Friday, 17 December 2010

Its finally stopped raining inside!

I find the process of problem solving on this project as interesting as working on the boat itself, a case in point being the hot vac system or infact making my boat disappear from anyone's line of sight, although that did entail the use of a 25 ton crane, so i can't take all the credit.

the latest 'challenge rog' was to stop it raining inside the boat shed, for one the idea of going to great expense not to mention the time in putting a fairly decent shed over the boat was to keep the elements out whilst the work is undertaken. so imagine my surprise when looking down at the floor to see it soaking wet.

Looking up it was plain to see there was a condensation problem , this wouldn't do -so after a trip to maplins and the acquisition of a humidity/temperature probe showed the roof at 85% humidity it was time to do something.

the first thing was to insulate the roof, originally the idea was to take the existing white tarp off and lay the insulation over the old blue tarp then cover back over but finding the white tarp frozen on, it was going to be cheaper to buy a another tarp. Wickes had a buy 1 get 3...yes 3 free now being a natural tight arse i couldn't pass up such an offer so for £30 i insulated the shed and for another £30 via ebay bought a cheap tarp - job done.

since last weekend we've had several frosts and so so far no moisture problems, i put this down to also cutting half a dozen vents down either side at the eaves so any moist air can escape, it does feel colder because of this but feels a lot drier reflected in humidity readings around 57 - 58%.

what else have i been upto? i've installed a pc in the shed for music and info purposes, the extraction system is also paying dividends too that works a treat, oh yes i have also made winter hats for the keels as the tarps had pretty much destroyed themselves

This means the area around the keel studs is protected from the elements although hairline cracks are forming again on 'Eric' the starboard keel whilst 'Ernie' the port keel seems largely unscathed, i made repairs to 'Eric' in the summer so think its more down to poor prep that this problems recurring that said once its got 25mm of sika on its face and is bolted down tight i'm hoping that will do the trick but that will now be in the new year.

Friday, 19 November 2010

This just in......................

Am writing this from the pc now installed in the boat shed, got bored went up in the loft and cobbled together this system from old bits and bobs.

Seeing as its too cold to do any real work on the boat and i'm totally sick of my radio stations playlist i thought i'd make this system so i can pipe music about the place, as well as be able to get information when necessary.

chin chin

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Quite a month....................

Its been an interesting few weeks with the boat, i have gone from steaming and drying the boat to now accepting the boat wont ever be 100% dry but after a day spent in my local yard with a tramex meter i realise my boats not the only one.

Together with an interesting chat with one of the country's top marine surveyors it bought the situation to a close regarding moisture levels and old boats so now i can concentrate on re-laminating the hull, admittedly not ideal given the weather but with my new gas heater i'm hoping to continue working throughout the winter months unlike last year.

The cabin top and coach roof have been filled, i just need to fair them and sort out sanding up the foredeck and then onto the main attraction of the hull.

I spent yesterday evening planing and sanding the hull getting rid of all the lumps and bumps from the hull to make the cloth drape easier over the hull and so take a vacuum better.

Only time will tell but i want to get on and go sailing now.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

It smells like a chip shop in here......

Yes pop-pickers after 6 days steaming the hull my mood has lifted somewhat as the boats underbelly has finally moved off the top of the moisture meter only to about 20 which is still massive but good to see nonetheless.

Finally work's picked up so not much will be happening this week, but i want to get on fairing the cabin tops and decks in the evenings although i'm having real problems with condensation at the moment so am toying with more vents but up near the eaves.

Got the foredeck and cabin roofs sheathed this week as well as the hull drying so really want to keep the momentum, i also took delivery of the rope clutches and organisers (from pacer marine an excellent ebay store for marine hardware) for the coachroof as i want to get on making the necessary joinery pieces to attach these items.

I am using Barton marine fittings to outfit the boat and spars with as i feel they provide the best quality/price point for my needs, for hatches i'm using a French firm called Goiot again as their prices and quality seem to be in the realms of reality.

What with the setback of the hull not drying i have divided the boat project along the rubbing strakes so for now i will carry on rebuilding the deck with all that that entails and when the readings are satisfactory then i will resume the work on the hull.

I'm realizing the need to be more flexible with this project and think the last few posts are a reflection of that, i just wish i made more of the good weather we've had this year, oh well as long as something's getting done, those keels will get fitted one day.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Getting really bored of this now.

My goals for this year were to get the hull dried and sheathed, get the keel stubs strengthened and the keels attached, get the boat off the cradle and back down on the ground, fill and fair the hull and deck with an eye to priming and if the weather was good maybe topcoat too.

Well, the theory was great seeing as work is up and down i thought i would get quite alot done, but from the above all i have is the keel stubs ticked off the list......oh yeah i forgot i wanted to mount the engine too, so that's something else.

I don't know what its going to take to get the readings down in the green but i'm fast running out of ideas, the new heater pads work a treat, its literally uncomfortable to stand near them at 100 degrees celcius - thought i had it made but no: left them on for a day and still no difference on the meter, so back to the drawing board.

I went off to the b&q and resolved to spend more money (i don't have) on four cheap wall paper strippers as this is a cheaper way of creating steam than a hot washer £80 vs £700 to buy or £200 a week to hire........"yeah can i call you back,"......i mean where do they get these prices from?

Anyway spent today (Mon) taping down the hull around the waterline creating a big skirt, fired up the strippers and have left them to boil the hull up. I'm going back to the idea of draw ng the moisture out by 'opening' the laminate up then washing off with fresh water at the end of each day.

I don't know whether it will take a few more weeks or the rest of the year but with money tight its not much fun and incredibly boring spending so much time and resources on this one particular problem.


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

A right good decking!

I knew there would come a time when i had to do this but seeing as i was waiting for some more hose for the vacuum system i couldn't get on testing the new heater pads so i thought there no time like the present to tackle the fore deck.

The problem, to walk the fore deck with the boat stationary makes you feel seasick, like walking across a waterbed, the solution is to chop out the rotten core and replace with lashings of wests and marine ply.

Brimming with confidence having re-read an PBO article about a chap re-coring the deck of an old motor cruiser i did what i always do and reach for the tools that make the most noise, (damage) dust (damage) damage.

Having drawn a line 50 mm in from the edge all the way around the foredeck i reached for the grinder, then on looking at how clean the shed was and thinking how long it took to get it to that state i pulled out the jigsaw instead.

I successfully cut a 1 mm line all the way round then got busy with the chisels and wedges - would you believe it, the bond was incredible despite it being polyester and rotten and 40 years old it took all my strength (after quartering the original cut line) to pull out two pieces that made half the deck.

Now the damage could be seen, all the usual suspects: black balsa core, rotten plywood plank that looked like no adhesive whatsoever had been applied to it and a very strong vinegar smell . i decided to follow the route of the plank towards the fore-cabin and realised i'd need to take more of the deck moulding off.

With these last two pieces removed i could start making the core pieces and get them dry fitted, this went fairly quick so after double checking my prep and one last time with the hot air gun it was time for epoxy.

I don't know what it is about this stage in the work but no matter how well i set the tools and materials out it always ends up a bit of a bun fight, this particular job was to be no different. After more careful consideration of the west's manual todays recipe would be thickened with 407 (low density) and 402 (milled glass blend) the last one in particular as it would make the mix a lot more viscous therefore i wouldn't need to chase the stuff around the foredeck.

In the PBO article the chap uses big stones to way everything down, i had air pressure at my disposal so having made what looked like a very messy sandwich i wiped as much excess of the deck as i could (as i by now it was gelling) and got the peel ply and vac bag on.

With a flick of a button the deck pulled down an absolute treat and i now have a deck that's as stiff as a stiff thing with additional stiffeners, all i need do now is grind a 12:1 in the joint lines tape and fill.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Its been a while.................

Indeed it has, work has got in the way, had to do it though given the economic situation but in meantime i got my head around the latest failure with the heat pads and got two custom made, they cost 200 pounds each but have a temperature range of 0-260 degrees celcius so i will get on the case this coming week.

What else.........oh yes i started to turn the boat shed back into a boat shed from a pig sty. This mainly involved digging the old floor up all three tonnes of it and installing a floating floor all the way around the boat.

To do this i first needed to remove the diagonal supports from inside and put them outside to free up the space so with my good friend the post drill i excavated four holes a metre deep to act as the piling i would bolt the new supports to.

With these uber-supports made and installed it was time to turn my attention to the floor, after much ringing-around suppliers i got the best price i could for the timber and flooring even with discounts it still gobsmacked me how much timber has gone up - about 35% incredible.

Here's the result of a couple of days work from last week, this job cost 350 pounds in all ,250 for the flooring materials and 100 for the timber to make the external supports, considering i'm working very infrequently it was a bit of a tussle with my head.

That said i don't want the project to grind to a halt as that's when the motivation stops and it becomes another abandoned project and to be honest i have been feeling a little bored at the moment i think largely due to boat shed looking like a student house so part of the process to get re-energised was to create a more professional environment to work in.

I managed to use a lot of materials i already had left over from various jobs i had done so in the process freed up much-needed space in my wood shed which is no bad thing.

I found i was wasting a lot of time going back and forth to the workshop to get tools and materials so i built a bloody great cupboard at one end of the boat shed to store all the day today stuff (abrasives, power tools, resins acetone etc).

With the floor in i set about building the aluminium towers and parking them adjacent to the boat ready for me to re-core the fore-deck, more of that in a while.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Its drying time............................

Yep its now time to get serious about getting the water out of the hull seeing as i want to potentially paint the hull at the end of the summer but first as has been the case all along with this project many hoops need to be jumped through.

Firstly i need to get the moisture levels in the wetted areas down to between 5 - 10 parts on the Tramex at present the bow and stern areas are around 7-10 whilst the underside area is still off the scale of the moisture meter.

I tried previously using carbon heat film which whilst proving successful in its implementation had reduced the levels insufficiently, i think there maybe a couple of reasons for this

Either the Tramex is faulty, (i'll need a calibration kit from nigel clegg to check the machine) or it may well be that the boat is still so sodden that it needs a lot of heat even with the vacuum process to vaporise the water trapped in the laminate.

My latest heat pad led me back to using a previously discarded heat element which comprises o f heat cable, i say previously discarded as when used before it was in an early design that weighed so much it would fall off the hull so thought it was part of the problem.

However after trying to destructively test the heating film to diagnose the lack of heat, it led me to conclude that there must be some kind of limiting mechanism on the film as i couldn't get it above 30 odd degrees.

When i tried the same process with the heat cable it went off the clock! all the way past 80 degrees at which point i bottled it fearing i'd bugger up either the cable of the thermostat controller so having seen what was possible with the heat cable option i built a lighter version of one of my first designs.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

It is done, the keel stubs that is.

Yes the port side stub is finished too now and not before time, got it painted inside too check out the piccies. now its onto the outside and the engine bay, i've bought some mild steel tubing the same diameter as the prop shaft so i can start roughing out where the engine bearers are going.

in the meantime i've turned my attention to finishing off drying the hull out, the latest version of which is proving the best so far, lightweight, efficient and stable at higher temperatures and still only a couple of hundred quid to make.

i should point out to get to this stage i have spent a bit of money researching and building different ideas only to find out they didn't work for one reason or another but the one i have working on the hull at present seems to be doing the job.

I have this system on the hull which i intend to leave for 72 hours, (at time of writing i am half way through this) if the moisture readings are good i will then set up a bigger heating source to cover the entire bottom of the hull and provide details of how its done.

cheers roger

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

Finally the gods are smiling as of yesterday i finished the starboard keel stub save for removing the Plasticine i used to block up bolt holes & all of it painted too.

I decided to use epoxy based garage floor paint for the bilges (purchased on ebay) - good price too £40 for two gallons plus postage still worked out at about £4.80 a litre which i thought was pretty good value versus the usual marine 'heist' of £25 a litre for pretty much the same stuff.

The port side is nearly done too, just need to sand back and paint as i finished tabbing it all in yesterday so -touch wood- i shall have both stubs done early part of next week then on into the engine bay to make and fit bearers and battery boxes.

To be honest i'm finding it hard to stay motivated at the moment i think because of the general lack of work about and the nature of the work on the boat its hard to keep my mind on the job. Plus with all the heat, the scratching and the general covering myself in wests then washing down with acetone everyday, (all in 35 degree heat inside the shed) its not much fun.

Looking forward though, after the engine bay is done the next part will be 'modding' the deck moulding to take new lockers, hatch surrounds and companionway hatch plus a lot of filling and fairing, but at least there will be air flow!

I drew out the new lockers on the cockpit seats the other day to see where everything was going and found a bit of inspiration in the process. I'm putting a gas locker in one side and storage for the outboard and tender on the other, it looked pretty good.

Also got round to mounting my 50kg roll of cloth on Tuesday, it works like a dream thanks to an old piece of scaffold pole i cut down and a couple of roller bearings bought off ebay.


Friday, 28 May 2010

Now we're cooking on gas.........

Literally after 18 months of cutting, grinding, cursing and finally removing various stubborn lumps of Solway Cloud, i have for the first time this week actually put something back in. Nearly keeled over (no pun intended) at the price of the materials used (work's still abit scarce at the moment) but all in all very happy with the results of the work.

My starboard keel stub is now three times as thick than before and touch wood more stronger, still on a steep learning curve though, to the point where i stopped everything on Monday to put more vents into the shed.

This in some vain attempt to get the air moving inside the canopy and so give me a few more minutes open time with the epoxy, i have a rubbish bag half full of mixing cups all with about 100ml of gone-off wests and a paint brush stuck in the middle.

After all this re-modelling was carried out i got back to tabbing in the ribs and finished off today by reinstating the keel stud holes. I have also fitted the template up to the stub to check for accuracy and will need to do some fettling to the areas around each hole.

It was observed that the studs and washers pull up at odd angles on a couple of locations and as i want a proper job done and for everything to sit down flat on the stub floor it will require a bit of filling and fairing.


Thursday, 20 May 2010

Fuck it, i'm having a cup of tea!

Been having temporary sense-of-humour failure the last few days and i think its no coincidence that this is happening as i have started laminating the inside of the keel stubs, my conclusions are that if i were to come across this problem on another boat i would seek advice before jumping in, such is the steepness of the learning curve.

I have finally got the hang of it; (cutting, folding & rollering etc) but trying to consolidate cloth onto the hull when you have a sodding interior moulding in the way........oh and thirty degree heat in the cabin drove me to down tools on the first couple of lay-up's, peel ply it - then sulk in workshop.

what i have learnt about west systems is that although it will create a rock solid bond , better than polyester, in my opinion this system is a sod to lay up by hand as it takes so much effort not to mention materials to saturate 430g cloth. i say this because if you were to use a finer cloth to saturate quicker you'll just end up using more materials and take twice as long.

That said its fine on stuff like the coachroof and engine bay where these areas were easy to get too and do not have fiddly tight radii.

Where west's comes into its own is either being used in a vacuum system (where the vacuum pump would stop you getting 'white knuckle syndrome') by pulling the cloth down into the resin or indeed infusing the cloth with resin to begin with, (so you don't need to soak it in the stuff) thus saving materials (& money).

Having seen the amount of epoxy i have used this last week to repair one keel stub i was shocked considering how small an area it is .

When considering west's 'c' pack which is a 30kg drum costs £300 a pack and with another keel stub to do as well as re-laminating the hull that's quite a lot of money - that said the hull will be put in a vacuum as it is a simple shape with good access so will not use as much epoxy, hopefully.

cheers roger

Updates again.

What have i been doing? Well i've got the new rudder pretty much finished barring mounting the skeg on the hull and fitting rudder all of which i can only do once the hull has been laminated, still won't be long now seeing as i've got sod all work on at the moment.

Have also cut away all the skin fittings on the hull to make way for new ones in new places, it is customary during these jobs to curse and swear like a trooper . The reason being the complete lack of thought that went into the materials used for the environment they would be subjected to, hence lots of blackened rotten plywood beaten/ground out & very stingy scratchy face for the rest of the week. Cheers Westerly!

What else..............oh yes, i have removed the engine bearers to make way for new ones to sit my lovely new 29 horse HMI lump on.

You should know this project wasn't on the cards but because i had relied on the technical data of the engines handbook and not actually measured the bearers i found the bearers to be a good hundred mill narrower than stated. F*@K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway a couple of trips to screwfix i later i obtained my own 'volvo engine-bearer removal kit' which consisted of a reciprocating saw and plenty of blades, a ten inch angle grinder with both stone and metal discs and a shed load of discs for the small grinder to tidy up the scene of crime.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Am i seeing double?

Yes ladies and gentlemen after close to year both keels are finally done although not without some repairs to the starboard keel - i think caused in no small part by the really cold winter we had.

Essentially both casting caps had cracked open and erupted outwards so after a few days with a hot-air gun, grinder, primer & resin etc i got it looking someway decent.

However not such a problem with the port keel, i'm really pleased how it turned out and even made a couple of covers for each of the keels so they breath whilst being covered up (which i think is part of the reason the casting caps cracked.)

With both keels sat together on their respective crates i really feel a sense of accomplishment as both were in such bad shape when removed from the boat and now seeing them looking better than new.

I now need to get a lick on and get the keel stubs sheathed and remade but to do that i need to make exact templates of each keel to offer upto the stub this is to make sure i get a perfect joint, still what with those to make and the heat pads to test i will be busy these next few weeks.


More updates.............................

Got bored waiting for the hull to dry so started looking for things to do, although spoilt for choice my mind turned to the rudder as the second (port) keel was nearing completion i wanted a clean sweep of all appendages for the boat to be done and ready for mounting.

so having gone into the loft to get the plug i made i was gutted to find one of the two halves of the plug water damaged; no doubt condensation.

undeterred i thought about mending the plug when over a cup of coffee i found an interesting set of pictures from showing the amateur build of a mount gay 30. Among the many albums was one on building the rudder, it couldn't be more simple as it entailed sandwiching the rudder stock between two halves of ply and then shaping and sheathing.

Having wasted the best part of two weeks worth of time making the plug i couldn't believe how quick i made the new rudder and now pretty much with everything for the boat finished apart from a couple coats of west on the skeg and blade i can turn my attentions to rebuilding the hull.

Updates v 1.0

Since i last posted i've gone to version 2.0 of my heater pads since the originals i made using high performance rubber roofing material were too heavy and even with the vacuum on it couldn't support their own weight.

So as we speak version 2.0 are in build after making a prototype using substantially lighter weight material, pictures on that coming soon.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Feeling moist?

Its quite incredible, the boat's bottom has been exposed to the atmosphere for a little over three weeks and already the moisture figures have dropped considerably.

In certain areas around the boat the wetted area now reads the same as the topsides, where it still maxes out the meter is mainly around the keel stub areas and the very bottom of the hull, this is to be expected until i can get heat into the hull.

i have hot washed it once over the weekend and is in the process of drying back , interestingly lots of little dark spots no bigger than a two pence piece have started appearing randomly on the hull with water weeping from them.

i guess now its a case of continuing the drying process and observing the meter readings , i will post pictures next weekend.

cheers roger

Friday, 22 January 2010

The big strip.

Solway Cloud's bottom is no more, it was over pretty quickly by all accounts and not nearly as expensive as i thought. Shame i took so long to decide on this course of action really, mind you hindsight is 20:20.

Enjoy the pictures.

Happy New Year.

Well it has been a while (yet again) and i have done precisely sod all for the last couple months due in no small part to the weather, so bored stupid over the holidays i bought an electric compass planer in an attempt to do my own gel-strip.

The results were a bit crap to tell you the truth and although slightly dis-heartened i'm glad i exhausted all avenues before seeking professional help.

The basic problem with my boat as with alot of Westerly's of this era is the thickness of the gel coat, i was going through a pair of planer knives every dozen-or-so passes. Time was another factor as to clean a patch roughly two foot square took an entire day.......defeat wasn't far off.