Sealing the interior …and starting the floors

Sealing the Interior

Now that the boat has been turned over, the first step is to mark the location of all the stations, both on the keelson and at the sheer.  Most of the components on the boat are located with respect to so-many inches ahead or aft of the stations, so it’s convenient to mark their location before removing the molds.  On the sheer, I used a piece of masking tape and marked the outwale.  The floors will be installed shortly, and those are conveniently located either immediately fore or aft of the stations, so their location is marked on the keelson.

Before removing the molds, I installed two braces running from beam to beam to help the boat keep it’s shape after the molds were removed. The two braces were located at the rowlock locations.  A small cleat was screwed to the interior of the sheer at each rowlock, then the beam was screwed to the cleats.

Now it’s time to clean up all the glue blobs in the hull.  If you were very neat and wiped any excess epoxy from the interior of the hull as you were planking it, this shouldn’t be too much of a chore.  If you were not so neat, well, this is not going to be fun.  I made a good effort to clean up excess epoxy as I was planking, but I was surprised at how many glue blobs were still remaining.  The larger blobs can be removed with a heat gun and a good scraper.  The smaller bits of epoxy will require sandpaper and lots of elbow grease; the strakes are generally too narrow to use power sanders.  I worked for an hour or so on weekday evenings with the heat gun, and by the time the weekend rolled around, I had about half the boat cleaned.  A hard day Saturday got the rest of the boat cleaned and sanded, and the first coat of Clear Coat sealer applied.  I slept good that night.  Sunday saw a light sanding of the hull and the second coat of sealer.  Applying the sealer stained the strakes a darker color, and while I don’t mind the color, I’m not fond of the whitish streaking that appeared on some of the strakes.  Because of this streaking, I’m undecided about whether to varnish the inside of the hull or paint it.

2017 04 30 The hull with two coats of sealer applied. Note the cross brace to help the hull keep it’s shape; small pieces of tape also mark the station locations.


Making the Floors, Part 1

In yet another example of boat builders trying to confuse the heck out of carpenters, the floors are not what you stand on.  Floors are structural members that run athwartship (side to side, across the keelson), and have the purpose of strengthening the bottom of the hull.  Somewhat later in the build, floorboards will be attached to the top surfaces of the floors; these are what you stand on.

Floors are required at Stations 2 through 7.  The floors at Stations 4 and 5 are each bisected by the centerboard case, but we’ll go ahead and make the patterns now.  The remaining floors will be made and installed.  Installing the floors means leaning way over and working in the bottom of the boat, so I want to go ahead and get that over with.  Half-templates for the floors are given on the plans, but I don’t want to mess up the plans trying to trace the templates onto the pattern stock, so I traced the templates instead onto the mylar sheets that I had previously used to loft the molds.

2017 05 06 Tracing the floor templates onto the mylar.

My ability to draw, or even trace, a smooth curve is somewhat marginal at best.  My ability to cut a smooth curve is even less, so I’m going to use patterns to help me out.  The pattern stock is offcuts from the planking.  The offcuts were too small to use for planking but too big to simply throw away.  A centerline was drawn on the pattern stock, the mylar tacked in place, and an awl used to mark points along the template.  Then flip the mylar over and mark points on the other side.  A flexible batten, held in place with small nails, followed the holes made by the awl and insured a nice smooth curve.  This was the same method I used to make the molds (that was two years ago – sheesh, this project is taking a long time!).

2017 05 06 Using a flexible batten to lay out the floor pattern.
2017 05 06 A completed floor pattern.

The plans call for the floors to be 1-1/8″ thick.  Ordinarily, that should be fairly simple – buy some nominal 2x stock, which is actually 1-1/2″ thick, and run through the thickness planer to 1-1/8″.  But the douglas fir I’m using is only available in nominal 1x dimensions, which is 3/4″ thick.  So I’ll plane that down to 9/16″ and laminate two pieces together to come up with the required 1-1/8″ thickness.

Cut out and sand the pattern smooth, and use it to trace the outline of the floor on the douglas fir.  Cut the floor oversize, then tack the pattern to the floor and use a router with a flush-trimming bit to trim the floor to final shape.  Be careful when trimming the outboard ends of the floors, and be mindful of the grain direction.  The outboard end is narrow, and if not careful with the router, it’s easy to chip off the end of the floor.  Don’t ask me how I know this.

2017 05 06 Floor patterns in their approximate position.
2017 05 07 Pattern tacked to the floor, about to be trimmed with the router.

After one of each of the floors has been routed to shape, epoxy the second oversize piece onto it; when the epoxy dries use the router again with the bushing on the bit following the first piece that was trimmed.

2017 05 07 Floor assembly epoxied together; ready for final shaping.


One thought on “Sealing the interior …and starting the floors”

  1. Hey,,,, boy you are wearing me down !…. and she’s looking really good… Joulie Mouino is still on the lift. I’m trying to get caught up enough to get Wayne out on the Lake. When you coming to Striker ?


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