The Montauk Catamaran Company Chronicles, 12/16/14: Just another day in the boatshop
(The Montauk Catamaran Company Chronicles is an ongoing series of posts detailing the construction of Mon Tiki Largo, a James Wharram Designs Pahi 63 MkII. The author’s current boat is the catamaran Mon Tiki, a JWD Tiki 38, which he built in 2012 and currently operates as a day-sailing charter in Montauk NY. You can see all the posts in this series by clicking here.)
Nothing earth-shattering, novel, or even new in the shop today, so for today’s post, and simply illustrated narrative picking up where things left off yesterday.
The first order of business was to remove all the clamps from yesterday’s work. When we built the catamaran Mon Tiki we had 11 bar-clamps in the shop. This was just enough to scarf the 40′ stringers we needed to build the hull. Most other clamping was done using drywall screws, which were removed after the joint was set and the holes filled. The avoids a big investment in clamps, but has two problems.
First removing the screws and filling the holes adds a step. Something the screws break off, which add even more work. And screws don’t always pull the joint as tight as you’d like it to be. I’ve mentioned before that epoxy is pretty forgiving in that respect, but if you’re not careful (and sometimes even if you are) the screw will separate the work pieces a bit as the point leaves the first member of the joint and penetrates the second member. Then the threads of the screw itself will prevent the joint from being pulled tight.
The solution is the back the screw out, hold the piece tight (somethings with a clamp) and then reset the screw. All of which is more work.
So, a couple weeks into this project I ordered 20 more 24″ bar clamps from Harbor Freight, and then even before they arrived, I heard about a very large hobbiest’s wood shop that was being sold off, so I bought another 30 or so clamps, for about 60 total. If I had a crew I wouldn’t mind having another 60.
The next thing was to get as many as the drips and drabs off the work piece as possible while they were still soft. My usual tool for this is a Stanley sureform, but with the cold temperatures the epoxy was still too gummy. After a couple of frustrating passes with the sureform I realized I could just cut it with a utility knife.
During the Mon Tiki build I wrote a long post in the Thermomixed series about the importance of sharp blades and getting to the epoxy clean up at the right time. What I wrote then is even more true on this project. Time, effort and expense saved by tending to things efficiently multiplies over a big project, and the Pahi 63MkII is a big project!
The next thing was for my wife and I to move the work piece off of the storage trestle and into the work area. Because the previous finished piece is too big for us to move by ourselves we had to go over it. Remember! Lift with your back, not with your legs!
Here’s the spine of the aka, taking from a factory made laminated beam with the triangular cheeks removed. The pencil lines provides a guideline for applying glue.
This is my wife measuring out epoxy. That’s four parts Raka 900 medium viscosity resin and one part Raka cold weather hardener. If you look at the pot you’ll see a sharpie circle around the mixing marks so we don’t get confused.
From start to finish it took Amy and me about two hours to prime, glue, and fasten all for cheeks. Plus the 90 minutes I spent getting everything ready, we put another five and a half man-hours into the build today. A drop in the bucket next to the ~4000 hours it will take to finish. But those five hours are done.
After this picture we got our neighbor to help us move the finished beam onto the storage trestle (just visible at the left of the frame), then we moved the beam in process onto the trestle and covered everything with a tarp in anticipation of rain later tonight.
With the balance of the day I cut a hull plating sample to be sent out for testing, and downloaded the US Coast Guard form that will get us our project number and make this an official build, and finished the day with an upbeat note from our engineer. All of the numbers are falling into place with room to spare.
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