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Monday, September 27, 2010

MIG Welding: How Hard Can It Be?

There is a new tool in the shop. A MIG welder. Even though this boat is fiberglass, there are a number of things I can think of where this welder will come in handy (brackets, braces, mounts, etc). In addition to a few projects around the house. I don't know why, but I have always had this notion that welding is a "black magic" sort of skill. Maybe its because I had always heard that it takes a lot of experience to be "really good" at it. But that can be said for just about any skill, right? So, if it just requires some time, how hard can it be?

This unit is a 220V Lincoln Electric 180 HD. New, I got on eBay for a reasonable price. Supposedly it can weld aluminum and stainless with some extra added accessories (a spool gun for one). Research on the internet says that, for welding stainless, TIG welding is preferred if you want the finish welds to look good, otherwise MIG works ok. But I report that having no experience of my own, yet. Depending on how this goes, maybe we will look into TIG welding later.

To help get our feet wet (!figuratively speaking of course!), we are taking an "intro to welding" course at the local community college over the next few weeks. Should be fun. I expect we will have a bunch of "unplanned" metal art coming from our garage over the next few months LOL.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Thru-Hulls

Two more. One is the forward head sink/shower sump discharge. Just above the waterline. The other is the raw water intake, located in the engine room, next to one of the cockpit drain thru-hulls. I have decided to go with a seachest for the distribution of raw-water to the relevant systems. The sea-chest is currently under design, but I have at least decided WHERE it will be, therefore, the thru-hull can go in. Only one more thru-hull to install under the waterline. That will be the holding tank waste dicharge. I wont do that one until I am ready to install the septic system.

Monday, September 20, 2010

More Deck Hardware: Padeyes for the Runners

Just in, before the soon-to-be permanent rainy season sets in. Beefy padeyes from Schaefer Marine. Cast 316 stainless steel, 8000lb safe working load.  Two of them, port and starboard. These are where the running backstay (often called runners) will attach. Some original Westsails had these padeyes mounted to the deck. I opted to move them up onto the inside of the bulwark. Thus converting them from nasty toe-stubbers to somewhat more desirable ankle-biters. Backed with quarter inch threaded aluminum plate.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Forward Cleats are IN!

Folding, spring loaded, popup cleats from Accon Marine. Admittedly, I am not that fond of the look. But the choice was function over form. I was originally considering the ABI hawsecleats, but ABI shut its doors when the economy tanked. I managed to get the last pair of their standard cast stainless steel hawsepipes, figuring I would put a standard herreshoff style cleat next to them. Then I came across these and thought: Hey! How many times, when sailing, have we had the jib sheet give way from the winch and had the wind flog the sheet until it gets snagged on the bow cleat? Thus, requiring a trip from the cockpit to the bow to unfoul?  It has happened to us a number of times. PITA I tell you. Especially when it is really windy and wavy (the most likely conditions when the jib sheet will foul of course).

Some of you out there will balk and say "Hey, that is a moving part! Moving parts will fail!" Yes, that is true. All I can say is that these are beefy. The primary parts are cast 316 stainless steel. The horn part appears solid. I figure if these don't work out I can always install a standard cleat later.

Installed with a 3/8 inch aluminum backing plate. Threaded of course, such that it can be removed by one person, with one tool. To make those future paint jobs easy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Autumn Cometh

Fall is here. Maybe not "officially" (when that is I am not sure), but it is here. You can tell by the angle of the sun in the late afternoon, the sky is getting darker earlier, and there is that familiar "smell" of autumn. The year so far has been a tough one. Lots of ups and downs on many fronts: family, friends, jobs, vacations, etc. Strangely, as erratic as the boat project has seemed in the past, this year it has been the one of the more constant bits of life. Kind of like a well set anchor, if you'll pardon the pun.

Fall has typically been a "slow" time for the boat project, what with colder wet weather and all that. But focus is shifting to completing the interior. With the deck bonded, chain plates and deck lockers installed, much work can now be done regardless of what mother nature is doing outside.

So, I am determined to make fall as busy as possible. Particularly, get as much done on the inside, so I can be ready to attack the outside come the dry weather next year. Keep your fingers crossed for me and keep watching this space.