Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gray day, no play

I had hoped to fly down to Sporty's today to grab a couple of free hot dogs and buy a 2008 calendar sans shipping charges (insert obligatory observation regarding economic benefits of aircraft ownership here), but it wasn't to be. A 2500' ceiling put paid to that idea.

I had no choice but to "spend" my final remaining kayak job: putting on the toggles that hold the hatch covers in place.

The first step is to apply to foam seal to the inside perimeter of the hatch covers, with the obvious intent being to keep water outside of the hull. This was a pretty simple job, with the only complexity (and it wasn't very complex, at that) being to cut a diagonal edge onto the end of the foam strip so that there will be overlap at the join point:

Bending the foam around corners was very straightforward:

Putting the hatch in place on the boat, though, showed the possibility (very real probability, to be honest) of a problem: the foam is pretty thick and pretty dense, and it seemed that it was going to take a great deal of pressure to get the hatch cover flush with the deck:

The problem becomes more apparent when you look at the grain direction on the toggle:

With the grain running perpendicular to the pressure from the hatch cover, it seems that it would take very little strain to snap it in half. It is plywood, of course, so it has cross plies, but it's so thin that I think it is still susceptible to breakage.

Nothing to do about that, though, until the toggles are in place and I can try it. The toggles are very easy to install. It's just a matter of measuring the location, drilling a hole, and screwing in a stainless steel screw with a finish washer, toggle, and a dab of silicone. A lock nut holds it all in place:

With that done, I tried to put the forward hatch cover in place, but as I expected, as soon as I tried to push the toggle into place to hold the cover, I heard an ominous cracking sound. I released the pressure immediately rather than break the toggle. After pondering the situation for a few minutes, I decided that a UABT (Use A Bigger Tool) strategy was called for:

I only have two of those straps, and I want to leave them on there for a few hours with the hopes that the foam will compress and more or less stay compressed before I remove them and do the aft hatch.

I'm not impressed with the whole toggle design - it seems like it will wear easily and be failure prone. I'd look for a better solution if I cared, but fortunately I don't. I don't think I will be using the boat in such a manner that I need to carry anything in the storage areas, so those hatch covers are on there to stay. If I need to carry anything like a bilge pump, I'll just put it under the deck bungee lines. Those, by the way, won't go on until after the varnish is done.

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