Sunday, November 29, 2009

Decks aye!

The lookout calls from the main top, "On deck!"

The helmsman answers, "Deck aye!"

So starts every communication aboard tall ships from topmen to crew on deck.

Now Ravn has decks, two of them. Decks? Aye!

After installing the deck beams I used some scrap plywood (thin shards not much good for anything else), yellow glue and spring clamps to make a rough pattern for each deck. I then laid the pattern on my remaining sheet of quarter-in plywood to find the best arrangement, marked the points, and used a batten to connect the dots. I rough cut a little wide and refined the fit with a block plane and file. One of the things that made fitting the decks tricky was that there are cutouts for two frame heads and a notch in the pointy ends for the stems.

Once I was happy with the fit, I mixed up a batch of epoxy and used a foam roller to wet the top of the deck beams and seal the bottom of the deck. I then used wood flour to thicken the epoxy to a peanut butter consistency and spread it a little less than a quarter inch thick on the tops of the deck beams and the tops of the bulkheads. I carefully dropped the deck in place and piled scuba weights and other heavy things I could find on the deck about where the deck beams and the tops of the bulkhead are. I then used the thickened epoxy to fillet between the deck and the hull.

The next day I checked my work by using a flashlight and a mirror to look at the inside of the decks. There was uniform squeeze out around the deck beams. It looks like I got a good, strong connection.

After sanding and fairing the deck, especially the fillet between the deck and hull, I lay my remaining six-ounce fiberglass cloth on the decks. Months ago I ordered 15 yards of 60-inch wide cloth. I covered the outside of the boat before putting the keel on and put a second layer over the keel and everything below the waterline. I carefully saved the scraps and cut them into 4-inch wide strips to tape the plank seams inside the hull after she was turned over. I didn't know how much cloth I had left on the roll, but I hoped I could glass both decks without coming up short and without too much left over. It turns out there was only about three inches left over when I laid it out. Phew! That was a close one! I could not have guessed any better how much cloth I would need.

I wet out the fiberglass cloth with epoxy and using a foam roller and a two-inch disposable bristle brush. It went well and the decks look good. So good, in fact, that I plan on leaving them bright -- at least for the time being.

One feature about the decks I'm pleased about is that they are mostly level with a slight crown and a slight slope from the ends to midships. I wanted water to drain outboard at the corners. Because they are fairly level and most of their perimeter is enclosed I think they will be more handy than highly crowned decks above the sheer. I envision putting stuff on them for a short while in a calm anchorage and not having to worry about it falling into the drink. Speaking of the sheer, I also wanted to preserve that most distinctive and beautiful visual feature of faerings by keeping the deck below it.

Without a doubt, though, my most persistent vision of the decks in use is that of my six-year-old grandson and his three-year-old sister (PFD'd and harnessed, of course) taking command of the decks. Her holding on to the stern stem watching Ravn's wake and big brother at the figurehead on lookout.

No comments:

Post a Comment