Τρίτη, 2 Δεκεμβρίου 2008


Boatbuilding must progress during the oncoming winter. This requires heat!
Although temperature in Crete is still 15-20C I started experimenting in finding a way to heat the garage.
Aris, a good friend and fan of the project, kindly donated the kerozene heater seen in the pictures below. It is very economic and produces heat constantly, without a thermostat, which makes it ideal for large not fully enclosed spaces. When I tested it though I realized it was small for my boatbuilding shed which has no insulation and part of which is enclosed by iron plates (thus completely exposed to externel temperature changes). Nevertheless, it managed to maintain a stable inside 19C, while the outside temperature fell by nightfall to a prohibiting for epoxy work 15-16C (unfortunatelly the West System 205 hardener which is specified for colder climates is not imported in Greece!?).
As a result I think I will buy an identical heater and with both in use I will be able to use epoxy even during the coldest days of Cretan winter.
During the heaters test I managed to apply the first coat of epoxy on the underside surface of the plywood sheets of the forward bunk and floor and complete some of the keel and bulkhead fillet sanding. As soon as I finish with the glass reinforcement of the keel in this forward compartment I will paint it white before the final installation of the floor and bunk.

Heater in action!

Forward bunk and floor plywood parts cut
and epoxy coated on one side

Τρίτη, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2008

Sanding land!

Although I rashed to cut the forward bank last week there is a lot of work to be done before its installation. Most of it is sanding and fairing!
A lot of people underestimate sanding as a basic part of these kind of projects. I think sanding is the finishing touch that will help reveal and then correct all the imperfections. It is what makes the difference between the smooth, elegant finish of a craftsman's work and an amateur construction. Keeping this in mind I removed the forward bank and started sanding the keel and bulkhead fillets in preparation for glassing the inside area of the keel with two layers of 6oz glass cloth as a reenforsment. I also removed with a dremel tool most of the fillets of bulkhead No4 - which were the first I made and looked like a real mess - and made new, before applying the glass cloth in this part of the keel.
When the new fillets were curred and sanded the area that was about to be glassed was taped all around at its boundaries (Scott William's technique). The glass cloth was cut and put in place and wetted out with a combination of brushing and using a squeege to remove excess epoxy. With epoxy in a tacky state the glass cloth was cut with a razor at the edge of the tape which was then removed leaving a clear margin between the glassed area and epoxy coated plywood.


Bulkhead's No4 new fillets!

Glassing the keel

Πέμπτη, 6 Νοεμβρίου 2008

Master bedroom...

I haven't made considerable headway with the project lately as I was "up to the throat", as Greek people say, with deadlines and comitments, both at work and with familly matters.
As a result I didn't feel much enthusiasm as I was driving to the boatbuilding shed last afternoon. To my disappointment my free time has decreased a lot lately and sometimes boatbuilding seems to be one of my last priorities, leaving me way out of my timetable.
I desperately needed some encouragment, so, instead of following the right sequence (thus sanding the fillets and the inside hull area below the floor and bunk level) , I desided to measure and cut the forward bunk.
The trick had instant results and worked as a visual injection of moral! It was the first time that I stepped into the hull, sat on the bunk and imagined the space of the forward cabin...That was it! I was dreaming again!

Τετάρτη, 17 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

Fillets done!

I finally managed to finish all the lower hullside fillets today. Just on time as my daughter paid me a visit to inspect the progress of my work and, as you can tell from the look in her face, she was not very pleased! I must spend the next working sessions on sanding the keel and the bulkhead fillets and on coating them with epoxy before reenforcing the keel with two layers of glass cloth. On the same time I am searching for a warehouse closer to my house which, on a low rent can accomodate the construction of the four crossbeams during the oncoming winter. This will certainly accelerate things as work in my garage during the winter months is minimal. We'll see...

Κυριακή, 31 Αυγούστου 2008

More fillets, more stiffeners.

I finally managed to spent some time at the building shed during the last week after almost a month. We were away on vacation on Samos island in northern Aegean. Unfortunately there was no sailing this summer as it was our first holidays with our newborn but I managed to learn some windsurfing which was fun and great exercise!
I am trying to complete a rather boring sequence of tasks before It is time to install the floors and banks. Thus I made some more fillets on the bulkheads- only a few remain now- and I glued in some more diagonal stiffeners in the middle and rear compartments. Soon I will be able to reinforce the keel from the inside with glass cloth as well as the bow and stern area. As autumn approaches I should better hurry as there is a lot of epoxy work involved in this part of the building process and it should be done in higher temperature.

Κυριακή, 22 Ιουνίου 2008

A new life!

I've been away from the boat for a while, but for a good reason since my wife gave birth to our first daughter. These first few weeks with the newborn were both strenuous and fascinating at the same time! I think that our lives will never be the same again as raising a child turned out to be a full time job. On the other hand a horizon of new perspectives opened up in front of us and things that seemed insignificant take a new meaning. As far as the boat is concerned I am now motivated more than ever to finish and launch as soon as possible. I have a sea world to show to my daughter!
When I returned to my garage early this week, I found out that I was under attack! A rat had been dealing with my skilsaw, totaly ruining its cable on an attempt to make a cozy lair in the tools' box. Kika, my cocker spaniel, took care of the rat (...he must be still running) and I managed to make some more fillets on the bulkheads. This is getting easier now as I figured out the right amound of filler I have to add to the epoxy to have a non shagging mixture. I also add some more sillica, which makes the mixture more dense and the fillets turn out smoother (Thanks to the advice of "Boatsmith" from Wharram forums!). In the next few weeks, if I have the free time, I will try to finish with all the lower hull fillets, reinforce the keel, stem and stern with glass cloth and start cutting the floor and bunk panels. Meanwhile I have to deside on the location of the water tank installation and order them as well as order the paint for the bilges and the space underneath the bunks. By the way is there any advice from someone out there on this matter? For example do I have to use primer first or are there paints that I can apply directly on the epoxy coating of the hulls? Bellow there are some photos of my progress with an improved result on the fillets.

Some of the tools of my new job!

Τετάρτη, 16 Απριλίου 2008

Filleting attempts.

Using epoxy to glue wooden parts or sheath plywood was a straight forward procedure with no secrets for the amateur builder. On the other hand, I am now convinced that making perfect epoxy filllets is quite an art! The exact amound of filler one must add to the epoxy to make the right mixture for filleting is something you only understand after a lot of unsuccessful attempts. There is no rule. You just add filler until the mixture reaches the consistency of peanut butter.
After a lot of reading I desided to make my first fillets on bulkhead No 4, which will later on be completely invisible under the bunk of the forward cabin.
The first step was to apply pure epoxy with a cheap brush on the surfaces that would be covered by the fillets. Then I should apply the filleting mixture with a round knife or spatula along the bulkhead to hull side corner. Finally I, theoretically speaking, should form the fillet by draging a round ended spatula of the appropriate radius along the corner, forcing the applied thickened epoxy to take the right shape and leaving the excess portion of the mixture on both edges of the fillet to be cleaned later.
In practice, my first fillets on bulkhead No 4 were a disaster! Although the consistency of the mixture seamed right, as soon as I applied it, it saged down the vertical surfaces of the bulkhead and the hull sides. After a lot of efforts to keep the mixture in place I finally let it cure as it was in order to sand it later on and make better fillets, as soon as I managed to figure out the right procedure.
After some thought and a few more unsuccessful attempts I finally managed to improve my technique and make some beautiful fillets on bulkhead No 2! As it turned out to be, my mistakes on the beggining were:
  • While trying to squeeze epoxy in the fine cracks between the bulkhead and the hull sides I applied too much epoxy which later on diluted the filleting mixture applied.
  • I made large quantities of epoxy which was difficult to mix thoroughly as the right mixture should be very thick. Now I never mix more than three squirts of epoxy each time.
  • Although the mixture may seam thick enough it is better to try if it clings to vertical surfaces like the sides of the mixing pod before applying it. As a rough guide I add about 6-7 full soup spoons of Low Dencity Filler (I use West System products), for every three squirts of epoxy.

The photos bellow show the unsuccessful fillets of bulkhead 4 and the very improved fillets of bulkhead No 2. There is also a picture of a broken metal baking spatula which turned out to be a perfect filleting tool and some photos of the first diagonal stiffeners I installed this past week.

Bulkhead No 4

Bulkhead No2

Diagonal stiffeners