Saturday, April 2, 2016

Progress on the forward panel

The panel that will hold the flotation foam up forward will be removable. This way, no part of the hull will be sealed off or inaccessible for any future maintenance or repair issues that may arise.

First coat of epoxy for encapsulation.

First coat of paint.

Awaiting installation of the tabs.

The panel is cut from 1/4" Douglas Fir marine-grade plywood. For this particular application, exterior grade plywood would have sufficed... but as it was, I had enough of a scrap piece to fabricate the panel. So, why spend more money on a lesser material?

I encapsulated the panel with two coats of epoxy, for protection from moisture. I then painted it with two coats of System Three WR-LPU Whidbey White (left over from the hull paint job). 

The next step was to install tabs on the chines. The tabs will serve as attachment points for the bottom corners of the panel. I cut the tabs from scrap pieces of mahogany.

In order to prevent the possibility of epoxying the tabs to the panel, I removed the panel and wrapped the chine notches with waxed paper, taping the paper into place. I then clamped the panel back into position, with the thought that I'd clamp the tabs to the panel to hold them in position while the epoxy bonded them to the chines.

That didn't work. The location was simply too awkward to get the clamps into position adequately. 

So instead, I added a lot of silica to the epoxy mixture, to make it extremely thick. After coating the contact surface of the tabs with this very thick epoxy, I simply pressed them into position, and hoped they'd just stay there. 

It worked perfectly.

Epoxying the tabs into position.

Fortunately, the thickness of the epoxy mixture held the tabs in position while the epoxy cured.

Panel removed so I could remove the waxed paper.

VoilĂ . Attachment points for the bottom corners of the panel. This way I won't have to drive screws into the chines.

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