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July 2011

Quick Links: 7/01 | 7/02 | 7/04 | 7/07 | 7/09 | 7/10 | 7/13 | 7/14 | 7/15 | 7/16 | 7/17 | 7/20 | 7/24 | 7/26 | 7/30 | 7/31

2011/07/01 - Took some time off work to make an extra long weekend so as to be able to get some significant tasks completed on the boat. Started the day with a trip to Lowes to stock up on some supplies for the work at hand. Got some plywood and 1x4's to build up some new doors for the interior.

Using a wire brush, finished stripping out the slots in the boom for the sail track and outhaul. The boom is now ready for refinishing. Also finished sanding down the exterior and interior of the lazarette hatch for its refinishing. While I was in a sanding mood, I also touched up the companionway washboards one more time so that they would be ready as well.

With the sanding out of my system, I got down to starting construction of a new interior door between the head and main saloon. Cut all of the boards to size and then measured one last time, but had to spend a good part of the afternoon milling down the 1x4's to 1/2 inch thickness so that the new door would not stand proud of the frame. After some failed experiements with the band saw, I set up the fence on the table saw and got things close, using a joiner to take off the last 1/16th of an inch.

2011/07/02 - Started the day by gluing up the frame of the new door with epoxy. Since I have a finite number of clamps, I had to do this in stages, but it worked out well by giving me fewer opportunities to make mistakes. Since the temperature today was in the mid-80's, the pot life of the epoxy was about 15 minutes, so it's good that I could only clamp up a few boards at a time!

Between glue-up sessions, started work on the deck. I started small by opening up an area under one of the stanchion bases that made up the gate on the port side. These stanchions had always been loose for the past few years. As expected, the balsa core under the base was crushed and saturated with water. Using a screwdriver to probe under the surrounding deck, everything else was wet and mushy, too, so a plastic mallet was retrieved and the deck was sounded. The soft spot extended at least six inches in all directions, so a section of deck about 8 inches wide and 2 feet long was opened up next using a pocket router and a cut off wheel.

The good news is that the deck came off quite easily. The bad news is that the deck came off too easily, meaning that the balsa was no longer bonded to the fiberglass. Once the deck was peeled back, it became clear that the deck job just got a lot larger.

Upon opening the deck, evidence was found of a prior repair. The original deck appears to have been made with 2x2 balsa squares. Looking at the photo below, you can see a piece of plywood on the right side of the opening. Although the plywood was still reasonably solid, it was saturated with water along with the balsa. The photo below to the right shows just how wet the balsa is. Note the dark spot on the bottom corner of the square where the water is pooling (dark spot).

Once the deck was opened, a heavy duty scraper was used to clean out the wet balsa. I also probed under the surrounding deck with a long screwdriver and confirmed that the moisture extends for some distance. Soundings with a plastic mallet suggest that nearly all of the port side deck will have to be opened up. (Bah!)

Meanwhile, back in the garage workshop, the door to the head began taking shape. Tomorrow's job will be to glue on the second skin and then trim the door to shape so that the edging can be applied and trimmed.

2011/07/04 - Happy Independence Day, everyone!

The second skin got glued onto the door to the head yesterday and the clamps came off late last night. Also, got a couple of stubborn deck fittings off of the stern of Tomfoolery yesterday with the help of Scott and now we can start to open up the deck to get a look at some of the really soft spots. Some time on the web with Defender lightened my wallet a bit as I ordered new core material (Divinycell) for the side and aft decks allong with another gallon of epoxy resin to glue it all together.

Today's primary objective was to open up the aft deck around the lazarette hatch as this area has been really soft for a couple of years already. The router made quick work of the main perimeter and then a 3-inch cutoff wheel at 25,000 RPM in a pneumatic hand tool made quick work of the areas the router couldn't reach well.

The port side was opened up first. There was a dry spot near the center of the decking which made for more work to pull the top skin off as it was still bonded pretty well to the balsa core. The rest of the area, as you can see in the photo to the right, was wet to the point of spraying water when hit with a chisel or pry bar.

Once the skin was off, the remaining balsa core was chiseled off. Here, the spraying water was refreshing as the outdoor temperatures were in the mid-80's today. After the big chunks of balsa were removed, a 4-inch grinder was used to clean off the bottom skin of the fiberglass.

After the port side was done, then the starboard side received a similar treatment. Fortunately, the top skin of the deck came off with a bit less tenacity than the port side.

Final assembly of the door to the head also took place today. The glued up door was trimmed to size and then solid oak edging was glued on in stages. Next step will be a final fit to the door frame in the boat and then installation of hardware.

2011/07/07 - Materials for re-coring the deck arrived today, so work can proceed in this area once more. Because of the high traffic and the numerous deck penetrations around the lazarette, I decided to use plywood as a coring material rather than the Divinycell foam. The latter would be saved for work on the side and fore decks.

The door to the head is out of the clamps and is in the process of being sanded smooth in preparation for fitting, staining and varnishing.

2011/07/09 - Took a 4x4 sheet of 3/8-inch plywood and started cutting it into 2x2-inch pieces to use as deck core around the aft lazarette. This should be twice as much as is needed, but it will give me a better feel for how much of the more expensive Divinycell I'll need for the side deck.

First the plywood sheet was cut in half so that it would be easier for a single person to handle on the table saw. Then the fence was installed to cut 2-inch wide strips.

Once the strips were cut, a "jig" was clamped in place so that the strips could be cut into consistent 2-inch lengths.

The finished product was put into a bin to be carried to the deck and epoxied into place.

2011/07/10 - Finished sanding the door to the head and trimmed it to fit into the opening. Routed out the cuts for the hinges and drilled the opening for the doorknob and latch. Did a rough fitting of the door and discovered that the bottom edge was just binding against the sill. Took the door back to the shop for an adjustment.

Took stock of the deck situation and determined that more fiberglass and mat would be needed before starting any glassing operations. Checked online and ordered some glass cloth and mat from Jamestown Distributors along with some foam brushes for all of the varnishing and painting that will need to be done. Expected delivery date is Thursday (7/14).

2011/07/13 - Trimmed the bottom of the head door back about 1/16th of an inch and then sanded the bottom smooth. Also started removing the remaining balsa core from the bottom side of the deck panels that had been removed earlier. Completed two of the three panels removed so far.

2011/07/14 - Twenty yards of fiberglass cloth and mat arrived today via UPS. Now I'll be able to start putting things together as soon as everything is ready.

Also got online and ordered 500 feet of wire to begin working on parts of the electrical system.

2011/07/15 - Took advantage of the nice weather this afternoon and spent time finishing up the door to the head. After trimming the bottom of the door a bit a few days ago, the door fit very well into its frame. A few more measurements confirmed the position of the remaining hardware on the door and now it is ready for staining and finishing.

Aft deck top skin was also cleaned up in preparation for glassing. A chisel was used to take off any remaining balsa. A grinder with 24-grit sandpaper was then used to take off any remaining wood and to provide a fresh fiberglass surface to which the epoxy can better bond.

2011/07/16 - A productive day.

With crew member Jon's help, the starboard side stanchions were removed in less than an hour. Both side decks are now open and ready for work on the areas where the core is suspect.

Next we attacked the bow pulpit. This was a bit trickier because the mast was secured to it. A saw horse over the forward hatch solved that problem (need to keep the foredeck clear for deck work and the gunwales are due to be refinished as well).

With Jon in the anchor locker and me on deck, we removed the 12 bolts holding the pulpit down and removed it from the deck. The wires for the navigation lights had to be cut, but this was expected and they are due to be replaced anyway, so no big deal.

Next, the platform for the anchor rollers came off. This could be done single handedly as the square-headed bolts were countersunk into the platform and would not turn as the nuts were loosened from below.

The navigation lights were then removed from the bow pulpit and disassembled so that the bulbs could be identified. The hope is that an LED replacement can be found so that the entire fixture does not have to be replaced. Photos below show the disassembly sequence.

This first photo shows how the bow lights are integrated in with the bow pulpit. A small Allen screw locks the fixture into the tubing of the frame. Wiring for the lights comes up the starboard side of the pulpit through the aftmost pulpit base and feeds both lights.

Loosening the Allen screw a bit allows the fixture to drop from the pulpit.

Just a few screws hold everything together. This photo shows the "exploded" view. If a replacement LED bulb can be found, then the teak trim piece will be refinished or replaced with new wood.

The bulbs, by the way, are identified as "G94". A search on the Internet suggested that the bulb base is the same as the "E90" and "C90" bulbs found in the stern light and steaming light. I believe the difference is in the wattage of the bulb, with the bow lights being more powerful to compensate for the colored filters. The base of the bulb seems to be identified as "BA15D".

2011/07/17 - Started replacing the core in the aft deck around the lazarette hatch. First, had to patch a couple of holes in the underside of the deck that did not correspond to any gear that's currently mounted to the deck. Also, note that the locations of existing gear were labeled so that coring would not be located there.

Next, some fiberglass mat was wetted out with catylized resin and pushed under the borders of the deck to reinforce it.

Finally, some thickened epoxy was spread out on the deck with a notched trowel and squares of plywood were glued down into it to begin laying up the new core. Areas for deck gear will be filled in later with either thickened epoxy or with solid fiberglass.

2011/07/20 - The door to the head has been stained and got the first coat of varnish. Teak trim to the cabins have also had their first coat of varnish, at least on the back side. Even the back side is starting to look great!


2011/07/24 - Continued to lay down coats of varnish on the interior trim and head door. The weather cooled off a bit today, making for better conditions inside the boat and on the deck, so the cabin roof grab rails got removed. Starboard side cleats in the cockpit were also "encouraged" (via an impact driver) to come free as well.

A 3 watt LED replacement bulb for the interior cabin fixtures arrived in the mail on Saturday. The good news is that the bulb does fit and seems to work well, but is a little dimmer than the 25 watt incandescent bulb I compared it to.

To the left is the regular bulb and the LED bulb is shown on the right. Note the different color of the LEB bulb (cooler, not as yellow) as the incandescent. The LED is also more directional, not throwing as much light onto the ceiling. Based on this test, I'll probably try a 5 watt LED bulb to see how it compares.

2011/07/26 - Checked the specifications of the bulbs and the 3 watt LED bulb throws 240 lumens at a color temperature of 3500K. I ordered a 5 watt bulb (450 lumens, 6000K) to test and compare. Will post results when I receive it. So far, I've had good luck with this bulb vendor ( and the cost is significantly lower than others.

2011/07/30 - Made some significant progress today, to the point where I can see the finish line on a couple of the items on the refit list. Didn't take any photos, though. I'll get caught up on that tomorrow.

The door for the head is complete and has all of its hardware installed and is ready to hang.

The trim panels that go below the side decks are complete with multiple coats of varnish. These are being stored until interior work is done and the stanchions get put back on the deck.

The lazarette hatch has received a base coat of epoxy and is on its third coat of varnish. The target is to get at least 7 coats before reinstalling hardware. Once the hatch is complete, work can begin on the forward hatch.

Significant progress has been made with epoxying new plywood core. About half of the area was completed before my last pair of rubber gloves gave out. Was also able to get fiberglass mat epoxied into the gap around the perimeter of the deck. I'm hoping to be able to finish the entire area tomorrow so that I can move on to other areas of the deck that need attention.

A number of drawers in the boat were emptied and removed from the boat. The interior of the drawers will be painted white for better visibility and then the teak fronts will be cleaned and varnished. Eventually all interior teak will be varnished.

The boom received an epoxy coat in key places and its first coat of varnish. Weather-wise, it was a good varnishing day and the coat dried quickly enough to be sanded down for the next round before the end of the day.

Bow chocks and the original hawse pipe were removed from the foredeck in preparation for eventual deck work and gunwale refinishing. The remaining deck fittings are through-bolted and will require a second pair of hands to keep the nuts from turning while the bolts are turned.

2011/07/31 - No work today, unfortunately. Instead I wound up in the hospital with a kidney stone! I guess this is how the month of July will end and the next installment of "real" work will have to wait until August. Fortunately, that's just a day away...

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