Sunday, May 25, 2014

Completion of dry-fitting starboard bottom.

With the first forward panel dry-fit, and the Raptor staples sanded off the transom, the next tasks ahead of me were:
  1. Decide how to finish the transom.

  2. Fit one of the aft panels.

  3. Drill & screw the remaining holes in the forward panel.
I had originally planned to stain the transom before fiberglassing it. This is mainly because I felt that Meranti had too much of a dull brown look to it. I wanted the bright finish to have a good bit of red. I was having a hard time finding the right type of stain to do what I wanted. I was also beginning to get the idea that staining and finishing plywood is a bit different than staining and finishing solid stock. Another boatbuilder, with far more knowledge about woodworking than I have, convinced me to at least try a large sample swatch of epoxy over some un-stained Meranti to see what I thought. I did, and was happy enough with the result that I decided to abandon the idea of staining it first.

Un-stained Meranti with a layer of SilverTip epoxy.
Un-stained Meranti with a layer of SilverTip epoxy.
Next came fitting one of the aft bottom panels. Compared to the front, this was quick and easy. Since the aft end of the forward panel is so far back on the boat, the aft panels only needed to be 33 inches long. I cut 33 inches off of one of the full-size sheets of plywood, then cut that in half. I used the factory-cut straight edges to align the panel on the keel’s centerline and to butt up against the forward panel. It fit together very well & I started placing screws every 6 inches, just like the forward panel.

Aft starboard bottom panel fitted into position.
With both pieces fit, and the overhanging edges trimmed down considerably, I looked for any humps or hollows along the surface. Fortunately, I did not see any that I could discern with the naked eye. So, I decided not to shim the chine any on this side.

Thankfully, I did not see any visible humps or hollows on this side.
Lastly, I placed all the remaining screws in the forward panel. Now, there are screws located every 3 inches, so I will not have to worry about trying to do that at the same time as I epoxy the panel down permanently.

The next step will be to remove the forward panel and use it as a template to cut the forward port panel.

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