almost there…

Its already August – soon enough nasty long, damp & dark winter will knock on the door… Still I have some glimpse of hope, as I finished port hull paint job — I only need to fit windows, main hatch hinges and rudders.

 


Port hull with fresh paintjob


Just look at these neat curves 🙂


Just some few odd jobs left… here’s centre beam under pressure waiting epoxy to reach its final stage (slow hardener for gluing; 50% fast, 50% slow for fillets)


Starboard hull with its new paint (same as port hull — Tikkurila Temadur 20)

rudder lashings

So, hull sides got finally glassed, therefore I decided to reward myself with little rudder play.

Here is shot from trial fitting of rudder lashings.

I like those simple & genius rudder fittings… There is some kind of primal pleasure in splicing rudder to the stern… and not paying some extra silver for expensive rostfrei attachments….

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Forward from decks

tiki_0004 tiki_0000

So before stinging cold from Russia struck… I managed to glue fore deck as well. Aft deck was done already in November.
Now both of them are glued, trimmed back and rounded, ready for next phase.

During nighttime it drops down to -20 Celsius outside and it takes too much effort to heat garage sufficiently for epoxy work, so I spend some therapeutic hours shaping and smoothing rudder blades. Hopefully there will be soon some nice warm lows dispatched from North Atlantic so I could resume to gluing work, which means attaching the cabin sides and top, small round fillets for deck stringers, fillets for holes left by temporary screws I used occasionally during deck works.

tiki_0008

400 hour benchmark

Meanwhile I have prepared decks for gluing, this means attaching the stingers, epoxy coating and painting undersides. Loathed paintjob… This Tikkurila Temadur is indeed a quite nasty stuff working in under-ventilated garage I have there, but since it sticks into epoxy pretty well I guess I have to be pleased with it, no intention to get lost in the poly-carbonates maze again…This time I made my life a bit easier and bought proper thinner as well, which means I do not have to worry about short pot life anymore and also I can avoid slight coagulating problems I had previously when I was working too slow.

Anyway what I have recognized is that I have hit the 400 hour benchmark already, since I have worked at least 16 hours per week during summer months and at least 8 hours per week during spring & autumn. By no means I would like to contest Wharram estimates, Im pretty convinced that one could relay Tiki 21 within 400 hour time frame whether he is highly skilled or just a novice bloke who is desperately in rush to get onto the water soon as possible.
In my case… well I haven’t been a prompt starter all of my life. I need to develop a kind of feel of the process, tools and materials, only when I’m certain that those fresh spread wings will carry I would dear to dive head fist into the matter. Otherwise there is high probability that I will mess something up completely.
I had to castrate my inner perfectionist pretty much in the start anyway.

But furthermore I’m still struggling to fully disclose this little universe boiling there down in the garage. I guess its rarely not just a boat building for numerous amateur comrades out there. Building a 21 foot catamaran isn’t  just a pastime endeavor for most us novices, Im pretty sure.
It just means just too many countless hours of researching, watching YouTube wow-to videos, fearing, hoping, being paranoid over the measurements, recollecting, digging out rare materials, spending money to gadgets you cannot do without, buckling down eternity on your knees with jigsaw, spending agonizing hours in folded position like a maniac flamingo, trying to spread fillets, then sanding fillets, after which reshaping fillets again because you messed up little bit in first time, and then again you are sanding those fillets and then back again behind your computer trying to make sense of all those controversial advice, opinions, dogmas, principles and tricks served in forums, DIY videos and blogs. Your knees hurt, your legs let you down, those dozens of tiny muscles you haven’t been aware of so far, those hurt as well, your nostrils are clogged, as well your brain, it has gone off due a short circuit, that’s because constantly you had to use both hemispheres simultaneously.
So whats the point of all? Its not easy to find a straightforward answer to this, I guess its just constellation of many small, often invisible things, thin threads spinning into taut line which may make up your safety rope in the end. All you have to to is just grab it and see where it pulls, or from where it pulls you out…

bits and pieces

Some tweets about stuff I have used.

First, spreading the epoxy… for a large surfaces, like broadsides I found pretty convenient to use wallpaper spreading rolls. You have to clean them thoroughly afterwards, though.
Yes comrades, I sure did experiment with various rollers available in housing stores and none of them satisfied me enough (maybe those fancy West System roller set 800 & 801 would give a more fancier outcome). I found myself experimenting with plastic spreaders likewise, but not so much of success, as resin tend to turn kind of foamy…

Bulkheads, bunks, stiffeners etc has been coated with using brushes. With a certain amount of trial & error I finally kinda get the knack: first I pour out a resin trail, then brush it longitudinally with rather strong strokes (with divaricate bristles) subsequently I will spread the resin crosswise and diagonally from initial track, using smooth and not so vicious strokes. I still have not acquired the skill of producing a perfect smooth surface, there will be still some waviness left, but the outcome has been significantly improved since I implemented this technique.

rullid

Radius fillets for bulkheads, keel and bunks…. PITA for me in first place as I tried to use radius tools cut out from plywood. Those are too inflexible, so suitable only for amateur builders blessed with Houdini genes.
Also I found myself experimenting with radius tools cut out from the canisters of  car window washing liquid – too flexible… Finally I stumbled upon nice bright yellow plastic spreaders in construction store that I shaped onto desired radiuses. They work like a charm. Now I would sculpt those fillets until end of my days… Well kidding, two hull worth of radiuses will do fine 🙂

spreaders

For mixing epoxy I found nice ice cream cups (black ones in the pic) which are very flexible and ductile, so most of the times I have succeeded in braking off cured epoxy after the work has done. Most of the times I would pour mixed epoxy into plastic can which is usually used by decent house wives for storing the raw cranberry jam in the deep freezer. This can has a bit more surface than a ice cream cup, so epoxy does not go off so quickly. It makes great utensil for mixing the fillers as well. Also reusable most of the times.

cups

Gluing stuff… In one of my previous post I already explained why I deviated away from using copper nails as a temporary fasteners. So I went and bought a bunch of stainless steel screws. Stainless because I presumed that I may not retrieve all the screws after epoxy has cured. And the practice demonstrated that my assumption was not so wrong after all. Few of those scrawny screws (right on the photo) decided to stay in. Despite the fact that I had cleared the heads from clue with acetone rag, still some clue managed to spoil those tiny lobes. Lesson learned… so I abandoned those and started to use screws with bigger heads (in the middle of the photo). Those are 3mm diameter & 12 mm long and do the job.

kruvid

Last but not least – when messing around with epoxy or with random orbit sander don’t forget to wear a proper mask. I have 3M half-mask with detachable organic compound and dust filters, which I could combine depending the situation. 3M has a selection of masks in various sizes, so you can choose best fit for you. Im pretty pleased with one I got.

mask

reinforcing the keel

TIKI ITATAE – reinforcing the keel from Info Design Lab on Vimeo.

Today I continued with fillets. This time were the keel fillets in to-do list, those will be glassed as well.

I use West System 407 Low Density filler. For applying correct radius I produced plywood spatulas. But they are inflexible, so I guess I shall replace them with metal spreaders shaped in desired form…

Check out previous time lapse videos about stuffing the giant taco — starboard hull goes from 2D to 3D and filleting bulkhead radiuses.

 

stitch’n’glue thoughts

unstitched

Now as I have removed stitches of the diagonal stiffeners, I would like to share some notes on that. Cause God or Devil is in the details…

This was first time for me to perform such kind of gluing method and again I had to learn it by hard way how to make things easier.

So what I would like to point out first is that if you would like to glue all the stiffeners with single evening its better to have helper. One is stirring and spreading the glue and the other is stitching. Yes, one could install the wires to the hull prior glue spreading – but its pretty nuisance to spread the glue between those prickling wires, which will tear up one’s nitrine cloves pretty soon… Actually, when deploying the stiffeners it does no harm to wear leather cloves on top nitrine ones against the prickling ends of the wire.

What I also learned is, that when tightening the wire, its worth to pull it slightly away from the stiffener in same time – in this manner there seem more force transferring into tightening rather than braking the wire.

What you may also like to take special care of is drilling the holes – its better to have them right on the edge of stiffener, when they are inside from the line, its hard to remove the wire after the glue has cured. When the holes are too far away from the stiffeners edge then there could be a bit trouble in tightening.

Wharram suggest to drill small holes for stiffeners stitches (previously stitching the hull there was suggestion to have holes approx. twice the size of the wire) – and I can see that then you have much less epoxy surrounding the wire in the hole which makes wriggling the wire out much easier.

Wriggling – get a notch on that. It concerns the removal of the wires. I seldom used pliers to pull out the wires.

As with most of the other thousand things in life, its rarely the laboured force that helps to achieve your goals.

So take your time, snap the wire outside, bend it back straight, unwind other side and then start to slightly wriggle and turn the wire and when you feel grip of the epoxy starting to loosen then its time to pull wire smoothly out. And yes of-course, during the gluing process its smart to remove as much of excess epoxy as possible, no doubt on that.

 

few hundred meters of straight cuts

lumber

Few weeks ago I bought from Mass last pieces of Douglas-Fir needed to complete hulls. It means two 5,45m 105x52mm logs.

Im still missing pieces for the crossbeams: they need to be 3,81m long with cross section of 120x20mm. I have to hope a miracle on that!

Anyway, I had to use again lots of Veiko’s elbow grease to cut them in suitable battens and planks.

Thanks again Veiko and Jaanika! Your help is again appreciated a lot!

miniTiki

minitiki

I executed my first experiment with epoxy. Its my miniTiki above.

I decided to use West System, which is not cheapest, but its manufacture line seems most coherent and of course because it is very well known and proven brand in wood-epoxy boat building world. For an amateur like me it makes lots of sense to acquire all the epoxy, hardener, fillers, glass and other various bits and pieces from one manufacturer. I found that application information (including video tutorials) was most easily to be found for West System products. Not to mention that here in Estonia there are not much of other brands in retail.

I got my stuff from Bang & Bonsomer Estonia, although they seem to deal mostly with big guys, they were most helpful and I got all the components needed to produce desired epoxy magic.

first wood stripes

Yesterday I spend more than few hours in Veiko and Jaanika workshop, stripping the first Douglas Fir plank into the desired battens. Some few hundred straight cuts we had executed on this day. Overall everything went quite well. One plank revealed a major resin pocket, but nothing catastrophic. And yes, Douglas-Fir has a very distinctive smell and on the circular saw it throws minuscule specks, so wearing a cloves and eye protection is a good idea if you have a habit to stare the process in close hand.

NB! I really appreciate your effort, friends!

 

lost in the woods

Despite the fact that almost a half of Estonia’s territory is covered with forest, it is pretty much impossible to acquire locally grown timber decent enough to be suitable for boat building. Baltic pine for example. No there aint any, at least in lumber yards Im aware of.

I do not know where they hide it, but as I strolled through several lumber yards I still ended up empty handed. If the planks happened to be dry enough and with dense grain they were littered with dozens of knots. So I had to turn my gaze into direction of imported timber. Douglas-Fir particularly, from Mass AS.

Bought home two logs of 5,5m 105×50 mm Douglas-Fir.

Douglas-Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), also known as Oregon pine is not boat building wood in traditional sense due its low-medium rot resistance and vulnerability to insect attacks. But what it makes more than a suitable material for epoxy stitch-and-glue is its high strength to weight ratio. Also Douglas-Fir is easily workable.

Just by side note I have to mention that in the wooden boat building forums there is lots of confusing fuzz going on around timbers like Douglas Fir. There is bunch of wide jaw bawl by the coalition of traditional boat builders stating that Douglas Fir is actually mere firewood, and not suitable for boat building. Just ignore this, because those fellows do not acknowledge the fact that in stitch and glue method all the wood will be sealed with epoxy.