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.

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