Another wild week of working at an independent living senior retirement community. For therapy, we go downstairs to the woodshop and prepare pieces of Azek for their new homes.
Last week, after we did all of the construction we wanted to do, we took a careful set of measurements. We measured from the front of the cabinet to the hull every 5 cm. Back at the community, we transferred those distances to a piece of Azek, then connected the dots to make a rough image of the hull.
With that done, the cuts were pretty straightforward. Well, completely strange and curved, but not a problem.
Azek, a petroleum complex Poly Vinyl Chloride material that can be molded into almost any shape known to man, is perfect for modern boat construction because it sands easily, epoxy and fiberglass adhere to it, it cuts like butter with a jig saw and, best of all, it never rots.
See those serious looks on our faces? If you look serious enough, it’s okay not to wear eye protection. Wards off the little pieces that fly around at high speeds.
We also received a lovely new tool in the mail. It’s a cart that attaches to the spindle for the back wheel of a bike. So when the time came to ride our bikes to the boat, we loaded those cut pieces of Azek and our backpacks into the cart, hooked it up to James’ bike, and toddled off.
I (Dena) was so thrilled with this whole procedure that I cackled the whole way there. Glowing, grinning, gloating. We totally fucked over the oil industry today. That’s a good day in my book.
This was only mildly complicated by the couple inches of snow on the ground. It’s been pretty warm, so the snow was slushy underneath. We took a slightly altered route, skipping the hard-core rocks and hills portion for a paved trail (which goes by a sewage plant – one reason we like the state park route better).
Before we could install those pieces of Azek, we got to do our favorite thing ever: move all our shit. Since there was a freezing, sleetish rain, we had to shift things and secrete them into pockets all over the boat. We’ve been putting them out in the cockpit, but nope. Not today.
When we cut the pieces, we made them 5 cm too long so that we could match the shape of the hull precisely. Now, we set the speed square to the amount we over-cut, then used that to mark the precise shape of the hull on the Azek. Dragging it down the hull, holding a pencil at a precise angle against the Azek, and then cutting the piece and refitting it.
What comes after cutting?
Prepping the surface.
Each vertical piece got two braces. We screwed them down to the shelf and then screwed the verticals to the braces, using West System 610 to fill any gaps and stick the whole thing together.
As we’ve been doing on this project, we fiberglassed the pieces to the hull. This provides a nice longitudinal strength without making any holes in the actual, real, crucial hull material.
Oh look! It’s all of our shit!
Last but not least, we measured for the top and front. With the top in place, we can install the sink. With the front in place, we can install the drawers we have planned. These two next pieces will be nearly the end of this cabinet.
…Very serious, protecting us from the evil slivers of Azek!
This is really cool to watch, you guys! When you’re finished, we will all know this boat…well, not nearly like you do, but intimately. That bike cart is fantastic!
Your tremendous care, just true love for that boat is shining out of these images. Y’all amaze me with every part of this — your knowledge, diligence, dedication to getting each job the most right you can, fucking fiberglassing everything, how little any kind of shitty weather fazes you. SO HARD CORE!
My favorite part? The way you take on *measure, cut, transport, install* is every bit as much of an adventure as *navigate, tack, anchor, explore*. You are adventurerers in your every movement, every day. In your sleep.
Thank you Kate,
This project is the perfect way to get out of our weekly corporate nightmare and indulge in the creative aspects of our on-going adventure, in other words, we’d go crazy if we didn’t have something like this…
To James: What you are doing at this time I have done all my live, to get out and survive the corporate nightmare.I really enjoyed it and took care of all of my boats, still do.
Since I read your blog on a regular basis, I feel that I should speak up and let you know how much I enjoy and learn from it. Too often I read it late at night when my energy has faded.
West System 610 is my new buzz word, can’t wait to get some. I will be looking for all kinds of things to fix or build with it.
Glad you found Dina’s bike. I can imagine her sense of accomplishment after cleaning it up. She should nickname it “Phoenix”.
Ah, a late night’r on our blog… Well, that’s the only way to go really. Thanks for stopping in and, yes, 610 is truly wonder-goo! We have discovered so many uses for it that I guess we kind of sound like a West-Systems ad sometimes, but the fact of the matter is, the stuff works incredibly well.
The unsinkable Phoenix was a great discovery and Dena did a fantastic job cleaning her up but the real accomplishment came from Dena’s riding that bike the 12 miles to the bike shop from Groton, across the Thames river and through the hills of New London (no small feet that one), with only her front derailleur working, effectively giving her a choice of 3 of the hardest gears to work with… But hey, she’s a super-hero, she can do shit like that!
Please keep coming back Alan and don’t hesitate to give us any advise you may have as well.
Thanks again Mr. Heinz! I know you’ve probably heard me say this so many times it’s lost it’s effect, but, I’ll say it again… Working on a boat is the only work worth doing!
… And the longer I live the more profound those words become.