That title should mean a lot of new hits. And possibly a cease and desist from Bill G. But seriously, I have finally got my windows and am close to fitting them. I made the molds from the outcut pieces with a 3mm mdf face attached to make the molds 100mm oversize all around, then after they had oven molded the oversize 10mm thick windows (because the edges curl up in the oven and have to be trimmed back) I took the front face off the molds to create cutout templates for them to trim the windows down to the exact size. I hired a van and collected them on Thursday the last day of November (hence the post title).
I have to say at this point how awesome the window manufacturer is. The original quote was $5100 (including tax) the cheapest I could find after months of shopping the job around (I had a couple of people that told me this was way over but I even got a quote from one of the factories that a reader had used to get their windows for less than half that, and their quote for me was $7500). I had asked my factory if we could do any better and the initial answer was no, because it was a difficult process that often resulted in re-do’s which is inevitably at their cost. However, if the job went well and there was no wastage or issues, they would look at it again. And true to their word, without me asking, they sent through the final invoice some 10% less than quoted. $4600 including tax. Nice. Amex has been smashed lately. Will probably take until the middle of next year to pay it all down. The window factory is in Yennora (near Parramatta) Sydney, their name is B&M Plastics. Robert, thanks so much for your excellent work and patience waiting for me to save for them. I cant speak highly enough about your company.
I used the saved money to buy an extra sheet of 8mm clear to make my rear bulkhead windows. I am going for clear because it becomes too difficult to see through 2 layers of tinted windows and from the helm you would either need the window open to see through it and the front tinted window or use clear on the rear window. And if the helm window is clear then the rest of the windows on the bulkhead really need to match. I couldnt get them all cut out of a standard sheet (1200 x 2400) and the next size up is 1200 x 3000 and full sheet is 2000 x 3000 and is only $70 more than the 1.2 x 3 so I bought a full sheet and from it I can make my preferred design of sliding windows (from the 1.2 x 3 I was going to make hinged windows which requires less material but hinged windows wont look as nice as the sliders I have planned, hopefully the practice works like the theory does in my head). So $5k got me all the boats windows, provided I dont make any mistakes cutting (the clear rear windows) or fitting any of them. I hope to have them all fitted over the next couple of weekends. They look blue in the pic below, that is just the protective film on them.
The preferred window attaching method is to just glue them in, no fixings or if needed temporary fixings to hold the windows down tightly until the sealant adhesive sets (I am using Fixtech 200 on the recommendationof previous builders). Ironically, with the bolted in method, most windows that leak do so at the fixing points (the other problem with bolts or screws it is often the point where the plastic cracks). The glued method involves laying down a glazing tape, in my case they are 4.9mm high by 9mm wide and completely ringing the inside edge of the mounting flange (this is the edge visible from inside the boat). This has 3 functions, first it keeps the window 4.9mm off the boat, this area is filled with the sealant adhesive (the 5mm’s of sealant adhesive is then able to absorb the daily expansion and contraction of the acrylic windows and stay firmly sealed and adhered, providing the windows also have adequate expansion gaps around them, often windows pop because they expand and hit the solid of the boat and lift up), second it forms a dam that stops the sealant oozing into the boat as the windows push down into place, the excess sealant comes out the front and is coved to shape and excess removed and finally it is a double sided tape so it adheres to the window to prevent movement while the adhesive sets. I have purchased the tape (3 x 15m lengths) and 10 tubes of the sealant adhesive. I am not sure how many tubes I will need but will get a better idea once I have some of the windows done. I reckon I might need another 5 maybe. The adhesive I am using is Fixtech 200. (its about $17 a tube.)
I have dry fitted them and they fit beautifully so there will be no need for super strong fasteners to pull them down, I can push them down where they are not snug against the flange with just one finger and minimal pressure, so some ply tabs screwed through the adhesive expansion area and into the solid glass by 2-3mm (they are 6mm thick) will do it. I am also told that the windows are glued down in 2 sessions, main glue first, then when they are set (up to a week or more later) you back fill the rest and cove neatly, this will cover over the holes in the filler left by the removed tab screw, so if done properly I wont have any leak points, and because I am not going to screw through into the inside I should also be fine.
Here’s another interesting thing that happened re pricing. I was ringing around to get a price on the Fixtech using names and numbers on their site. One of the numbers I rang said to me (I wont name them) we dont deal with the public we are a “wholesaler”. He asked me why I needed that much and I said I have built a 40ft cat, “oh, we deal with builders” he said, whereupon he started bragging that I would get wholesale price rather then retail (he made a point of mentioning this a number of times). His price was 20% higher than Whitworths retail price. Wholesaler you say?
One final thing on the subject of pricing. This small “nut” had to be custom made. I bought the steering helm pump (I bought them in the US when the exchange rate was 1:1.10 and recommended to me by another builder and some 50% cheaper than buying the local product) about 5 years ago and the steering wheel about 3 years ago from the BLA catalogue. The steering wheel has a 1″ shaft hole, the helm pump has a 3/4″ tapered shaft, so I also bought a brass reducing ring with keyways from BLA for this purpose. You would think that would be the end of it. But alas, no-one makes a nut that holds it all together. I had to have one made. The fabricators (again I wont name them) told me about $200. The final bill for this nut was $240 plus tax, $264. This one went the other way. To be fair to the fabricator, 2 things, first this may have been a $300 job and he reduced the bill because of the initial quote and secondly they did a fabulous job. I just mention it because it contrasts with the experience I had with the window fabricators and that pound for pound its probably the most expensive item on the boat! After all, the only work it does is to stop the wheel sliding off the shaft, the keyway does all the load work! But it looks a million bucks though doesn’t it.
I have almost finished the non slip painting. I have managed to take what would otherwise have been a really easy job and made it quite difficult. Firstly I used cheap and nasty masking tape. That would not have been a problem had things gone to plan. In the last week in the shed Terry and I masked up for non slip as I wanted it on before I moved the boat out. But after masking I had to clean up the shed so as the boat had a clear path out. Unfortunately that took me way longer than I thought and I ran out of time to apply the non slip (and that takes somewhat longer than I thought too, however inside the shed it would have been much faster). Then once it was out my priority was not getting water inside the boat so I covered it with tarps. These have to be removed to get to the non slip areas. And of course it has rained nearly every week since it went out, mostly on days I have available to work on the boat around the constant overtime I am taking in order to pay the big bills that the final run home is throwing at me.
And what’s more, that cheap masking tape really kicked me in the ass. Half of it fell off due to the weather, rain. But it was just weeks before summer, so every day it wasnt raining the sun was baking the masking tape that didnt fall off onto the paint! It takes forever to remove in sections a few inches at a time because the glue is stronger than the paper, in short, a nightmare. And it turns out easier to remove the masking tape and re-lay it before applying non slip because it sets over the tape then has to be cut at the tape if the tape isnt removed before the non slip sets. And in the sun, the open time is very short. Minutes in fact. Like resin, I found it setting on sunny days within 20 minutes. (It takes a week to fully cure to a rock hard surface but is touch dry in less than an hour most days).
The non slip I have chosen is Kiwigrip. It is fantastic stuff. Its secret is the proprietary roller used to give it its non slipness if I can make a word up. It is about the thickness of yoghurt in the can and is a water soluble single pack paint. You apply it in the thickness you want, the thicker it is the more grippy the non slip, but the downside it the more you use and the harder it is to keep clean because dirt has deeper valleys to build in. I made the highly curved areas on the bows and when I do the roof I will also make it grippier (and also the bottom steps because I figure they will be a high traffic) and used a little less on the flat side decks. I have it down to fine art now, on the deep areas I scoop it on then spread it with a tile glue notched trowel and on the thinner areas I brush it on. And then you apply the special roller in varying pressures to apply either aggressive or less aggressive grip. It has to be thicker to get the more aggressive grip depth. Then I remove the mask as I go, while the paint is yet to tack off.
On the website and various forums there were warnings not to apply the paint in inclement weather. I, of course, chose to ignore such warnings. I live on the edge! I have found the intense sun to put too much pressure on getting the job done before the blazing sun bakes it. So I chose cloudy days. One day the forecast was for storms and rain. On the drive to the boat before work one day it was raining hard, and then as I arrived the skies cleared and the sun was out. Beauty I thought I can get a little more done so I prepped an area (masked, keyed any glossy paint areas to help it grip and cleaned it with prepsol) and started to apply a section about 2m x 1m. I got it finished and I heard thunder off in the distance. I had to leave for work. The paint felt touch dry so I thought phew I think I got away with one there. On the drive there the skies opened and it rained harder than I had felt it rain for some time. Half an hour later I get a text image from the guys in the shed. Nope, not fully dry.
I worried the entire work shift that I had caused a major pollution problem and that I would have white paint all over the grey sides and headed straight there after work (got there at 8pm just on dusk) and about half of the 2m x 1m section had washed back through to the deck below, there was no trace of paint on the concrete, in the drain or on the boat sides, and the rest had dried enough to resist being diluted by the rain. In all it cost me about $20 worth of paint to repair it. Repairing was a doddle. I didnt even have to remask to fix it as the edges had already dried enough before the rain. But what it did do is push me over into needed another can. No big problem because this stuff is so easy to repair that I plan to have a spare tin on hand should I wear through or need repairs and it was touch and go if I would even get done with the 3 tins I had.
One of the features of non slip (not just the stuff I am using but pretty much all non slip) because it goes on so thick is that it hides all manor of blemishes. So much so that I didnt fair the decks at all. In the pic above you can see a tape clearly visible on a step that I didnt bother to fair out, and below the same section with non slip on. Its gone, well almost gone but you really need to be looking for it and had I really cared to make it completely disappear I could put a thicker coat on. It even fills the weave in raw duflex as can be seen in the pic below it. That pic also gives you a glimpse of what the special roller looks like.
And the final mistake I made was quite funny at the time and so minor as to be not even really a mistake, more a woops moment. I had just finished the step behind a davit and needed something so I walked up that very step, wet paint and all and wondered for a moment why my foot felt wet. Luckily I stepped next onto the top of the seats then down into the cockpit which will get cork over them. I didnt even notice the footsteps on them or in the wet paint for about 10 minutes. I noticed the footprint in the paint before it had set and rolled it out but not before I got the evidence, after I stopped laughing at myself. What the pic does show is the contrast between non slip and not.
The thing I really like about this non slip is that it does not take your skin off if you scrape along it like some non slips with sand as the grip do. And it is hard as rocks once fully set. And the white is almost the same color as the white paint I used. And one other thing is that it does not heat up in the sun so hot you cant walk on it barefoot. I have grey tarps and I cant walk on them in the sun because they are so hot but the non slip is cool. And I guess most of all, it looks fantastic.
Finally for this update, I have finished the tramps and fitted one, the other I will fit this week (I ran out of parachute cord used to tie it in and am waiting for more to arrive). To recap, I bought netting for $180 enough for both, I was given the fibreglass rods, but they are $10 each so $80 worth, the paracord cost me about $30 and the canvas for the sides and the thread cost me another $30 (I borrowed the sewing machine because ours is broken, but I plan on fixing it and making more stuff for the boat). So I paid $260 but to be fair they really would have cost $320 for the pair.
I needed to pull the tramp in tight using ratchet straps because they need to be tight as a drum. I have to say, I was a little nervous when I first stepped out onto the tramp, that fall would have hurt had it not held. Jo said she would wait until we were over water to try them.
I have sent off 2 emails to different boat moving firms. I am yet to get their quotes back some 2 weeks later. That said, I expect an answer soon from at least one of them and if the quote is within the expected range (in other words if I expect I will have the money saved on my projected launch date (YES I have an actual date in mind, sadly not in 2017 but so soon into 18 that I dont care) I will book it and announce that date to the world. Like with painting, and move out, that date sets in motion a new set of issues. Deadlines mean things get serious and time has a habit of getting away from you. Says the guy that set a 5 year build time and took 12!
I have just 3 jobs left that MUST be done before launch, finish the non slip, should be done by second week of December, fit the windows (Terry and I are going to get a start on them next weekend, not sure how many we can complete but if it all goes well by the following weekend that job may also be ticked off and fit the steering and outboards. Then there are a number of jobs that would be nice to have done, such as fitting all the hinges and latches, finish wiring so that nav lights and anchor winches and internal lights work but the boat can launch without them. And there are a number of purchases that are must haves, such as enough chain (10mm short link comes in 46m lengths, I think 1 should be enough) and rope to safely anchor (I have been given 2 anchors), 3 more fenders (I have 1), dock lines and anchor bridle (probably just cut from the length of anchor rope I buy – 18mm nylon x 100 meters, I think 50 meters for anchoring along with the chain ought to be plenty) and all of the mandatory safety gear (I have plenty of life jackets but will need flares and various other items).
Its getting very real now. I am so excited I cant get straight to sleep some nights thinking about the list of things that still need to be done (and how I am going to be able to get them done). Next update should see the tarps off because the windows are all fitted, and the non slip should all be done. That will leave just hinges and latches that would change the outside appearance of the boat. About 2 to 3 weeks for that to be done. That will just leave the steering and outboard fit as the final serious job left.
Oh and congratulations Australia. Today (7/12/17) our parliament passed same sex marriage laws that removed the third last layer of institutional discrimination in our country. From tomorrow (and after the obligatory 1 month waiting time that all couples must endure), any consenting adult can marry any other consenting adult. Love won. Now if we can just work out a treaty with our first nations, and re-find our compassion towards refugees no matter how they arrive asking for our assistance then we will have wiped out government sanctioned bigotry and discrimination completely from our legislature. Well almost, there’s still the rich/poor divide. We are getting there. Slowly, like this build!