Is it a boat yet?

The last couple of days have been very satisfying.  With the seam filling and sanding there was little real difference from one day’s work to the next.  The boat just didn’t look any different. That has now changed.

The first real accomplishment was adding the skeg to the boat.  This has been a problem with my other boats but this time I made the skeg a little wider and this made it easier to handle.  After laminating and then scribing the skeg to match the curve of the hull I added an additional strip of 3/8″ plywood to the inside of the boat.  The building instructions call for a strip of 3/4″ fir or pine but as I have both the inside and outside of the mid-boat seam backed by fibreglass tape I think it will be enough. I drilled pilot holes, lathered on thickened epoxy and made a temporary brace to hold the skeg in the correct position while I screwed through the hull into the skeg itself with 2″ screws. I then faired the joint and set the whole thing aside to cure.

Next on the list was getting the stern and bow thwarts in place. There is a bit of a challenge because the location is not especially clear on the plan and there are compound curves which mean you can’t just slap a couple of cleats and call it a day.  Shaping with a plane and later with a wood rasp makes for a pretty good fit. With the stern I tried to avoid screwing through the hull and was planning on relying in the holding power of epoxy. I held the cleats in place and then pinned them with finish nails which I later removed.  The seat itself was another change from the plan which calls for a 1″ piece of fir 12″ wide.  Not that easy to find and I didn’t fancy glueing one up from smaller pieces.  I did have some 7/16″ fir plywood in the shop and decided to use it. To add strength I added a 3/4″ X 1″  strip of pine to the front of the seat and had a back cleat against the stern to take the weight.   The first cut, seen here was too short (yes I know – measure twice cut once) I was able to save that piece for the bow and cut another bit for the stern seat. With the difficulty of measuring against a curved surface fitting the seat took a great deal of sanding, planing and rasping before I had a good fit.

The bow seat was a bit easier and I added two strengthening strips underneath to help stiffen the plywood.  Finally I went back and added a  1 1/2″ stiffener to the centre thwart.   The photo shows the clamps still in place waiting for the epoxy to dry.  Note that the wide-angle lens really distorts the size of the bow transom which is considerably smaller than it seems here.

The only real construction left is adding rubbing strips to the hull.  Most of the rest in cosmetic – sanding, fairing, covering screw holes and the like.  That looks like tomorrow and next week’s work.

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