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.


  1. Hi Paul,
    Your boat is looking better all the time. I like the way the rear seat trim looks. Sometimes mistakes can lead to enhanced results. I think this is one of those events.

    I wish I could give you some good advice regarding the suicide bugs in your varnish. I get the problem here also. Its compounded by falling leaves since our home is in a rather wooded local. Fortunately, my very hairy dog doesn't like being in the shop. Otherwise, I could add hair to my list of paint and varnish contaminates.

    My boat is still in its infancy compared to yours. Wish I was also at the rigging stage.

    Thanks for sharing. Your trail blazing is much appreciated.


  2. Jeff thanks for you your words of encouragement. As I near completion I find that not having exposure to small day sailers before slows down some decisions, working in somewhat of a vacuum.

    Are you keeping and pictures of your build?

    All the best