Ok..so I'm not sure if its pronounced "fillet" like what I order at a steakhouse or "fill-it"--so if someone knows, please set me straight! Anyway, however it's pronounced, I now have one on my boat. The fillet is just a smoothened bead of thickened epoxy laid in a joint where two panels come together. Tonight, I started on the keel joint. I mixed up the epoxy and thickened it with plastic fiber and microbeads. I then glopped it into a ziplock freezer bag. By snipping off a small part of the corner of the bag and then sqeezing, I was able to lay a nice controlled bead. I then shaped it with a radiused putty knife making a nice smooth consistent bead. After this started to set up slightly, I put a 3" wide layer of cloth down. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the fiberglass place to pick up 3" tape so I cut a 3" x 25' long strip. As I wet out this strip of cloth, the cut edge started fraying and causing a bunch of work to keep it from being a mess. I got the edge cleaned up but from now on will only use the glass "tape" to avoid the fraying edge. I then layed a 6" tape over the 3" to give me two layers of cloth over the fillets. Once again I used papertowels over the whole laminate and then rolled it. This soaked up any excess resin and gave me a nice tight, consistent finish. Turned out really nice and should be very strong.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Well, the first job is to clean up the inside seams. When the panels were initially wired together, the builder also tabbed the panels every 16 inches with thickened epoxy. I am now grinding these tabs down smoother so I can lay a nice continuous epoxy fillet the length of the seam. I had just started sanding with a regular sander with 80 grit and I could see it would take a long time. Fortunately, my neighbor Dave came by and suggested using my belt sander. I figured I'd give it a try and found it to be much more efficient. I just have to be real careful I don't hit the wood. After many hours, I am nearly finished (just have to clean up the bow section a bit). Nearly everything is nice and smooth and will soon be ready for the epoxy fillets and then glass tape. In all my zeal, I decided to forego my tyvek coveralls during sanding and am now very itchy from head to toe. Despite the itchiness, I must say it's very cool to be working "inside" the boat.
Well, we got it rolled over. The morning was quite windy and even a bit snowy. David wasn't able to make it because of all the snow down south so we were going to bag the whole operation. But then the sun came out and since my dad and brother were already down here, plus neighbor Dave and bowguy Luke were able to help, we decided to go for it. I was glad I put casters on the strongback. We just wheeled the whole thing out of the shop and parked next to the field. Then we added some bracing to the hull so it wouldn't flex as we manuevered it. We were able to lift it off the male frames and set it down in the grass. Next, we slowly rolled it over. As we were half way through the roll there was a loud crack--turns out it was just one of the braces shifting (that sure got my attention!) After getting it rolled over, we removed the male forms from the strongback and replaced them with the cradles. Then we set the boat in the cradles and rolled it back into the shop. Took less than an hour. The boat looks a whole lot bigger now that it is flipped right side up. Very cool. Thanks to all who helped and to David who wanted to be here!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As the roll over nears, I am having to give some thought as to how I'm going to build this thing. I have a hull but from here on out I'm heading off the map with this project. I don't think the original designer got much further than the hull so I hate to keep bugging him for info. So I've decided to just do the work myself using what I have to figure it out. I used a laser to project the designed water line. I then measured all dimensions at 1 foot stations. This data can be used to figure all kinds of fun stuff. Using my actual measurements, I was able to calculate the center of buoyancy and it was within 1.5 inches of where the designer predicted it should be. So this has given me confidence to press on. I'll continue my calcs and find the keel location, and mast location and that will help me figure locations for bulkheads, and stringers. I'll do some engineering calcs but will also look at similar projects to figure thickness schedules and such. I think I can probably do all this--after all, designing boats isn't an exact science and has some room for a designer's intuition. Otherwise all boats would be exactly the same..right? Besides, what could possibly go wrong??
Looks like we will be rolling the hull over this Sunday. David, who originally came up with the concept of this design and who initially started building the hull is planning on being here to help roll it over and check out my progress on his boat. I'm thinking it should go pretty easy. It still weighs almost nothing so I think with 4 guys we can lift it off of the strongback and carry it out into the field. We will then pull off the male forms and replace them with female cradles that I built today. The roll over will be done in the field. Then we will carry it back into the shop and set in in the cradles. We will then do any adjusting to make sure it is straight and level. After this we will sit back and admire the fine lines of this vessel as it sits in a proper boatlike position.