Work continues on the boat, and I am happy with the progress I have made over the last month. The keel has been fitted, and there’s been sanding – lots of sanding, and it is all being done with a sanding block! I’ve spent a fair part of my time on the boat this month sanding the hull (music in the garage is a great help), and once I was happy with that, I applied three coats of epoxy. I was fortunate to have a warm weekend to do this. The first coat was rolled and brushed on the first day, and the second and third coats were applied on the second day. By not delaying more than 24 hours between coats I didn’t need to sand before adding more epoxy. Using a roller, and tipping out with a brush, resulted in a good finish. Less pleasing was variation in colour of the ply where I had sanded through one layer to another at the scarfed joints, around the lands at the bow, and where screws had been used to pull planks together. This wasn’t so noticeable when it was sanded, but coating the ply with epoxy has highlighted these flaws.
I was thinking about leaving the hull clear, but I am now reconsidering this. Amelia and Kirsty still think that it would look better clear, and I suppose there is an honesty in leaving these visible. I’ve got a while to go before I get to finishes, so I have plenty of time to ponder… This month I also built the centreboard. This was made from strips of Hoop Pine, with the grain of each strip alternated, to help reduce any warping. Before planing and sanding the keel into a foil, I used a router to cut a channel around the edge, and glued in an epoxy-soaked length of rope. This is stronger than timber, and will help protect the centreboard edge from damage.
I’ve applied four coats of epoxy to the centreboard, with some additional sanding along the way.
Yesterday I removed the temporary bulkheads, and we turned the boat over. Fortunately, the hull is quite light, and two people can easily lift it, and turning the hull over with Kirsty, Amelia, and Will was a breeze. Now I can get to work on the inside the hull, starting with removing the top sections of the bulkheads, down to the seat level. As the bulkheads are also used as the frame that the hull is built around, the permanent bulkheads have pieces that now have to be removed.
I am building this as an open boat, so I also removed the forward bulkhead, and will now cut pieces to extend the buoyancy chambers further forward.
There is a bit of work to do in cleaning up small chunks of epoxy along the laps, but not too much. When I added each plank I went under the hull and cleaned up as much of the squeezeout as possible, so it is only where the temporary bulkheads and some clamps got in the way that needs much attention.
So, once the epoxy clean-up is done, it’s back to sanding inside the buoyancy chambers, and then on shaping and fitting the ply for the seats.