Monday 25 August 2014

Playing with paint, finishing the rowing thwart, sharpening my spokeshave, and centerboard pivot

A bit of a laundry list this week. I'm saving some money to buy Jarrah for laminating on my transom, so have been doing other bits and pieces in the meantime. Firstly I thought I'd have a thorough play with my new aquacote paint, and use it to paint my centerboard.

I've used epoxy paints before, I've used water based paints, and I've used polyurethanes. This stuff is a bit of a mix of all of the above. The undercoat is a two part waterbased epoxy. No isocyanates as far as I can tell (yay!), and simplified clean up because you can flush most of the mess out with water. There's a brush-clogging residue left though that has to be removed with epoxy thinners.

This stuff is extremely thick. It builds quicker than any paint I've used before, and refuses to level. I used a 5mm nap roller to put the first layer on, then tried a brush for the second coat. I think I'll try thinning it out rather more than the recommended 10% next time, to save myself quite a bit of sanding.

Based on my experience with the undercoat, I tried spraying the top coats, a polyurethane with a cross-linker that you bung in just before going to work. Again, 10% thinning as recommended is nowhere near enough. It sets up in mere minutes. I can see a path to gloss without buffing, but I've got a ways to go before I reach that. Anyway, here's the centerboard. From two feet it looks fantastic. Just don't look too closely!

I finished the rowing thwart and Mogget immediately decided it was the perfect perch. He's been sitting there all day, and I haven't the heart to move him to take a photo.

I also installed inspection hatches in the cockpit seat fronts, plus lots of bits of Tassie Oak reinforcing for the cockpit seats, and lots of epoxy fillets. I'm hoping that if I'm really methodical in filleting everything that's supposed to be watertight, then they will be. Watertight, that is.

All this work left my new spokeshave rather blunt. The blade is very short and won't fit in my honing guide. I fashioned a little adapter from some scrap aluminium so I can fit it in, with an indexing thingy to ensure it's held at the right angle:

With it securely held in the guide, my new Japanese waterstones do a sterling job of honing the blade. This Veritas spokeshave is just such an amazing jewel of a tool. I can see myself buying more in the future.

Last but not least, I turned up a pivot pin and bushings for my centerboard out of phosphor bronze. The pivot is 19mm diameter, and the OD of the bushings is 25mm. Should be plenty strong. Alas nobody I know has a 5/8" UNC die I can blag to make the threads, so I'm going to have to buy one. This is a much closer view of the centerboard, and you can see the imperfections in the paint. To be honest I'm not sure how perfect a boat has to be. I'm used to painting really over the top stuff (bicycles and motorbikes, which get people looking from a few inches). The boats I've sailed have been rather rough and ready, and worked fine. This centerboard is going to be under the boat, and is likely going to be smacked against rocks and sand. I think I'm just going to have to shove my OCD in a box and get on with it. I can let my OCD back out for stuff that's really visible.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Yay, the last of the bulkheads.

Installation of bulkhead 8 prompted a moment of contemplation by me with the project supervisor, Mogget. I'm glad to say he's happy with the progress being made on his newest cat toy, and is enthusiastic about the upcoming installation of fishy smells and places to hide.

We celebrated by cutting out the cockpit seat fronts and installing those, along with more 19x19 bracing. John's offsets were spot on for the cockpit sides. I just drew them, cut them out, took a couple of light cuts with the plane, then epoxied them in place. One change I made from plan is to do the seats as a single piece extending all the way forward to bulkhead 5. This is because I'm doing the rowing thwart differently, so there's no cross brace at bulkhead 6. For that matter, there's no cross brace on bulkhead 8 either. I've elected to maximise the cockpit floor space, with the hope that at some point It'll make a semi-comfortable place to sleep while afloat.

Here's my latest weapon of choice for cleaning up these subtle boat-like concave curves. It's a Canadian Veritas spokeshave. A truly wondrous bit of kit. Beautifully made. Here I've just used it to trim the cockpit seat fronts flush with the bracing. I wouldn't have been able to do that with my normal planes, as it's an inside curve.

I used some clamps back to front to hold the end of the cockpit seat front against bulkhead 5. I haven't been much of a fan of these clamps up until now, because they're a bit flimsy. The ability to do this has given me new respect for them.

Another project that I knocked over while avoiding cutting out the rest of the bulkheads was a bit more work on my bench. I added a plank, taking the width from 750mm to 825mm, and added some 30x40 Jarrah lips to the front and back, which allow me to clamp things to the face of the bench. Then I went at it with my wonderful Stanley number 7 plane until it was perfectly flat, and finished it with a simple mix of gum terpentine and boiled linseed oil. I also bought a Dawn Wilton woodworking vice, which I've attached under the left side.

The Dawn vice, while very nicely made, was disappointingly not made in Australia, as I was led to believe from their website. Instead it's Taiwanese. It's also actually a Wilton, branded Dawn. I like the vice, but I'm a bit miffed at being mislead about its origins.

Sunday 3 August 2014

Nearly done with bulkheads and the beginnings of the rowing thwart

I've got to admit I'm over cutting out bulkheads. Cutting ply with the jigsaw just isn't terribly enjoyable. There's really no way to keep it from splitting and I go through blades quite quickly.

That said, I'm close to done with bulkheads. I installed six and seven this weekend. They're quite floppy for now, being secured only by their corners.

It's got some serious volume now. Just one more bulkhead and I'll be set to put in cockpit seat fronts and stringers.

Speaking of seats - I installed the first of four slats for the rowing thwart. These are Jarrah, a native WA timber. It's one of the toughest timbers I know of. I'm told young Endeavour was built exclusively from Jarrah under the waterline. It's dense and incredibly tough. The plan is to use Jarrah for the thwart, the outer gunwale and rubbing strip, and for the bowsprit.

As planned, the centerboard case comes up level with the rowing thwart, so it's a comfortable seat. I sat on it today and sang "row row row your boat", much to Perry's bemusement.

The forward slat is structural - It braces the centerboard case. The jarrah runs right across to the sides of the boat. I pinned the slat to the centerboard case with dowels, so it should be plenty strong.

While I was working today, I had my new marine VHF radio on, listening to the comings and goings at the port. The radio is one of my tax return splurges - a cool little Icom one with inbuilt GPS and the ability to send an automated distress call at the press of a button.