Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A custom anchor platform

Because of their shape, Danforth anchors are difficult to stow on a "standard" bow roller. Rick dealt with this problem on s/v Cay of Sea by making his own anchor platform, specifically designed to work with the Danforth.  Tho the project below does not show the design and construction of the platform directly, I think the pictures give enough detail to allow one to construct their own anchor platform:
A year ago last month, I fabricated and installed an anchor platform for Cay of Sea.  This took quite a while, because the platform had to accommodate a danforth-style hook – not the easiest anchor to fit to a platform.  Also, it was a “custom” fabrication, so there was a great deal of measuring, marking, trimming, fitting, refitting, remarking, designing, redesigning – you get the idea.  It was a lot of fussy work, but the result was a great improvement for stowing and handling the ground tackle.

This is the way it looked this spring before the finish failed.  Compare with the following images:

Failed Finish

Close-up of failed varnish and darkened grain

So maybe this doesn’t look to alarming to you, but considering that it is made of red oak, taking action is indicated sooner than later.  Red oak is a lovely dense, hard wood that is tough.  The problem with it is that it is rot-prone.   I knew that when I used it to build the platform, but I used it anyway because it was readily available and reasonably cheap.  I reasoned that if I kept it protected with epoxy and varnish, it would do fine.And it would have done fine, if I had kept up with it this year.  However, I got in a hurry last fall to use it, and only put on 3-4 coats of cheap varnish, promising myself that I would do a better job soon. . . Soon is relative, you know.  I should have re-varnished this spring with the good stuff, but I didn’t. Subsequently, here we are in mid-fall, and I’ve got to redo the finish correctly.

I was also dismayed to find out that the fender washers I used weren’t stainless, or were an inferior grade of stainless, and they rusted.  I know I chose them from the stainless bin, but sometimes fasteners and hardware gets shifted about.  When I reinstall that platform, I’ll be sure to use high quality stainless fender washers.

After removing the platform, I was happy to see that my sealant (Boatlife caulk) did a great job of keeping the water out of the boat and out of the bolt holes.  I sealed the deck holes with epoxy last fall, but did not pot the holes and re-drill.  I intend to do that while the platform is off too.
So the first step was to remove/strip all the finish off.  I used Strypeez paint remover – the really thick stuff, and it did a really good job.  It was in the 50s yesterday while I was using it, so it worked a little more slowly, but it did the job.

Strypeez slathered all over

After removing the finish, I used oxalic acid to bleach the dark lines out of the wood, and lighten it over all.  Three heaping tablespoons in a quart of hot water made a very strong solution.

All finish removed, and wood bleached with oxalic acid. Ready for acetone wipe-down and first application of epoxy resin.

I wiped the piece with solvent, then mixed my epoxy resin, and here I may have a glitch.  My container of West System resin pulled air with the second pump, and I got an imprecise measure of resin.  I pumped in two pumps of catalyst anyway, and hope the ratio is nearly correct.  If it isn’t, it won’t cure properly – I’ll know tomorrow morning if it cured.  If it didn’t cure, I’ll have to strip it again and re-coat with a properly mixed ratio.  Regardless, I’ll need more resin for subsequent coats, so there’s no great loss if I need to take an uncured coat off – just a bit of time.

And, I got a comment on my introductory post requesting a few more photos of the platform, so here they are:

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