Week 5, A dam fine time

This week we will touch on dams: tape dams to be precise. They are the teaser so you will have read through the rest of the blog to find out about them.

Our week started on Friday. Bill was busy sanding off the epoxy filler that is now filling the blisters on the bottom. You won’t believe how quickly an 8′ 40 grit grinder pad gets dull. He’s probably a wimp, but new sand paper makes the job go easier. He also ground the blisters on Saturday and Sunday. Thirty-six feet by about ten feet wide, and only 15 blisters per square foot. No wonder it took forever.

Nina removed old gasket material from the top of our propane locker. The sides of the locker were glassed to the hull and were gas tight, but the top edge had failing caulk.  She removed the old caulk and on Sunday she got to glass the joint. This was Nina’s third experience with fiberglass taping. It was her first in a tight space glassing over head. She did manage to pour a good deal of her resin on her arm (not enough arms to hold the tape, the brush and the resin), but she got the job done and did not glue herself to the boat.

Gypsy has a fiberglass dodger that provides protection from sun and spray in the cockpit. Marsden ground the edges of the dodger to prep it for fitting to the cabin top. We had had a rather large gap between the dodger and the cabin top that had been filled with caulk. The gap also filled with gunk – dirt and mildew. To fix that, we covered the cabin top where the dodger fits with aluminum tape. Then we waxed the tape so the fiberglass would not stick to the tape and boat. Two layers of glass were laminated on top of the tape. On Monday we sanded the tape and covered it with almost a gallon of epoxy putty, which looked just like chocolate frosting. Then we set the dodger down on the putty and screwed it into place. We now have a perfect mold of the cabin top and the dodger will fit tight. There is still a fair amount of work to do on it, but we are off to a good start.

The fillet is the chocolate colored line.
The fillet is the chocolate colored line.
Another view of the fillet. The opening at the back of the cockpit that you can see in the dodger window is where Nina had to glass the propane locker.
Another view of the fillet. The black rectangle  at the back of the cockpit that you can see through the dodger window is where Nina had to climb down in to glass the propane locker.

Marsden and Bill also located where the hand rails are going to go on the cabin top. They are moving outward about 6 inches. The new bolt holes now have to be cast in epoxy to protect the deck from any possible leaks. A locator hole is drilled and then you over drill your holes about twice as big as they were and fill them with epoxy. Filling holes on a sloping  cabin top is not easy. You need to make tape dams to catch the epoxy and as we found out little dams don’t work. You need super dams.

Good tape dams. You can also see the aluminum tape and fiberglass for the fillet.
Good tape dams. You can also see the aluminum tape and fiberglass for the fillet for the dodger.
Our first effort at tape dams, they are too small.
Our first effort at tape dams, they are too small. Two streams of epoxy to sand instead of one!

Marsden got to polish more metal parts. All three of us learned how to use a milling machine to smooth out the tiller cap that goes on the top of the rudder tube.  It’s now smooth and ready to be anodized with the other aluminum parts Marsden has been working on.

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