Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sanding... drudgery or sculpture?

Warmer weather and sunny days bring forth promises of spring here in the northeast. This encourages me while I undertake the less than glamorous task of sanding the interior of the hull again, and again, and again. Actually, I have become one of those rather odd individuals who enjoys sanding. Using the proper equipment and supplies for the job makes all the difference between drudgery and creating a work of art. The first order of business is to equip yourself for safety with a good respirator, ear plugs, and latex or nitrile gloves. The fine epoxy dust is an irritant at best, and potentially hazardous. I also found that leaning the hull against a wall while on the saw horses made the task much more pleasant in terms of avoiding lower back pain from bending over for long periods of time.

I use a number of different sanders and methods depending on what I am working on. I begin with the 5" random orbital sander on the flat areas, and then a 'mouse' detail sander to get into the corners and narrow spots. For the inside curves of the fillets, I wrap sandpaper around a sponge sanding block, and I also use a rubber hand sanding block in a number of situations. When I finished on one side of the hull, I moved it over and leaned it up against the other side so that I did not have to work upside down at all.

The CLC Jimmy Skiff ™ plans call for adding a block of solid wood to the inside of the transom as a support for the rudder attachment. I decided to combine this with the addition of a rail to span the top edge of the transom for even more support. I liked the look of how it continues the line of the inwale around the aft end of the hull. It also gives the added advantage of providing hand holds to lift the stern. I cut this out of a solid oak plank on my bandsaw, leaving the top edge proud of the line, to be sanded down to the transom edge after the epoxy cured. This shaping was done with a belt sander, and then the edge rounded over with the hand sanding block.

Here is the interior transom view after the shaping, sanding and another coat of epoxy. I am planning to finish the oak with varnish, and paint the interior walls and floor with a light solid color marine paint. Clicking on this or any of the photos will provide a better look. Just use your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page after viewing the photo, unless you are using tabbed browsing in Firefox or IE7, in which case you can click between the tabs that open. Next I'll complete the mast and boom, fit the mast step and add the rub rails. It's feeling more like sailing weather and everything seems to be coming together nicely. Life is good.


Robert Duncan said...

If I could have a do over I would have extended the block on the inner transom to the seat. Fastening the pintles I had to add a backing piece under the block since they strap the rudder and I did not want to enter the area where the rudder blade rotates in the upper rudder housing

Robert Duncan said...

Ron, the pintals I used are antique...the length of each pin made me slide down the rudder a bit. The routing out of the rudder was successful and they mounted perfectly . I had to place a backing piece under the block on the inner transome. I will have a plate inscribed and mount it on this block. Now back to contemplating the painting scheme. I chose sapphire blue for the hulls exterior above the waterline. I am wrestling with the primer issues above and below the waterline. Also how is the waterline defined and is there a waterline pin strip method? I like John's Sharpie pair job would love to know how is is done to look better that novice

Ron Paro said...

Hi Robert, I used the same Petit primer throughout the painted areas of the hull. As you can see from the pictures on my June 3, 2007 post, I sanded most of the primer off the exterior before painting the finish coats. The primer is much 'softer' than the color coats and is meant to fill any remaining imperfections, so when you sand it, you just leave it where the low spots or minuscule scratches were. As for a water line, one method is to level the hull on saw horses, right side up, and tie a string between two points the same height off the floor about 5" up from the bottom when measured at midship. The reality is that the actual water line will vary considerably based on the load and healing angle.