Thursday, January 05, 2012

SOLAR BIMINI PART SIX: DECK WORK

Now comes the hardest part for me of my Solar Bimini project. Hard for me because it involves drilling holes in the deck. I just don't like making holes in the boat. Accidentally or on purpose. But, in this case it can't be helped. I need to have the the rear frame securely attached to the deck. I looked at several different ideas for fittings for the 1 inch frame tubing and decided that a 90 degree stanchion base mounted on the deck would be the best choice. I'm using a 1/2 inch piece of Starboard as a backing plate too.
Some things you might want to consider when purchasing a base like this for a deck mount is how does it handle excess water. Since it will be mounted on a relatively flat deck water can accumulate underneath the stanchion from the deck or by running down the frame tubing. You don't want that water to hang around under the base. Especially if your boat experiences freezing temperatures for some time of the year. That's why you want a base that looks like this underneath:

See that horizontal groove? That will allow any water that accumulates underneath the base or in the tubing frame to drain away. If the stanchion you buy does not have such a groove you might want to cut one in yourself.
Freezing water aka ICE can exert a lot of force if allowed to collect in tight places. Best to prevent that anyway you can.
Once I had the deck location for the rear frame landing chosen. I laid out some 3M painters tape on the deck to transfer the stanchion hole patterns to it. 





I then drilled holes through the deck where the mounting screws would pass through. CAPT. MIKE NOTE: Always check underneath the deck before drilling to make sure you will not be drilling into any wiring or other obstructions.
After the holes were drilled I routed out the core material between the deck using a Dremel Tool with a  #115 bit. I then filled the void with thickened epoxy (taping the holes underneath the deck with a strong tape to prevent it from draining.  This helps waterproof the area of the deck around the holes. Compass Marine has a great tutorial on the process here. After the Epoxy hardened I re-drilled the holes through the Epoxy and counter sunk them.

I used Life Calk for the bedding of the bolts. You could also other bedding materials like butyl tape if you want.
You can see the stanchion base for the rear solar bimini frame bolted through the deck in the above photo with the solar bimini frame inserted into it. Well,  the hard part is over now all the I need to do is connect the rear solar bimini frame to the existing dodger frame and mount the solar panels. That will be shown in the next solar bimini post.




1 comment:

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