Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scraping by the 100 Mark

After two coats of clear epoxy
Back to the outside hull... once again with the able assist of mon capitaine.

Incidentally, shortly before the upside down maneuver, I reached a milestone of sorts! 100 hours of ship-building fun and 100 nitrile disposable gloves. Gosh, I had to buy another box of 100 and I would not be surprise if the entire project also rakes up another 100 hours.

I am guessing that I am about 50% of the way to launch-ready. Of course a lot depends on the desired level of perfection. The last 5% of attaining a nearly perfect boat may require a massive effort. Not sure how far I would want to go in that regard. After all, its not going into a museum but on the water.

The fillets in between the planks are now reasonably smooth.
If I were only building the rowing version, I'd expect to be done quite a bit sooner but spars (mast, boom and yard) each have to be carved out of blanks. Then there is the rudder, the tiller and extension, the dagger board and related blocks and fittings.

Anyway, back to work at hand. At this stage I sand smooth the lap strake edges that were filled up with epoxy paste and then lay on two coats of clear epoxy.

Oh yeah, and I scrape and scrape right through the aforementioned 100 mark! These special epoxy scrapers are invaluable! They arrived from CLC just in the nick of time to save me a bunch of dusty sanding hours. If I had had those at the outset, I might have saved myself a chunk time sanding and cut down on the epoxy dust.

Thinking ahead while waiting for epoxy to cure
NOTE to other "wood-be" stitch-n-glue shipwrights: Unless you already have them, get thyself those scrapers! 

During this upside-down stage, there are several critical steps that do require the willing and able assistance of a second pair of hands. The two new coats of epoxy were readily administered single-handed. If the second coat is applied 24 hours after the first, it is not even necessary to do any sanding. 

Preparing for the installation of the skeg requires attention to detail and precision measurements. An improper placement of the skeg would forever compromise the performance of the boat. This is easier said than done because you are working on a slippery slope.

In order to make the job easier, I cut open the bottom slot of the dagger board box. The manual does not direct to do this until much later but I found it very useful in eye-balling the correct center line which, of course, has to run right over the middle of the slot.

Once the skeg has been fine tuned for a perfect fit, it is time to drill four holes... initially small pilot holes, evenly spaced, from the outside into the hull. This is where the cooperative assistant will be most appreciated - nay: essential. The skeg is held firmly in the correct position while you crawl underneath the hull and then countersink into the pilot holes four screws which become the anchor to lock the skeg in place. After that you need to mix up a nice batch of peanut butter epoxy and create a fine fillet to forever bond skeg to hull. 

When that task has been completed, you basically have to go through a similar maneuver (countersinking four screws each) with the two 40" runners (bottom skids). Essentially these serve the purpose of  protecting the hull when it is beached. After I allowed the fillets to cure for about two hours, I decided to apply a layer of fiberglass roving on top of the skids. Presumably, this will make them extra scuffing resistant. 

The manual does not mention this final step but the CLC on-line slides of the construction of the PMD do show a wide band of roving being laid on top of the skids. The kit does not come with such a ribbon of fiberglass but luckily, I had enough left over from another fiberglass job. I suspect that at some point or another they decided that this was not necessary.

One more layer of epoxy on the skids and skeg and the hull will be turned again. 

Once the seats and rub rails are installed, it'll actually start looking like a little skiff.

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