Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Starting On The Transom

With all the waiting I have had to do over the last several months, progress on the build has slackened somewhat. I go out to the garage and the boat almost looks the same as it did in September. Of course, there has been some progress, and when something significant is completed, I get to once again enjoy the satisfaction that comes with building a boat.

The build has been at one of those points in a project when much of the work still to be performed must wait until either some material is acquired or some other assembly is completed. Eventually, the project hits a point where all the delays have been worked through and all of a sudden it starts taking off. I feel that I am rapidly approaching that point. We'll see as the future pans itself out, but I have most of what I need to complete the hull structure.

Whenever I peruse other builder's projects, I often see these cool top down shots of the full length of the boat structure. For a variety of reasons, I haven't been able to get one of these shots until recently. Even then, I was somewhat hampered by lack of space in my garage. So that being said, here are a couple of photos taken from the bow end. I was as far away from the bow as I could get when I took these pictures. In fact the second one was taken with the camera resting against the wall.

This last week has mostly been about preparing the transom for final installation. The plan is to build up the transom, encapsulate it partially, re-install it on the building form, install the keel, then install the chine, sheer, and battens. At that point, the boat will be ready to begin fairing the wood so that the skin can be attached.

I listed the steps in the order that I intend to accomplish them, so the transom is the current focus. Before assembling this component, I needed to add notches for the chine and sheer to the frame corners. Since I am still awaiting delivery of the chine and sheer lumber, I had to mock up  pieces of each and use these mock ups to cut the notches. The reason for adding the notches now is because once the transom skin is added, it would be very difficult to cut the notches.

You would think that notches are pretty straightforward, however, the chine and sheer are both curved members so they intersect each frame at a different angle. So to insure a good joint, each notch needs to be cut at the correct angle and the correct depth. These two photos show how the pieces will intersect the frame members at an angle.

Once I had these marked out, I put my new Japanese pull saw to use cutting them out.

Another element that needed addressing was the keel and battens needed to be cut at an angle where they rest in the notches in the transom frame. Remember that the transom is mounted at an angle  rather than vertical like the other frames.Here are the keel and the battens cut to match the transom mounting angle.

Some months back, I had already prepared the transom frame mounting cleats so that they could be used as positive locators for the frame when it is re-installed after skinning. So I removed the frame from the building form and used it as a guide to trace the transom skin on a 3/4 inch piece of marine grade plywood..

I barely had room to work on this , but I managed. You can see in the photo that the plywood takes up most of the space between the boat and my work bench. The two small blocks on the frame are the mounting cleats. These are only temporary pieces and have been wrapped in wax paper so that they are not glued to the frame when I add the plywood skin. The photo doesn't show it, but I lined up the open end of the frame with the straight edge of the plywood to save cutting one edge and to insure that edge is nice and straight.

After marking the skin, I used my jig saw to cut the part out the skin. Today I sanded the skin edges down to the traced lines and temporary assembled the transom for a photo shoot.

The next step will be attaching the plywood skin to the frame using bronze wood screws and epoxy. We are expecting a cold snap tonight or early tomorrow, so this may have to wait a few days for warmer weather so the epoxy can cure. I want to encapsulate as much of this assembly as I can while I can lie it flat to avoid runs in the epoxy. However, there is another piece of plywood  (the motor board) that must be bonded to the inside of the transom. Also, the transom skin will have a cutout in the middle to accommodate the outboard motor. I have not yet determined what that cut out measurement is. So some parts of the transom will be encapsulated at a later date.

As for the exterior, I am considering planking over the plywood with 3/8 inch mahogany so that the transom can have a nice wood finish. That will occur at a much later date in the build.

So by next week, weather permitting, I hope to have the transom assembled and have begun the encapsulation process. Lets hope for good weather to return soon. Take care until then.

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