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In Greenland

Iron Bark

Iron Bark
Under full sail


At Russell Boating Club's Tall Ships Regatta

Blue Water Medal

Blue Water Medal
Blue Water Medal

Books By Annie Hill

  • Brazil and Beyond
  • Voyaging on a Small Income

30 July, 2017

Still fitting out the heads

Or if you prefer, "Title as Before".  Just half a dozen photos this week - one coat of paint looks much like another, in truth.  However, thank you for the feedback from those who have told me that catching up on my progress via this blog is better than working through the JRA site.  That's good to hear, because it's a lot easier for me, too!

Once I'd coated and sanded the plywood framing around the doors, it looked quite neat.  They're not perfectly even and symmetrical.  My story is that we're going for the country cottage look rather than the super-yacht finish on SibLim.  Not that I would want a super-yacht finish, even if I had the abilities to attain one.

However, the doors lined up in a satisfactory manner - this shows them located with the wooden 'hinges' as I call them attached.

As decent-quality hinges cost the best part of $20, I was seriously motivated to use an alternative.  The little lugs you can see protruding from the backs of the doors are the answer.  It means that when you 'open' the door, the whole thing comes off, but this isn't always an issue, especially if you're trying to get something big out of the locker.  Anyway, the minor inconvenience is a small price to pay for the money saved.  And avoiding the anguish of accurately fitting hinges!

The back of the port side.  The little rectangles aren't strictly necessary with the framed doors - the frame prevents them from going right through the hole.  But I only realised that after I'd made them.  I was thinking of keeping the doors shut with "automatic buttons", which are weighted catches that you fit over the door and which close by gravity and are very effective.  My friendly neighbourhood chandler had a few in stock, but insufficient for my purposes.  At $14 each, they weren't cheap, but I like them and he had no suitable brass turnbuttons.  (Yes, I could make them out of wood, but would prefer metal ones.)  So he contacted Fosters in Auckland who supply them - ah, yes, well the price has gone up.  They are now $40 each.  We looked at each other in horror.

So I went to Classic Marine in the UK.  They were offering them to me at the equivalent of $12.50 each, and I knew from experience that they charge what it costs for P&P rather than using it to make an extra profit.  However, at the same time I discovered that they were selling nice little - and affordable - turnbuttons, so I ordered some of those instead.  (I also discovered that they sell reasonably-priced hinges!)

I had some problems with their website - nothing is easy - so feeling a bit desperate, contacted Davey of London, who make all this lovely gear.  I had the most wonderful reply back from no lesser personage than the managing director and was seriously impressed at the promptness with which he replied, and the care for customers that this implied.  Anyway, Classic Marine's website sorted itself out and, I hope, these nice goodies are on their way.

In the meantime, I've been working on the starboard side of the heads compartment, where I'm fitting the electric panels, solar panel control and a shelf to put things on when I need to get at the electrics to replace a fuse, etc.

PS I finally seem to have worked out how to get my spacing sorted in the blogs.  Practice makes perfect, they say!

23 July, 2017

Painting and painting

Painting in tight spaces is never much fun.  Painting with two-part polyurethane in same is far worse.  I am told - quite rightly - that I should wear protection when using this paint, so that I don't inhale the fumes.  Unfortunately, any that I have tried has caused my glasses to steam up, and as I need my glasses to see what I'm painting ...  I console myself with the fact that I'm getting old anyway, so what the hell.  And the shed is more than adequately ventilated!  However, I would never do this for money and I have completely abandoned using the epoxy primer, because I could still taste it, each time I exhaled, the following morning.  I was only using it to build up the colour, but now that I'm using the locally-made Carboline, I'm finding that it coats very well.  Considering that it is the stuff made for industry, it's going on surprisingly well with a brush.

I painted the inside of the locker and then both sides of the shelves.  I had to leave some parts unpainted for the glue, of course, but I still reckoned I'd save time - and fumes - doing them all separately.  Here there's the stack of shelves waiting to be fitted.

I glued in the first one and then masked it off and filleted it.  Again, it made sense to do as much as possible before putting in the next shelf and reducing the space available to work in.

Once all the shelves were fitted and filleted, I could go around and touch up where the fillets where, or the parts where I'd been a bit too generous with the masking tape.  This didn't take too long and, while probably not strictly necessary - who spends time gazing at the paint job in their lockers - gave me a feeling of satisfaction.

Another thing that gives me satisfaction is making my own beer.  I hardly touch it in the winter, but I really enjoy it for lunch or on a hot afternoon in the summer.

So space has to be found not only for the brewing barrel, but also for a good supply of bottles that can stand in peace, so that their contents settle.  Oddly enough, if the bottles can't move, the sediment remains undisturbed, even after a good beat to windward.  I made some interlocking pieces of plywood to keep them located. 

Of course, all these shelves are going in behind a bulkhead, the openings of which will provide the necessary fiddles.  So the next job is to cut out the doors.  I hate doing this.  I can't cut straight enough with a jigsaw and the multi-tool saw won't make a thick enough cut for the jigsaw blade to go down.  I tried it for one, then gave up and resorted to my Japanese saws.  The took longer, probably, but produced better results.  You are supposed to be able to 'plunge cut' with the smaller one.  Well, maybe.  But even sawing the cutouts by hand, they are far from perfect. 

Doors that are obviously just cut out from the plywood don't look that nice either, so I'm going to put a 'beading' around them.  This also gives the door something to land on and, while everything will be painted white, I think it will look better. 

 Ideally, I'd have made the doors and then routed a nice round over the inside of the framework, but they would need to be made of about 25mm stock for that to work.  You can't round the wood over in advance,either, because it all goes to custard in the corners.  So I just took advantage of epoxy's fantastic gluing abilities and carefully set up the beadings pushed together.  As long as they hold together long enough to be routed and sanded, that will suffice.  Once they are glued to the doors, they won't be going anywhere.

16 July, 2017

Mid July 2017

While I've been busy all week, there isn't really a lot to show for it, because I've been preparing shelves and spaces in the heads compartment.  This has involved coating fiddly pieces of framing for the shelves and gluing them into place, as well as coating and sanding the shelves themselves. There is a surprising amount of tooth sucking going on at what probably sounds like a very straightforward project.  One of the issues is that if I put the vertical framing in too early, I can't get the shelves in.  Equally, if I put the shelves in too early it's harder to paint out the locker. 

And the cabin sole needs to be fitted, but goes under the locker, so I didn't want to fit that until I'm sure everything else is prepared.  It has a hatch cut out of it, so I had to remember to put some framing in for that.  Finally everything was ready and I took a final photo of the bilge, which won't see the light of day again.

Eventually, I plan to cover the bits of the cabin sole that you can see with hardwood, to make a pleasant surface to walk on.  I shall probably leave it bare so that it doesn't become slippery when it's wet.  Shiny varnish doesn't stay shiny for very long, I've discovered.  Thinking about the fact that I was making a space for the beer brewing barrel reminded me that I needed somewhere for the beer, too. 

It has to stand up without falling over, so I made a shelf with room for three bottles across and 7 along.  In the photo the fack looks a bit shallow, but the inboard and outboard bottles are supported by the locker front and boat side, so can't tip.  Presumably, the ones in the middle won't tip over, either.

With everything ready to install, I've started painting.  I'm trying to do as much as possible 'on the bench' for obvious reasons, but will no doubt have some touching up work to do once everything is fitted.  The masking tape is keep the wood paint free for gluing.

It will be good to have the locker painted out.  I could have left it all simply sealed with WEST epoxy, but having done that in the past, I realise that the extra work of painting them out is worth the effort.  Varnished lockers are very dark and require a head torch to find stuff!

09 July, 2017

Fitting out in the heads compartment

There is a lot to be said for living in a boat shed: it's much more my type of place than a house, but it's not without its little issues.  I was annoyed a couple of weeks ago to discover that the resident rat had broken our accord, which was that s/he stayed down in the boat shed and I had my 'flat' to myself.  When the invasion continued, I reluctantly set a trap.  It was sprung twice, but the rat escaped each time.  However, it apparently decided it was unwelcome and appears to have left.

Then I realised that I might have done it an injustice.  I had seen the rat, but Somebody Else was invading my space and attacking apples, carrots and potatoes.  But it was when it ate the persimmons I had just bought at the market, that I realised my visitor was a possum.  (These are introduced to New Zealand, predate on our defenceless native birds and trees and do untold damage.  They are completely out of control, have no natural predators and number in the millions.  Some of the early settlers had rocks in their heads.) Its calling cards were unmistakable.  So, muttering curses, I blocked off its access and thought that was that.  Well, it found some other weaknesses in my defences, so I spent a whole morning, crawling around in the corners of my living space, blocking and boarding up holes, cursing at the waste of time, the pee and poo it had left behind and the destruction of my fresh food.

This time I was entirely successful, but the possum was not at all amused and spent the night rampaging around, scratching and gnawing at my new additions and keeping me awake.  Surely, I thought to myself, it now realises it is wasting its time.  Apparently not because the next night it tried again. 

Now, the main reason that I'm a vegetarian is that I hate killing things, but after the best part of a week of broken nights, I decided that enough was enough.  I borrowed a possum trap and baited it with an apple - I was not going to give the brute another persimmon!  I was cooking my dinner when I heard the dreadful sound of the trap closing.  With some trepidation I looked out of the door and saw an empty trap.  I went down to reset it and saw that, sure enough, the possum had been tempted by the bait and had taken a bite before the trap sprung.  How it escaped, I don't know, but the story, really, has a happy ending.  The possum like the rat, decided it was no longer welcome and didn't come back.  So now I can sleep again and concentrate on building my boat! 

Since I last posted, I have been entirely involved in fitting out the heads.  The composting toilet has been somewhat altered and refined.  I'm very pleased with how the seat and lid have turned out, in the tigerwood.  I have coated
them with epoxy, as usual, and can see that the wood will look very handsome when varnished.  As I'm intending to use this on my bench tops, I'm very pleased that I took the plunge and invested in it. 

Tigerwood is one of these 'oily' woods that is purported to be difficult to glue.  However, I glued it up as I normally do and, after cutting out the shapes, tried destructive testing on what was left.  As I would have hoped, the wood broke rather than the glue, which was reassuring.

While the epoxy was hardening up, I went back and did some painting.  I had hoped one more coat would finish off the side of the bunk, but when the sun came out I could see that another coat is required.  I shall do it at the same time as I paint out the heads. 

My original thinking had been to have the heads compartment entirely white, because it will have little in the way of natural light.  But a bit of thought made me realise that the side of the toilet will get brushed past and kicked and will require constant cleaning, so I panelled it with thin pieces of kauri. 

I built it up quite high, so that I can lean up against it when we are sailing on port tack.  In this photo you can also see the fore-and-aft bulkhead that is going to form the locker front on the port side.

The other thing I discovered was that the design I was using for my toilet produced something that was far, far too large.  So I made it narrower, which also enlarged my locker.  It was too tall, as well, so I chucked out the water bottle I had been going to use.  I scratched around trying to find a container such as they sell flares in, but they are never around when you need them, so I bought one via the Internet instead. 
One of the good things about boatbuilding, is that there are always a number of rather mindless tasks that allows my mind to ponder how I'm going to do things.  I had long ago decided that the battery (I only need one, not having an inboard engine) was going to be situated in the heads area, together with the fuse panel.  (These are not pretty things and I can see no reason for sitting staring at one in the saloon). 

Having had to struggle with trying to work on wires at the back of switches on a number of occasions, I'm determined that my wiring is going to be both simple and accessible.  The switch panels are going to be attached to a piece of plywood that will hinge down and I decided it would be worth having a counter adjacent, to be able to put things down on when working on the electrics.  I want to ensure that the wires have a clean run up from the battery and that it will be easy to add more should I want to.  So I cut out a fore and aft bulkhead, with room for a counter at the forward end and made a door for the switch panels.

Both bulkheads were then coated.  The next step was to fit the shelves, which required a lot of taking off and putting on of the bulkhead framing, much work with a spirit level and more than a little cogitation as to what was going to be stored where.  My first plan was to put the beer barrel to port, but to make a shelf that it would sit on happily was going to waste too much space, so it's going to end up to starboard.  I need a space next to the toilet for the composting medium and reckon 250mm should suffice.
Working around this means that I end up with a pretty big locker.  There's a fairly narrow shelf at the bottom, which essentially just makes for a level surface, a large one above that and then a smaller, top shelf.  Because of the bilge board cases, the side of the boat generally goes the opposite way to what one is used to.
On the other side, I thought I'd come up with the perfect arrangement: beer brewing barrel, laundry basket and bulk storage of the composting material, making fantastic of a barrel I'd been offered.  Unfortunately, the latter fitted so perfectly that there is nowhere for the wires to run up from the battery, so regretfully I shall have to make another plan here.  But if anything, I have an embarrassment of locker space, so I don't think it will be an issue.

Before I can assemble all these various bits of joinery, I need to paint them, so I can see what I will be doing for the next week or so.