Thursday, February 11, 2010

week 1

The first week was spent getting a feel for the work ahead of me. I was a little nervous to delve into the real issue at hand, changing the cabin layout to an open cockpit, so I started with what I know best; scraping, sanding, and varnishing.

Very soon, the entire topsides were scraped as well as the rudder. The boatyard was kind enough to let me move my spars into their paint shed to get the varnishing done inside while there is space available. Very quickly, I had every piece of hardware off the spars, labeled, and stowed in a box. The one thing I was anxious about on the mast was the 3 foot section that had fiberglass cloth wrapped around it. I was worried that perhaps the mast had split here, and this was the remains of a cheap yet effective repair. I was already thinking of the scarph I would have to cut in when I started to work the cloth off. I used a chisel to strike a line down the center of the cloth, and found it easily lifted from the wood surface. In seconds, the entire piece was off, revealing beautiful and fresh Fir underneath. I recently learned that it is quite traditional to place a piece of fiberglass cloth on the mast where the gaff tongue rests and potentially chaffs. Copper flashing can also be used, but fiberglass cloth is a very effective material for this purpose, and I think I will replace this old heavy cloth with a layer or two of 6oz. cloth so that the wood with shine through and it will barely be noticeable.

With the rigging out of the way, I was able to sand first with 80 then to 120 and finally 180 grit paper. The result was a very smooth and soft surface. All of the spars are Douglas Fir as far as I can tell, though the original plans call for spruce booms. Right away, I got a coat of 2/3 Allspar varnish and 1/3 Pease Boatyard Elixir mix, which is mostly lineseed oil, to seal the wood. While I had the Elixir mixture out, I detailed the rudder, removed the hardware, removed the bottom gudgeon that was loose, inspected the bronze fasteners and re-bedded and installed it with epoxy, added some new bungs, and sealed it. Since it is oak, it has the potential to dry out much quicker then Fir or Cedar.