Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Removing Excess Epoxy

This has been a fairly dreary week in boat building. There was a considerable amount of excess epoxy in the bottom of the hull from the build . This epoxy was mostly from squeeze out when the planking was applied although some of it was runs from encapsulation done on the keel a couple of years ago.

Here you can see the excess epoxy and the keel bolts that are too long.

I've been asked several times why I am cleaning this up if its going to be covered by flooring anyway. It's quite simple really. This area represents the bilge of the boat and as such, it will be a collection point for any water that manages to get in the boat. Furthermore, it will be a collection point for dust, dead leaves, and anything else that manages to get past the floor boards.

Because of this, I had planned all along to encapsulate the entire inner hull with epoxy (at least three coats), followed by a coat (or more) of white bilge paint. What I am after is an easily cleanable surface that will protect the underlying wood. What I don't want is nooks and crannies for water and dirt to accumulate in. So in addition to encapsulation (and in fact before that task), I will be filleting all of the joints between planks and structure with thickened epoxy.

There are a few other tasks that need to be accomplished before encapsulation. There are limber holes in all the frames to allow water to travel down and aft to a drain point. These are located on the low side of each compartment alongside the battens and the keel. These limber holes are also somewhat filled with excess epoxy (not too much thankfully) which will need to be removed.

The backing plates behind the planking joints are sized in such a manner that they fill the space between the battens, however, that means that in the limber passages, they will block the flow of water. So I intend on removing a small slice from each backing plate along those edges to allow water to pass. Both of these tasks will need to be accomplished before encapsulation as well.

However, the big elephant in the room is the removal of the excess epoxy from the inner hull. This has to be dealt with first and that is what I have been doing for approximately 10 days. It's a dirty, uncomfortable task requiring me to spend much time on my knees, bent over, and sanding.

Fortunately I have an air compressor and a 90 degree die grinder that makes this go quicker. However, at first it didn't work so well because the grinder would continually stall out as I sanded due to insufficient air pressure from the compressor. I thought this was because the compressor tank might have been too small, (it's not).

But one day I tried adjusting the pressure up a bit. I had this cheap plastic adjustment valve, that came with the compressor, that would only allow me to adjust the pressure up to 100 psi. Any higher than that and the pressure would exceed the ability of the valve knob to stay in place and it would pop and pressure would drop. Anyway, I managed to coax an extra 5 psi out of it one day, and noticed an improvement in grinder performance.

I decided to remove the regulator and connect the hose directly to the tank. This allowed the full pressure of 140 psi to be available, which made all the difference in the world. I will still need to install a regulator,  but I am going to try and locate a higher quality metal valve.

Anyway, after that rather long winded dissertation, I was able to improve my sanding productivity. I still have a few compartments left to do, but the end is in sight now.

Here is the hull as of this afternoon.

So as I mentioned in the last blog article, photogenic pictures would be a bit lacking.  A I move on to the other tasks, there will be a bit more, however, they won't set the world on fire!!

Take care.

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