Posted by: Wayne | May 31, 2010

Bulkhead glue-up

When we last left our intrepid hero … oh, wait, wrong intro.

After cutting all of the bulkheads, I used screws with plywood washers to assemble each set (upper and lower), checking alignment by measuring from the bottom inner corner of the lower part to the two outer corners of the upper part.  The correct distance was found from the plans with the aid of our friend Pythagoras.

After screwing several of them together, I couldn’t resist a little mock-up.

Getting an idea for what this thing will look like.

After a break it was time to glue things together.  I removed all of the screws and ply washers and applied a layer of some shiny silver tape I had (should make epoxy less likely to stick).  I then made a notched spreader to give a reasonably uniform layer of epoxy (I used a flexible plastic spreader and a pair of scissors).

Please ignore the feet.

As usual, we begin with a chaotic work surface.

Then it was time to mix up a batch of thickened epoxy and set to work.  For each piece I got to apply epoxy to the faying surface, start the screws in the upper piece, align the upper piece on the lower, and then drive them home.

Spreading a thin layer of epoxy prior to joining them for life.

Time to screw this one up.

All told, once the epoxy has cured, bulkheads 3,5,6,7, and 8 should be assembled (upper to lower parts).

Lessons learned:

  • You can tell the epoxy is starting to cure because the container gets toasty.  This is a good time to spread faster.
  • Big batches of epoxy would NOT be a good idea in warm weather.
  • Even slow epoxy can seem to cure awfully fast in 80º (F) weather.
  • Thirty minutes is enough time to glue up all the bulkheads. Barely, but enough.
  • Laminating the keel batten and hanging planks will definitely demand very good planning, and probably a couple of extra hands.

Now I just wait a few hours and then nudge the screws looser and then tighter (to prevent epoxying them in place), then just let things set.  Tomorrow evening we see how these look.  Tonight I get to introduce smoke to meat. Happy Memorial Day.

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