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.
Posted by Ron Paro