Monday, July 7, 2008

Filleting inside the sheer seam

The last coat of epoxy on the deck hardened just fine, although it looks rather patchy. Will definitely have to be sanded or redone, but not now.

I came to the Garden House armed with a headlamp, a flashlight, the two tie-downs and a bag of plastic bags for today's work. I swept out the interior of the kayak as best I could to get rid of epoxy shavings and dust. Then I turned the kayak on its side and anchored it in place by wrapping the tie-downs around the kayak and the sawhorses it was mounted on. The two flexible cradles on the sawhorses hug the kayak, helping to hold it in place. This was one of the ideas Chris had for securing the kayak so it would not fall over when I was working inside it.

I tried to tape the flashlight inside the kayak aimed up to the stern, but the tape would not stick to the slick interior. However I could balance the flashlight in the kayak so it was aimed in the right direction. I wrapped two plastic bags around my head, covering my hair and ears, and another two bags around my forearms. Just about then Sheila came by with the dogs so I went for a walk with her in the woods, partially "bagged".

After going for a walk, I put the respirator over the bags on my head, and then my headlamp on top of that. I must have been quite a sight! But since working inside the kayak with epoxy was how Mike's friend gained his epoxy sensitivity that makes any exposure to uncured epoxy lethal, I am being especially cautious.

Yesterday I put together a tool for gluing at a distance, a syringe taped to a 4-foot long stick and a dowel running through a couple of eye screws to press on the syringe plunger to squeeze the glue out of the curved nozzle.

I am supposed to mix enough filler in the epoxy to make it thick but not too thick, it should slump when laid in the inside sheer seam.

My first batch was too thick. It was really hard to squeeze it out the nozzle, and it did not slump. It was lumpy and my awkward use of this tool caused glue to squirt out in places I did not want it. The glue that did go into the seam was uneven and bumpy. And, I had to press so hard on the dowel, that I dislodged the syringe from the tape and it fell off the stick. My efforts to retrieve it spread glue in even more places I did not want it.

Now I had the task of retaping the glue-covered syringe back on the stick, without getting glue on myself or getting my latex gloves hopelessly stuck to the tape. Not an auspicious start!

Eventually I got the syringe thoroughly taped back onto the stick. Everything was now thoroughly slick with wet epoxy. I mixed another batch, much more runny than the first batch. I wanted to glue the seam in the other direction which meant I needed to turn the flashlight around, but I did not want to get epoxy on the flashlight. So I used a piece of clingy plastic wrap to handle the flashlight. Awkward, but it worked.

This time the epoxy flowed a bit better and was not as lumpy in the seam because it slumped and flowed almost immediately. It filled the seam quite smoothly. I still had to press on the dowel very hard and the syringe began to slip down the stick. I wasn't sure whether the tape would hold, but I really had no choice but to keep on pressing.

Somehow the tape held for the entire operation. Three more batches of glue and the seam was filled. The first part of the seam that I did does not look very good and may have to be redone, but every other part looks fine. But my worktable is awash in glue. I clean up as best I can, remove all my bags and clean up all my tools.

I hope that the syringe will be reusable tomorrow when I have to do the other sheer seam. I am very grateful that the tie-downs kept the kayak so steady and firm, at a level that was relatively easy to work with. I feel a little more confident about gluing the other seam now.

Later I was over at Mike's chatting while he stacked firewood. A family of flickers, the two parents and one offspring, flew through Mike's yard calling each other. Mike pointed out the tree where their nest was.

Mike had retrieved an old wooden eavestrough from the Garden House that he wanted to use on his woodshed. It is quite old, it has been at the Garden House for at least twenty years and was salvaged from an older building before that. There's hardly any rot in it, it is made of a very dense cedar log. Mike was impressed with how well preserved the eavestrough was, in spite of neglect and carelessness.

Apparently it was quite hot in the Valley today, hot and humid. But on the Mountain it was cool and misty, fog blowing in from the Bay all day. I was glad of the cool, being wrapped in plastic bags as I was. It is supposed to be hot and humid in the Valley most of the week, a good time to stay on the Mountain. I might sneak in to buy another quart of strawberries though, I ate the last of mine this morning.

1 comment:

Barbara Anne said...

Hi Anne!

I vote you get more strawberries. After a hard workday, you deserve that kind of yummy treat.

Cheers for your perseverence that enabled you to do most of the seams really well. Your improvisation of epoxy on a stick is most impressive, too! Applause!!!!!!!!

So happy the bags didn't roast or suffocate you during the process.

Be good to you! You're working diligently and deserve some extra treats.