Monday, June 25, 2012

Axle work

I started work on the axles to haul the hull to the launch site. The front axle for the hull will be a steering axle, and the rear will be a dual wheeled axle.

The reasons for sitting the hull on axles vs having it hauled by a commercial boat hauler are a few. The main reason for going this route are that I had two boat haulers look at the job and both did not want to make the trip down my driveway. Our driveway is fairly steep, greater than a 30% grade, and paved with gravel. For a truck pulling a heavy trailer, getting up it is also a challenge as the truck drive wheels will spin in the gravel and rubber gets torn off. The other reason for using a home made dolly to haul the boat is the clearance I have to have getting under a highway over pass. The over pass measures 16' exactly, and as the boat sits on the cradle she measures 15' 11". Putting her on a trailer would raise her up over 16' and would require me cutting off the bowsprit handrail. Another reason for not using a commercial hauler is that I built the boat in the barn backwards. I should have built her bow forward pointing out the door. Getting her out of the barn will still require a dolly of some sorts given my ass backwards way of building her, so I might as well leave her on the dolly and haul her to the launch site myself. Why did I build her in the barn backwards? I have no idea, but I can't cry about it now.

Getting her on the axles has run into a snag. I've finished the front steering axle, and it's ready to go under the boat. My plan is to jack the hull up, sit the hull on to the  steering axle, then fabricate some stanchions to hold her steady. I'll then weld some two "D" rings to the hull and two "D" rings to the axle and use some chains and binders to hold her fast.

I had to fabricate a hitch/steering arm to make the front axle work the way I want. I used some 3" schedule 80 pipe for the hitch arm, and fabricated a pivot joint using 1 1/4" round stock and thick walled tube for bushings. I bored the tube on the lathe to .005 over the pin diameter to make things fit a little easier. The hitch arm will swing left to right, and by welding an arm to this and connecting that arm to the linkage on the steering axle, the wheels will "steer" and follow the hitch arm. Because I have to connect the hitch arm to the haul truck, I welded another pivot point turned 90 degrees to the steering pivot to allow the hitch to also move up and down. Basically, I created a home made "U" joint. Once the hull is out of the barn and I can figure out how long the up and down part of the hitch needs to be, I'll join the two together. Right now the hitch arm is about 4' long.

The snag I ran in to has to do with the dual wheeled axles for the rear. A friend gave me the axle but once I saw it up close I knew I did not want them in the shop as they were. This is a pretty old axle and it  had two piece wheels that were in bad shape and what I viewed as very dangerous. I called the tire shop that sells me equipment and they told me they could get me some used wheels and rubber that would be safe and make the trip to the launch site. When one is working on two piece wheels, the wheels should be place in a steel cage in case the lock ring on the wheel fails ( the two piece part of a two piece wheel) and blows apart. The mechanic at the tire shop must not have followed this practice as the wheel lock ring came off of the tire and hit him in the leg with enough force to break his leg. He's lucky he still has his leg, and even more lucky he's alive. The tire shop is still going to finish the job and has promised me I can pick it up mid week. Once in the shop with newer radial wheels and rubber, I'll have to put a bearing and race in one side, and after that I can get the hull off of the cradle.

Getting her off of the cradle pretty much means most work on the hull is finished until she gets to the launch site. Once off of the cradle, my main focus will be to finish the wheel house and salon. There's really not much more I can efficiently do to the hull so having her remain on the building cradle makes no sense. It will be easier to get her off of the cradle with the barn free of the wheel house so I'm holding off on starting that build until the axles are in place. Also, once the hull is on the axles, she'll be sitting about 18" out of level in regard to the water line, and I don't want to be working on her in that position.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Painting is complete

Like the post title says, the hull is finished painted.Whoo Hoo!!!!

My last post dealt with the port side of the boat, and this post deals with me wrapping up the starboard side of the hull and making a repair on the port side. But the jist of this post is that the paint work is completed, and I can put the paint pot back on the shelf until late August or early September.

I had to make two repairs on the port side of the hull. I prepped the two areas that needed to be re painted but I did not spray them until I sprayed the starboard side. The repairs were a result of a severe orange peel condition up by the bulwark, and a paint pot failure below the lower rub rail. The paint pot failure was some issue of the feed tube not  getting primed correctly or air locking up on me which caused the paint to not flow or atomize correctly. This below the rub rail area looked pretty rough, so I sanded it back smooth. The orange peel issue by the bulwark was a result of  me not leaving well enough alone.When I was painting this area of the hull a few weeks ago, I had lost track of how many coats I had sprayed on this area. I was unsure if I had two or three coats. The area looked good, and I should have left it alone, but being the rookie I am, I sprayed what I thought was a third coat. The prior coat had already dried, so when I applied the not needed coat, it instantly turned to crap and got a severe case of the orange peel. I started to wet sand it out, but the area was too big, and it was going to be faster to take it back down with the DA sander and re paint. I'll have to wet sand out the parting line, but that will be an easy almost relaxing job. Both areas now look good and I'm glad I made the repairs. 

I can't really take a picture of the starboard side as there is only four feet of room from the barn wall the the boat. But I can tell you that the starboard side now looks like the port side, which is shiny and finished. I treated the starboard side the same way which entailed sanding the hull to 320 grit, spot priming some areas, painting the rub rail, then spraying three coats of green acrylic urethane. I'll have to do some wet sanding and polishing on a few areas, but I won't do any of that until next Spring at the launch site. I'll probably end up polishing and waxing all of the hull, but there again, none of that work will happen until next Spring or Summer just before launch.

I am sort of keeping a half baked schedule roaming around in the back of my head. While I'm a week or so later than I wanted to be on finishing the painting, the painting is now complete and I can focus on moving forward. The next step is going to be getting her off of the building cradle. I found a dually truck axle for the rear of the boat and a truck steering axle for the front of the boat. No work is needed regarding the steering axle, but the dually is going to need some work before I set the boat down on it. One side of the axle is locked up and will need bearings and races, and I need to take hard look at the tires. I only have to move the hull about ten miles to the launch site, but the tires are so dry rotted, that I have my doubts about them. Once I have the bearings in them, I might bring the assembly up to the truck tire shop that sells me rubber for my trucks and see if they cant some used skins on the wheels. A halfway decent set of used rubber make me feel better about things than the dry rotted tires now on the axle.

The other reason I need to get her off of the building cradle is that I need the metal from the cradle to build a gantry and the frame for welding together the wheel house and salon. I have over 100' of 4" I beam in the cradle and quite a bit of 1/4" plate. All that will be put to good use for a gantry and frame work for the wheel house job, and will also mean I will not have to spend any money building those two items.

I need to be assembling the wheel house and salon by early July, and needed to be finished with the welding by the middle of August. Finished with the welding means having the hand rails for the salon top welded in place, the engine room exhaust funnel welded in place, the brackets for future paravanes figured out and welded in place, the mast step figured out and welded in place, the pad eyes for the mast figured out and welded in place, lifting rings figured out and welded in place, brackets for the yet to be built dink figured out and welded in place. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few odds and ends, but you get my drift in that time is running out. Having all this completed by mid August gives me a few weeks to finish painting the salon and wheel house, which puts me in to September, which is about when I need to be picking a date to move her to the launch site. The boat yard I'm bringer her to gets busy in late October, so I want all of my work completed before that time and the high end yachts start piling up around me which will cause me trouble with painting.