April 11, 2016 Hours spent building to date: 2,380
Working through the April snow and ice, I got a couple big projects out of the way, and quite a few little things.
— Got all the varnish on the overhead beams in the deckhouse: two thinned gloss base coats, three gloss finish coats, plus a final coat of satin, sanding between every darn one! The idea is to use the glass varnish to build up depth and the satin coat to give the beams a “rubbed effect.” I’ve seen Tim Lackey use this method time and time again, and it works wonders. The beams look like old English furniture, and the graininess that the gloss was picking up is gone. Even my neighbor Tom Tolla, builder of highly detailed Shoreline mansions, thought they looked pretty good. Interlux Schooner for the gloss, Interlux Goldspar for the satin. I’ve been fooling around with finishes for 25 years now, and these are my favorite two varnishes.
— Attached the mahogany cap to the rubrail using a brown color of good old Sika 291, the grandfather of polyurethanes. Letting the shop go down to around 60 degrees and burning through five pairs of rubber gloves, I managed to get it applied without as much gooey mess as usual.
The big question was how to get 30 feet of flippy caprail onto the boat, bent up three feet and curved in four feet — by myself? It really wasn’t too bad, thanks again to Tim (www.lackeysailing.com). I would have been tempted to join the 10-12 foot sections together with scarphs (angled cuts for joining long pieces of wood together) on the boat itself, but the joints are always much more accurate cutting them on the bench and gluing on the shop floor. Working with clamps on a ladder simply invites hard, flat spots. So I glued up the whole works, and gradually lifted the caprail up to the base that Ray and I had already glued to the boat until I could slap on the clamps. Then it was just a lot drilling, screwing, bending and listening for the loud “snap” that would mean starting over. After a day of this, it was definitely “up spirits,” as they say in the British navy.
Little things —
— Installed the faucets and sinks in galley and head.
— Built a platform for the fresh water pump and installed it.
— Ran conduit under the refrigerator and hot water heater areas, since once they are in, wiring under them will be very tough.
— Primed the deckhouse sides and exterior beams in preparation for roof installation.
Then it was Christmas in April. A marine distributor called Defender Marine about 45 minutes from here has a “Warehouse Sale” once a year featuring huge discounts on products from major manufacturers, since Defender obviously has the leverage to say “work with us” (i.e. pound them down). “Suggested retail” means nothing these days, but I walked with a refrigerator/freezer, chartplotter, AIS radio, head, main electrical panel, battery switch and automatic charging relay for about two-thirds the price of a major marine retailer whose name rimes with Best, but is certainly not in terms of price.