A sticky situation

Of all the tasks associated with the stitch and glue construction method the one I like least is the glueing.  Invariably I get epoxy on all the parts that I shouldn’t and fail to get it on the places where I should.  I know from bitter experience that I can only do a little at a time and the time spent correcting errors and tidying up is far greater than the actual construction. I have to keep reminding myself that completing the cutting and stitching probably represents less than 20% of the time to complete the boat and that the fun is just beginning. Just because it is starting to look like a boat doesn’t mean it is a boat.

I prefer to do a little at a time and yesterday and today made some progress.  Because the boat is currently bisected by the temporary mid-bulkhead  I decided to work on the stern half and then move to the bow later. I began with tacking the first four planks together  and also securing the transom. I allowed that part to dry and then snipped the cable ties and filled the drill holes and gaps in the tie locations.  At the same time I did the tacking to the next two planks.  The next time I work on the boat I will do the tacking on the top two planks and cut the ties and undertake the more finished application of epoxy on the mid planks. I can then start the process on the bow section. Because I had a couple of instances of serious saw wander I had to make some fillets to fill large gaps between the planks. I was using popsicle sticks to mix the epoxy and simply jammed them into the gaps.  They will plane down quite nicely and it avoids having to completely fill the gaps with thickened epoxy.

As usual it is taking a little while for me to remember all the problems with epoxy but here are a few I have encountered so far.

  • epoxy too thin so that it dribbles out of the cracks and unto the floor
  • epoxy heats up and cures too quickly
  • epoxy too thick and so it doesn’t penetrate between the planks but sits as a lump on top
  • epoxy jumps unto my clothes
  • forgot to put gloves on and spend the evening chipping epoxy off fingernails
  • stirring sticks epoxied to workbench
  • sawdust mixes with epoxy and creates a rough surface
  • running out of epoxy and/or hardener in the middle of a batch

Still….some progress was made and next weekend is a long one for me so that I may be able to get a lot done over four days.

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