Web lockers and weighty matters

Since our last post, we have completed assembling the forward web lockers, which are now ready for fiberglassing.

We approached this job with some apprehension, as it requires bending two layers of full-size 6mm sheets into a curved lamination. It’s a job that requires a lot of forethought. Once buttered up with copious amounts of epoxy glue, there is no turning back with the ever-present time pressure when working with resin. In the end, we used a combination of props, wedges, and good old chip-board screws to hold the sheets in place and apply clamping pressure to ensure full glue contact between the layers. The job was done over a number of days as its a multi-stage process. Between each step, we gave the epoxy a full 48 hours to cure, something local builders recommend in our cold climate.

First, we filleted the bulkheads in place, ready to receive the sheets. Then we made templates and cut the first layer to fit, and bent and glued/screwed them into place with temp screws and props applying pressure from below to ensure good contact with the bulkheads and glue surfaces. Then we moved inside and applied the internal fillets, bonding it to the bulkheads.

We then cut the second layer, reversing the orientation to ensure plenty of overlap at the joins, then bent them into shape, with props, through screwing with chipboard screws and cleats to squeeze the layers together. By gently tapping, listening for a hollow sound, we checked for any areas that may not have made full contact and were pleased that there was only a couple of spots that required additional clamping.

After a couple of days, we removed the temporary screws and props and Deb went inside to prepare the surfaces for fiberglassing, sanding any rough spots and filling the screw holes with epoxy filler.

In between all this, we continued with the internal fit-out. We marked up the main saloon settee, a large U shaped assembly, and began filleting the componentry in place. Provision for the water tanks needs to be made at this point, as they are fitted under the settee. This is not as simple as it sounds. A choice that will have ramifications, later on, must be made. How much fresh water will we carry? Water is heavy, and catamarans are sensitive to weight. As a floating home, the more water the better. As a sailing vessel, the less weight the better. It’s a balancing act. We are sticking to the designed 300 litres which we figure will be enough for 10 to 15 days with the two of us; mabye more if we are frugal. As future live-aboard that may be on the low end, so we are allowing space to fit a watermaker if finances allow.

Bulkheads filleted in place, Deb wetting up the glue faces with penetrating resin, prior to gluing the first layer.
Laying up the glue for the second layer.
Deb finds time to take a selfie: propping up a sheet with her head, while Pete screws it off.
First sheet of second layer applied.
Lamination all done. The curve creates an incredibly stiff structure.
Deb cleaning up the web lockers in preparation for fibreglassing.
In between jobs: trimming, edging, sanding and more sanding…
We have started constructing the saloon settee. These are backrest supports.

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