Various Small Projects

I’ve been working on a several small maintenance projects – stuff all boaters (especially sail boaters) can relate to.

The first project is a continuation of the previous post – re-bedding stanchions. I’ve done two on the port side, and have moved over to the starboard side, again chasing rainwater leaks. I removed the stanchion opposite the galley cabinet, cleaned all the surfaces, repaired the corroded toe rail with epoxy, and remounted the stanchion bedded in butyl. Access to the fasteners was very difficult – literally, finger-tip access to the nuts under the side deck. I managed to get the washers to stay in place with a bit butyl to stick them on, while I threaded the nuts back on. Photos follow:

Lying on the galley counter on my back - with a boat cushion underneath. Inside the cabinet, underneath the liner.

Lying on the galley counter on my back – with a boat cushion underneath to keep the fiddle from permanently denting my back. Inside the cabinet, underneath the liner.

Corroded aluminum toe rail from galvanic interaction of dissimilar metals.

Corroded aluminum toe rail from galvanic interaction of dissimilar metals.

Missing material filled with thickened epoxy and shaped with a grinder.

Missing material filled with thickened epoxy and shaped with a grinder.

Stanchion remounted. Butyl squeezing out around the edges is visible. I trimmed most of it off before this photo as taken.

Stanchion remounted. Butyl squeezing out around the edges is visible. I trimmed most of it off before this photo as taken.

Next project: hand-sewing strapping for bimini frame (not shown) and sail fore deck stowage bag. This only involved sewing a couple of loops. I had broken one of the bimini straps that was UV rotted. I’ve been gradually replacing the material with UV resistant strapping as they fail. For the sail bag, I just needed to replace a UV-rotted loop that had broken. It involved sewing the loop in the right place on the top of the bag – 10 minute job, tops.

Not a very good photo - I just created the loop by sewing both ends to the top of the bag. I used the Speedy Stitcher.

Not a very good photo – I just created the loop by sewing both ends to the top of the bag. I used the Speedy Stitcher.

Finally, I’ve started the fairly lengthy process of refinishing my fore hatch. The varnish has irreparably failed, and the only thing left to do was to remove all the varnish. I had undercoated the varnish with epoxy, but haven’t had a lot of success with this. It seems that, no matter how well I’ve prepped the surface, the substrate of clear epoxy fails, then the varnish in that area is compromised as well. I think I’m going back to varnish only. It’s a lot easier to repair, and I somehow think it won’t fail as completely/quickly. Also, once the epoxy substrate is compromised, it is very difficult to remove. I spent several hours this afternoon removing all the finish from the hatch. Photos below illustrate:

Tools I used (or tried). For my money, the block plane is not the right tool. Someone else might get it to work, but I couldn't. Scrapers were the correct tool - kept sharp with the mill file every 10 minutes or so.

Tools I used (or tried). For my money, the block plane is not the right tool. Someone else might get it to work, but I couldn’t. Scrapers were the correct tool – kept sharp with the mill file every 10 minutes or so.

2016-08-24 13.02.312016-08-24 14.11.59

Done! Whew - long couple of hours of scraping.

Done! Whew – long couple of hours of scraping.

After scraping, I sanded with 120 grit. Tomorrow I’ll sand through to 220, then start building the varnish layers.

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4 comments
  1. Alan Curtis Wilson said:

    I am not sure if you know that there are clear epoxies that are UV light stable. West system says they have one but we all know how expensive that stuff is along with it’s necessary pumps. I have found a 1 to 1 mix epoxy from a local, in the Twin Cities of MN, hobby supply house. I think the largest it comes is a total of 1/2 gallon when mixed but it applies very thin also.
    I rebedded stanchions on a previous boat using 5200 and I thank my stars I never had to remove one! About the same time I did that I used a hobby store epoxy to seal all the teak which I had sanded and stained then I did the epoxy in three thin coats. After it cured I spent a long 3 day weekend applying 6 coats of UV blocking poly-urethane. That did peel off after 4 – 5 years but the epoxy took 14-16 years to fail. I liked that part. However some times you have teak that can not be removed and taken into a shop for refinishing like I did plus it uses a lot of sandpaper.
    I really, really appreciate your sharing the tool you used for sewing. My wife refuses to have anything to do with sewing sunbrella or nylon straps for the cockpit covers and told me I can do it. Oh Boy did I feel out of my depth but I think you saved me. Thanks You.
    Alan C. Wilson

    • Thanks for the info on epoxy.

      The speedy stitcher is an awesome tool! It has completely replaced any work I did with traditional needle, thread, and sailor’s palm.

  2. The hatch came out beautifully!

    I quit using urethane hardened varnish outside because it is not flexible enough to grow/shrink with the wood as the moisture content changes. I am using good old regular varnish now. I wish that the manufacturer had sealed the back side of the cap rail teak before installing it – that would have gone a long way to preventing varnish blisters. It would be a huge job to do it now. I don’t think any finish will be stable until I can coat all surfaces of the wood with it, but I am kind of curious about the uv-stable epoxy mentioned by the previous commenter…

    bob

    • Thanks Bob. Too bad about the cap rail sealing. Makes more work to keep it looking respectable.

      The hatch itself is very strong and solid, but there are some cosmetic details of the construction that always niggle at me, and I keep vowing to build another one that doesn’t have those problems. But that hatch serves very well, even if the appearance isn’t perfect.

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