Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tiller Time

Here's some of the work I've been doing on my tiller I removed from the boat. First to show how it looked before I removed it showing its condition since I bought the boat.

I removed a couple small dowel rods that were on the handle end. The split was pretty good that went through the handle and down about 6 inches.


I used some small screwdrivers to wedge into the end of the tiller.

I got some low density filler and mixed it into some epoxy. I took a ziploc sandwich bag, cut a small part of a corner. With the ziploc, put some of the thickened epoxy mix into the bag and used it to inject into the split. Much like how cake decorators use the icing bags.

I was able to get the epoxy down into the crack and filled the holes the dowel rods were in. I also used some of the epoxy for filling in around a couple bungs (I found they're not being used to cover screws, at least the one on the very end). Removed the screw drivers causing the epoxy to ooze out where I used a clamp to compress it until it cured.

Sanded everything down smooth. At one point, I was using 80 grit on the top since that was in the worst condition. I then used 100 and 220 grit. There is still a few dark parts that show up with the varnish but I didn't want to take too much material off. I think it just adds to its character.

While trying to figure out how I was going to varnish, I decided to bend a hanger around a shelf in a closet and hung the tiller on it with screw drivers in the mounting hole. I used a trash bag under it in the case of drips. The space between the shelf and the tiller was very close but I made sure there was no contact.


The first coat, I mixed mineral spirits with 25% varnish. I wanted to make sure it soaked into the wood.

Second coat, I did while the first was still tacky (over night). I waited for the proper drying time of 24hrs, went outside to sand and for the 3rd and 4th coats, about 50/50 mix.

I did the 5th coat (shown below) with 50/50 again and for the next few coats, I will be going up to about 75/25 that, I think, will fill in what's left of the grain that's still showing and smooth out even more.

I like how it is coming out and looking forward to getting it back on the boat when it warms up. I think the Epifanes finish looks a lot better than the previous finish. For a 32yr old piece of wood, it's turning out very nicely. I still need to get a bolt to replace the bronze one I broke off. I found some 6" stainless bolts that should be long enough at Jamestown Distributors with hex heads I think might work out..

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Wait

I found this little poem and added a picture of my oil lamp on the table. It's colder now, the boat sits waiting for its next sail as many boats do this time of year. I am looking forward to the next time the boat sails.

I hope all will have a good winter season.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hour Meter & Tiller

I went to the boat briefly today. It's rainy and windy so not much else was going on.

I have a survey left over from the previous owner when he bought the boat in 2007. The engine hours recorded in the survey says 714hrs. Since owning the boat, I've run the engine for six or more hours yet the hour meter has not moved.

I used some spare speaker wire I had laying around the house to hook up to the meter to test whether it works. It took a couple seconds but it clicked and started making a sound showing that it did work and moved slightly. I flipped switches, turned the engine key on from the panel and couldn't see anywhere that would get it to work. I'll trace wires around another time to get it working along with the engine.

That didn't take long but the main work was to remove the tiller. The nut and bolt are made of bronze. I first used a dremel to cut a slot on the head of the bolt. Using a wrench and a heavy duty screwdriver, the still wouldn't budge from each other. I then took the dremel and cut away from the nut. I then used a smaller screw driver to pound the bolt out of the hole. The tiller was still tight between the rudder cheeks so I had to work the bolt out while moving the tiller up and down.

Now, it's at the house where I will have it kept indoors while it dries out. I can then strip it down of the old varnish, fill in some holes, epoxy a split and then refinish it.

Cut up nut and washer

Port side of rudder cheek

Starboard side of rudder cheek

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Head Hoses Removed

I spent a good part of the day removing the hoses from the head. Everything went well, mostly.

I first removed the vent hose. I had to route it past the other hoses and through the counter top. I ended up breaking the part the hose was attached and left the hole open.

The hole is to the right of the black hose

The vent is just below the toe rail. The silver cap is for waste
The first part of the larger hoses I removed was from the waste deck fill to a switch between deck pump-out and overboard discharge. The worst part of this was there was a little deposit left in the hose. Thankfully, there wasn't much but it did smell pretty bad for a moment. Thankfully, I had lots of paper towels and some cleaner/disinfectant. I covered the hose with a plastic bag and a rubber band.

The dark part by the thru-hull is the mess made.
After covering the hose with the plastic bags, everything else wasn't too bad. I removed the rest of the hose going from the manual pump to the overboard discharge thru-hull.

Here the hoses are on the deck that I soon put in a black trash bag.

Removing the hoses from the head cleaned up the space under the counter. The white hoses that are left is for the bilge pump. The clear ones are for the sink that's in the head. I'm thinking to remove the sink from the head. With the size of this boat, it doesn't seem necessary to me to have a second sink. I also cleaned up some more of the space, like the caulk that held the head/holding tank and the dirt covering the counter. Now it's more ready for installing an Airhead.

 I was thinking of how it would be to remove and cover the thru-hulls when I haul the boat and make some more room under the counter. Another thought is to keep the thru-hulls in place, at least the one under the counter, maybe for a watermaker in the future. Of course I'm not going to continue with the one used for the head so it'll be replaced with a new one. The other thru-hull to consider is the one that was used for the head's water intake. It's right next to the battery so I'm thinking that can definitely be removed and covered. One less thru-hull to worry about.

This thru-hull can be removed
I was going to remove the tiller to bring home to refinish it and fix the crack on the hand-hold end. When I went to loosen the nut, the whole bolt turned as well. Now, I'm trying to think of how to remove it. There's no way to hold both ends. The smooth side is recessed. I'll have to figure out how to remove it in order to refinish the tiller.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Off With His Head!

Today started of cold. I look out the window of the house and see frost on the grass and car. It seemed to be a good day to stay home. Instead, I decided to get out of the house and head to the boat. It was clear today without a cloud in the sky. There was also a nice breeze blowing.

I went to the boat thinking I could do some cleaning, maybe winterize but something told me to try sailing again. Winterizing will wait.

Like the previous attempt and the videos I took before, I motored out and through the canal to the other lake. There was hardly anyone out. There was a few speedboats with guys going fishing. There was maybe 5 or 6 sailboats near the canal and maybe a few  more farther down. I don't know how strong the wind blew but it was more than the last time.

Sailing went well. While looking at the GPS, I would say my average speed was around 3-3.5 knots. I was able to get the boat up to 5-5.5 knots but that also involved the boat leaning over 25-30 degrees from the healing gauge mounted by the companionway.

I had the main and jib out and did a couple tacks. After an hour or so, I dropped sails and floated while I went down below and picked up all the stuff that got thrown around all over the place while heeled over. I raised only the mainsail and sailed back to the canal and motored the rest of the way back to the marina. I was sailing for about an hour and a half so it wasn't long but I still enjoyed myself very much.

Back at the dock, I took care of a few other things. I looked at the tiller thinking that it needs to be repaired in some way. The end is split and a few soft spots. Right now, I'm thinking some epoxy in the crack and a clamp to keep it together might help. Then it could get stripped down with new varnish applied.

I went to the Annapolis sailboat show recently and got a new anchor from Mantus to replace the Delta anchor that was on the bow. Changing out the anchor wasn't too bad. When the anchor was raised, it didn't sit on the bow like the Delta. Luckily, the Mantus rollbar can be removed which will allow it to sit better. I saw things online that the anchor will still set pretty good without the rollbar.

The biggest project of the day was the removal of the head and holding tank. I wanted to switch it out for a composting head. I was thinking a Natures Head but after looking at the options at the Annapolis Sailboat show, I thought the Airhead would be a better fit. There was a two inch screw holding it down on each side and applied with some sort of adhesive. Some of the wood around the edges were soft. After removing the screws, I hammered a flat-head screwdriver in between the tank and the wood and pried it apart. Took a few minutes to pry apart all the edges. Once all the edges were loose, I cut the few hoses leading away from the tank/toilet and covered them with plastic bags and rubber bands. The tank itself was deeper than I originally expected. I thought it was only big enough as what was visible from the top. As soon as I picked it up, there was dust/dirt falling from it. I didn't realize until I got it to the parking lot that there was a big gaping hole on the back side about 2" x 3". Thankfully, I never tried using it or testing it out. I would hate the clean up from a mess like that. Good thing I decided to take it out since it needed replaced anyway.

Pictures of the head.

Next step of this would be to remove the rest of the hoses that will free up some space under the counter. Then cleaning up all the old caulking and prepare the space for a new head. I'm thinking to epoxy a 1/2" plywood board to the hole the holding tank was in. The plywood would also be fully epoxied too to protect it from moisture. I was thinking of a light sheet of fiberglass but don't think it would really be necessary. Epoxy coating, I think, would (or should) be enough to protect it.