Monday, September 9, 2013

More fairing on the Utility. This time, the transom.

Warm greetings from Barnacle Mike’s crowded little boat shop. You know, one of the great things about the boatbuilding community is the fact that you meet some really cool people, both online and in person. The level of support and insight that you get from more experienced builders who kindly share their knowledge and give advice can truly help a newbie keep pushing his or her project forward. I’m very thankful for that.

An online boatbuilding friend, who has also been kind enough to follow my blog, sent me an e-mail the other day asking about the status of the Utility. It does seem like I’ve been paying a bit much attention to the Zip project lately. Truth is, I have still been slowly, slowly... s-l-o-w-l-y... fairing away at the Utility all the while. Still, his inquiry about its status gave me a little more motivation to get off my “transom” and put more elbow grease into getting the little boat past the fairing stage. (Thank you, Paul!)

So, that’s just what I did Saturday, fairing away at the transom sides until they were finished. The starboard side had a bit more excess material than the port side. So, I roughed it in with the belt sander, then worked it the rest of the way down with the mouse sander. Unfortunately, I did not follow the “best practice” of checking my work frequently with my test piece of plywood. (I thought the transom sides would be a no-brainer. I was wrong.) When I tested my “finished” work with the plywood, expecting to feel a broad smile cross my face as I witnessed my handiwork, I was disappointed to see several gaps appear. The culprit was an overly sharp bevel in a couple of spots. More gaps to fill with thickened epoxy. I’m getting pretty good at that, if I do say so myself.

Needless to say,  I was more cautious with the port side. I also went about it a little differently. This time, I started by carrying the line of the sheer and chine through the transom material first. Then, I “connected” the two spots by fairing the area in-between. This time I alternated between the mouse sander and a small block plane. I worked slowly and purposefully.

The results were much, much better.

I do still have a good bit more fairing to do, primarily in the mid-section of the boat. I also have to make a decision about the chines in that area, (more on that later). I could’ve worked on all this Sunday. However, yours truly decided he needed some time on the water. So, I spent the day canoeing. I’m sure you understand.

By the way, I met another boatbuilder out on the river. He was piloting a very nice-looking red drift boat upriver. It looked about 16’ long. The handsome-looking boat glided smoothly through the water, pushed by a silent electric trolling motor. He proudly said “yes” when I asked if he’d built it himself. He had some very nice things to say about Don Hill’s drift boat plans before we each went our separate ways. 

Yep. You’ve gotta love the boatbuilding community.

Starboard transom-chine joint after fairing.

Starboard transom-chine joint after fairing.
Starboard transom-chine joint after fairing

Starboard transom-sheer joint after fairing. As you can see, I've got a heck of a gap in that "Marine-Grade" plywood that I'm going to have to fill.

Port transom-chine joint before fairing.

Port transom-chine joint before fairing.
Port transom-chine joint after fairing.

Port transom-sheer joint before fairing. Notice all that epoxy thickened with #2 silica?

Port transom-sheer joint after fairing. I still have some thickened epoxy to file away.

1 comment:

  1. I know only too well the thought of working something, positive that you have it right, only to find out afterwards that you don't, or the work is not as you hoped it would be.

    This boat building process is a continuous lesson in humility. Still, the beauty of working with wood is that we have the ability to recover from our mistakes.

    The utility is coming along nicely.