Theresa Marie Model Ship Project
Week 6: Deck hatch (October 1-7, 2012)
Deck drilling. I cut out the deck plans and taped them to the deck, making sure everything lined up perfectly. Then I drilled through all the marked holes, starting with smaller bits and working up to the different sizes for the two masts, keel rods and fairlead rods (for the running rigging lines). Dremel and emery board did a good job getting the mast holes to just the right size. Fun times. This is one awesome kit.
Bondo. To get some practice with the Bondo epoxy I applied a small amount to secure my deck support blocks. When it says not to mix more than you can use in 2 to 3 minutes it's no joke: after a few minutes it stops being sticky and becomes a useless rubbery consistency until it hardens.
The hatch. Because of its semi-irreplaceableness this next step proved to be a bit scary. First you drill a hole into the top of the plastic mechanical hatch for the keel rod tube to snug up into -- without breaking through the "must-be-completely-waterproof" hatch well. So I drill, Dremel, rattail file... so far so good.
Next you need to glue the mechanical hatch to the deck. To make sure everything was lined up perfectly I put blocks of wood and cardboard into the hatch well opening before gluing the hatch to the deck. The instructions say to use isocyanacrylate glue, so I apply my superglue, pressed everything carefully together... and then became quite surprised it didn't stick. NOTE: Superglue is a cyanoacrylate, not an isocyanacrylate. D'oh!
For take two I decided to use marine epoxy. After the application had set I put alternating coats of it and Bondo around the underside seam of the hatch to make doubly sure it would stay secure and watertight under the deck.
Next I tried to glue the hatch back seal to the underside of the deck piece using Testors cement for plastic models. The smell brought back ancient memories of putting together plastic models when I was a kid. The instructions say "If you can pull it off it was not a good enough bond." First attempt verdict: not a good enough bond. Second attempt using marine epoxy: better, but not good enough.
So when in doubt ask Dan L. what to do. Armed with the recommended JB KwikWeld epoxy, I drilled many tiny holes in the ABS plastic and scratched up the surface. Success! (Note: KwikWeld is not the happiest smell in the world... it's rather what I imagined the bilges of these sailing ships smelled like.)
Deck fittings. Since you need a handle to pull the deck hatch off, time to start work on the items that will sit on top of it: capstan, fore and main hatches and the gallows bitts (for storing the boat on). A little bit of clean up on the birch wood pieces, some wood glue, and presto, one capstan. Now just need to decide what shade of brown I want all the deck features to be.