Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spray Rails - Part 3 - Nearly Done

Well, these took longer than I originally thought they would (what else is new!!). I am still not completely done with them, but all that remains is a bit of hole filling and encapsulation.

However, when I last posted, there was still considerable work to do so that will be covered in this post. On the starboard side I had already installed the first lamination of the spray rail. The second lamination required some preliminary shaping. The original intent had been to taper the top edge from the skin to a point approximately 1/2" down the side. This would have extended from the transom to the beginning of the thickness taper near the front of the boat.

Two things made me change my mind on this. First off, I found out that the rail needs to be shaped in line with the plane of the bottom skin at the aft end (more on this a bit later). This would cause the height of the rail (when viewed from the side) to be different at the aft end  (not the full 1 1/2" height of the lumber). This change in height from the shaping combined with the reduced height from the tapering, would have made the rail look odd (and too thin - height wise) at the aft end

The second thing was that I could not think of any good way to transition from the taper on the top edge to the thickness taper at the front. This is because the forward end (by the thickness taper start), is also 1 1/2 inches in height, but the top edge taper would leave a height of 1"

Rather than spend any more time trying to explain what I just said, let's just say that I decided not to do the top edge taper. I still wanted to make the rail look less boxy in cross section. What I elected to do instead was to round over the top outer edge on the second lamination. The photo shows this well.

This round over extend forward until it reaches the point on the wood where the thickness taper starts. From that point forward I left the edge intact until later. More on this later as well.

The second lamination was fitted and mounting screw holes were drilled and countersunk. On the first lamination, I cut a shallow notch where the tapered forward end of the second lamination would fit into. Then the second lamination was epoxy into position. Silicon bronze screws were used to hold the second lamination in place (in addition to epoxy), except near the forward end where the taper was too thin. On that end I used plywood washers and staples until the epoxy cured.

The next step was filling in the gap between the skin and the spray rail. The entire piece was taped off and the gap filled with thickened epoxy. I also filled in the top edge gap (which wasn't really a gap), this was more to make a small fillet.

As I mentioned earlier, the aft bottom edge of the rails need to be planed down so that they are in the same plane as the bottom skin. My plans showed a boxy cross section aft of frame five. This is how I thought it was supposed to look from frame five all the way to the transom. I stated as much in the previous posting and a picture gave some indication of what that would have looked like. However in other references, and after talking with some other builders, I found out that from about mid point going aft, the rail transitions into a flat surface in line with the bottom skin. These next two photos show the difference.

This was accomplished using a hand plane and a bunch of effort. At approximately amidships, I transitioned into the rectangular cross section.

All the screw holes and any gaps were filled with thickened epoxy and sanded smooth.

Then the entire rail was given a good sanding which included finishing the rounding over of the top outer edge in the forward section of the rail. The very forward edge was rounded over as well to give a more finished look. The bottom outer edge was given a very light sanding. Then the entire rail was given three coats of epoxy with light sanding between coats.

The second spray rail on the port side was installed in a similar manner except that I planed down the aft end before adding the thickened epoxy to the bottom gap. This made the planing go easier than the starboard side. Additional work was down to clean up the excess epoxy that squeezed out during installation. All of the shaping and sanding has been accomplished on this rail as well. All that remains is to fill in the screw holes, the gap, and encapsulation.

Here is a shot of the transom from the back which shows the two rails.

Finally, there is one additional thing I am working on. I decided that the bow eye hole in the front of the boat was too far down the stem. I want it to be at a point closer to where the spray rails meet at the bow. I'll cover what I am doing to correct that in the next posting.

Until next time, take care.