Brightwork Down Under

While the boat is upside down, I finished the underside of the cabin top and the aft side of BH#3.DSC00036The first step was to sand all areas to be varnished.  I also taped off the area where I will be mounting backer plates.  I contemplated over mounting the backer plates before varnishing, but felt I needed to mock it up properly (from the top side) to determine the proper size and placement of the backer blocks.  So, I’ll finish these areas later. DSC00037I like the look of a satin finish.  I am using System Three Marine Spar Varnish in satin for all my bright work. DSC00035Beautiful stuff…well worth the cost.

Ready to flip the boat right side up and place on trailer.

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.