Archive for March, 2016

Two Down, Six to Go

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

2016-03-27 14.29.41 (Medium)I though that I had put the final coat of Quik Fair on the boat but I did not.  I have been sanding and I found I need to fill the transom more and one spot on the starboard bow.  I estimate that I have 8 hours of sanding before I can prime the hull and I have done 2.  I have finished the first pass on the starboard side and started the first pass on the port.  I also need to sand the chimes and keel which I am saving for last.  With a little luck I will start priming the hull later this week and this next weekend I will start attaching the exterior trim pieces.  I have scarfed the outwales and I need to trim them to length, put a round over on one edge, cut a bevel on the other and then steam so that I can fit it to the hull.  The bilge runners and splash rail mainly just need to be cut to length.  I still need to scarf the keel and cut it to length.  I am going to cut kerfs in the keel so that it can take the bend of the bow.

System Three Quik Fair — First Impressions

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Quik_Fair_A_and_B (Medium)I am trying to have the bottom of the boat painted by the middle of April but I don’t think I will make it.  Boat building is a journey not a destination and I have been learning how to use System Three Quik Fair, a two-part epoxy fairing putty.  Quik Fair comes in two tubs, A which is tan and B which is white.  They are mixed at 100 parts of A to 44 part of B by weight. The A and B are somewhere between mayonnaise and peanut butter but stickier.

Rule Number 1.  Don’t get any A or B in the wrong tub. 

I took some old spoons and marked then A and B and I only have one tub open at a time.  I measure out 100 grams of A on to the plywood palette and then put the A spoon in a tin of vinegar.  I then measure out 44 grams on B, making sure that I don’t get any A on the B spoon.  The B spoon goes in to the vinegar which should neutralize the epoxy until I get a chance to clean the spoons.  I then mix the A and B well using tongue depressors with one end cut off.  My 6 x 6 inch palettes are too small; I should have made them 8 x 8 inches.

quik_fair_on_hull (Medium)I put two batches of 144 gram of Quik Fair on about 1/4 of the hull and I ended up sanding most of it off.  I also found that I had high spots that took a lot of sanding and low spots that didn’t have any Quik Fair.

Rule Number 2.  Put a thin skim coat hull to help find the high and low spots when sanding.

I  made a longboard which is not that long; 4 x 10 1/2 inches which is a little smaller than a 1/2 sheet of sand paper.  I spray a thin coat of adhesive on to the sand paper and wait a minute so it gets tacky and that allows me to peel of the sand paper when it is used up.  I sand in an X pattern; down the hull at 45 degrees to the left and then back the other direction at 45 degrees to the right. I found that if I was not creating dust or I could not feel the sand paper cutting I was wasting my time.

Rule Number 3.  Use good sand paper and replace often.

Some of my sand paper would clog up in a minute and I spent more time changing the paper than sanding.  I found that 80 grit 3M SandBlasterPro “Only at Lowe’s” sand paper worked the best with a good balance of being aggressive without making deep scratches.  I could sand an entire panel with 2 half sheets if I brushed the sanding dust off the sand paper regularly.  On the high spot I went through the Quik Fair into the epoxy and on the low spots there was either no Quik Fair or the Quik Fair was rough.  Any place that I sanded the Quik Fair was almost glass smooth and any place I missed for rough or shiny.

Rule Number 4.  Make sure the Quik Fair has cured before sanding.

System Three says that Quik Fair will cure in 3 hours at 70°F; my garage is at 55°F and the Quik fair was not cured at 3 hours, 6 hours and still soft at 12 hours.  I could tell the Quik Fair was not cured because the sand paper would get clogged in a few strokes.  Once cured Quik Fair was easy to sand as long as I did not put too much on.

Rule Number 5.  The last step to applying Quik Fair is to smooth out the ridges.

I found that as I apply the Quik Fair with the squeegee I would always have some ridges on the hull.  I would try to smooth them out but sometimes I would make a mess and have to re-apply the Quik Fair.  Sam Devlin talked about using a cloth wetted with denatured alcohol to smooth out the epoxy fillets which got me thinking that might work for the ridges.  When I have put the entire batch of quick fair on the hull I would thoroughly clean my squeegee with a paper towel dipped in denatured alcohol.  I would then go over the ridges with the clean and slightly wet squeegee.   I would clean the squeegee often.  I found that I could knock down most the the ridges without messing up the fairing.


Bits and Pieces

Monday, March 14th, 2016

scarfing_jig (Medium)I started to make the gunwale, splash rails, bilge rails and keel out of Philippine mahogany.  The boards are 10 feet long so to get them the length needed, which is 15 feet, I need to scarf the planks and to do that I built a scarfing jig.  The clamps hold the work piece against a guide and to avoid cutting the clamps with the saw which would ruin my day, the clamps and the blade I put a screw in the jig so I could not push the clamps into the blade.  The scarf is about 10:1 which means that for 1 inch of width the scarf is 10 inches long.  I started to build another jig to hold the work pieces while I glue them.

I also cut the blanks for the frames out of Alaska Yellow Cedar which is very rot and insect resistant.  AYC is about 3/5’s the weight of white Oak, another popular boat building wood, and has similar characteristics.  The one downside to AYC is that it is not very hard and easily dented but the workable makes up for it.

Lessons Learned

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

hull_wetted_out (Medium)I pulled the peel ply off this morning and started to scrape the high spots.  Since the epoxy was not completely cured, the scraping was fairly easy.  I had about 6 to 8 spots were the fiberglass lifted away from the hull; most of them were at the gunwale.  There were other spots that the peel ply was not toughing the epoxy/fiberglass so I got a low spot at showed the fiberglass weave.  I decided that I needed to scrape the lifted fiberglass off and cover bare spots with epoxy.  One thing lead to another and I ended up putting a seal coat on the whole boat.

The boat looks good so I will add the Quik Fair fairing compound once the epoxy starts to cure.  I am still hoping to prime the hull by next weekend.

Fiberglassed The Bottom

Friday, March 11th, 2016

2016-03-11 13.51.06 (Medium)Today with help from Mark R. and Mark N., I was able to fiberglass the bottom of the boat.  The bottom received one layer of 6 oz. fiberglass cloth and each side also received one layer of 6 oz. fiberglass cloth.  Since the fiberglass cloth is 50 inches wide, the result is the keel has three layers of glass, the bottom up to about 6 inches passed the bottom chime has two layers and one layer from there to the sheer.  The transom also received one layer of glass and the transom looks so good I just might have to finish it bright; that means the transom will have varnish on it and you can see the wood.  After the fiberglass was set on the boat, the epoxy was poured on the horizontal surfaces, spread out with an epoxy spreader to work the epoxy into the weave of the fiberglass and then I pulled the excess to the dry fiberglass.  For the vertical surfaces the epoxy was either brushed on or rolled on.  Once the fiberglass cloth was saturated and smoothed out, peel ply was placed over the fiberglass and also smoothed out.  You can see from the photo what the boat looks like covered with peel ply.  One of the advantage of using peel ply is when you rub the hull with paper towels you can soak up excess epoxy which results in a finish that needs very little sanding.

Once the epoxy starts to cure I can pull the peel ply off and scrap the rough spots.  The epoxy will not have curred hard so the scrapping is fairly easy.  I will also touch up some of the rough areas with Quick Fair which as the name suggests is a fairing compound which should let me fair the boat out quickly.  With a little luck I will be putting the first coat of paint primer on in a week.

I had previously using denatured alcohol to clean up the uncured epoxy but I have often read that boat builders were using white vinegar instead.  I tried it for the first time and I was impressed with how quickly and easily it cleaned up the scissor and roller frame.  I also tossed the epoxy spreaders in a can with some vinegar and it quickly cleaned them up.  It will definitely save me some time and money when I use vinegar to clean my tools.