On worry.

Or do I mean procrastination? You have read many posts about sanding and fairing, and this is one more, potentially the last (for both our sakes, I hope so).

You put the faring batten on the hull, you look for deviations of more than a few millimeters. You do this in all planes. You argue with yourself what is ‘a few millimeters’. You run your hand around feeling for divets, you mark them as you find them. You fill with epoxy mixed with light-weight filler for sanding, you mistakenly vary the mix slightly from time to time, you save money with some water effected, lumpy filler. You vary the application process attempting to speed things up (troweling ridges vs multiple coats). You sand with varying electric devices, balancing the felt divets with the eyeballed fairing batten results.


Sometimes you over-sand, sometimes you under-thicken the filler. You eventually realise that everyone is correct, this is only a job for hand sanding with a long/torture board. You fight that concept. You plan to hire a fairing team. You can’t find any money for the hire of the team. You wonder where they work and how to find them. You look for more information on fairing. You beat yourself up about not being able to complete this ‘simple’ task that is holding everything up.

You try again on the long board. Your lack of upper body fitness is obvious. The rotten left shoulder bites back. You give up. You beat yourself up and try again. You end up aching and frustrated and the hull appears no better. You ask advice, you get your work inspected, you get varying answers. Everyone is telling you (the truth) that it is a personal decision.

So, you bite the metaphorical bullet, and spend four days hand sanding.

And it now looks and feels pretty good.

It may be fair now!

Posted in Epoxy, norwalk island sharpie, Shedcam, Tools, Uncategorized, wood work, wooden boat | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A friend wins the Rough and Ready

At the Goolwa Wooden Boat Festival, Rough and Ready Race 2017, my new found boat friend, Paul Cleaver, won with his brilliant design and build.

The side wheeler punt, Punty McPuntface swept around the buoy, elbowing out all comers (including loud Americans), to take a victorious bow.

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So many tips!

If you are prone to help videos, and general boaty building information, you absolutely must watch ALL of these videos on this fab YouTube channel, Tips from a Shipwright.

Shipwright Louis Sauzedde is a wonderful personality, and incredibly skilled with his hands. I would highly recommend watching the full series on building the work skiff, 30-ish episodes from timber yard to water.

Link to the show’s website: http://www.tipsfromashipwright.com

Prepare to get lost!

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My god months pass!

I have been doing everything. Including boat work.
Just letting you know, I’m alive and happy, the boat is looking fair and is progressing. My career as a blogger and social media magnate has waned at the expense of some focussing.

Some key points:

  1. I killed Robert’s Festo sander (gearbox).
  2. I killed my Metabo sander (bearings).
  3. I had Robert’s sander’s gearbox replaced and it’s as new, but still patina riddled.
  4. He took it away (apparently he had to use it…sheesh!)
  5. I brought a new one, he paid for it.
  6. I am buying his old one off him. Bingo.
  7. I went to the Hobart Wooden Boat Festival.
  8. I have been sailing (see below video).
  9. I also have been sanding.

Here is a video by the wonderful Paul Cleaver of our little West Lakes sail together.

Posted in Robert Ayliffe, Sailing, Tools, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lead faeries and filler

The lead fairy delivered

Forgive me friends for the pace of the posts. Better something than nothing I say!

It has been a slow six months of building, but satisfying. I decided to fair the hell out of the hull, the bottom is the bottom and I’ve called that fair, the topsides are the focus of my energy.

I cannot imagine why I thought I could ignore them earlier, I suppose the bottom was so in need, it made the sides appear better than they were. A mixture of advice from my mentors I decided to ignore, and went with what I could live with. So I’m back on the torture board. My wrists are crying for a rest, I’ve probably developed ‘carpool tunnel’ but all is looking good, according to the batten.

I was donated a big bag of light weight filler, but it was a tad lumpy, and double sifting it still produced a gritty mix, which is ok for filling big areas but not for skim coats. Winter too has been making it difficult with drytimes longer and sags more prevalent. Lots of putting it on and taking it off.

Saggy winter light weight filler

I got so jack of seeing the filler fall to the ground as I sanded it, I decided to try and use the dust in the sanding extractor as filler. Not a good idea. There was just enough detritus that it was awful to sand, and left a limestone look,  complete with tiny objects of interest embedded.

The good fairy (Robert Ayliffe) delivered two gifts to make my life better; one is a loan of his Festo large sander, what a great tool that is, below is a picture of it. It is both vicious and dainty, like all good things.

Robert's loan to me.

He also made a delivery in the night, as you can see pictured at the head of this post, a pile of lead ingots, ready for my external ballast! What a great gift. Lead is not cheap, and I’m on the scrounge. If you have lead, I am buying. Thank you Robert!

Most recently I’ve used a fresh bag of light weight filler with Boatcote epoxy to fill all of the weave of the fiberglass around the hull. Once I have sanded that, I’ll, check the fairing again. Hopefully I can move onto making the lead into attachable ballast. This will involve some backyard casting. If I go mad in the process, finish the boat for me please.

Thin coat of LWF to fill the weave

One more bit of news, I may have a trailer for this boat at a brilliant price….progress!

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New Sharpie hits the water

I was very lucky to be at the launching of Adrian Galindo’s Electra on the 26th of January.

Adrian began building Electra after I did, and is now in the water, which is a bit of a tug at my green streak. Regardless, it was a celebration, and I feel really pleased for Adrian.

My progress is satisfactory, I am very much enjoying the build, but I would like more time to spend on the boat. This blog has been a victim of priority, but I will maintain it.

My boat’s hull is being prepped for the exterior lead shoe and final heavy fibre glass coat, it looks great, and by all assessment, sweet and fair.

The below photos are by myself, my friend Greg Anastasi, and Robert Ayliffe, so enjoy these launch photos.

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More snot and disco skirts

Starboard side sheathed

Starboard side sheathed

Oh joy I am back on the fibreglass!

Wrapping the forefoot with nasty pointy stuff

Wrapping the forefoot with nasty pointy stuff

A mixed blessing fibreglass is. The unarguable protection it provides makes it a necessity, but dealing with it is not fun. The cloth is so slippery it slides out your hand like a wet fish, yet it jags on anything and distorts the weave requiring a stroking session to realign. Applying such large areas of it makes you stir crazy mixing the epoxy, and your wrist gets hammered squeegeeing it. That is all before we consider the health benefits!

The join of two sheets of fibreglass, still to be sanded

The join of two sheets of fibreglass, still to be sanded

My process is to mark out as much as I can handle by myself, which is about two to three meters of 1500mm wide cloth, drape it on the boat and position it, then mark out the area to be covered. I have two objectives in mind, making best use of the cloth and keeping straight-ish edges.

If I had a few more people who could keep my odd and un-planned hours, I would attempt the entire side at once. But by myself, I am leaving gaps between the cloth panels and filling with epoxy mixed with light weight filler.

With the cloth off the boat and the area marked out, I then roll on a coat of epoxy to fill the area, then approach it gingerly with the cloth and drape carefully to my marks, paying attention to straight edges. Then it is into the squegeeing in more epoxy, pushing the cloth into the epoxy against the hull.

It takes two to six mixes of epoxy to fill the cloth sections and any extra goes towards rolling on the adjacent cured area, filling the weave.

Wet 'glass on the bow

Wet ‘glass on the bow

The result is a lean fit with no lifting of the cloth, but the weave will need more epoxy, and this can be achieved whilst it is still tacky, (but not too green), or later after a light sand.

Sanding fibreglass is my big hatred. I desperately dislike the glass fibres that it produces. To combat these nasty, itchy, glassy, sticky-inny shards, I invested in a decent sander that works well with my extractor, and I upgraded the extractor with a Dust Deputy thingo to improve the suck.

The Festo extractor with Dust Devil on top

The Festo extractor with Dust Devil on top, ungainly but it sucks!

The Dust Deputy adds a cyclonic action to any extractor, or regular vacuum cleaner, much like Dyson has built into their celebrated vacuum cleaners. With my Festool extracter, I have done away with the bag, and just let the Deputy’s bin fill up. With the small amount of sanding I have done since installing the Deputy, I have filled the tub twice, indicating it is catching more than the bag did!

Kate gave me a Festool extractor four years ago, and it was the best thing she could have purchased me. Minimising dust is so critical with these modern materials, I don’t want anything to get in the way of enjoying this boat.

The Festool Rotex sander I purchased is amazing, it has two settings, a random orbit and a direct drive. So with the same 120 grit paper, I can remove material very quickly with the direct drive, and finish off with the random orbital setting. All with the twist of a setting on the head. To add to this, they are very quiet, almost not needing hearing protection.

The 90mm Festo Rotex sander

The 90mm Festo Rotex sander

I chose the small Rotex (90mm) because I wanted it for detail sanding, but now I really want the big 125mm unit. Now I want both. But at $900 each this will not happen soon.

Off to the glass fibre work I go, I’m itching just thinking about it!

Posted in Epoxy, Fibreglass, Tools, wooden boat | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments