Center Board Retrieval Line and Touch Up

DSC00429With my boat up off the floor, I was ready to install my center board retrieval line.  I used a forsner bit to drill a neat straight hole up into the forward bottom edge of the center board.  I drilled approximately 1″ into the board.  I used a nail to apply unthickened epoxy into the drilled hole.  Then I thickened the epoxy and added the line.

DSC00433I’ll cut the line to a finish length after I test it during a capsize drill.

DSC00434With the boat up off the trailer, I also touched up some areas of excessive wear from the trailer bow pads.


I’m now ready to apply my high gloss finish to the top side (remember, my first matte finish failed miserably and needed to be all scraped off).  This was a bit of a disappointment, but heck, now I know how to refinish the boat.  Honestly, I had no choice but to refinish it.

Problems with Bright Work

At the Skills Camp, I noticed my bright work started to look odd.  Now this is not the sort of thing that brings joy and comfort to one’s heart.  No, in fact, It causing feelings of frustration and overall doubt in the goodness of the varnish Gods.

How could it be…I tried to follow all the steps and do a good job.  But, there it was…as clear as the nose on your face.  My finish was failing.

DSC00422Notice the cloudy sections.  These began to appear all over the boat.  At first we thought it might be blush, but as the week went on, I noticed I could rub off sections with my finger nail.  It appeared to be an adhesion problem and it was spreading.

So, what to do?  At first I was in denial…saying things like, ‘It’s a work boat, who cares’, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized, I care.  It just wasn’t right.  I have worked too hard on my boat to not care.  I want my boat to be right.  There was only one thing to do…scrap it off and apply it again.

DSC00430I engaged the boys to remove all the deck hardware.

DSC00428 And I began scraping.DSC00436And scraping…

DSC00442 And sanding…DSC00443And more sanding…

DSC004388 hours later, the boat looked like this.  I had achieved a nice dull finish to the entire boat.  In places I had gouged into the wood, so I decided to apply a thin coat of epoxy to the entire bright side.

DSC00447By the end of my Saturday, the boat looked like this.  It was a long day, but I feel so much better about it.  I’m tired, but pleased.


Lying awake at night contemplating the root of the problem, I’m not sure I sanded between my final two coats of varnish.   I honestly can’t remember, but I’m placing the blame on not properly sanding between the coats.  Without proper sanding between the coats, there would be nothing for the varnish to bind to.  However, now that the bright work is ready for finish varnish, I have decided to use a high gloss varnish this time around.     I love the look of the satin finish, but I’m not convinced it provides the same level of UV protection as high gloss varnish.  

Why not just paint the bright work?  Phil asked me this very question on the loading ramp at Point Hudson Marina.  Well, I just can’t bring myself to smear paint over all this beautiful wood.  It seems a bit sacrilege to me.  Remember, I’m a woodworker and I love the look of real wood.  Shackleton also weighted in and asked to be left bright, so bright it will be.

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.

Finishing the Hull

I settled on Brightside Hatters White for my upper hull color.  I think it will blend well with the bright finish I’ll be applying to the rub rails (yet to be installed).  After multiple coats and a few mishaps (articulated below) here’s what I got.  DSC00037Excuse the dust on the black paint.DSC00044 DSC00043 DSC00042 DSC00039 DSC00038Summary:

  1. After applying 4 coats of graphite epoxy to the lower hull section, I applied 3 coats of epoxy on all remaining hull pieces.
  2. I then filled any low spots with micro balloons.
  3. I then sanded multiple times until I was satisfied.
  4. I then applied 3 coats of Hatteras White to all lower sections.
  5. Then disaster struck.

At this point, I thought all was well and that I was almost done with this arduous process.  But, after looking closely, I notice spiderweb like wrinkles in the finish.  They were present in 3 or 4 locations, some of which were quite large…say basketball size.  I have no idea what caused them.  I ran it over and over in my mind never reaching a logical cause and effect.  After a discouraging night of sleeping on it, I knew they had to be sanded out.  So, I strapped on a new filter mask and sanded the entire hull (problem areas more thoroughly than others).  I then applied another complete layer of paint.  Looking closely this time for the spiderweb wrinkles, they were not to be found.  I breathed a sigh of relief and applied one more coat and called it good.

This is not a perfect job.  Those of you who are really gifted at finish work will readily notice flaws in my finish.  But I achieved the ‘ham n egger’ standard.  That’s all I can ask for in this build.  As my dad would say, “we’re not building a piano”.  

Neil Pryde Sail for Shackleton

I considered sewing my own sail (I do own a Sailrite sowing machine) but the Neil Pryde is affordable and very well made…and it’s not like I don’t have plenty to do.  So, I broke down and called Josh at SCA and ordered one up.  After waiting a few weeks for the next batch of sails, USPS delivered a mysterious box to my front door.  I knew instantly the box contained my new sail.  DSC00040Gotta love the feel of a new sail.  Clean, crisp, crinkly and stitched with precision…like a starched white button-down pinpoint oxford dress shirt.DSC00042I was nervous that I would cut the numbers wrong, so I sketched out the required cuts on an envelope.   I also double checked the number with my plans to make sure I had it correct.  I’ve learned that if anyone can screw things up…it’s me.  DSC00041All credit for this application goes to Dave Ender (building #243) for his excellent description of how to do this correctly.  On center with the lantern, 2″ below and 2″ between numbers. DSC00043 Now, the power of that red lantern.

 I actually owned 4 Feuerhand oil lanterns before I ever knew of a sailboat called Scamp. For the record, these are the finest oil lanterns made (to my knowledge).  Knowing that Scamp used this lantern for their logo, made me want to build one even more.  DSC00044To finish it all off, you get this nice sail bag that would work well for large stowage needs.

Now back to finishing the lower portion of my hull.

Final Coat of Graphite

The final coat of graphite went on at 4:00 am this morning.  It seemed to go on beautifully…quelling some of yesterday’s concerns.  I had to include a few more photographs of Shackleton.  Enjoy.DSC00040

DSC00036Notice the brush hair just off the drain hole.DSC00035DSC00039DSC00037DSC00035I gotta say thank you to those who encouraged this graphite finish for the lower section of my hull.  I love the heavy, solid look it portrays.  It should be tough, slippery and easy to maintain.  My idea was to wrap it up the sides approximately 2″ above the DWL.  This wrapped look seems to add a physiological feeling of safety to the hull.  Creating a feeling that all is well down under.  I’m really happy how this turned out.

Paint for the lower section arrived yesterday.  I can’t wait to see how the Hatteras White looks against the black.  But, first I need to epoxy and fair (the glass termination edge) the lower section.

Graphite Epoxy Hull

Having settled on a practical, functional graphite bottom for Shackleton, I begin to roll the thick black stuff onto the hull.  DSC00037After one coat, the hull looks thirsty for more.DSC00038After two coats, things are looking much better.DSC00040I don’t have a perfect finish here.  I got orange peel for some sections of the hull.  I’ve decided a workboat finish will have to suffice.  I want this baby in the water…I guess I’m to that point.  I hear everyone gets to this point sooner or later.  I’m feel like I”m getting there.


The idea of putting a small amount of colloidal silicon in the mixture to smooth out the graphite didn’t work for me, in fact I think it added a little texture to the epoxy.  My best results were simply using graphite alone without additives.  One more coat and I’ll be removing the tape.  This will be around 1:00 am this morning.  Wish me luck.

AfterAfter one

Sanding the Hull

I happen to love tools and I admit it.  They make the overall woodworking experience so much more pleasurable.  Yes, you could do this will fewer tools, but why would you?  The proper tools make every job easier, safer and more satisfying.  With that unabashed introduction, meet my new hand sander from Home Depot.  DSC00036This little gem made todays job much easier.DSC00037You can buy traditional sanding paper sheets and cut them to fit.  This large flat area afforded me great control over the sanding process.

One could spend as much time finishing the hull as they do the entire build.  The more I get into this, the more small imperfections I seem to notice.  At some point, not too far in the distant future, I’m going to call it good enough and move on.

DSC00036My hull after sanding off the fairing material.DSC00037DSC00038Notice the obvious line along both sides of the bow.  These area need another filling. They are concealing 4 wraps of 6 oz. glass across the bow.DSC00041Second filling of bow (before sanding).  This is looking much better.

What I learned:

  1. Run your electric palm sander first with 80 grit paper over all the filled areas.
  2. Buy a plastic squeegee ($0.49) at your local automotive shop (or use a leaf if you don’t believe in good tools) for applying the thickened epoxy 😉
  3. I mixed the epoxy a little wetter than normal…it flowed over the problem areas smoothly…like frosting a cake.  It spreads into all the low areas bringing them flush with their surroundings.  It’s really fun stuff to spread around.
  4. Filling and sanding your hull is addictive and the process is never quite finished.
  5. 150 grit paper cut through this stuff much better than 80 grit paper.  It felt like the smaller tooth of the 150 grit paper hooked up much better than the larger 80 grit.  This surprised me, but was true.
  6. After the electric palm sander, I used the hand sander shown above for final sanding.  It worked extremely well and produced more dust than my power sander.


Open a window in your shop, strap on the dust mask and git r done.  You’re shaping your future.

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