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Sunday, November 27, 2005

First Floor Timbers Installed

This past thanksgiving weekend, we originally intended on taking the small boat out for the whole weekend. Both of us were in desperate need of a change of scenery what with work being hellish for the both of us for the past couple weeks. The weather in the northwest has recently been abnormally FOGGY. I mean THICK FOG. I havent seen fog like this since I was living in California in the central valley (it gets really bad there in Jan and Feb). We intended on simply motoring out to one of our favorite places and dropping the hook and sitting there for four days cozying up to the diesel heater. But, of course, the morning we planned on leaving, a small craft advisory was issued for the area, with winds up to 30 knots. Not that we cant handle that, but we really wanted to relax. If there was ANY chance we had to deal with moving the boat and fussing with weather, I didnt want to go. So, we didnt. Now onto the real stuff... Bow Thruster Tube If you read the last post, you know that the installation of the bow thruster tube had begun. The holes were cut and initial grinding of the fiberglass started on the outside. Well, I ran out grinding disks that weekend (I wore through my last four 36 and 40 grit grinding disks). I ordered more, but my supplier had not yet delivered them (of course he says they will show up Monday). So, the secondary activity for the weekend was... Floor Timbers So, there are few reasons to support starting this now:

  • get into the "groove" of doing hand layups
  • having a temporary floor in the forward salon would make for getting around in the forward end of the boat much easier (especially to finish the thruster tube).
  • it is a bit chilly outside this weekend so I will have a bit more working time (even with a "hot" catalyst mix).

We decided the floor timbers and bulkheads will be glass over Coosa Board. I had remnants of a sample sheet in the garage as well as some fiberglass cloth and VE resin. Since the floor timbers in the forward salon area will only be supporting the floor, they are not really structural. Therefore, they dont need to be as "beefy" as the bulkheads. The original Westsail construction called for doubled 3/4" plywood to support the steel I-beam, which was the step for the main mast compression post. The I-beam design was a production convenience to allow a compression post to be moved for the cutter, ketch or yawl rig, where the mast placement differs by several inches. We will be a ketch, and we will step the compression post all the way to the keel, so there is no need for this I-beam construction. So the timbers will be 3/4" Coosa board, tabbed in with two layers of mat/roving with a final skin of mat/roving over the whole timber(acting as the third tab).

Basically, door skin was used to cut an initial template (trimmed with a utility knife). Then, the coosa board was cut from this template. While on the boat, a spindle sander was used to shape the edge that meets the hull while checking verticle and horizontal levels.

Once the timbers were shaped, they were tacked in with resin mixed with high density filler (almost to putty consistency). This acted as a gap filler as well as keeping the timbers in place until the glass was applied.

A couple of lessons learned on this run...

  • round over the top of the timber. A hard edge doesnt let the glass turn well and a small air pocket forms at the very top of the timber.
  • of course, have everything pre-cut, un-catalyzed resin ready to go, rollers, etc.
  • two people doing the layup would be better than one. One to wet-out the glass, the second to apply and roll it out on the surfaces.
  • if you are not going to wear a Tyvek suit, at least wear a long sleeve t-shirt . Of course, always wear a respirator.

In the end... It turned out to be a good weekend for boating. It was windy only one night, but the rest of the weekend saw some nice sun. Oh well, not the first time it has happened Later...