Odds and ends around the shop

8 Apr

Things are very hectic here at the moment. My father will be arriving in a couple days and during the week that he’s here we’re hoping to install a used diesel inboard (a Yanmar 1-GM, more on that soon) and maybe even step the mast, though I’m probably getting ahead of myself on that one! Either way, I have a lot to do before he gets down here. Mostly I’ve been puttering around the shop finishing projects and making all sorts of little mounting plates, backing plates, and fiberglass bits. I’ve also got a good friend in town who does video work and he helped me make a DIY chainplate making video and another on fiberglassing. They’ll be up soon. For now, here are a couple little projects I knocked out this week.

First up is the engine room. The engine has yet to arrive so I haven’t been able to start fitting it but there were a couple little things to do first. No.1 was sealing the engine pan. Apparently some previous owner didn’t like how it trapped liquid (which is exactly what an engine pan is designed to do -catch oil/fuel spills) so he drilled a bunch of holes in it. We plugged these with some epoxy and glass cloth.

Then there was the little issue of what I like to call the sub-engine gunk trap. That’s this spot:


 Cleaning this out was a job I never wanted to tackle again so I plugged this hole up with a bit of 1/4″ ply glassed in place. Of course this creates a nice low spot for trapping water so we needed a way to drain it without letting junk into that hard to clean area of the bilges. The solution? A $2 plastic sink part from Lowes:

 First I cut a hole in the new glasswork.
 Then loaded it up with goop. We’ve been using construction
adhesive at $4/tube instead of marine stuff at $16+
And in goes the sink drain. Should keep things dry and a bit easier to clean.
Hmm, what else? I also discovered a little trick for cleaning filthy old rubber. All it takes is a bit of acetone. Now I know you’re not supposed to use acetone for this sort of thing because it actually melts the plastic but in this case I actually wanted to take the whole top layer off. Here’s the hood from my dorade vent:
 The white part has already been cleaned, it started
out looking just as dirty as the rest of it.
After all of five minutes with a rag and that acetone:
Much better. Although I suppose the acetone may have made the
surface porous and therefore much harder to clean. We’ll see.
Ok, last one. Here’s a little fiberglass part I made in the shop:

This is going to go on the inside of the starboard cockpit locker where it will protect the guts of the fridge thermostat which stick out into the locker. This was my second attempt (first success) at making a fiberglass part from a mold and it turned out ok.
I started by making a simple mold with cardboard, duct tape, and a coating of plastic which is adhesive on one side.
 Here’s the mold with all my materials assembled.
A little box like this is so simple that the glasswork only takes about 10 minutes. I used one layer of 1.5oz chopped strand mat and one layer of 6oz cloth which turned out plenty strong enough.
With the mold removed:

Trimming the edges on my yard sale scroll saw:

I finished it with some hideous ‘marine’ (sometimes I think that just means ‘ugly colors’) alkyld enamel paint I bought for $3 at the local recycled materials shop. Whatever, it’s just going in a locker where no one will see it.

It was a pretty easy project but I found working with fiberglass quite a bit harder than I expected, especially using polyester resin instead off the nice, expensive epoxy I’ve gotten used to. More on that soon, including a video!

This article was syndicated from Safe At Harbour But Meant For The Sea: DIY Sailing with Paul Calder


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