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Point of no return

October 15, 2014

Ok, its been a busy few days last week, Wednesday to Friday. Mike came down the first day, and put the seat tops on the back end of the lockers. From there he went on to weld in the cross members which keep the locker front face from moving and add support for the seats and then reattached the sill piece on the raised hatch base. So much for day one.

Second day,  he framed up the new floor, and drilled and tapped the section for the removable cover. These were welded in place, 8 inches above the original cockpit floor.

Then came the point of no return. Everything prior to this moment was reversible. After the first cut, we were committed. Bit by bit the old cockpit floor was taken out in chunks and tossed over the side. The front part was easy as most of it was a framed hole. Once that was done, he started to cut away the rear half all in one piece. Finally it came loose, and was wobbling round supported by the two cockpit drain hoses. These were 35 years old, so they were cut with the sawzall and that was it. A bit of cussing and it went over the side too. At some point Mike braced his knee against the upper part of the drain pipe, just above the gate valve. It broke off. Another addition to the horror stories. His last bit for the day was to cut the plate for the aft half of the floor, and weld it down.

Third day, (Friday) Mike fabbed up the cockpit drain sumps, and welded them in place since we’d forgotten them before welding in the rear floor section. Opps. Next was to weld a plate into the opening where the old cockpit locker used to be, sealing that up forever.  This was followed by laying out the single removable cross member in the hatch opening and welding it up. Once built,  he marked out the location it was to be bolted down and welding in tabs to the new frame. The crossbeam was clamped in place, drilled at both ends and bolted up tight.

After a break for water and lunch, he got to work measuring up the new floor section. As steel boats are welded, various stresses are built in and not much stays square or vertical or even flat. Ergo, the floor piece was wider in the middle and offset half an inch at the forward edge from the centerline. This was all taken into account and the new floor fit like a glove. The only thing left to do was transfer the predrilled hole locations to the new floor.

Using a transfer punch, Mike marked the locations and then drilled the holes. This did not turn out so hot. Of 26 holes drilled, only 3 of them lined up with the tapped holes in the frame. I suspect that every time he tapped the floor it moved a tad, even with my 300lbs standing right on top of the hole  he was marking. With no way to clamp the floor so it couldn’t move I was sort of expecting this. Oh well. There is always a way to elongate the holes. He’s bringing down a die grinder for the next session and once the floor is bolted the cockpit revamp is completed.

All that remains is to weld patches over the old drain holes on the bottom, (not going to bother cutting them out this time. We already fried two drills doing this. And buggered up my hole saw.) two holes on deck where the vents used to be and one small one on the coachroof where the instrument panel wiring went through.

My vacation was over on Sunday, so I’m back at the brain trust and will be praying for decent weather on Thursday and Friday to get the last bits done.

In the mean time, I have a lot of cleaning up to do, removing spatter from various surfaces, grinding welds til they are smooth, and blending in the old paint with the new epoxy. I had some epoxy left over from some hull work, and used it up while Mike was still working. Not a good idea. Aside from bumping into it all the time, any grinding dust ended up embedded in it. Crap.

Now for some photographs.

004   starting to chew away at the old cockpit. We’re committed now.

005  If you look at the flange closely you will see the tapped holes.

008Here you can see where the new cockpit lockers have been added on top of the old seats. Closed off at the aft end, with 46 inch long hatch at the front end.

011 The last piece of the old cockpit floor, hanging by a thread and bouncing on the drain hoses. Mike is cutting them now.

015 B’bye!

014 This is the scary bit. Completely rotted out, it only took a light nudge.

 

 

 

From → Meat n Taters

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