Building a makeshift shelter (or as I often joke about it, a refugee camp) has helped. It kept the sun off of it during the summer and now it can help hold heat in a bit. Unfortunately, tarps tied to a canopy aren't the best when it comes to rain. They work for a little while, but stretching them over boat stands takes its toll and they start to leak. I've replaced or reinforced a couple, but even then the drainage of water off of the tarps can be an issue. The other problem with the shelter is the wind. Using a propane forced air (torpedo) heater, I can get the "tent" pretty warm, but if the wind is really blowing, the heater is much less effective in the drafty shelter.
|"Enclosed" work space canopy with 10 tarps|
I'd consider getting a somewhat more substantial shelter (one of those pop-up car ports or similar), but at this point we are so close to completion that it doesn't make sense to plunk down the money on one. A tent or carport large enough to fit the top, provide room to walk all the way around it, and room for a work table is a bit pricey. If I had bought one at the beginning it probably would have been worth it (or, who knows, maybe it would have other problems of its own like heat build-up during the summer). So, I make do with my canopy and the 10 tarps that are tied to the frame.
|Panorama inside my workspace.|
Despite all of this, we have been making some progress on the top. Discounting the hour or two it takes to setup and close down the tent each day, we have about six to 7 hours of working time. On good days, I can raise the temperature inside the tent 20 degrees or more over the ambient temperature and that is good enough to get resin and gelcoat to cure. We were able to apply a weave fill coat of polyester resin to the top. Yesterday we put gelcoat on the window opening and another coat along the top side of the handrails. That took a bit longer than planned (seems that everything does) and we were running the heater until 7 PM so it would cure.
Today was cold with the high of 51 at 5 AM and falling ever since. With help of the heater, I was still able to do a little wet sanding of the gelcoat (in this case the top didn't need it but I did). This evening the low is supposed to be around freezing and tomorrow is supposed to be windy, so I don't know that I'll be getting an early start in the morning. Maybe after a couple hot cups of coffee...maybe.
P.S. The cat seems to like the tent, she often hangs out under the top while we are working...whenever it is cold or raining. And this morning I found her sneaking out from underneath it when I arrived.