With the interior substantially complete and painted (although not without frustrations including a marked unwillingness of the paint to dry and my not being too pleased with the colour) it was time to turn the boat right side up and start the exterior finish. With the first coat of primer or pre-coat as seen in the photos in this posting the usual crop of defects not previously noted are now glaringly apparent. I can’t even begin to approach the last few bits of fairing and sanding until the paint is completely dry lest the sander become completely clogged. Ergo day of rest.
A lot has come together in the last day or so. Most of the egregious bumps and holes and spatters of epoxy have been sanded to a low-level of irritation and have been rendered less noticeable with several coats of primer paint (left-over house paint). Because I am slapping on the paint at this time I have used those cheap foam disposable brushes and you certainly get what you pay for. Each one is good for about one coat before it starts leaving little bits of foam all through the finish and has to be disposed of.
I have trial fitted the seat but not yet epoxied it in place. The plan suggests a plywood seat well braced beneath but I like the feel of a solid plank. It is a little wider than called for in the plan but I think it will fit me quite nicely. The rower’s seat will probably be the only one but I am considering a stern seat that can be slid in and out when needed and otherwise left ashore.
The bigger job was the sealing down of the compartments by fitting the deck. As can be seen from the number of clamps used the plywood did not take kindly to being wrapped around the curved bulkheads. As I noted earlier the foredeck had to be fabricated from two scrap pieces as I had previously snapped the last large bit of plywood in the shop. I have been generous, to say the least, with the epoxy and have probably marred the finish with a number of screw-holes but I have a fear that when I release the clamps tomorrow the decks will re-assume their natural flat shape with a loud twang.
Next tasks – epoxy the seat in place, a final sanding of the primer coats to remove the residue of foam brush and then the first of the interior painting. I have chosen a nice cream colour which should work well with the sea green of the hull.
Most of the photos of completed Medway Skiffs on the Selway-Fisher webpage don’t show the built as built to the plans. In Paul’s Fisher’s drawings the boat is a single-seater with buoyancy compartments in the bow and stern. Most of the “as built” photos eliminate these and have conventional bow and stern seating. I like the idea of the chambers which not only make the boat unsinkable (so was the Titanic) but can also be used as water-tight storage areas. If I decide I need seating it can be added inboard of the chambers. If I have passengers bringing the weight a little bit forward where there is more beam to the boat should make the balance better without interfering with the rowing.
Now that I am at the point of closing in the chambers I think I have identified the real reason why so many builders opt for the conventional seating. Its damn hard to get the compound curvature of the decks! Of course some of the fault is mine as I have a slightly different angle on the bulkhead than what is in the plans. On the plan the bulkhead slopes forward. In my boat is just off vertical. That makes a big difference. Since I am down to the last of my plywood and don’t want to buy another 4X8 sheet simply to finish the decks I have tried to make do with what is left over thus far in the project as well as bits from other boat building. The stern was a struggle but I managed to get a fit but in the bow I snapped the last piece big enough to cover the space. I then spliced two other pieces together as I did with the hull but managed to snap that joint as well. To reduce the strain I took out my trusty jig-saw and cut down the curve in the bow to make a much flatter deck which finally allowed be to clamp plywood in place without snapping. I have cobbled something together which appears to work but will need a great deal of epoxy and not a few screws to keep the curve in place.
The plans remind me to paint the inside of the chamber before sealing it so they both now sport a layer of my next to best left-over house paint. Another coat tomorrow and then I will close up the chambers with lots of epoxy and screws.