Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, May 31, 2015

More Bottom Skins - Almost There And Something New

This seems to go on forever. But the end is in sight. The remaining bottom skins are fitted and mostly trimmed and ready to install. I am in process of installing the butt joint backing plates, only being delayed because I underestimated the number of silicon bronze screws I would need and had to order more. I'll get back to this in a moment.

In the last posting, I was fitting the second middle bottom skin and had mentioned that I was going to seek help in getting that one installed. My friend Clark came by early on a Sunday morning and we accomplished that. Having a second set of hands around made a huge difference not only on the quality of the install, but on reduction of my stress levels.

As with all previous installs, I used stainless steel screws and plywood washers to do the initial install and then replaced the screws and washers with silicon bronze screws after about an hour's wait. It looks rather ugly here. But all is good.

Here it is after cleaning up the excess epoxy and filling in the screw holes. I'm afraid my friend Clark, being somewhat younger, has the edge on me in appearance! Or maybe it's just the camera.   :)

The remaining skins are approximately 5 feet in length and are much more manageable. Furthermore, this area of the hull is relatively flat making the fitting and install an easier process.

Since there will be no remaining structure to clamp to during the install, screws will have to be used for the entire process. However, I was able to use ratchet straps to do the initial hold down while I marked the structure on the inside of the skin.

As mentioned earlier, I am in process of adding the butt joint backing plates. These are simply the same plywood material as the skin but cut into sections to fit between the battens. There are glued into place on the existing skin and will be ready for the final skin installs.

Since I have to wait a bit for the new batch of screws, there are still two more backing plates to install. This also precludes me installing either of the skins. However, the hardware should be here early this week so I can resume work soon.

In the meantime, I am starting to plan on the next steps, namely the decoration of the transom. I have planned for some time to apply a hardwood planking over the plywood on the transom. This is going to be a decorative layer and will serve no structural purpose. I think that a bright finished transom will set off the painted hull quite nicely.

In order to do this task, I needed to determine what type of wood and how much I needed. I had originally planned on using mahogany or possibly some other exotic hardwood. My wife also suggested I look at oak. I went to the lumber yard and picked up samples of oak and cherry. They didn't have mahogany there that day so I substituted a piece of African mahogany for that sample.

I also purchase one color of gel stain to try it out. The reason for the stain is because the appearance of the stain would affect the final choice of wood to be used. Here is the first set of test samples. 

There are two samples of African mahogany because I had two different examples of that lumber, and I wanted to see how they both reacted to the stain. From the right, they are stained with the same color, American Oak from General Stains, except for the third sample which is unstained. The first two on the right are simply different wait times.

Interestingly enough, the oak was too yellow for my tastes (with this stain). The cherry looks nice but more on this in a moment. The African mahogany samples had a nice red look to them, however the third from the top has almost no difference between the three applications. The bottom sample has more differences but they are subtle.

When I started thinking it through, I realized that for continuity of appearance, I should use the same material to cover the transom as I am planning on using for the cabin sides. Since I am not planing on using plywood for the cabin sides and therefore no decorative planking, the choice of wood has to be structurally suitable for boat construction. This rules out the use of cherry wood. 

I am going to try another stain color to see how it appears, but I am tending towards the African mahogany with the current stain or perhaps no stain at all.

The other part of this process is determining how much material I need. To do this, I needed to measure the transom, determine the desired width of the boards, and then do some calculations.

The material used will be 1/4 inch thick. This allows me to hollow out the back a bit to cover the two knee bolt heads and still have material remaining. I can also use the router on the ends to round them over for a nice finished appearance.

After measuring the vertical height, I determined that each plank will be 4-3/8 inches. I looked at other widths, but liked the 4 inch width the best. 

I'll be covering this process more in the future, but the plan is to use staples to hold the wood in position while the epoxy cures. From other builders I have determined that the staple holes can be made nearly invisible after they are removed if I am careful. Of course I will be testing that first.

For now, that is all there is to report. Until next time, take care.

Click Here To Comment:

  1. Hey Carl, She is looking good. Nice job so far. Looking forward to more pictures. Very much reminds me of my project. Best of luck with your build.

    1. Thanks Tom,

      It has been a very satisfying journey so far. Like all projects, some not so fun tasks also, but in my mind, well worth it. I too am looking forward to more pictures because it means I am closer to splash day!


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