Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Checking Off Tasks

Other than staining the transom, which is waiting on a shipment containing the stain, I have completed the tasks needed before fiberglassing the hull. As I mentioned in my last post, I ordered the supplies I needed to perform this fiberglassing. This means 7.5 gallons of resin, 35 yards of fiberglass cloth, 24 thin foam rollers, a roller handle, scissors, plastic squeegees, and brushes.

As of today, only the rollers and the scissors have arrived. I am expecting the remaining items over the next week.

As you can imagine, this leaves me with little to do on the outside of the hull. However there were two tasks that needed completion.

The first, and one I was worried about was re-drilling the bow eye hole back through the stem and through  the skin. For appearances sake, and for strength of installation, it was imperative that this hole come out in the center of the stem cap I recently completed.

I had take special care when I originally drilled this hole in the Spring of 2014, to insure that it was in the center of the stem. And I made sure when I was fairing the leading edge of the stem, that the hole was still in the apex of the forward skin mating surfaces. When the forward side skins were installed, they covered over this hole.

Just to be sure when re-drilling this hole, I first cleaned it out from the inside of the hull using a 3/8" drill bit without drilling through the skins. Then I took a piece of 3/8" dowel rod and drilled down the center of it using a #40 (approximately 1/16" diameter) drill bit. Ideally, I could have drilled this in a drill press to insure it stayed centered while drilling the 4 inch length of the dowel rod, however, I do not have a drill press, so I had to do it by hand.

Off course, the drill bit drifted and came out off center on the opposite end of the dowel rod. The purpose of the dowel was to center the drill bit as I created an initial hole through the skins, so I wanted it have the hole centered where the drill bit exited the dowel.

Since the hole was centered on the end I started with, I simply inserted that end into the stem first so that the centered hole was closest to the skins. Then using the same #40 long drill bit, I drilled up though the dowel and through the skins.

Crawling back out from underneath the hull, I checked the hole in the stem cap and it was centered! Yay!

So from there, I removed the dowel rod and slowly, using progressively larger diameter drill bits, drilled the hole bigger, up to the full 3/8" inch. I periodically checked during this phase to insure that the hole continued to stay centered.

Once that step was completed, I needed to remove a small section of the stem cap where the bow eye would mount and sand this area flat. I also had to drill two depressions to accommodate the alignment stubs on the bow eye. Here is the result.

The other task was to drill the mounting holes for the skeg. These are for 1/4 inch carriage bolts spaced every 18 inches along the skeg. I first had to drill the holes in the skeg, which was another exercise in keeping the long drill bit centered as it drilled down through the skeg.

I accomplished this in a similar manner as the bow eye hole by starting with smaller diameter bits and trying to keep the drill perpendicular to the skeg as I drilled. As I up sized the holes, I adjusted the drilling to insure the holes were centered when I reached the final 1/4" size. This was successful as well.

The skeg mounting holes needed to be counter bored on the outside to accommodate the carriage bolt heads. Using a 3/4" Forstner bit, I made a shallow counter bore. These counter bore holes will eventually be filled with some white oak dowel rod I bought. Here is a picture of the type of bit I am talking about. This picture is not mine, but comes from the Internet.

I aligned the skeg on the centerline of the hull, insuring that it was placed correctly fore and aft as well. Then using a long 1/4" drill bit I drilled one hole at the aft end and inserted a carriage bolt to hold it in position. I drilled a second hole at the forward end and middle, each time repeating the installation of a carriage bolt. Then I re-drilled the remaining holes. Although it is not absolutely necessary that these holes come out centered in the keel, I double checked and they were. This validated my laser level measurements made from a few months ago.

The skeg and the bow eye will be removed until after the fiberglassing is completed. The bow eye will actually go on after the painting is completed. Of course it will be necessary to re-drill the mounting holes in the fiberglass but that will be trivial.

While waiting, I did perform one other small task which is the preliminary step in a much larger task that will occur after painting. When I get ready to flip the hull, I will need a cradle to support the boat after it is turned over. That means I need to have something that fits the bottom of the hull at various points.

Although I won't go into the design of the cradle at this time, I did make the patterns for the area where the cradle will fit the hull. This was accomplished using 1/4" poster board. I placed a straight level with a yardstick clamped to it  on the three frame points I plan to support the boat on (frames 2, 3 and 4). The location of these frame points was established several months ago and covered in a blog post at that time.

The level was placed perpendicular to the center line and made level using various blocks of wood or other means of support, trying to insure that the bubble in the level was centered. Then every 6 inches from the center line I took a straight down measurement and noted it.

These measurements were transferred to the poster board and a batten was used to draw a fair curve between the points. I then cut this shape out of the poster board and checked it against the hull. Although the curve is not perfect, it is close enough that I can use it. The supporting structure on the cradle will have several layers of carpeting which will make up any discrepancy in fit. Here are the three patterns. These will eventually be used to create the support structure of the cradle.

So that's it for now. The only remaining task, as mentioned is staining the transom which I hope to do this weekend. Then starting next week sometime, I will begin fiberglassing the hull. Until next time, take care.

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  1. She's looking GREAT, Carl! Congratulations on reaching this stage! You'll be painting her in no time!

    1. Thank's Mike. I'm hoping to make her as pretty as your new boat!


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