Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Further Hull Encapsulation

After my trip to Port Aransas last weekend, I was hit with a large number of non-boat related tasks which limited the work I could do on the boat. But some work was accomplished. I am getting down to the final tasks before beginning the skin fitting process. These final asks are encapsulation of the sheer, chine, and keel sides and anything else I can do now that will be easier to do before the skins are installed.

One of those tasks was rounding over the inner edges of the sheers and chines in the forward cabin area. In that section of the interior, the sheers and chines will most likely be visible. I have some ideas about how I want to decorate the berthing compartment that ultimately may hide some of this detail, but in case I don't go with that decorative approach, I wanted to have these longitudinal elements look nice where they are visible. Therefore, rounding over the inside edge was the first task needed. This was accomplish with a round over bit in my router and then an orbital sander at the ends near the gussets.

I also wanted to smooth sand the edges of the sheers and chines in the areas that are not visible. I wanted to do these primarily so that whenever I might have to go into the areas where these elements are exposed, there will not be any sharp edges. I also happen to believe that the sheers and chine will be stronger at these edge if they are smoothed over rather than at a sharp edge. This is because any stress points at the sharp edges will be spread out over a larger area. Probably overkill, but if I can prevent the chine or sheer from splitting at some  future point because of this effort, then it's worth it.

The remainder of my free time this week has been spent applying multiple coats of epoxy on the sheers and chines. Like the frames, I want a minimum of three coats of epoxy on them. Eventually almost all of this will be painted and the paint will provide the first barrier against water and the epoxy will be the backup protection.

Interestingly enough, when I have shown encapsulated hull components to people, they are always surprised when I tell them that I will be painting over the epoxy. In the photos, the epoxy is shiny and makes the wood look like furniture. But in reality, the finish, while clear and fairly smooth, is not furniture grade smooth. Epoxy just doesn't lay down like that regardless of how careful I am. Furthermore, most of this structure will not be visible once the boat is completed. So I would rather paint it and protect it further. The paint will be a light color (probably white) which will also make it easier to see and clean out debris that will eventually accumulate in the lower hull.

Here are some more shots of the longitudinals during the encapsulation process.

In the shot above with the breasthook, I am still planing on adding an additional piece on the aft end of the breasthook. Therefore, this edge is not being encapsulated.

The rounded over sheers are shown in the next photos after the first coat of epoxy. It has been my experience so far that the initial coat of epoxy will form tiny bubbles even if initially smooth. I assume this is from trapped air in the pores of the wood grain. This coat will need a smooth sanding before application of the second and third layers of epoxy. These sections of the sheer, if left exposed (as mentioned previously), will also get a smoothing with steel wool and a coat or two of varnish when the boat is nearly completed.

In other news, I am in the process of locating a source for the plywood skin panels. I have received some responses with quotes. I will be evaluating these and placing the order for the plywood in the next day or two. Depending upon the estimated delivery date, I may delay ordering for a few extra days to give myself time to complete the remaining pre-skinning tasks. The plywood is going to take up a lot of room in my garage so I don't want to get it until I am ready to work with it.

So that's it for this week. I will be wrapping up the encapsulation and preparing the garage for the skinning process. Until next time, take care.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Port Aransas 2014 plyWooden Boat Festival

This weekend, I was able to attend the first ever plyWooden Boat Festival in Port Aransas, Texas. It was a nice interlude to my busy life. I got a chance to meet with builders from around the country as well as tour a museum/boat building company in Port Aransas.

The work exhibited by these builders was exceptional and the boats displayed showed that the hobby of building wooden boats is alive and well.I saw everything from stand up paddle boards to kayaks, row boats to compact sailboats, and powerboats.

I am not an expert on boats and I ask the reader's forgiveness if my descriptions are less than complete, incorrect, or in any other way not up to snuff. What I did notice however is that the type of work required is very similar to that I am experiencing on my own build. The challenges these builders faced were the same that I have faced.

Here are a few examples. There are many more photos available in my photo gallery, available from the link on the sidebar.

There was even a folding sailboat there.

There was a tent set up where people could build their own boats. Kits were available for purchase and people could spend the three days of the event building these boats. I believe they were going to launch these today (Sunday), however I had to leave the area yesterday and was unable to attend that event.

Living inland in Texas, I don't often get to be around other boats. Most marinas are locked up making it difficult to get close enough to see anything. In Port Aransas, some parts of the marina were locked up, but other parts you could walk right up to the boats and view them. This, combined with being able to look over and examine the boats in the festival made this trip a wonderful experience for me.

There is a small company there, Farley Boat Works, which has a part in the history of Port Aransas. The building is tucked away off one of the side streets. Inside the building, there are two main areas where boats are being built. Everyone I talked to was enthusiastic about the work performed there and praised the people who work at this company. I wish that I were were more journalistically adept so I could do justice to this firm.

Tucked away in a small shed, was an example of a power boat (I believe the design is called Tarpon) that was built by the company in the past. A similar boat was used by President Roosevelt for fishing in this area. This particular boat changed hands several times before being acquired by the business. It is in remarkably good shape considering it's age. I believe that she could be made sea worthy with  a medium amount of effort.

The company works with builders who want to build their own boats. I met several people there who had done just that. Here are two examples of those boats.

The supplier of my own boat's plans, Glen L Marine was a sponsor at the show. I saw two examples of Glen L boats there.

Overall, it was a fun time and I am glad I took the time to drive down there. I encourage the readers to look over the photos in my gallery to see the other boats from the event. I look forward to attending this event again in the future and perhaps at some point I will be able to display my own boat there.

Take care.

Update 7/13/2015 

See the link in my sidebar for this years event (2015). Promises to be even better than last year!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cleaning Up

With the major fairing completed, the next step in my plan was to repair any damage and re-encapsulate frames that had been scuffed. There were also several areas that I had touched up earlier this year using a foam brush which had dried with epoxy runs.

So the first order of business was to inspect the entire structure noting where work needed o be accomplished. To make it easier on myself, I divided the hull into sections. The keel divided the boat in half lengthwise. Then each frame was used to create seven sections per side. I inspected each section and made notes of the work needed.

Then I went back, fixed damaged areas with thickened epoxy and sanded all the rough areas (including glue runs). The next few shots show this work in progress.

My main goal here was to get a relatively smooth surface, as many of the frames and floor timbers will be painted after the boat is flipped. However, frames 5 and 6 are exposed in the cabin area and I wanted them to be as nice as I could make them. After the boat is finished, I will be going over these areas with steel wool and then applying a smooth coat of varnish to get a nice glossy finish.

Epoxy by itself is clear enough if the correct kind is used. But the finish, although it looks good in the photos, is still somewhat rough, so the steel wool and varnish will be the final touch to make it all look real pretty.

So after all the sanding was accomplished I had to wipe everywhere I was re-applying epoxy to get all the dust off. Alcohol and rags accomplished this. Since the rags leave some lint, I went over afterwards with clean hands and wiped off the lint. I've heard people us a waxy dusting cloth for this when painting but I was somewhat concerned about fish eyes in the epoxy so I didn't use that particular approach.

The next several shots show the final results.

There are still a few holes to fill on the keel and other areas that are not going to be visible. I should be able to finish all of that up early next week.

The other plan I have is to round over the inner edge of the sheers and chines between frames 5 and 6. Again, these are visible in the cabin so I want them to be nice and finished looking. They will eventually get a few coats of epoxy encapsulation and later the steel wool and varnish treatment. The rounding over will be accomplished in the next week or so.

All of this is preparation for fitting the skins which starts in November. I will be ordering the plywood next week. Twelve sheets of 3/8" Okoume marine grade plywood will be ordered. The current plan is to scarf join three sheets together end to end for a total length of 24 feet. I will do this four times.

Then I will be using heavy paper or something like that to make very rough (and over-sized patterns) for each skin section. These will be transferred to the plywood and cut out. Then the fitting will begin. I will go into this in more detail as I get to it.

However, I am taking a small break this weekend to go to the Ply Wooden Boat Festival in Port Aransas, Texas. This is their first event and I want to see more of these in the coming years, so I will be visiting. I encourage anyone who is close enough to take a drive there to check it out. There is a link on the sidebar of this blog for more information.

I wish I were at a point where I could take my boat there for display. Perhaps in the future. For now, I will go down there and see all the beautiful work done by others.

So that's it for now. I will post some photos from the show after I return. Take care and consider making the trip down to Aransas.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Longitudinal Fairing Completed

Last month, I was focusing on trying to get the fairing done by the 30th. I didn't make it primarily because I ran into problems with the chines around frame 5. They were simply too far inboard and had to be corrected. I wasn't happy with this but I knew that I couldn't give up on the boat. So I spent the last two weeks making corrections as well as tweaking other areas of the fairing.

I am now satisfied with the fit of the test planking on the longitudinal members. I still need to fair the edges of the frames on the bottom, but that will require temporarily adding the bottom battens first, so I will cover that in the future.

What brought all of this about was when I first faired the port chine aft of frame 5 and then started test fitting the plywood. It was immediately apparent that the angle of the chine outer edge was off. The edge of the plywood would have had to wrap around the edge of the chine rather than lie on it flat (as was desired).

Further investigation using a batten stick revealed that the chine was flat from aft of the frame to forward of the frame. It should have been curved. Not good. The batten allowed me to see just how much additional material was needed.

It also showed why the test plywood wasn't lying correctly. If the chine had been further outboard, the angle of the chine outer edge would have been different. I tested more plywood with the batten in place and could see that if the chine was as far outboard as the batten indicated it should be, then the skin would have fit correctly (assuming that the angle also changed on the chine).

This shortage of material also meant that the frame edges on the sides were short. These had been faired down to the chine some time back. At that time I believed the chine to be in the correct position and didn't re-measure the frame width afterwards.

I checked the starboard side and found the same problem, although not quite as bad. Again, the frame edge came up short to the corrected curve. At this point I was pretty depressed about the whole affair and had to step away for several days.

I decided to first measure the frame width with the stick battens in place. The measurement at the corrected curve was the same as indicated on the plans. So I had to figure out a plan of action.

I decided to add shims to the chines first in two sections (forward and aft of frame 5). Then I would add shims to the frame edge on the sides to bring it back in line with the curve. All of this would be done one step at a time. I would ad the shims aft of the frame, fair them, add the shims to the frame and fair them, and then add the next shims forward of the frame and fair them.

I took measurements from the stick battens first so that I would know how much to taper the shims and how long they needed to be (as well as how thick). Because the chine outer edge was already faired on the side and the bottom surfaces, each section had to be done independently of the other.

Here is a shot of the first port side shim on the side mounting surface of the chine after fairing. You can see that I have also added the shim for the frame edge as well.

Here is a shot of the starboard side shim on the frame. It was necessary in order to get the frame to come out to the corrected curve on the chine. I haven't cleaned any of this up other than to smooth out the epoxy. Part of my tasks this coming month is to re-encapsulate any areas that need the work.

Here is the port side shim aft of frame 5. I have already cut the new angle notches in this photo. The next step would be to blend them into a fair curve.

The fair curve to determine the depth of the notches was based upon several reference points. The measurements I took with the stick batten, the points where frames 4 and 5 intersected the chine correctly, and a fair curve determined by using the batten between the reference points.

Here is the same area after blending the angled notches.

I was apprehensive about doing all of this, but it turned out to be the correct approach. When I fitted the plywood later, it practically laid into position. No doubt the marine plywood (which is stiffer) will be more difficult, but there does not appear to be any sharp bends now and I am hopeful that everything will go smoother from here on.

The area forward of frame 5 had little angle needed so it was much easier to fix. That area was faired in as well and it also fits correctly now.

What I was after is illustrated in the next two shots. The test plywood lies on the chine and keel as well as the frame edge and doesn't require any real force to get it to conform. Furthermore, the second shot shows the fit of the joint on the chine.

Frame 5's bottom edge will need to be faired to match the angle of the skin as it curves down to frame 6. I can do that using the test plywood as a guide. The same thing needs to be done at all the other bottom frame edges, but these will use the bottom battens temporarily installed as a guide for the correct angle. Aft of frame 4 the amount of material to remove is very small and I am confident that will go quickly.

Frames 4 and 5 will need their edges angle forward and down.

So the goal is to complete the remaining fairing work this month as well as fix all the various areas that need to be re-coated with epoxy. I also want to clean up the chine inner edges that are exposed in the cabin area so that they have a nicer appearance. Finally, I have some runs in the epoxy in a few areas from the last time I tried to re-coat. These will need to be smoothed out and re-coated as well.

In order to insure I get all this completed and don't miss anything, I divided the boat into 14 sections for inspection of work needed. These sections are numbered 1 through 7 from aft to forward and there are duplicate sections port and starboard, using the keel as the separator.

I inspected each section and noted any work that needed to be done. I will then tackle each section separately. This breaks the work into smaller manageable chunks.

The reason I want to accomplish all of this is because it will much more difficult to do after the skin is applied. When I get the plywood I need for skinning later this month, I want to focus entirely on fitting the skin and not have to worry about any loose ends.

I should be able to finish up the loose end work and the fairing by the end of October. This keeps me on track or my 12 month plan to complete and flip the hull by the Fall season of 2015. At least that's the goal.

Although September was difficult, the perseverance paid off. I am glad to get through this and can now start focusing on the next tasks.

Until next time, take care.