Saturday, January 1, 2011

Beware of Prickly Pear

The last several days have called for a certain amount of circumspection around my project. Prickly pears sprouting everywhere or so it seemed! The copper wire sutures have ever so OUCH-spiny ends.

This was a particularly thorny challenge as I was engaging in hand-to-hand combat, cajoling the bulkheads in position and wiring them in place. I finally figured out that in order for the bulkhead ends (tops) to run flush into the gunwale, I had to loosen temporarily a number of the copper ties to give the planks sufficient "breathing room" to expand.

The manual directs "not to obsess" over this task but this stage seemed quite important to me since the planks would soon be glued and become less pliable. Also, I wanted to make absolutely sure that the future mast step would be flush and fair with the forward bulkhead. In fact, when I did a physical check I found that I had to adjust the bottom of the bulkhead to achieve a perfect fit. Clearly, my floor measurement had been a bit - ah - let's call it fuzzy.

With the troublesome transoms subdued and safely tucked into their respective ends and the bulkheads now  secured, it was time to turn the hull around - bottoms up - as it were. A special thank you to Mon Capitaine  for her outstanding assist. (And now - time out for a favorite IPA reward!)

Sip 'n Sigh - Wow! - my project laying there like a giant Saguaro cactus supine in the Sonoran Desert.

After licking my wounds and consoling myself with a cool one, I plucked up my courage and put on my pastry chef hat. Yep - that's right.

Cooking up some special sauce made of epoxy mixed with silica powder into a quasi-runny consistency so that it could be dispensed from a pastry bag (i.e. freezer bag with a snipped hole) into the trough between each of the planks.  This requires just the right touch. One wrong move and the bag gets punctured with glue flowing out everyone. Oh well, clean up and try again.

I soon found out that this was a job for more pokes not only into the pastry bag but also into the gloves and fingers. The solution (duh!) was to flatten and align the copper spikes. Live and learn.

Getting over 60 hours into the project and lovin' it - injuries, success, embarrassment an' all.

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