Friday, February 15, 2013

A little help from my friends

New fuel-tank bed epoxied in place. The tank is trussed up above and out of the way for now.
I am blessed with friends who are skilled, intelligent and generous with both; none more so than my friend Doryman.

Oceanus came with two new 55-gallon fuel tanks, but they were not installed. To complicate things, these tanks were designed to fit in the bilge of a powerboat and had a three-sided bottom--like a very open V with the bottom of the V cut off. As I looked at them, trying to puzzle out how I was going to make them work, I wished over and over that they were the plain old rectangular variety. But they are what I have and they are good (and expensive!) tanks. In fact, they are the most expensive tanks in the West Marine catalog.

The only way to make them work was to cut down some storage shelves in the engine room and build three-sided beds for the tanks. I made a template of the end of the tanks and went to work. I cut down the starboard side storage shelves and shoved the tank in the space. If I hadn't been crammed into the engine compartment, I would have done a happy dance. "Phew, it fits!" I said out loud to no one. "Now I just have to build the beds."

That was about seven months ago. Distracted by other things, I totally stalled out on the project.

Enter Doryman. He made the mistake of saying he had some free time, so I was on him like a duck on a bug. We worked together for two days and Oceanus now has two fine beds for her two fuel tanks. They are solid, tight fitting, level and, most of all, strong. I still need to sand and and have my wife paint them, but the hard part is finished.

The measuring, cutting and fitting was tricky, but those are things at which Doryman, a skilled boatwright, excels. It was beautiful and instructive to watch him work. He uses a sawsall -- a tool of mass destruction -- with skill and finesse, like a violin maker cutting a delicate curve with a fine fret saw.

When Charlie in the boat next door heard about the project he offered to give me some of his closed-cell polyethylene foam to line the fuel-tank beds. This looks like the perfect stuff to prevent the plastic tanks from chafing. Thanks Charlie!

I just might get this project finished... with a little help from my friends.