Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Short Update On Bottom Work And Some Frustration

I was hoping to have more progress to report on for this posting but it will have to be limited to a short update.

The main accomplishment was that I completed the bottom battens. All of them are in place now. The process of installing the port side was similar to that of the starboard side. I installed one batten at a time to avoid the need to rush. Using the ratchet straps at the front to pull down on the battens was extremely useful in holding them in place while I added screws.

Here are several photos showing the final work.

Most of the remaining time was taken up by various cleanup activities. This primarily consisted of filling in all the screw holes in the side skins and sanding them smooth. I also cleaned up all the excess glue from installing the battens. Finally, I encapsulated all the limber passages since these will be nearly impossible to get at once the skins are on.

All of this prep work was so that I could start adding the bottom skins. And indeed, today I endeavored to get somewhere with this. However, working alone, revealed some limitations in my ability to control the large sheets of plywood. This was further exacerbated by a lack of suitable clamping areas.

It is true that all of the bottom framework is still open. However, I decided to start by fitting the forward most skin first. In this area, nearly all the clamping points are at angles to the skin, making it tricky to get the clamps to stay in place.

I started off by lacing the full sheet of plywood on the boat and very roughly marking where I need to remove excess material. Then this was trimmed off with the jig saw. This last photo is the result.

As can be seen, I am quite a ways from having a fitted skin panel. I spent several hours today wrestling with this piece, gradually trimming away more material. The curve on this part of the boat are fairly severe, so getting the plywood to conform is not easy. The edge that matches up to the side skins is not a straight line, so it overhangs at the ends. This edge will need to be trimmed to match the side skins.

However, this is not an easy task because if the panel is bent to conform to the hull curves, it wants to lift up in the center along the side skin edge. I am trying to find a position were most of the panels lies naturally in position, but as mentioned earlier, getting it to clamp into position has been a struggle.

I had been trying to avoid using any screws to hold the panel down and this certainly made the clamping and positioning more difficult. I have come to the conclusion that using screws to hold the panel down is going to be a necessity. But by the time I reached this conclusion, it was getting rapidly colder in the garage and my patience was worn out, so I decided that giving it a break was the best course of action for now. Since we are expected to get several days of freezing weather, I will spend the time thinking about this with perhaps small tasks to keep the process going.

So that's it for now. I am determined to get these skins on and I will continue to tackle this until it's done. The good thing is that once the forward skins are on, the remaining skins will be much easier, especially the aft skins by the transom.

Until next time, take care.

Click Here To Comment:

  1. Carl -

    You might consider using screws driven through blocks of wood as temporary clamps, as I did here:

    The wood blocks spread the clamping pressure, the screws hold well, and after removing the screws once the epoxy cures, there's just a small hole to fill.

    -- Dave

    1. Hi Dave,

      I used the technique you described when I put down the side skins. It does work well with the caveat that you replace the temporary screws with the permanent screws before the epoxy is fully cured.

      The reason for this is because I had an issue were a few of the temporary screws snapped off while trying to remove them. These temps were steel screws, but they broke nonetheless.

      For me, having a few small holes to fill is not a problem. Most of the holes I had simply replaced the temp screw with a permanent silicon bronze screw. But what you are talking about, and what I have also come to the conclusion, is using temporary screws and simply removing them afterwards.

      I was trying to avoid this yesterday until I had a better idea of how I wanted to fit the skin panel. However, in order to make this not drive me crazy, I will be using temporary screws as needed.

      I checked out your site as well. Quite nice.


Feel free to comment on what you've read here. I only ask that you keep it civil.