Monday, January 20, 2014

Planking progress stalled by need to encapsulate stem

As January keeps winding on, it seems as though I’ve had a million things to juggle or deal with that keep interfering with my boatbuilding progress.

I am making progress, however.

I’ve gotten the forward starboard plank screwed into position. It is not epoxied on yet, however. The simple reason is the fact that I have not yet encapsulated the stem, which is still bare plywood all the way around. Once the planking is on, it will be very difficult to reach certain parts of the stem in order to coat it with epoxy, (or “encapsulate” it), as protection against moisture. So, I need to encapsulate the stem before I permanently attach the planking.

The forward plank on the starboard side is screwed into position.

Detail view at the stem
In this detail view, you can see the how the added chine strips got blended into the shape of the forward bend in the chine.

Unfortunately, I don’t have on-hand the proper type of epoxy for encapsulation. What I have on-hand is System Three Silvertip Gel Magic. VERY viscous stuff that is great to work with to glue parts together. However, I need something much thinner for encapsulation. I liked the Gel Magic enough that I decided I’d try another System Three product, so I ordered the regular Silvertip epoxy. It should be here early this week.

In the meantime, I have fitted, glued and screwed the butt block into position on the port side of the boat. 

Fitting the butt joint on the port side. Without the butt block in place, the forward plank does not match the curvature of the aft plank.

By comparison, here is the butt joint on the starboard side. The butt block allows the forward planking to match the curvature of the aft planking.

The port side butt block, before being epoxied into place.

The butt block epoxied into position against the aft planking on the port side.

The next step will be to encapsulate the stem & a few other parts with 2 or 3 layers of the Silvertip epoxy. Then, I can permanently attach the starboard planking. After that, the rest of the port side planking.


  1. Looking good Mike,

    I encapsulated all of this as I assembled it. It considerably slowed me down and I watched other's race ahead with assembly. I don't have to worry too much about the structure but the planks and edges of the structure will still need coating.

    However, coating has made for extra work in having to sand it back down in areas that are going to be joined. Also, the epoxy coating sometimes chips when cutting.

    All in all, not really sure what the best approach is here. I was able to keep runs to a minimum which is a definite plus.

    Keep up the good work and I will be watching daily this week . :)

  2. Thank you, Carl!

    It's hard to remember now, but I may have been overly cautious about encapsulating the stem ahead of time, knowing I'd have to cut back through the epoxy coating during the fairing stage.

    In retrospect, I had to cut through a bit of epoxy when fairing some other parts anyway, and it was not a big deal. A belt sander will go right through it in no time. Just remember to use a good quality respirator!