Stripping the deck

July 8 - I'm making progress, though it's slow. Too many other activities competing for my time during the summer months. But... here's what's done so far.

I first attached the sheer strips, which took some work to align. You want to make sure you have a good match to the shape of the hull, since once the deck is done, you don't want to have to be wrestling with it to fit to the hull. I gave up on my staple-less idea when I realized how difficult it would be to achieve a good deck-hull fit without stapling the sheers. (Of course, karma bit me back when my stapler promptly quit on me once the sheer strips were on.)

I then taped the sheer strips to the deck to hold them in the shape I wanted. Then, the fun began. Fitting the full-length strips is still a challenge, but at least the half-strips down the center go more quickly.

With another strip added:

July 23 - You can almost see a (very simple) pattern emerging...

July 30 - A few more strips are done, but now I can't decide if I want a dark, medium or light strip to go next. Might take a day or two to figure this one out. Below... looking from the stern, from the bow, at a closeup of the stern strips, and the future cockpit area. As usual, click to enlarge.

August 12 - I'm at the point where I'm going to start stripping up from the sheer again. The width of the remaining gap between deck and sheer is different for the fore and aft deck right now, and I have about two strip-widths' of sheer left to make sure I'm covered for the recessed-cockpit template. By doing the last two sheer lengths now, I won't end up with any funky join-angles for the last strip. (On the second image, that "flat" part of the form is where the recess is cut... on the closest one, it ends just next to the top strips; on the next, it's almost down to the sheer, and on the one after, it's back up near the top strips. I toyed with the idea of just running all the rest of the strips at a 45% angle, but quickly talked myself out of it.)

August 15 - SO close. I have a small single-strip wedge to fill on the back deck, and about three strips-worth on the fore deck.

August 20 - I have finished stripping the deck. First two photos are from the bow, second two from the stern. (Last one shows I have some cleanup to do!) Next up: cutting the cockpit recess, and filling that in. As usual, click to enlarge.

August 27 - The cockpit recess area has been cut out. I first taped on the template and dropped the coaming wall on it to make sure that I was happy with the recess size. Then, I marked the deck with pencil. The edges still need a little sanding, then I'll start stripping the recess cross-wise.

Sept. 15 - A little bit of progress; it's just boring to look at. Slowly stripping the cockpit recess, working light-to-dark bow to stern. Part of the process is sorting through all the remaining strips plus the trimmed odds and ends to try to find a nice color progression. By now, you know the rest of the fitting drill. First shot - no flash; second has the flash on.

Oct. 17 - The cockpit recess is finished. On to fairing and sanding the deck.

Oct. 26 - The deck is about 2/3 rough-sanded... which means staples removed, strips planed, 80-grit sanded, some filling in the gaps, more 80-grit sanding. I'll finish this process on the rest of the deck, then raise the grain, do the final filling, and 120-grit sanding. Photos: rough wood, and after rough-sanding. Profile of cockpit recess. Click to enlarge.

Oct. 29 - Faired and filled. All that remains before glassing is to do one more sanding, since I dampened the entire deck to raise the grain. That lets you not only see any swirls, high spots, or unsanded spots that remain, but also get a feel of what the final color will look like (last image). If I can get my hardener pump working again, I plan to fiberglass this weekend (Nov. 3-4).

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