Thursday, May 20, 2010

Make Hay While The Sun Shines

We have made some progress on the mast project... HURRAY!

Monday was a non-work day. It had rained heavily Sunday night and was still raining Monday morning. We took advantage of the bad mast-building weather and took the bus (well, it was an hour late so we took a $2.50 bus-taxi) up to Sunny Isle to buy some cat food and kitty litter, plus some stuff for us. On the way to the dinghy we picked up our mail (epoxy & glass tape) and stayed on the boat as we didn't get back until after 3pm.

Tuesday afternoon (rain delay again) we fitted the two mast sections and Bob did some planing.

Yesterday, Wednesday, Bob did a bit more planing and then it was time to put them together!

Planed some

Ran Kevlar strands down the interior, then wetted out with epoxy

Applied glue and clamped with "Spanish windlasses"

Glueing up a 35-ish foot mast in the sun without any epoxy going off was quite an accomplishment and I'm going to award us a Gold Star.

Well done!

I almost kept up with making the epoxy glue mixture to Bob's application of the goop. I try to use new pots and mixing sticks for each batch to help keep us cleaner, plus there won't be any old mixture accelerating the working time of the new stuff.  When you are in a rush it is easy to not stir the mixture long enough,  but fortunately there was a clock on the wall with a very slowly moving second hand which helped tremendously.

It is taking us longer than our estimated two weeks' building time.  This is because we did not factor in the limitations of building it outside in a parking lot.  We are thankful for this workspace, but if we had a "proper" space we could have built both halves at once, be able to work whatever the weather, had proper storage space for everything associated with the project, everything would be stored indoors and out of the wet, etc. Plus, we could work on building a dinghy while waiting for epoxy to kick on the mast....  But, you take what you can get :)

Epoxy tip:  When starting for the day, pump the resin into another resin bottle so the pump is properly primed.  Same thing for the hardener.  If you don't do this, the first pump may spit as "contents may settle" due to change in atmospheric pressure or gravity or elves or something...

Another epoxy tip:  After pressing the pumps down (especially for the hardener) keep a bit of pressure on the pump as you let it back up.  If it comes up too fast, there's the possibility that it won't fill properly and your next batch will not contain the proper resin-to-hardener ratio.  I hope I explained that OK :)

Time to get going!