Friday, August 19, 2011

Its Great When One of My Plans Actually Works

True to the plan I had outlined in the last post, I laid out my collection of sanding contraptions, set a time to one hour, and attacked the fillets between bulkhead #8 and the transom.  I should take a picture of all of my sanding and attempt to make this tasteless job as easy as possible I really have amassed quite a collection. 

Back to the fillets...I went at them with various tools, but found that using my best fried, the random orbital sander, worked the best.  Of course, I was using it in a very abusive and incorrect way.  The rulebook of tool use says, "lay the sander flat against the surface, don't tilt it an just use the outer edge."  Well, that's not the way I used it.  Tough beans.

I used my detail sanding, drill-mounted grinding disk, and some good old hand sanding, and manages to take care of almost everything that the random orbital sander missed.  But there was one spot that nothing was really effective on.  So, I called in the big guns.  Dremel tools are awesome.  They're fast, they're light, and they'll cut through just about anything.  Unfortunately, the same characteristics that make them so powerful, also make them dangerous.  One little slip, or too much overexuberance and you're dealing with a monumentally unintended gash in your project.   Needless to say, when I fired up the Dremel, I was very, very careful.  And it paid off.  The trouble spot disappeared and I wasn't left with a hole in my hull.

With the sanding back there complete, the next step was to fiberglass the area.  To make things neater, I used a trick I learnt on the Pygmy kayak.  Run tape around the perimeter of the area to be 'glassed.  Lay out the 'glass and trim it so that it extends on to the tape.  Wet out the 'glass.  Let it sit for about 2 hours.  Take a sharp utility knife, and cut the 'glass along the inside edge of the tape, being careful no to cut into whatever is underneath the glass that you are cutting.  Peel up the tape, taking with it the rough edges of the 'glass.  This leave you with a nice, clean edge.  Combined with a good wet out technique, the finished product requires a minimum of sanding.

Masking off in preparation of fiberglassing

Fiberglass on the starboard side, ready to be wetted out.  The port side has already been done.
Sean, another Pocketship builder, mentioned that he had run fiberglass tape along the transom joints.  Liek me, he's planning on hanginga small outboard off the transom, and he figured that to be safe, he'd add som tape to really beef up that joint to handle the extra loads.  I'm of the opinion that it is probably unnecessary and overly conservative to do this.  So, naturally, I decided to do it too. 

Progress is still slow, but at least it is moving again.  And it is slow for all the right reasons, including:

Overnight kayaking trip to Hope Island

Backpacking trips to Toleak Point...

...and Marmot Pass

Fly fishing in Idaho

Evening kayak trips around Everett
And lots of other day hikes, bike rides, and the like.   And the great news it, summer ain't over yet! 

So, next up, it is time to move on to the next phases of my sand-for-an-hour-then-glass plan.  I have my stopwatch ready!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Need a New Plan

I have found myself bogged down on my Pocketship project.  I'd like to attribute my current lack of progress to the nice weather we've been having here in the Pacific Northwest.  And it is true, I've spent a lot of time biking, hiking, kayaking, walking, backpacking, and generally not working on the boat.  But really, that isn't the reason that I haven't been making progress.  The reason is fear.
I went out to inspect my fillets, and decided that I did a pretty good job on them.  Then I started to sand them.  In sanding them, I found that there were a couple of places that I wanted to sand a little more, so that they'd look really good.  And then I found a few more places, and a few more.  The more I sanded, the more perfect I wanted it to be, and thus the more sanding it would require.  Thus, the more I did, the further I was from being done.  Finally, I stopped sanding, boggled by the amount of sanding left before me, afraid of the task ahead (I hate sanding) and devoid of the motivation require to perform it (I hate sanding).

Mind you, there really was/is very little cleanup that needs to be done to do a decent job.  The issue here is me wrestling with perfectionism.  There are two really good boatbuilding blogs that I've read that deal a lot with the role of perfectionism in boatbuilding.  One one side, there is Peter Gron, who built a Devlin Arctic Tern.  He embraced his perfectionism, indulged it even, and ended up with a beautiful boat.  After seven years.  Then there is Larry Cheek, who is almost done with a Devlin Winter Wren.  Larry tries to inject reasonableness into his work, fight the perfectionist urge, finish and move on.  I've learnt a lot, reading these guys' stories.  Where you draw the line will determine the final quality of your work, but it will also determine (based on your personality) how much you will enjoy your project. 

I've drawn the line in the wrong place.  I'm not enjoying this project right now.  I need to redraw the line and move on.  To move forward, I need to find a way to get back into the work.  I need a sense of progress, a reward, a victory.  In the immoral words of a large, transforming, robot dinosaur, "Me Grimlock need new strategy."

Here it is.  I am going to spend one hour, no more, no less, sanding the fillets in the aft watertight compartment.  I will then set down my sander and glass the bottom of the hull back there.  This will give me a victory, and renewed sense of progress.  The rest of the boat will follow suit.  30 minutes of sanding forward of bulkhead 1.  45 minutes of sanding between bulkheads 1 and 2.  Glass.  One hour of sanding the chines.  One hour sanding everything else forward of Floor 4.  One hour sanding everything else aft of Floor 4.  Glass. Finish.   Move on.

Having a plan, I feel re-energized already.  Now the question is when can I get started?  Not this week.  I had a visit with the doctor earlier this week that left me in stitches.  Laughing aside, the doctor put a few sutures in me that'll come out next week.  Until then, I can really risk banging them around or getting them dirty, so no boat until next week.  Hopefully, after that, though, I should be able to dive back into it.