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Project Log:  Saturday, December 18, 2010

I was curious so see how some of my repairs to the teak bulwark trim had ended up, so I took the two worst ones--the ones where the board had completely broken just past the joints--and sanded the repaired ends clean.

The repair was visible, but didn't stand out any more than any of the other flaws in the board, and I didn't think it would be a problem to reuse them.  To better get a sense of the boards' finished appearance, I dampened the bare wood with paint thinner to simulate how they'd look when varnished:  the glue seam was visible, but given the boards' location and function, I thought the repairs seemed perfectly workable and not overly visible, all things considered.



But dealing with the teak wasn't really the focus for the day.  It was time to fill and patch the various holes in the hull and deck, the next step towards the goal of finishing up all the essential surface preparation as soon as possible.

Before beginning, I decided to (finally) remove the mast step.  The reason I'd not dealt with this sooner was that the nuts and washers beneath were recessed into the overhead in the cabin.  With the mast step secured to and supported by the built-up plywood-cored center section of the deck, the builders chose to secure the nuts against the plywood, not the balsa-cored main deck structure beneath.  The nuts were visible through smallish holes drilled in the overhead, but the holes were too small to fit a socket into, thus leading to my continual postponement of the removal.


I wanted to remove the mast step so that it wouldn't interfere with the day's hole-filling chores, so from beneath I used a cutoff wheel in a  grinder to open up the overhead around the fasteners (3 each in the passageway and head), allowing me to remove the inner skin and core and exposing the fasteners.


I found that the nuts were only hand-tight, so in very short order I removed the mast step and set it aside.  There was a paucity of sealant beneath the step.  At some later stage, I'd deal with repairing the cutout on the bottom side as needed.

Earlier, I'd bored out and ground out around the old fastener and other holes as needed, so to prepare for filling and patching it was a matter of vacuuming and solvent-washing to prepare the surfaces for epoxy.  Since many of the fastener holes went all the way through, I taped over the insides of the holes as necessary.


Similarly, I prepared the old through hull holes for patching by cleaning the inside and outside surfaces of the openings and applying tape over the holes from inside.



I began the patching process with the larger holes:  a number of large openings in the deck (old deck fills, ventilators, and so forth) and the through hulls.  In these locations, I filled the old holes (flush with the previously-ground tapers around them) with thickened epoxy to plug the main part of the hole and, later, to give the fiberglass patches a surface to bear against. 

On the large, deeper openings on the deck holes, I filled the openings in several lifts to avoid excess heat buildup from the curing epoxy.    Later, once these areas were fully cured, I'd install round fiberglass patches, but for the moment I left the fiberglass patching on deck for another session.


While the epoxy fill in the larger holes began to cure, I mixed several small batches of fairing filler and filled all the fastener holes on deck with their first coat.  There'd be additional fills required over the next several days.




Finally, I cut circles of biaxial fabric as needed to fit the various through hull openings, using two or three layers of the material as dictated by the depths of the dished areas (3 layers on underwater fittings, two on most of the smaller vent openings in the topsides), then wet out and installed the material over each hole.




Total Time Today:  6 hours

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