Follow This Project On Facebook

Lately I have just not had time to post updates to this blog. I do post activity on this project more frequently on Facebook. If you are interested in whats happening, I encourage you to click 'Like' on the Facebook badge below. Or go to

Posts to this blog will happen infrequently, if at all. The blog will remain accessible for historical purposes.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Modern Art? or...

Experiments with Corebond? Got a five gallon bucket of Corebond this weekend. This is a special two part adhesive with a putty consistency. It is specially formulated for use with foam. For the Westsail project, it's primary use will be bonding/bedding foam to the hull. Once the adhesive is smoothed and cured, you can glass right over it. Of course one uses foam to save weight (lighter than wood and easier to cut). In that spirit, corebond is light as well. A piece of cured corebond will float in water.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cockpit Drain Replacement

Well, the existing (temporary?) cockpit drains that were installed by the Westsail's previous owners were replaced this weekend. Besides being the wrong type of fittings (plastic mushroom thru-hulls), they were bedded with silicone. I suspect they were temporary, but given what else we found in this boat one can't be sure. Anyway, they were leaking, so I decided to replace them before the rainy season hits. And, following the rule "do it right, or don't do it at all", I installed permanent drains. The old drains came out quite easily. Choice of Drain Size The rule of thumb is to make the cockpit drains as large as possible. If you take a wave and fill the cockpit with water, you want it to drain as fast as possible. With a "center cockpit" we have less of a chance of filling up than with an "aft cockpit". Still, we want to maximize drainage. Two inch diameter hose for drains would be ideal, but all two inch drains/scuppers I could find were too big for the "wells" molded into the cockpit floor. The largest I could find that would fit were one and a half inch diameter hose size. Choice of Material Traditional materials are bronze and stainless steel. Newer modern materials are nylon and marelon. Nylon is pretty much discouraged these days as UV will attack it, turn it brittle and crack over the years. Marelon is a "UV stabilized glass reinforced resin" material. Very light, very strong. It will bond with adhesives better than metals. Marelon can also be used for underwater fittings, though I personally am not comfortable with that (yet, I may be convinced later, bronze vs marelon seems to be a big debate in the boatbuilding community). Above the waterline they are perfectly suitable. Forespar Marelon Cockpit Drains We went with Forespar's flush mounted marelon cockpit drains at less than $20 each. The holes were routed with a 45 degree bevel and the drains were bedded with 3M 4200 adhesive/sealant with a backing plate made of Coosa board. The cockpit has three wells on the floor "molded" from the factory, plus there was a "pad", with no hole, in the portside aft corner that looks like it was intended to have a drain. So four drains total were installed. For now, as with the old drains, they all join together and drain through a garden hose out the stern tube. Installing and connecting them to thru-hulls comes later.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Holey Moses!

Got a shipment of hole saws this week. I found few outlets that sold carbide tipped hole saws. We need carbide to cut the coosa board and glass. Cutting glass will dull a bi-metal saw almost instantly. Anyway, where I could find them, they were 20-30 dollars a piece. Then I found a place that sold 13 piece carbide holesaw kits up to 2 3/4 inches in diameter. They had a "toothed" and "grit" version. We bought one of each. With the Westail being framed with Coosa Board, these carbide hole saws will get plenty of use. We also got a bi-metal hole-saw kit, up to 4 inches in diameter, for wood applications. All hole-saws, blades, router bits and drill bits that are (to be) used on glass get a mark with a yellow paint marker. This, to keep them separate from those that are used on wood. The wife gets upset when she has to use a "glass" blade on wood.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

20 Pounds of Fasteners...

20 Pounds of Fasteners... Originally uploaded by blobbus.
Received a 20 lb supply of fasteners today from in various sizes from #8 to #14 and lengths from 1 ½ inches to 4 inches. These are square drive screws which I feel are superior to Phillips or flatheads (anything is better than flatheads). A powered screw driver with a square drive bit will keep the screw on the bit to almost a horizontal attitude. A Phillips will usually fall off. These are made of 316 stainless and have a special cut for the shank and flukes with an auger tip. The advantage over regular tapping screws is that you dont have to drill a pilot hole and risk splitting the material (except for hardwoods). An advantage when using it with Coosa Board and PVC foam is the larger flukes is that it gives a better bite into the material. More surface area, less chance of fastener failure in the material (less chance of popping out under stress). If we have our way, all tapping screws on the boat will be square drives.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Floor Pads

Floor Pads Originally uploaded by blobbus.
Spent the weekend cuttin', miterin' and shapin' foam for the floor pads for the forward salon area and the forward head. These pads will help support the floor and the settee fronts. This closed cell PVC foam is very light, easy to cut, will not absorb water and will not rot. It has good resistance to compression, but no shear strength. So, foam alone will not be strong enough. The foam is primarily used as a form that will be skinned with fiberglass. The idea is to set and bond and foam against the hull and fill any gaps with "corebond" putty adhesive. This stuff is very light and is formulated specifically for bonding foam. Later it will get skinned at the fiberglass and resin party. A bit of time was spent "dialing in" the shop. Adjusting dust collection, adjusting saws, etc. It is getting closer to finalizing interior design forward of the head. I have been going back and forth, but I think it will be a "spare bunk" and storage area. The idea is that there will be waist level storage compartment along the starboard side all the way forward against the hull. A false floor in the bottom to provide access to anchor rode and the bow thruster. The area will mostly be used to store sails, fenders, line, etc., but, in a pinch, it could be used as a bunk. This is very similar to the "charter layout" originally made for the Westsail 42's, so maybe I should stick with it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Got Glass?

Got Glass? Originally uploaded by blobbus.
This weekend was spent wrapping up the latest phase of shop upgrades. "Permanent" spots for the miter saw, belt sander, and spindle sander were selected. Dust collection was modified to serve these tools. Dust collection was also fitted to the boat through the fore and aft hatch openings. The large sheets of foam received earlier this week were cut in half for easier storage. The rolls of fiberglass, resin and layup supplies found their permanent spot where the garden tools use to be. So, we are ready to move the work on the boat into higher gear in the coming weeks.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Shiny New Miter Saw

Shiny New Miter Saw Originally uploaded by blobbus.
So, one of the more convenient tools to cut all this foam is a miter saw. Of course one of the fun parts of building a boat (or any build project for that matter) is buying new tools. And I am fortunate to have a wife that agrees. She was the one who handed me recent articles on "miter saw comparisons" from recent woodworking magazines that she gets in the mail. After looking around we decided we did NOT need a 12 inch saw (too big). We wanted a sliding miter saw, but, few of the 8 inch saws were sliding. So we settled for the 10 inch size. After reading a lot of reviews, it turns out that the major brands are all pretty good saws and roughly the same price. The difference comes down to features. We picked the Bosch 10 inch sliding miter saw that has - Rotating grip handle - Arbor mounted laser sight And it is blue, my favorite color. Probably the most important feature ;-).

Oodles of Foam

Oodles of Foam Originally uploaded by blobbus.

So we got the special order of Airex foam from Baltek yesterday. Man is this a lot of foam. This is probably all the foam we could ever use for this boat. But, it was the minimum order. So, except for the cost, I wont feel so bad for making mistakes. This is the C70.75 Airex ("the green stuff"), which is high density and will take screws with no problem (though I would not screw any major structural into it). This stuff will be used as a core material, of course. It can be cut and shaped very easily. And resin adheres to it very well. The most likely applications for the Westsail will be: * floor supports, near the side of the hull. Foam will be shaped and glassed over. * Shaping bases for head fixtures. * Engine supports (though I will probably laminate layers of Coosa for that). * Anywhere where we need to smooth out angles for glass (fillets), though I am still waiting on a box of fillet strips from Baltek for the bulkheads.