We so hoped we would have passed the bottom framing milestone by the New Year, but she just keeps fighting us.
We discovered one more broken frame/cross-tie unit – that lying directly beneath the stuffing box – during what we fully expected would be our final integrity check.
And, what we hoped would be a minor repair to the steering box mounting system morphed into a complete removal and fabricating anew when I grabbed it during the inspection, only to pull a handful of completely rotted softwood, yes, softwood, out of what appeared to be a sound block.
This block is not original, as is evident from inspecting the forward section of the starboard bilge stringer and finding empty carriage bolt holes. But now we have fabricated, sealed and bilge painted a new mounting system using FAS grade, fully 2+ inch thick white oak that is more than equal to the task at hand.
John has finished fabricating the new cross tie, and plans to finish the frame sometime this weekend. Once it is sealed, painted and in place, we can install the keel, which will be bedded in 3M5200, and that milestone will begin fading in our wake.
Next comes installing the two chine planks temporarily as guides to sending the outer edges of the new chine frames to the proper bevel, and also sanding the bottom faces of the – now seven – new frames into the proper profile.
Finally, finally, then we can begin making patterns for the 1/8 inch thick Aquatek plywood, slathering the frames with 3M5200 – at least 1/8 inch thick, and fastening it down with thousands of silicon bronze screws.