Sailing in Maine

Sailing in Buzzrds Bay

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting Started

In FreeShip, the panel layout can be moved around to get the best fit for minimal waste. Here, the three lower panels are placed on a 16' x 2' grid. The upper panels and the deck go on a 16' x 4' grid.

My work table consists of two sheets of 8' x 4' Melamine (plastic laminated particle board), each supported by three sawhorses and bolted together to form a 16' x 4' table.

I drove in to Boulter Plywood in Somerville, MA, to pick up four sheets of 4 mm Okoume plywood. This material cuts and bends so easily, I can't imagine using anything else. Cost is about $50./ sheet.

I clamped the plywood to the table, then marked the centerline for cutting the sheets in half lengthwise.

After cutting, the two sheets are reclamped to the table and carefully butted together. The sheets are prepared for fiberglass butt joints by sanding along the joint.

Plastic wrap is placed under the joint to keep the epoxy from sticking to the table. A sheet of polyethylene would be better (smoother) but I don't have any.

I'm using West System 207 epoxy hardener because I had a good experience with it previously, building kayaks that were finished with varnish. The 207 hardener has UV inhibitors to keep it from turning cloudy, and it saves time because there is no amine blush to clean off when it cures.

I thinned the epoxy with acetone (it's 6 years old) and soaked the area on either side of the butt joint.

A strip of 6 ounce fiberglass cloth is placed over the joint and wetted out. It is then covered with plastic wrap.

A 2 x 4 is used to apply clamping pressure to the joint. C-clamps hold it to the table.

I put a battery on the center of the 2 x 4 to add clamping force in the center. This will set up overnight.

Time taken on this step: 3 hr.

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