9 Wilkie's Sailboat Page

Cordless tools Rule! Let the Beam-Diving begin.

Ouch... at this point I knew I was more than committed to this project.

After removing the range and sinks, I began stripping out trim, doors, plumbing, formica, etc.

I tackled the demolition part of this job with such passion that I hadn't even emptied the medicine cabinet over the vanity.

Crumbling green foam surrounds the icebox. The outboard machine-screw heads were buried under glass tabbing and had to be chiseled out to completely remove the icebox.

The base that the head sits on and it's counterpart to starboard were cut out and de-tabbed prior to pan removal.

I intentionally cut the pan forward of the width of the beam so that I could do so easily with a sawzall. I recommend that you use a Dremel or Rotozip type of tool and make the cut on top of the beam. This would facilitate butt-bonding the pan back together on re-installation.

After cutting the pan, we simply un-bolted the front edge from under the v-berth and lifted it out.

The rubble of disintegrated beam. The rubber ice box hose laid into the web of the beam is visible in the lower left. It most surely added to the corrosion problem, depositing food contaminated water against the beam.

The old beam super-imposed on the new one. This photo doesn't really show how bad it actually was. It was holed in some places, but paper-thin and pliable in others. The starboard end was starting to cut into the glass of the hull because it was collapsing downward.

New beam and head pan on the dock and ready to re-install. New beam is Stainless Steel, but otherwise built the same as original.

Looking aft from head. Very strange "first generation" overhead brace visible in background. Test Fit of new beam. Bolt Holes marked and drilled.

Standing in space where water tank was under V-berth and looking back into cabin. Head Pan is butt-glued back into place. New beam with 5200 pad is visible to the right behind the thru-hull plumbing. Forward "flange" of head-pan is bolted and bedded in 5200 to braced lip at bottom of forward bulkhead.

Looking forward from main salon. Epoxy and glass laid up to fill gaps in pan splice where cut-outs were necessary for old beam removal. Some fairing started.

Standing in head and looking down at beam area. Closer view of "butt-spliced floor pan. Epoxy glass lay-up visible in front of tabs where cutouts were necessary for beam removal.

Looking forward and down at butt-spliced pan for detail. Sanding and "dishing" will follow and then an epoxy and glass lay-up back to level and fair.

Looking forward from main salon. Scarfed in plywood is visible at the bottom of forward bulkhead. First fairing pass over scarfed bulkhead made with epoxy and a mix of medium and light fillers.

A forward looking view from the companionway. The main bulkhead has been completely removed now and my deck brace is visible. A 3/4" threaded rod was epoxied into the top section. The bottom section was drilled out to accept the bulk of the rod. A nut and fender washer elevate the rod from the bottom section to apply the pressure. It takes very little effort with a wrench to dial in radically more pressure than is required to hold up the deck.

When I realized how little pressure it took to hold the shape of the overhead, I cut the base of my support post down to a more reasonable footprint.

I did a layup using 3 layers of 17 oz tri-axial cloth and epoxy. After it had kicked for a few hours I went back over it with a fairing layer to fill the top weave of the cloth.

After an initial grinding I went back with more fairing compound prior to final finishing.

In the meantime, I started laying out the new bulkhead by re-assembling the removed parts.

Home Center insulation foam was used to create a trial fit bulkhead and with minor adjustments became the template to cut the 3/4" plywood.

Cutting the actual bulkhead from 3/4" marine ply.

Making the vertical door edge "straight" using a cutting guide.

I highly recommend an aluminum cutting guide with traveling internal clamps similar to this one. It makes handling plywood a breeze.

My good Cal Sailing Buddy, Dan Casey helped me biscuit join the two pieces of the port bulkhead, which would not go through the companionway in one piece. Thickened epoxy and #20 biscuits on 4" centers should do it, but I ran a stripe of glass over the joint just for fun.

The bulkhead is bolted to the beam and wedged into position. Next we installed the 1/2" foam strips to isolate the plywood bulkhead from the fiberglass hull and cabin. This is necessary to prevent a hard spot that could cause stress fracturing on the outside. Final step was to temporarily bond the bulkhead in place with small strips of epoxy saturated glass.

I used bronze wood screws to join the teak compression post to the bulkhead. The teak was acetone washed and straight epoxy was brushed on prior to bedding the joint in thickened epoxy. Three #14 x 3" bronze wood screws penetrate the top of the post through the deck and 6 #12 x 2 1/2" bronze wood screws join the bulkhead and post. The bottom of the post was dimpled with a 3/4" countersink, as was the fiberglass pedestal. The post sits on a heavy paste of structurally thickened epoxy, which keys into the dimples as a final fail-safe. I know that I appear paranoid, but I enjoy this kind of over-building.

Dan volunteered two full afternoons helping me tab the bulkhead in. The tri-axial cloth made for faster work, and wetted out nicely using a tray to pre-soak the glass tapes. I suppose I will pay for the convenience when the fairing starts in earnest, but it is very stout and after hours of grinding will make a nice wide tapered joint.

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