Sunday, February 26, 2012
Progress Report: Stone Horse, Belle Starr
Wouldn't you know? The last work session on the Stone Horse, Belle Starr was during a snow storm. Now, you should understand, it doesn't snow very often in the lower elevations of the Pacific Northwest anymore. Yet, here it is a month later and guess what? Yes it's snowing.
This makes for a challenging outdoor work situation when most of the repairs involve epoxy and the rest of the work is sanding and painting.
One huge benefit from the cool weather is, the epoxy cures very slow. This means that glue applied yesterday is still pliable today and is easy to shape, form and finish.
There are tricks to successful use of epoxy in cold weather so be warned, don't do this at home unless you are willing to accept the occasional failure of your material.
The last few days have seen some progress in the repair and rehab of Belle Starr. This is not a restoration project as we so often see in the Doryman boatyard. Belle Starr is in great shape for a 30 year old boat.
You may think differently from the photos but often, long before an owner decides to sell their boat, maintenance falls to a minimum. It is not unusual to see a fine wood boat, only a couple decades old, with serious problems. In this case a few yearly haul-outs were neglected and it is a tribute to the builder that the boat held up so well.
As noted earlier, the bowsprit and boomkin needed to be replaced. In the process of researching the development of the Stone Horse, I discovered that the original plans called for a plank bowsprit.
This is good news! I'm not too fond of hanging out there, over the deep blue, on a stick.
To supplement the safety factor, Belle Starr will soon have a bow pulpit, which for some inexplicable reason, she didn't have before. A wide flush deck with no life-lines or handholds seems precarious for the single-hander, though I find the sparse, clean lines aesthetically appealing.
This boat has a bridge deck in the cockpit. It's about the same level as the galley, down below. When rot developed in the main bulkhead from the cockpit deck, as it so often does, it traveled across into the cabinet on the other side.
This is an excellent opportunity to install a new sink where Belle Starr had a simple plastic pan. (May I mention that it is wonderful to have a project that can use some of the stuff that has accumulated in the material storage shed? It's a regular chandlery out there!)
This was a tricky repair; a puzzle. All of the pieces were glued-up at the same time and each had to be installed in the correct order. There is a piece of the deck missing from under the teak overlay that you can't see here. Talk about a challenge!
Once again, the cool weather slows the epoxy cure to a crawl, giving plenty of time to get it right.