Tuesday 23 August 2022

Companionway Hood | Fillets (1)

It was time to make epoxy fillets around the outside of the companionway hood.

This is definitely not my favourite task, and it brought back memories of hours and hours spent grinding and sanding fillets to a decent finish.

So this time I determined to work a bit smarter. I would use Peel Ply to cover the wet epoxy and some sort of roller to achieve a good shape and minimise sanding.

First I sanded the sides of the hood to give the epoxy a good bonding surface.

Here is the starboard side, sanded clean.

I filled the drain holes with a plug of BluTack and marked their location. The fillets will cover the holes so I will have to cut them out later. Somehow.

After some thought I decided to use a length of plastic pipe of the required diameter to press the filet into shape under a strip of Peel Ply.

Here is the pipe.

It has an outside diameter of 42mm, which seemed about right.

Then I made one fillet at a time, not rushing to complete a large area before the epoxy went off.

Again, voice of experience.

I had a lot of problems with the keel fillets through trying to do too much at once. They are no longer visible now the boat is right side up but those on the hood will be, so they have to look good.

I made some fillet mixture and applied what looked to be the right amount, and smoothed it roughly into shape with a filleting tool.

Then I laid a strip of Peel Ply along the fillet and used a brush to help it soak up the resin.

Lastly I used the piping to press the fillet into shape under the Peel Ply.

It went surprisingly well.

I did the starboard side first. It looked like this.

There was a lot of squeeze out on the forward half of the fillet which will have to be sanded off, but the shape looked good.

The second fillet on the port side went better. Here it is.

We will see how good they are when I pull the Peel Ply. Fingers crossed...

That is the final piece of structural build on the boat.

From now on everything is about painting and fitting out. What an amazing feeling!

Companionway Hood | Installation

The time had come to install the companionway hood.

The test fit had been a success so I didn't anticipate any structural issues but I did see the opportunity to make a real mess with squeezed out epoxy inside the hood.

So I carefully masked off any areas which would be affected. This is the cabin roof with its protective tape.

During the test fit I checked that there was enough room for me reach inside to pull the tape during installation. There was.

Likewise here is the hood, all taped up.

I pencilled in where the hood would sit on the cabin roof and applied a moderate amount of thickened epoxy glue - enough to fill the joint but not too much to cause serious squeeze out.

Voice of experience.

The installation went smoothly and the hood was soon in place with temporary screws closing the joint tightly.

Here is the hood viewed from the front.

I scraped and wiped away excess epoxy on the roof outside and inside the hood, and pulled the tape. All went well. Here is a view of the hood's interior.

Not bad at all. Fillets next... not looking forward to that!

Companionway Slide | Wet Sanding

There was very little I could do to progress the build until the companionway hood was fully cured, so I started to polish the slide's exterior with wet and dry sandpaper.

Here I have wet sanded half of the slide, starting with a P800 grit.

I had forgotten how tedious it is. Still, it's good to know that I am actually working on the final finish of the upper hull.

We are getting there!

Saturday 20 August 2022

Companionway Hood | Test Fit

When the gloss inside the companionway hood was good and hard I made a test fit to make sure that everything still lined up before getting out the epoxy.

Here it is held securely in place by temporary screws inside the cabin.

All was well, as it should be. But I have been caught out before by assuming that things are fine when a quick test fit would confirm it for sure.

Next step is to fit the hood permanently. Hooray!

Upper Hull | Lots More Primer

Lots of work, lots of time and very little of any visual interest to share... the only thing more tedious than watching paint dry is looking at photos of it in progress.

So I will keep this post short and sweet and to the point.

I initially thought that five coats of primer would be enough. I think that's what I did on the rudder.

Here is the upper hull after the five coats.

I took the opportunity of priming the drop boards and the tabernacle at the same time, to save time later. Here they are.

That's a gin and tonic in the centre of the table. A good antidote to the tedium of rolling on and tipping out many coats of paint.

Next task was to sand the upper hull to a smooth, flat surface using a P180 grit. This is what it looked like afterwards.

You can see that I sanded through the primer in quite a few places, albeit in only small patches. But previous experience taught me that those patches would show through the subsequent layers of gloss, no matter how many coats were applied.

So five more coats of primer were applied, making ten in all.

This is what the boat now looked like.

I am going to leave the primer to harden for a good long time before sending it again.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I intended to paint inside the companionway hood before installation, for ease of access.

You can see in the above pic that the interior of the hood and the exterior of the slide have received plenty of coats of gloss - ten, to be precise.

I did the same to the area of the cabin roof that will be covered by the hood. This is what it looked like.

Most of the hood's interior will not be visible, so it does not need to have the same high finish as the hull. So no polishing with wet and dry sandpaper, which is great news!

We are making satisfactory if somewhat slow progress. I want the finish to be as good as it can be, applying learnings made when painting the lower hull.

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Upper Hull | Primer!

The long awaited day came when paint was finally applied to the upper hull.

The first coat of primer was predictably patchy, like this.

After two more coats the upper hull looked a lot smarter, as in this pic.

It will require at least one more coat of primer, and probably more. Then I will sand it with a P220 grit to get a smooth, solid colour base for the gloss.

The area on the cabin roof where the companionway hood will be fitted required more primer after I sanded it a bit too aggressively. Here it is after six coats, and still not good enough for gloss.

This leads me to think that six coats at least will be required on the rest of the upper hull. Thus far I have used up a 2.5 litre tin of primer, so it was inevitable that another one would be required. Luckily I had already purchased another tin in anticipation of running out!

Looking good ....

Upper Hull | Getting Ready For Paint

The entire upper hull needed to be made smooth and clean, ready for primer.

I had previously sanded all surfaces with a P80 grit after covering it with fibreglass cloth and three coats of clear resin, so not too much work was now required.

Half a day's work was required to sand the upper hull with a P120 grit, ready for paint.

Here we are sanding.

We're getting there!

Companionway Sill & Cabin Roof | More Primer

When painting the rudder I found that four coats of primer were enough to achieve a smooth undercoat with a solid colour base.

So a fourth coat was applied to the companionway sill and cabin roof where the hood would fit, like this.

That looks nice!

Drain Holes & Tiller Slot | Sealing Out

Various holes through the hull need to be sealed with epoxy resin before paint, to prevent the ingress of water.

These include the outer drain holes in the Dorade boxes, as here.

And the inner ones, in the forward deck well. Like this.

The tiller slot likewise needs to be sealed, as here.

As do the footwell drains. Like this.

Nearly ready for paint!

Portlight & Ventilator Holes | Masking Off

I did not want paint to drip or run through holes in the upper hull when painting got under way.

Accordingly I plugged the ventilator and portlight holes with cardboard by taping up the interior, like this.

And by then dropping a cardboard disk onto the tape, as on this ventilator hole.

That will keep out unwanted paint and debris.

I did the same to the portlight holes, as here.

Nearly ready for paint!

Footwell Drain Holes

I neglected to drill the drain holes in the cockpit footwell when the boat was initially upright, and had been telling myself that I 'forgot' to do it.

The truth is, I am sure, that I was terrified of wrecking the finished surface of the beautifully varnished transom by tearing out wood around the holes. Other have done this, and have had to paint the transom as a result.

But I could procrastinate no longer. Drain holes were needed before the upper hull could be painted, and had to be made now.

I thought about it for days and decided to drill a small hole from inside the footwell to mark the centre of the drains, and use that as a pilot hole to guide a bigger drill from the the outside.

In this way I hoped to avoid tearing the grain in the lovely Sapele transom by drilling in rather than out through the surface veneer.

First, the pilot holes.

Here I have used masking tape to mark where the centre of the drains should be inside the well, and drilled a 3mm pilot hole.

Here are both holes on the outside of the transom.

A quick check with a spirit level showed that they were exactly aligned. Phew!

Now came the thorny problem of how to drill the drains without ripping out lumps of ply.

I had previously obtained a 20mm needle point wood twist drill and tried it out on a piece of 18mm scrap plywood.

It was a failure. It drilled the hole just fine, but despite slow speed and great care I still tore up the veneer on the surface around the hole. So that was not going to work.

I visited my local hardware store which caters for trade - not DIY - customers, seeking inspiration.

And it was here that I found just what I needed - an auger bit!

The largest they had in stock was 18mm, which was just fine.

Here is the bit in my ancient brace.

And here is the business end of the auger.

It has a screw tip which pulls the auger into the wood, and the super-sharp 'wing blades' of the auger cut the hole.

I tried it on some scrap ply and it worked well, so I took a deep breath and started to slowly and carefully drill the first hole in the transom.

It worked really well! The wing blades cut cleanly and effortlessly through the transom with no damage to the surface.

Here are both freshly drilled drain holes.


Transom | Taping Up For Paint

We would very soon be painting the upper hull with white primer, so the top of the varnished transom needed to be masked off.

While I was at it I decided to mark up and tape in the upper blue line of the transom frame to save time and trouble later.

First I decided where the white-painted transom skirt would meet the transom itself, and taped up a fair curve across the top of the transom. This masks the transom from the white paint.

Then I marked up and taped off the bottom edge of the blue frame stripe that will run across the tope of the transom. Like this.

I used paper masking tape and a dressmaker's tape measure to ensure that the blue stripe would be the same width as the sides of the frame across the width of the curved transom top i.e. 38mm.

The top corners of the frame are curved where the top meets the sides so I very lightly scribed in a line using a suitably sized pot to make the curve, and taped off the corners.

Here is the port corner.

Here is the strip all taped up.

When I come to paint the blue stripe all I need to do is peel off the top tape which masks off the white paint, and tape up a new line which masks off the blue.

It was a bit fiddly and time consuming but will save a lot of trouble later.

Lastly the transom was covered up with protective sheeting again.

We're getting there!

Fibreglass Strips | Blending In

I had installed reinforcement strips of fibreglass at the sides of the cockpit where the sides met the deck, because I feared a weak point where I had inadvertently made a butt joint there between the sheets of 'glass covering the deck, rather than an overlap for strength.

When cured I sanded the strips with a P120 grit to blend them in with the rest of the deck.

Here the starboard strip has been sanded and the unblended port strip is also visible.

Note the portable industrial grade extraction fan placed near the sander to pick up any dust. I purchased two to use either side of the workshop when sanding; portable because I don't have room to hang a big unit on the wall.

They work really well and of course can be used on the bench or on the boat to directly suck up any nasty dust.

Companionway Hood & Slide | More Gloss

The interior of the companionway hood was to be painted before installation, so it had been primed and sanded before being glossed.

Here it is after four coats of Ivory White.

I painted the outside of the slide at the same time, while the rollers and brushes were out and to save a bit of time later.

Here it is, again after four coats.

My plan is to use ten coats of gloss on all of the upper hull, because that's what gave the best results on the underside for both blue and white paint.

The inside of the hood will require very little finishing though, because most of it will be out of sight when fitted.

Companionway Sill & Cabin Roof | Primer

Now that the hull was upright again it was time to install the companionway hood so that the upper hull could be painted and finished.

My plan was to paint the part of the cabin roof covered by the hood before installation, because it would be easier than trying to paint inside the hood afterwards.

The sill and roof were sanded smooth with a P120 grit and the first coat of primer was applied.

This is what it looked like.

 That's the first paint on the upper hull - exciting times!