Cleanup and Wire Pull Day: The St. Petersburg Times reported last week that there were still thousands of folks in South Florida who had not recovered from the summer hurricanes i.e. no power, partially repaired homes, etc. We considered ourselves lucky in St. Petersburg, and yet, as I stood in my shop I could not help but remember August 12, 2004. Hurricane Charlie was due to hit us the next day and we were preparing to evacuate. One of the last things I did was to run out into my shop and take everything off of the floor and stack (read throw) it onto a higher place. Every surface of my bench, tool tops, cabinets, was piled with clamps, tool boxes, tools, and run-of-the-mill stuff. Last Saturday I started the slow process of restoring order to my chaos. (The hurricanes are another story).
As I waded through the mess, Roger rolled in on his new crotch-rocket-Honda-cafe'-racer-motorcycle. After we admired his bike we drifted into the garage to survey the scene. We started looking at the boat and decided to try pulling a few stitch-and-glue wires out of the hull. In order to pull these wires they have to be heated to free them from the epoxy fillet. Therein lies the problem. We tried a several soldering irons but the wire was too long and the glue to massive to pull the wire out. Next I lit up a butane torch and heated up one end of the wire - still no luck. Finally we came up with the bright(?) idea of using a 12 volt battery and a set of jumper cables. Success! (Don't try this at home, kids).
|I start the process by unwinding the wire and shortening one end.||Roger does the other side.|
|We apply the jumper cables to the wire ends. This one was too cool to pull out.||Roger executes a near-perfect pull.|
"Egad, Pinhead - You got this one way too hot!!!!"
The finished product.
Once we finally got on track we managed to pull every wire (except for the keel area wires) in less than a half hour. It was the most fun I've had in weeks. With every wire there was a mini-explosion of epoxy followed by a volcanic fire and smoke. The wires came out of the hull like a hot knife in butter. We examined the underside of the boat and there was no damage to the epoxy fillet or visible burn marks.
Disclaimer: I do not advocate this method for anyone else and take no responsibility for burns, house/shop fires, battery explosions, etc. We used gloves and eye protection and had a fire extinguisher at the ready. When we were finished we had a beer and watched the hull closely to make sure nothing was smoldering inside the fillet or plywood.
My next job will be to shore up the cradle supports and pull the wires off of the keel area.