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The Continuing Log of the Molly Brown

Part II

by Norman H. Rea

Date: August 18, 1998

The "Molly Brown" has been in the back yard for a year and a half at this point. As is with all projects it just does not seem to go as fast as originally planned but we have made some progress.

Last summer we were able to grind the inside skin of the deck smooth. Prior to this the previous owner had stripped the outer skin and core because of severe water contamination. we ground the gel coat approximately 4 inches up on the cabin to promote adhesion of the epoxy and "scuffed the entire inner skin with a 4 inch grinder. This done we prepared sections of 3/8 marine plywood to act as core. After the plywood was cut to shape we cut a lap joint where the pieces met and scored both sides 1/8 deep in a cross hatch pattern to increase adhesion of the epoxy. Now the fun began. We created a pattern of the deck (we are talking about the whole deck) and cut 3 full decks of mat and one of a stack mat that combines mat and woven roven. The prep work was done and it was time to pour. The first session consisted of wetting out the inner skin, laying a layer of mat, wetting the mat out, wetting out the bottom of the plywood core pieces and laying them in place. With this done we used many cement blocks (borrowed from our friendly marine service) to hold the core in place until the epoxy cured. The next pour date included wetting out the top side of the core, laying the stack mat in place with the matte side down, wetting that out and wetting out two layers of mat on top of that. this process took two days with the first being dedicated to doing the entire process on the deck surrounding the cockpit and the starboard side deck. The second day did the fore deck and the larboard side deck. The feeling of accomplishment was great.

With the fiberglass down it was time to get the finished product smooth. Using a power planer, a belt sander, an auto body pneumatic file and a DA sander we sanded and sanded. During this process we discovered that the right side deck had some bubbles and delimitation. Repair of these is on the to do list. Generally speaking the process was very labor intensive but the results are very satisfactory. Winter set in and fiberglass work came to a halt (the rest was much needed).


Sometime in October we started on the interior. During the fall Heath and Mary Boyer had stopped in on their way south and let us get a look at "Revision". What a beautiful boat!! One thing Donna and I agreed on was that the canning used to on the interior doors in "Revision" was something we wanted for "Molly Brown". I started in the "V" berth and found the basics to be in rough shape. We removed all of the berth down to the fiberglass and started from scratch. The sides of the berth are plywood sheathed in white formica. I have built new shelves and done red oak close out panels with doors that have canning in the center for the air to circulate. The plans call for trimming the corners and edges with red oak. We are reworking the larboard cabinet to hold the holding tank and the hanging closet on the starboard will remain as original with the exception of the water system pump etc. living below a false floor.

As happens my employer seems to have other priorities for my time. Summer has past and I have had very little time for boat work. I have puttered with the cabin top and finished part of the deck and cabin top with primer. I painted the whole deck with a white house paint to lower temperatures in the sun (of the deck not the worker) and halt ultra violet ray problems with the fiberglass. Parts of the deck that are not painted are covered with a blue tarp when not being worked. I have prepped and sprayed a two part epoxy paint (white) on the headliner in the "V" berth. Because of the excessively hot and humid days it has been real difficult to get up enthusiasm for sanding fiberglass but the urge will return. I do manage to sail my Cape Dory 25 about once a week and we get some time here and there for continuing the work on our dream.


 


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