Coaming Cap and Rub Rail

With epoxy cured, I began shaping the coaming cap.DSC00035I cut it close, then filed until flush. DSC00037A block plane brought the oak down to the top of the plywood. DSC00038I then filed the top to remove plane marks and gouges. DSC00040DSC00042All edges were rounded with a 1/4″ round over bit and then filed for final shape. DSC00044I then screwed on my rub rail.  I choose Sapelle dimensioned to 3/8″ x 1 7/8″.  I decided to only screw this in place for easy repair or replacement.  I used 1 1/4″ SS screws placed 6″ apart.  I held the rub rail 1/8″ proud of the deck for my desired look.  DSC00043I wasn’t sure it was going to bend OK, but it went on just fine.  This is a really fun stage to be at here folks…really fun stage.


Things are starting to come together for Shackleton.  I’ll be away for a while, so expect delays in my blog posts and progress.  I’m very glad I began this project.  For me, it has been a great experience.  Should you build one?  That’s entirely up to you…but for me, it’s been an awesome experience.

Installing Transom Cap

With the cockpit coamings installed, I turned my attention to the transom cap.DSC00035 The first step was to shape the transom and deck to better accept the cap. DSC00036I marked the dimensions of the cap on the deck so I knew where to stop filing.DSC00038Laying out the transom cap.  I rounded off all sharp edges with a router and marked/drilled screw hole locations.DSC00037I filed very little off the back side of the transom cap.  I wanted enough material behind the screws to keep them from pulling through the plywood as I sucked the cap down to the deck.  Don’t forget to erase all pencil markings prior to glue down.DSC00039 Transom cap with end fillet.   DSC00040 DSC00044The outboard edges will be filed flush with the gunwales once cure.  I plan to but the rub rail up against the end grain of the transom cap. DSC00046DSC00043I held the transom cap back 1/8″ aft of the transom.

Steps I took:

  1. Neatly marked off screw hole locations
  2. Rounded all exposed edges
  3. Filed the deck and transom for better fit
  4. Placed wet thickened epoxy fillet onto deck & shaped with stir stick
  5. Wet rolled all contact points with unthickened epoxy
  6. Screwed down cap using 1 1/4″ SS screws
  7. Cleaned up squeeze out
  8. Cleaned up all edges with my finger and wooden dowel dipped in alcohol while the fillet was green and moldable.


I’m now ready to fit the transom cap doubler to the underside forward edge of the transom cap.  I’ll then transition fillet the ends of the doubler into the existing fillet.  

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.

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 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.

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.  

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.