Friday, December 26, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Boat House Closed For Weather

I've been dreaming of a white Christmas. But this cold stuff has messed up my boat building schedule. My shop is great. It is roomy and insulated and bright. But what it doesn't have is heat. With the temperatures this last week always below freezing and often in the teens, the shop has cooled to around 40 degrees or a little less. The problem is, the epoxy won't cure properly at these temps. Even the fast hardner is pretty slow at temps under 50. I have an electric heater but need about 10 more before it'll warm up such a huge space. So I'm taking a break right now till the temp warms up. The good news is we've all been having fun playing in the snow, skipping school and work, hanging out as a family. Too bad snow has to be so cold. Next week is Christmas and we will be busy with family stuff and then the first 10 days of January will be spent in a more tropical local so I guess we are at a bit of a delay but hopefully the boat will still be ready to turn over by the end of January.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Helper

Both of my boys have been very interested in the boat project and love to help out in any way they can. Here are pictures I found of Tommy helping me sand the keel joint. He thought it would be a good idea to wear a helmut in case he fell off the bow end of the boat. I thought that was a pretty good idea. Thanks to Denise for putting up with all our dusty clothes all the time! She knows we are having fun.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Finding Treasure at the Beach

Well, I think we've found our source for lead for the keel bulb. Just down the road from my house, we came across the remains of an old keel from a sailboat that washed up in a storm a few years ago. What remained on the boat was hauled off the beach but apparently, the keel stayed behind. In the pictures you can see just the top corner of the keel. It is pretty well buried in the sand and will have to be dug out and it is only accessible at low tide. Our plan is to attack it with shovels and battery powered sawzall's on some dark night when the tides way out. I would think there isn't a problem with us taking the keel--since we are sort of cleaning up the beach. But it will be a night operation just to avoid any questions. I figure there is well over 1000 lbs of lead in the thing. We will just cut it up into managable pieces to bring back home.

Mine's bigger

Well, Scott came by and dropped off the B's rudder. I was sort of guessing at how big to make my rudder and what foil and planform. I was pleasantly surprised when comparing the rudders that they seem fairly similar. After close examination, the foils seem very close. The B definitely has a more efficient planform with its long elliptical curve. My rudder is a little longer and has more surface area--but my boat will be a bit bigger than the B and weigh a bit more so it stands that slightly bigger will indeed be better. I'm trying to decide whether to recut the rudder to more match the B's or to leave mine as is. I'm thinking my rudder's planform while not quite as efficient drag-wise will be a bit more powerful and forgiving as it will start to stall at the tip and work it's way up (giving me some warning) whereas the B's will stall all at once. So I'm thinking I may glass the rudder blank I have to use as a starter rudder. Until we get the boat tuned and dialed in, we will need a poweful yet forgiving rudder--because when it comes to steering, I'm no Scottie. I am going to make a template from the B rudder to use for a future high-performance rudder. Thanks Scott!

Straightening the chines

Well, the bottom sections are pretty much filled and smooth. Now on to fixing a few troubled areas. As I've worked on the boat I've noticed that there are a couple spots on the chines that waver a bit. I've made some battens out of plywood that I can follow the chines with and see any wavers. I've then been building those spots out with epoxy and filler and then sanding with the longboard. I'm very please with how the imperfections are going away and it is a much fairer curve. It's all taking a while to do this but I think it will be worth the extra effort in the finished product. Of course I do have to find some balance, as it will probably never be totally perfect. At this time, I don't think performance is the issue but rather asthetics. I've taken a couple pics but it's tough to see what's going on -- things really are smoother and straighter looking in real life!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yep, still sanding

Ok, I know I haven't posted lately. The reason being that not much is happening. It's not that I haven't been working on the boat, it's just that the progress isn't very quantifiable. (especially in pictures) If you want to check it out, you really have to stop by and feel it. Feel how smooth everything is getting and how the bumps and lines are gone. I'm almost done with the bottom. I'm still hoping to turn the hull sometime in January and can then start construction on the inside. I am enjoying the sanding. It's tedious and mind numbing but for now, that's a pretty good thing. Tonight Luke (Magic Juan's bowman extraordinare) came over to see the progress. He tried his hand at mixing some epoxy for me. It was nice to spread one batch and have another all ready for me--thanks Luke! Just noticed the crazed look in my eyes--that's from too much sanding!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm Still Sanding

Still hard at work sanding. Not a whole lot exciting to say about it. I just put a very thin coat of thickened epoxy on, let it cure, then sand it smooth. Then repeat. There is a lot of surface area here but I'm making progress. It is nice to see the cloth weave, lines, and bumps, all disappear and get replaced by smooth surface. I also found another bag of old tapes from college so have even more great tunes to listen to during sanding. I'm mostly using my hand sander because I can hear the music and get an upper body workout at the same time. I am also trying out a pneumatic longboard sander which is also fun because it's annoyingly loud and creates an amazing dust cloud! Rock on!

Future Naval Architects

Andrew (6) and Thomas (4) came to the conclusions that dad's progress was way too slow and decided to build their own boats. Last night when I was sanding, they found left over foam and shaped it with a hand saw and sand paper and then used other scraps to build the rigs and sails. It's fun having these guys working out in the shop with me. I'm always amazed at their creativity and skill :) (Note Tommy's canting mast--he's so cutting edge!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Girl holding my rudder

Ok guys, got a picture of a girl here now and have gone a week without another picture of me sanding the hull --so is that better? (Denise is gonna kick my butt when she sees this) Anyway, I was busy today resurecting "Magic Juan" my dear SJ24. Today I finally got the mast back up and she should be sailing tomorrow. We had a bit of bad luck while sailing in a gale a couple weeks ago--long story but involved being knocked down by an 8' wave, losing outboard, breaking off tiller, losing boom, eventually losing forestay--and we were soo close to winning the race!! So I did more sanding on the hull this evening. I also formed the top of the rudder. This is a cassette type rudder and the top part will fit into the rudder holder thingy (what is that thing called?) Should be a pretty slick system--will allow us to pull the rudder up easily to inspect or remove seaweed between races. I've gotten the first coat of fairing compound on and it is pretty sweet. Just a little more sanding and one more light coat of fairing and it should be ready to glass.
I heard from Scott who sails a b-25 and he's going to let me borrow an old rudder of theirs. This will allow me to compare it to the one I've just made. Hopefully, I won't find any fatal errors in the way I've shaped mine but if it is way off, I can always use theirs as a pattern and build a new one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pretty in Pink

Yeah-- the rudder is pink ok--got a problem with that?? I finally got a chance to do some work this afternoon. To get a break from just sanding and to be able to actually see some progress, I decided to start on the rudder. Today I was able to rough out the foam core. I decided to go with a NACA 0012 foil which is a good compromise between high lift/ low drag, and forgiving stall characteristics. The rudder will be mostly constant chord for ease of construction but with an elliptical tip to minimize drag caused by water flowing spanwise. I made a template and drew out the foil shape on the end of the foam stock. The I just ran the stock through the table saw 200 times as I adjusted the blade depth each time. Took a couple hours but I was quite happy with how true the core turned out. Now (like every part of this project) I will do some fairing, sanding, and repeat... Once it is totally shaped, I'll rip it in half and put in a strip or two of 5mm okume ply to act as a stiffening stringer (like a surfboard) This will add little weight and will allow for a lighter lamination schedule (I hope)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Progress continues (slowly)

Busy week at work, followed by crazy week at home with Dental and Doctor visits, and 3 soccer games has meant not so much time on Vertigo. I have managed to fill the weave on the top (actually I guess it would be the bottom) of the hull. I have done lots of sanding and it's fun to see how the tape lines and weave dissappear and things start getting smooth and fair. (Yes, I'm actually enjoying sanding) I'd post pictures but nothing really looks any different unless you look real close. The big difference is when you run your hands over the surface. Gone is the cheese grater like texture of the cloth and bumps of tape lines. Its now smooth like glass (still slightly bumpy glass but improving rapidly). I'm thinking that to keep the blog interesting, I will start a side project of working on the rudder since this is sort of a tedious stage with the hull. (someone also suggested the blog could use some pics of hot women to hold interest...yeah, I'll talk to Denise...) That's all for now!

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's just not Fair

Actually, it's fairly fair but a few areas needed some work. So this morning I mixed up some fairing compound. First I mixed up the epoxy, then added microballons for easier sandability and lightness, then some silica to stiffen it up so it doesn't ooze down. In my white coveralls, gloves, and respirator, I feel like some sort of mad scientist as I'm stiring up these concoctions. (which is cool because I always wanted to be a mad scientist) The areas that needed the most attention were where the panels were scarffed together. I made a really wide scraper out of plywood which seemed to work well. Now I just have to let it all cure and then do some sanding--actually, a lot of sanding. Last night I bought a new tool that I have a feeling I will get to know very intimately by the end of this project--my longboard sander.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Filling the weave

After a few nights of flying, I'm back on the island until Sunday night. The hull is covered in glassed out cloth. The texture of the cloth is sort of like a cheese grater right now. Plus along the chines, there are little ridges caused by the tape edges and some of the scarf joints of the panels aren't quite fair. I now have the job of filling and sanding until the surface of the boat is smooth and fair. This morning, I put my first filler coat of epoxy on the bottom of the boat. I used unthickened epoxy that I squeegeed on and then used a roller to get a nice even coat.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Last of the Glass (for now)

This morning, I was able to finish glassing the hull. Much of the time was spent grinding out little imperfections in the keel joint and filling and fairing with thickened epoxy. Once that was semi-cured, I glassed over with 6" tape. I also put a nice rounded edge on the hull's transom trailing edge and glassed it. This should be the last of the glass layup on the outside of the hull for now. I will now be spending lots of time fairing the hull and filling the weave of the cloth. This probably means lots and lots of sanding--so probably not a lot of real exciting pictures--just me (and everything else in the shop) covered in dust. Since I had to let the epoxy cure, took advantage of the wind and took my boys out sailing on the SJ-24 (good times!)

Ok, just looked at the pics. Maybe it was the dust in my eyes, but at the time, it sure seemed my tape over the keel was in a much straighter line than appears in these photos. You'd think a pilot would know that a straight line is the quickest way between two points--but hey maybe that's how I fly too. Anyway, no worries, it all gets faired out in the end anyway.

Tomorrow and Sunday, we race "Magic Juan" as we remember our friend and fellow sailor Scott Cline at the Scott Cline Memorial Regatta here in Oak Harbor. As I type this, the barometer is falling rapidly which should mean lots of wind giving us an exciting weekend. So between racing, church, and family stuff this weekend, I probably won't get to do much with Vertigo. I also have to go work a few allnighters starting Sunday night too. Oh well, got some more time off next week.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bumpin' and Grindin'

Today I'm grinding away tape lines and bumps and voids along the keel joint. I will now fill the voids along the keel joint with thickened epoxy and once it is fair I will add one more layer of fiberglass tape. That will make 4 layers of glass on the keel joint. Enough for today as it's time to watch my boys play soccer.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Laminating the port side

Today I laminated the boats port side. Once again I used fairly small batches that I would brush on and then squeegee out. My friend Rollie told me that by using paper towels, I could get an even more consistent layup. So after doing a section, I lay some heavy duty Costco paper towels on the squeegeed glass. Then I went over it with my laminating roller and let the towels soak up any extra resin. After doing the next section, I'd go back and peel off the towels. I really like how it came out. Very few shiny spots, just a nice even lamination. This is probably as close to vacuum bagging as I'll get on this project.

Yes I know I look like a dork wearing hearing protection while wetting out the glass. I had just been sanding and had my mp3 headphones under the earmuffs and it was all just so comfortable and the tunes so great, I got half way through the lamination before I realized I probably didn't need hearing protection anymore.

Speaking of music, I really enjoy listening to tunes while I'm out working. Just makes the mindless things like sanding go so much easier. While sanding I use my mp3 player under my earmuffs but while I'm doing quieter things I'm now listening to tapes. Yes tapes. While cleaning the shop, I found the box of all my old tapes from high school and college days that my wife had told me we had no room for in the house. She said I'd never listen to them but I just couldn't throw those treasures away. So now I can finally listen to all those glorious songs of my youth...sweet!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Laminating the starboard side

After sanding and cleaning, I was able to laminate the starboard side. I'm using 6oz cloth. I had my boys help me hold it in position and used painters tape to temporarily hold it while I started wetting it out with resin. I started with just a 3 pumps of resin/hardner mix not knowing how it would wet out and not wanting it to "get away" from me. I quickly learned, this doesn't go very far so I doubled it--which still made for me having to stir up a ton of batches. but at least, I didn't have to rush. I used a chip brush to brush the resin on and then a squeege to even everything out. Took me almost 2 hours to wet the thing out but I'm pleased with the finish. It is a nice even saturation with no runs and hardly any mess on the shop floor (forgot to put down a drop cloth)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More taping

The boats lower port chine had only one layer of glass on it. So I added another layer of tape so that once I add the final layer of cloth, the lower chines will have 3 layers and the uppers will have 2 layers.

fixing blisters

I've found lots of little blister-like area where the fiberglass laminate didn't adhere to the plywood below. I'm using a sharp knife to cut out these areas. I'll then sand and clean them and then fill with thickened epoxy. There are probably over 100 of these things! Sweet!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why is my epoxy curing so slowly?

It seemed my epoxy was curing rather slowly. I thought this was good because everyone is always telling me not to let it get away from me. But today I thickend some up to fair in some little bubbles and it just wasn't kicking off. That's when I read on the can of slow hardner that it is only recommended down to 60F and the temp in the shop was at 50F. So I went to Anacortes to get the "fast" hardner that is good to 40F which should work fine except for the coldest days this winter. No one had it in the"C" size so had to drive up to Bellingham and found some at LFS.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Taping the seams

The plywood panels are just glued together with thickened epoxy. The seam (or chine) needs to be reinforced. I'm using 6" fiberglass tape that I put over the seam and then wet out with epoxy resin.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Building a new strongback

When I brought the hull to the shop, we left the strongback in Poulsbo. So the first thing I had to do was build a new one. I decided to put castors on it so the whole thing can move around my shop as needed. I then put the male frames on it so we could then lay the hull over top.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Getting Started

I have officially started my sailboat project. The hull has been sitting in my shop all winter while I was busy building a rental house. Now that the rental is done and rented out, I can start. (Of course, the shop is a huge mess and needs to be cleaned to make room for the boat.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Project History (and the Sours 26)

Ever since I was a little kid I've wanted to build a boat. A few years ago I started sailing and absolutely fell in love with it. I have a San Juan 24 that I sail and do some racing with. It's a great boat and I have tons of fun with it. Another thing I love is building things. Over the past 5 years, I've built 3 houses and a shop. I love working with my hands, creating things. So I've decided to combine my love for sailing and boats with my love of building things and try this project. I know that for less money, time, and effort, I could go buy myself a proven design. But that's not the point. Really for me, just like in sailing and in life, the journey is itself the destination.

So why this design? I really liked the idea of building an I550 but when it would be done, it's a bit smaller than what I'd like. I was looking for something a bit bigger than my SJ-24 but also with sportier characteristics. That's when I found David Sour's add on Craigslist. He had asked Tony Gondola of Northwest Marine Design to draw up lines for a wooden hull inspired by the T-bird but with a modern sportier shape. Unfortunately, after starting the hull, David didn't have the room to complete the project and was looking for a good home for it. So that is how I came into the project. I basically have just the hull. I'm trying to find any drawings or info that Tony may still have that can help me, otherwise, it's a pretty wide open project that will require lots of design work along the way. (Yes I know I'm probably in way over my head--but in my life I've found myself spending a lot of time in that position and have actually kind of grown to like it)