Seam filling and filling and filling

Even with the best of sawing (and mine is not of the best) tack and tape construction means a lot of seam filling.  With the curvature of the hull, even if the planks  butt perfectly, there are openings of the outer parts of the seams which must be filled and faired.  That seems to be a never-ending task. I invariably fail to make the epoxy thick enough and when I return to the task after overnight hardening I find that the epoxy has oozed out of the seam and I have to sand it down and re-fill the void.  I also am also finding that the almost three hundred holes drilled for the cable ties to stitch the planks together also have to be “topped up”  to give a flat surface.

I  have added a strip of fibreglass tape to the outside of the three bottom seams to help armour the bottom where it is most likely to be dragged up on sand or rocks.  I am not sure that extra tape is need on all other seams because they are all  well-taped on the inside.  The skeg and a couple of sacrificial rubbing strips on the bottom of the boat  will help it to track as well as provide protection for the hull.

The plan calls for a 1″ fir skeg. Well, I don’t happen to have a piece of 1″fir handy but I do have a number of 3/8″  off-cuts left over from the plank sheet of plywood and I have laminated three of these to give me a 9/8″ plank which is already curved pretty close to the shape of the hull and will need little trimming. Of course, waiting for the epoxy to dry overnight will add another day to the construction timetable.

Another task which I have waited to complete was the insertion of the knees at the bow and stern transoms. Now that I have added fibreglass tape to both the inner and outer transom seams  this can be finished. This will add to the stiffness of the hull prevent flex.   Next up will be to finally insert the bow and stern seats. I have been holding off on this task because I am pondering the merits of adding watertight buoyancy chambers under the seats.  Some additional work but it will pay off if the dinghy gets swamped.

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