Saturday 9 May 2020

Cockpit Deck | Installation

The day finally came when no more preparation was required to install the cockpit deck, and I girded up my loins for the task.

I put the port deck panel in first. Here it is, fastened down with temporary screws.

Fitting the panel went well.

It required 5 'doses' of the 2 to 1 epoxy resin mix, as measured by the measuring cups which I use. This was useful knowledge for the other panel, since I ran out of mixture part way through laying down the glue for the port panel and had to hurriedly mix a second batch.

5 doses equates to 500 ml. Quite a lot of glue. I used a proper boatbuilding 'pastry bag' to apply the thickened mixture. It is so much better to use than a freezer bag!

I crawled underneath the deck to scrape off the squeeze out and remove the blue tape. This is a horrible job. The tape and newspaper protect the boat well, but I still got resin all over myself in the process, including in my hair! My advice is to wear something you don't mind throwing away afterwards.

I cleaned up the stern compartment next, and pulled the tape. That went well.

The following day I started to remove the temporary screws from the port deck. I did not have enough screws to install the starboard deck without reclaiming some from the port panel.

I was fearful that some might resist, so I used a screwdriver rather than a drill driver so I could apply a gentle touch.

The first screw that I tried immediately snapped off cleanly at the head. Like an idiot I tried a second, which promptly did the same thing.

Hmmmm. This was annoying, to say the least.

But not to worry. I had used the heat gun to remove wires embedded in epoxy when building the hull, and out it came again. Each screw got 20 to 30 seconds at 250 degrees C and they all came out without further trouble.

Here is the screw pulling gear.

I drilled out the two broken screws and retired for the day.

Another lesson I learned when removing the tape from the port deck is that the blue tape must be applied in a single piece for each seam, and the tag to grab the tapes must be at the very end of the piece. If you use two or three pieces on one seam they stay stuck and you have to pick them off by hand, and if the tag is not at the very end of the piece it will not pull it away easily. It's tedious and very messy.

So the following day I re-taped some of the starboard panel accordingly, mixed up the required quantity of thickened resin, and installed the starboard deck. Here it is.

I cleaned up and pulled the tape in the stern compartment, and then crawled under the deck and did the same there. Quick and easy, but still more resin in my hair. But the deck joins looked great!

Twenty four hours later I removed all the temporary screws, using the heat gun. No failures.

I think the problem was that the 3.5 x 25 mm screws which I used are quite flimsy, unlike the 4.0 x 30 mm screws which I used on the forward deck which came out quite easily.

So my policy now is to always heat temporary screws before removal.

Installation of the cockpit deck is the last activity in "Chapter 2: Lower Hull Assembly" in the build manual, and installation of the forward deck is the first in "Chapter 3: Upper Hull Assembly". Which I have already done.

We are getting there!

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