Deck Fills

December 7, 2015  Hours spent building to date:  1,804

deck fills from roof

It is amazing how a job that should be an “afternoon’s work” can turn into a three day, calling-all-tools, forced march with numerous expeditions to West Marine for supplies.  And it is equally amazing how the cost of “marine grade” hoses and hardware mounts up.  The hoses for the holding tank that are guaranteed not to let out even a whiff of odor for five years are $14 per foot, hose clamps suitable for use in a fuel system are five bucks each, the deck fills themselves are cast stainless steel (bronze would have bankrupted me and plastic looks cheesy) at $35 per.  Altogether the cost of connecting all the boat’s tanks to the outside world is just shy of $1,ooo.

But it was an enjoyable project nevertheless, and marks pretty much an end to the tankage phase, which on a cruising boat are a pretty big deal.  Here is the sequence of events:

Since the deckhouse is going on next, I thought it would be much easier to work on the deck fills while the side decks are still accessible from inside the boat.  So I glassed the decks using the technique that I think I will use for all the deck and roof areas.  The theory is that since Xynole is so hard to fill and get smooth, you basically don’t fill it, purposely leaving a rough surface with a lot of the weave coming through to create a non-skid surface.  It about half-way worked — I put on two fill coats, when one would have been enough, since two-part epoxy primer does a lot of filling on its own.  The side decks are grippy, but will still need some non-skid granules added to the final paint coat.  I will only do one fill coat on the rest of the boat and it should be fine.

Cutting the holes for the fills was straightforward.  Bedding them into polyurethane was the normal mess with white goo all over the boat, tools, and my clothes, but quite a bit actually bedding the fills.  Then I started to work with the hose, particularly the fuel fills, and found them just about as tough and unbending as I’d ever seen.  My concern was that in forcing them onto the hose barbs on the fills, screws would pull out of the half-inch plywood decks.  So off to WM for machine screws — and a nightmare of trying to start nuts onto the screws blind and upside down with bedding compound all over the threads.  Finally got all 15 of them in, but badly needed a Martini and two Advils later on.

Of course, the hoses went on like gangbusters, and screws would have been fine.  But getting hose clamps on all the barbs under the sidedecks was another piece of brain surgery.  Finally all was done, and I was getting ready for pictures — and didn’t like what I saw in the fuel fills.  I ran them across the bottom of the boat in a shallow “U” for a neat installation under the water tank plumbing.  But that meant the tanks would only fill as fast as the head of gas in the fill line would let them.  And there would always be gas sitting in the bottom of the “U” going bad.  So I tore everything out and reconfigured for a straight downhill run — much better, even though it will cost me a little cabinet space.

Okay, time to clean up the boat.  The tanks come with bright orange plugs in the tank fittings to keep dirt out that have to be removed — why can I only find three of the four?  Did I pull them all out?  Tore the shop apart looking for the missing plug, knowing for sure (I think, I guess, probably) that I removed them all.   Final solution — take everything apart one more time and check.  All clear.  All plugs had been pulled.

And that’s how a half-day job by a professional turns into a three-day grind by an amateur.

Glassing side decks

Glassing side decks

side decks glassed and primed

Side decks glassed and primed

Installing deck fills

Installing deck fills

This shot reminds me of a restaurant in Spokane -- The Old Spaghetti Factory

This shot reminds me of a restaurant in Spokane — The Old Spaghetti Factory

First try at fuel fills -- didn't like the bend in the bottom

First try at fuel fills — didn’t like the bend in the bottom.  It was a lot more pronounced than the picture shows.

Fuel fills final -- all downhill

Fuel fills final — all downhill

Poop pumpout, holding tank vent and fuel tank vents

Poop pumpout, holding tank vent and fuel tank vents

Water fills

Water fills

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