With the shaft strut barrels and stainless steel rub rails installed, it’s time to tear down the scaffolding, carefully remove the old shrink wrap that’s covered with abrasive sanding dust and paint overspray residue and use the structural parts of Tent Model IX for a more robust, much smaller winter tent. This will take a long weekend to pull off (and maybe more) so I’ll have to do this step-wise. The boat isn’t waterproof yet, so I need to maintain a protective tent cover while tearing apart and relocating the structure that supports it. This is a more complicated way of doing it than to just rip the whole thing down, but if rain falls while the tent is down it could result in a bunch of problems I absolutely need to avoid.
Getting the skirt out of the way made it a lot easier to remove all of the scaffolding…and there was lots of it.
It seems the Boatamalans had a bad habit of throwing all of the used sandpaper, tape, plastic masking film, drink cans, bottles, fast food wrappers etc under the scaffolding. There were also many nearly new rolls of expensive tape and a whole box of Mirka Abranet 320!
The only thing left on the starboard side is my Miller Trailblazer 280NT. That will come out after I relocate the uprights closer to the hull, leaving the welder outside the new tent structure.
This compressor is a beast. It’s an Ingersoll Rand T-30 with water cooling and an oil-free design. That’s not oil-less, like the cheap newer compressors; rather, each piston uses two different sets of rings (teflon air rings on the top and conventional oil and compression rings below) with air pressure piped between the two ring sets to keep crankcase oil mist from entering the air side of the compressor. The water cooling greatly reduces water in the air supply. It’s old technology but works very well. With that monster of an old-school motor on it, it also weighs a lot…and that makes moving it a real chore for one man.
Bits of 1-1/2″ PVC pipe worked well as rollers on the hard ground. All I had to do was keep moving the pipes to the front of the skids as I rolled it out of the tent.
There are only a few tools from Harbor Freight that I would give an unqualified recommendation for, but their 1-ton engine hoist is one of them. Egyptians wish they had hydraulic rams back in the day!
In the picture above, the tent skirt is looking a bit baggy. That’s because I’ve moved the tent’s rear uprights in so they’re about 6 inches away from the stainless rub rails I just reinstalled. Also note the cloudy skies…it’s a good thing I left the tent cover intact.
After relocating the rear uprights, I started relocating the front ones and cutting and splicing the 1-1/2″ PVC pipes so the tent would be much narrower. I laid down a bunch of plastic to protect the paint when working with the pipes. Not only can falling pipes scratch the paint, but the purple PVC primer and glue would cause HUGE problems if it fell on the paint.
I lifted the welder with my hoist and put the PVC pipes underneath so I could roll it on out.
The pipes would allow the welder to slide over the top of them, but they wouldn’t roll over the deep gravel in the yard.
By putting scraps of 1/4″ plywood under the pipes, the machine rolled right out. After loading the Trailblazer in my truck for the trip home, I built the new upper wooden center supports for the forward tent pipes.
I carefully cut off all of the old plastic, taking care to keep the abrasive sanding dust off the new paint. Then I moved my two-stage compressor and refrigerated air drier out of the way; they were a breeze compared to the other equipment. The weight difference between the old school Ingersoll Rand compressor and the newer Campbell Hausfeld is about 2x, even though the lighter unit has an 80-gallon receiver (the IR compressor sits on a 30-gallon one). Since I’ll still be using air on the project, I built a new shelf for the drier and made space for the upright compressor inside the new tent structure. But then I stopped for a few minute and took in how the boat looks in natural light, since even when the top blew off the tent recently the skirt was still in place to block the view.
This time, I’m using wooden battens all the way around the top of the skirt. The battens have two jobs: 1) hold the skirt up more rigidly than the shrink wrap line or tape can (which I used last year and previously); and 2) more securely fix the top sheet of plastic to the skirt. What I’ve learned is that shrink wrap plastic can be welded and taped together, but that joint inevitably fails where battens (so far) have not. It takes more time to do it this way, but that’s better than having the tent fail (again).
Short winter days make it hard to get certain jobs done. Ah well…it won’t be the first time I worked a shrink wrap gun at night.
It took until 11pm to get the side skirt partially tensioned and the top plastic sheet fixed in place with battens. I also welded and taped the seam between the skirt and top sheet. Then I had to clean up the mess. By 12:15am I’d been going at it for 17 hours and had to call it a day. I was so exhausted that for the first time in many, many years, I was actually concerned that I might fall asleep on the drive home. To keep myself awake, I broke out the heavy artillery and turned on liberal talk radio…better to get temporarily high blood pressure from listening to nonsense that doesn’t stand up to critical thinking than to fall asleep while driving. 😉
I fired up the shrink wrap gun and tensioned the rest of the tent the next day, then cleaned up more of the mess in the yard.
Battens on the bottom, sides, and at the joint with the skirt hold the plastic securely and help maintain a tight tent covering
With no NW-facing exhaust fan vents to let blasts of wind in, the tent should hold up better than it has before.
Though there’s no scaffolding structure to keep the uprights…upright, each one has lumber attached at an angle and braced that should keep them from moving into the boat.
With the paint job done, we don’t need space on the sides of the boat. And as the area of the top of the tent gets smaller, so too will the snow loads if we get a bunch falling this winter.
OK, so the tent is a wrap. I’ve got a couple of projects up in the air right now while I wait for parts to show up. Things that have to be done before splashing next year include: install the glass and windshield, finish the engine/shaft install, install the hydraulic steering system, finish and install the swim platform, and then start cutting plywood for interior bulkheads.