We’re Saving Money, Of Course

“I don’t want this to be a forced march.” These are the words Mike uses to describe having to hurry up to get someplace on a schedule. A forced march. Must be his fond memories of basic training in the Air Force or something, but anyway, it’s his way of saying that he likes to have a leisurely and relaxed Saturday morning rather than getting out the door early. Thus it was already after lunch when we pulled into the boatyard down in Astoria. That gave us only 24 hours or so to spend working on the boat so it was crucial that we spend our time well; that we maximize our efforts; that we work as a finely oiled machine. So naturally, ever focused on the goals at hand,  I was scanning the area around Andromeda for treasure.

“Oh, too bad.”, I said. “Someone took those cool pieces of industrial art I found last time I was here.”  Since I hadn’t been to Astoria since before Christmas, it didn’t surprise me that the items in question were missing. I mean had we been in Tacoma they would have lasted maybe 24 hours before someone saw them for the funky decorative items they are. “Oh, well.”

Remember these?

As I uttered those words, Mike got a very strange look on his face. “Oh, darn it!”, he said. Now, Mike doesn’t usually care much about my garden art tenancies, and he really doesn’t care much about making stuff out of found objects. I’m the one who is prone to dumpster diving.  So I was confused by his downcast face. Could it be that he, too, had been harboring regret that I hadn’t picked those up when I first saw them? Would the future see us diving dumpsters together? Be still, my heart!

“I took them for you. They are at home. I was going to put them under the Christmas tree for you. Darn it all, I forgot. The thru hull looks cool like it is, but the other thing; I was going to do some work on it first”.  This is where being married for 31 years comes in mighty handy. I mean, how many women would have been thrilled to have garbage underneath the Christmas tree? And how many men would have thought to put it there? And STILL REMAIN MARRIED, I mean. Love is a wonderful thing.

I can see where Mike was going with the whole idea of ‘found objets d’art’ as gifts. It would certainly save money during the holidays. Money that we need to buy things like this:

Engine room insulation by Sound Down. $$$$$ You get what you pay for.

Oh yes, this weekend we began the Great Insulating of the Engine Room. So clean. So white. So pristine against that red engine! Talk about industrial art! We drove down to Astoria with three boxes of this stuff in the back of the truck, hoping we would have enough to finish the job. As usual, time became the limiting factor.

We had two jobs to accomplish this weekend: clean the tape and adhesive off of the cockpit floor so that when it is sealed we can make it water tight again, and get as much done as possible with the sheets of insulation.

The cockpit floor was a mess. There was duct tape covering the holes on the top, and the mastic used to create a seal underneath it all had to be removed. What’s the best way to remove old tape and old adhesive? Elbow grease and scrapers, and an assortment of cancer causing chemicals like spray adhesive remover, goof off, acetone and WD-40. I used them all on the duct tape, which absolutely did not want to come off, even though I spoke sternly to it, admonishing it in the most vociferous way. You can see that the entire floor needs to be refinished, so that is on our list for warm weather; that long, long list.

Very ugly. I got the stuff off, but there is no way this cockpit floor will ever look good. It needs redoing just to help keep it clean.

While Mike puttered around in his little engine room exchanging old bolts for new, admiring his rails, and generally basking in the new-engine gleam, I scraped and cursed, and scraped some more, then cleaned it all with acetone and called it good. By that time, the sun was going down, so out came the halogen work light. No time to waste just because daylight is over.

The floor to the cockpit is about the size of a baby Orca and weighs about as much. We hope we will never have to lift it off again. (I said we ‘hope’!)  Let’s just say that there was a collective sigh of relief between us when we had it lifted, turned, and turned over and in place without either of us falling into the engine room, and without dropping it. Mike stood in the engine room and scraped and sanded the rim and I sat in the cockpit and scraped and cleaned the channel in the top. The stuff that had been used was a little soft and we thought it might actually be plumber’s wax.  Several hours of this activity and 8 ibuprofen between us saw the thing as clean as it will get.

Mike works below, while I work above. Our engine is covered with a blue tarp to protect it from dust and little pieces of old adhesive. 

So now we are at a decision point on this floor. In the photo below you can see that there is a hole drilled about every 4 inches. That’s a lot of holes, and some of the matching holes below look like they’ve seen better days. My gut feeling is that all these holes need filling with epoxy and new holes drilled. And we’ve discussed that neither of us sees the reason why there need to be so many of these holes in the first place. First of all, this ‘lid’ isn’t going anywhere unless the boat turns over. And even so, it could be held in place with a lot fewer holes than are currently present. Mike says there are that many in case the engine flies off the rails while we are upside down. Right. So unlikely it hardly bears considering, especially as it is so securely bolted down and Mike will be coddling it personally for years to come. No way are any of those bolts ever going to come loose on his watch. So we’re looking at how we can secure this thing with the least number of holes. Chime in with your opinions.

This cockpit floor wins the award for the sheer number of holes drilled into it. Why? Is this necessary?

Today we determined we would work hard at the insulation job. Mike set out his cutting area and I set up an area in the salon where I could tape the edges. This Sound Down system is really nice. While the cutting requires some muscle, the tape really makes a nice finished edge.

What it looks like on the back.

The first completed panel fits snugly in the space on the door.

We were so excited to get started because it meant we could rehang those engine room doors that have been in the way since November. Rather than use the hangers made to be used with this stuff, we decided that we would try this very strong double sided carpet tape that we ordered through Home Depot. While it probably wouldn’t be the best thing to use for large pieces, the doors are small enough that we thought it was worth trying.

Double sided carpet tape. Cheap and effective.

We bought this stuff to lay carpet tiles in our office at home and were very impressed with how strong it was and how easy to use. It went down easy on this door and so far it seems to be holding the insulation panel just fine. Time will tell.

We’ll finish this door with small pieces around the window next time.

In the future we may need to be able to remove the panels from the walls in the engine room so we are using the interesting attachment system, called Insul-Hangers (get it?) provided by Sound Down. This system will allow us to remove the panels without damaging them. The system consists of outward facing nails attached to a metal mesh. These are glued onto the walls. Once the glue has set, which takes at least 24 hours, you push the panels onto the nails and cap them off with some nifty little caps. This weekend we got all the panels cut and taped, and glued the nails to the wall. Next weekend, we will finish it up.

In this fabulous photo, Mike is scooping Tuff Bond glue onto the Insul-Hangers and sticking them on the wall. Notice hole right above his hand.

It might look like peanut butter, but it’s definitely NOT.

As is always the case, one thing leads to the other. While the lid was off the engine room, I asked Mike to take out one of the cockpit drains. It was different than all the others and it was not flush with the cockpit floor; it is too tall. This causes debris and water to collect in that corner of the cockpit. It seems like now is the best time to replace it with something that is more like all the other ones. Hope springs eternal!

Mike is taking this pathetic excuse for a drain out of the hole. You can see that if this were sitting down in the hole, it would still be too tall for water to drain properly.

A quick run up to Englund’s marine store produced a patterned response that I’m sure exists in some mathematics or logic textbook somewhere. It goes like this: If A and B are true, then C must also be true. In our case, A) we don’t know what we have because it’s old and not marked B) new ones will cost about $60 each if we can find one that will fit. Therefore C: Let’s try to recycle the old one by repairing it. See how that works? We’re saving money already!