Monday, June 22, 2020

Do You Have a Buffing Wheel?

Do you have brass items on your boat?

If you do, then you will be familiar with the slow, inevitable change that comes over brass when it i exposed to moisture and sea air... it turns dark and dingy. In fact this is a form of corrosion.  And woe unto you if a drop of salt water should come in contact with the brass - the surface layer will de-zincify, leaving behind just straight copper.

So what is the solution?  Well I don't have a solution that will protect the brass indefinitely - clear spray paint works for a while.  But how do you get it shiny before you apply the clear spray paint?

One method is to use Brasso - it works and does a wonderful job (if you use the old formulation).  But it is a *LOT* of work, making it practical for a few small items.

The solution for large items, or for a large number of items is a buffing wheel.

So, what is that?  It is a disk made up of multiple layers of cloth sewn together until the disk is 1/2" - 3/4" thick.  You mount it on your grinder (after removing one of the grinding wheels, of course).

When you buy the buffing wheel, also get a stick of Tripoli - this is a wax-based polishing compound.  If you decide to go for a jewelry finish, then get a second disk and a stick of rouge (never use a single disk with multiple compounds).

Fire up the grinder, touch the Tripoli to the edge of the spinning disk briefly, and apply the brass.  You'll be able to tell when more Tripoli is needed - polishing will slow down or cease.

Light fixtures from Eolian.  The shade in the foreground has not yet been polished.
(The chances are that the brass fixture you are about to polish was originally coated with clear spray paint.  You can polish this off with the buffing wheel, but it is much faster to remove it first with a little paint stripper.)

Well, it turns out that I have talked about this before - I am beginning to repeat myself...

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Cabin Warmth

On these early spring days here in the PNW (actual summer, with temperatures in the 70s, doesn’t arrive here until the second week of July) the cabin is mighty cold when I get up.  With outside temperatures in the very low 50s and when there is a wind blowing, the cabin temperature is not much higher than the outside.  We sleep comfortably under our (nearly) year-round comforter, but once out from under it... wow.

So it is my job to rise earlier than Jane and light the Dickinson heater.  This only takes a couple of minutes and pretty soon it is pumping out heat.  The fan installed behind the grill above the heater disperses the heat throughout the saloon and keeps the overhead from over heating. In an hour or so, the cabin is nice and cozy, and just the place for Jane to sit in her seat with a latte and enjoy the view out the windows.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Preventing Holding Tank Collapse

Some time back I wrote a post about filtering the effluent gases coming out the holding tank vent at the stern.  As anyone knows, when the breeze is over the stern, the odor can be truly revolting, thus the need for the activated carbon filter.

It works beautifully, by the way.  Until, that is, the charcoal becomes saturated.

Then you simply discard the old charcoal and pour in a new batch.

But I digress.

While I was installing the filter, it dawned on me that, although I took many precautions to minimize the pressure drop it imposes on the vent line, those could be inadequate in one special circumstance:  When the tank is being pumped.

Holy cow - if the pressure drop was too great, the holding tank could collapse!  I don't want to contemplate what a mess that would be!  And Drew, from whom I got the idea for the filter, mentioned that he had seen circumstances where the charcoal actually reduced the H2S to elemental sulfur, plugging up the granules... even worse!

OK, something needed to be done.

I settled on a lightly spring loaded check valve installed in parallel with the filter.  Installed so that its flow direction was inbound, to allow incoming air to bypass the filter.  Here's what it looks like:

Filter with bypass check valve

I had some difficulty in locating a suitable check valve.  One without some kind of spring to hold it shut would leak holding tank off gases out the stern, rendering the filter essentially ineffective.  But if the spring were too strong, the holding tank would collapse before the valve opened.  I finally hit upon the perfect solution - a check valve designed to be installed in the "bubbler" lines in a hot tub - it opens at 1/4 psi - perfect!

Problem solved.


Friday, May 22, 2020

Starting The Season Right

Although we use Eolian year round, overnighting at the dock at least once a week, there is that special night - the one that marks the beginning of the boating season.  For us, that was last night.  We are fully provisioned and will leave the dock for 10-14 days tomorrow morning.

And every year, for the first night of the season, it is a tradition aboard Eolian that we watch one of the best sailing movies ever made: Captain Ron.

Tradition satisfied, 2020.

And following on, the next movies will be episodes of Death In Paradise.

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