The Wooden Boat
I took an extra day off this week for three reasons; first it’s my birthday, second Lent starts next week, and third the boat is ready for fiberglass. I really wanted to make sure that I have days to work on this part since I’ve never done it before and I know that it takes a few coats of epoxy.
I’ve seen this done a couple of ways. First is the dry method which means you put the cloth on the boat then saturate it with epoxy. This is the way I did the tape on the chines on the inside of the boat it took a tone of epoxy and a lot of time. The problem with doing this on the outside of the boat is the sides. Trying to keep the cloth on the side and saturate it seemed impossible so I went with the wet method.
This method has you applying the epoxy to the surface of the boat then unrolling or draping the cloth onto the side. This worked well. I could stretch and pull the cloth in spots and really didn’t have many spots that I needed to cut the cloth to make it lay right. It took some working but it laid down well. I found that the cloth saturated much faster than the tape, mostly because it was thinner than the tape. I put the cloth on both sides and cut it so that it overlapped the corners by about four inches. I then took some of the left over cloth and cut it in four inch strips and lapped it over the corners as well. I then had some left over tape so I used that on the bow and the stern corners. It was thicker so it took more epoxy. After I had the sides smoothed and saturated I put the bottom cloth on. It really helped having an extra set of hands, thank you Mr. Flatswalker. Putting this cloth on was easier than the side but it still took some manipulation to get it flat. I again cut a four inch overlap and then slowly worked the cloth so that it laid flat on the sides. I had to cut it in a few spots get it to lay flat but it did. I think the added bonus of doing the bottom cloth last was that it over lapped every other cloth and tape so it was easier make it smooth and I only had one seem line on the sides to worry about. The cloth was well saturated and I left it to set up.
I’ve been told that the trick with adding another layer of epoxy is that you want to let it set up, which means that it becomes tacky to the touch. If you apply the other layers of epoxy to this tacky layer then the two bond. If you wait for the layer to dry completely you have to sand it down so that the new layer bonds. I didn’t want to do this which is why I took an extra day this week. I know that I’m going to sand this down and try and make it nice and flat, but I also have to sand it down so that I can apply the epoxy primer so that it will hold the paint.
I was also able to apply the keel which is just a sixteen foot of pine that I cut down to two inches wide. My father and I went to a friend’s workshop to do this. We can cut them in my dad’s workshop because the boat is in the way and wet. My friend’s workshop can cut a sixteen foot board if you open up the windows and remove the screen. We cut the keel and cut the boards for the sides that we will apply next week. The keel was epoxied and screwed to the bottom. It took a little work to get it in the middle and I’m not completely happy with the front since it looks a little off to me. Maybe that’s me being picky or me being rightly concerned we will have to find when I get in the water. It not off by much and the spot that is off is at the front so most of the time it will be out of the water.
My father always wants to keep the screws in stuff but I don’t. Even though they are stainless I still don’t want to mess with them working their way out. With that in mind I took them out of the keel but when I came back later the front of the keel had come loose and so I had to reglue it and use a ratchet strap to get down in place for me to screw it in again. I have decided to leave the three screws in this area on the wood. So I guess this are my Dad wins.
I did question whether or not to use pine on this boat. I really wanted to use white oak but you can’t get a piece sixteen foot long and it’s not quite as pliable as the pine. So I will just apply some epoxy to harden it up a bit. Plus the reason my friend used pine on his keel is that he expects to replace it and he knows that he can plain down pine a lot easier than oak. Next week Ill sand this all down flip it and apply the gunnel strips to the outside.