September 2012 – Who knows how long this will take. In any case, you have to begin, so the first thing is a solid strongback or frame to hold the boat pieces while they are being bonded together. I built the strongback and also the framework around it which will support the hoop house to protect the boat while it is being made using treated 4×4’s. The 2×12 rails of the strongback are attached to 4×4’s buried 18″ in cement. This strongback will support the entire hull of the boat eventually, and must be absolutely rigid.
Outer frame is for hoop house, inner structure is the strongback
The outside frame is for the hoops which will support the “roof.”
Roof supports are 3/4 inch PVC 20 foot long spaced 2 feet apart
Hoops and ends go on attached to the 2×6 frame with conduit hangers. It is really very fast and easy once the holes and posts are in.
Funky, but cheap, also free heat if the sun is out. And, during the day, plenty of light!
Completed hoop house. 60 feet long, 12 feet wide. Cost about $600 as I had the 4×4 posts from an old pole building and the plywood lying around. In winter, if the sun is out, it is about 15 degrees F warmer than outside, so 40 outside = 55 – 60 inside. In summer, I roll up the poly on the sides and run box fans inside.
Scarfing the Douglas fir longitudinals
This photo above shows not only the longitudinals being scarfed, but the framework of the hull going into place. There is the strongback with posts cemented into the ground and 26 feet of 2×12’s on either side screwed to these posts. They are also cross braced. Attached to these two rails of the strongback are 2×4’s screwed on vertically at precise distances, the measurements given in Reuel’s instructions. These 2×4’s hold the bulkheads, all with the waterlines drawn in pencil on them and level, and adjusted to the exact same height above the strongback from end to end. You can see the vertical center lines drawn on each bulkhead, which are also lined up exactly.
There are seven bulkheads. (Later there will be an eighth) These were lofted full size, half inch plywood, from Reuel’s spec sheet, and notches cut in each of them for the chine logs to fit in. The six bulkheads along with the chine logs, the plank keel and the sheer clamps form the basis of the boats structure. Here are Reuel’s instructions, just so you understand: “After lofting the bulkheads full size on ½” plywood, subtract the planking thicknesses (¾” bottom; ½” sides; ½” deck; 5/16” coachroof) and draw in the location of the plank keel (keelson), chine logs and sheer clamps (all referred to as longitudinals). (When lofting, make the bottom slightly convex giving more strength, not straight, by lowering the center where plank keel goes about half an inch below where a straight line would be) Locate the sheer clamps right at the sheer. Mark centerlines and waterlines on both sides of all bulkheads. Bulkheads #1, #2, #6 and #7 are cut out in one piece; bulkheads #3, #4 and #5 are made in halves.
The photo shows the scarfing of the “longitudinals” which are to be attached to the upright bulkheads mounted on the strongback. These longitudinals are what the sides – “topsides” – are attached to, and the bottom of the hull also.
Scarf joints of the chine logs below, unfortunately, the sheer clamp joints, above, aren’t showing
Scarfing jig for longitudinals, the 2×10 plank keel is being scarfed
Using this scarfing jig is a very precise way to scarf. The longitudinals are 2 x 4’s (chine logs) or 1 x 4’s (sheer clamps) or 2 x 10’s (plank keel), 12-16 feet long joined lengthwise with epoxy to make single-piece boards about 33 feet long. These pieces are then attached from stem to stern along the bulkheads and to the inner stem and stern. This forms the framework for the boat.
Preparing to join plank keel, chine logs and inner stem
Longitudinal chines and plank keel are clamped to the upright bulkheads in this photo above. Somehow, these must all be cut to fit and joined to the inner stem and stern posts at each end which are just pieces of treated wood which look like fence posts. It takes some figuring.
Completed connection of keel plank, ,chine logs and inner stem
Here above, the log chines are screwed and epoxied to the plank keel and the inner stem (treated pine, 6 x 6). It took some doing. I practiced about four times with spare 2 x 4’s on each end to get the jist of it before I tried it on the 32 foot long piece of scarfed Douglas fir actually clamped to the bulkheads. The screws into the inner stem are special deck screws, 5 inches long.
Preparing the breasthook
The breasthook and inner stem connection will be at the bow-deck connection, it’s upside down presently, as it is being built with the hull bottom-up.
All glued and screwed, waxed paper underneath.
Bow, sheer clamp, and breast hook connection fitted and joined. Lots of epoxy and a few screws.
Basic skeleton of the boat
Here you see the basic framework of boat. Looking at inner stem, the bow end. Some details follow.
Stern knee, pointed as is the bow, double ender
Stern knee again
Details of the stern knee above. More epoxy and long screws, six, if I remember correctly.
Scarfing two half inch ply pieces for topsides
October 2012, been working on this for a month. Part time. Once the framework of bulkheads, longitudinals and inner stem and stern are all joined, the topsides can be attached to this framework. The topsides are half inch plywood, screwed and epoxied to the chine logs and sheer clamps, and scarfed one to the next, eight foot pieces, one after the other. Above is a photo of two scarfed half-inch marine plywood 4 x 8 sheets, ready to glue to the frame, from sheer clamps to chines. Many ways to skin a cat, I used a Makita 8 inch sander with 36 or 40 grit to finish this after getting it tapered roughly planing with a power plane. The joint lines of the layers of plywood are a great help in judging how much to take off so as to have an even taper.
Each sheet had to be fitted, marked and then scarfed to fit in place so the scarf joint is a good fit; one after the next. Once each piece was ready at both ends with the scarfs fitting well, it had to be epoxied in place; that is held tightly in place while the epoxy set up. The top and bottom could be screwed easily into the chine logs and sheer clamps to be held in place while hardening. To get the vertical joint where the scarfs overlap, I used two 2 x 4’s, one on each side (waxed paper underneath) clamped at top and bottom and screwed together through the plywood where the clamps wouldn’t reach.
I’ll digress here about screws. I have tried a few types, star drive stainless deck construction, coated deck screws, silicon bronze screws, drywall screws, and a few others. To screw together the 2×4’s on the two sides of the panels, I found that 4 inch deck screws worked OK, but you have to be careful the near side 2×4 doesn’t rise away from the panel it is up against. It helps to drill it out first so it doesn’t “hold” away from the plywood you are “clamping.”.
GripRite – Lowes, Home Depot…
Generally I found these construction stainless to be useful, and almost always removed them after the epoxy hardened. I used these gluing the two layers of the bottom together, on the sides attaching sides to the chine logs and sheer clamps, and on the deck attaching it to the deck beams, and so on.
I tried the silicon bronze screws for various applications, but found that the drive didn’t drive them very well unless the hole was almost completely pre-drilled. Also, they have less pulling strength than the star drive stainless screws. They are very beautiful and don’t oxidize, so if you have or want to leave them in, they are a good choice.
Screw Products Silver Star Screw
The screws I found the be the most useful by far are some sold by Screw Products. You can see from the image above that they have a long un-threaded portion near the head which keeps them from holding the piece you are attaching away from the beam or chine log or other piece of plywood you are attaching to. This is very helpful! Also, they enter into the wood you are attaching very smoothly, and don’t tend to ride up initially as the other screws do, often misaligning the piece you are attempting to attach somewhat.
Attaching the topside pieces
Above you can see the outside 2×4 “clamp” which is screwed (with 4 inch deck screws) to an interior one, pulling the two scarfed pieces of plywood together very tightly.
The last topside piece is about to be to be attached next
Above is the last space where last piece of topsides will be put. Once these are all attache, the hull is noticeably more rigid. I overlapped all of the pieces along the edges, then trimmed them off later.
Last topside piece is attached. Note plenty of screw holes.
Above, the last piece of topsides have been attached. Now for the bottom!
The bottom is two layers of 3/8 inch ply, placed diagonally joined with plenty of epoxy.
Double layer bottom is slightly bowed, per Reuel’s instructions, so as to give it extra strength.
Last piece of bottom going on, at the stern end
13 Jan 2013 – On goes the last piece of the bottom. Note black looking epoxy, fast hardening for the cool weather in January. Actually, inside the greenhouse on a sunny day it can get into the 60’s when it is in the 40’s outside. Free heat!
Topsides and bottom installed
Topsides & bottom on, the outer stem will cover topside edges & inner stem where you can see the green of the treated inner stem. The outer stem is Douglas fir.
Wale plank, 1/2 inch plywood, being epoxied to the “top” edge of the topsides.
In this photo, you can see that the outer stem has been placed over inner stem and now the port side wale plank is being glued. I could have used 1×6 Douglas fir for the wale plank, but the half inch plywood was cheaper and lighter.
Xynole cloth being applied
Wale planks are attached and filleted here, and the Xynole or Dynel polyester cloth is being laid on. I used a few monel staples to hold the cloth in place. The bottom ended up with two layers of cloth overlapping the chines about 4 inches with the topsides having one layer overlapping the chines about 4 inches. So the chines, and the stem have three layers of cloth. It takes a lot of epoxy to soak the cloth on properly.
Hull with cloth applied
April 2013 – The entire hull is covered with cloth, two layers on the bottom and three layers at the chines. I put a few monel staples at each end to hold the cloth in place. Concave curves in the surface are a problem as the cloth doesn’t stick to the wood well. Then it was coated with clear (no thixogens) epoxy. It took fifteen gallons for the first coat. You have to really press it hard to saturate into the wood. A few places where there were concave curves had to be ground out and re-clothed and re-coated. No big deal, there were only about four places, and most were the size of a grape or an apple. Two were the size of a banana.
After the first coat of clear epoxy, it is mostly like auto body work or drywall work, put on epoxy mixed with thixogens with a ten-inch drywall knife, fair it and sand it and put on more and do it again until it looks pretty good. I found talc to be the most economical “thixogen” and ended up using about 30 pounds of it mixed in with the epoxy. Sanding, re-coating and more sanding… Three or four coats of thickened epoxy were put over the first clear coat with the drywall knife, sanding and fairing each time. Until it looked like this above. Next, primer.
Two coats of Algrip 545 primer covered it well, an hour or so apart. Then, more sanding with a 6 inch air sander and 150 grit paper to smooth it out, then getting the area where the topsides and boot stripe will be really smooth with 220 – 320 grit. The 6 inch air palm sander was very good at this.
Water level for taping boot stripe
I used a bucket and a twenty-five foot clear hose to draw the water line and boot top on the hull. Reuel suggests putting the painted water line three inches above the actual water line, so I did that. Here it is ready for the boot top to be sprayed on.
Taped for spraying the boot stripe on
The basic hull is completed, and the next phase is to build the rest of the boat. To do this, it needs to be right side up, so I built a frame to roll it over.
Meanwhile, we seem to always get a big snowstorm in March here in Virginia, and I learned how to prepare a hoop house for snow when the snow came.
March 7, 2013 snow storm
After digging out the boat and putting the hoop house back together, I went to Lowes and bought a good shop heater so next time, I could melt the snow as it came down.
Just need a dry day during the week for the crane to get in and out. It has been raining all the time, so, we are still waiting.
Ready for the crane
Ready to roll! After a week of rain, on the 28th of May 2013, we take a chance on scheduling the crane to help with the roll-over. The worry is that the crane may not be able to get back out, up the steep hill after completing the job. Here follow a few photos of the rolling over process. We used two small 12 volt winches attached to a couple of trees to pull and belay the hull as it is rolled over. We had dug a hole for the bow so it wouldn’t touch the ground.
Carlos, hooking on the boat
Carlos, who works at out restaurant, Beer Run, is seen here hooking up the first frame to the spreader bar held by the crane.
Attaching straps to roll boat. Note hole in ground for bow.
Half way, the crux
Half way there, the most scary part as we have to keep it from flopping over and breaking itself.
Right side up
We let it down gently. And the crane operator put it back up on the strongback where it will be under the greenhouse again.
Crane, almost made it up the hill on the first try. He backed down, we put about six inches of wood chips on the tracks and then out he went on the next try!