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August 2011

2011/08/11 - Unfortunately I've a bit of a delay in the refit work. Activity ceased rather abruptly when I had to take time out to pass a kidney stone. After getting back on my feet I had to spend the next weekend at work, but now I'm able to get back and focus on the work at hand.

The lazarette hatch cover received its final coats of varnish and is complete. All of the hardware was buffed up a bit and then reinstalled. Once the recoring effort on the aft deck is complete the hatch will be returned to its proper place.

Note the boom in the background after five coats of varnish. Two more and it will be ready to have the hardware reinstalled, clearing some room in the workshop for another piece (or two) to be refinished.

Speaking of the aft deck, nearly all of the core has been epoxied in place and significant progress has been made at adding reinforced pads for the cleats and pushpit rail. With luck, perhaps the skin can be glassed in tomorrow.

Also completed today was the anchor platform. Again, once the deck work has been completed this, too, will find its place back aboard.

The first set of drawers have also been painted and varnished and are ready to install. As with other pieces, they will be set aside to make room for the next set to be refinished.

2011/08/12 - The final coats of varnish have been applied to the boom and the instrument panel. The panel has been set aside pending completion of deck repairs. Boom hardware will be polished up and reinstalled tomorrow.

With some space cleared in the shop, work was started on the forward hatch. Here's a "before" picture.

Hardware was removed and the entire hatch was sanded down to remove the weathered layer of wood and to rough up the interior. Then the interior received the first two coats of paint to brighten it up.

2011/08/13 - Started the day by finishing the boom. The first step was to check the boom to make sure there were no rough spots that might need some touch up with varnish.

The next step was to reassemble the gooseneck/roller furling casting on the forward end of the boom. The pieces were cleaned and then put back together before being reattached to the boom.

Moving to the aft end of the boom, the outhaul fitting needs to be put back into place.This photo shows the raw boom and how it is shaped to accomodate the outhaul assembly.

The photos below show the outhaul assembly and the assembly once it is fitted onto the end of the boom.

Next comes the sail track for the mainsail foot and its dozens of screws to tighten. Thank goodness for battery powered drills!

Next the cheek blocks for the slab reefing get attached to the boom. I've never had good luck with a roller reefing main when it comes to maintaining sail shape, so I put these blocks on a while back and they've worked quite well.

With the boom complete, attention turned to putting the aft deck back together again. With the plywood in place, a grinder was used to smooth off the top and then the dust was vacuumed off.

Next some thickened epoxy was troweled down as if we were going to lay some tile, the top skin of the deck was pressed into place and then some weights were put on it until the epoxy kicked.

Finally, the deck on the starboard bow was opened up where it had gotten terribly soft over the past couple of years. As expected, the balsa core was soaked. There was some evidence of a prior repair to the deck where the top skin split while it was being pried up, but this will be easily fixed before the skin is glued back down. The pile of debris behind the hole is the original deck core. Despite its compromised state, nearly all of it had to be removed with a hammer and chisel.

Not shown in pictures, but deserving a mention is the port gunwale that was sanded down to raw teak by Rebecca, one of Tomfoolery's loyal racing crew. Many thanks also to Jon, another crew member, who assisted with mixing all of the epoxy needed to glue things back together today.

2011/08/14 - It turned into a very wet day with rain all afternoon, so not much exterior work got done. Instead, interior cabinetry was disassembled so that drawer fronts and doors could be taken into the shop for cleanup and varnishing.

Because most of the woodwork inside the boat had been oiled, it was all wiped down with acetone to remove as much as possible. Then the pieces were sanded and they received their first coat of varnish late in the day.

2011/08/15 - With more rain outside, most of the boat work was done indoors between the Internet and the workshop. In the workshop, all available pieces were varnished again.

On the Internet, LED bulbs were ordered both for the cabin and for the navigation lights on the exterior. The only remaining lights left to replace are the spreader lights. Some interesting possibilities exist, but quite frankly, this can wait for a while, especially since the spreaders have not yet been refinished.

Also ordered were some supplies to restock the shop. Another gallon of epoxy along with another case of foam brushes and some high-density filler. Some mahogany veneer was also ordered in anticipation of covering the faux wood formica in the main cabin.

2011/08/18 - The first batch of supplies showed up today: Epoxy, caulk and more foam brushes. According to the tracking numbers, two more boxes should appear on my doorstep tomorrow.

2011/08/20 - The remainder of supplies showed up on Friday, allowing for more work to be completed today.

The companionway washboards have received their final coat of varnish and are looking almost new.

LED bulbs for the navigation lights also arrived, however they didn't quite fit in to the fixtures. Because of the way the original bulbs were recessed, a flange on the LED model didn't allow the new bulbs to completely settle into the bayonette socket. A few minutes with a countersinking bit in a drill solved this problem and now everything fits (and functions) just fine.

The anchor light uses a smaller bulb at the masthead, so one more LED bulb will be ordered and the exterior conversion to LED will be complete, significantly reducing power consumption.

Seams on the aft deck were feathered back with a grinder to allow them to be taped up.

Other deck work included drilling out oversized holes for stanchion bases and grab rails so that they could be filled with epoxy to prevent the deck core from being crushed and to minimize future water intrusion into the deck and below.

2011/08/21 - Didn't get to spend a lot of time with the boat today, but did get a lot done thanks to Dennis and Jim who stopped by to help.

First, managed to glass in the new core along the starboard bow. With Dennis mixing the epoxy and me putting down the squares of foam, this step went very quickly. The stanchion base also got a good reinforcing with a structural filler where the bolts penetrate the deck.

Also finished with the varnishing of the cockpit cup holder that bolts to the front of the steering pedestal. This vital piece of equipment gets regular use by the captain and crew!

Also completed and reassembled was the forward hatch. Quite a difference after a little spiffing up. OK, maybe it was more than a little. The hatch was sanded down, got a coat of epoxy to seal the wood, and then 7 or 8 coats of varnish to act as a UV protectant for the epoxy layer. I can't wait to get this back onto the boat. It should look quite nice!

With the extra hands today, we also managed to fill the oversized holes for the cabin top grab rails with epoxy to provide compression posts for these handles. Similar treatment was given to one of the starboard side stanchion bases, too.

2011/08/27 - Hurricane Irene is due to arrive tomorrow, so I tried to take advantage of the warm and dry weather today to do as much epoxy work as I could. The seams on the aft deck all got filled and taped with fiberglass today.

On the side deck some solid fiberglass pads were epoxied into place to provide a solid foundation for the stanchions that form the gate in the lifelines. This should go a long way to giving these stanchions a firm and solid feel.

The deck skin from the starboard bow that had delaminated during extraction was glassed back together today in preparation for it being epoxied back into place.

While the various bits of epoxy were curing, the companionway ladder was removed from the boat and disassembled. The ladder was sanded down in preparation for varnishing.

For many years I have been less than enamored with the faux wood Formica interior of the boat. Fortunately, laminated surfaces all tend to be very flat, so they make a good candidate to have some real wood veneer glued onto them. I thought I would try this out on the companionway ladder panel to see how it turned out. The first step was to scuff up the Formica with a 24-grit disc to provide a rough surface for the adhesive.

Next a piece of mahogany veneer was trimmed slightly oversized and then slathered up with contact cement. Two coats were eventually needed because of the slightly porous (paper) backing on the wood. The boat panel was also coated with contact cement but only required one coat.

After the contact cement had dried to the touch, the two pieces were aligned and pressed together with a tool provided by the veneer supplier. Everything worked the first time and I was very pleased that there were no bubbles of air trapped under the veneer.

A small strip about an inch wide was needed cover the last bit of the panel and then the veneer was trimmed to size with a utility knife. The surface was lightly scuffed by hand with some sandpaper prior to receiving three coats of varnish. The result was quite spectacular and I can't wait to start gluing veneer in the main saloon!

The final project today was to re-level the boat in preparation for the wind vane installation. Having the boat level will make it a bit easier to ensure the wind vane is mounted straight. From experience I can say that the cabin sole is reasonably level when the boat is floating on her lines, so that was the base line used to determine how to move the boat.

Side to side, the boat was reasonably level, simplifying the exercise. According to the level, the aft end of the boat had to be raised 1.5 inches. A 12-ton jack was used and, after some groaning from the cradle, the stern was raised enough to get everything aligned for the wind vane installation.

2011/08/28 - Work ceased again today as the temperature plummeted into the low 60's as the remnants of hurricane Irene blew through our area. Between the wind, rain, damp and cold it just wasn't a good day to be outside.

2011/08/30 - Reassembled the companionway ladder this evening. Can't wait to see what it looks like inside the boat. Only thing remaining to do is to put some non-skid on the step treads.

NOTE to Tomfoolery's crew: Be reassured that the bottle opener has been restored to its original positon on the top starboard side of the ladder! However, this means you will have to take care not to spill much beer when opening bottles. Not only does it waste beer, but it will also degrade the finish on the wood over time.

2011/08/31 - Spent just a short time aboard today and started to look at the cabinetry around the engine compartment so that I could start planning how to apply veneer to this are. Decided to start with the area immediately to the left (starboard) of the ladder because it is a relatively flat space and any mistakes will be hidden by the ladder itself.

Started by looking at the moulding to see if it could be removed to make edging the veneer a bit easier. The toe rail was simply nailed in place, so it come out easily. The quarter round between the drawers and the half-bulkhead seems to be a bit more stubborn. I'll have to look at it when I have more daylight available.

Wow! Another month has gone by. Where did the time go?

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