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Project Log:  Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The preliminary varnish work on the caprails was complete, so it was time to reinstall the rails.  To prepare for the installation--and while waiting for a delivery of fasteners needed for the job--I checked out all the caprail boards and redrilled holes and counterbores as required where earlier repair efforts had partially or completely filled them.

Though I'd marked each board with its position, the markings had become obscured or difficult to read, so before proceeding I took the time to lay out the entire sections piece by piece to ensure I had the right sections in the right places.


I'd been disappointed in the cover plates that came with the new U-bolts that I'd acquired to replace the originals.  The original U-bolts featured relatively thick, sturdy stainless steel cover plates (many of which had been damaged during the stuck U-bolts' removal earlier), but the new ones were cheesy, stamped stainless steel with rough edges and of questionable alloy.  I didn't like the look of these plates, so I ordered 1" stainless steel fender washers to use instead.

Even though the U-bolts passed through aluminum backing plates inside the bulwarks, I thought it'd be nice if the nuts had washers.  In an ideal world, this would be of no particular difficulty, but since the insides of the bulwarks were too deep and narrow for me to be able to adequately reach and maneuver around the exposed studs (particularly the maneuverability, as technically I could reach the studs in most cases), I decided to purchase locking flange nuts, which incorporated the wider bearing surface of a washer on the nuts itself, in addition to being a locknut that wouldn't vibrate loose.

These nuts had the added benefit of fitting nicely at the end of a socket without slipping all the way to the bottom of the socket's depth, so that would make holding them with the socket and extensions--and threading them onto the studs remotely--that much easier.

Once my new fasteners arrived--I'd forgotten to order them till yesterday--I was ready to install the caprail.  I randomly chose the starboard side to begin with and, starting at the stern, installed the sections in a bed of new sealant and with new stainless steel screws in the original holes.

As I proceeded, I installed the various U-bolts along the way, partly to get it over with and partly to ensure the best seal between the various parts.



The forwardmost U-bolt on the starboard side, just forward of the freeing port, proved difficult to get the nuts started, since the angle of the hull and position of the studs prevented me from getting a straight-enough shot with the long extensions and sockets.  I fought this for some time, trying several different methods, until I decided to give up on that single U-bolt and attack it again fresh in the morning.

Annoyingly, several of my tubes of sealant--recently purchased--were partially cured within, meaning that I had to break into the supply intended for the port caprail just to finish the starboard installation.  I'd figured three tubes per side, which would have worked out well except for the semi-cured state of one or two of the tubes, and now this meant I'd not have enough of the sealant immediately on hand to complete the port side. 


Total Time Today:  4.5 hours

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