Deadlights part 2

September 5, 2011

I meant to write at the beginning of this project log that I have never purchased any quantity of 3M 5200. I am very grateful to the previous owners of my boat that they did not use any such “permanent” adhesives, making it possible for me to take apart just about the entire boat! Of course, if I was joining a deck and a hull, 5200 would seem to be a great product for making sure the hull-deck joint was securely¬†fastened.

So I was a little reluctant to use a product that was advertised as a replacement for mechanical fasteners and was deemed “Very High Bond.” I think this tape has a lot going for it, but I’m a little worried that if I ever need to get this stuff apart, it might not go well. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!

Once I cleaned up the bronze frames I applied tape to both of the mating surfaces on in the inside and outside frames. Each frame has a surface that mates to the cutout in the cabin wall (I don’t have a headliner FYI) and another surface which mates to the acrylic deadlight lens (or pane, not sure of the exact term?). The tape I bought was 1″ wide, and I only needed it to be around 3/8″ wide. For the long straight sections I could lay out a piece of tape, cut off the excess width, and then apply the excess piece to the other,¬†parallel¬†mating surface. Even then there was a bit left over which I need to trim.

I used a retractable mat knife to cut the tape. As in most cases, a sharp blade works the best. This tape is very stretchy so if you don’t have a sharp blade at the right angle you have to saw through it a bit. But with a little practice you can make nice clean cuts – just like scissors through wrapping paper, if you know what I mean. I put wax paper under the frames while applying the tape so the tape would be less likely to stick when I dropped it.

I thought I might be able to get the tape to follow the curves of the frame, but it was easier to just cut the curves into the tape. I’d press the tape onto the section of frame, and then trim both sides to conform to the curve. With a little planning I cut apply the tape to the outer surface (mates to the cabin wall) and use the excess on the inner surface. I did my best to keep the joints tight between pieces of tape. I was hoping that when I installed the frames and tightened them down the tape would squeeze out of the edges and into the tiny joints as well. It also helps that the tape likes to stick to itself, so the joints are that much more likely to meld together.