Our news

Here is some update on the work on Alegria in Finike, Turkey.

Even though I had to really disassemble our Shop Vacuum to get the switch out, I had good news. I traced the wires and the PC Board that does soft start & ‘Turns the Vac on when you turn on a sander,’ etc and discovered that I could just reverse the switch and get full function again without bastardizing anything.

The Double Pole Double Throw rocker switch has 6 terminals on the back. The ONE bad terminal was the mirror image of the ONE terminal that was not connected to anything. So, I just swapped out the wires with the switch put in backwards. I really wish that I had noticed that the other time I had everything apart.

It is a good vacuum. I think it was about US75 back in 2006. It is very nice to have the switch dependable again. (Update: After a couple of weeks it stopped dead, but one of the wires was not put on the switch correctly. Once I took it all apart again, it was easy to fix and I triple checked all of them this time.)

The deck and cabin of Alegria are all wood with a thin layer of fiberglass with polyester resin and then paint. There were about 30 places where the 500-ish galvanized nails were making a tiny bulge. "Nail pops." The little nail finder magnet that I found at the hardware store was easy to convert into a useful tool. It is odd that I needed to modify it.

We found 39 steel fasteners, I think, just in the Stb Cockpit, which was the worst area for pops and de-lamination. Most had not yet popped, but, we wanted to re-glass that area with epoxy & glass this time and felt it safer to just remove ALL steel fasteners. We have been dealing with these for many years. My current solution is that I bought some high strength steel tubing, Alloy 4130. I can shape the end of the tube to create 4 tiny saw teeth and then I harden it with my propane torch and quench it in water. This makes it pretty hard and it lasts many nails. I will come back to that.

I drill 4 or more small holes close around a nail and then I "router out a groove" so that the top 1 or 2 mm of the nail is sticking up. Then I use the steel tube like a skinny hole saw and drill out the nail. They are about 2 inches, 50mm long.

I bought some high quality marine bronze wood screws to replace the drilled out nails, but at the last minute decided to epoxy in dowels instead.

There are several areas where the glass has delaminated, but very few, in the scheme of things. Where there is not yet anything wrong, the bond is similar to the blue 3M tape for masking in sunlight. Better than a Post-It, but not as good as mediocre duct tape. There have been a very few places where it was stuck better, but darn few. We believe that this is due to Polyester resin not cross-linking when it cures. It is our experience that epoxy sticks to the wood better than the wood sticks to itself. When (if) you break it, the epoxy joint is very seldom where it fails. Almost always the wood splits. You cannot do better than that.

See the photo of the area wetted out, before I added putty. The worst of the dark, beginning to rot, areas are not too bad at all. I am not concerned, But I wish I had some of the very watery Clear Coat Epoxy by System 3. It soaks in much better, but you can no longer carry most liquids in your luggage.

Sanding the plywood with my Random Orbital dished into the soft grain a lot more than I expected. Most fasteners were 6D galvanized nails. There were 5 #10 x 2" Reed & Prince screws on the Stb side and 4 on the Port that were hard to get out. A few were beginning to get rusty, which really glues them in. One was so tight that I was able to twist it off. Several were buggered when we screwed them in which was bad. Also, I did not have any larger steel tubing, so, I used my old standby of brass tubing, which is way too soft for the job, but can be used carefully and reworked several times per fastener if needed. I was able, with great effort, to unscrew about half of the steel screws. 4 whole screws and one twisted off. I tried grinding a slot in some and using a slotted screw drive, but they were so tight that that just twisted the head off.

Some screws and nails are like new, but most are somewhat corroded. 44 yrs in wood on a boat in a warm climate, make them not eager to come out.

I will buy a few more sizes of that 4130 steel tubing. It is very nice, at least compared to brass. Do you recall the Hobby Shops that had nest-able brass tubing in many sizes? Back in about 1981 I decided to keep on hand one of each size. They nest,so they are easy to store, unless you damage one. That was what I used in the past. It is far too soft to be fun, but it works.

For the steel skinny hole saw, I use a very thin abrasive disk in my new Dremel Tool. I cut slits in the end of the tube, a little more than a diameter long. Then, I use the same disk to cut the back of each "tooth" and make a 4 tooth hole saw. I then guess at the color and heat and water quench, but I do not bother to try to anneal. Which, means that twice a tooth has broken off down hole, but I survived. With some digging. Out of abut 35 holes, I think I have remade the end 3 or 4 times. In the future, I will slightly anneal the end. It should still be hard, but ‘tougher’ and not as easy to break.

The rig is very capable of sawing right through a nail that is not pointed the way I am "hole sawing", which is also a bother, but I figure out what went wrong and hole saw the remainder. No steel left behind is the goal. I think I got all of them, but a few times I could see the glint of steel at right angles, that I ignored. It implies that another nail is coming up from inside.

As I had more time to think about the whole thing, I decided to use dowels instead of bronze. One small problem, no one sells dowels here.

But, Robn noticed that several stores have long slender "rolling pins" that sure look like dowels to us. I hope that their choice of wood is good. It seems to be a dense hardwood. I also noticed an article about a way to make your own dowels. You know the metal gizmo with all of the drill sizes to use to sort your drills?

Someone made his own in 0.5mm increments out of perhaps 6 mm thick steel, with nice sharp edged holes and then hardened it and he puts in on an anvil and pounds a hardwood stick through it to make a round dowel. He did not say how many times one needs to pound it into smaller holes. He did say that pounding worked for hardwood, but softwood worked better with the wood chucked in a drill and spun through. And, usually I would not care if there were 4 small flats on the sides. Some store bought dowels are star shaped, with, perhaps 10 or 15 points. I recall others that had a spiral groove, like 1mm wide and deep and on 8 or 10mm pitch.

My dad had some Stanley dowel making cutters that worked like a pencil sharpener from 5th grade but with the minor dia the desired dowel dia. One could make an adjustable one with two rollers and a cutter.

Along the top row, in the photo, the points of the nails were visible on the outboard side of the coaming. Once I noticed that, (This is a learning process, every step of the way.)

Once I noticed, it was much easier to excavate around the head, so as not to explode the plywood, and then use a thin drift punch the correct size to drive the nail back out. A few were corroded enough that the vise grips pulled them in two, but then I just keep driving the nub out, or hole saw if I must.

I sure wish we had known to use epoxy instead of WeldWood and Resorcinol. The deck beams all delaminated by the 1990s. 20 years is much too soon to fail. And I remembered that my Grandfather made a BEAUTIFUL aromatic cedar chifferobe, that all was glued with WeldWood and came mostly into pieces. Sadly SOME joints held well enough to split the beautiful planks when other joints failed, so it was pretty much ruined. Also, by that time my Grandfather was crippled with arthritis to the point of needing a wheelchair by age 55ish, so he was done working with his wood shop tools. He had been VERY active, with many projects.

Here is a photo of the charming Kazakhstan family that we met. She wants to improve her English. Her Russian and Kazak are excellent. Apparently Kazah, Uzbek and several other languages between Kazakhstan and Turkey are all pretty similar, so she speaks them all well enough for most things. She is a devout Muslim and has studied Arabic, but is still working on that. And she has a very useful amount of English that we are helping her with. Robn was trained in "English as a Second Language" (ESL), so she is way above average at helping her.

She has 4 kids, ages between 22 and 12. The last two are still at home and she is now single, working and going to University in Turkey. The two kids that we know ‘only’ have 3 or 4 languages with very little English, but some. In our travels, many people have several languages. Robn’s husband, was born in what is now Poland, but was German, near border when it was all Russian and he began life knowing Russian, Polish and German.

He escaped to the West in about 1954, and in his various jobs and travel, including over 5 yrs in the French Foreign Legion, fighting in North Africa, he learned French, Spanish, Greek, English and many smatterings of other Languages. After about 2 years in America, an American made fun of how he said something. Gerhard asked how many languages the heckler spoke.

One, was the answer (and that probably not correctly.)

Gerhard pointed out that he spoke 7 and in much of Europe and the World, only speaking one language was similar to being illiterate.

We have noticed that until you learn another language, few notice some the weird things that English does. The Greeks had more that 4 words for love. I do not "love" Robn, blue berry cobbler, and my dad the same way at all. Many languages use the same word for "to earn" as "to win", but they are quite different to me. Spanish has two very different verbs that we can only translate as "to be" and they have no word "to like". They use "to please". I like "Beattles" music becomes, "Beattles" music pleases me. And so on.

Dave & Robn


3 thoughts on “Our news

    • Not yet. Robn’s boat is still being repaired in Trinidad. We hope to launch this Winter, but there are still several projects to finish first.

      • Just finally getting back to respond to your answer. Thanks, hope to see you when you are back.

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