Having settled on a practical, functional graphite bottom for Shackleton, I begin to roll the thick black stuff onto the hull. After one coat, the hull looks thirsty for more.After two coats, things are looking much better.I 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.
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. This little gem made todays job much easier.You 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.
My hull after sanding off the fairing material.Notice 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.Second filling of bow (before sanding). This is looking much better.
What I learned:
- Run your electric palm sander first with 80 grit paper over all the filled areas.
- 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 😉
- 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.
- Filling and sanding your hull is addictive and the process is never quite finished.
- 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.
- 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.
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. The hull chine has 2 layers of glass on all edges. The bow has 4 wraps of glass over the plank 1 joint. I wrapped the glass 1″ over the the plank 2/3 joint.
What I learned:
- The glass takes more epoxy than expected to properly fill the weave (I almost ran out…this would have been disastrous).
- The sides took more time than the hull, due to the lap joint.
- The lap joint didn’t want to lay down properly (there are a few air spots that refused to conform)
- 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.
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.I 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.Who 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.
I 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. I 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.