Skeg Work

While waiting for more epoxy to arrive, I set my sights on the skegs.  It’s funny how some steps in this build seem to weigh more heavily on my mind than others.  The skegs have always been a bit bothersome to me.

Let me count the ways:

  1. The bottom skeg curve needs to match the boat hull (on each side…they are different)
  2. The top skeg curve needs to match the opposite skeg (for equal resistance and proper stance)
  3. The skegs need to be glued on exactly parallel to each other (or my boat will be doing the snow plow through the water)
  4. The skegs need to be glued on 90 degrees off the hull (or my boat will want to roll off center)

No Pressure…  

 But, I had no epoxy…so the only thing to do was move forward with the skegs.  DSC00036I started by clamping a pattern piece (1 x 10 x 8 pine) against the jig.  This seemed like an effective ‘ham n egger’ way to trace the proper bottom curve of the skeg.DSC00039I then began to fine tune this pattern piece to fit the hull.  I notice right away, that both sides of the hull are a little different…so one pattern did not fit both sides.  I chose to build the starboard skeg first, then reshaped the pattern a bit to fit the port side.DSC00041 I then traced this pattern onto a red oak plank (8″ x 1,1/2″ x 8′).DSC00040After some work (correction, after a fair amount of work) the bottom curve snuggled closely to the hull.  I chose not to cut the top curve until I had the hull curve correct.  This left me with plenty of wood to work with for proper height of the skeg.

This is one of those things that you look at several times before deciding it is good enough.  Then, you look at it some more and continue working on it.  After several iterations of this loop, you finally decide you’re done.DSC00046After transposing the offsets from the plans to the skeg plank, I used my jig saw to cut the shapely side of the skeg.  This piece was entirely too big for me to handle on my band saw, so the jig saw was commandeered into service.DSC00047 Well, as you know, a jig saw will not cut a 90 degree angle from the board face.  Instead it gets pushed around a bit, especially when cutting 6/4 hardwood.  I turned to the Shinto rasp to file the cut surface flat and smooth out the wows.  DSC00048DSC00049 I then ran a 1/4″ rounder bit on all edges.  The front edge will be epoxied and faired after installation to the hull.  I did create a much more gradual ramp than shown in the plans for easier trailer loading.DSC00050DSC00035 DSC00040I’m very satisfied with the results.  I can now breath a sigh of relief and wait for the epoxy to arrive.

Glassing Planks 1 & 2

After glassing the hull, I’m now ready to glass the planks.  I chose to glass the hull in one piece, followed by plank 1 & 2.  The plans only call for plank 1 to be glassed, but I had the glass and just felt better about also wrapping plank 2.

With the hull epoxy still green, I laid the plank fiberglass into position (the overlap onto the green hull held things in place).  It was just tacky enough to stay put with a light touch.

This was harder than I expected.  The plank joints were difficult to get right.  Fix the top joint…pull the lower joint…Fix the lower joint…pull the top joint.  I finally got a system that worked fairly well, but the joints are not perfect.  Some small air bubbles exist.  The radius is just too sharp for proper glass adhesion.  I plan to sand through these areas to remove any potential future problems with water being trapped behind the glass.  DSC00039The hull chine has 2 layers of glass on all edges.  The bow has 4 wraps of glass over the plank 1 joint.  DSC00040I wrapped the glass 1″ over the the plank 2/3 joint.  DSC00038

What I learned:

  1. The glass takes more epoxy than expected to properly fill the weave (I almost ran out…this would have been disastrous).
  2. The sides took more time than the hull, due to the lap joint.
  3. The lap joint didn’t want to lay down properly (there are a few air spots that refused to conform)
  4. A squeegee is a must to work the lap joint.

I feel a little uncertain as to the proper steps in fairing the hull,  Any and all suggestions are welcome.


Fiberglassing Hull

Fiberglass finally arrived…glassing the hull begins.  After positioning the glass several different ways over the hull, I settled on the approach that made the most sense to me.  I would glass the entire hull panel first, without any seams, and then glass the plank panels.

DSC00037DSC00039The 50″ glass covers all edges with a 2″ or more overhang on all sides.DSC00038Cut out for the CB slot.DSC00040The blue tape line shows where I stop the overlap. This provides a strengthening wrap of glass over the hull chine on all edges.DSC00041DSC00044DSC00042 The overlapping glass around the stern and panel #1 joint.DSC00035Tape removed and excess glass trimmed off.  DSC00036Overlapped edge after trimming glass with razor blade.


I like the 2″ wrap concept.  It adds an extra layer of glass over all the hull chine seams.  I will now wrap planks 1 & 2 (with one strip of glass), overlapping this hull chine seam.  I’m amazed at how much epoxy this step took…it seems I’m always ordering more epoxy.  After finally inspection I did notice a few waves in the glass.  They were not there after the first coat of epoxy, but after coming back 8 hours later for the second coat, I noticed them.  I suppose there is nothing to do now but sand after filling the weave.

  It’s all good.

Glassing Transom/Plank Joint

In preparation for glassing the hull, I decided to reinforce a few key areas.DSC00035DSC00036I placed (2) 3″ offset fiberglass strips down the garboard plank junction.  DSC00040 Rear transom/plank junction sanded and ready for fiberglass cloth.  DSC00035DSC00038DSC00039After rolling out the fiberglass, I learned I am way short of completing this next step.  So, I now wait for the additional glass to arrive.

The Redemptive Qualities of the Shinto Rasp

I’ve said it before, now I’ll demonstrate it.  Check this out.DSC00062 Huge ugly fillets around the seams.  DSC00064Epoxy piled a mile high.  It looks like my 7 year old did this.  DSC00028 Remember, It has to look ugly before it can look beautiful.  

Now for the Shinto Rasp Redemption:DSC00031Notice the slight glow being given off from Shackleton’s hull?  It’s almost like it has been redeemed from the “Fall of Adam” and now finds itself in an exalted state. DSC00032DSC00037DSC00036DSC00032DSC00036 I don’t know how I would’ve done this without the Shinto Rasp.  Buy one today.  Actually, buy several.  Give them away to your dearest friends after showing them your boat.  I also think they would make tremendous wedding presents.  After all, who needs more towels?

This build is getting very exciting…can’t you just feel the energy?

Next up:  Glassing the Hull

My Birthday Wish

I really wanted to have the boat turned over for my birthday.  Well, tomorrow is my birthday and would you look at Shackleton.  Flipped and ready…waiting for proper care and feeding.DSC00032I didn’t install the back rest or transom cap, feeling it would be easier to turn the boat over before completing these steps.  So, after turning Shackleton back over, I will add these pieces.DSC00030Who engineered these straps?  They ought to loosen incrementally (as they do when tightening).  Would this be too much to ask?  This would give one perfect control.  Oh well, I had several buddies come over and help me set the boat down onto sawhorses.

DSC00035I started cleaning up the edges (couldn’t resist).  I think this will go faster than I anticipated.    In this photo, you can see my first mistake with this build.  Notice the notch outs in the hull?  These were suppose to face upward.  This was an easy fix.  If you build any wooden boat, you will make mistakes.  Remember, the secret is to work through the mistakes and not get discouraged.  You can fix anything with wood and epoxy.  Though you might need a file and block plane.  DSC00034I screwed 2/4’s onto the top of wooden sawhorses so that they would span across the deck (from gunwale to gunwale).  I also placed stone blocks with a wooden shim under the mast box.  This prevents the boat from rocking forward (which it wants to do).  Now it feels secure for confidently working on the hull.

Next step:  Fillet the planks, smooth the fillets, epoxy and glass the bottom.  

Bow Rub Rail & Trim Piece

I’ve been wondering how to trim the front of Shackleton to get just the right look.  With the gunwales and rub rails coming up both sides, I felt I needed something running across the bow, tying these pieces together for a finished look.  I wanted it to look tough…like the Scamp is meant to look.  I decided on a thicker slab of wood arching its way from starboard to port.  The look needed to be uncluttered, not fancy…think utilitarian and tough.  Nothing scrolling it’s way across the arch…just clean and simple.   DSC00027

Solid stock to Arch:

  1. Planed down to 1″ (originally 1, 1/8″)
  2. Held up to bow to trace proper angle of the arch
  3. Cut arch on bandsaw
  4. Used Shinto rasp and wood file to smooth cut lines
  5. Bench sanded to smooth cut lines
  6. Applied 1/8″ round-over bit to all edges
  7. Epoxied all edges and all mating surfaces
  8. Screwed into backer plates installed under deck

DSC00028  This piece is meant to take all the abuse, so I decided to leave it 1/8″ proud of the deck.  I’ll match this offset when installing the rub rails.  DSC00030The ends will be cut after I install the rub rails (which will but into the back side of the arch).   

Sapelle fit the bill for three reasons:

  1. It looks ship-like to me.
  2. It is locally available.
  3. It comes in 16′ long boards (which means I can use the off-cut from the rub rails to fabricate this arch).

Shackleton is starting to take on a look of it’s own.  Isn’t this why we build boats?  So we can add our personal touch to an already excellent design.