The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2016.02.08 - Time to Move On

It’s been 5 1/2 weeks since my last Naiad Project entry, not that I’ve stopped doing anything but rather sanding, sanding and yet more sanding isn’t exactly the most scintillating to be writing about. There’s also the fact that I took a 2 week break from Naiad after reaching the completion of the glueing up of the repair on 31st December. I ran out of enthusiasm.

Well, not exactly. I needed a break. After the exertions of trying to reach my target by the end of the year, I found that I had run out of inclination to continue and had to wait until my reservoir of inclination had refilled.

And then the really hard work started.

Well, it should have done only it went cold, too cold for the epoxy to work and I had to wait for the weather to warm up a bit.

And when it did I started on the sanding. First a coat of un-thickened epoxy followed by some epoxy with filler where needed followed by lots of sanding. Not that I could do more than about an hour at a time, the long board isn’t known as a torture board for nothing.

Your hands are between 2 and 3 feet apart and you are pressing the long board on the hull so that it bends along the curve and then you sand back and forward, then up and down keeping the pressure on the ends of the board. Your arms, back, waist and hips all hurt and it’s not fun.

The only good thing about it is stopping.

That and the growing smoothness of the hull.

Then more filler and more sanding rinse and repeat until…..

You reach the stage shown in the photos below. Here the repair has been coated with a layer of un-thickened epoxy and it looks great.

I could get it better but not without a lot more effort. I decided that this was good enough for now and if there are any bits that need to be looked at, then I’ll do that next Winter when she is out of the water again.

Perfect is the enemy of good.

The next task is to fill the screw holes in the hull that were made by screwing the routing guides to the hull and for this I’ll use the sharp ends of cocktail sticks and thickened epoxy to glue them in place. That shouldn’t take too long. More sanding after that but this time using a palm sander. Then the bilge keel needs to be cleaned up, the holes drilled in the new hull and the keel refitted. After that she can be turned the right way up, the remainder of the repair completed and the reconstruction phase can begin.

I have lots of screws on order made from silicon bronze, arguably the best metal to use for wooden boat construction but somewhat more expensive than brass screws. Not that you should use brass screws at all especially for a salt water boat since the zinc leaches out of the brass and you are left with copper screws which are no use at all.

Even bronze becomes waisted after a while.

Did you know that it is cheaper to buy silicon bronze screws from Australia than from England? Well, it is in the quantities I bought them. Before the delivery cost the price of the screws I needed was 46% of the best price I could find in England and after the delivery charges still 54% of the price. I saved over £200 by buying from a classic boat chandlers in New South Wales. I just have to wait for them to arrive.

Update 2016.02.18. The screws were subject to customs duty and VAT on arrival but even so the Australian price was still 75% of the best prices I could find here in Britain.

Oh, and I decided the question of whether to glue or screw. Both where strength is required, which is just about everywhere and screw elsewhere. Also, contrary to normal boat building practise all my screws will be countersunk but not covered. You will be able to see every screw or you will once you remove any paint over the top. I am building this boat with the expectation that things will need to be repaired or changed and having the screws easily accessible means that I will not be damaging the wood just taking the screws out.

The exception to this is the rubbing strake and for two reasons. Firstly the rubbing strake is a sacrificial piece of wood designed to be damaged instead of the hull. If it needs replacing then it is already damaged so not damaging it when taking the screws out is not required. Secondly if you leave the screws showing, in my experience, when the rubbing strake does get damaged you quite often also damage the screw head making it very difficult too remove. So for this part of the hull the screws will be covered with a wood plug held in place by a marine sealant and not glue.

There is also the remainder of the inside of the hull to finish off. The starboard side needs to be cleaned up and faired a bit and the port side needs to be carried out. I expect the hull is dry enough now especially since I accidentally left the 3kW hot air heater blowing on it for 24 hours yesterday.

However, even without these remaining bits to do, I have a hull to refit, not a hull in need a major repair and I am really, really looking forward to the rest of the project. There’s still lots to do and I do not think I’ll be able to complete the work by the end of March as I had originally hoped but the end of May is still achievable, I think.