Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rescuing a piece of outport history

My brother has been chasing this guy who has an old trapskiff in a town near his place. Last week he finally managed to talk to him and come to an arrangement and now the boat is his. The age is not determined yet but the last time it was licensed was in 1983. It's been sitting on dry land for decades and in pretty rough shape, but not hopeless.
 The Newfoundland trapskiff is 30ft long, 9ft wide and over 4ft deep. They are mostly made by the fishermen themselves and from local timber. Usually a mixture of spruce, fir, and juniper. They could be built over the course of a winter and be ready for spring fishing season. The motor was just transferred from the old boat to the new.
 This one has been laid up for so long, and water left inside that she's well rotted. Most of the planking is good but the main timbers need to be replaced. This one was later fiberglassed and it added to the rot. (keeping the water in)
 It's got a fine shape to the transom and my brother says it was an easy tow to bring it to its current location. yes it still floats and apparently slips through the water like a dream.
Both me and my brother have been looking for a boat like this to restore and he's found himself a nice one. He'll get the forms from this one so there is a record of the shape for a future build perhaps. There will be more history dug up on this boat and it's builder in time, but for right now just keeping it from deteriorating further is the main task.

Polka dot boat

When coating and fairing it becomes a tedious process. When using epoxy you don't think too much about room temperature... unless your doing it in a giant tent in April, in Newfoundland. More snow two days ago best sums up the past two weeks. The filleting and fairing job last Saturday took a long time to cure and the little wood stove just couldn't keep up with the cold temperatures and high winds. This past week was a write off with other things on the go and poor weather. But this long weekend I finally got to sanding the first coat and am filling in more spots today. Much sanding had to be done. the results are below.
I couldn't find any Eppiglass filler powder and substituted it with microballons. I'm not particularly fond of this type of filler, especially compared to the Eppiglass brand. The Eppiglass brand don't sag as much, is very smooth in texture, and applies much easier. In a strange twist of fate I ran out of microballons this morning and cursed my lack of preparedness in doing my filler work. I scrambled into town and found out that the marine store I frequent was open for the season and has a good supply of fillers and other things on hand. I picked up the last/only jar of Eppiglass filler (its now discontinued!) and got back to work. I'll keep the stove pumping out the heat to let this cure and do some other work until its ready. As always, it will eventually look much better when it's painted.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Epoxy marathon

The time finally came for me to epoxy coat the cabin section inside and out. The catch is that it's best to lay 2 coats within 5-6 hours of each other. The prep work was done in the morning and by lunch time the first coast was applied. The second coat however never got applied until sundown and it was cooling down fast. 
 I went through a quite a bit of fire wood to keep the shed warm while the epoxy cured and it dropped to -8C by the time I finished.
 The powerful halogen light makes the shed glow as the night closed in.
 The work is done, now I just have to wait until it all cures.

 The fire went out and it cooled a great deal so the epoxy basically suspended it's curing. So I had to "spark er up" and warm the shed in the morning. A few hours later the temperature was around 25C and holding and the epoxy cured pretty quick then. I took the warm period to install and glue on the coaming that runs from the cabin to the back of the boat.
 It looks pretty good but was a pain to install solo.
 This picture was a little blurry so I'll have to take another. More work is needed to finish this part but the hard part is now complete.
 Note the wax paper and the scrap of wood. It's there to keep the edge of the plywood flush with the cabin until the glue cures. I'll add a batten inside later to strengthen it, as well as put a layer of cloth on the outside in this area to reinforce the seam. all this will be hidden by a filler layer and paint.
Enough work for one weekend, time to relax a bit before a week of filling, filleting and more epoxy work to make the whole job look presentable. Then comes the sanding and finally painting. Hopefully the weather will be warmer by then.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring and wood heat

The snow finally melted but the cold is still here. Though the wind is a little bit less today. The epoxy work can commence now with a good fire going in the wood stove, a nice comfortable heat, about 25 deg C. The cabin was sanded, parts fitted and window cut out. Two large batches of epoxy were made for the cabin coating and inside work.
 The compression post and roof beams make the roof nice and sturdy and I have no hesitation with stepping onto it now.
 The rails and hatch work will be installed near the time of painting, thats several weeks away yet.
 The coaming/ seat back is in the basement with a coat of epoxy on both sides. This will get installed tomorrow when I get the fire going again.