Monday, May 3, 2010

Starboard Chine

To me the words "starboard chine," if I squint with my mind, call up images of some foreign harbor at night, with colored lights reflecting on muddy water and the creaking mooring lines of big wooden ships. Yar, it just sounds nautical.

Of course, the starboard chine is also the part of the boat that lines the corner between the (flat) bottom and (nearly vertical) side. This is a critical part of the boat: if your chine unzips you're in trouble. Solution: three long pieces of fir, layered to take the gentle corkscrew shape of the side of the boat as it swoops into the bow.

I wanted to minimize fastenings here so the wood -- under severe strain as it bends -- didn't break. I'd shattered several pieces when mocking this up, so it was a real possibility.

I mixed up what felt like several gallons of epoxy and got to work in the 82-degree shop. While I was securing the inner strip, the epoxy, which is exothermic, got hotter and hotter. As I was holding the plastic container (nee Eggdrop Soup), I noticed it was actually burning my hand.

At this point it started to smoke, and I, like a safety-goggle-wearing ballerina, leaped through the frames and scrap wood, twisted past the table saw, vaulted the worklight, the old air conditioner, and the bucket of other scrap wood, and went galloping through the yard with the smoking pot.

Hose; water; fire averted. Back to work!

Installing the inner strip was easy, since a dozen screws hold it to the bottom of the boat. The inner strip and the outer strip are held on solely through epoxy and force of will. After much fidgeting, and only a little dropping-pieces-and-covering-them-with-crud, I stood back, sticky with epoxy, and surveyed the carnage:

Mess everywhere, and the starboard chine installed. Success!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

What a great visualization! Did the garden hose do the trick? what if you mix it on a bed of ice?