A Personal Day
November 13/14, 2015

Activity is winding down at the Boathouse, so I decided to use my time there to get some work done on a personal project. I have purchased a 1984 Neptune 16, a robust little daysailor with a comfortable cabin. When it came to me, the keel was broken, and I have been trying to decide how I wanted to fix it.

I pulled the broken keel and figured out how it all went together, then got the layout drawn. The original is a stub and there is a great blob of lead attached to the bottom. I don't like the stub design - that's where the original keel had failed.

Finally, I decided to make a new, full length keel out of aluminum, which turns out to be pretty damn expensive, and one of wood so I can experiment. I contacted a place on the coast and they could get me a suitable piece for about the same price as I could get online (minus shipping) so here we go.

70lbs of 3/4" aluminum, 18x52. Interestingly enough, the place I bought it from is both a welding shop and a gun store. 'Murica!

Step 1 was to trace around the existing keel - I could have used my paper pattern and traced it over carbon paper, but I had the original keel, so this was easier.

I figured while I was cutting out the aluminum, I might as well glue up the wood. I got things ready and went to the epoxy cabinet . . .

and darn it, the resin had solidified. I thought it only did then when it got below freezing, and it hasn't gotten that cold on the coast yet. Well, poop, on to plan B.

I texted Dan W, good friend of the Boathouse and knower of all things metal. I asked him what to use to cut 3/4" thick aluminum plate, and he said a bandsaw with a regular wood blade. I was skeptical, but gate it a shot. It worked! Three things to note here: 1) Use LOTS of cutting oil. B) A sabersaw with either a 14tpi metal blade or a 10tpi wood blade does almost nothing - like 3 minutes to cut 1/2". And iii) The other thing of note is cutting aluminum is fun! The 'sawdust' looks like glitter and when I was done, the shop looked like we'd had hosted a stripper convention.

70lbs of anything is hard to maneuver and I ended up being a bit too cautious in my cutting - I was a little too far outside the lines to make for quick finishing. About now, I realized I should have scribed my pattern with an awl. Live and learn.

I went to work on it with the belt sander and angle grinder. It is slow going as aluminum tend to clog the paper. Dan W said I should "chalk the paper" but I have no chalk and don't know what that means, so I didn't.

That was good for the day. As a little side note: I had to get a new camera for the Boathouse as my previous one that claimed to be "Shock-proof, Vibration-proof, and Water-proof" turned out to not be "Put in and take out of your pocket proof" and the case was coming apart (presumably making it no longer waterproof, while is my primary concern.) The new camera is a Richo WG30. One of the things that is very important to me is low light sensitivity, so I thought I'd snap this photo of the Boathouse without the lights on. Not too bad!

I'd heard the way to re-liquify resin is to heat it, and the best way to heat it is to put it in boiling water. I got the pot boiling and put a trivet down there to keep the bottle off the surface of the pot, and BAM! It worked a treat! In just minutes, it was clear.

In the morning, there were kayakers at the Boathouse, getting ready to go for a paddle in what was promising to be a really nasty day. Tom (on the right) is the resident kayaking instructor in Toledo and often uses the Boathouse as his classroom. Today, it was just a bunch of friends going out on a paddle.

Once the kayakers were on their way, it was back to the keel. The original has two pivot holes and no one seems to know why. I went ahead and made two pivot holes.

David showed up, needing to move the Teak Ladies to their winter moorage.

There's something you can't see anywhere but Toledo, Oregon: Two Teak Ladies, side by side. Like 'em? Follow the Teak Lady Society on Facebook.

We decided to move the Lazy Weekend canoes to the back of the Boathouse so they wouldn't be in the way of people wanting to launch kayaks and such. They'll stay there for the rest of the winter, I suppose.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading.