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.

Glueing Skegs to the hull

After applying 2 layers of glass over the Red Oak skegs, it was time to epoxy them onto the hull.  I wet both surfaces with unthickened epoxy (several wet layers for good absorption into the oak), then thickened up the epoxy with colloidal silicon for a strong paste.  I used plenty of paste…I didn’t want any air pockets beneath the skegs.  DSC00045 DSC00047 DSC00046I used steel plates (ballast for Shackleton) as weights to hold down the skegs.  Each of these plates weigh around 26 lb.  I added a soft towel strip between the plates and the skegs to increase friction, keeping the plates from slipping off.  The weight caused good squeeze-out all around the skegs.  I cleaned this up with stick and paper towel.  I then worked additional thickened epoxy into any areas that appeared to have a slight gap.  DSC00036After allowing the epoxy to set for about 10 hours, I laid down a hefty fillet.DSC00038DSC00037Summary:

This is a good step to have behind me.  The skegs took a lot of hand work to get a proper fit against the hull.  I’m looking forward to applying graphite epoxy to the lower sections of the hull.  I’ve decided to go with Interlux Brightside Hatteras White on the upper sections of the hull.  

Glassing Skegs

Epoxy finally arrived.  My build is going to take approximately 8 gallons…way more than I expected.  No, I’m not wasting it or overcoating the parts…it just takes more than you think when you slow down and do it right.  DSC00064DSC00067 One small slit near the bend allowed the glass to fold down nicely.DSC00066DSC00069DSC00070As Simeon pointed out to me in an earlier comment, Red Oak is very porous.  Based on this information, I thought about rebuilding the skegs out of White Oak, but felt proper finish work would yield sufficient sealing properties to the wood.

My plan is to:

  1. Place two 3″ strips of fiberglass over each skeg.
  2. Thicken the final strip of glass with colloidal silica (to act as a hard wear surface).
  3. Use a large fillet where the oak meets the hull.
  4. Roll graphite epoxy over the glassed skegs and hull as a final barrier to water.
  5. Keep an eye on the wear surface of the skegs (this should be easy with the graphite as a wear indicator).
  6. In keeping with the ‘ham n egger’ philosophy…I’ve decided not to install UHMW over my skegs.  Hopefully, the additional preventative steps I’m taking will prove sufficient.  Time will tell.

Things keep moving along…hoping to be in the water by mid June.

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.