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Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Keel is done!

This keel problem was more of a distraction than I needed. The discovery that it was full of water completely changed the initial plan of action. To compound matters, trying to estimate the amount of resin required to fill it proved difficult. For those keeping tally, the total number of gallons needed to fill the keel... 84 gallons! That is about $2000 worth of resin (mostly polyester, last batch was done in vynlester). And with oil prices the way they are it is not getting cheaper! Even the other guys in the boat yard were surprised at the quantity required. To have done this with epoxy would have been VERY expensive. Anyway, also included in the keel repair was a chance to get some more experience with resin infusion techniques. I had been working with small pieces in the garage a few months ago, but never large pieces. Needing to put a few layers of mat/roving to go on top of the keel it was the perfect opportunity to try infusion. Lessons learned from this infusion experiment: - you cant use enough flow medium - never use traditional woven roving, especially the heavy stuff, the weave is so tight, it is very diffucult to infuse. Use the linear knitted stuff. Flow is much better - more resin input points the better, with the ability to valve or clamp off each one individually Of course, you nay-sayers out there will say "why dont you just do a wet hand layup?" Sure, would have saved some time, but would have made more of a mess (at least risk of). Besides, I wanted to experiment more with infusion, as the top of the keel is non cosmetic, it would not need to be perfect. Which it is not. There is still a bit of a gap between where the "lip" of bilge is (where the plywood was cut out) and the top of the glass on the ballast. I will do a quick spreading of mish-mash along that edge to create a nice fillet. A couple more layers of mat/roving will eventually be put over this again when the center section flooring goes in. So, even though I have been busy with other minor stuff outside the keel, it is this keel project that has been holding back moving forward on the floors (one the floors are in, things can move fairly quickly). The difficulty in getting a good estimate of the resin quantities needed for keel slowed things down. Once you have gone through all the resin you have, you have to stop. You just cant go down to the hardware store and buy more as you need it (and no, West Marine does not carry resin in 5 gallon buckets in the stores. Besides, they only carry epoxy systems on the shelf). So, the inside of the hull is set for a good cleaning and washdown (there is still a bit of fiberglass dust) without fear of getting water in the keel. It is now nice and solid. Next (maybe even today), marking waterlines on the inside and transferring the station lines from the CAD plans, to the inside of the hull. The next interior build project is the forward floors (in the forward head area) and bow thruster tube.