August, September, October

Same old, same old.

August - Planking revisited

I've sawed off all the plank ends at the bow that were installed in the last three months, so as I put up more pics, they'll show the new work in progress.

  • 08/05 Full crew. I've missed Mongo these last couple of sessions. He and Alicia work well together. Together they got five sets of strips today. Unless I'm mistaken, that's an alltime record for one day. I busied myself by mixing epoxy, spreading it out ahead of them, keeping the strips coming, and cutting them to length. That means mitering or coving with a rasp the bow ends where they overlap. We're down to about two and a half sticks or 20' per set.
    I bought a cheapy BBQ grill at the Super' this morning (5 bucks). For lunch we had grilled keilbasa, corn chips con queso dip, and soda pop. "Yeah! we're livin' large now baby!" (Gotta keep the troups fed, and this beats KFC by a mile.)
  • 08/06 Solo, Mongo coaching, Alicia down with a rash.

    From an Email today:
    Paul VandenBosch wrote:
      ...I put some pics of my boat on my site at
    Hiya Paul,
    Your boat is beautiful!!! How I wish I was sailing already.
    As promised, here's some shots of the ass end of the boat. I spent today alone removing screws and trimming the transom planks flush. (Had to remove screws from those planks too. I 'invented' a new way to get epoxy encrusted screws out of wood. "Put a screwdriver on top of the buried screw. Heat the screwdriver with a propane torch. Voila! the 'driver melts through to the screw, and with a few turns it's out far enough to get a screwgun to finish the job."
    [000806a.jpg] The anchor is a eyeball copy of that new French anchor. It's not finished, needs grinding and painting. I have more steel like that, only they're W12x140 scraps. Those should finish at about 30 to 35 lbs.[000806b.jpg]
    I'm not happy with the transom pics. There's got to be a better vantage point to shoot from, but I haven't figured it out yet.
  • 08/07 I stopped by the graving dock today after work. It was a productivity impulse. Removed about 300 screws. Hit on an improvement to the blowtorch/screwdriver idea. I heat the screwgun tip directly. !!! Saves loads of time.
    Beltsanded the port side of the hull, (that's the "see side" in most or all of the pictures.) This was a preliminary sanding with a 4x24 belt sander, 40grit, just to get the goobers off and prepare for filling the irregularities in the surface.
    (Every once in a while I just have to stop and pretty things up a little. It helps my morale tremendously. The hull looks more like a boat again, not just an albino beached whale with eczema.)
  • 08/09 Spent several hours removing screws and beltsanding. Starbord side half completed. The heat got to me finally, even with the fan I set up.

Shit Happens!

  • 08/12 Mongo's car is in pieces, he's spending the weekend fixing it.
    As of last week Alicia has had a rash on her arms that may or may not be from epoxy sensitivity. I'm immune to any effects from exposure to all but the most obvious and deadly chemicals. But, not wanting to exascerbate her condition, and not having Mongo to help plank, I decided that this would be a good time to clean the shop. We've been going like gangbusters for weeks, and frankly, the place is an absolute shithole. Trash everywhere. Debris piling up. And dust.
    So, today we cleaned. Vacuumed and sorted out the mess. Looks great.
    To try get some answers to Alicia's problem, I posted a query on

"Help - Typical symptoms of epoxy hypersensivity?" (Alan MacBride , Mon 18:12) Newsgroups:

  • Hiya all,
    I don't come out of my den very often, but I have to ask this question. Also, several others. BTW, I seem to be completely immune to any effects no matter how snotty I get.

    Working conditions:
    Fairly clean. Nitril gloves, some attention to not getting the snot all over ourselves. Not always completely successful. Immediate cleanoff with vinegar then soap. Exposure is mostly on the arms.

    The epoxy:
    RAKA 127 resin, slow set hardener. Mix is 2-to-1. Having used other epoxies, this is a fairly benign mix. (The 5-to-1 goop I used to use make my eyes water occasionally.)

    How soon can can or do symptoms manifest themselves?
    What do they look or act like?
    Other than not working with epoxy, are there any preventive measures?

    Oh! One other thing I just thought of. The shop is very well ventilated. The garage door is wide open all the time we're working.

    Thanks in advance to everyone,

Here's the most interesting answer that I got. This is from Mark Anderson.

  • Alan,
    You've gotten remarkably little useful response to your questions. Well, hopefully this will help.

    The primary problem with epoxy allergy is skin sensitization. Since our usual boat building epoxies have little to no vapor, there is much less problem with inhalant sensitization, therefore there is no standard recommendation for mask protection. The exception to this would be if you're sanding epoxy that is still green, i.e. not cured for several days.

    Any allergy is more likely to develop in those individuals that are 'atopic', i.e. allergy prone. Atopy clusters in families. The 3 main disorders of atopic individuals are eczema, asthma and hay fever. If you, or others of your near blood relatives, have any of these problems, then you are more likely to be sensitized to allergenic substances, such as epoxy. OTOH, some substances are so allergenic that most people react to them. A classic example of this is poison oak/ivy/sumac.

    The skin sensitization that can develop is 'contact dermatitis'. It could develop very quickly (few days) after exposure if the individual is very allergy prone or is already sensitized to something similar to it. Or it can develop after years of exposure. It develops at the areas of contact. It is an excematoid type rash, which is also what poison oak rash is. So, the acute rash itself looks the same in detail, but in general is different in that a contact dermatitis is at the areas of contact, and not in the pattern of excema which isn't due to contact. So....

    The acute rash will show as itchy red bumps, that may then form small blisters that can then break and weep. Later the rash can get dry and crusty. Secondary bacterial infection can develop when the skin is weepy. With chronic excematoid dermatitis the skin gets dry, thickened, cracks, and becomes what is called 'lichenified'. Since it's pretty common to get accidental epoxy on the forearms just above your gloves, that'd be a common spot for the rash to first develop. Other areas might be the knees, and fingers (if your gloves tear). I suspect that symptoms in and around the eyes, (red, itch, tearing, etc.) is either due to touching that area with your hands, or from green epoxy dust.

    Obviously the best treatment is prevention. Once sensitized to one epoxy, you'll likely remain sensitized forever, though I suppose it may be possible that different brands of epoxies have different catalysts to which you might not be sensitized. Yet, if you do start getting the itchy rash, all is not lost, any more than those that get other forms of occupational contact dermatitis necessarily have to quit their jobs. It's a matter of degree and treatment.

    Aside from careful prevention of further contact after sensitization, the treatment primarily consists of cortisone type anti-inflamatory steroid medications applied to the skin. There are a zillion steroid creams of varying strengths. Severe generalized reactions could require systemic, i.e. oral or injected, steroids. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or other antihistamines can be used to control the itch. So, if an individual starts to get the rash, the home treatment would be application of over the counter cortisone cream 3 or 4 times a day and oral antihistamines, plus prevention of further contact. A problem with wearing impervious gloves is the sweating you get under them. An axiom of dermatology is "If it's wet, dry it. If it's dry, wet it." So, a weepy contact dermatitis in a sweaty glove would not be a good thing. Wearing larger rubber gloves over cotton gloves to absorb the sweat would help. OTC cortisone cream is very much at the weak end of steroid creams. Unfortunately, all the stronger stuff is prescription in the USA.

    Mark Anderson (A general physician, but not a dermatologist)
    DBA Riparia
    "The trouble with good ideas is that they soon degenerate into a lot of hard work." Anon.

We'll just have to wait and see what develops after Alicia goes to the dermatologist.

  • 08/13 Removed the keelbolt armature. Cut another anchor from the heavier stock/scrap. Roughs out at 33.5 lbs.
  • 08/15 "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Stopped by and installed one set of strips.
  • 08/17 I'm determined to get as much done as possible; which is to say, every little bit gets the boat further along. One set of strips installed.
  • 08/18 Pondered. Yep! I just sat on the gangbox and looked at the boat... for two hours.
I have a lot of neighbors here at the graving dock. It's an eclectic mix. There's the mortician who parks his hearse next door. I rarely see him though. Next to him, there's Mark. He does body work. On the other side, There's Marty, a hospital maintenance worker, with a couple of Harleys. Then there is a cabinetmaker next to him and an autobody refinisher next to him.
I must be making some progress because the questions have changed from "Whatcha buildin'?" to "When is it going to be done?" to "When are we going to turn the boat over?"
  • 08/19 Mongo's AWOL. Start off with the mandatory stop by Home Depot. Pick up slabs of 2" Pink Foam.
    I've had the plywood for the deadwood cut to size and laying around for several weeks, (or is it months?) [000819b_deadwood.jpg]   The deadwood and the garbord plank, the only real plank so far since it's 4"s wide, are all part of the same system. They form the basis for the keel plug. The garbord plank is beaded at the bottom and flat at the top. Or it will be, once it's planed down even with the keel.
    We cut the 24"x96" pieces of foam into 12"x96" pieces and glued them up as a slug 14"s tall and 104"s long. The latex based glue is going to take several days to dry fully, then it gets put up on the keel and fastened (somehow, I haven't figured how yet), to the keel. The next step then will be to shape it into a keel weight plug for casting.
  • 08/20 No Mongo. No Alicia. Captain Blighdawg is wondering if the crew jumped ship. Well, at least is isn't a mutiny. They might have decided to have me for lunch.
    The garbord plank was started yesterday. I could only install one side then. Today I installed the other side.
    [000820a_garbord.jpg]  Time to wait for the glue to dry.
      The Giant Pink Thing still isn't dry either. So I turned my attention to that scrap iron littering the front of the garage.[000820b_anchor.jpg]I put a scarfing tip on my torch and cut away most of the iron left in the web. This will save loads of grinding later on. I also mitered the leading edges, also to save grinding. Grinding takes a long time, is quite tedious and wears out discs which cost money!

An addendum to the Alicia question... Her doctor thinks she might be allergic to her cats. But! They still drained her of several gallons of blood to run tests.

  • 08/21 Sanded top of garbord plank.
    Picked up "Big Pink" to move it... and it came apart. Merde! This glue is taking forever to dry. I bought a latex based glue so it wouldn't eat the foam away when it was laminated. This might not have been the best choice for the job. Hope it holds together long enough to get the fiberglass on it.
  • 08/22 Cut an oversized piece of 1/2" plywood to become the baseplate for the keel plug ("BP"). Laminated an additional 8"s to an 8' length. The keel weight seems to be about 8'8"s long at its longest, and about 10.5"s at its widest. That's it for one day.
  • 08/24 Trimmed baseplate to the garbord profile. Glued same to Big Pink.[000824a_bigpink.jpg]Frittered around, grinding anchor #2 while waiting for Godot, I mean, waiting for the glue to dry.
    [000824b_bigpink.jpg]"BP" is ready for installation.

You may be asking yourselves, "What happened to planking the hull? It was almost done. I want to see the hull."
Well friends, there is a method to my "Madness". You see, at this point, there's about 30"s to go, but once the hull is finished, it'll be like working on a steeply pitched roof. Right now I can stand inside the boat on any of the horizontal surfaces and work comfortably on the various keel elements. So, bare with me as these details get accomplished, and then planking will get finished.

  • 08/25 Spent the day fairing Big Pink. My friend Chico stopped by to help. We hauled the plug up and onto the keel, screwed it in place, (that's what the plywood baseplate is for), and rough sanded it to shape. Then we brought it back down and placed it on horses to finish sanding.

Who says cats and dawgs can't get along?
"Sharkbait" started hanging around a couple of days ago. He's quite at home sprawling in the sawdust. He's a fearless little squirt. The racket of power tools doesn't bother him in the least. His regular haunt is the garage in front of this complex, where he can be found sleeping under one of the trucks being worked on, but he comes over to check up on progress several times a day, especially around BBQ time.

  • 08/26, 08/27 Closer inspection of the plug revealed a sizable flat spot on one side. Either the plywood plate shifted while tracing it on the keel or there's a corresponding flat spot on the side of the keel. I'll check that next time I go up there. (I should know better than to build anything without measuring!)
    Mongo and I laid the plug on horses, baseplate up, and laidout the centerline and 12" stations. The flat spot is about 3/8ths shy of being fair. I cut a piece of plywood to form a dam for filling out the plug, isolated it from the plug with polyethelene and screwed it to the baseplate. Then I got the bright idea of using the FREE styrofoam dust as a filler for the epoxy and covering it with black plastic to speed up the cure time. Well, it speeded up the cure time alright, but the black plastic shrank and produced the most amazing ripple effect on the filler, sort of like a sand dune. A very artistic look! Not what I was hoping for though. Microballons filled in the dunes.
  • 08/28 Faired the rest of the plug with epoxy/phenolic bubbles.
  • 08/29 Glassed plug with 3.5 oz. material.
  • 08/30 Re-faired with epoxy/phenolic bubbles. Raised scaffolding on Starbord side to final elevation to reach top of hull.
  • 08/31 (3.5 oz. cloth is beautiful. Smooth and invisible but not stiff enough. This'll be great for glassing the interior surfaces.) Wetout and glass with 1708. I was expecting this to be hard to work with, but was pleasantly surprised. Wets out very nicely.
  • 09/01 Apply epoxy/cabosil/phenolic coat to fill the weave.
  • 09/02 Sand the plug.
  • 09/03 Final fairing coat applied first thing in the morning. I used phenolic bubbles, my favorite filler for fairing, and fast hardener so that I could sand today.
    I'm not happy using the fast hardener is this heat (mid 80's). No matter how small the batches I mix or how fast I work, it "kicks" before I use it all up. The alternative is using the slow-set and then I'd be waiting for Miles Davis to show up before I could sand.
    Raised Portside scaffolding to final elevation.
    Sanded "Big (no longer) Pink".

Autumn. There's a reason it's called "Fall".  001022_120x90.jpg]


Copyright © 2000 Alan "Maddog!" MacBride
Most recent revision 09/04/00