Yesterday after consulting Ian Oughtred’s guidance on whether or not to paint the hull with epoxy before painting. He is adamant that it is not a good idea. So I decided to go straight to priming the hull.
My next resource is the small book by Joni Blanchard “Tricks, Cheating & Chingaderos” a collection of knowledge and tips for varnishing and painting wooden boats.
I liked her suggestion of wiping down with denatured alcohol to try and have the surface as clean and dust free as possible. The only problem is try finding denatured alcohol in Canada. You won’t find it in the paint section of the hardware store. I found it as burning ethanol for garden fireplaces and stoves at Rona called Bio light. Otherwise the other option was marine stove fuel or 99% isopropyl alcohol à the pharmacy. But that only comes in small containers.
I also found a neat little tool to mark the waterline in such a way that it would remain visible under the paint.
It comes from our sewing kit. And leaves a nice little series of small bumps.
I’ve sanded and added low density fairing epoxy filler to the parts that needed it. Then the process of sanding continues. Each time a thin layer of dusts covers the hull everything appears more fair and smooth. This dangerous as I have learned when mudding drywall, what lies beneath needs to be exposed to be sure there aren’t any bumps, holes, bubbles or ripples that would be even more apparent once the paint is applied.
The work has progressed in small increments on the hull. Each step did not really reveal a significant visual transformation that might show up on the camera. But they are small changes that will allow the hull to look great once painted.
I glued up the keel and the stems:
and after a few repeat visits added the keel pieced on either side of the centreboard slot.
Then we got to work sanding and planing down the keel and stems so that they were fair to the eye.
and distracted myself with paint selection ideas:
and put fillets of epoxy mixed with low density fairing filler in all the laps.
I then decided to add a small rub strip of wood on the lower edge of the sheer strake. The idea being that I like the way in helps to frame the sheer strake and that it might also serve a small function as well.
The last step before really getting down to the final preparation for painting is the outer gunwhale.
After a few days spent fitting the stems and trying to get the fit nice and snug, I finally said to myself: good enough any small gaps left will be filled easily by the thickened epoxy.
The bow section of the keel was too stiff to form to the curve of the hull so I ripped it into two strips that fit nicely under the stem in what I hope will be an elegant scarf. I had looked closely at the plans where Ian Oughtred seems to show the outer keel glued on top of the bow stem. But the piece I laminated seemed to be easier to scarf in this way. The length of the glued surface is shorter, but I’m fairly confident the joint will be plenty strong.
The stern stem was a similar decision, however I did not have to rip the keel into two strips.
So switching up the tasks from laying the strakes is a big shift and the boat is really feeling substantial under my hands now. Each action is now in relation to this compound shape and having to add or remove material to fit something new. I have started working on the stems.
Just placing the outer stems on the hull before I had done any preparation just started to transform my conception of the hull further.
I have now started to plane down the faces of the stems to match the curve of the outer stems I had laminated with the inner stems months ago.
I have now also cut the douglas fir stock I had been keeping for the outer keel pieces.
I decided for simplicity’s sake to build the keel in four pieces and glue it together rather than shape one single piece of wood with the centre board slot cut out. This approach should be just as strong and offer much more ease of building.
I have also started to look for materials and hardware that will be needed. most pressing will be more fir for the gunwales which I still have in stock. Early in the process I bought rough dimensional 2×4 fir from Dicks lumber that was still green. It has now seasoned for several months, I used some for the stem lamination and kept the rest for the outer keel and the gunwales.
So the hardest piece of hardware for me to source in Vancouver so far has been the half oval brass rub strips to go on to protect the keel and stems. Either it is not possible to ship from US based distributors to Canada or shipping from Classic Marine in the UK would be cost prohibitive. I did find Tendercraftboats.ca
who are based in Ontario as a supplier of 1/2″ half oval but not 3/4″ half oval that is necessary. Their catalogue was however very good and I was able to find 6″ long bronze machine screws for the rudder gudgeons that will get through both the outer and inner stems.
I also found that the supply a bronze bow eye that will work well with a 6″ machined bolt. Peter at Tendercraft boats has been very helpful and I am looking forward to my shipment arriving.
For the half oval after some searching I considered UHMW (ultra high molecular weight plastic) which was done by Yeadon on his Hvalsoe 18. I found a quote from Associated Plastics that was almost the same price as what I found from Alaska Copper & Brass who have an office in a suburb of Vancouver for brass half ovals. Going trough their catalogue I was able to find exactly the half oval dimensions I was looking for. Both 3/4″ and 1/2″ in 12′ lengths. I will end up with a little left over which I’m sure I’ll find used for elsewhere on the boat as rub strips or chafe protection.
The last two strakes, are called the sheerstrakes as they mark the sheer line of the boat’s profile. The month of December has been colder than usual and so the progress has been arrested a little as I waited for the weather windows when the temperature is above 5°C or close enough so that the epoxy will set.
I was able to get the starboard sheerstrake glued early in December, but the port Sheerstrake had to wait for the Christmas break.
Starboard strake no. 7
Once the glue set for the port side I was able to declare the hull complete. Tradition has it that the occasion is celebrated with with a little whiskey.
Next up is the planing of the bow and stern stems so that I can glue the outer stem pieces I made earlier.
Boat building for me is a meditative process where the time spent constructing is oriented towards a goal of creating a vessel that will float and satisfy as certain aesthetic aspiration of elegant form. The ends and the process are both motivations in their own right.
For Halloween yesterday I met up with several friends with children who had organized to give me a belated birthday gift.
It may not be evident right away but this is the port city of Douarnenez’ stylized type of the port of call letters “DZ” that you will find on the bow of fish boats boats next to their registration number. It is these little things that keep the process and enthusiasm going when I sometimes struggle to find the free time to make significant progress in the construction.
Today I started on the beveling of the landing for the sixth strakes. Before starting I laid them up in place to see how they landed and mark where I’ll cut the gains on the ends. It also feels good to get a preview of what it will look like.
I was able to include my children with the removal of the clamps after it was glued up and they participated in roughing in the seventh strake on the starboard side.
I’ll close this post with a little video of my daughter helping me with the removal of the clamps.
I’ve squeezed in a few visits at the end of August and early September to be able to glue up the fifth strakes.
Last night I came with my little accomplice to check on the set of the epoxy and remove the clamps.
We pulled out the sixth strakes and just clamped them on before doing any bevelling to see how they landed. They seem to look quite fair and they really complete the turn of the bilges so that the boat’s form is really taking shape.
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