Saturday, May 7, 2016

Troubleshooting, repairs, and a valuable intro lesson in wood filler

Mistakes aren't tragedies. They're a valuable investment in experience.

I couldn't quit thinking about that starboard bow chock, and the way one of the screws holding it down was driven into nothing but air. How the heck did I mis-measure or mis-align it that much?

I got my T-Square, and aligned it with the centerline seam on the deck. I set the cross-piece so that it made contact with the "good" bow chock. The photo says it all.

The reason the screw was hitting nothing but air was because the bow chock was so misaligned that half the chock was behind the back of the breasthook.

My original plan to fix it was to attach a small piece of blocking under the deck, to give the 2nd screw something to bite into. However, when I saw just how badly the starboard chock was misaligned, I just couldn't bring myself to leave it there. So, I removed it, repositioned, re-drilled, etc.... and THAT part turned out fine.

But, one fix brought a new problem. I now had two holes in the deck to fill. 

I had seen in other blogs that Famowood mahogany tends to become noticeably darker than meranti when it's covered with epoxy. At the local hardware store, the one color of Famowood they had in stock was "natural," which was considerably lighter than mahogany. I thought that once it was coated in epoxy, it might darken to approximately the right shade. On a nearby shelf was another wood filler, in the same "natural" color as the Famowood, in a smaller container & for half the price. I didn't need much, so I bought the DAP Plastic Wood.

As you can see in the photos, the "natural" Plastic Wood is certainly lighter than the epoxy-coated meranti. I expected that it would darken quite a bit under epoxy. I wasn't really expecting a perfect match, but as long as it was close, I'd be happy.

As you can see, after the filler was sanded & coated with epoxy... it wasn't even close to a matching shade. It hadn't darkened much, at all.

Fortunately, the bow chock covers one of the patched holes. 

What these photos don't show is my botched attempt to "fix" that covered patch. 

I had drilled the hole back out, and mixed some mahogany sawdust with the Plastic Wood. (Hey, it definitely darkens epoxy... I figured it would do the same with this wood filler.) 

I was wrong. 

So, rather than risk screwing it up even more, I decided to quit while I was ahead and leave it as-is. I'll learn my lesson and carry that forward to the Zip.

  — The Trailer —  

One of the other problems we'd left at the last blog post was the dangling starboard bunk on the trailer. 

I wound up having to cut off the stripped bolt head with my Dremel, then drive the bolt out with a hammer & a big screwdriver. My son helped me by leveraging the bunk up into position while I put in a new bolt and washer. It worked just fine. 

The only photo I have to show was taken with my cell phone... and it was extremely dark. When I lightened it substantially in Photoshop, it became extremely grainy. Let's convert it to black & white so we can call it "art," and move on...

Starboard bunk, fixed.

 — Epoxy Coating the Deck —  

I spent some more time sanding down the fiberglass tape in the center of the deck. I wanted to feather the edge down as much as possible, without sanding through the top veneer of the plywood alongside it.

After vacuuming, washing and drying the deck, it was time to roll on another layer of epoxy. Just as I'd done with the transom, I rolled on System Three Silvertip with a foam roller, and squeegied it meticulously. The fiberglass tape all but disappeared, and I was quite happy with the result.

These photos show where the fiberglass tape overlaps the plywood. It might seem strange, but I intentionally left the pencil line on the deck panels as a visual souvenir of the process.

I used the leftover epoxy to add another encapsulation layer to the stem & breasthook assembly for the Zip.

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