Monday, September 30, 2013

Another Piece of the Puzzle

After many weeks of scouring western Michigan by way of Craigslist for a suitable outboard motor, I found one today, literally, just down the road. I spotted a small outboard motor for sale in front of a neighbor's place and stopped to take a look. It was an old, beat up motor that didn't look worth the $30 "as is" asking price. But when I talked with the guy, he said he had another small outboard for sale. He showed me a Johnson 3HP outboard that looked very good. When it fired up on the second pull, I was sold.

Gardens now has an outboard.

Still looking for a trailer.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rudder Assembly Progress

The rudder hardware (RL-690-G-3, Transom Pintle and Rudder Gudgeon Set from DuckWorks) arrived this week which means I can continue assembling the rudder stock. The rudder stock is ready for gluing but before I can do that I have to clamp everything together and drill the aft holes for the lower gudgeon because those fasteners (¼" flathead machine screws) need to be counter sunk. Can't access the inside of the cheeks when the stock is assembled.

So, the stock is clamped together and ready for placing the gudgeons and marking, drilling and countersinking those two holes. It would help to have everything (stock, gudgeons, drawings and fasteners) all in the same place at the same time… but, no, I didn't have the gudgeons with me today!

I was able to test fit the rudder blade with the stock. With some very minor trimming of the top of the blade, the holes lined up and the blade fits! I had drilled holes for an up-haul and a down-haul before fitting the blade to the stock - and realized I had to reposition the down-haul hole - just in case the blade isn't weighted enough to stay down on its own.

Photo: 6678 Later in the day I picked up a ½" x 3½" hex-head bolt, four fender washers and a lock-nut to use for the rudder pivot. There is enough room between the cheeks for a plastic washer (cut from a yogurt lid) on either side of the blade and a fender washer on either side of the blade. The other two fender washers will go on the outside of the cheeks.

After too long a time of "invisible" work, it was nice to see the rudder assembly looking like a rudder assembly. Tomorrow I'll fit the gudgeons, drill the holes and assemble the rudder stock.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Not as bad as it might have been…

A string of mishaps yesterday could have resulted in a disaster… and when I left the shop late yesterday afternoon I wasn't sure what I'd find this morning. I was only half-joking when I said I didn't think I epoxied the centerboard to the work bench.

But, this morning, I was relieved to learn the CB was NOT glued to the bench and, further, things weren't as bad as they might have been. Another thing I did wrong yesterday was to leave the CB where the late afternoon sun could get to it. All the sparkles in the photo? Out-gassing bubbles from the CB warming in the sun. The CB first thing this morning:

After some careful grinding and sanding, the sparkles are gone and this is what the CB looks like now:

Those gaps around the plug have been filled and the plugs will be glassed.

One good thing to come out of yesterday's fiasco is that cross-section of the CB is thinner and more streamlined than it had been. Oh, the REALLY good thing result from yesterday is that I don't have to build a new centerboard!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

If Something Can Go Wrong… It Will

Murphy's Law was strictly enforced today…

As much as I like the work I did on the rudder sink-weight, installing the centerboard sink-weight did not go so well. Oh, the sink-weight is installed - and it is NOT going anywhere - but the process did not go smoothly at all. Epoxy voids (to be filled); epoxy where it shouldn't be (to be ground out); spilled epoxy (wiped up); a botched epoxy mix (oh, it was 2:1 - hardener to resin!) discovered before slathering it into the centerboard and more… No photos of the mess as I had just enough sense not to reach for the camera with epoxy-sticky gloved hands. Good thing I have a variety of grinding/sanding tools on hand - I'm going to need them.

On the bright side, I don't think I epoxied the centerboard to the workbench - but I won't know for sure until tomorrow…

One layer of 6 oz. fiber glass cloth was applied to the lower section of the rudder blade without much drama today.

The stray strands will, of course, be sanded out and the weave filled prior to painting.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

(More) Centerboard and Rudder Work

The sink-weight for the centerboard has been a bit of a puzzle for me. I thought 44 lb. (20kg specced in the plans) seemed like a lot. After reading some material about creating sink-weights, I thought, maybe, the plans were mistaken - that John really meant 20 lb. not 20 kg. But then the dimensions of the sink weight specced in the plans, when plugged into the formula I found, produced a weight of 44 lb. But I was hard-pressed to find a suitable mold measuring 2" x 3" by 8". What I found was a 1½" x 7" x 11" metal baking pan I decided to use for the mold. Lead was melted over a camp stove and poured into the baking pan to create a sink weight of 42 lb. Not quite the specced weight but close. The top surface of the weight isn't pretty but it will all be sealed and faired. If the CB doesn't stay down, I'll add weight…

By not using a 2" thick weight, I needed to fill space in the cavity. I "sealed" one side of the cavity with a piece of sheet metal wrapped in brown packing tape (to keep epoxy from sticking to it) and taped to the centerboard. I slathered neat epoxy on the edges of the cavity and layered a good amount of thickened epoxy over the taped sheet metal seal. A ¼" luan plug (cut to fit the cavity) was pressed into/onto the thickened epoxy followed by another layer of thickened epoxy. The sink weight was set on the thickened epoxy in the cavity and more epoxy was poured around the edges.

Thats where I left it this evening. Tomorrow I will coat the sink-weight with thickened epoxy, place another ¼" luan plug over the weight and "seal" it with the taped sheet metal backing board. Once the luan skins are sanded fair, I plan to cover the centerboard with fiber glass cloth.

As for the rudder, I am happy with the sink-weight. I plan to sand it, cover it with fiber glass cloth and fair it before painting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rudder Sink-Weight Installed

Sink-Weight. Sounds a bit awkward to me but maybe that's just because it's a term I haven't seen or heard very often. I found the term in an online item about adding weight to a foil and that author cited Jim Michalik's use of the term. So, there it is: Sink-weight and, awkward or not, it is very descriptive.

At any rate, I have installed a 10# sink-weight in Gardens' rudder blade. The weight was poured in a mold and, once cooled, epoxied into a cavity cut into the blade. Two things I didn't like about pouring molten lead directly into the cavity: the possibility of burning/scorching/charring the wood; and, the unknown affect of that much heat on the epoxy holding the blade together (it is an epoxy lamination). Photo shows the dry fit of the sink-weight.

The other component of the rudder assembly, the rudder stock (or head) is being varnished - at least partially for now. The spacers/packers have been glued to one cheek and what will be the interior surfaces are being varnished before assembly (getting to those surfaces once the head is assembled will be terribly inconvenient). Not sure what I'll do for maintenance but I'll figure that out when the time comes.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Centerboard and Rudder

The centerboard has evolved from a large laminated block of wood into a foil waiting for the addition of a sink-weight before finishing work begins.

The rudder blade blank has been shaped into a foil and could be finished (sanded, primed and painted) as it sits. However, I plan to add a sink-weight to the blade (eliminating the downhaul), so there is some work to be done. I made a sink-weight but the form I used (don't really like the idea of pouring molten lead into the blade itself) didn't hold its shape very well and I need to redo the lumpy weight that resulted.

The rudder stock/head is being assembled. The pivot holes have been drilled oversize, filled with thickened epoxy and drilled to size. The spacers/packers have been glued (but not yet screwed) to one of the cheeks. The interior surfaces will be finished before gluing (and screwing) the second cheek into place. After that, I will finish the outside surfaces.

I am considering finishing the mahogany stock/head with varnish only. I may coat the exposed interior surfaces with epoxy before varnishing but I am not convinced this is necessary.

Even though these bits and pieces take time, I am encouraged with the recent progress.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rudder Assembly Progress

The rudder blade and the four parts of the rudder stock have been cut to shape.

The rudder stock packers/spacers:

The blade and rudder stock cheeks/sides:

Rudder stock "dry fit":

There remains a good bit of work: sanding, fitting, filling & redrilling the pivot holes, aligning and fitting the rudder stock, giving the blade a foil shape, adding a sink-weight, painting, varnishing and assembling.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Woodcarving with a Grinder

Well, way back in March of last year, I began shaping Gardens' centerboard using hand planes (a block plane and a No. 5 jack plane).

Sometime after getting one side roughed out, I was distracted by other boat-building activities and never finished up with the centerboard. Today is too humid to do any epoxy work so, looking around for something to do, I decided to continue work on the centerboard. But this time, instead of using my planes, I used the 4" grinder... Grinding the lands for the planks gave me the confidence to do a little wood carving with the grinder. The sawdust produced with the grinder is not as elegant as the shavings created with the planes, but the work progresses much more quickly.

Half of the board is shaped and the other half is nearly done. I'll use the ROS with 60, 80 and 120grit paper to finish shaping the board. Then I'll create a cavity for a lead sink-weight, epoxy and cover the entire board with fiberglass cloth before prepping it for painting. Still a bunch to do but making progress.