Saturday, July 21, 2012

Composites in Action

Taping for Fillets
It''s not obvious, but there are some
monster in place here
I had another three week business trip coming up, and I pushed really hard to get the boat flipped before departing.  In a burst of post-flip energy, I also filled all of the external seams with thickened epoxy.  When this dried, I took the big grinder and set about rounding over corners.  With that done, I did the fillets between the keel and the hull....pretty much the last fillets I'll be doing on this boat.  I sure won't miss doing that!

Then it was off to England.  It rained.  The whole time.  That, combined with the usual long work hours didn't leave much time for sightseeing.  But, there were a couple of fun excursions on the way.  For one, I was able to get out skiffing on the Thames with Malcolm and a co-worker.  Those skiffs are gorgeous lapstrake boats, and they pull oh-so-sweetly.  Getting out on the river is always a blast.  Thanks, Malcolm!

A-skiffing we go!

I also took a long walk along the Basingstoke Canal, and even saw a canal boat that a group of people were taking an excursion on.  Staying on one of these would be cheaper than a hotel and I could tie up within walking distance of work.  Unfortunately, I have yet to convince the powers that be to pay for one of these babies for a couple of weeks instead of a hotel and rental car.

Finally, a really big highlight was that the last week I was there was the week before the big Farnborough Airshow.  Lots of airplanes arrived early and spent the week practicing their routines.  I'd get off of work and just hang out by the airfield and watch!

Eurofighter probably put on the most dazzling pre-show show.

The F-18s were no slouches either!

See the 787 performing was the best of all.  While not as exciting a display
as the fighters, seeing something that you worked on cavorting about is a decided thrill.

With the England trip out of the way, it was time to get back to work on the boat.  An hour or two with the sander lead to smooth surfaces, radiused corners, and generally refined lines.  That quickly, it was time for the 'glass.

Had I followed my approach on much of the rest of the boat, I would have tackled this one section at a time, carefully masking off the borders, wetting out the 'glass, and trimming it back to the tape line.  This is a pretty good strategy for breaking up the work and minimized sanding (no frayed ends). Well, for whatever reason, I abandoned this disciplined process and decided to 'glass the entire lower hull in one go.  Was is jet lag?  Impatience?  Ambition?  Yes.

\Laying out the fiberglass.
It took most of a morning to get all of the fiberglass laid out, smoothed down, and trimmed back.  There are overlaps on all the seams, and in the case of the keel-to-hull joints and where the scarf joints are, I also added a third layer of 'glass.  This boat'll be brutally strong!

The great wet-out begins.
After lunch that day, I started the great wet-out.  I have never tackled such a big fiberglass job before.  I tried to work as quickly and efficiently as I could, but it still took over four hours to get it done.  The end result was ok...I've definitely done better work.  I justify this in that the added sanding time is less that the flow time required to employ the section-at-a-time method.  In other words, there may be more sanding, but I'll get out on the water sooner.
Epoxy has been applied, and it is time to sand.
The subsequent fill coats of epoxy took progressively less time (two hours and the one hour), but it was still a big job.  And this is just the lower hull!  I've already gone through this process on the upper hull and the entire interior of the boat.  Looking back at it all, this really is one big little boat.  And, of course, I'll really get to experience this bigness in all its glory when I hook up my sander and reduce this mess to a smooth surface.

And thus starts the endless sanding....

No comments:

Post a Comment