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

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.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Celebrating the Completion of Major Modifications in the Head

With the black water plumbing complete, we focused on the remaining projects in the head. 

The pump for the saltwater deck wash down was installed in the cabinet behind the toilet.
The wash down pump is mounted in the locker outboard of the toilet.
 I fabricated a junction box for the future mast wiring.
Junction box for mast wiring includes a positive terminal block and the ground bus.
The junction box is mounted under the sink in the head.
Mast wiring junction box mounted under sink.
The macerator also utilizes junction box. 

Six months after I cut open the wall under the head counter...
Late February, just prior to the initial cut.  The original access to area under the counter in the head was ridiculously small. 
 we closed up a portion of the cut out with a removable access panel and left a large opening for accessing plumbing valves under the sink.
The opening to access plumbing below the sink is now appropriately sized.  A sunbrella cover that snaps over the opening is in the works.  
We used a large section of white acrylic to fill the opening just aft of the toilet.  The original toilet paper holder is mounted in this panel.  The access under the sink is now much larger.  We plan to create a Sunbrella cover that snaps into place for the opening under the sink.  The trim around the area is fabricated out of starboard. 

The switch for the shower sump pump remains in its original position just below the countertop trim, aft of the toilet.  I installed a switch for the new macerator pump in the original holding tank indicator panel located alongside the switch for the shower sump.  These switches are visible in the images above and below.
Teak cabinet door, salvaged from our M34, mounted outboard of the toilet.
The opening I cut outboard of the toilet is covered by a teak cabinet door.   This hinged door allows for easy access to the wash down pump and access to additional storage.

The head is far from complete, but the essential systems are now in place. The remaining project list includes…
  • Installing an access port under the shower seat
  • Installing an access port for the shower facet plumbing
  • Installing a solar vent fan or small hatch for increased ventilation.
  • Installing the medicine cabinet / mirror over the countertop
  • Installing LED lighting
  • Fabricating a storage shelf outboard and above the shower faucet
  • Converting the old clothes hamper cut out in the countertop to a storage bin
  • Sewing a shower curtain.
  • Sewing a cover for the opening under the sink

Yes the list is still long, but for now we are celebrating our current accomplishments.

Images of past and ongoing work in the head can be found in our Head Refit Photo Album.