Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things

Jeff and I with a piece of formica that needs a hole cut in it for a portlight
Jeff and I with a piece of formica that needs a hole cut in it for a portlight

Jeff’s visit to San Diego

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Natalie’s belly is growing every day and I can’t wait to have a little boy!

Natalie's belly is looking awesome

Natalie's belly is looking awesome

Natalie and I had full boats a few weeks ago. My buddy Jeff came in to town at the same time that her friend Emily came to visit. Jeff and I stayed on Astraea while the girls were over on Airborne. Jeff and I worked on a bunch of boat projects – the biggest one being getting the Formica up to replace the water damaged teak veneer inside the cabin.

Jeff and I with a piece of formica that needs a hole cut in it for a portlight

Jeff and I with a piece of Formica that needs a hole cut in it for a portlight

Here’s what we did to make the Formica fit:

  1. Make paper patterns
  2. Trace the paper patterns on to the Formica
  3. Cut the Formica around the edges
  4. Test fit and make additional cuts as necessary to fit the edges
  5. Trace the portlight holes from the outside
  6. Cut the holes for the portlights
  7. Drill holes through the Formica so the portlight trim pieces can be installed
  8. Test fit before gluing
Test fitting the formica
Test fitting the formica

The next part of the job was bonding the pieces of Formica to the bulkhead with epoxy. I chose to do this with West System Epoxy. I used the 105 Epoxy Resin, 205 hardener with 403 filler. The system is pretty easy to use. The epoxy recipe is a special mix so to make it easy there are specially designed pumps that provide the correct ratio of epoxy to hardener. Just do one pump of resin and one pump of hardener in a cup and then stir well for one minute. I mixed the epoxy in small painter’s cups and used a large tongue depressor to make sure the edges of the cup were scraped well.

The three parts of the West Systems Epoxy: Epoxy resin, filler and hardener

The three parts of the West Systems Epoxy: Epoxy resin, filler and hardener

My first batch was used for a test bonding on two scap pieces of formica. I added some of the 405 filler to make the epoxy a bit thicker and then stirred the mixture until it was the consistency of ketchup and then used a paintbrush to paint it on two pieces of Formica. Then I put the two pieces together and moved it back and forth to get a feel for how much time I would have to set my large pieces in place before the working time is over and the epoxy is beginning to cure. I had about 5 minutes of working time so I decided to continue on with the process of putting the Formica up on the bulkhead.

  1. Clean the bulkhead up with denatured alcohol to remove any dust
  2. Mix up a thick batch of epoxy and apply it to level off any areas that weren’t flat and would have poor bonding
  3. Mix up a batch of epoxy and add thickener
  4. Apply a thin layer of epoxy to the bulkhead and back side of the Formica. Jeff and I split the job up, he would paint the bulkhead while I mixed up another cup of epoxy for me to use and then went to work on the Formica. Then when he finished on the bulkhead he came over to help me finish up the Formica
  5. Place the Formica against the bulkhead
  6. Screw in trim pieces to secure the Formica in place while the epoxy cures

Here’s a pictorial of the process:

Applying the epoxy to the bulkhead

Applying the epoxy to the bulkhead

Applying epoxy to the Formica

Applying epoxy to the Formica

Putting the formica in place

Putting the formica in place

Adding the Formica to the inside of the boat really brightened it up inside!

Sailing with Emily, Natalie and Jeff

Sailing with Emily, Natalie and Jeff

Jeff’s visit was more than just free labor, we did have some fun too. We went out sailing on Airborne with Natalie and Emily. We also drank some beer and got to meet up with Danny Babcock, Trent Thurman and Eric Hurley old shipmates from our Juneau/Denver days.
Koku and Jeff floating with me in the dinghy after the motor died

Koku and Jeff floating with me in the dinghy after the motor died

We also took the dinghy out for a drift. It was supposed to be a dinghy ride around the marina but the water pump quit on the outboard and I didn’t bring along any paddles so we just drifted with the wind down the dock. Luckily, we brought enough beer to last the voyage.
Jeff was kind enough to build a great set of dock steps so now we don’t have to climb on to Airborne using a fender or bucket. Natalie and I both tripped getting off the boat, so we really needed a better way to get aboard Astraea. Thanks Jeff! Next time we’ll come visit you in Colorado.

Comment

One Comment

  1. So happy you had some “free” labor and the opportunity to have a little fun with friends! Hoping we can give you some free labor soon!

    Natalie & “junior” is looking great! Can’t wait to hear that you are holding him in your arms!

    Won’t be long till Natalie will really be having “labor” and the real fun begins!

    Astraea is “home sweet home” … so glad you are living aboard! Can’t wait to see it!

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