Sunday, November 14, 2010

Before and After

Before and After. The new floor looks great. The engine mount holes are drilled and bedded. The battery box cover is done, the new vents hoses are installed, the steering cable was routed through the new tube and the bilge is now bright shiny white with a second coat of epoxy. Some things remain. Installing the motor, fuel tank, hull hardware and eventual finishing out with carpeting or possibly wood veneer. I'll post updates as I get them but my work here is done so I hand it off to Bobby for re-powering and getting her back on the water.

In other news, I just bought a new car! a 1998 Toyota Corolla. Some dings and dents but a solid engine and a roof rack to boot.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


The floor is on. I had originally planned to knock it out in one massive layup but I quickly realized that it would be impossible for 1 person and such a complicated part so I ended up breaking it up into 3 pieces. I did the port and starboard side floors up to the ski pole and then the bow floor and battery box in one large layup after laying the bow section. I did the bow section wet with a layer of peel ply but no vacuum bag.

For the last 5 bagged layups (port stringer, starboard stringer, port floor, starboard floor and bow floor) I've been using "peel ply" and "bleeder cloth" which is how it should always be but before I didn't have any. I found some nylon cloth at Walmart, a 10 yard bolt for 5 bucks and a cheap polyester blanket that have been working great. The nylon peels right off the cured epoxy and the blanket soaks up the excess. The vacuum machine has been working great but my bagging skill is a little lacking. I haven't once had a seal good enough that the pump didn't cut on about every minute or so and the last two, the pump just ran all night long.

Tomorrow is my last day working on the ski boat. There are 2 coats of epoxy in the bilge area with white pigment giving it a nice industrial gloss white finish and and my friend has decided to hold off on carpeting the floor until after the engine installation which could be a bit of a dirty job. All that is left now is to drill and fill some mounting holes for the engine mounts, and steering cable attachment and reinstall and rebedd the hull hardware. More pics soon.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Blob

I've never worked with expanding foam before so putting in the new flotation foam in the ski-boat today was pretty fun. It took about 2 hours to pour all the foam. I've been ready for it since last week but was waiting for the delivery. During the foam pouring I also installed the new battery box. After the foam hardened (about an hour) I sawed off all the foam muffin top blobs and brought it down to the level of the floor with a Sur-Form tool which worked great but took a little while.

An added bonus today was the 60 degree temps which are a welcome change from last weeks freeze. This may be Asheville's last warm week before winter. It was SNOWING on Saturday for crying out loud. What a great break that this week in particular is going to be warm. Tomorrow I'll start laying down the 18oz roving for the new fiberglass floor.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Carbon Canoe Paddle continues

A long time ago I started building a carbon fiber canoe paddle. Not from scratch but a copy of a ZRE carbon paddle. I bought some carbon fiber and some tooling resin from ebay and started with the handle. I made a mold and then a very nice part that broke the mold but came out great. Then I got distracted and put away the project for a while.

Yesterday I started it back up with the paddle blade mold. I laid up the first half of the blade mold using a technique I guess I'll call "moldless mold making". I saw this method, or at least a version of it online. Moldless vacuum bagging where some guys are making a bicycle frame and bagging the parts by suspending them in a frame with bag on either side.

I suspended the paddle in a picture frame which took a couple of tries to get right but with the plastic stretched tight when the vacuum was pulled it stayed wrinkle free and gave a nice smooth surface. The advantage of this method and why I tried so hard to make it work was that I didn't have to mess with making a mold platform or coat the paddle with mold release. After curing, you just peel all the plastic off and presto done! Sure the plastic has some thickness but who cares, I'm not worried about a tenth of a millimeter.

Unfortunately, I didn't have any peel ply or bleeder cloth so I substituted some thin white fabric which soaked up epoxy and clogged my vacuum tube. It was ok, it still worked but I had to leave the pump running and lost about 6 inches of tubing. I also experimented with warming the layup using a blow dryer which gave me an excuse to monitor the temperature with a new toy that I bought myself.