Sunday, May 4, 2008

Shaping and Prepping the Hulls for Sheathing

(Posted by Scott B. Williams)

I'm back home in Mississippi now after working for 9 days on the Tiki 30 project. So much progress was made while I was there and since I left on Wednesday that updates here are way behind. This post and the one following on the rudders will detail some of the other phases of the project that were going on while I was there to build the mast. After this, David will be taking over again with new photos of what has happened since I left.

When I first arrived back at the shop to begin the mast, the hulls were still outside under a tarp, as they had to be moved out of the way until the interior for the Liberty 42 Sportfishing Yacht was returned to the rear of the shop for finishing. David had built a small, low cart with 6 wheels for moving the hulls. This method works fine when you have enough help to manhandle the hulls onto their sides.

The cart was padded with heavy blankets and the hulls laid over on it, one at a time to be wheeled back inside the shop. The Tiki 30 hulls are much heavier than my Tiki 26 hulls. Once you get into this size range, moving the hulls requires either a lot of muscle or mechanical aids, or both.

The hulls were set up in the inverted position on custom-built, super-strong sawhorses David had the crew build. This was necessary to begin the process of shaping and fairing the keels, skegs, chines, and stems and filling screw holes in preparation for sheathing.

Here you can see the starboard hull with all this filling and shaping work going on.

After the keels and skegs were shaped to a smooth, rounded surface that will cut quietly through the water, they were reinforced with heavy layers of triaxial fiberglass cloth in the areas of possible impact and abrasion damage.

Here is a profile view of the keel on the port hull, reinforced with the triaxial cloth.

Below the starboard hull is ready for sheathing. David decided to use Xynole polyester cloth for this, rather than fiberglass. This decision came about after we made another trip to Ft. Pierce to visit with boat designer and builder Reuel Parker, who uses this material for sheathing on all his boats. This fabric is tough, lightweight, conforms around corners easily and provides great impact resistance. Parker describes its use in detail in his book: The New Cold-Molded Boatbuilding: From Lofting to Launching

David and I made another trip to Ft. Myers on Wednesday before I left and visited the Raka Epoxy warehouse, where he bought enough Xynole cloth to sheath all the exterior surfaces of the boat. His crew is so well organized that he called them from the truck while we were driving back, instructing them to begin pre-coating the hulls, so that when we pulled up the cloth was immediately rolled out and applied to the wet epoxy. As I was leaving the first hull sheathing was done.

Other parts that were sheathed and finished while I was there were the front and aft crossbeams. These were covered with 6-oz. fiberglass, as this was done before the visit with Reuel Parker. The beams came out really nice and will look great when painted.

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