Anchor, Chain Locker, and Anchor Roller, Part 9, Anchor Roller Platform and Hardware, Installation

The anchor platform, fully installed
Ten months had passed since I had constructed the mahogany anchor platform for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25. In the interim, I had varnished the platform (along with many other pieces of mahogany), I had modified the chain locker panel, and I had restored the deck of the boat to something of its original glory by compounding the gelcoat with an electric buffer and then waxing it. Additionally, I had polished the original stainless steel hardware (such as the stemhead and pulpit) on a bench grinder with a buffing wheel attached. Oystercatcher was now ready, at long last, to receive her varnished mahogany anchor platform and the hardware for it. How I carried out this installation is the subject of this posting.
The first thing I needed to do was to redrill the holes that I had filled with epoxy (so as to protect the balsa core within the deck). For this this I had to use a long drill bit to make it all the way through some of this material. Afterward, I dry-fitted the bolts to make sure that everything lined up just right.
For the anchor roller, there were five carriage bolts, 5/16 inch in diameter.
For the mahogany, there were two 1/4 inch hex-head bolts.
After I had determined that all the hardware fit into these holes, I made small reference marks on the deck around the perimeter of the anchor platform. Then I removed the platform and thoroughly cleaned the appropriate area of the deck with xylene. This solvent would remove the wax that I had earlier applied to the deck.
In lieu of using a polyurethane, such as Sikaflex, or polysulfide, such as Boatlife Lifecaulk, in my installation of the anchor platform, I used butyl tape. This was the same material that I had used in my reinstallation of the many different pieces of deck hardware that I had removed. You can buy butyl tape at your local hardware store or at an RV store, but I opted to buy mine from Maine Sail on his Compass Marine website (see the link on the homepage of this blog of mine that you're reading). Maine Sail's attention to detail and his love of quality in all things related to the refitting and maintenance of sailboat led me to trust his words on the quality of his traditional-style, long-lasting butyl tape. I should note that in the refitting of Oystercatcher I used almost six full rolls of his tape.
I applied butyl tape not only to the underside of the mahogany but also to the fiberglass shelf at the peak of the bow. This was where two of the five carriage bolts for the anchor roller would pass through the deck. I wanted the butyl tape to seal the holes. I also wanted it to serve as a flexible foundation of sorts for the roller. On account of the camber of the deck, the anchor roller would not be entirely flush with the deck, especially along the port side. The butyl tape would thus serve as a shim to fill the gap on this side.
After I had dropped the anchor platform into place and inserted the two 1/4 inch hex head bolts to hold it in place, I applied some butyl tape to the mahogany itself. This would seal the three holes for the three carriage bolts in this area, and it would help to raise the aft end of the anchor roller up just slightly. This was necessary because the mahogany was about 1/16 inch lower than the fiberglass shelf at the peak of the bow.
I then crammed butyl tape down into the small gap between the mahogany and the fiberglass shelf. I did not want any water to accumulate in this gap.
Now it was time for me to install the anchor roller with the five carriage bolts. If you click on the picture below and look closely, you'll see that I wrapped the heads of all the bolts with butyl tape before I installed them. I had done the same thing with the 1/4 inch hex head bolts in the mahogany. I used a helper for my installation of the hex head bolts. A helper wasn't necessary, of course, for the carriage bolts, since they, by their design, do not spin when you tighten down their nuts.
After this I used a putty knife to cram butyl tape into any crack I might find along the edge of the mahogany.
I filled the small crack along the forward edge. The crack in the picture below looks larger than it actually was because of the slight bevel that I had given to the forward edge of the mahogany.
I also filled some small cracks here and there along the starboard side . . .
and the port side.
The following weekend I installed the remaining pieces of hardware. I began by cleaning the surface of the mahogany with acetone.
I also cleaned the hardware.
Additionally, I cleaned the screws, just I had earlier cleaned the carriage bolts and hex head bolts.
Then I applied the butyl tape.

In keeping with the advice of Maine Sail, I also applied butyl tape to the screws after I had inserted them through the hardware. This ensured that the butyl tape would form a gasket of sorts in the beveled hole in the mahogany.
After I had installed this hardware I could, at last, call this part of the project complete. I could not, however, call this entire project complete. There still remained several tasks to complete before this new anchoring system was ready for use. My work on those tasks is the subject of my final postings.
This ends this posting on how I installed the anchor platform and the hardware for it on Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.

Anchor, Chain Locker, and Anchor Roller, Part 8, Chain Locker Panel, Part I

The chain locker panel just after receiving a coat of Epifanes Rubbed Effect Varnish
Having protected the mahogany anchor platform with epoxy and varnish, I could now focus on the chain locker panel. This piece of mahogany plywood formed a bulkhead of sorts between the chain locker and the V-berth. There were several modifications that I needed to make to this panel in order to make it functional. After I completed these modifications, I needed to protect the plywood from the elements, not unlike I protected the anchor platform. How I carried out these modifications and improvements on Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, is the subject of this posting.
In the picture below, we see the chain locker panel as it appeared when I purchased the boat in 2009. Notice the anchor rode visible through the hole on the lower end of the panel. It appeared that Ericson had put these holes in this panel for ventilation purposes.
I wanted to install deck plates in these holes so that I could seal off the chain locker from the interior of the boat. I planned to use an air conditioner on this boat in the spring, summer, and fall. These large holes would defeat the purpose. The deck plates would still allow me to ventilate the locker if necessary. In short, the deck plates could offer me the best of both worlds.
I found a plastic container that matched the diameter of the small deck plate exactly. I used this container to scribe a circular cut-line of the appropriate size. I should note that it was not necessary for me to cut the lower hole any larger than it already was, because the deck plate that I had purchased fit this large hole exactly.
Someone long ago had covered these holes with a fine mesh to prevent bugs from making their way into the boat. One of the problems with these screens was that it was impossible to access the chain locker from the V-berth without removing the entire panel. The deck plates would allow me access, if I needed it.
For this cut I used a Bosch T101BR reverse cut blade. I've talked about these in many other postings. These blades provide clean cuts by reducing tear-out. This attribute is especially desirable when cutting plywood, which is prone to splintering, particularly when cutting across the grain.
The cut turned out just the way I wanted it to.
Now I flipped the piece over and sanded away as much of the old adhesive as possible. Notice that I protected the finished side of the plywood from the rough surface of the work table with an old cotton sheet.
Some of the adhesive clung so tenaciously to the wood that I had to use a chisel to remove it.
One final sanding removed the rest of the adhesive residue. I used my Rockwell Sonicrafter oscillating tool for this job. It's small, triangular head is the perfect size for work of this nature.
The deck plates that I had purchased were manufactured by Beckson. These were the screw-in type, as opposed to the pry-out type.
I chose black because the Caframo brand DC powered fan that I had installed in the V-berth was black. Likewise, the DC terminal blocks and the AC receptacle that I had installed in the V-berth were black.
Now that I knew the deck plates fit just the way I wanted them to, I could move on to some epoxy-work on the unfinished side of the plywood.
This unfinished side would be facing the chain locker. It would thus be exposed to the wet nylon anchor rode on a regular basis. Without protection, this plywood would soon delaminate. That this plywood had never been protected and had never delaminated in the 40 year life of this boat was good evidence that this boat had rarely spent time at anchor.
I epoxy-coated this plywood at the same time that I epoxy-coated the unfinished sides of the plywood panels for the alcove boxes. I did not anticipate getting water into the alcove boxes. Nevertheless, in keeping with the advice of my wooden boat-building friend, I aimed to epoxy-coat or varnish every piece of wood on this boat - inside and out. Not to do so, especially in the subtropical climate of the Carolina Lowcountry - with its high heat and humidity - was to invite trouble.
After the second coat, the grain in the plywood was filled, and the surface of the plywood took on a glossy appearance.
In my indoor work room I lightly sanded the finished surface of the mahogany plywood. It appeared to me that Ericson had stained this piece of wood and applied maybe one coat of varnish. Much of the grain was still visible.
I decided to start all over and apply the proper sequence of coats suggested by Epifanes.
This sequence begins with the high gloss varnish cut by fifty percent with Epifanes thinner.
Every coat requires sanding before the application of the next coat.
I cut the second batch by twenty-five percent with Epifanes thinner. In an earlier posting in this article I spoke of using various solvents as substitutes for the proprietary thinners for Pettit and Interlux brand stains. Given that this Epifanes is so expensive, and given that it's the finishing touch, I do not skimp on the thinner. I know others don't skimp either.

The third coat I cut with fifteen percent thinner.
For the final coat I used about five percent thinner. Epifanes says that you can use zero percent thinner, but as I said in my previous posting, the varnish it too thick and syrupy without a little bit of thinner mixed in.

High gloss varnish looks good on the exterior of the boat, but not on the interior. There it actually gives the wood a cheap, gaudy look. That's why I, like so many others, opt for Epifanes rubbed effect varnish on top of the gloss. It gives the wood that professionally finished look, not unlike an expensive piece of furniture.
The behavior of the rubbed effect varnish is quite different from the high gloss. It moves quite quickly from a wet look to a dry look. This is good, because it allows you to see holidays, i.e., missed spots, in your brushwork, before it's too late to do something about them.
I've found that one coat is never enough. It never seems to cover every single tiny spot of the gloss varnish. Yes, as you see in the picture below, sanding is necessary for this rubbed effect varnish.
After two coats of this rubbed effect varnish, I could call this little sub-project complete.
This ends this posting on the modifications and improvements I made to the chain locker panel for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.