SV Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382 - Homeport: Beaufort, NC

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Installing New Tabbing In the Ice Box Compartment

Prior to cutting any cloth for tabbing, we filled the gap between the two aft bulkheads with expanding foam.
Adding expanding foam between the two aft bulkheads.

Next we filled the voids under the aft bulkhead, mid-ship panel, and forward panel with expanding foam.
Adding foam under the aft bulkhead, mid-ship panel, and forward panel.

After cutting away the excess foam, we dry fit sections of 1708 cloth tabbing  along the various surfaces.
Dry fitting 1708 cloth between the hull and vertical panels in the ice box compartment.

The forward and mid-ship panels have one layer of cloth.   The cut out in the fore and aft bulkheads will allow the ice box drain, bilge pump discharge hoses, and the propane line for the stove to pass under the ice box.
Multiple layers of cloth on the double bulkhead aft.

We plan to capitalize on the discovery of the double bulkhead by laminating the two ½” bulkheads together to form a  single stout rib along the hull.  The achieve the additional strength this area received two to three layers of cloth.

Anne suited up for wetting out fiberglass cloth.

Wetting out and laying up large sections of fiberglass is always a team effort.
Looking forward from the cockpit locker at the new tabbing.
Looking down through the ice box lid at the heavy lay-up over the double bulkhead.

Another sign of Morgan’s hasty construction is the lack of bulkhead on the inside of the cockpit combings.   
Morgan did not extend the bulkhead between the cockpit locker and the galley did into the inside of the cockpit combing.

While we were in the neighborhood we filled the opening  at the top of the bulkhead between the cockpit locker  and the galley with a ½” The plywood insert .  We also added tabbing between the bulkhead and the underside of the deck.  Our additions should add strength to the hull and deck. 
Plywood insert extends bulkhead.  Tabbing bonds bulkhead to deck and combing.

Ultimately we plan to re-mount the Alder-Barbour condenser unit in this vicinity along with a vent into the galley for circulating air around the condenser.   


Here is a link to additional images and notes – Ice Box Rebuild Photo Album

Monday, December 29, 2014

Dissecting the Ice Box Reveals Morgan Construction Shortcomings

Here is a link to part one – Removing the Original Ice Box

I expected to unveil the cause of the leaking drain that initiated the ice box rebuild, I did not anticipate to discover…
Exterior of ice box drain fitting... and yes my foot is resting on the starboard engine bed in the background.
The fitting between the ice box and the drain hose was a 90⁰ hose barb.  Standard fare on the discharge end – a hose held in place with a stainless hose clamp – all good here.  At the ice box end - the hose was set in the box via a coat of epoxy painted atop the insulating foam.

The interior of the ice box drain fitting.  The flat surface was pressed against the exterior of the ice box.

The end of the hose barb was cut flush with the wall of the box.  That is it.  No mushroom head fitting.  No threads tapped into the box.  No caulking.  I have to believe this fitting has leaked since hull #115 rolled out of the production shed.  The mold in the insulation surrounding the drain fitting serves as additional evidence of a 35 year old leak.

Once all the ice box pieces were excavated and the last of the insulation crystals sucked into the shop vac, I marveled at a complete lack of tabbing between the hull and any of the surrounding cabinetry.
Looking forward through the ice box compartment at the unsupported 1/2" plywood wall below the galley counter top.

The wall forward of the ice box that forms the face below the counter top in the galley is unsupported for all but the lowest six inches.  The last six inches of the vertical panel (closest to the companionway) rests atop the cabin sole but is not directly fastened to the sole.  I cut the five inch circular hole at the lower right during my early attempts to replace/repair the ice box drain.  I will fill it later in the re-build.
Looking through the lid of the ice box at the unsupported base of the mid-ship, vertical wall that divides the ice box from the engine compartment.

The wall separating the ice box from the engine compartment also lacks tabbing to the hull and is unsupported along its entire length.    This opening allows hot air from the engine compartment direct access to the poorly insulated underside of the ice box – ridiculous!  The black mold in the image above is the remnants of the colony growing around the leaking ice box drain.

Time to purchase more 1708 cloth… TO BE CONTINUED.

Here is a link to additional images and notes – Ice Box Rebuild Photo Album

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Removing the Original Ice Box

We are visiting family in New Hampshire for the holidays.  Over 600 miles from Pilgrim and I finally find a bit of time to post some updates.  

What began as an attempt to replace a leaking drain in the ice box… lead to the discovery of just how inadequate the 35 year old, original insulation… lead to the decision to completely rebuild the ice box.
Looking down into Pilgrim's ice box with Alder-Barbour evaporator on upper left.
The obvious plan of attack would be to make the repair through the opening in the counter top.  This approach provides limited access and plenty of opportunities to damage the countertop.  My second thought was to remove the counter top, but I felt that this would lead to replacing all the counters and galley cabinets.  Fearful of too much project creep, I eliminated removing the  the counter top as an option.

Currently, Pilgrim’s engine and the partition separating the engine compartment and the cockpit locker are removed.  This provides unfettered access to the bulkhead aft of the ice box.  Additionally, this bulkhead was a mess when we began our refit.
So many issues here I am speechless..
Wires ran asunder.  A defunct manual pump for the ice box hung from the wall.  A previous owner sprayed a silly-string-esque foam on the bulkhead in an attempt to either insulate or dampen sound.  We were all too happy to rid the boat of this abomination.  Thus our plan of attack for rebuilding the ice box was via the removal of a section of the aft bulkhead.  

NOTE...I do realize that the bulkheads are structural.  I consulted with a couple experienced marine carpenters prior to initiating the first cut.  We have a plan that I am confident will result in a stronger hull once completed. 

I removed the Alder-Barbour condenser and evaporator prior to making the first cut.

The Alder-Barbour condenser resided on a shelf in the cockpit locker.  Note the silly string is gone.
Fortunately identifying the height of the countertop and location of structural members at the inboard corner was easy due use of screws in the original construction.  Based on the fastener layout I marked out the section to be removed.  Along the hull I used the top of the tabbing as a guide.  Using a combination of jigsaw and circular saw I cut away the ½” plywood bulkhead and discovered…
Surprise... another bulkhead!
a second ½” plywood bulkhead.  Both bulkheads were tabbed to the hull and were separated by a ½” to ¾” gap.  The forward bulkhead extends from the hull to the underside of the galley countertop.
Ice box insulation exposed.  The insulation along this side of the box was less than 2" thick.
Removing the second bulkhead exposed the feeble ice box insulation.  In most areas the insulation was less the two inches thick and consisted of crisp, disintegrating open cell foam.
The open cell insulation crumbled when handled.
The insulation was not bonded to the exterior of the ice box and was easy to remove with a razor knife.
After cutting around the insulation with a razor knife it fell away from the box.
Our plan is to re-insulate the box with a minimum of four inches of foam.  This will result in a smaller but vastly more efficient ice box.  A smaller box will hopefully allow us to reuse some of the original ice box walls.    

The initial wall to go was the aft. 

Looking into the ice box from the cockpit locker.
In an effort to preserve as much of the original walls as possible, I discovered that by drilling a pilot hole and then bridging the base of the jigsaw on opposite faces allowed me to cut along the corner. 

NOTE… A standard jigsaw blade is not adequate for cutting fiberglass.  The Bosch T341-HM1 blades are designed for cutting fiberglass.   The T341 blades are 5-1/4” long.   I had to use a cut off wheel to shorten the blade to 3” for making these cuts.
My technique for cutting the ice box walls into sections.
The final outboard cut required some awkward hand sawing.
In small spaces I resorted to hand sawing. 

More images and notes are available in our Ice Box Rebuild Album

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The View From Here

 Snapped an image of Pilgrim, upper center,  while installing a new antenna and Garmin anemometer atop the mast of SV Sea Rose, a 58 foot Little Harbor Sloop.   Sea Rose's owner whats the boat ready for departure prior to the holidays.  Ticking off all the last minute Sea Rose projects is consuming much of my time.

I know the blog has been a bit silent of late.  Multiple trips for Florida, a quick stint of work for Outward Bound, and a Thanksgiving Holiday have slowed our progress and limited time for penning updates.

We have made some progress on Pilgrim…
  • We are pleased to report that our cap rail repairs stopped the leaks along the starboard hull.  Previously we would have drips in the pilot berth, electrical panel, and quarterberth during periods of heavy rain.
  • We have installed a new potable water manifold that allows us to isolate or  equalize the water between the port and starboard tanks.
  • We have installed the pressure water system and accompanying manifold
  • We removed the original ice box and all the original insulation. 

I do plan to write up descriptions of all these projects.

The next step is to build a new ice box with much improved insulation.

For the next few weeks I'll be spending more time on projects for other peoples' vessels and peering longingly at Pilgrim from afar. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Caprail Repairs - Part 3

This post is a continuation of our caprail repairs here are links to…

In terms of size we definitely save the largest caprail repairs for last.
With the bow pulpit and anchor roller removed, I begin probing the extent of the damage along the top face of the caprail.

The repair process was similar to the sides of the caprail… remove the rotten / damaged wood, cut a spline to fit the void, epoxy spline in place, then sand.  The difference on the top face of the caprail was twofold….

 First these repairs will very visible.  The repairs to the seam on the sides will be hidden by the rub rail.

Secondly, the damaged areas on the top face of the rail were much larger.  The largest damaged area was starboard, forward.  The ½’ bolts for the anchor roller were very poorly bedded.  Removing the rot in this area required excavating the full 1-1/8” thickness of the rail for a length of 23” and a width of over 1”.
Excavating rotten wood along both sides of the bow.
I completed repairs on the forward two sites and then moved aft to the aft  two.

Four areas on the top face of the caprail at the bow suffered from rot due to water intrusion.  In each area screws and thru-bolts associated with hardware mounted on the rail were the source of the leak.  The culprits included bolts for the anchor roller, screws on all four of the bow pulpit feet, and both forward cleats.
Port aft repair - water intruded along the cleat thru-bolts (right) and bow pulpit base (left) 

I would begin by using a drill, a chisel, and pick to identify the extent of the damage.
Searching for the extent of the damage and removing screws from port, aft repair.

Once I had a good idea of scope of the rot, I removed all the screws from the damaged wood.  This was followed up with multiple passes from a circular saw to remove the majority of the damage.
The port, aft repair after using a circular saw to remove damaged wood.
Using a hammer and chisel, I cleaned out and squared up the void.  After inspecting hole to ensure all the rot was removed, I took measurements and fabricated a piece of teak to fit the hole.
Port, aft repairs with spline ready for final fitting.
For the two largest voids matching the size of  spline to the hole required laminating multiple pieces of teak together.  Once I had a spline slightly over-sized for the void, I employed 80 grit sandpaper and some additional work with the chisel to attain a snug fit..
Starboard, aft spline set in thickened epoxy.
The splines were then set in place with epoxy thickened with West 407 Filler and Cabosil.  I used the 407 since it sands easily and it’s brown color will better blend with the wood.
Port, aft spline after sanding it down flush with surrounding caprail.
I shaped the splines to stand at least 1/8” proud of the caprail when installed.  Once the epoxy cured I used a grinder with a 40 grit disc, followed by an orbital sander with 80 grit paper, and finally an orbital sander with 120 grit paper to fair the spline in with the original caprail
All four of the damaged areas at the bow are now filled with new teak.
Rather than spent time and money to coat the caprails, we plan to allow the teak to weather to a natural grey.  My hope is the repairs at the bow will better blend in as the wood weathers.

For additional images and notes on this project check out the Caprail Repairs Photo Album

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Caprail Repairs - Part 2

This post is a continuation of Caprail Repairs – Part 1

For a few feet on each side the caprail seam was intact.  In these areas I drilled out the existing screw holes to 3/16” in preparation for filling them with epoxy. 

Prior to applying any epoxy to the caprail, Anne used acetone and a chip brush to thoroughly clean the notch.
Anne cleaning the caprail with acetone.
Installing the splines is a two person job.   Anne mixed epoxy thickened with a combination of milled fibers and cabosil.  The milled fibers in the mixture provide additional strength for holding the wood screws used to attach the rub rail. The cabosil acts as a thickening agent.  She scooped the epoxy mixture into syringes then passed them up to me.  I worked the rail. We kept two syringes in circulation during the installation.
Filling the notch in the caprail with thickened epoxy.

Working in sections approximately equal to the length of the spline,  I first filled any void that extended inboard  inside of the notch.  I then made a second pass and filled the notch ½ to ¾ full of epoxy.  Then the spline was pressed into place.  I used a plastic scraper to smooth out and remove the excess epoxy from the rail.
Spline set in epoxy along the port rail.

Most of the splines fit flush to a bit proud of the caprail.  In the areas where the spline was recessed or a void remained on the sides of the spline, I added additional epoxy.
Some areas required additional epoxy to fill the voids.

Due day time work obligations and shorter fall days, we were only able set about three quarters of the splines on our initial attempt.  A couple days later, Anne’s father, Bill, assisted me with the second round of spline installs – Thanks!

Once the epoxy cured the sanding began.  I made the initial pass with 80 grit paper on an orbital sander.  This removed all the epoxy and wood that extended beyond the caprail.  I then switched to 120 grit paper on the orbital sander, and used this to cosmetically fair the repairs to the caprail. 
The rail after sanding with 120 grit paper.

Finally some areas, the radius edges and areas adjacent to hardware, required hand sanding.
Hand sanding with 120 grit at the bow.

We are quite pleased with the outcome.
Completed repairs at port bow
Close up of repair.  Can you spot the butt joint of two spines?

Of course we did discover some areas that the epoxy did not completely fill around the spline, holes we forgot to fill, or cracks we over looked on the first pass. 
Wow - how did we miss that spot?
While sanding I marked these areas with tape.  Once the first round of sanding was completed, I cleaned up the holidays, oversights, and new discoveries with the dremel tool.
Routing out a small crack in a joint at the stern.

Armed with a new patch of epoxy we made quick work of the small repairs.

During our repairs to the vertical face of the caprail we discovered rot along the top face of the rail at the bow.  The fasteners attaching the anchor roller and bow pulpit were allowing water to seep into and under the caprail.
Think we may need some larger splines?

To be continued…

More images and notes are available in our Caprail Repairs Photo Album

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spline Tingling Pre-Halloween Update (a.k.a. Caprail Repairs - Part 1)

Since Pilgrim’s arrival in Beaufort (or shall I say from the beginning of Pilgrim’s Progress?) we have pursued leaks in the cabin.  Every good old boat has them, and I’m guessing that every new owner aggressively pursues them.  Our efforts have lead us from removing genoa tracks to rebuilding the mast partner backing plate and on to a cornucopia of re-bedding…  port in the head, chain plates, cockpit drains.    

One of the most vexing leaks is along the starboard hull in the pilot berth, nav station, and quarter berth areas.  Drips issue forth from four different screws in the hull deck joint.  Initially I believed the genoa track was to blame.  The track was removed and the holes sealed, but the leak persisted.  My next hypothesis was that water travels along the hull-deck joint, under the caprail until it reaches one of the four leaky screws.  By researching posts on the Morgan 38 Discussion Board, I discovered that the caprail is actually consists of two pieces of teak with a horizontal seam hidden under the rub rail.  Pilgrim’s one inch stainless steel rub rail runs from stem to stern along the caprail.  The rub rail consists of eight sections of curved metal held in place by #10 counter sink screws at 6” intervals.
The first section of rub rail removed was in the area of the leaks along the starboard hull.

Removing Pilgrim’s rub rail revealed that the seam between the two sections of caprail had failed.  This is likely due to the screws from the rub rail placed directly in the seam between the two sections of wood.  The gap between the two sections ranged from 1/16” to nearly ¼”.  A previous owner attempted to remedy the issue by filling the concave section of the rub rail with 5200 then  re-installing the rail.  For the most part the 5200 did not bond to the wood and simply served to direct runoff into the seam and under the caprail.
Port, aft caprail with rub rail in place.  Everything looks good on the surface.
Removing the rub rail reveals the failed cap rail seam.

Our solution?    Fill the seam with teak splines set into thickened epoxy.

By making a couple passes with a circular saw set to a ¼” depth of cut, I created a ¼” wide by ¼” deep notch along the seam on the caprail.  The cuts removed all the internal 5200 and provided a clean surface on which to apply epoxy.  Next I sanded the outboard vertical surface of the caprail to remove the cetol coating and expose clean teak on which to apply the epoxy.
Port, aft caprail with 1/4" notch cut along seam and surface of the wood sanded.
Port bow prepped for repairs.

Next step was to create teak splines to fill the notch.  Using a table saw for the cuts, I ripped scrap teak boards into ¼” square sections that varied in length from 6 to 24 inches. 
Teak splines.
NOTE - Fear not if the spines do not emerge from the table saw in perfect ¼” dimensions… mine did not.  But my cuts along the caprail were not perfect either.

The next step was to dry fit all the splines into the notch along the caprail.  This process was akin to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.

Dry fitting splines into the notch.

Initially, I cut all ends of the splines at a 45, but this limited the options for fitting.  Eventually my system evolved to squaring the ends of the splines and keeping a piece of 80 grit sandpaper handy for modifying the splines and creating overlapping joints.   

Once the splines were fit, Anne numbered each piece, marked it to identify orientation, and then removed it from the notch. 
Fortunately we have access to four sections of scaffolding with walk-boards.
 Each side required 25 to 30 splines.

To be continued…

For additional images and notes check out our Caprail Repairs Photo Album.