Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Excitement of Removing Duct Tape Residue

During the rains, the windows were sealed from the outside with plastic sheet and duct tape. It held well through wind-driven rain, no leaks. On the inside, during the layup, duct tape held the backing forms. Since I am too cheap to buy the expensive tape that supposedly doesn't leave residue, there was a lot of it.

On the outside, two weeks of sun reduced the residue to a powdery substance that came off easily with a scraper, followed by Goof-Off, then Acetone, then a little more sanding to ensure there was nothing left to cause the paint not to bond.

The inside was a different story. Protection from the sun left the residue so thick and gummy that a scraper was hopeless. The chemical 3M recommends for cleaning it off just made it giggle. I sat there thinking about it for a bit. Then it occurred to me: Fire!

I lit the small butane torch and quickly discovered that duct tape residue is quite flammable. The torch made it bubble and fizzle and smoke a lot, which converted it to a consistency that made scraping easy. The problem arrived when I didn't keep the scraper, which had built up a big ball of the stuff, far enough away from the flame. It went kerfluie! This in itself was not so bad, but the cabin overhead currently consists of naked polyethylene foam, which also wanted to participate. It took some lung power to get things back under control. I felt like Captain Jack Sparrow, blowing trying to put out the fire with each rotation after the restless natives had lashed him to the rotisserie spit. At least mine was above me and I could run.

All's well that ends well. The surfaces are clean and smooth, and after a little more bondo and a lot more sanding, the inside will be ready to accept paint as well.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Comments About Cabin Window Interior

I have receive a couple of comments about how I will handle the interior of the window repair, with the ugly fiberglass bordering on the slightly less ugly wood. Thank you for your questions.

I guess the photos make the wood look better than it really is. I decided years ago that the plywood laminate on the inside of the cabin sides was too far gone to save. There are many areas beneath the removed big windows and smaller opening ports where water seepage has caused the wood to delaminated, including the big area I repaired with fiberglass that shows in one of the photos in the March 21st journal.

The vision for the interior is to be mostly bright white with varnished teak trim here and there. So the plan is to fair the joint between the fiberglass and wood, sand off the finish on the old plywood, soak it with epoxy to seal it, fair with filler, and paint it gloss white. This deals easily with the fiberglass/wood issue.

I am a very long way from realizing the interior look. At this point, it's an awful mess throughout. First I need to replace the other 8 opening ports with ones that thru-bolt rather than screw into the fiberglass with 1/2 inch screws. I need to restore the integrity of the main beam across the underside of the deck at the mast and attach the main bulkhead to it with more structure than it currently has. I think I want to install another deck beam under the mainsheet traveler just forward of the companionway for additional strength. I need to install the new stainless exterior handrails and any other deck hardware and restore the foam insulation in the cabin overhead. Then there's the galley and other cabinet work, including a redesigned dinette area with an additional seat/tool storage bin. Etc.When I get to the finish work, the big refit will be coming down the home stretch. When I write stuff like this, the departure date seems almost certain to be in 2016 rather than 2015. I hope not, but...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Window Fiberglassing Completed

Today I laid up the last layers of fiberglass in the windows. It took a total of five templates (2 paper and 3 wood, each had a purpose), 28 layers of X-mat, 14 on each side totaling 112 square feet of fiberglass, 3 gallons of resin and hardener, only 5 paintbrushes and a couple of yogurt cups. The layup actually went quite smoothly. The starboard side is MAS epoxy and the port side is WEST. The only reason is that I had some MAS left and when I went to buy more, West Marine had stopped selling MAS, and the Port Supply discount made WEST epoxy so much cheaper. I had switched from WEST to MAS about 15 years ago when Ralph at KKMI Richmond boatyard explained that MAS wets out the cloth better when you use a thick cloth like X-mat. He's right about that - you can see a color difference with the MAS wetting the cloth better and air bubbles are easier to eliminate. But after grinding and sanding both now over the last two days, I don't think the MAS is any stronger. They seem identical. I see no dry fibers or anything after grinding on the WEST side.

Three wood templates, two paper ones to make two of the wood ones.
Backing form on the inside - packing tape used as mold release (not shown).

9 layers of X-mat built up to the level of the rabbet.

5 more layers of X-mat over the whole thing to surface level.

First grinding and sanding. Uneven original finish caused the
sander to remove some gelcoat at the bottom.

The secret weapon for fairing:  Bondo.  It sticks well to epoxy.
Note the map of South America. I sanded it off, but since I have
this handy photo to use for navigation, I won't have to buy
expensive charts if I go around the Horn.

The small brown spot that you can see in the middle part of the new glass is cat barf. After cutting the X-mat using the templates, I stored the pristine sheets under my office desk to ensure that they would not be soiled or molested in any way. Naturally, one of the cats needed to barf on something and ran in there to do it. Needless to say, the bond at that point is probably less than optimal.

Finished and ready for paint.

Next up: more sanding and fairing, then paint. Oh yes, and the outboard runs great!