After all, one of the main reasons I'm writing this blog in the first place is to hopefully be of assistance to the first-time, amateur boatbuilder. I want to help those who, like me the first time around, may have little to no experience at woodworking or even with boats.
To that end, I'm happy to share the mistakes I've made and the lessons I've learned along the way. I'm certainly not a professional boatbuilder, and therefore I'm not trying to "teach" anybody anything. I'm just sharing my experience, in hopes that it will help someone else build their own boat.
In this post, we're putting the first coat of encapsulating epoxy on the aft face of Frame #2. Now, on to the pictures...
|Wrong color of wood filler|
With my Zip build, I am placing a much higher emphasis on the overall fit and finish than I did with the Utility. One of the lessons I rapidly learned is that the wrong color of wood filler sticks out like a sore thumb. The photo above shows DAP Plastic Wood in the "natural" color, used on Meranti plywood. As you can see, it clearly does not match. Not even close. The darker areas are where I used epoxy thickened with mahogany wood dust to fill in the screw indentations. For my purposes, this mix-match doesn't matter in this case, as the plywood gussets will be painted.
|Testing the Elmer's Pro Bond in "walnut"|
Here, I'm trying out Elmer's Pro Bond wood filler in the "walnut" color to see how well it matches the Meranti. Not bad, in my opinion. It's certainly not up to perfectionist standards, but not bad.
Another lesson I learned from my last build is to slightly round over the edges of the wood surfaces. This allows the epoxy to coat the edge more evenly, without building up a "bead" along the edge.
|Wiping the surface with hot water|
I sanded all of the surfaces to be coated with 220 grit sandpaper. Any uneven or rough surface will show all the worse in the finish coat. In addition to meticulous sanding, I also vacuumed the surface multiple times, and then wiped it off with hot water.
Wax paper is indispensable to prevent you from gluing boat parts to your work surface. Yes, I learned this one the hard way.
Here, in preparation for mixing and applying the epoxy, I've gathered all the items I'll need. The little italian ice cups from Luigi's or Lindy's make great mixing containers for small batches of epoxy. A kitchen scale is invaluable for quickly and accurately mixing epoxy. I learned to keep it in a freezer bag to protect it from epoxy drips. Thin foam rollers are ideal for spreading epoxy, and they do a MUCH better job than brushes — especially cheap chip brushes, which leave bristles stuck everywhere in the epoxy. Foam brushes are perfect for getting epoxy into corners. Latex gloves are essential for protecting your skin from epoxy, and I learned to keep a rag handy for wiping up spills, etc. It's not fun to go looking for one in the midst of working.
|First coat of epoxy|
And here, we have the first coat out of three for encapsulating the aft face of Frame #2. As you can see, the mismatched color of wood filler I used on the frame gussets sticks out like a sore thumb.
|Elmer's Pro Bond wood filler in "walnut," used on Meranti marine-grade plywood.|
The Elmer's Pro Bond in "walnut" is certainly a better match. It's not perfect, but not too bad.