Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting Into Tight Spaces: 3 of My Favorite Tools

From left to right:

1. Right angle drill adapter. $16.99 at Harbor Freight Tools.

This is a great way to turn a normal drill into a right angle drill for putting holes in those tight corners of the boat. There are pneumatic versions that get you a slightly smaller offset, but for the price this is a really handy tool.

2. Angle die grinder. $24.99 at Northern Tool.

There are several quick change sanding disc systems that you can use with this 1/4" collet angle grinder. McMaster, like always, has a great selection of abrasives for use with this tool. I really like the plastic fastener equivalent to 3M Roloc and Norton Speed-Lok TR styles. This is a great tool for removing a lot of material in a hurry. Be carefully and go slow until you refine your technique.

3. Mini random orbital sander. $119.99 at Northern Tool.

I bought this tool for when I was refinishing the interior of 7346. This was the best $100 I ever spent on a tool. The 2" and 3" hook and loop pads are great for getting into those small corners that you thought you would have to sand by hand. Abrasive Resource has a nice selection of 2" and 3" sanding disks for this sander. The assortment that comes with the tool is not of much use.

As you can see, I highly recommend getting a decent shop compressor/tank for your tool collection. I have a 33 Gallon Craftsman model (similar to this) that I bought used from a friend. Besides sanding use, an impact wrench and an air ratchet are also extremely handy when doing work on your vehicles.

Friday, November 26, 2010

USA 9042 Rigging - Installing a Bailer Well, Mast Gate and Mast Step Modification

There are a few things that we needed to do to JB's new Rondar before we start drilling holes and installing fittings.

First project was to install the second aft bailer well that was supposed to be done at the factory. JB opted for twin outboard aft bailers similar to USA 8854. This arragment will, in theory, cause less turbulence on the rudder in planing conditions compared to the large aft bailer found on most Waterats. The Rondar came with one of the outboard wells installed as well as the stock aft well which will remain unused. The wells have a thin piece of wood in place of the foam core that yields the appropriate thickness to get the fitting flush with the hull.

To form a new well, you need to grind out the inner skin, add the wood core, and re-skin the floor. Note that air tools pretty much mandatory for this project. A small angle grinder with various sizes and grits of sanding disks make for quick work of the inner skin and the foam core. Go slow enough that you can be sure you will not grind through/into the outer skin. Vacuum bagging capabilities are also important for getting a proper inner skin installed over the wood core.
 We used the piece of boat that was cut out from the other bailer well to gauge the thickness of wood we needed to bond in place. This was cut to size and bonded in with epoxy and colloidal silica. We used 1/4" marine grade plywood that had to be sanded down closer to 3/16" to match the stock well.

 The fillets were sanded to the appropriate smoothness and dimension. The well was prepared to be re-skinned with 2 layers of ~8 ounce carbon.

 The cloth has to be carefully cut to bridge/taper onto the existing laminate and show no sign of a ridge when the epoxy has cured.
 In this case we chose to put the vacuum cup in the center of the well because it was going to be cut out anyway. Generally, you do not want a vacuum cup on top of the part being molded because it leaves an indentation.
 As you can see below, the new skin mates well and tapers smoothly onto the existing inner skin. We were very happy with this result. We will show you the finished product in a later post.
 The back of the mast gate also needed to be cut out all the way back to the diagonal bulkhead. This allows you to rake to the extreme without running out of play in the mast ram.
 The diagonal bulkhead had a lip above the fore-aft beam under the mast step plate. There is a carbon tray that serves as the mast step base and sits on this section of the diagonal bulkhead and the fore-aft beam. As-provided, the lip prevented the plate from lying flat on the fore-aft beam, so we ground down the diagonal bulkhead so the mast step plate could lay flat on both surfaces. The edge that was sanded was then sealed with epoxy to ensure that the wood core would not soak up any water.
 As you can see below, the mast plate now can lie flat and be in contact with all surfaces.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You saw them here first...

New Harken T2 Blocks. World premiere at METS tomorrow. More info to come (when I am allowed to tell you).

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Hotness - USA 9042

JB's New Rondar has landed in Chicago. Stay tuned in the next few months as we document the rigging process. Bare hull pictures HERE.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Light air practice shots

Some cool shots of Craig and JB practicing in light air before the ECC's. The pictures are courtesy of my roommate and good friend of 505s Matt Clark. Have a look at them as a slide show, Matt has a continuous shooting mode on his camera and you can see the boat pitching from frame to frame.

Check out the entire album here.