Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Scratch That Itch

 Well, it took me about 10 years to miss the sweet smell of old fiberglass dust, but I'm back at it.  After taking an inventory of everything that came with the boat and labeling everything for a later date, I busted out the oscillating saw and the old angle grinder with 24 grit disc and got to work on the boat's biggest problem.  Rotten floors/ribs.

First, I marked the location of the old ribs so I could install new ones in the same location and then moved onto the keel bolts.  The boat has 8 keel bolts (2 per rib) on ribs 6, 7, 8, and 9.  I was originally going to lift the boat off the keel but I didn't want to spend several hundred dollars to build a gantry so I decided to leave the keel in place and replace the 2 aft ribs with keel bolts (6 and 7) along with 1 - 5 first.  Fortunately, the keel bolts came out easily and only required me to chisel away a small bit of fairing on the hull to access them from the outside.  

Once I had the bolts out I used the oscillating saw to get the bulk of ribs 1-7 out of the boat and then ground down all the loose bits and lumpy old glass with the angle grinder.  I forgot how much dust the angle grinder kicks up and was glad that I hadn't put the boat in the shop.  

With everything all ground flat (yet still pretty ugly), I noticed that the seat tank tabbing on both sides was a bit wonky, so I cleaned up the joint a bit and laid in a filet of cabosil thickened epoxy and a layer of 2" tape to keep it in place. I don't think I took a photo of the joints once the tape was in place, but there is a photo below with the filet laid in.   

With that complete I sanded everything down with 80 grit paper with my 6" RO sander and went to the Goosebay Lumber to find some new wood for the ribs.  The original wood was likely white oak, but for some reason, domestic white oak is stupid expensive right now ($14 bd/ft) so I ended up choosing a lovely 2-1/4" x 8" x 8' piece of douglas fir.  Most of the doug fir I have used in the past is wonky plantation grown crap with about 10 rings per inch, but this piece was 30+ rings per inch in places and was really straight grained and very hard, so I think it will be a good choice.  Granted doug fir doesn't have the compressive strength that white oak has, but it is lighter and I am planning on encapsulating all of it in 1708 biaxial fabric to give it a good bit of strength.   Additionally, the white oak ribs call for 1-3/4" width, but I decided to go with 2-1/4" (width limit under Rhodes 19 class rules).  

Next up, I'll be cutting, shaping and glassing in ribs 1-7.


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