Wharram Builders and Friends

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Hi everyone,
3 weeks ago I was going for a drive out to the coast near the family farm, and I passed what was unmistakably a wharram catamaran parked on the side of the road, weeds growing over it. I've long admired wharram catamarans, but they don't seem to come on the market very often, and are quite expensive when they do. However, the last 6 years living a board a monohull here in New Zealand I've found that I've always made friends quickly when I a wharram comes into the bay.

So I went and knocked on the door and inquired as to the state and plans for the boat. It had clearly been sitting there a long time. It turns out, 21 years this thursday. It was obviously gonna need some work, the hatches on one side were rotten, some water had gotten in but the wood all still felt solid. The sails had been stored inside and where still in crisp condition, except one spot a rat had chewed a hole. The owners were now too old to fix it up or sail it. I made an offer, it was gonna be the low offer but to my surprise they accepted it.

Also this last summer I sailed my 26 foot monohull around the north island. This included a 10 day non-stop solo passage Auckland to Wellington. This was a goal I'd had since I first started sailing, but now that I had accomplished it, I was sort of lacking the next quest. I wasn't actually looking for a new boat but I certainly found one.

An amazing bonus, they have allowed me to work on it where it sits, with power, water, camping in a caravan across the road. I am also at a time in my life when it's time for a new project and I don't have anything more important to do. I'm now mostly working full time on this restoration.

When I went back to start working on it I found a bit more rot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_83ivA87fw

of course, I new that the scale of the project would expand as I got into it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPFXfHXP04c

I've now dug out all the rot in the hulls (that I know of) and am starting to put new wood in.

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Dominic, I just thought I would mention, since you are doing a full restoration and might need a lot of info, including construction details, here are the two main Wharram Groups on Facebook. This is where most of the chat is these days and there are a lot of knowledgeable people there. Most people are on both groups.

Wharram Catamaran:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1104053236329219/permalink/34709030...

Wharram Tiki Catamarans:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/470215363333282/permalink/129780441...

A dutch guy called Alfred just finished a Pahi 31 project. Here is a link to all his posts in the Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1104053236329219/user/100040107683613/

I've had a look at your videos; bon courage as the French say. Plenty of work there but you seem to have the drive and savvy to do it.

Be careful with the epoxy/glass dust though. You shouldn't let the stuff get on your skin or breathe it.  Have a shower or jump in the river when you have finished work for the day. It's important....nothing happens for a while. then bang, you can get a reaction. As well as gloves, you can wear disposable gauntlets to protect your forearms. Use white vinegar for cleaning before the epoxy work, never acetone - (in case you don't). Acetone on your skin is a vehicle for the nasty stuff in the hardener to get into your bloodstream. In the old days everyone cleaned their hands and tools in acetone- nobody told us of the dangers at that time.

Best of luck with your project.

Ian, thanks for the tips! I always wear dust mask and goggles when sanding/grinding, and am gonna upgrade this equipment on the next trip to the city (this weekend). Definitely I have a shower after working with epoxy.

Can you clarify what the white vinnegar is for? is that for washing my hands?

I acetone for cleaning brushes but not my hands.

jmh, thanks for the links. I do have a facebook account but never check it. I guess this is a good enough reason though.

Hello Dominic-

Many of us used to use acetone for clean-up of sanded surfaces before applying epoxy. When I began to learn about the potential problems of using it I switched to using ammonia. It started to get more difficult to pick up ammonia cheaply in general stores so I switched from that to white vinegar. White vinegar does the job very well and doesn't knock your head off with fumes either!

I never clean brushes now. I buy cheap but good brushes (good enough to paint with) from a general store called Wilco in UK. I then use them once only. It's wasteful in itself but using solvents is also.

Regarding masks/goggles: for about 25 years now I have been using powered -air dust masks. The first one that I had was an integral rechargeable unit  made by Trend, and there have been various models by them since then. The most recent model retailed at about £220 before Covid. During the first wave of Covid they became impossible to get except at stratospheric prices but they are now generally available again. I reckon that over 25 years I have had about 6 or 7 of these units, they don't last indefinitely as they are lightweight plastic. They are a helmet with a full-face visor. I never go to cut/drill/sand anything like mdf  (hardly ever touch that stuff actually) without this mask, ditto tanalised timber (don't like that either).

I'm making these points because your project is a big one and you are/will be doing a lot of cutting/grinding epoxy laminated material. I think this is just as hazardous as using epoxy itself for the repairs.

I have worked all my working life in the wood trades and I am always on about this kind of thing because a lot of people don't do the required protection. On construction sites all carpenters are using skillsaws/small bench circular saws/radial and cut-off saws and now those bl**dy vibrating saws and cutting mdf and treated timber without decent masks on. It slows you down on site to wear masks and use extraction and speed is everything. I never found that anything less than the powered masks kept the stuff out of my nose.

I'm allergic to fibreglass dust from exposure to it in workshops which were not properly vented etc .

Even now I get problems: in late summer I was working and living on my Tiki 31 in the boatyard. The bloke next to me had an old Macwester 26 he was doing up. He couldn't replace the rubbers of the cabin windows so he decided to cut them all out and install wooden frames (what an abortion). He did this in a F6 upwind of my boat 4 metres away with a bl**dy vibrating saw. My boat was covered in superfine glass dust and I itched for 3 or 4 days afterwards and the next 2 or 3 times I stayed on the boat. I had to pressure wash the whole boat 3 times before things got better.  No extraction but the F6 upwind of me. Hard to extract those saws.

So best to be ultra careful before our bodies say no.

You look to be pretty good with a handsaw and chisel though!

Best wishes   Ian

thanks, I couldn't find a trend airshied that would ship to new zealand (also it was extremely expensive) so I've ordered a full face positive flow mask from china, and replacement particle filters. I was quite surprised that even getting a full face mask from the local hardware stores isn't easy, let alone one with air supply

My process for reusing brushes, just have a air tight container with enough acetone at the bottom to cover the bristles. I can get quite a lot of uses out of a brush that way. Sometimes a few hairs fall out though. My work site for this project is 40 minutes drive (each way) to the nearest hardware store, so running out of brushes would be a big delay.

I also have a large supply of reusable gloves, when I'm doing an epoxy job I might change the gloves 3 times. Usually put fresh gloves on when I'm cleaning up, so that epoxy doesn't get on everything. Save up all the epoxy work until the end of the day and then have a shower. In the morning it's set enough to remove clamps and remove lumps with a chisel. Also, before epoxy, tidy away all tools I won't need and have a coffee break.

Ian, can you please put some links to the masks you are talking about?

Looking quickly I found these, is this what you mean?

Trend: NZD $699, https://www.carbatec.co.nz/product/36482-trend-airshield-pro-respir...

Hobbiest: NZD $155, https://www.carbatec.co.nz/product/36306-powered-dust-mask-hobbyist...

Dominic, which one did you order from China?

Thanks :)

this one, https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000190838353.html?spm=a2g0o.produc...

I wanted a combined eyes/mouth mask because putting on goggles and mask together was a pain, and didn't seal as well as I hoped. intake on a tube seems like a good idea too, get it well away from the source of the particles. That said, when I'm grinding I also hold a vacuum cleaner up to the grinder. Can catch a lot of dust that way but not eveything.

Sorry about delay in replying, have only just read the replies.

I just checked on Ebay UK, they (Trend Airshield Pro) are on there for £209. They are a little heavy on your head as the battery is up there, but you get used to that and after some training can fight Mike Tyson....

I have had ones with the battery pack on your belt, but found that the pack and tube were a nuisance, especially inside the boat.

When the first lockdown started in the UK, my Mrs used to go to the supermarket with the Trend helmet on: people certainly kept their 2m social distance from her.......

jmh2002 said:

Ian, can you please put some links to the masks you are talking about?

Looking quickly I found these, is this what you mean?

Trend: NZD $699, https://www.carbatec.co.nz/product/36482-trend-airshield-pro-respir...

Hobbiest: NZD $155, https://www.carbatec.co.nz/product/36306-powered-dust-mask-hobbyist...

Dominic, which one did you order from China?

Thanks :)

I used to use brushes like that too, I would reuse a couple of nitrile gloves to go over the brush handle and container to form a quasi- airtight seal. When I went off acetone I couldn't do that anymore, but subsequently wondered whether or not there was sufficient acetone left in the brush to compromise the epoxy. I never have had any failures though, apart from when I laminated the tillers from oak and they sprung apart. I hadn't degreased the oak enough. Anyway, I scrapped them and made a pair from utile which glues very well, although I really don't like to use tropical timbers and avoid them whenever possible (because of their provenance).

Dominic Tarr said:

thanks, I couldn't find a trend airshied that would ship to new zealand (also it was extremely expensive) so I've ordered a full face positive flow mask from china, and replacement particle filters. I was quite surprised that even getting a full face mask from the local hardware stores isn't easy, let alone one with air supply

My process for reusing brushes, just have a air tight container with enough acetone at the bottom to cover the bristles. I can get quite a lot of uses out of a brush that way. Sometimes a few hairs fall out though. My work site for this project is 40 minutes drive (each way) to the nearest hardware store, so running out of brushes would be a big delay.

I also have a large supply of reusable gloves, when I'm doing an epoxy job I might change the gloves 3 times. Usually put fresh gloves on when I'm cleaning up, so that epoxy doesn't get on everything. Save up all the epoxy work until the end of the day and then have a shower. In the morning it's set enough to remove clamps and remove lumps with a chisel. Also, before epoxy, tidy away all tools I won't need and have a coffee break.

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