tight up against the bulkhead and the transom, so impossible to drill out with an ordinary drill.

The Dremel flexible drive fitted with a 3mm twist bit was ideal for this purpose, and it took minutes to remove all three broken screws. More holes to fill later, as here

I marked the screws with a bit of tape and an arrow as they broke so I would not forget which holes they were buried in!

I installed the two remaining stringers for the deck frame at the same time. Here they are, glued and clamped up.

The blue tape on the edges of the cleats was added in anticipation of gluing on the deck panels. I was getting ahead of myself here ... it will be a while before that happens!

Covering Up The Interior

When the floor boards were all installed it was sadly time to cover them up to protect them during the rest of the build.

I covered the cabin sole with thick cardboard and the painted sides of the hull with plastic sheeting.

It's not very pretty but at least dropped tools and drips of epoxy resin will not spoil anything!

Cockpit Deck | Making The Panels

I started work on the cockpit deck by applying the first coat of clear resin to the port and starboard panels. Here is the port panel curing in the workshop.

A test fit in the hull revealed that some excess needed to be trimmed from the outboard edges to get a clean fit along the sides of the footwell and the centre board case. Here you can see that the panels overlap on top of the centre board case, because they are a little too wide.

I used a piece of scrap ply to scribe a fair line around the edge of the port panel, as here.

I then trimmed off the excess with the block plane and retested the fit.

It was at this point I realised I had made an oversight. If you look at the above photo of the two panels in place you will see that the footwell sides are not installed. Having them fitted would add the thickness of the footwell sides to the width of each deck panel, so I was potentially removing too much material.

Fortunately I saw this in time and dry fitted the footwell sides with temporary screws to finish trimming the deck to size.

I also fixed the deck panels in place with a couple of temporary screws for the final fitting, just to be sure that everything lined up nicely, as here.

This also held the deck firmly in place for marking in the location of the deck frames and centre board case for drilling for the multitude of temporary screws required when gluing it in place.

This is easily done in the cabin area by scribing a pencil line around the cleats from underneath the deck, but the location of the cleats in the inaccessible stern compartment has to be extrapolated on the bench.

Here is the port panel marked up, ready to drill screw holes.

Screw  holes were drilled along all the cleat locations at six inch intervals with a sharp twist bit.

I then started to sand both panels and found that the surface was still too soft. It just gummed up the grit.

I don't know why this was the case. The panels had been in the house curing in the warmth for ages, so they should have been hard enough for sanding.

However, this has happened before and I have given up pondering the vagaries of epoxy resin behaviour.

I know how to fix the problem now and it is very straightforward. The Bahco scraper is deployed with a new blade, and it makes short work of removing the soft top layer. Like this.

This revealed the hardened resin underneath which was easily sanded to a P80 finish, as here.

A second coat of clear resin was then applied and again sanded to a P80 finish. There was no problem with curing this time.

Then the third and final coat was applied, and when cured both panels were sanded through the grits to a P220 finish, nice and smooth and ready for paint.

The panels were then set aside, ready to be installed when the time comes.