It’s been a little chilly here so the painting has gone slower. I applied a couple of coats a deck paint to both sides and then added a camo pattern with spray paint. The pattern was made by lightly spraying over a mess screen first, like the ones people use for snow fences. I then carved out the cattail pattern and sprayed a green and beige color. I also cut out the padded foam for the bottom. They were 2’x2′ interlocking squares that you use to cover a work room floor. This foam will help me stay quiet and warm. the holes will help me stay out of the water that gets dragged into the boat. After painting I added the doors again and began to cut out the cloth that will cover up the boat. Its a combination of two layout blind covers. It will look a little piece mail but it will work once grass and other vegetation gets put into the stubble straps.
It’s down to the finish work at this point. I added the doors for the blind. I decided that I needed a set up front to allow me access to that part of the boat. My dog could rest here with the lid closed or more likely I can use the space for hauling decoys. Once all the hardware was in place I removed it and began painting. I’m using a simple deck paint that is pretty thick. I have no idea how it will hold up. Time will tell. Once it dries I’ll flip the boat over and finishing sanding the bottom and paint it. While it is flipped, I’ll work on a removable wheel yoke for easy transport.
The most time-consuming part of a boat, at least in terms of having a block of time to work on it, is putting the cloth and epoxy on the bottom of the boat. The combination of the cloth and epoxy reinforces and stiffens the bottom. It’s good to have 12 hours or so to dedicate to this as you have to keep building up the layers of epoxy and it works best if those layers don’t dry in between applications. If they do dry you have to sand it down before you add the next layer. Sanding would double the time needed for this project not to mention it’s almost impossible to sand it down and not destroy the cloth fibers. To apply the cloth, you first prepare the bottom and make sure the flat surfaces and the edges are sanded down. You then apply epoxy and get the area you will lay the cloth on wet. This helps the cloth to stay in place and makes it easier to saturate the cloth with epoxy later. Once the cloth is laid you then apply more epoxy. This first go takes a lot of epoxy to completely saturate the cloth. You have to get the epoxy into every fiber of the cloth. Its best to pour the epoxy out on top of the cloth and uses a squeegee of some kind to spread the epoxy evenly. Its work getting the glue into every fiber of the cloth. Once that is done […]
Over the last couple of weeks, I installed the false floor to cover the foam board. This required a lot of epoxy to fill, cover, and seal the floor. After that was accomplished I moved the boat outside to take advantage of the warm weather and do some sanding. I removed the wires by cutting them and heating them until they melted the epoxy and pulled through. The holes will be epoxied later. I then sanded the edges to round them out and smooth the surface. I will still need to use some thickened epoxy to fill in holes and gaps before I put the fiber glass and epoxy on the bottom to strengthen the hull. My father made a removable yoke to use to hold the layout blind doors. I set it up to get an idea of where the door brackets will attach and how the layout blind cover will fit. It was a little nerve racking cutting up a perfectly good blind but it will work nicely. I’ll need to add some more cloth on the front end so that the blind cloth completely covers the boat. I think I might make flap doors for the front so that it makes it easier to store items during transportation and also makes a blind for my dog to hide in while on the hunt.
This week I finished the inside joints by sanding them down so that they can be glued. I also sanded down the bow and stern so the sharp edges are rounded. The next step was to glue in the supporting ribs. This will of course strengthen the boat and help it keep its shape. They will also be used to connect the doors for the layout blind cover. The ribs were cut so that they are flush with the foam I will use for flotation. I glued these pieces of foam in place. This week I’ll cut out and glue into place the false floor that covers and protects the flotation foam. I’ll also work on the connectors that will hold the layout blind doors in place.
Over the last couple of years, I have gotten into duck hunting. There is something about the water, birds, and the variety that both bring to the hunting experience that I have really come to appreciate. You get to pull the trigger more than once and it is certainly a challenge and humbling experience. I’ve heard a lot of waterfowl hunters say they are more bird watchers than hunters and that has certainly become true in my life. While you don’t have to hunt waterfowl over water to have success I find that water brings more beauty to the experiences. I had a lot of fun building my last boat and I knew that I wanted to build another boat if I had a chance. This is my chance. On my last boat I used the a design a friend made. This time I have created my own design. Obviously, the design is not that original or unique. You can do a simple search on the web and find plenty of boats that will look similar to mine. The main concerns I had for the boat were stability, size, and concealment. I wanted the boat to be stable and safe in the water. I wanted the boat to easily hold me and my gear and yet allow for one man to move it around. Finally, when I’m out hunting you need to conceal yourself and so I wanted to basically be able to turn the boat into a layout blind. […]