Monday, May 17, 2010

Backing Plate Factory

I haven't been on an assembly line in a long time. This week I set up to epoxy coat each side of the backing plate parts I had made. The backing plates are two layers, one of plywood and another of tempered hardboard. The plywood is the strength, and the hardboard is the hard surface. We've all seen screwheads or washers bite into the soft surface of plywood, the hardboard will prevent this. There will be plenty of stress on the various deck hardware from wind gusts or while tacking. I was shocked at the lack of backing of the winches, padeyes, etc. There are plenty of signs of hard use on the boat, the hull especially, its amazing that no hardware was yanked out of the deck.

The backing plate parts are epoxied and now need to be laminated together. In the meantime, I finished epoxying [see a trend here] the spacers for my opening ports. The ports I ordered should come in this week. The backing plate project is my fill work. The Port Installation is going to be a large, yet tedious, project. Hopefully I can get it done in 3 or 4 weekends. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Call of Ports :: Ports of Call


In the last couple weeks, I decided to bite the bullet and get new ports. I knew I had to, really. In an effort to hit a price point in the 1970's, Cape Dory installed plastic ports rather than bronze on their 28 footer; my model boat. After a couple years, with the plastic ports somewhat unpopular and likely making little difference on the overall price, Cape Dory went back to bronze. My ports were showing their age and one was damaged. For a water tight cabin, in the rain or in a storm at sea, I needed to replace the ports.

I removed the old ports and began replacing some soggy wooden spacers with epoxy. This week, I ordered three car payments worth of new ports. Bronze was out of the question because of the cost. I ordered six 5" x 12" Tri Matrix ports from New Found Metals in Port Townsend, WA. The company rents out a drill template and sells the appropriate counterbore. The ports are reinforced composite with stainless steel hardware. It will be nice to have bristol looking ports with fresh screens. I still have to replace two larger ports but I'm having trouble finding something the same size. This may require some fiberglass work on the cabin to accomodate ports that are smaller in one or the other dimension.

Also last week, I mapped out all the backing plates I need for deck hardware. Cape Dory has a good reputation for building very solid boats. I have not, however, been impressed with the way my deck hardware is attached. In almost all cases, backing of deck hardware was either inadequate or nonexistent. It was this latter that concerned me the most. I have cut out plywood and hardboard blanks that will be epoxy coated and then laminated together for proper backing.

In other small news, I ripped out the cabinetry in the head. The sink countertop was rotten from one of those leaky ports, and the medicine cabinet was in the way of getting at the chainplate bolts. The face of the hanging locker may be next. It, like the other cabinetry, is in teak-ish paneling and is kind of dark. I may add some white panels here and also in the main cabin to brighten up the place.

Here's keeping my fingers crossed for good weather on Thursdays and Fridays.