Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Three Dollar Cure

It's been awhile since I've been able to do much anything else but the Guidebook for the past few weeks, but now it's mostly done and I'm back doing some modifications to our 7-1/2 ft Livingston dinghy.

Over the past few days I've sanded, primed and sprayed new white gelcoat on the hull.
Now I'm adding some additional flotation between the almas near the stern- I hope to accomplish two things with this work: A) When I'm motoring at any speed, the water climbs up the transom and splashes into the boat. I hope that lifting the stern will eliminate the problem; and B) This little boat is really heavy for it's size, so I'll be adding wheels to the stern so I can roll it up on the beach when I get to shore, rather than dragging the thing over sand and rocks. The added buoyancy should help offset the weight of the wheels... or I may have wheels ...and water sloshing over the stern as well. I dunno.

To accomplish the task, I bought a block of stryofoam 2'x2'x6" at the local hardware store for about $3. (They use it as a building material here). I used a small handsaw and my secret weapon to shape and smooth the foam to fit the space. My secret weapon is an inline air powered sander with 40 grit sandpaper. It uses sheets 2"x2' and does a fast clean job of shaping styrofoam. I glued the styro in with West Systems Epoxy and adhesive filler and let it set up overnight. This morning I sanded it smooth and cut a piece of heavy fiberglass roving to cover it, mixed up some more epoxy and wetted the cloth in place using a 3" paint roller. I wandered back out to take the pictures when I noticed the cloth lifting off the foam. Yikes! I dodged back into the house and grabbed a white kitchen garbage bag, slit it down one side and spread it over the work. I was able to smooth the fabric down and squeegee out the trapped air with my hand, and I'm leaving the bag in place until it cures enough to peel it off... if it will peel off. Guess we'll find out later, huh?

Feels good to be doing boat stuff again!

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