I received the gas tank sealer and proceed to apply it. First , I wiped down the interior tank walls with lacquer thinner and then lightly sanded to encourage adhesion. The resin was in a pint can (full) and the hardener was in a ½ pint can (not completely full). When the two were mixed it had a consistency about the same as Glen L‘s Poxy Shield so brushing on was easy.
Caswell state that each sealer kit would do about two 5 gallon tanks. Because of this I ordered 3 kits at about $20. Since I was brushing it on there was concern I would miss a spot or two so I decided to apply more than one coat. I used two of the kits to apply 3 coats and still had some left over. Caswell Inc allowed me to return the unopened kit for a refund. I lost part of my first batch because it started to set-up quicker than I had expected. I had about 6 oz. In a plastic cup and with in 10 minutes I had a hot ball in the bottom. For the next batch I used a shallow pan and worked faster.
Another problem I ran into was with drips. When painting the epoxy on the underside of the top of the tank it was understandably hard to see exactly what I was doing. I used a mirror with some success but but I failed to watch close enough. What happen was in my attempt to apply a heavy coat the epoxy started to drip in spots but cured before it actually dropped from the top. This left bumps that not allow the aluminum lid to mate properly to the plywood and seal (remember the "lid" is being placed on the inside). I had to reach in and cut off the excess with a utility knife and then carefullu file the surface smooth. I did not want to cut in too far and expose the old resin. This problem could have been avoided if I had paid more attenion.
Although this was an epoxy it is different than any I have used before. I managed to allow some of it to run in to my 3/4 cross over fuel line and had to remove the hose and pull it out. The piece is shown in the photos and is about 1/8” thick. It appears that even at full cure it is still quite flexible. As you can see I can bend it double and there is no indication of it wanting to break. I really shouldn’t have any flex in my tanks but in a thin metal tank this would be a plus.
Now if it only handles the ethanol! I have made a test strip I am going to submerge in gas and allow to set for an extended period. I think I will also drop a piece of the material from inside the hose. Time will tell.
At this point I have completed most all the actual building and am starting the finishing process (not my favorite!). Several things I have recently completed are the doors and hatch leading to the berth, the instrument panel, the handrails that will be attached to the cabin top and the portlights.
The plans really don’t give much direction for the berth doors. They suggest because of limited space a snap on canvas cover or drop board be used. Personally, I wanted something more convenient and secure. There are going to be times when the CS is left unattended over night and I wanted a way to lock the berth. I decided on dividing the opening in half with two doors that swing out. I built these doors with the stile and rail method from 3/4” stock and used 3/8” plywood for the door panel. They are attached to the entry door jambs with 2” aluminum continuous hinge. When underway these doors will have to be closed as the one does swing back and contact the side of the steering wheel.
When I need to secure the berth or during cold weather these doors will work just fine but really the majority of my use will probably just knocking abound during the hot summer. With the doors closed the berth is going to probably heat up to unbearable temperatures. With this in mind I made the door panels removable and have made a set of screens that fasten in their place. These will probably be in place most of the time.
On top of the doors is a hatch. This is made from 3/8” plywood with 3/4” solid stock framing. It hinges at the rear and when open is held up by a plastic “hatch clip” bought at a RV supply store. In the hatch I installed a lock (also from the RV store) that allows me to secure both it and the doors from opening. This whole setup is certainly not tamper proof. A good hard kick of the door panels is all it would take to defeat it. I guess you could say it is designed to keep out the curious not the criminal.
The instrument panel is really no big deal. I finalized the position of the instruments and cut the holes. When making it one thing did come to mind – I am building a boat from wood, yet in my finished product no wood grain will be visible (that is if I sand enough before painting!). I got digging around the shop an came up with a piece of plastic laminate (Formica) that was left over from a furniture project and decided to use it for the panel. Yea, I know, it’s not real wood but at least it will have the appearance of wood not just paint.
Next is the handrails that will be mounted to the top of the cabin. I had looked at factory made rails and what few I found that might fit were too expensive for my taste. I then considered custom making my own with components available in most marine catalogs. The price was better but I really couldn’t find anything I thought I would like the looks of on top the CS. I wanted something more low profile and a little sleeker than the normal tube assembly.
After looking around I decided on using two 4’ pieces of “handrail.” I bought these at Home Depot. The are formed out of yellow pine and are made to mount on metal brackets along stairways. I cut the ends at a 60 degree angle and will attach them with screws from the underside of the cabin top. Since I really don’t know how they will hold up I don’t plan to glue them in place. On each end and in the center I cut a hole that will allow a rope to pass through. This will let me tie items (innertube / inflatable toys) down on top.
The last item is the portlights. I debated as to whether or not to install these but decided it would be a nice feature. If I am sleeping on board and hear the blast of an air horn and the roar of diesel engines it would be nice to be able to quickly look out and see the bow of the barge that is about to turn the Cabin Skiff into tooth picks! At least I thought it was a good idea until I priced these. The cheapest plastic portlight I could find was still about $80 a piece! To rich for me. So I started digging around the shop again (I am telling you, I have a lot of junk around) and came up with a piece of 1/4” lexan . I decided to cut out the plastic for the glass and then cut a hole in the cabin wall the same size. To hold it in place I fabricated a mounting ring from 1/8” plywood. This overlaps the glass by 1/2” and the wall by 3/4”. I will glue the ring to the wall and use #6 machine screws to attach the glass. This will allow a fairly flush profile. They won’t open but will allow me to see out.
On to the finishing process.....................