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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Links Fixed

It came to my attention yesterday that the links to the photo galleries were not working. I was trying to link them to Google's new photo gallery software but I guess there are issues somewhere. So for now, the links point to the older Google Plus photos software.

If you haven't seen these, the links are a great way to see the entire project or get a highlight view. The links are in the right column at the top.

I'll be posting a regular blog entry in the coming weeks. Right now, I am in holding mode while supplies are delivered.

Until next time, take care.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Making A Stem Cap

As mentioned previously, I was going to work on adding a stem cap to better protect the front end of the boat.. The plywood skins overlap at the stem leaving a sharp forward edge which is actually the edge of the outer overlapping plywood sheet. I knew that this would be vulnerable unless protected in some fashion.

The original intention (several years ago) was to make a stainless steel plate for the bow (commonly called a cutwater). However, after a while, I came to feel that this wouldn't look right with the paint scheme I have in mind.

When I started considering alternatives, I was looking at a stainless steel half round strip that would have been attached to a flattened area at the forward edge using stainless screws. In fact, this is the approach called out in the building instructions, except that the plans call for a brass strip.

This approach is okay, and I have seen several nice boats using stainless strips on the front. For the longest time, this was the approach I figured I would go with.

Recently, I revisited my build thread on the Glen L Builder's Forum and noticed that I had asked a question regarding this several years ago. The responses at the time lead me to believe that I could use wood for the cap instead. I had simply forgotten about this exchange of ideas.

I decided this was the approach I would use. I had some oak left over from the skeg that would work perfectly if I could cut it into strips. Oak is a hard wood that should stand up well to minor bumps. If it is damages at some future point, it will be easily repairable.

The wooden stem cap allows me to carry the paint scheme all the way around the bow leading edge without interruption, which is the look I would like to have.

I felt that the best way to install the stem cap was to sand a flat area on the leading edge of the stem from the point where the skeg starts to the very top of the bow skin (closest to the floor currently).

The oak strips could then be laminated, one at a time to around the curve of the bow to the desired thickness. But they would need to be cut out of the oak first. With a little luck , I was able to cut four 1/8 inch thick strips approximately 5/8 inch wide using my table saw. I didn't actually need that many, but I wanted extra just in case.

Laminating them on was relatively easy, using epoxy and holding into place with plywood washers, staples, and a bit of tape. Two strips were sufficient and the work was done over two nights.

After curing, I needed to rough sand the oak back to the shape of the forward edge. I didn't want to hand sand all of this, especially since the oak is fairly tough. A thin sheet of aluminum, taped in place served as a guard while I hit the oak with an angle grinder. I didn't attempt to go to the final shape. Instead I just took the wood down until it was within 1/16".

After that, I went over the oak with a belt sander, except for the very front of the boat, where I had to hand sand because of clearance issues with the back wall of the garage. At this point, the stem cap looked just like the plywood did before I started sanding it flat.

The next step was applying fairing compound to both side to fill in any imperfections from the glue up and from sanding.

Finally, the fairing compound was sanded smooth and the leading edge of the stem cap was rounded over in preparation for fiberglassing. The rounding over radius is not very much, just enough to allow the fiberglass to wrap around the leading edge when I get to applying it.

This last task was just completed about an hour ago and in reality, I am going to go back over the whole cap with hand sanding to give it a final smoothing.

At this point in the build, I am nearly ready to start fiberglassing. I am waiting for the carriage bolts for the skeg so I can drill those mounting holes. I will be staining the transom as well.

I still need to order fiberglass, epoxy resin, and application supplies. I will also need to clean the entire boat hull. I'll cover the fiberglassing in another post, but the basic plan is to apply fiberglass tape strips to the skin joints and stem leading edge, smooth these out, and then apply fiberglass cloth over the entire hull in stages.

So that's it for now. Until next time, take care.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Winnowing Down The Pre-Fiberglass Tasks

Before I can fiberglass the hull, there are some necessary tasks that have to be completed, and there are some tasks that I want to complete.

In the "have to" list are radiusing the chine edges, transom edges, and stem leading edge. Additionally, there is completing the skeg mounting surface and stem end cap mounting surface. The radiusing is so that the fiberglass cloth will flow over the edges and there will be no voids at the edge corners.

The chine edges will eventually get spray rails added and the gap between the rail and the rounded over edge will be filled. The bottom transom edge needs to be sharp for handling of the boat to be correct, so that will be built back up to a sharp edge using fiberglass and epoxy. I'll cover that process down the road when I get to it.

In the following photos, you can see a couple of the radiused edges. The transom side edges needed to be rounded over for the same reason as elsewhere, but these I wanted to round over and leave that way for appearance's sake.

The skeg and stem mounting surfaces both need to be flattened so that these components will lie flat on the surface. I haven't started on the stem end cap yet because I am still trying to decide on which approach I want to use. I will cover this process in the future as well.

However, the skeg is an interesting piece that I already had the lumber for (the 11 foot white oak piece I bought a few months ago). The skeg is mounted after the hull is fiberglassed because it may be necessary in the future to remove this in case of damage. If I were to fiberglass over it, that task would be much more difficult.

So the mounting surface on the hull, the centerline over the keel, needed to be flattened out wide enough for the skeg to set flat. This will be fiberglassed over and later the skeg will be mounted.

Before I could flatten this area out, I had to make sure where the exact center of the hull was as well as the length of the area to sand. In my previous full posting, I explained how I determined the start and end points of the skeg.

To determine the centerline of the hull, I purchased a laser level, something that I've wanted for some time, and a tool which will be useful later in construction and painting. Here is the laser level setting on the hull. It's a rotary type that projects a continuous line. I lined this line up with the centerline of the transom (measured) and the center of the stem up forward.

Using the line as a reference, I marked the centerline of the hull. Then I went back and measured an equal distance of half the thickness of the skeg on each side of the centerline. This was then sanded flat using a sanding disk and followed up with a block sander. It runs from 10 inches forward of frame 4 to approximately 20 inches forward of the transom (approximately 11 feet in length).

Before fiberglassing I will also need to drill the mounting holes for the skeg. The hardware for this is 1/4" silicon bronze carriage bolts of various lengths. These will be ordered soon.

In order to determine those lengths, the skeg itself needed to be made. It is basically a streamlined shape that tapers from 1/2 inch at the leading edge to 2 1/2 inches at the highest point. This highest point is approximately 9 inches from the aft end. From that point it curves back down to a 1/2" trailing edge. When completed, it looks like a small fin.

Oak is a very dense wood and I was thinking that I needed to cut the lumber to shape using my table saw. However, the taper from front to back was a very small angle, approximately 1 degree, and I was concerned about my ability to do that on the table saw without wrecking the part.

I drew the shape of the part on the side and tried to figure out some way to make a shallow angle fence. But this is an 11 foot long piece of wood and I couldn't come up with anything I felt confident in. In the end, I tried my trusty Bosch sabre saw and it was able to rough cut the lumber to shape.

From there I took it to the table top belt sander and sanded down the edges and curves until they reached the drawn on lines for the shape. It took about an hour of sanding but it turned out fine. The last bit of work to do was to radius the edge and shape the front to a more streamlined shape. The edges were rounded over using a round over bit in my router. The leading edge was shaped using a sanding block.

In this last photo, the skeg is sitting on the hull and has not been fastened down, so the leading edge is sticking up away from the hull. But I will be able to pull this down to match the hull curvature when the time comes to mount it.

In the "want to" list of tasks, there is the completion of the veneering and decoration of the transom. I've already covered how the the veneer was added. What remained was adding an end cap in the transom cutout. I've wanted to do this for well over two years because I knew that the end grain of the plywood making up the bulk of the transom would need protection as well as "prettying up".

In previous posts I also covered how I was experimenting with trying to bend the one remaining piece of veneer material I had, how that was too thick, and how a thinner sample piece badly cupped. I also covered the design of the forming jig I came up with to try and get around this. Just before the two week lapse in work, I visited a friend who had a thickness planer and we thinned down the remaining veneer lumber to approximately 1/8". Bending the part had to wait until I dealt with the personal issues I came up against.

The process of bending this lumber is straightforward. Steam the part, put it into position on the forming jig and then clamp the forming jig into position. Here is the forming jig ready to go.

In order to do this, I had to temporarily remove the 2 by 6 lumber on the building form that is supporting the back end of the boat. I used cinder blocks at the corners of the boat.

So the part was steamed and quickly put into position. The beauty of the steaming bag approach I learned last year, is evident here as I could leave it in position while forming the part.

Once this part had cooled and dried out, it had to be mounted in place. I used epoxy and staples in a similar fashion to the process I used for the veneer.

After removing the staples and cleaning up the part, it looks like this.

The edges of the end cap will be rounded over as well to give a more finished appearance. I wanted to get some idea of what the transom will look like once stained. I did up some samples with different stain colors.

I also wetted down the entire transom with water. This was actually done for the previous photos of the end cap as well.

The light area on the transom veneer, I hope to even out when staining the transom.

So that's it for now. Still a few more tasks and then an extended waiting period until the weather cools down and I have enough money to afford the fiberglass and epoxy. I am hoping to accomplish hull fiberglassing sometime in October.

In the meantime, I will be working on various other tasks, some, which no doubt will be very un-news worthy. But it is what it is. Until next time, take care.