Monday, February 28, 2011

Epoxy/Fillet/Cloth-Tape Details

Itamar, Dan #185 left a comment on my last post requesting more detail on why gluing both hull side top hull bottom joints and the transom in one go was a mistake.  First let me explain I'm new to the blog thing and don't know how to reply solely to him, so I'll just post what I know.  Also, although I've wanted to build a boat for years this is my first build so I'm still on a learning curve too.  Here I go, I've read the West System User Manual several times plus I know a very experienced builder who is always willing to answers my questions.  The manual is free at any West System supplier and available on the net at their web-site.  After studying this manual two principles keep going through my mind: 1) a chemical bond between layers of epoxy is much better than a mechanical bond , and 2) clean-up the blush before applying another coat of epoxy.  With these two thoughts in mind I plan my glue jobs such that I will apply a new coat of epoxy to 'already cured' layers of epoxy as few times as possible over the course of build.  This assures I achieve the chemical bond and avoid the blush.  These are the steps I take to glue a joint: 1) prep the joint, sand the wood with 80 grit and brush/vacuum to remove all dust, 2) wet out the joint with only mixed epoxy, let it soak into the wood, 65-70 degrees F with slow hardener allows the glue to really soak in. 3) once the wet coat tacks-up apply the fillet, that's another discussion, 4) once, the fillet tacks-up apply another wet coat of epoxy, without delay neatly lay the cloth into the wet epoxy, 5) apply additional epoxy where the cloth looks dry, I especially concentrate on the filleted area where most of the stress is on the joint, 6) let the three layers of epoxy tack-up, and apply one more layer of epoxy to fill the weave of the cloth, 7) now, I place release fabric over the fresh coat of epoxy to minimize blush and prevent having to sand any cloth fabric fibers, 8) when all exopy is cured remove the release fabric, you'll be pulling any blush off with the release fabric.  When we glued the hull's joints in one go temperature was alittle over 50 degrees so the epoxy wasn't as liquidy as I like so I had to message it into the wood, and cloth, Time Consuming! I also used fast hardener, more pressure to move fast! On top of that your just about standing on your head, all-day!  It was an accomplishment but I'll plan differently next time. It's well worth the effort and expense to practice this on a few scrap pieces of plywood before doing it to the boat.  Then break this practice piece and see if the wood is failing and not the glue joint. If the wood is failing you must be doing it correctly.  It's all FUN!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Frames Installed in February

Hull sides are filleted and taped to the hull bottom.

The big mistake here was we decided to glue both sides and the back of the boat in one go.  It took seven hours of Josie and Meredith mixing epoxy with me applying it as fast as possible to prevent it from getting too hard to move to the next step.

Current view looking aft.

Current view looking forward.

All frames are installed which requires several steps.  First one needs to accurately position the frame.  For the most of the frames (18, 53.5, 89, 169.5, and 214) we (Josie, Meredith, and I) used a string and plumb-bob to place several marks on the hull bottom and sides then connected the dots.  For the two frames that support the keel (110 and 124) I used a laser from the overhead of the garage to connect three  points of reference (each side at the shear and a plumb-bob mark at the hull centerline.  Mounting each frame consisted of applying epoxy to wet-out the the joint, clamping it in place with as few wire-ties as necessary to allow epoxy to cure.  They are then reinforced with epoxy-microbollon fillets and 6 oz,  4" wide biaxial S-glass.  No wonder I haven't updated the blog! 

In addition to installing the frames we've fabricated the plywood reinforcements for the keel box, shaped the stem (bow), and scarfed together two nineteen foot long 3/4" x 1" pieces of douglas fir for the shear (the piece of wood at the hull side to deck joint). 

We've been published. Checkout page 24 of the February edition of SpinSheet magazine.  Also, to our surprise the article was posted the Scuttlebut website on Feb 16th.

The goals for March are to finish reinforcing the keel box area, install the shear and stem, and begin adding the bunk support/hull stringers.  Wait to see the chainplates I've been imaging.