Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Friday, December 26, 2014

Center Skin Panel Backing Plates

Before installing the center skin panel, I need to add backing plates at each butt joint. This allows me to tie the skin panel into the structure on all sides of the panel. The approach is one of two different ways of dealing with the need to add multiple plywood panels on a boat and joining the panels together.

One approach is to scarf join the panels together end to end and then attach them to the boat. This can yield a very nice exterior finish and if done correctly, can be as strong as the rest of the panel. In areas of extreme curves or bending, this is probably the only way to join the panels unless the panel is applied in narrower pieces.

The scarfing approach has a few drawbacks for the builder who is primarily doing the work by themselves. First and foremost, the additional size of the joined panels makes it difficult to handle. On my boat, three panels would have to be joined together making the entire piece, 24 feet in length before trimming to size. Needless to say, this would be very difficult (but not impossible) to manage by yourself. Trimming the panel to size requires numerous sessions of installing and uninstalling ( as well as trimming and sanding) the panel before it is ready for installation. I do know of a builder who used this approach and was successful with it.

The second drawback from my perspective is that the larger panel requires a considerably longer time to install, with a corresponding increase in epoxy that needs application, and screws that need to be driven in place. I find my stamina to be challenged if it takes me longer than 2 hours to accomplish a single task. A 24 foot panel installation would undoubtedly take 4 or 5 hours (possibly longer) to get glued into place, all the screws driven down, and all the excess epoxy cleaned up. This estimate is based upon the length of time it took me to install a single panel and is an aggressive pace. Because of the time needed, trying to keep workable epoxy available during the installation would be very challenging.Again, not impossible, but at my age, I don't need the stress.

The second approach is to use butt joints. This allows panels to be installed one at a time and then joined together when needed. The joining together could, in theory, be done separately from the panel installation. A butt joint requires a backing plate to be installed in the inner surface of the joint. This backing plate needs to extend a sufficient distance onto each skin panel (6 inches each side in my case) and needs to be attached to both skin panels.

The biggest drawback to the butt joint approach is that the the backing plate is sometimes difficult to conform to a curve and therefore, the butt joint should preferably be in an area that is relatively flat. I had to deal with this (more in a few moments).

I have heard of a third approach that is similar to a butt joint in which the two panels are joined with fiberglass cloth on both sides, but I was not comfortable with this approach from a strength perspective. Admittedly, I am not that familiar with this technique and there may be more to it than I am aware of.

Because of the drawbacks to the scarfing method, I elected to go with butt joints on my skin panels. I have discussed this in several of my postings previously. The remainder of this posting will cover the installation of the center panel butt joint backing plates.

The skins already installed at the front and rear of the boat have a slight  curve in the up and down direction. In addition, the front panel also has a slight twist to it in relation to the chine and sheer. The backing plates are from the same 9mm plywood used for the skins. They are 12 inches wide to allow 6 inches of mating surface on each side of the joint. The length is cut to allow the panel to fit between the sheer and the chine.

Because these plates are relatively short, getting them to conform to the previously mentioned curves is difficult due to the stiffness of the plywood. I decided to try and pre-bend them a bit using steam. I was a bit concerned about the steam heat causing the panels to delaminate, but the book I have on building plywood boats talks about using boiling water to get panels to bend when fitting them to the boat. So I figured it would be okay to try and if I didn't like the results, I could always try something else.

So I broke out the steaming technique I used previously on the chines and sheers (using plastic bagging and a steam generator). The panel was wrapped in the plastic sheeting and then connected to the steam generator.

Notice that I have ratchet straps around the panel. More on this in a moment. These panels would not require much heat since they are fairly thin. After steaming them for about twenty minutes, they became pliable enough that I could press down in the center and then start ratcheting the straps to get a slight curve. Not much of a curve is needed.

These were allowed to dry out and they retained enough of the curve to make them fit to the skins much better. There was no evidence of delamination so I deemed the experiment a success.

The plates were placed into position on the skins and cut to length. My plan was to epoxy them into position and used short silicon bronze screws to hold it together while the epoxy cured. The screws would be driven from the inside of the boat and WOULD NOT extend through the outside skin.

Doing the epoxy glue up was fairly straightforward for the aft panel plate, but the forward plate needed a twist in order to conform correctly to the skins. I had to use some clamps and a board to "persuade" this plate to stay in position. I found that the screws had insufficient bite to pull the panels down to the skin so I had to apply pressure at every location where I drove a screw. This was not easy and I intend on acquiring some deep throat "C" clamps for the next set of plates.

You can see in a couple of the pictures how I had to place a board to push against the backside of the twisted plate. And clamps are installed at opposite corners of the mating area. I was able to get everything down correctly, but as mentioned, I will be using more clamps next time.

Finally, a shot showing both backing plates in position. You can clearly see how the plates will allow the center skin to attach at the joints in addition to their other connections on the sheer and chine. In a couple of days, after the epoxy has cured sufficiently, I will be attaching the center skin panel. Then I can move on to the starboard side.

So that is it for now. Hopefully, by the beginning of the new year, I will have the port center skin attached and the starboard center panel well along. Take care and enjoy the remainder of your holidays.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

More Side Panel Skinning

Well, I had hoped to get more work done since the last posting two weeks ago. Things being what they are, I was only able to complete the second front panel and start on the port center panel.

The port front panel presented a few more difficulties than the starboard panel. This had mostly to do with the lack of space on that side of the boat. I also had some difficulty getting the panel into position because of the curvature required. The front of the panel kept getting hung up on the back wall of the garage.

However, eventually I did get it into position and glued down. The only real difference between this panel and the starboard side is that this panel lays over the end of the starboard panel in the nose. That means that the starboard side panel had to be sanded down flush with the stem first.

Another area I had more difficulty with on this panel was getting the forward most screws in. Like the starboard panel, I had to use air powered angle tools (drill and wrench). But for some reason, the wrench would run out of power before completion of driving the screw so I was forced to get in there and complete that by hand. Needless to say, that was difficult in that I had to drive it down while keeping the driving bit firmly planted in the screw (so that the head wouldn't strip).  Afterwards, my arms felt like they had been in a boxing match.

When fitting the panel, I noticed that it did not lay quite flat on the stem. The amount of curvature on the panel in this area is a bit more than is easily handled by the panel. You can see in the next photo the small gap in the center.

After I removed the panel I worked the fairing on the stem a little and this improved the  fit, but I was still forced to use some levering action by placing a board against the wall and pulling down on it while driving the screws in. Of course, I couldn't do this by myself and had to enlist the aid of my son.

As mentioned, I eventually succeeded in getting the panel glued into correct position. It gives the boat a new character when both front panels are on.

At this point, the only remaining work on the side panels was to fill in the center section. These were going to require six feet of plywood as well as two backing plates per side. This is the work that I didn't get much done on.

I did get a couple of preliminary fit pictures. The first one illustrates the butt join on the forward end of the center panel. Eventually, there will be a 12 inch wide backing plate (also made from 9mm plywood) glued and screwed to the inside of this joint (as well as the other joint on the aft end). The backing plate needs to extend six inches on each side of the joint (hence the 12 inch width). It will also extend the full length of the join between the sheer and the chine. (approximately 32 inches).

One other aspect of this backing plate is that it needs to conform to the curve of the skin panel. The curve is not excessive but the shortness of the backing plate means that it will be difficult to force into a curve. My concern here is that that stiffness will tend to flatten out the curvature of the skin at the joint. A flat spot would be aesthetically undesirable and might affect the performance of the boat.

I am going to experiment with pre-curving the backing plates before gluing them into position. I have yet to perform this pre-curving and I do not have any photos of them yet.

In the the final photo, you can see that the center panel is trimmed to length and in position but still needs trimming on the chine edge. What I particularly like about this photo, however, is that it shows off the lines of the boat quite nicely.

So as you can see, I don't have a lot to discuss this time around. I will have some more free time after Christmas as well the New Year weekend so I will be trying to get the center sections completed. After they are done, skinning will be on hold for awhile while I complete work on the bottom of the boat.

Several tasks needs to be accomplished on the bottom before I can start adding the skin panels. First, I need to install the battens into the notches in the frames. These notches will need to have limbers added before the battens are installed. The limbers are an area cut out on the outboard side of each notch that will allow water to drain to the aft end of the boat.

In addition to the battens, I need to do a bit more fairing work on the frame bottom edges. And I also need to pre-drill the two drain plug holes in the transom.

All in all, quite a bit of work to accomplish, before the skins can be added. I am still hoping to complete all of this (including the skinning)  by the end of February but with the onset of winter and colder weather, I am not sure this will be possible. We'll see.

So, that is it for now. I will continue to work the boat and in a couple of weeks, I should be able to show more progress. Until then, take care.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Skinning Continued

After last week, I was pondering how I was going to apply the remaining skin panels to the boat. My thinking was that I needed to have some idea where the center panel (next one after the aft panel) needed to end so that the front panel could be covered with a single sheet of plywood and at the same time, leave the joint between the center and front panel flat enough to use a butt joint.

Readers may recall, that I had originally intended on making a single 24 foot long piece of plywood using scarf joints and then attempting to apply that panel in one shot. Knowing what I know now, I am glad I did not attempt to do that. More on that in a few moments.

The scarf joint approach was originally considered because I was afraid that the butt joint wouldn't conform to the curves of the boat all that well. However, the scarf joint approach presented several difficult problems to overcome. First, the length of three panels would have exceeded the length of my garage by 3 feet. I was unwilling to store the panels outdoors.

I though perhaps I could make a heavy paper template of the panels on the boat structure and then rough cut the 24 foot panel down to a more manageable size. But information I read seemed to indicate that this approach was risky because of the different flexibility characteristics of heavy paper when compared to plywood.

The second major challenge was how I was going to handle that large of a piece of plywood when fitting, and even more so when gluing the panel to the boat. I am working alone on this project and do not have a reliable source of extra hands so this was a major consideration.

I considered a hybrid approach where I would install the aft panels separately. The thinking here was that the aft panel butt joint is fairly flat so a scarf joint was not necessary here. I moved forward with that approach and installed both aft panels. That's where I was at the end of the last posting.

Installing these aft panels made me aware of the amount of work and time required just to install the 8 foot piece of plywood. I was was battling cure times and my personal endurance just getting these installed. I began to realize that installing a much larger piece of plywood was going to be very difficult for me and run the risk of having the epoxy cure to an unworkable state before I finished installing the panel.

I decided to re-examine the possibility of using a second butt joint near the front of the boat. I first needed to get some idea of where an 8 foot panel would end if attached to the front of the boat. Since this area is curved, it was not easily measured. Only by attaching a similar sized piece of wood could I be sure where the second butt joint would be.

I had two full 8 foot long pieces of plywood that were left over from the aft panels. They were narrower but that wasn't a problem. So I clamped them into position on the bow.

 This gave me a rough idea where a full panel would end. Then I clamped a scrap piece of plywood over that approximate area clamping to the sheer and the chine and over frame 4. What I was looking for here was the amount of curvature of the panel in a vertical direction. It didn't appear to be too pronounced and I began to have confidence that a second butt joint would work in this area as well.

I examined pictures of other examples of this design built by other builders and I saw that many of them also had butt joints in this same approximate location. At this point I was still thinking that I would install the center panel first and then install the forward panel last. But as I though about it more, I realized that installing the front panel first would be easier and then I would only have to fill in the center with the relatively flat center section. I considered the idea for awhile and could not think of any real reason not to do it this way, so that is the approach I ultimately decided to use.

The first order of business was to get a rough trimmed panel. I laid a full sheet of plywood in position and clamped it into place. Then I marked off very rough outlines where I needed to cut the panel.

After cutting these rough outlines, the panel was much easier to clamp back into position. From here I could refine the amount of material to trim off. As material is removed, it becomes progressively easier to re-install the panel because it is lighter and conforms to the curves better.

You'll notice in the first of the four photos that there is a vertical line marked on the panel. This would be the cut line for the but joint. Also notice how well the panel conforms to the curve when viewed from the inside. This is a testament to the design of the boat. I did notice that my chine fairing in this area was still a bit flat. This is in the area of the center clamp in the third picture.

I had to take a couple of days and build up the chine in that area before proceeding. Once that was completed, I re-installed the panel again and the fit was much better. Before proceeding further, I took the panel and checked it against the other side of the boat. This served two purposes. First a sanity check to insure that both sides of the boat are the same (they are). Secondly, I was able to use this first panel as a template to rough cut the second front panel from another sheet of plywood.

I took that second panel and test fitted it to the boat on the port side and saw that there would be no problems in getting it to install. A plus was that the chine on that side did not need any additional work. So when I get to that side later this week, I can proceed immediately to the fitting and installation.

Back to the starboard front panel. Using the same sequence of steps I outlined in the last article, I proceeded to get the panel installed. As a recap, this basically meant tracing the structure outlines on the interior of the panel, using these tracings as guides to layout the screw holes, and final trimming the chine edge of the panel. This edge needed final trimming before installation because the bottom skins will eventually butt up to this edge and it would have been nearly impossible to clean this up after the panel was installed. The tracing of the chine on the panel gave me the reference points I needed to determine the cut line for this final trimming.

You'll notice that the curvature of the panel at the aft end (the butt joint ) is relatively flat and there should be no problem joining the center panel at this location.

One other area of difficulty I had to contend with was at the very front of the panel. Because of the closeness of the boat to the garage back wall, there is insufficient room to get in there to pre-drill the screw holes into the structure and to install the screws during assembly using my battery powered drill. It is also a difficult area to clamp because the stem and breasthook get in the way.

I solved these problems by using an air powered angle drill to drill the holes and an air powered wrench and socket fitted with the screw tip to drive the screws. You can see these in the last of the previous photos.

Here are two photos showing the area in question. You can also see in the second photo, the overlap of the panel on the stem. This will need to be sanded back to the stem. When the other front panel is installed, it will overlap this first panel in this area.

Because of difficulties I had with removing the temporary steel screws and plywood washers on the aft panels, I decided to remove these screws earlier in the process on this panel. Remember that these temporary screws are there simply to hold the panel in place while the epoxy cures. They are eventually replaced with permanent silicon bronze screws. I waited several hours until the epoxy was hardened, but not fully cured. The one by one, I removed the temporary screws and installed the permanent screws. I left the clamps in place to avoid putting any strain on the not fully cured epoxy.

These screws will eventually be filled over with putty and sanded smooth before I apply fiberglass cloth to the hull in a few months.

So the weather is a bit cooler today and I have other pressing things to take care of but I am hoping to to get the other front panel on by next weekend. Then I can begin to tackle the center panels. Those will involve the additional work of making and installing backing plates in the butt joint areas. I will explain all of that when I get to it.

Until next time.

Take care.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Back To Work With Skinning

As mentioned in my previous posting, I had a delay in construction due to a variety of circumstances. However, that is behind me now and I have been able to make more progress with skinning. Two panels are now installed with one of them still needing trimming.

The first panel's installation was a bit stressful trying to get everything done before the epoxy got to hard to work with. This was primarily due to two things. First, I neglected to transfer the screw holes into the structure and more importantly I didn't pre-install the screws into the temporary plywood washers before installing the panel. Both of these slowed me down the first time, so I made sure to accomplish both before installing the second panel.

However, before installing the port panel, I wanted to complete work on the starboard panel. First up, I needed to replace the temporary screws and plywood washers with silicon bronze screws. This was a matter of removing and replacing. Then there was completing the trim work on the panel. That involved a bit of sanding, trimming off the excess plywood at the transom and above the chine. Finally, I sanded the plywood down to the transom and chine. The excess on the bottom (by the sheer) will be rough trimmed later when I feel like laying under the boat and doing this task. However, I will leave final trimming of that area until after the boat is flipped as it will be much easier to accomplish. Also, there is some fairing required on the sheer after the boat is turned over..

The port panel was basically a repeat of the process used on the starboard side.

  1. Install the panel temporarily
  2. Trim off approximately 12 to 18 inches off the bottom where it overlaps the sheer (leaving about an inch extra)
  3. Re-install the panel and determine positive location points
  4. Trace the hull structure on the inside of the panel. 
  5. Remove the panel and mark all the screw holes (using the structure tracings as guides)
  6. Drill the screw holes into the panel
  7. Re-install the panel and transfer the screw holes into the hull structure
  8. Remove the panel again and wipe everything down
  9. Pre-wet the panel and structure with thinned epoxy in the mating areas 
  10. Apply thickened epoxy to the structure mating surfaces
  11. Install the panel with a few screws (just enough threads to hold in position
  12. Clamp the panel down
  13. Install the temporary screws and plywood washers with wax paper under the washers
  14. The next day, remove the temporary screws and install the permanent screws.

The end result, 1/6th of the boat has been skinned now!

The next panel will be on the starboard side forward of the first panel. They will be connected together with a butt joint with a plywood panel backing up the butt joint on the inside of the skin. I'll be covering that process more in the next posting, but one of the challenges I face with this next panel is determining where to cut it to length so that the next butt joint is in a relatively flat area.

I've looked over a few other builds of the same boat and I have a fairly good idea where I can place the second butt joint, but I will need to determine this location on my own boat. The challenge comes from the fact that whatever forward boat structure remains, after installing this second panel, will need to be small enough to fit under a third 8 foot piece of plywood. Since the forward section of the boat is quite curved, I cannot simply lay the third plywood in position to see how big to make the second piece. And if I make the second piece the full 8 foot length, then the second butt joint will be too far forward (into the curved area of the boat).

I'm thinking the second piece will be 5 or 6 feet long, but still need to verify this before making any cuts. Anyway, as mentioned, I will cover this more in the next blog posting.

The other thing I did was to purchase the transom drain plugs. These are a two piece part that need to be installed before installing the bottom battens and the bottom skins. It will be a while before I actually do this, but I wanted to make sure I had the parts beforehand.

The tubes will require a 1 inch hole to be cut in the transom frame on each side of the keel as close to the eventual skin as possible. This will be the low point of the boat when it is turned over and these will allow draining of any water that accumulates in the boat. Since I am planing on covering the transom exterior with a mahogany veneer, I will drill these holes first before skinning, and the go back through the veneer at a later date. At that time I will install the actual parts.

So for now, that is it. I still have some time left in this weekend and will be finishing the port side panel and starting the process of fitting the second starboard panel.

Take care.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Temporary Delay

Just a quick update. Due to circumstances of a family nature and because of a week of cold weather, skinning of my boat had to be put on hold. Most of that is behind me now and I expect to get back to work over the holiday weekend.

As soon as I have enough significant new work accomplished, I will post a regular update. Until then, take care.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Finally, Skinning Begins

After the last posting, I still had some encapsulation to finish up, namely the forward part of the chine inner surfaces (forward of frame 4) and the sides of the keel. That took approximately 5 days. During that same time I ordered my plywood for skinning as well as the silicon bronze screws I will need for the same task.

The plywood, like the other plywood I have been using is Joubert brand Okoume BS1088 Marine Grade. I needed 12 sheets of 9mm (3/8"). The plans actually call out for 11 sheets, but I wanted an extra in case there were problems during the skinning process.

Also like the other plywood, this material is pricey. I had to start saving money for this early in the year. I emailed several vendors to get quotes and ended up choosing Homestead Hardwoods in Ohio. The wood was purchased and delivery arrangements made. All of this occurred on Tuesday, Oct 28th.

This last Thursday, the material arrived and was in good condition.

While I have been anxiously awaiting this moment, I was also somewhat apprehensive. I think the feeling is similar to how I was feeling last year when I finally stopped working on the frames and started putting the building form together. I had gotten quite comfortable with seeing this boat skeleton in my garage and doing the various things that needed to be done. Skinning is a new ball game and I am probably going to worry about the fit of every piece until I get them all in position.

Of course, the first day, I had to try a temp fitting just to see how it was going to look. After clamping the top edge to the chine, I had to come up with a method to bend the sheer edge in towards the sheer.

My first concern was that I would need to trim the panel to a closer fit on the hull. But in order to do that, I needed to have the panel bent and clamped into position. How to do that? I thought about using the ratcheting straps I used for the chine, but I didn't feel like that was going to be easy to do.

Instead what I did was take a 1 by 4 piece of scrap lumber and ratchet strap it to the building form above and below the panel (in the center of the panel). Then I ratcheted the panel down until it was close. From there, I was able to use my regular clamps and clamp it to the sheer at both ends.

I was able to mark the plywood along the bottom edge about 2 inches from the sheer. I also marked it about an inch from the transom on the back end of the panel. The sheer line would be cut before re-installing the panel. This would make that edge short enough that I could clamp the entire length along the sheer. The excess on the transom end will be cut off after the panel is glued into position. All of the marks were oversize so a to give me some wiggle room with placement. I will trim these later after the panel is glued into position.

After trimming the panel, the next step was re-installing it to see how it actually fit. I also wanted to set up guide points for installation when I was ready to glue and to layout the screw holes pattern. And I wanted to check the fairing to see if any additional work was needed. This panel required only a very minor amount of fairing at the transom frame where it wasn't quite flat enough. Everything else fit great and no additional work was needed.

The screw hole pattern presented a challenge in that I wanted the holes to fall into the middle of the sheer, chine, and transom frame. But these are not visible from the outside with the skin in place. If the panel would have been exactly cut to the boat hull, I could have simply measured them. But as I mentioned, I wanted to have some wiggle room so the panel extended past all the attachment points.

I tried rigging up a u-shaped bent piece of metal with one leg longer than the other. The idea was I could rest the short leg on the chine or sheer and have a measured point on the long leg to mark the hole location with. But the chine bottom edge is angled differently along it's entire length and I found that the hole pattern would have been too close to the edge of the chine at the aft end. This method also didn't work so well at the transom end when trying to locate the transom frame.

The transom frame is only 3/4" thick so I had to be accurate here or risk having the hole come out the side of the frame or miss it entirely. I wasn't confident enough with this method to commit to drilling the pilot holes, so I tried a different approach.

Instead I traced the structure inside the panel. I also made several reference marks on the hull structure so that I could eventually get the panel back into the same exact position. After removing the panel again, I measured from the traced lines and got the hole pattern where I wanted it. These were them drilled with a small pilot drill.

The other thing that I wanted to do was use steel screws and plywood washers to hold the panel in place while the epoxy cured. The panel is permanently attached with silicon bronze wood screws and epoxy. But my experience with the bronze screws was that they are easy to strip the heads and occasionally break when driving into wood for the first time. So I was going to use steel crews for the initial glue up and replace them later with bronze screws after the epoxy cures.

The plywood washers are there to do two things. They spread the load of the screw head when initially driving the panel down and they protect the plywood skin from the screw being driven too deeply  in this initial fastening. I planned on clamping the panel into position before screwing but I still wanted to insure that the panel was securely glued at all screw hole points.

So I had to make a bunch of these plywood washers using some scrap plywood I had. I also predrilled all the pieces I would need for the panel installation.

Once I had the pilot holes drilled I temporarily re-attached the panel to the hull and drilled three of the screw holes into the chine. These would serve to insure that the panel could be quickly placed into position once I had the epoxy applied. I didn't want to have to worry about  getting the panel into the correct position after gluing because of the short pot life of the epoxy and because I knew that there would be a lot of tasks that had to be completed before the epoxy set up too much.

In preparation for gluing, I cut a bunch of wax paper strips for placing under the plywood washers so that they wouldn't stick to the plywood skin. I then pre-coated the skin and frames with the epoxy and then applied thickened epoxy to the frames and installed the panel.

This was rather stressful as I had a large area to glue and I had to work fast. The tracings on the inside of the panel served as guides where to precoat the panel. I didn't want to put epoxy over the entire inner surface at this point (although that will eventually be done later when I encapsulate the skins).

I had to drill the remaining holes into the chine, sheer, and transom frame before I could add the screws. But I made sure to clamp the panel over most of its length first and then filled in the open areas with the screws. Eventually I got all the screws installed.

By this time the epoxy was beginning to set up and I still wanted to scrape away the excess to save on clean up work later. I was able to get this done as well. Fortunately, the weather has been mild the last several days. If it would have been as hot as it was this summer, I would have never finished all these tasks quickly enough.

In hindsight, I could have done a few more preparation tasks to help this process get done sooner. I should have predrilled all the holes into the chine, sheer and transom frame. I should have also  driven the screws into the plywood washers before doing the glue up.  I had to do these tasks while installing the panel and this considerably slowed down the process.

However, this first panel went on smoothly enough and I will have a bit of experience to apply when installing the panel on the other side.

You will notice that this first panel ends in between two frames. There are two ways to deal with this. I can either butt another panel up to this and place a reinforcing patch on the inner surface, or you can make a scarf joint on the panel. Each approach has it's pros and cons.

Originally I was going to scarf join three sheets together and then fit the entire 24 foot piece into position. But I recognized that this was going to be very difficult for me to do by myself. Also, a 24 foot piece is too long for my garage and I would have had to leave it outside while the epoxy in the scarf joint cured. I didn't want to do that.

I decided to use the butt joint on the first two panels. This is fine in this area because the boat is relatively flat and the butt joint will not have any trouble conforming to the slight curve of the hull. Butt joints normally need to be placed in the flattest area of the skin or they can create a potential flat spot on the exterior.

However, the second panel will end in the curved area of the hull and the only way I can do this is is with a scarf joint. So I will have to scarf join two panels together before fitting. I am hopeful that the scarf joint will conform to the curve of the hull. I am going to be examining this area more before I do anything, however.

Anyway, it's been a great milestone to reach and I am excited to see the hull getting it's skin now. I think that to the average viewer, they will see this and finally see a boat. For me, it validates the work I have already done and gets me that much closer to that day when I can turn the hull over and work on the topside.

So until next time, take care.