More work on Odyssey's hatch

by Chuck March 5, 2009

Sorry, no catchy title. I did try...

I've continued working on the hatch over the last week and a half, I just haven't got around to writing about. It hasn't been too exciting actually. Most of the time I've been waiting for glue to dry.

On the 26th I made it out to the barn to epoxy the inner hatch together. I mixed up a pot of epoxy from the same cans of resin and hardener that I used to repair the transom -- they've been sitting around for a couple, three years but I figured they still be good. Anyway, I spread the glue, stuck in the biscuits, and after a little jiggering, I clamped the whole works together. And started waiting for the epoxy to kick.

Two hours later, still nothing. Great, I thought. Now I have to clean all that mess off and start over. Yuck. I couldn't take it. I walked away.

On the 27th I stopped a Schuck's while I was out running errands and picked up a new syringe of 5-minute epoxy. That way when I got around to cleaning up and starting over I'd have epoxy to play with. While I was putting the epoxy on my workbench I eased the clamps on the hatch -- still gooey. I tightened them back down (hey, it could still kick I thought) and went away.

Until Sunday.

Sunday (the 1st.) Almost a week later. I eased the clamps and the wood didn't split apart. The epoxy had finally gone off and stuck the pieces together. Yay! I got out my belt sander and my palm sander and spent some time sanding off the squeeze-out and generally cleaning and smoothing the frame. It looked great. Life was good.

Until I test fit the frame in the hatch. The *%$)@ thing didn't fit. The bottom was fine, the top was a quarter in on both sides from the frame. Looks like it's really 3 degrees, not 4. I'm not sure if I'm gonna to to the trouble of starting over, but before I do I'm gonna get one of those bevel gauges that other people have so I can take an accurate angle off the hatch. This is good enough for now though.

With one thing (baseball practice) and another (being lazy) I didn't get out to work on the hatch again until last night (the 4th). I used a router and my router table to cut a rabbet for the plexiglass window to fit in. I cut biscuit slots, mixed some epoxy, glued it up and clamped the whole thing together. Now I just have to wait a few days for the epoxy to kick and I'll be ready to cut and fit the window and bolt the whole thing together.

While I was out in the barn I picked up a scrap piece of hemlock and tried out a different way of milling the hatch frame. I cut what is essentially a long tenon on one side and then turned the piece over and cut a slot. Two quick milling operations and I had a piece that would have worked perfectly. Next time I'll know...



Project weekend

by Chuck February 22, 2009

It was a beautiful day on the Hill this weekend, so Dana and I took advantage of the weather to get out and get some stuff done.


On Saturday we finished taking the old chicken coop down. Last weekend we stopped when we had trouble getting the bottom boards out of the ground; this weekend I fired up the tractor and used the bucket to hork the whole works up. Once the boards were out I shoved the whole mess out onto the grass nearby so we could cut the wire off the boards.

Cutting the wire was, literally, a pain. My hands are cut up pretty good by the wire. I really must learn to wear gloves when I'm doing this kind of thing. Dana used a pair of bolt cutters to remove the field fence, then I whacked away with an old axe to remove the chicken wire. Once the wire was done I bundled it up and tossed it onto the pile we made last week.

Once I was done with the coop, Dana suggested that I turn the compost bin with the tractor, as long as it was there. Turning a compost bin would have taken me a week the last time I did it (with a shovel and a wheel barrow). With the tractor it only took about half an hour. I love the composters -- we put weeds and grass clippings and leftovers from the garden in, and then we pull black humus out. It's like magic, only not.

Dana loaded the junk wood into the truck while I turned the compost. When I was done we drove it down to the pasture and tossed it onto the burn pile. That's getting pretty big, I'll need to light it pretty soon, probably late in the spring when it has had time to dry.


I wasn't real motivated to go out and work on Sunday, but I wanted to get the rest of the old coop off the place. I loaded up the truck with the wire and hauled it to the solid waste drop-off in Sultan. They let you drop off recyclable material for free, so that's something anyway.

In the afternoon Dana headed out to weed the front gardens. Not sure what she was thinking... She weeded the bed by the front window while I cleaned up the front yard, then we weeded on the mound on the side of the house together. We ran out of time (and energy) so we only did the side facing the house, but it looks a lot better.

When we were walking between the garden and the compost bin with buckets of weeds we noticed that the strawberries in the strawberry jar mostly survived the winter. We're surprised, what with as cold as it was, but pleased -- we won't need to buy as many to restock this year.



Finishing teak

by Chuck February 15, 2009

Made some time to go out to the barn tonight after work to put the first coat of oil on my teak.

Went smooth as... greased teak?

Well, not quite that smooth. As soon as I started using the foam brush I bought the plastic inside the foam shattered so I had to use it like a rag to apply the oil. Then I knocked over the bottle of oil, spilling it across my work bench. That wasn't so bad, actually, I used the foam brush to pick up a blob of oil that I then applied liberally to the teak. I probably used more oil on the teak this way, 'cause I'd already used it, so to speak, and that worked out better for the teak.

While I waited the requisite 20 minutes to rub the wood down I climbed up on Odyssey and finished cleaning under the hatch slides on the poptop. It was really warm up there, now I know where the heat from the propane heater I use in the barn actually ends up.

Anyway, I rubbed the teak down with a towel. It looks fabulous. Well at least compared to the way it looked before.




by Chuck February 13, 2009

I've been listening to Furled Sails, a sailing podcast produced in Florida. Listening to the podcasts has inspired me to go back to work on Odyssey, so tonight after dinner I headed out to the barn to get back to work.

The first thing I need to do now that I have the new winch installed is put the bulkhead back in under the bridge deck. This piece of 3/4-inch plywood is the only support the front of the cockpit has. The bridge deck has the main sheet pulling up on it and the keel winch pulling down; there's a lot of stress in this location. Most of the weight of the 900-lb keel is supported by this bulkhead when winching keel up and down.

And of course something this important doesn't go in easily. Oh no, it takes time and thought and my 14-year-old daughter coming out and saying "What you need is a crow bar."

So I grabbed a crow bar.

And popped the bulkhead right in.

After that it was a simple matter to put in the screws and brackets that hold the bulkhead in place. While I worked on the inside of the boat Katie was on the outside with a scrub brush cleaning up the worst of the algae around the lip of the poptop. A couple more sessions like that and the boat might be close to clean...

Next up is getting something to put on the teak I've been cleaning and putting the wood back on the boat.

(While I was writing this entry I couldn't get "Fish Heads" out of my head. Except it was "bulk heads, bulk heads, laughing happy bulkheads... I'm a sick, sick man.)



Still working

by Chuck February 13, 2009

I'm still working on Odyssey. Slowly, but things are happening.

Here's what I've done since my last entry:

  • Finished drying out the cabin.
  • Removed the bulkheads from the back of the cabin so I could get to the winch.
  • Bought new hardware for attaching the winch.
  • Attached the new winch using new stainless hardware and larger fender washers.
  • Removed the teak companionway slides, the cabin-top hatch slides, and the grab rails.
  • Scrubbed all the teak with fresh water, Oxy-Clean, and fresh water again.
  • Sanded the teak smooth.

That's pretty much it. I've got a few pictures that I took when I started, so hopefully I'll be able to show the difference when I'm done. The difference between the teak when I started and when I finished is hard to believe. But boy will it look good when I put it back on.



Hatch: a new plan

by Chuck January 23, 2009

Off and on for the last week I've been working on building a new hatch for Odyssey. The old one is three pieces of yucky wood screwed to two other pieces of yucky wood with dry wall screws. Not the most "yachty" looking hatch I've ever seen.

I have a picture in my head of what I want the new hatch to look like, but I wasn't sure when I started if I could get anywhere near that picture. Now that I've been working on it for a week I'm thinking I'm gonna get pretty darn close.




The new project list

by Chuck November 16, 2008

Sitting in quiet contemplation on the deck of my sailboat, I came up with a list of projects. Some old, some new, but all things that would improve our days on Odyssey.

Here are the things that I'm realistically going to get done this winter:

  • Clean the cockpit.
  • Clean the cabin.
  • Swab the decks.
  • Clean the green scum off the mast and mast fittings.
  • Put the new winch in.
  • Clean, sand and oil the hatch slides.
  • Clean, sand and oil the door slides.
  • Clean, sand and oil the cabin-top grab rails
  • Fill the holes on the sides of the cockpit where fittings have been removed.
  • Build a new door for the companionway.

Here are the things that I'd like to do, but really, what're the chances that I'll actually get them done?

  • Get a new main sheet.
  • Replace the other lines on the boom (outhaul, downhaul).
  • Get the line I need for a jib downhaul.
  • Replace the old, ugly cleats with new, shiny stainless steel cleats.
  • Replace the lifelines.
  • Put on a real stern ladder.
  • Sew new cushions for the cabin.
  • Put in an electrical system that actually works.

I'm sure that there's more. There always is.



Bolts. Again.

by Chuck January 25, 2006

Stopped at the Coast to Coast to pick up three 3-inch bolts for the pulpit roller thing.

Took it off the boat and to the barn. Tried to take pictures for the Web site but the darn little camera won't keep pictures all the way into to house. I left it disassembled so I can paint it some time in the next week or so.



We got the boom (tent)!

by Chuck January 15, 2006

I need to set up a boom tent on Odyssey to do some of the work I have planned.

I don't want to use my regular topping lift and jib halyard because I want to protect them from sun and rain damage, so today while out running errands I stopped by Coast to Coast and bought 100 feet of 1/4-inch three-strand rope. I'll use it in one length to provide both the topping lift and the halyard for the bow cover.



Getting cheeky with it

by Chuck March 20, 2005

I've been putting this off, 'cause I've never done anything quite this drastic to my mast before. But like most things I've done on the boat (fixing the transom, building a new rudder) it was much harder in the anticipation than in the doing.

It helped that for once I had all the tools and supplies that I needed to finish without having to run off to West Marine or Coast-to-Coast for something or other.

Putting on the new cheek blocks was remarkably straight-forward. After finding and marking the location for the new blocks I drilled the holes with my cheap yet long-lasting 1/4-inch Black and Decker drill I bought 'lo these many years ago down in California. Then I used my brand new pop rivet gun to fasten the cheek blocks to the mast with stainless steel rivets. Took about an hour, most of the time getting set up and getting tools out, etc.

After dinner I went back out and installed the J-mount for my new 10-inch windex. I bought this in the middle of last summer, but never got a chance to attach it, what with the limited amount of sailing I did (so I didn't miss it) and with my pre-occupation with building a new rudder.

I also attached my new jib block to the forestay hounds. That takes care of the top of the mast for this year. It'll be fun to try them out.



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