Monday, July 2, 2012

Phase 2 done...flipping with joy!

Tonight was an exciting night! But, first things first. We have a lot of catching up to do!

It has been a long time since my last post, my apologies. The truth is, I have been super busy with work and the weather has been just awful. No excuse really, but it does sap ones motivation. Still, slow progress has been made so let's begin with the first of a lot of photos showing what has been happening.

As you may recall from the last post, I had planned on using a router and a flush trim bit to trim the bottom panel to the side panel's fair curve. I discovered that the side panels were much too flexible at this stage to support the router bit enough to make a clean cut so, it is back to the trusty hand tools! I cut the bottom panel as close as possible with my jigsaw and then trimmed it flush with a selection of hand planes held vertically. This was a TON of work but produced a nice edge as you can see in the following two pictures.

Swinging a jointer plane side to side along 32 feet of boat edging is unbelievably exhausting!

I then rounded the chine over with sandpaper to make a soft curve that the fiberglass tape could easily mold over. At this point, we are ready for glassing! Below you will see the boat prepped and ready, with a light line drawn on as a reference for how far down to run the epoxy wet out.

As with so many steps on this boat, this is my first time using epoxy and fiberglass together. I can't say that it was a fun experience, I hate working with epoxy. Nasty stuff and not good for you, avoid any and all contact with it! This was another significant learning opportunity and I made huge mistakes here by not following the manufacturer's directions closer and having limited time. The first lesson I learned is evident in the two following pictures and you can see it in the distinct white line on each side of the glass tape. That is a seam that holds the stitch of the tape together and should be cut off before the tape is applied, or after, but definitely before the epoxy cures. That, and you must make sure you apply all coatings necessary to fill the weave before the epoxy fully cures. You guessed it...I ran out of time and had to let it cure.

The horrible white line is very evident in this picture below.

The result of my two mistakes here was the need to do a MASSIVE amount of sanding to fair the epoxy into the plywood. My third mistake was not covering myself from head to toe in a tyvek suit to keep the dust off. I wore an air filter and glasses but I was literally covered in epoxy dust. That is a big mistake that I will NOT make again. 
I guess the unfortunate necessary steps produced the result I needed though and the epoxy was eventually faired out. A rough sanding and a thorough washing removed the amine blush and dust and prepared the surface for the subsequent coats necessary to fill the weave of the fiberglass cloth and build up the thickness of the epoxy enough so it can be sanded smooth to proved a good surface to paint.

In the photo below I have applied a couple more coats of epoxy to the seams to fill the glass weave, and tipped the coats out thinner and thinner as it moves away from the edge.

The epoxy coating is now thick enough to sand smooth without affecting the glass below.

While waiting for these epoxy steps to finalize I had the opportunity to continue my scarf practice and I think I am getting the hang of it, if I say so myself. These are good scarfs! These sheets will be the upper reinforcement planks for the Duck Punt's sides.

Below the scarfed together planks are stacked, marked out, and cut to shape, then faired with those ever so useful hand planes.

Finally for the exciting part! At this point it was time for the satisfying step of lifting the boat off of the jig and flipping it right side up. This is a big step because it allows the boat builder their first opportunity to see the rough shape of the boat and start imagining how it will look when finished. One has to control ones desire to jump in the boat at this point to "see how it feels."

Weird how night time lighting makes things look blue from certain angles...

I am really excited!

So, I consider this to be the end of phase two. Phase one was building the jig and installing and leveling the station molds. Next will be glassing the inside seams and framing the interior. 

I am starting to think I may actually finish this thing. Duck Punt! Duck Punt!


  1. Coming along well Rusty. Glad to see you have mastered the fiberglass process. It gets easier knowing what not to do. Experience gives you the confidence as you have demonstrated with you plank scarfs. When I built my Duck Punt I made measurements from various points along the hull to determine the correct line for the shear. I ended up trimming about two inches out of the midsections of the hull to achieve the correct shear curve. You may have already cut to perfection prior to assembly and will not have this issue but its worth a check before starting your gunwale.

    1. Thanks, Stan. I had planned from the start to mark out and cut the shear after the side planks are attached. I will do that before attaching the gunwales. Fiberglass and epoxy...ugh.