Thursday, May 9, 2013

Step Off

We managed to check another thing off our list recently, that being our mast step compression issue.  Our mast is deck stepped and the compression post from inside of the boat to the keel was fine.  Our problem lied in the deck itself, under the mast step.  The mast step sits on a 2" riser on deck, this was made out of squares of plywood in between 2 layers of glass.  The screw-holes for the screws that attach the mast step to the compression post were not properly bedded.  Over time, water creeped in and soften the plywood causing the whole thing to compress.  This wasn't a life or death issue as it only had so far that it could go, but being as our mast is down, we figured this would be the right time to address it.  It was fairly straight forward, with our only hang up being that, once again, we needed custom bolts.  The bolts go through the mast step, through the deck, and blindly screw into the top of our compression post.  This meant that we couldn't retap it for standard threading without drilling all the way through it.  Hans Christians tend to use British Standard Whitworth (BSW), an outdated thread pattern, that was used commonly up to WWII.  More than likely, the HC yards had surplus machinery on hand and they tended to make all of the parts custom.  Funny thing is, BSW has been changed to UAE and most of the old BSW bolts are so close that they would fit tightly in a UAE nut, that with the exception of 1/2" bolts, which UAE has an extra thread per inch (13 tpi).  So guess what size we needed?  Yup 1/2" 12tpi BSW bolts.  Haha.  So of course we went and special ordered some boat bling from Fastenal.  We attempted to thread our own, but after Frank broke the expensive die we bought after the 3rd bolt, we decided to just leave this one to the professionals.

That was the only hiccup.   The compression was remedied by removing the top layer of glass, chiseling out all the wet wood, laminating fiberglass board to make up the difference, fiberglassing over, fairing, priming, and painting.  Don't forget to sand!  In order to hold the place for the screwholes, Frank used plastic rods when he glassed it in.  The holes were predrilled on a drill press to keep them straight so that they would line up on both sides.  Now it's solid glass, so even if there is a leak, this will never happen again!  Woo-hoo.  I must say, I'm impressed with Frank's glasswork.  It doesn't even look like it's been tampered with....Sweet.  

Squares of plywood

Chiseling away

Layers of fiberglass board to make up the difference

Plastic rods used when glassing in the boards



Voila...Final product!

Old corroded bolts

Our compression post

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