(03/01/01) Sometimes I just get bogged down. Can't seem to get out of the house. Spent the day updating and editing this website. Quite a few pages have been tweaked or rewritten.
(03/02/01) I finished sanding the upper part of the hull and applied the last of the filler coat. That's done.
Moved a bunch of stuff to get at the transom, built a shelf to store it all, and built a rack for the roll of fiberglass.
The board in back provides a straightedge to mark the cuts. The shears and Magic Marker are tied to lanyards to keep then from growing little feet... like everything else around here.
(03/04/01) Mongo, Peter, Alex (Who's Alex?), and Brian. Alex is Pete's nephew.
Picture this. It's Sunday morning, Pete and Alex arrive at my house, bright and early. I show Alex the Albatross model and other stuff relating to this boat. Eventually we head off to the graving dock. The TV and radio have been flooding the airwaves with "The Storm of the Century" bullshit for the last three days. It's drizzling a bit. We arrive at the graving dock, and discover that some imbecile has parked a van directly inside the gate. I can open the gate enough to squeeze inside, but that's all. The van is unlocked, but a thorough search fails to turn up any keys. I go into my shop and return with a piece of wire. Might as well try to pick the lock. Thank God I never embarked on a life of crime. I tried, we all tried to start the van. Five grown men and not a single car thief among us.
We began rooting through all the paperwork in the van and eventually turned up a phone number for Jimmy, the owner. Jimmy got there in about half an hour, as pissed as I was. The landlord has a strict policy about "no overnight parking" in the yard and this wasn't just in the yard but blocking the gate. Jimmy's first words were "What if there'd been a fire?" He'd left the van to be worked on by one of the mechanics who also has a garage here and the kid decided to park it right in the middle of the driveway.
Well, to make the long story short, for some reason, Jimmy's keys wouldn't work either. We eventually fashioned a dent-puller, tore out the ignition lock and started the van with a pair of needlenose pliers. What a clusterfuck!
We started boatbuilding around 11:00
Several weeks ago I cut 6" off the end of my roll of 1708 cloth to make tape. We started taping over the fillets. Mongo and I made some foam sanding pads from some 2" HVAC foam and 40grit beltsander belts to sand any spiky bits near the fillets. (I'll upload pictures to the DIY page soon.)
Brian mixed goop and the rest of us sanded fillets. As soon as the first batch of goop was ready, I showed Pete and Alex how to apply tape. Taping upside down isn't the easiest thing to do. We didn't have the luxury of wetting out and waiting for the goop to get to that perfect tacky stage where the cloth will stick on without some help. So I cut up some milk jugs and stapled swatches to hold the tape in place as the goop set enough to hold the glass.
Meanwhile there were still fillets to apply to the cabin. Brian alternately mixed goop for Pete and fillet putty for me. Filleting is complete except for the anchor locker and and firewall/transom.
The lower parts of the galley, nav station and quarterberth are taped.
(03/05/01) Fillets and Tape, Stations #4 to #8. Prior to taping, I built a tray to pre-wet the tape; 4 feet long, 8 inches wide at the bottom, with 45° side walls 4 inches wide. This makes wetting the tape very easy. I lay the tape mat-side up and spread epoxy with a 3" roller and thoroughly wet it down. Then I apply the tape to the fillet. Most of the epoxy is already where it's supposed to be, so it sticks easily and only needs a little more epoxy to finish the job.
Spent the rest of the week dilly-dallying, that is to say... working on the windowboxes. It doesn't actually qualify as "noodling", but it's a break from boatbuilding. [By the way, "Thanks" to Ed Sasser for putting a name to this syndrome.]
As small as this windowbox project is, there are so many steps involved that it might as well be a big boat. They're inching along and won't be finished anytime soon because I'm using them as a distraction from sanding and filling the hull. And, I'm using sanding and filling the hull as a distraction for not working on the windowboxes.
That make any sense?
(03/10/01) Brian and I work on his rudder. Brian's decided to roundover the entire leading of the rudder. I have to admit it does make it look more professional. We glass the lower half. I have some trepidations, as I believe that we should glass the entire stick, but Brian's the boss and I'm just the magic fingers on this job. "I'm just getting paid from the neck down Boss." We'll see what happens.
(03/11/01) Brian and I glass the upper half of the stick. The rationale is that it'll be easier to fair the board if it's all the same thickness and hardness. I keep my tongue firmly clenched between my teeth to avoid blurting out "I told you so."
It's a good thing we're both so good humored. We laugh about making the thing more complicated and get on with it. In Brian's words, "One way or another, it's got to be an improvement over the 2x12 we had hanging off the transom when we bought the boat."
)03/13-16/01) Various short sessions sanding the hull, getting ready for the "Big Day".
(03/17/01) Brian, "MD!", and Jim Musser.
I've completely neglected to include Jim Musser in the "cast of characters". Jim discovered Albatross sometime back in February and contacted me about coming over to see the project. He lives in Mount Holly, NJ, which is about fifteen miles from here. He's built several small boats but nothing like Albatross.
He showed up in the middle of the week at the end of February, provided a welcome break from sanding, and we spent the rest of the day "shootin' the shit" about boats. Whaddya' expect when two boaties first meet?
(03/17/01) Brian, "MD!", and Jim Musser... Ya gotta like a guy who asks, "What tools can I bring?"
We slogged away at finishing sanding the hull after the inevitable "Brian-boaty meets Jimmy-boaty" gabfest.
We're coming down to the finishline. Jimmy tackled one side, I went at the other side. Brian started cleaning and pulling out all the brick-a-brack that's been gathering around the transom these past months. Once that was done, we cleaned up the transom/hull corner.
(I'm a tool junkie.) To paraphrase The Phurry Phreak Brothers, "Tools will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no tools."
Several months ago I bought a Proter Cable Laminate Trimmer. Nice little router; ¼" shank, variable speed. I had a wad of cash burning a hole in my pocket nad wanted a "roundover tool" to put a finished edge on all the frames inside the boat. As luck would have it, I had a ¾" roundover bit with a ¼" shank, so I put very nice smooth roundover on the stem. Up until now it's been a knife-edge and it wouldn't do for wrapping the glass around from one side to the other. I rout up as high as I can reach on my tippy-toes. We all stand back and nod admiringly. It's looking very lovely! There are few things quite as satisfying as building a wooden boat that stands a chance of passing for a "Clorox Bottle" (Bill Grumbine's description of a plastic production boat.) Call me extremely warped, but I agree with him.
Brian and I begin fiberglassing the hull.
After finishing the stem roundover, we wet out the front half of the hull up as far as the keel. I've decided to lay the first layer on a bias. This makes the strands of cloth vertical and horizontal. The second layer will be laid horizontally. That will give me glass strands going in four directions. Because of the mat on the backside, this glass is very sturdy. It lays down very smoothly, doesn't deform like lighter cloths I've used, and surprisingly, it wets out more quickly and easily than I'd expected.
We glass about 40% of the first layer; three courses, both sides. Resin's disappearing at the rate of half-a-gallon a pop.
(03/19/01) I second coat yesterday's work and wetout and apply another course of cloth. Hull's 60% covered.
(03/21/01) Upload "Colorful Sail!" page.
(03/23/01) Wetout and lay another course of cloth. Second coat preceeding course. Hull's 85% covered.
(03/24/01) Upload "Sunset!" page. Lay the last of the cloth for the first layer. Hull's 100% covered, except for the transom.
Last Sunday I wanted to get the cloth on the boat. The shop was as clean as it's been in a long time and I couldn't bring myself to raise a lot of dust again to roundover the transom, sternpost and the deadwood edges, so, it got left undone.
Once the epoxy has set, I'll trim the glass, roundover the remaining edges, cleanup and glass the transom.
(03/25/01) Mongo and "MD!" meet for the first time in weeks. We struggle into our paper jumpsuits and begin by lightly sanding the dust pimples that have fallen out of the air and settled on the glass. We also sand the seems of the first layer of glass. The ass-end of the boat is still too green to be dealt with, so because I have Terry to help, we begin applying the second layer of glass.
We mark the hull down from the keelson to 48"s and wet it out. Another gallon of goop gone. I measure how much glass we'll need for the first horizontal layer and botch the measurement. This doesn't become apparent until we lay the cloth down and discover that it's 4' short. Oh well, "Compost happens!", as my gardening friends would say.
We lay out the cloth beginning at the transom and wet it out 6' at a time. Getting it to lay flat is a struggle because of the extreme concave curve at the transom, but after repeatedly picking it up and pulling it this way and that, we get all the wrinkles and bubbles out. It lays flat and smooth. We advance another 6' and repeat the process. It's gotten easier because the run is flatter and the curve isn't conical anymore. We cut and install the 4' patch to finish the starbord run.
The portside goes on "just like in the movies." By now we know what to expect from the glass and the curves, so we unroll it so that it goes down smooth and flat the first time.
By the end of the day both sides are sheathed from the keel to about the waterline.
(04/07/01) Mongo and I lay first layer of glass on transom.
(04/08/01) Brian and I put second layer on.
Copyright © 2001 Alan "Maddog!" MacBride
Most recent revision 04/10/01, 2001