Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Moving forward

Sometimes during the build when I would abruptly run head first into the learning curve, I would get a little discourage, feeling like I was doing two steps back for each step forward. Right now, I feel like good progress is being made and things are headed  in a good direction.

I chipped out all the burnt foam and prepped and primed the metal where the paint was burned off from welding on the super structure. This was a pretty tame job, which did not take much time and had me more convinced how easy foam is to deal with.

With all the metal now primed, I spent a morning patching in the framing and cleaning the boat to be ready for the foam crew. Once the foam job was ordered, we waited about a week for them to show up, and watched them blow through our job in about an hour.

The last big welding job on board is to weld the exhaust stack between the salon deck and the roof. I had to buy a sheet of 1/8", and some angle to build two access panels. I was tempted to not sand blast this last welding job, but I've blasted every piece of metal in this boat and there's no reason to start doing things wrong now. All the chimney parts are cut, fabricated, blasted and primed, waiting for me to weld them in the chimney. I'll post a blog on that job after I get it finished this weekend.

All the lumber to finish the ceilings is sitting in the barn ready to get primed. 4" bead board will be used for the master cabin and dressing room. 6" V groove will be used for the salon and wheel  house. The ceilings will go in before the wall material. The ceilings will get painted.

When I started on this build I did a lot of reading on what  trawler is, and what makes a trawler a go anywhere type boat. Naval architects use ratios to qualify their work, and one of the important ratios for me was the displacement to length ratio or the D/L. This ratio tells one what the heft of the boat is. How much fuel you can carry, how much water, food, parts, tools, toys, etc... can be put safely on board. For me having a go anywhere boat meant having a relatively heavy D/L. The D/L ratio has sort of been relegated to my brains back burner until the boat yard put a 38' Marine Trader next to me. True, I'm a 44' boat vs the 38 Marine Trader, but the difference in the D/L between the two vessels is stark.

This time next week, I should be full blown back in to wood working. Winter is sneaking up on us, and I'm looking forward to how easy it will be to keep the boat warm, and the sweet smells of the freshly milled Cherry lumber.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Window installation

The windows for the boat came  from Motion Windows, and after over year in the barn they are finally installed. There's a link to Motion on this page to the right.

All the windows in the salon are of the same size; tinted, and sliders. The wheel house has two fixed windows, and two top hinged windows on the forward wall. Also in the wheel house, there are two sliders and a fixed to starboard, and one slider, the passage door, and a fixed window to port. The windows on the front of the wheel house are un-tinted, 1/2" tempered. The only tinted windows in the wheel house are the two small fixed  units aft.

All the windows are held in place using a clamp ring. The window has a flange on it that gets a bead of sealant applied, and lands on the outside of the boat. The clamp ring flanges against the interior trim, and is held in place with 15 or so screws that thread in to a groove in the window. The screws pull everything tight, and the sealant makes a water tight seal. The boat side of the window flange has six or 8 dados extruded in to it, so that a gasket is made by the sealant, which prevents metal on metal contact along with a water tight seal. The trim ring method is the best way in  my opinion to install windows like this as no drilling or damage to the hull sheathing happens. It is also an extremely fast install, and minor alignment is possible. The fast installation was due to me spending three days while the super structure was in the barn fitting the interior trim piece for each window and making sure all the openings were dead nut. I"m pretty sure I blogged about the interior trim fit up so if anyone cares, there's more detail in that blog post. Sika-Flex UV resistant marine sealant was used and recommended by the window manufacturer.

After the first window went in, we had to make a decision on how to deal with the squeeze out of the black sealant. I started to tool the joint, and attempt to wipe things clean, but I soon found things getting out of hand. The sealant was on my hands, and clothes along with getting on the powder coated window, and finding it's way to the boat quite a distance away from the window. The stuff seemed to jump! So after getting that mess cleaned up, we decided it was going to be best to deal with the squeeze out once the material cured. I messed around with it a bit the other day and to my pleasant surprise, it does pull away from the paint ( with some effort ) at the paint/ window flange joint. A hard plastic tool or plastic scraper will be needed to coax the material off of the boat.

I'm very happy with the quality of the windows, and how secure the installation feels. With the type of sealant we used and how much squeeze out we're seeing, I'm extremely confident we have a water tight seal. Some of the smaller windows with tight bends we found the groove that the trim ring screws in to had distorted a little bit. The manufacturer included a bag of the next size larger screw with my package which worked out most excellent in the larger groove, thus keeping everything nice and tight. This is the second boat I've used Motion Windows on and I am for sure a happy customer.

Now that the window  install is complete,the next order of business is to finish painting the salon wall weld joint on the aft deck, then scuff, and paint the weld joint on the inside. The salon door and wheel house door will then

be installed.  Once this is complete, I'll bolt on some wood to the few frames that need it, then get the foam finished. Some fairing and priming on the outside weld along with the intake and exhaust louvers on the stack, and we'll be weather tight.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weather tight ( for the most part )

I'm going to need to get back to work to get some rest. The last couple of days have found me dodging my paying work obligations in order finish welding the super structure to the hull and making her weather tight. Dealing with the heavy dew forces one to finish certain jobs in the afternoon or deal with repairing some rust damage the next day from the dew.

When we landed the super structure to the hull, the initial fit of the structure just sitting there at first glance could have been better. My friend Ollie, who's helping me fit out the boat, was a  little freaked out and later told me he figured we'd have two or three days in getting the structure to fit. Because I'm working off of plans, and CNC cut parts, as long as the super structure itself fits together, there is no other outcome available but to have it fit to the hull. When building the super structure, if I had deviated from the plans, and had cut on the parts of the super structure, it probably would not have fit the hull without major modifications.

With the superstructure just sitting on the hull, we had a 2" gap where the forward wheel house wall hits the deck, a 0" to 3" gap where the port side wall lands on the salon hull flange, and the whole thing had to be pulled back more than an inch. We had one corner, starboard,  where the salon wall turns 45 degrees to head aft that was pretty close to the mark... here is where we started the fit up. Welding a cleat to the deck, and using a ratchet puller, we pulled the structure about 1/4" to hit a mark, and tacked it. After a few tries, we finally found the right angle and location for a welded cleat to pull the salon wall forward to land on the 45 degree 8" long wall,  and laid in some heavy tacks. Those two seemingly insignificant  pulls un-twisted some of the salon, and we now found part of the wheel house starboard wall firmly on the fore deck vs the two inch gap we had only 2 hours ago. Now that the wheel hose was down on the deck, we  used the Port-A-Power to push the wheel house over to locating points and tacked it down. All the CNC parts had lay out lines etched in them upon arrival from the cut shop. Before I had painted the wheel house deck, I had drilled dimples about every two feet on the  layout lines so I could locate the wheel house layout lines through the paint when the time came. Being able to locate a part is critical and having referenced locating points saved the day. With the starboard side of the wheel house now tacked down and in it's exact position, we moved to the salon and began pulling the wall to meet the flange joint at each frame. After we had the wall tacked on the frame joints, we moved between each frame, and pushed the flange up to meet the wall, then tacked.  Moving over to the port side, we used the Port-A-Power to push the whole structure back, and were feeling pretty good as it just about fell in to place. Having the starboard side right on the money was forcing the port side  in to  place. Once we had both port and starboard side tacked in to place, we then worked on the end walls, which was just a matter of making sure they were straight with no bows or bellies, and tacked them down. Getting the super structure fitted in to place, and tacked welded, took the two of us about eight hours.

Finish welding the structure to hull joint took a long 12 hours with two welders running. Because of being outside, and not wanting to deal with moving the MIG welder around, I decided to stick weld the job. We used a Miller Bobcat, and an Everlast inverter based multi process machine running off of an 8000 watt generator to get the job done. Stitch welding using 2" welds, and moving around a lot was the schedule. I had spray foamed the inside of the hull prior to all this work, so we had to be careful about catching the foam on fire. The foam is fire rated, and it for sure lived up to that description. Keeping  an eye on the foam with plenty of  fire extinguishers ready was about all we had to do as it self extinguished once the heat was taken away. 

Once the welding was complete, we knocked off the slag, ground the welds for fairing, and brushed two coats of epoxy primer. The boat yard does not allow any spraying of paint.  Before the weather gets real ugly, I'm going to get some fairing compound on the welds to finish the joint and give it two more coats of primer. This is all I'm going to do until next Spring in regards to painting the outside.

On both the port and starboard side, we burned off about two feet of hull paint where the salon wall ties in to the hull. This will have to be faired and blended back in to the green hull next spring.

The only paint patching I have to do is on the aft deck of the salon. We've had two days of steady rain,  and this is the only area we did not get primed. Once the rain stops, I'll finish priming this area and scuff and prime the weld zone inside the super structure. Once all that's finished, I have to bolt some lumber to a few short frames, then patch in the foam.

The decks have been blasted, two coats of primer and three coats of acrylic urethane before we moved her outside. I had all along planned on re painting the decks, and after the beating they took on welding the super structure, they for sure will need painting before launch. There is also a lot of soot on the side walls from the stick welding that is going to  have to be washed off. The whole boat is nasty dirty, and once I have the paint patch to a point I'm happy with, I might take a day and give her a bath. 

I'm going to have to get back to work this week coming, although this monsoon we just had will probably rain me out half of the week. This flurry of boat building has me feeling a bit tired, but a happy tired as we're getting things done in big gulps.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Looks like a boat

I had stopped by the boat yard on our way to a job yesterday and found the crew blocking her up. Gregg, the yard foreman asked me if I had time today to lift the super structure? So, lets see, work on the boat project, or go to a job site??? Anyway, we were back at the boat yard in about 90 minutes after unloading the service truck, andloading up the welder, some chains, and a spreader bar.

The yard  had some issue with the crane, and we decided to put another pass on the lifting rings that were welded to the cabin top. Once we had the crane in the right position and had the chains rigged to lift level, the lift went quick. We re lifted it a inch or so to push the structure closer to the lines, then unhooked her and cut the crane crew loose. What was left of the afternoon was spent moving tools on board, and eyeballing what was going to be required to pull the structure around to fit on the lines. Things are close to fitting, but need some tweaking.

In  terms of my building this boat, this is probably the most rewarding day of the project. It finally looks like a boat, and while I'm guilty of being biased, I think she's a fine looking vessel.

Paying work is going to have to wait another day as I'm headed down to the boat yard to finish fitting the structure. I doubt we'll get all the welding done today, but we'll be close. If all goes well, I should have the windows installed and have her protected against the weather by the weeks end.