Thursday, July 1, 2010

Manual labor

This session I was able deal with the gaps between the forward support and the hull and the other somewhat more worrisome gaps in the stern stem. Both of these were solved with wood dust thickened epoxy. First I tacked all the supports to the hull, let the epoxy cure and then was able to remove the copper support stitches. I then filled the gaps and the stitch drill holes.

I laid a 3/4" fillet of thickened epoxy on the inside of both stems, covered the fillet with 3" wide fiber glass cloth and allowed it to cure for 48 hours (because we still don't have 24 hours of continuous 74 degrees even though it's almost July). Waiting for the cure is the most frustrating aspect of this project, so far.
After curing I could remove the last of the copper stitches (a milestone) from the stems and, hallelujah, they didn't spring apart on me! Next I rasped and planed until I had a one inch flat spot the entire length of both stems, about 3 hours worth. This was my introduction to the more physical aspects of boat building.
Cleaning up the hull is next. I found that cabinet scrapers, which I've never used before, are great for removing unwanted epoxy without the noise and vibration of a random orbital sander, but you have to re-install the bur on the edge of the scraper about every 5 minutes. I think this tool will really come in handy for smoothing out the several coats of epoxy on the hull.

For rounding chines and general smoothing, though, the sander is indispensable. I also used my rabbet plane for cleaning up the laps between the planks.

Another issue that has been bugging me was the fact that two of the planks arrived from the factory with broken half puzzle joints. I was assured by the CLC help line that since I planned on painting the hull I could, again, solve this issue with thickened epoxy. And they were right, I did. Cured epoxy can be formed to a shape and then rasped or planed just like wood.
After the equivalent of 14 hours over three days, covered from head to foot in sawdust and with more than a few muscles sore, I'm generally satisfied that the hull is ready for fiber glassing, which will happen in the next session.