Building Logs

Cabin sides kerfs glassed.

Posted by Paul

The Sydney heat wave continues, 4 straight days over 30 and yesterday it hit 41 degrees in Sydney meaning I lost a Saturday on the boat. I went into the shed a couple of times over the past few days and each day decided it was simply too hot to work. It makes no sense to knock myself around to get this boat finished. I knew the forecast would mean I would not be working on the boat on Saturday so when on Friday I was invited to sail down to Sydney and stay on the boat overnight I jumped on it. I got back around mid day on Saturday and Jo and I worked at her shop, putting stock that arrived the day before away. On Thursday we manually unloaded 8 pallets of stock in the middle of a 40 degree day. Fortunately it only took an hour and the shop is air-conditioned, so we got to work the rest of the day sorting the stock in reasonable conditions. If only the shed were air conditioned.

Last night there was the predicted southerly change so the air is cooler, and more importantly the sky clouded over so the shed would remain a decent temperature. Nevertheless I decided an early start would be a good idea. I got started at 7.30am (a normal Sunday start) and knocked off at 1.30pm. I started by taking the wrap around panels off the boat. The starboard side panel came off easily enough, I slid it down the side of the boat and onto 44 gallon drums I had placed along side, then got down and carried them to the back of the boat where I have floor space.

Then when I tried the same on the Port wrap I have the dagger-case already through the side so I had to lift the wrap over it (it is not glued in yet or cut down to flush with the deck) and as I lifted it over this I heard the creak then before I could react it broke down a kerf. (As it later turned out, the kerf that broke was only partially glued because it sat behind a brace in the boat). To say I was annoyed was an understatement and expletives may have been uttered. The panel had not broken, it had just split down a kerf. It is not surprising that this would be possible. he kerfs are just balsa glued to balsa and perhaps some glass is glued to glass but the glue is fragile. It does not have multi directional strength until glass is added.

However, now the problem was how to get it down without breaking it completely. If I could do that, then this was not really a problem at all. It would simply be reglued and glassed. The only minor issue I might have is would I be able to get it exactly the same shape as it had set to on the boat, that is would the curve still be fair? If not then bog would be needed, but the amount I felt I could be out by could not be much, I just had to get the kerf to meet up again. But first I had to get it down, on my own. I got it down in the same way as I did the unbroken panel, I just had to be a little more careful.

Once down I had to move it carefully around to where I could work on it and then with both panels down I set about gluing and glassing them. I knew I would be filling gaps in kerfs that had been behind braces, (the pic on the right above is a kerf glue gap on the starboard panel that I will fill with glue as I glass) and I could not get glue into while on the boat. So filling the broken kerf was not going to be difficult now it was down. And it was down with the outside glass intact and undamaged as far as I can tell. To say I was relieved was and understatement.

I then had an hour or so of sanding. Not pleasant but not too difficult. I had pre-marked the inside of the panels with an idea of where I want the mullions to be (mullions are braces between the windows that strengthen the structure to hold the roof up). I had already decided that to save glass and resin (and work) I would only glass the edges (300mm tapes top and bottom) and where the mullions will go, because the rest will be cut out of the panel and replaced with the Perspex windows. I did learn that I would need to keep the cut-outs to size and shape the Perspex if I decided on hot molded factory pre-shaped windows as they use the cut-outs as templates. I probably wont need to use this method because my windows can be cold molded (flat panels of Perspex cut to shape but not molded to the curve and then gently tortured around the curve) because of the position of the mullions, they wont curve around the hardest part of the curve.

Once the wraps were sanded I glassed them and applied peel ply, because the glass will be glassed to again when the roof is glued and glassed to the side panels and when the mullions (probably 100mm carbon tubes cut in half) are glassed in.

Once this was done I left them to set and took the rest of the day off.

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