Cabin Top Work

DSC00022The cabin top has been glassed with 2 coats of epoxy.  I noticed the cabin top edges looked a little thin (weave not quite filled), so I went over these areas with a 3 coat of epoxy.

DSC00023I wrapped the glass up the side walls of the mast box, which already had one wrap of fiberglass all the way around them.  (Others have suggested doubling up this area of the mast box with additional okoume plywood.  After thinking this over, I decided against this because it would prevent me from screwing hardware into the cabin supports just under the top.  So I decided to wrap this area again for additional support.  Not sure it needed it…but it made me feel better).  DSC00026I used a round over bit on the top and bottom of the fore and aft cabin top edges.  DSC00027This finishes off the cabin top edge very nicely.  I have used a 1/8″ rounder over bit a lot on this build.

DSC00024The bow of the boat will be finished a little differently.  I cut it flush with a flush cut router bit and Japanese draw saw.  I am going to fit a solid piece of Sapelle here like I use for the rub rail.  I’ll tie this piece into the rub rails for a finished look.

Details to follow.



Body Work

DSC00020I built up the cabin top/mast ramp area with micro balloons.  DSC00029It sanded down nicely, fairing these two surfaces.DSC00026 Cabin top aft doubler.DSC00025Front cabin top doubler.  I used a stick of VG Doug Fir (this piece is not provided in the kit).DSC00028There was an area where the cabin top didn’t quite come plumb with the cabin side cleat.  I added a plywood piece to extend the cabin top.  DSC00022After using a block plane to trim the plywood piece flush, I then filled the top of the joint with thickened epoxy.DSC00021You can’t even see the transition joint between the two pieces of wood.  Okoume plywood and epoxy is amazing stuff.

DSC00020The cabin top required an additional small sliver of plywood and epoxy to fit flush with the doubler.  DSC00024Filed flat in both the horizontal and vertical planes.  I will add a round-over to this edge.

DSC00027Here shown with edges round over.DSC00029I had multiple angles at this junction to fair.  DSC00023DSC00021DSC00025These will require a bit more shaping, but I’m happy with the overall progress.

Hoping to have the top glassed by end of week.


Look Ma…A Cabin Top

There are a few stages in this build that demand your upmost attention. Think it through late at night…ponder all the appropriate steps for success.  Think it through again…don’t forget anything.  Think it through again.  Then, don’t screw up.

Glueing down the cabin top was right up there with the centerboard bushing.  Get it right and heavenly choirs will be singing Hallelujah…get it wrong and the jaws of Hell open wide to receive you.  DSC00005First off, I filed down the mast ramp to better fit the cabin top.  The cabin top looks proud in this photo, but it’s not screwed down yet, and riding a little high in the saddle.DSC00022Dave (building Scamp #243) has a thorough explanation of the steps he followed in installing his cabin top.  I copied them.  My only deviation from Dave’s approach was that I countersunk s.s. screws into the top 2 cabin cleats.  I was careful to miss the accessory holes I had drilled through the cabin cleats earlier.  DSC00024My countersink is designed for a #6 screw.  But, I have found that the screws don’t tighten as well as they should, so I’m drilling out the screw hole (increasing its size).  If the screw gets hung up in the block, it will not tighten like it should and may strip out in the solid stock behind it.  In theory, the screw should just barely fit through the block (and plywood), so all the threads tighten in the solid stock behind it, producing a very tight clamping action.  Hence, I enlarged these holes and the plywood cabin top holes to optimize the clamping action of the screw.  I wanted all the aces in my hand for this nerve-racking step.  DSC00029  Ya baby, that’s a cabin top DSC00031DSC00034If you have done your homework well, things may go smoothly.  I’m glad to report, all the preparation paid off and things went very smoothly for me.  It was down right fun actually.

Steps I followed:

  1. Set everything out carefully, like preparing for surgery.
  2. Double check everything.
  3. Wet all surfaces with unthickened epoxy.
  4. Applied a thickened paste to all surface tops.
  5. Screw cabin top down into the top 2 center cleats.
  6. Tightened straps and inserted wooden sticks for even clamping pressure.
  7. Screwed the outer edges down using wooden blocks for even pressure.
  8. Applied inside fillets and worked additional epoxy into areas that needed more.
  9. Cleaned up and went for a 27 mile bike ride with my hot wife.  Life is good.

Now Shackleton is beginning to look like a proper vessel. 

Cabin Top Preparations

First up:  Beveling the cabin top cleats.  You can’t just slap the cabin top on…oh no, you first need to bevel the cleats for proper fit of the cabin top.  DSC00002This will produce a lot of shavings from the block plane.  You gotta love your block plane.  If dog is man’s best friend…the hand plane is man’s best tool.  

DSC00010Getting very close.  A little more planing and I’ll be there.DSC00001I knew I would be removing quite a bit of material here, so I cut my cleating material 1 1/8″ x 5/8″.  I needed the extra height for all the material I would be removing to acheive the proper bevel.  I needed the 5/8″ thickness for easy bending around the cabin sides.  I removed all the screws I used to hold the cleating 9 hours after glue up.  I then used clamps to finish off the cure process.  This allowed full access to the cleating without worrying about hitting a screw with my hand plane.

This now meets the ‘ham n egger’ standard, I’m ready to look at the cabin top.  

Cabin Sides

It’s feeling so good to be at this stage of the build.  It’s almost like the wooden boat Gods are smiling down on you with providential care & guidance.  I’m definitely feeling the love.DSC00001The front of the cabin sides need to be notched out to fit over the deck.DSC00002The cleating needed to be beveled to better fit against the side.  Though not shown here, a block plane made short work of this.

DSC00008Somewhere I saw a picture of a Scamp with a handhold cut out of the cabin sides.  I thought this made good practical sense and looked great.  I epoxied the doubler onto the sides (while working on the bench).  Then I used a 1 1/2″ forsner bit to drill 2 holes about 4 1/2″ apart (measured outside to outside).  I then cut out the center material using a jig saw.DSC00009I cleaned up the edges with my shinto rasp and used a 1/8″ round over bit to finish things off.  DSC00011I think this handhold will be very helpful boarding from a dock or just climbing into the boat from the shore (there are no beaches in Idaho).  This photo also shows the relative size of the port lights.  They measure 6″ in diameter.

DSC00049Finally, I offset the front doubler pieces just to add a little dimension.  Correction:  Actually truth be told, I didn’t hardly have enough overhang on the front of the side panels to allow the doubler to fit.  I would have needed to cut it so thin on the vertical side, that I decided to simply overhang it a bit.  This allowed more room for an inside fillet.




DSC00002The sides were not difficult to fit and this step went off without a hitch.

 Now setting my attention to the cabin top.





Cabin Windows

While I was working on deck preparations, I decided to take time to work on cabin windows (yes, now I’m multi tasking which I said earlier I would not do).  As I get closer to finishing this build, it seems I want to speed up more in anticipation of completion.  So, cabin windows.  In checking the internet, the beautiful brass windows referenced in the plans ranged between $60 – 125/per light.  This seemed excessive to me, so I decided to go with the ham’n egger approach and build my own.  DSC00003I first cut out the window opening in the cabin side panels.  I then drilled holes and rounded the edges (and applied more epoxy).  DSC00006Not knowing how to secure the window lens, I called the smartest guy I know to consult.  My dad said, “Son, you need a 3/8″ offset router bit”,  A who?  “Home Depots got em”.  So off I went to purchase the strange bit.   $29 dollars later, I had the bit in hand. DSC00007 After cutting 4 round hoops from 1/4″ plywood, I used the router to cut the offset.  It worked like a champ.  Now, the lens can be securely held in place by the outer hoops.  The Lexan panels were purchased from Home Depot for $4.95/ea.  I cut the circular shape on my band saw.  DSC00006Two coats of epoxy later, I was ready for finish paint.DSC00051I found this Rust-Oleum Copper Hammered paint and thought I would give it a try.DSC00053DSC00055The results were amazing.  The paint goes on as a solid color and then begins to separate into the blotchy hammered look.  It levels out remarkably well and dries very fast.  It created a very neat looking window frame.

These window frames are lightweight, simple and easy to build.  If you don’t want to spend $200 on beautiful heavy windows, give these a try.  I’m very happy with the results.



Deck Installation

There comes a time in every mans life when he needs to rise up off the couch and install a deck.  Today was my day.DSC00007But first, I installed cleat blocks between the gunwales and carlins for the 4 deck cleats which will be installed later.  The blocks were made from (3) 3/8″ plywood scraps glued together and then cut to fit.  DSC00002I used a round over bit on the bottom edges of the block to create a smooth transition between blocks and gunwales/carlins.DSC00004DSC00001DSC00002I own 68 clamps.  I thought surely this would be enough.  Yet, just to be sure, earlier in the week, I purchase another 10.  Well, after clamping on the deck, I realized I was still a little short.  So, I sent my teenaged daughter and son to go buy 10 more clamps while I stayed and continued working on the deck.  $53.00 later, they returned with another 10.  Surly 88 clamps would be enough.   No, I could easily have used another 10 but I made it work.  I promise that no matter how many clamps you have, you will still want another 10.  DSC00003After securing the deck, I completed a few fillets to finish things off.  This is the deck/transom fillet.  DSC00002This is the BK2/front deck fillet.

Steps I followed:

  1. Applied the second coat of epoxy to the underside of the deck within 10 hours of the initial coat (to save sanding).
  2. With this second coat still wet, I had my kids help me position the deck onto the boat.
  3. Before doing so, I wet all carlins/gunwales and other mating surfaces with un-thickened epoxy (I used a roller to ensure complete coverage.  Roll it several times to work the epoxy into the wood fibers.  They are very thirsty.)
  4. Placed a thick bead of thickened epoxy onto all gunwale/carlin tops.
  5. Used a stir stick to smooth the thickened epoxy out flat over all the mating surfaces.
  6. Called for the kids to help position the wet deck in place.
  7. Clamped it down using 88 clamps (100 clamps would have been even better).
  8. Cleaned up the squeeze out and admired my work.

What I learned:

  1. You can never have too many clamps.
  2. Spread the thickened epoxy completely over the entire gunwale and carlins.  This will make for a very wide strong bonding surface.
  3. Take your time and preplan all the steps.  This went remarkably smooth (other than frantically running to the store to buy 10 more clamps).
  4. I didn’t use any screws in this installation.  The epoxy is plenty strong to hold everything down and you save the work of filling all the screw holes.

Have you touched your Scamp today?

Deck Preparations

With the carlins installed, I am ready to focus my efforts on the deck.  Before I can install it however, there is some prep work to do.DSC00006The carlins need to be shaved or files to match the angle of the gunwales for good deck contact.  This isn’t perfectly flat, but I’ll probably stop here.  A little thickened epoxy will finish the job.DSC00009I filed down the bow blocks installed between the gunwales and the carlins.  This block will provide good backing for the bow anchor chocks to be installed later.  DSC00012I am glueing up plywood scraps which will be trimmed and used as backer plates for the 4 deck cleats.  DSC00013To finish things off, I glued up the deck.  The weights I’m using here are Shackleton’s ballast plates.  They have come in very handy.

Hoping to have the deck installed by next weekend.  

Carlins Baby!

It is with great joy swelling up in my heart that I bring you this blog post.  There are many emotions that come to a builder during the building process.  Some are thoughts of boredom (like sanding), others are feelings of great exultations (like singing Hallelujah in the church choir).  I’m ready to sing Hallelujah twice over.

Not sure why, but the gunwales and carlins were a big deal to me.  Maybe it’s their shape, maybe it’s because I struggled initially with these steps, maybe it’s because my boat now looks as beautiful as a women.  I actually made my wife come out to behold the curves.  She agreed they were very beautiful.  I didn’t know boat building could be sexy…but it definitely is.  DSC00003 DSC00005Something about seeing these steps complete feels so rewarding.  Maybe boat building complies with the Law of the Harvest and I’m feeling the spiritual blessing from this natural law.  Call it what you will, I feel good.  The shaped hull is definitely attractive, but when you add gunwales and carlins, look out baby.

After my initial slow start bending the wood, all seemed to fall into place.

Key to building a boat…just keep working…problems seem to work themselves out.  

Bright Work, Seat Hatches and Carlins

DSC00003My thinking has been, if I did finish work as I went along, it would never appear too daunting a task.DSC00063Though you can’t see it well in this photo, here sits Shackleton with 4 coats of varnish on the inside.  I use 2 coats of gloss, followed by 2 coats of satin.  I much prefer the look of satin over the high gloss.  The reason I start with 2 coats of high gloss is that I have read (and tend to believe) that high gloss is more durable.  So, I start with the gloss and end with the satin, for the best of both worlds.DSC00008Seat cutouts, finished and drilled to receive hatch.DSC00016Hatches installed using a generous bead of 100% silicone around the bottom flange.  I worried for some time that the hatches would be uncomfortable to sit on, but I believe they are going to be just fine.  DSC00018Starboard hatch placed outboard of the CB slot.  This will just barely lay open once the carlins and deck coaming are installed.  DSC00003Stir stick used to flush up the bulkhead even with the gunwales.  Epoxied in place.DSC00007I added a fillet along the top of the starboard gunwale where it meets the transom for proper alignment. DSC00022The bulkheads need to be angled to better match the angle of the carlins.  DSC00024Port side carlins installed.  This was a little tricky to do by myself.  Another set of hands would have helped, but I worked through it.  I also cut and installed a filler block at the bow transom to stiffen this area up a bit.  It will also provide a nice place for me to attach a bow anchor line plate (not sure what they call those things).

I’m going to increase the size of the bulkhead/carlins fillets in a few hours and then let things get good and hard before removing the clamps.  Lots of pressure; I’m afraid the carlins might want to pop off, hence the larger fillets to follow.

Then on to the Starboard side carlins.