Sunday, 19 April 2015

Don't sweat the small stuff - Bilge Pump Installation

Don't sweat the small stuff!  

Well easier said than done when trying to figure out where to drill holes in the bottom of your new boat!  Eventually, I got fed up procrastinating and drilled two holes for drain plugs, one either side of the centre board trunk.  Sense prevailed before I decided against fitting two bilge pumps which would have required a further set of holes in the side of the hull for skin fittings, and so I finished up with one bilge pump which is plumbed to the starboard side of the hull discreetly underneath the sole and inside the seat locker, out of view.

Here you can also see where I installed the ships compass on top of the centreboard trunk cap.  I elected to position it forward, so that other crew might be able to monitor it.

I need to figure out how to fix the pump itself - I don't really have more room for a mounting pad, and I am certainly not going to screw it to the hull, so I may look to find a way to clip the side of the pump to the trunk logs, which are very beefy timbers running on top of the keelson.
Bilge Pump exit through 3/4" bronze skin fitting

Another shot of the Somes Sound, getting ever so close to launch:-

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Getting closer..but there's always one more thing!

Well the weather men (and ladies) said that this week we would have a nice high sitting over Ireland and temperatures touching 20 (that's 20C !)  Based on such balmy predictions, I thought I would charge ahead and finish out my little boat.

Alas the sun gods didn't want to play, so varnish coats are taking ages to dry and I'm finding more little jobs to finish.  Part of me perhaps doesn't want to the building process to end, I guess, but I am excited at the prospects of launching!

I played back and forth with the idea of mounting a bracket for my little electric trolling motor which I rarely use for my lough fishing.  But sense prevailed and so I spend a few days making an oar.  Just one.  I'm sure I mentioned here before how the traditional way of  "rowing" this boat is with one oar, while one counter-steers with the tiller.  Nice idea - hope it works!

The knot appeared out of nowhere!
So off to my local timer saw mill - Irish Timber Products.  David was as ever his cheery self and we reckoned that in fact larch would be suitable, and so we selected a nice straight grained example with as few knots as possible.  I brought it back home to realise that it wouldn't be wide enough, so a flurry of laminating resulted with various different species, which I thought might look well together.  I can hear the traditionalists already groan....but no matter.  Once I had the laminations made, using TiteBond 3 and about 60 clamps, I set about shaping the oar.  I had elected to make an 8' long oar and I had read that thin oars were most suited to a heavier style displacement boat, so I shaped a fairly narrow blade on my band-saw.

At that point, I realized that it would be a long day in the workshop armed solely with my spokeshave.  So I researched buying a draw-knife, but none were available at close quarters.  So I press-ganged an old lawnmower blade into service - welded two steel handles on it and used it to carve ash handles and then finally my oar. I was amazed at how controllable the draw knife was to use and sorry I hadn't built one years ago.
Very satisfying!

The oar is nearly finished except for a few more coats of varnish.  I found an old piece of leather lying around the workshop and made a rudimentary protection for the oar as it bears into the oar lock.  I have to figure out a way to make a button to stop the oar from sliding into the water.  I'm let to believe that a Turks head knot is the salty solution, but I have never made one before so no so sure how that will turn out.

I found this video on YouTube courtesy of SelfMadeSailor which might be worth emulating.

Home Made disk Sander

Mounting Pad for Oar Lock
Meanwhile, I went about building spacer blocks for my oar lock bronze mounts.  They have a slight indent on the mating surface, which had to be carved out.  I put my spindle sander to good use for this and indeed my home made 12" disk sander.

A more challenging task lay ahead.  I needed to drill holes ion the bottom of the hull to drain rainwater when on its trailer.  I had procrastinated over this task for many months, but eventually after a visit to my local chandler, I bought two drain plugs - bit the bullet and drilled two pilot holes from the inside of the hull.  Right up against the cross member steel beam of the trailer!  So I had to fiddle around with a variety of tools and small bobbin sander discs to get them to fit.   I had to cut off the points of the 3/4" bronze screws as they were protruding out of the bottom of the hull.  I simply withdrew them and clipped off their pointed ends and re-screwed them back in, then a final layer of epoxy on the hulls exterior.   I epoxied both in last night and today everything seems water tight and well sealed against rot.

When I was at the chandlers yesterday (nice folks at Marine Parts Direct), I bought two automatic bilge pumps - one for either side of the centre board - in much the same fashion as I positioned the drain plugs and a small battery.  Also a binnacle compass sneaked into the shopping list, along with a few other "necessities"!  I made a small housing out of Sapele today so that I can mount it on top of the centre board trunk cap.   It needs a sealing coast of epoxy and a few of varnish and that should make a nice elegant but useful addition to my Somes Sound.


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Getting close to launch time!

It's been a while since I updated my blog, but that's solely because I had done very little with the boat having battened down the hatches for a wet and cold winter.  Today the birds were singing and so I spent the day doing some final boat preparations, in the hope that we can get launched soon.

The latest project had been building my trailer, which I think was quite successful.  I had some request to show the complete trailer in a video, so I took a short video of it today.  

I needed to touch up some varnish and paintwork, because loading the boat onto the trailer in my tiny workshop was a challenge and some scuffs and a few deeper gouges ensued.    I had the boat in a sling and propped underneath the keel on a trolley jack at stern end of the lead keel.  The plan was to reverse the trailer underneath, but with very restricted space, it proved easier said than done.  Oh least this will be the last time I need to have the boat in my workshop, so apart from any berthing catastrophes, it should be plain sailing from here on in!! 

Also I managed to get the floor boards fixed to the boat - in the end I just used 4 bronze screws, having deliberated on using toggles and such like.  I then fitted some more hardware to the mast to control the cunningham.  Tomorrow, I hope to finish painting and figure out what to do for oars, bilge pump and drain plug.

Getting close!!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Sails & Trailer

Some good progress to report since my last post.  I installed the centre board having applied several primer coats to the inside of the centre board case and 2 coats of antifoul.  Some smaller jobs were finished such as installing the traveller on the transom.  Next up was to make new mast tangs for the shrouds.

Then a call came for the sailmaker, Yannick Lemmonier,  to say that my sails were ready and he could come to fit them, to make sure they fitted correctly.

Yannick had already sent me a sail design viewer with his designs for my boat, which were very interesting:-

And here they are in real life:-

Here is the jib with Yanick Lemmonier from West Sails in the background.  Yannick took great care in every detail to make a beautiful suit of sails.  I was curious to see the batten in the jib and apparently a small roach cut in as well.

Here you can see the mail sail being hoisted - a very satisfying moment!

Spurned on by this progress, I set about enlisting my friend Brendan to help build a trailer.  We had looked at a number of commercial designs but all need some modification and our local galvanizing company will not galvanize any metal which has already been galvanized, so if modifications were made they would leave the structure susceptible to rusting.  So nothing for it but to order up the steel and trailer components.  We used some of the original molds to allow us accurately site the hull supports.  Having the boat plans to hand was very useful in deciding dimensions.

Here are some photos of the trailer nearly completed - just needs to be fitted to the boat to make sure it works and then off to get galvanized.

We designed the trailer with an extendable tongue which consists of 60mm box section sitting inside a 70mm section, and secured in place by two removable pins.   The bunks are adjustable and the rear bunks are designed to be removable so that they are clipped off before launch and retrieve.

In this next photo you can see where the extension tongue is held inside the larger box section for on the road towing and when these pins are removed you can extend the tongue to various lengths to suit the launch ramp - hopefully this will allow us launch without launching the tow car as well!

Tow coupling hitch is bolted to the inner box section which is nested within the main centre channel of the trailer

Adjustable and removable rear bunks with magnetic real lights

Adjustable mast support and winch assembly for bow of boat.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Milestone Event

I took advantage of the fine weather yesterday to work outside and paint the final coat of antifoul and topside paints.  Using a roll and tip method went very quickly, thanks to assistance from Siobhan,  and I noticed that the paint dried much quicker than previously when working inside my small garage.

I had a call from my sail maker to say he could be here tomorrow to measure the mast bend before making the sails!  So that spurned me on to  attach the shroud plate and forestay tang in order to step the mast.  Brian came along to help but then I noticed that I had made two forestay tangs and a jib halyard tang in bronze but missed out on the mast shrouds.... So I had to jury rig up two shroud plates out of some galvanized door hinges which were remarkably suited to the task - even if they are only temporary.

First we clamped the shroud plates and tang to the specified positions on the mast to make sure that the shrouds and forestay were the correct lengths, as the bronze bottle screws are quite small and don't allow for much adjustment.

This proved a good idea, as it allowed us to drill and screw the plates at exactly the right height.  I noticed that the mast is turned slightly in the mast step, so I have slight adjustments to make in the tenon at the bottom of the mast, but nonetheless, it was a great feeling to finally step the mast and stand back and look at the boat in her nearly completed state.

You can see where the foredeck meets the coaming that the paint line is irregular - despite a number of attempts.  I'm think I may need to apply a rounded epoxy bead to ensure a cleaner fit - unless others have suggestions.

Quality Control Officer....

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fitting out

I managed a further coat of varnish and also a final coat of interior hull paint.  In my last post I mentioned having used 2.5 liters of varnish so far.  I might have be wrong!  (it's been known.....)  As when I went looking for the second 2.5 liter can of varnish it was nowhere to be found...and now I have a sneaky feeling that I might have used that too.  5 liters of varnish for two seats, spars, transom and coamings (is that possible??) or else I have hidden the second can somewhere safe...where it can't be found!  No matter, I have had enough of varnishing for the time being and I am inclined to leave the existing coats harden up for a while, maybe months, before the final coat - if there ever is such thing as a final varnish coat!

My metal polishing kit arrived and so that provided an interesting interlude to paint and varnish.  I set up my polishing station and set to work on the bronze plate and some of the bronze parts.

Home made mast components, polished and ready for assembly.

I the set about fitting various bronze parts which I have been accumulating over the past while.  It's quite a pleasant task finally sorting out and fixing these to the hull - certainly feels like you are on the home straight.

Here you can see the pad eye being installed on the boom.  JB calls for long screws and so I chose 1 1/4" #10's and the solid boom provided a secure attachment.   Other parts were more awkward to fit which called for more drastic measures:- my €7 90deg drill attachment from Lidl finally shone!

I needed to drill pilot holes under the side decks to fit the jam cleats for the jib sheets, which are located just over the side lockers.  I sited these cleats on backing pads as they seemed to be a bit lost otherwise.

The plans describe options to lead the jib sheets over the coaming, but suggest that they may wear the edge of the coaming - seems very likely  - or you can alternatively drill obtuse holes in the coaming to allow the sheets run more directly to their cleats.

The jib is self tending and the jib sheets run through blocks attached to the foredeck.  So after a false start (drilling holes and missing the supporting  deck stringer), I installing two strap eyes, onto which are attached small jib sheet block with small bronze shackles.

Here you can see the mast partner and halyard cleats attached to the forward deck beam.  They took large 3" #14 screws mounted on backing plates to ensure the halyards clear the nosing on the deck.   Also in this picture you can see the brass angle stock which needs to be drilled and threads tapped secure the side seats.

Once I had the locker doors installed, I noticed that subsequent fitting of the sole boards became impossible as the boards were catching on the lower ledge of the aft locker trim.  So I took the temporary option of removing the door, fitting the sole boards and refitting the door.  Not sure that is the ideal solution, but I am reluctant to cut them short to allow for easy removal.  That being said, it's not a huge job to remove 4 screws and take out the rear door assembly.
Seats and sole boards installed

You can see where the lower sill on the rear locker assembly reduces the space to install the soleboards.

My next task was to install the traveler on the transom.  The plans call for a 3/8" bronze rod of x lenght (can't recall dimensions off hand) and then screwed into the bronze base fittings.  However the fittings I have seem different to those JohnB used on Red Sky which results in a longer assembly.  So I am wondering if there is any merit in having a longer traveler bar.  And while on the topic, I am not at all sure of the merits of a traveler system without a mechanism to control the main sheet position.

Here's a photo which shows roughly where the traveler will sit on the transom:-
Traveler sitting approximately in its final position 
The picture also shows up the orange peel and runs of my varnish work but I am stupidly optimistic that my next coat of varnish will absolve all!

Next I need to redraw the DWL on the hull and do a final exterior hull paint coat and antifoul paint.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Two Steps forward One back.....

I have applied a full 2.5 liters of marine tung varnish (Hempels Classic Marine Varnish) but I have no idea of how many coats this represents!  Some coats went on fine others ran or ended up like orange peel.  I have been varnishing the mast out doors but the bugs seems to like this brand of varnish and they make kamikaze missions within minutes of applying the varnish.  Some have the decency just to lightly touchdown and glue their tiny legs to the mast (which flick off without leaving much damage when dry), others roll around and splash their wings in the goo, which consequently I have had to sand off some coats, scrape off others and so the "Two steps forward One back",,,,,

I have applied three coats of paint to the inside of the hull which turned out very well - producing a nice uniform hard wear resistant enamel finish.  I also installed the locker doors which are also varnished and compliment the cream paintwork quite well.

To maintain some sanity, I turned my attention to fabricating the mast hardware from bronze plate.  I sourced 3mm bronze plate from a Dublin supplier, James Healy Founders, who were very helpful.  I also sourced brass angle which were specified for attaching the side seats to the bulkheads.  Next I sourced a metal cutting bandsaw blade from Tuffsaws in Wales.  Ian is very responsive and generous with his information and advice.  So yesterday, my new blades arrived and I reset the drives on my band saw to the slow speed, installed my new 1/4" 14TPI blade.

I was very impressed on how well I was able to cut the bronze plate and soon had fashioned the various tangs and parts for my spars.   I photocopied the various FSP from JB's plans and cut them out and glued them to the bronze plate, which gave me an accurate cutting pattern.  Drilling the holes in the bronze plate was straightforward despite advice which I had read to the contrary.

Next I installed the sail track onto the mast and boom.  I elected to use bronze sail track with matching bronze sliders, sourced from Classic Marine.  They had to supply in 6' lengths and I was wary of how well they would align and ensure smooth travel of the sliders - but I needn't have worried as they butted up perfectly and made for a virtually seamless join.

I also painted the dynel decks with the same Hempel Multicoat paint, which I have found to be very successful.  It's a marine enamel and dries faultlessly (unlike their varnish) and gives a nice smooth and hard finish.

Also managed to source a 3/8" UNF tap to cut my bronze traveler rod which screws into the transom bronze mounts.  So it seems that the boxes of bronze bits are finally being assembled onto the boat and I am making satisfactory progress.

Having trial fitted the side seats, it did seem that they looked a little thin, so I decided to add a nosing as JB mentions in his plans.  However in a moment of absent mindedness, I managed to epoxy the nosing onto the back rather than front of the seat!  So nothing for it but to cut off the lower edge and pretend that it was intentional to match the nosing which I had to make again for the front of the seat!  So now I have edging on the front and back of the seats, in mahogany which compliments the Sapele seats quite well.
The seats now are closer to 15" wide, so time will tell if that makes for a good ergonomic solution, if not I can always remove the nosing at the back of the seats.  Next I installed the cleats to support the seat ends on the bulkheads.  They need a final lick of paint before I install the angle brass.

Before I can fit the bronze plate components to the mast, I need to polish them to an acceptable finish - so this time I found yet another helpful company based in the UK who specialise in metal polishing equipment, called Metal Polishing Supplies UK Ltd.   Simon advised my that my 450 watt bench grinder could easily be converted to run their 6" mops, so by the end of this week, I expect to take delivery of their conversion kit and finish polishing these parts for final assembly.

The masthead strap was also fabricated from 3mm bronze with a 3/8" bronze rod running through the mast and the plate each side to support the masthead sheave.  It's quite tricky making sure that the holes line up perfectly perpendicular to the mast track as it is nearly impossible to bring the mast to my pillar drill single handed, so I relied upon a hand drill instead.  I got an acceptable result with some minor fiddling....

I need to tackle fitting the mast shroud tangs to the mast, but I am wary of just screwing them on as per the plans as the turnbuckles have only about 1" maybe 1.5" of adjustment.  So I am wondering how best to measure the the exact placement.  I'm think I will attach the shrouds to the chain plates and then to tangs to the other ends and tape them securely to the mast before a trial stepping.  

Maybe others can comment if there is a more elegant solution.