Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pix, although it's not the weekend

Yeah, yeah, I said I'd have these up on the weekend. They're late, but I hope they're interesting and worth waiting for.

As reported earlier, we first tried a notched trowel with our epoxy and phenolic microballoon fairing compound. However, it turned out that the hull was already smooth enough (Courtney's devoted sanding, heh) that the ridges were pretty much unnecessary. To see how the port side of the hull looks with a first application of fairing compound using a flat blade, take a look at the first pic.

The starboard side is a little further along. About 1/3 of that side got the ridged trowel treatment, before we decided it was unnecessary; the rest got the flat spatula. Then we sanded, using power sanders on the really high bits, followed by longboards. The longboards, which we made out of multiple layers of flexible plastic, conform to the hull's curves and sand down the high spots.

The second picture shows some bare wood (whitish), longboarded fairing compound (light pink), and a second layer of fairing compound (darker areas) applied to the low spots. The starboard side will be finished very shortly - we just have to longboard the second layer, which should go very quickly.

Finally, although it's in reverse order, I thought I'd show the effects of the ridged trowel. This close-up shows the ridges, sanded down and filled in with the second application of fairing compound. Again, smoothing this part with the longboard should go quite quickly.

Good thing, too - they're really tiring! Folks don't call them "tortureboards" for nothing... but at least Tara should be able to make it out next weekend, so she can experience a little of the fun that is fairing. Oh yeah, if you're playing along at home, here's what we've learned:
  • the ridged trowel thing might not be necessary if your hull is already very smooth;
  • if you use a ridged trowel, you want pretty low ridges (maybe 3-4 mm?);
  • make the ridges all run parallel to the floor - it doesn't make a difference when you're applying the first layer, but it does when you go to apply the second, because you can apply it across the ridges easily and it won't sag down the grooves.
So that's the big fairing update. We've also ordered 50 yards of 60", 10 oz. fibreglass cloth for sheathing, and another gallon of epoxy. The next big adventure is sheathing!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fairing update

Just a quick note with an update on fairing. The microballoon/epoxy fairing compound works very well, and about half of the hull has been covered. For the first application we used a notched trowel, but the notches are quite deep and we ended up with a LOT of fairing compound on the hull - which equals a LOT of sanding with the dreaded longboard.

For the second round we tried a flat spatula fitting the curve of the hull, and it looks like that's going to work just fine for filling in the low spots without requiring excessive sanding. I'll post some pictures this weekend.

I should also mention that we have decided to sheath with glass after all. Some spirited discussion on the Wooden Boat forum ended up convincing me that we need the structural stiffness of glass more than we need the abrasion resistance of a synthetic. Glass is cheaper and uses less epoxy, so that's a bit of a bonus as well.

That is all, more on the weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Post-flu update

Courtney had the flu. No film, at 11:00 or otherwise; it wasn't pretty. Somewhere in there we dry-fit the stem and keel; testing various fairing mixes now and fairing this weekend.

Anyone out there been wondering where our friend Ron is these days? Well, last we heard, he's somewhere in the Canary Islands, having sailed there from France, on his way to Antigua. Lucky bugger. He has an amazing blog:
Check it out - it's way more interesting than ours.