The steps have given me pause for thought. Embarking on something as big a job as building a boat has you go through a lot of ups and downs. When a task drags on or takes much longer than you had previously anticipated I think it starts to make you wonder how long the rest of the build will take and the optimism of an early finish starts to evaporate. Next week I will be going into the third month of working on the steps. The advise to others here is double edged. Whilst sticking to the plans and the kit is certainly much easier and faster, it may not suit your requirements so I am torn between advising to stick to the kits for ease or free wheeling it for getting a unique build and a more personalised boat.
Anyway, whilst progress has been slow it is progress nonetheless. With the steps in place on the port hull I made a piece to fill the gap under the transition step to the hull side. You simply cut a piece to fill the gap and make 2 of them and glue and glass them on. I have confidence to make a mirror image part and glue and glass it onto the starboard hull because I know the hull is an exact mirror of port and the steps have been made as exact mirrors also.
I also experimented with a part to fill the gap from the bridgedeck to the last part of the transition step on the right of the pic on the right above. I experimented with a curved piece to fill this last gap but I was not happy with the look of a curved part meeting a squared off part so I will go with extending the square edge to the hull sides. But it was an interesting experiment and shows how easy it is to fabricate things out of duflex with kerfs, glue and glass.
The next task that has been a bit of a problem on my mind since I attempted it unsuccessfully a couple of weeks ago is glassing the foam step fronts. The foam is there to house (and hide) LED rope lighting so it is not structural but does need to be glassed as it is way too soft to not have hard glass over it. It also needs to be completely sealed so that no water can get into the balsa via the foam glued fronts if I cant get the glass to stick down properly. The last time I tried to glass a front I could not get the thin surfboard cloth to stick to the foam without bubbling, and I fear I wont be able to get heavier cloth on any easier.
So my idea was to wet the foam edge first and let it tack off. Wet the cloth out and also let the resin tack off a little before trying to apply it, in order to have a stickier situation and hopefully not have any bubbles forming. However I could not let the glass tack off too much that I have no movement at all because it is very difficult to get the glass on around curves running both along and up and over the edges in exactly the right spot first go with the right tension. I managed to get them all glassed fairly easily in the end.
I wrapped the glass all the way around from the step tread around the foam front and wrapped around behind the foam front and I used wedges to keep the glass hard up against the back of the foam front. Once I had all 6 edges (3 step fronts on each set) glassed I had a break for late lunch while they tacked off a little further. I then started bogging the steps with a thinnish bog mix and applied it with a brush. I also ran bog on the step risers that are kerfed so they have a series of flats that need to be rounded to a curved finish and finally the step treads. There are tapes and z joins that need to be faired out on the treads.
It was a relief to get the foam step fronts successfully taped because I have a number of foam edges around the boat that I need to be able to glass such as around the cockpit roof, and around the cockpit seat fronts that will also have LED rope lights behind them.
As it was my birthday today I did not get much work done. I did not quite finish bogging the steps yesterday, so I basically just finished that as the bog was still not hard enough to sand yet (the bog takes 2-3 days to fully cure once the temps start to drop in Autumn now). I also spent some time adjusting the next steps in the steps process, excuse the intended pun. The next step down is part of the bottom steps that will be made separate to the top set and form the base onto which the engine room hatch lid will sit, and will also have the kick up rudders cut out of them.
I knocked off at 1.30pm so that I could go home and watch the Carlton v Bulldogs game which we won so all in all a good day!
Another disappointing month in terms of hours. Again 20 short of the goal I have set for this year, and May will also be short due to Sanctuary Cove boat show. Oh well what can you do.
Time Spent: 62.00 Hours
Total build time so far: 2324.00 Hours
Total Elapsed Time: 3 Years 7 months 4 weeks