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Project Log:  Saturday, November 21, 2009
Home Page > The Project > Project Logs > 11/21/09

The day started out annoyingly.  Apparently, I wasn't really in the mood, or maybe I was growing weary of dust and grinding and cutting and mess--hard to imagine, but there you are.

In any event, my task for the day was the lazarette:  the final area of the boat requiring substantive grinding and additional demolition.  I'd not been looking forward to it, and only the idea of getting it done gave me the motivation to press on.  I knew access would be as tight as anywhere on the boat, and that the task would be dirty and unpleasant.

My old box fan seemed disinclined to work.  Normally, once it gets filled with dust and stops working, a thorough cleaning with compressed air does the trick; not so today.  Perhaps this ancient fan of indeterminate origin and age had finally given up for good.  I set it aside for now.

Note that the beginning portions of this log are short on photos and long on description, with the only photos showing the ultimate end result of the day's efforts; I'd left the camera elsewhere during the beginning of the day, and once I was geared up and in the boat with mask and hoses and all that, I was reluctant to head back down to fetch the camera, so there are no photos taken during the process.  Apologies all around.  Here are some photos, taken last week, that show what I started with, however.




Last week, I'd cut out portions of the wooden bulkhead that had once separated the lazarette from the cockpit lockers.  So my first job for the day was to continue that process, having subsequently determined (without a trace of surprise) that the remainder of the bulkhead, plus the plywood knees that secured the mizzen stay and mainmast backstay chainplates were badly charred, poorly constructed, and generally deteriorated beyond any hope of salvation.

The four chainplates were bolted to their respective knees with anywhere from five to 10 bolts each (10 on the backstay chainplates).  My first thought (and this is where things got annoying) was to cut the knees away from the hull without unbolting the chainplates, as I hoped to save myself the work.  Maybe I could avoid unbolting if I could cut the knee away and pull the chainplate out from beneath, along with its knee.

Unfortunately, I found that I was having trouble cutting the knees away from their low sides:  I couldn't seem to make the saw go through the wood (and thin fiberglass tabbing) by pushing up, against gravity.  Normally, I'd start at the top and saw downwards, but I couldn't do that here because the stainless steel chainplates were in the way.  The steep angles of the hull, tough access, and angles of the knees themselves meant that I couldn't really get my angle grinder (equipped with the usual cutoff wheel for cutting fiberglass) into the spaces to cut the tabbing and give me any hope of prying the knees out.

After fighting this annoyance for some time, I gave in to the inevitability of it all and, with utter calm and equanimity,
proceeded to unbolt the four chainplates.  To make this (and subsequent) parts of the day's work easier, however, I first decided to cut away more of the bulkhead and remains of the cockpit.  There was no reason to leave most of this in place, and it really needed to go, not only because everything was damaged in the first place, but also because access really would be critical to this rebuild.  At first, I cut in towards centerline, thinking of leaving the center part of the old cockpit well and the heavy wooden timber behind (the compression post for the mizzen step) in place.  In short order, however, I recognized that this was silly, that the post was charred, and that it just all had to go.  So out it came, and with startling ease.

This greatly increased accessibility to the lazarette, for which I was grateful.  I unbolted the chainplates without too much difficulty; none of the bolts were frozen, and although the installers had chosen round-head bolts with slotted (rather than hex) tops, and the fact that one of the bolts incongruously featured a nut with a different diameter than all the others, the process went pretty easily.

With the chainplates out of the way, I could more easily cut away the plywood knees, this time working at the top and cutting down.  Soon, they were gone.

The overhead of the locker--that is, the underside of the deck--was black and charred, but fortunately I discovered that most of the laminate was sound and undamaged.  There was a portion of the starboard side where the exposed layer of roving was completely resin-less and dried out from the heat, so I ground this away, but I'd feared that more of the laminate  here would be damaged.  Every so often we catch a break.

Grinding the overhead wasn't too bad.  It wasn't too great either, but in short order that part was done.  I moved on to the hull and, as in all other areas of the boat, ground away smoke and heat damage, old paint, and the remains of old tabbing as needed.    My little 4-1/2" grinder, which had been the workhorse of this project so far, was showing signs of impending death--it grew so hot after relatively little use this day that eventually I set it aside and reached for my 7" grinder to finish the job.  Normally, I abhor the use of angle grinders on boats, but in the case of this project there was simply no better tool for the job.  I used 36 grit angled flap discs for most of the grinding you have seen on these pages, relying on skill, experience, and keeping the tool in constant motion to avoid undue damage.  I would not and do not recommend blithe use of angle grinders, ever.

Unfortunately, I discovered a badly damaged area on the starboard hull, up high near the underside of the deck.  I kept finding dry, resin-less, and delaminated roving the deeper I ground.  There were other areas like this around the aft end of the boat, but I'd not previously noticed signs of this level of damage in this area before; of course, it'd been completely blackened by soot and hidden behind and beneath the old chainplate knees, so I guess it was understandable that I'd not seen it. 

Not that it mattered much; my rebuilding plans would have taken care of it either way.  It's not as if any of the damage here was remotely unexpected.

I swept away the worst of the day's dust and debris, and gratefully closed the chapter on the major interior demolition/heavy grinding/fire damage-removal portion of the project.  Oh, there'd be plenty of sanding and more grinding ahead, but really, I felt the worst was behind me.  What a foul few weeks this had been.


After a lunch break, during which I opened the shop door to air the place out (it was unseasonably warm once again this weekend), I returned to wash the boat out.  With the worst grinding out of the way, it seemed a good time to make a fresh start of things.  I'd not spent a lot of careful time cleaning during the process over the past weeks; I'd sweep up after each day's and weekend's work, but this never really rid the boat (or the shop bay) of the dust.  Just walking around the boat would raise residual dust.  I thought a thorough water rinse was just the ticket, so that I could work on the boat in more comfort and to also allow me to better judge the situation at hand.

Before beginning, I removed all the tools from the boat--it's good to reorganize periodically anyway--and stowed the various cords, lights, etc. to keep them away from the water.  Then, I hosed off the interior and, later, the exterior of the boat.  This was satisfying, and afterwards the boat was a much more pleasant place to be, if still falling short of being actually pleasant.





Total Time Today:  6 hours

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