The Beginning of Phase 2 on the Boat construction.

26-28 May 2017: Ahoy everyone! Well the boat is on ALL her chaulks and rideside up. Thus the inner boat work can begin.

I found during my inspection of the inner hull that voids and gaps were created where the plywood joins the chine, frames and sheer in certain areas. Thus I figured I would use some of my leftover epoxy from my fairing job to fill them. Over the course of about two days (being interrupted for one thing or another), I had the chine filled and reinforced with epoxy from the bow to slightly aft of midships. Unfortunately prior to my parents getting down here and while I was at drill, a lightning storm hit close to the house and fried almost all of our electronics (hence why it has been a bit before I could update you all). We are in the process of getting the insurance and stuff squared away while buying what we absolutely need in the interim. Needless to say money being a bit tight translates directly into no immediate epoxy refills for the boat. So in about a week or so I will be able to get more epoxy to continue the project.

I was however able to take on another bit of key tasks such as leveling the sheer. I used an 8’ 2×4 and a level to determine if both sheer clamps were level in relation to one another. I found that they were until about frame c where the bow juts up pretty drastically. The Starboard side was a bit high in relation to the port. It was therefore time to bust out the planes and the orbital sander. A bit of work and constant checking with the level board soon had both sheer clamps at the bow level to one another.

My buddy Tony came over today to help me get the strongback out of the yard and hung from the rafters. I plan on keeping it around for the next boat project as I am sure it will come in handy. Kinda interesting to see it hanging there since it was the first “lumber” I had bought and assembled for the boat; got real used to it simply being on the floor to hold the boat up.

FLIP DAY!

22 May 2017: Ahoy ashore shipmates! Well the much anticipated day finally arrived. Mom and Dad came into town the previous night for the explicit purpose of having Dad help me flip the boat. I also had just returned from my three day Drill in Neosho and Joplin Missouri so everyone was tired and eagerly awaiting sleep and of course the next day’s events.

Early the next morning, Dad and I struck out to the shop to determine exactly how we were going to rig the hoisting equipment and line in order to accomplish the flip. Thankfully, my ingenious father told me he had been thinking about how to do this for a few months. Getting inspiration from my Grandfathers boat project, he stated that Papaw used a rope like a sling or bridal wrapped twice around the boat. The boat would flip inside the bridals, about its axis while it was suspended via the scaffolding and hoisting equipment. A series of Prussics (which are smaller ropes tied into a loop) wrapped about three times around the bridal as lifting points that could move once tension was released. This would allow us to lift on one set of these Prussics to the height we needed and secure and utilizing another relief line tie to it and take pressure of the hoists. Allowing us to reset on the unused Prussic on that side; taking up tension again and untying the relief line. The hoisting equipment consisted of two come-alongs and two 2-ton block and tackles.

The actual lifting was tough but not near as big a process as we believed it would be. Once the rigging was set, we started heaving too in order to center the strongback. The boat came up with the strongback very well, without the slightest bit of creaking or groaning of any structural members, either boat or shop. Since it seemed very stable in its suspended state, we decided might as well get started and chop the strongback off the boat. Utilizing my chainsaw Dad took to it, cutting the members clear of the boat. Once that was done, we drug the cut strongback out into the front yard of the shop to get it good and clear. Next, the process of lifting up to the requisite flip height had to be accomplished. What Dad and I soon discovered, was the boat itself even without the strongback attached was still pretty heavy. Thus it took both of us lifting on the block’s and tackle to lift one side of the boat. The other side with come-alongs was much easier to lift with but more cumbersome to reset. We reset everything and lowered one side while raising the other.

Unfortunately for me, I had to go into town for class. So Dad said he would do what he could to continue once I returned, to include sweeping the floor for the chaulks. When I got back, I was surprised to see not only that the shop was swept but the boat was even further along in the flip. She was almost to the point that the center of gravity would change from upside down to right side up. Being energized to help to get us complete, and to ensure Dad did not hurt himself by biting off more than he could chew, I put on my gloves and manned the lines. We were able to in short order get the boat top side up and keel down. Another quick reset and we began lowering the other side while raising the other in order to continue the flip and get her level. Yet again I had to leave to take my seven year old to softball practice. Dad swore he would only do what he thought was safe for both him and the boat without me. My return however proved that he estimated that he could safely continue the flip in my absence. I came inside the shop and asked “would it kill you to wait for me?”, to which he stated he just wanted to get it done and on the ground. The boat itself was about at a 45 degree angle and we still needed to come down on one side and up on the other to level it. Thus again I manned the lines and soon we had her just slightly off the ground and for the most part level.

Next came the task of inputting my chaulks, which turned out to be the biggest “issue” of the flip. The back chaulks were slightly off but the forward chaulks were way off. So I went ahead and had Dad lift up on the front of the boat with a floor jack while I made the modifications to the keel chaulks cutting and notching so they would fit and be level. The chaulks along the hull that I built to support the boat were way short. Unfortunately it was now getting late and we needed to eat and spend some time with Mom, Savannah and the kids. So We left the bow bridal on it and I determined that the next day I would either rebuild or modify the chaulks along the hull.

All things considered, and despite the setback of the chaulks. The flip was momentous and the milestone I had hoped it would be. Having a celebratory beer with Dad, we toasted our success and a job well done.

Building the chaulks to hold the upright hull.

6-7 May 2017: I had decided that the next step after the reinforcement scaffolding had been emplaced was to build the chaulks or framing that will hold the hull up once its flipped.

I started out by figuring out the exact height from the skeg to the hull that is required for the boat to sit at and be level (approximately 9”). The skeg is not the full length throughout the hull so I measured it at its biggest point and figured to make the chaulks all level at that height. However I assumed that the bevel of the hull was the same all the way to the bow from the stern. Thus I set out making larger 18” chaulks at that exact bevel and height. Wow was I wrong, the bevel simply was not the same throughout and I ended up creating more single posted supports throughout. I also made supports for the keel that forked or cupped the keel at the pre-described height of the large parts of the skeg.

The reason it took me two days to the do this was a combination of my massive mistake and my wife sending me on a trip go get free used pressure treated lumber. Yet once I had determined to get the bevels exactly from hull at those pre-determined intervals with my bevel set, and having the time to cut and build the members. It actually went rather quickly and I can say that I am relatively pleased with the outcome. Hopefully it will work as well as it looks.

Building the shop reinforcements to flip the boat.

May 5 2017: Yes today was the day that my beautiful wife and I decided to hang the 2×6’s from the rafters as well as emplace the cedar posts.

The day started off early with Savannah and I going out to hang the 2×6’s from the rafters. This entailed me climbing the ladder with her lifting via a rope attached to the 2×6 over a rafter the member into place so I can screw it in. Actually this worked rather well and with me cutting plates or 2×6 scraps that attach the 2×6 reinforcements together we soon had the rafters tied together in short order.

What was next consisted of cutting, hoisting and attaching the aforementioned cedar poles to the 2×6 reinforcements. Doing this required me to measure at the pre –determined increments the exact height from the floor to the 2×6’s, and cutting the poles with my chainsaw as well as my sawzall to length. Attaching them required lifting the poles with a rope over rafters much like the 2×6’s and hammering them plum. Affixing the poles to the reinforcements had me using a 5” lag screw passing through the 2×6 into the pole. Thankfully having this done in my shop allowed me to use my pneumatic impact driver to drive the lag screws.

This entire exercise took all day, yet at the end of the day, Savannah and I are quite confident that the entire structure will now be able to flip the boat as required.

Scheming and Logging…

May 2 2017:

Long and hard day of work, but I believe it will pay off.

As I stated in my last post; the next project is to be the creation of a scaffold in order to flip the boat. I had gathered several 2×6’s at 8 feet to reinforce the raters of my shop. In this sense I plan on using the 2×6’s to link the rafters together on either side of the boat. Afterwards I will run posts (about six per side) from these 2×6’s to the floor in order to spread the weight the boat to the shop floor. Once this is complete I plan on using come-a-longs and pulleys to wench up the boat off the strong back in order to flip it.

The 2×6’s I had already from a previous project but the posts were presenting me with a problem. Either buying 4×6 or 4×4 posts would be expensive; even if I spliced them together out of requisite 2x materials. Yet I live on property that has an abundance of trees, such as red cedars. A few red cedar poles I had already cut down for using on another project, so I figured I could cut down a few more for the posts I need to support the rafters.

Living in the wood, I already have a chainsaw so I gathered my truck and some rope and off to the woods I went. Conveniently I have an outcropping of cedars next to my shop. Thus I cut down, de limbed, and pulled the selected poles to the shop so I could further cut them down to size. Deciding to cut them to a length of 12 feet so I could cut them down to the correct length of 10’ 7 or so inches once in the shop and the 2×6’s were already hung. Once cut to 12 feet, I either carried or dragged them into the shop.

At the end of this exhausting venture, I figured it was time to call it a day. Next on the to do list, I plan on attaching the 2×6’s to the rafters in order to get the proper distance for the poles to the floor.

Priming, Painting and a Repair!

20-30 April 2017

Well these past few days have been exciting, interesting and almost terrifying. I finished fairing the hull, or at least the parts I cared to ensure were good and faired. Completing this task, I went ahead and had my wife pick a five gallon bucket of paint and some primer from Lowes. This time I wanted to get the same color accept have it finish glossy as opposed to matte. Ironically enough, my wife had a similar experience with the Lowes paint attendees at a different store. They gave her a lot of grief and at times were exceptionally rude; thanks to her patience and perseverance we got the paint we needed.

Rolling on the primer was pretty easy and I discovered that I would need to use a brush to cut in by the keel and along the hull during painting. About an hour later I had the hull completely primed, but being that it was a pretty muggy due to all the rain; thus it was unlikely to finish drying that day. So I figured I’d have to wait to start painting until the next day.

The following day, I began painting the hull with that awesome color I had picked out from Lowes. Being a prior Navy man, I wanted something along a grayish hue for the hull in order to somewhat mimic a warship. Finished out the gallon I had from my paint experiment, the matte finish gray. Since it had been a bit drier, the paint cured much faster and I was able to roll on a second coat of the new gloss grey paint the same day.

During my examination of the second coat drying, I discovered a spot on the bottom of the hull near the stern on the starboard side was blistering. I pressed it with my thumb and found it to be extremely soft; I therefore decided to cut it away to see the extent of the issue. It turned out to be about a quarter size area that had come loose from the plywood. Inspecting the area around it, all seamed well and secure, I therefore decided to mix up a bit of epoxy and talc to fill the hole. Figuring that as this dried, I could come out the next day, sand and re roll the area. So I proceeded to mix up the epoxy and fill the hole, sanding the plywood first to ensure a good seal.

On the next morning, I determined that the epoxy had done the job somewhat but it was still a bit squishy. So I mixed up another batch of epoxy and applied it over the area again in hopes of reinforcing it. However not deciding to waste another day on epoxy, I decided to roll the last coast of paint, avoiding the repaired area. The last coat of paint rolled on very well and I can say I am pleased with the color and application. Hopefully the repair job will seal up well enough and I can roll that last area and finish the painting completely.

Next on the docket is to start reinforcing my shops rafters and creating a scaffold type reinforcement to the floor so I can flip the boat. My dad will be coming down in a few weeks to help me flip it, yet I am confident the shop will be ready by then.

Last Hull Audible….I Promise.

Well shipmates, it would seem that I was wrong on my estimation of the flex seal stuff. I have attached the video I uploaded to my YouTube channel to explain. It should give a pretty decent rundown of where I will be going from here as it pertains to the hull fairing and painting.

 

Painting Experiments…

15 April 2017: Ahoy everyone! So as I promised, the day started with a trip to Lowes in order to purchase some paint and primer. The attendees at Lowes were perhaps baffled as I am sure they do not get a whole lot of people requesting paint for a wooden boat. With some back and forth and ultimately stating that good exterior grade latex is often used as a substitute for boats (ask Mr. Buehler), the associate had me hooked up.

Upon arrival home I got to work pouring some of the primer into one of the disposable paint trays I had purchased. Since this is an experiment to see how well the primer and paint will cover the seams, I applied it to a select group of areas. As I had anticipated the bottom hull seams which by far are the worst looked only mildly better with the paint and primer on them. However as I have stated, I am not totally concerned with having a glass bottom. The transom and stern areas seemed to do rather far better as more attention was paid to ensuring a good lay of the cloth and fairing done. Since this and the stem are going to be above water and as such visible, I want to ensure the paint and primer will look good. If not it’s more sanding and fairing. I plan on giving these areas around three or so coats to see if the roughness will improve and by how much.

The stem I decided needed to have more fairing done, so mixing up another batch of compound I set out and made short work of it. The stem is an area that will no doubt get a lot of looks and as such needs to have as much attention paid to it as possible. That being said it really does seem like it is turning out well.

While I was at Lowes, I saw a gallon of Flex Seal paint; you know the spray stuff that stops leaks even if soaked in water. I of course did not look at the price but I am thinking this may be a good alternative to bottom paint. It is likely thick and waterproof, so it could perhaps do in one coat what would take several with the exterior grade latex. I will do some more research into this product and decide if it is worth it to proceed that way for the bottom of the hull. The topsides will get that nice paint as I love the color.

Clothing is done; onto more faring.

12-14 April 2017: Big accomplishment as of late shipmates, clothing of the hull is complete! Yes that’s right; the nightmare of dealing with epoxy soaked polyester cloth is over! To this all I can personally say is thank God and I will have a beer!

The following day after inspecting the final bit of cloth application, I decided to begin creating fairing compound (Talc and Epoxy) to blend the “seams”. With a lot of these seams looking horrendous and craggy, for the first round of application I decided to mix and apply it thick. Of course this meant several trips to and from my epoxy station to mix the copious amounts of fairing epoxy required. Applying this gray goo to the hull took up most of the afternoon, yet it meant tomorrow I will likely be able to begin sanding (oh the joys of sanding!).

Next morning, I went to the shop after doing a bit of classwork and began the long and tiresomely tedious process of sanding. However compared to the nerve wracking and frustrating cloth and epoxy task, sanding took on a whole new and positive light. Being covered with dust is far less annoying and easier to remove than epoxy. I remember after my several rounds of clothing the hull, I would shower head to toe with Fast Orange to ensure I removed every bit of the devilish goo. Even then I was often surprised to find that some of the relentless stickum had stuck around afterwards.

Sanding seemed to go rather well enough, so I applied a second lighter coat of fairing compound to the stem with every intention of applying it to the transom area as well. Yet after the first and exceedingly smooth application on the stem, I had a revelation. It may not be entirely necessary to apply the fairing mix to the stern just yet. The primer and paint may do a good enough job of hiding any left-over imperfections to not warrant a second application of the compound. So tomorrow I plan on going to Lowes to get a gallon of this paint and primer to see how well it does, after all I can always sand it away and apply more compound if necessary.

Epoxying the cloth strips along the port side of the hull.

7 April 2017: Ahoy all! Well I returned from my makeup drill with the guard to more school work. Yuck!

Yet I was able before I left to apply the fill in polyester strips along what will be the port side of the hull. That was somewhat easier than before yet it sure did suck up almost every last bit of epoxy to get it done. However it was a bit tricky to flatten and smooth out as it kept wanting to bunch and crinkle up.

When I got back from Joplin I was able to determine how well the strip job had dried out. For the most part it seems to have hardened well and good to the areas I applied it. The exceptions being those folds and crinkles that had also dried into the cloth. The forward parts of the strips, around the bow look particularly “craggy”. I therefore decided today to utilize what remaining epoxy I had left to create filler or fairing compound to see it I could faire those areas out. Figured I would keep the fairing compound somewhat runny so that it would soak into any areas that were somewhat epoxy starved.

After allowing this round of fairing compound to dry, it seams that it will be possible to fair out the seams and craggy areas. Yet it will no doubt take more than one application in the rougher areas.

While I was away my wife and I decided we could go ahead and order two more gallons of epoxy and hardener. UPS says that this order should arrive Tuesday of next week. This is the epoxy order that I hope will allow me to finish sheeting and fairing the hull.

This cloth and epoxy method of sheeting and waterproofing a hull has definitely lost its allure to me. While there are no doubt serious benefits to be had, and the issues I have run into can be chalked up to being an amateur. I detest the sticky gooey of the epoxy and the complications that means for application on the cloth. Thus I have decided that I will for my next boat PLANK it rather than use plywood and epoxy. I am sure this will bring its own set of challenges, however at least I can stay clear of applying epoxy to cloth.