Currently browsing Posts Published February 2012

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Sanding More Finger Joints

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Sanding, Tools

So the #2 and #3 panel finger joint epoxy has cured for well over a day now.  It is time to sand again!  <— Notice the exclamation point?  Who knows how long that will last.  Anyways, I really enjoy using the sander.  Maybe all guys do love power tools.

The whole process of sanding these joints was very uneventful.  It was much the same as my last post.  The only different is that there where some rabbets as part of these joints that needed sanding as well.  I did learn that the sander works much better with a new sanding disc. It is not worth sanding away with a spent disc when the things cost less than a dollar each.  I am sure I’ll be changing these things frequently.

When I finished sanding the panels I set up the sawhorses and placed the bottom panel and the #1 panels on them.  It was nice to get these out of my house and into the garage!  The #2 and #3 will lay on the garage floor until they are ready to be stitched into the kit.

Time Spent: 1.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 8.0 Hours

Sanding Finger Joints / Gluing Remaining Panels

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Epoxy, Sanding, Tools

After a minimum of 24 hours curing the bottom and #1 panel joints, it was time to break out the random orbit sander!  I began by removing the weights and the plastic sheeting.  The plastic sheeting is a necessity.  It was easy to peel away and prevented me from gluing things to the wood.  When the joint was exposed I saw just how messy I had been.

I turned on the sander and started working on the joint.  It was surprisingly easy to get through the material.  After a couple minutes I realized, “Wow!  There is a lot of epoxy dust here.”  I almost kicked myself in the head when I realized I hadn’t hooked the shop vac up to the sander.  The ability to attach the sander to a vacuum was one of the reasons I chose this model.

With the vacuum attached, sanding was a pleasure.  I quickly worked through the material and was pleased with the end result.  See the before and after pictures.  Unfortunately, I sanded a little too deep on one of the panels and removed some of the veneer.  To make things worse, this is the interior side of the panel which will most certainly be finished bright.  I guess my boat is already developing some “character.”

When I finished sanding the #1 panels and the bottom panel, I moved them to the hallway in my house.  I had to make room in the garage to glue the #2 and #3 joints.  This should only be temporary, lasting a day or so while the newly glued panels cure.

With that being said, I also glued the number #2 and #3 panels.  This was a total of four joints.  The process was identical to my last post accept these panels have rabbets on the lower edge.  A rabbet is a recess on the interior wall of the panel, on the lower side. It effectively receives the upper edge of the previous panel to create the lapstrake hull.  Because it is important that the rabbets are flush at the joint, I used binder clips to pinch the two panels together at the rabbet, exterior sides together.  This was recommended by the manual and worked quite well.  Remember to place plastic under the clip so as to not glue it to the joint!

Time Spent: 2.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 6.5 Hours

Finished Cutting The Gains

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Tools, Woodworking

I finished cutting the gains on the #2 panels.  This time I used my carpenter’s square as a fence for the rabbet plane.  This was immensely helpful and I found I could work faster.  I probably worked twice as fast as I did on the the #1 panels.  I mentioned in my previous post that I was worried about making my gains deep enough.  I think I “overworried” this time and may have cut one a little too deep.  I guess I will find out what the tolerances are down the road!

Time Spent: 1.0 Hour

Total Time In Build: 4.0 Hours

My First Experience With Epoxy… Finger Joints

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Epoxy

When I got home from work today I saw a box sitting in my driveway.  True to CLC’s word, the replacement epoxy was overnighted.  Having only cut gains on the #1 panels, I knew I had more gains to cut, but was excited to start playing with this stuff.  I read over the manual’s words on epoxy a few times and was confident to get started.

Because marine ply comes in lengths of about 8 feet, pieces must obviously be joined together to form the 15′ panels on the boat.  To do this, CLC produces the panels with a finger joint. These joints look like puzzle pieces.  When the bow and stern sections of a panel are placed together, these finger joints lock into place.  A thickened epoxy is used to essentially glue the pieces together.  Epoxy mixed with a silicone powder called Cab-O-Fill is used to thicken the mixture and ultimately strengthen the joint.

Before I go into detail on my first epoxy job I want to commend MAS Epoxies on their excellent pump system.  Epoxy is really two parts: a resin and a hardener.  The epoxy I have must be mixed at a 2:1 ratio (Resin:Hardener).  To make this process easy the resin pump squirts out twice the amount per stroke as the hardener pump.  This way you always get the proper mix.

So anyways, let me tell you how it went.  I started by mixing up about 4 ounces of the stuff.  Next, I slowly added the Cab-o-Fill to reach the desired “mustard” consistency that the manual calls for.  I was pretty timid and did not realize just how much thickener I would need to add.  It was a lot more than expected!  When the mixture was ready I used a brush to “paint” the epoxy onto the edges of the finger joints where they would contact each other.  I started with the port #1 panel.  Now that the two pieces were properly coated (so were my gloves) it was time to join bow to stern.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  These pieces, while precision cut, fit together TIGHT!  I probably spent 15 minutes on the first panel, pushing the fingers together with my thumbs.  Boy are my thumbs sore from all that pressure!

After the port #1 panel was assembled I moved onto the starboard panel.  I used the same process but realized that I could more quickly apply the epoxy by just using my gloved fingers.  This proved effective, especially as the epoxy started to get less “mustardy” and more “peanut buttery” as it slowly cured.  When these panels were joined, I placed a sheet of plastic on top of the port side and laid the starboard side on top of that.  This is to make sure the port and starboard panels match.  When I was confident they looked good together, I put some more plastic over top and added some scrap wood and weight to assist with the gluing.  I repeated this same process for the bottom panel.

So here is what I learned.  Epoxy isn’t very scary, but it is messy.  I changed gloves frequently.  Also, if you are working in a warm environment like I was (80 degrees) the epoxy starts to cure fast.  I probably could have placed the mixture in the fridge and allow it too cool while I wasn’t actively using it.  If you haven’t picked up on it by now, epoxy cures much quicker in warmer temperatures.  After 24 hours, the joint should be fully cured.

Time Spent: 1.5 Hour

Total Time In Build: 3.0 Hours

Great Service From Chesapeake Light Craft

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Epoxy, Mishaps

Last night I sent an email to Chesapeake Light Craft explaining my epoxy debacle.  I attached pictures as well.  I got a call and email today from CLC who apologized for the condition in which I received the package.  They agreed with my assessment that the shipping company was at fault.  They had already contacted the company and agreed to overnight me the replacement epoxy, free of charge.  They told me that the shipping company would follow up with me to get the cured epoxy cleaned off my driveway.  As always, great service from CLC.

I’ll Get Started Anyway

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Tools, Woodworking

If you read my last post, you know that I have received my kit… sort of.  I am epoxy-less but having read the manual a few times I tought I can begin building.  If working chronologically, the bottom panel and 3 pairs of side panels are glued together first.  I skipped ahead to cutting the gains on the #1 panels.  I did this for a couple reasons. First, I just couldn’t wait to get started.  I have had the kit for about an hour but had been waiting for months to purchase it. And second, it’ll be easier to work with half length panels in my one car garage.

So I started with the gains… kind of “skerry!”  This is one of the things that most intimidated me in reading the manual.  A gain is essentially a slow taper on the upper edge of the panel that blends the beautiful lapstrake hull to a smooth finish at the bow and stern.  I used my rabbet plane to make a consistant decline to a depth of 1/8″ starting 20″ back from the bow and forward of the stern.  The rabbet width of 3/8″ was easily drawn with a carpenter’s square.

I began by sharpening the rabbet plane.  I had never used it, but wanted to make sure I got clean cuts as I shaved away at the beautiful okoume plywood.  Next, I clamped the stern and starboard panels together, interior faces together.  This helps me make sure the gains are even and provides for a little less flex in the wood when working on saw horses.  After that I was ready.  Sweat was pouring off my face and I hadn’t even started!  I was nervous, it was my first cut!

As I pulled the plane down the veneer and watched the excess peel away, I was relieved.  It wasn’t as intimidating as I had thought.  I worked meticulously, alternating between the plane, sandpaper, and a straight edge to ensure the “ramp” was smooth and true.  I worked slowly, but after about an hour I had finished the bow and stern of both #1 panels.  I was very concerned with the depth of the gains as both the manual and other build blogs commented about the problems with shallow gains.  A shallow gain can result in excessive sanding on the exterior of the bow or stern, leading to an unattractive removal of the exterior veneer.  This isn’t a big deal if you paint the exterior, but I am not entirely certain if I plan to paint the boat or finish it bright.

I learned a very important lesson in creating the gains.  Use a fence!  It can be a simple as a straightedge clamped on the wood.  I cut all my gains freehand, using only my pencil drawn line as a guide.  When I finished I saw my 24″ roofing square hanging on the wall.  That would have made an excellent fence to guide the plane!  The next panels will use it…

Time Spent: 1.0 Hour

Total Time In Build: 1.5 Hours

My Kit Arrives, But I Am Not Happy

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Epoxy, Mishaps

So today I was sitting at work, dreaming about building the boat, and thought I’d check the status on shipment.  I knew that the packages weren’t supposed to arrive for a couple more days, but I thought maybe I would get lucky.  So I logged on to AIT Worldwide Logistics (CLC’s kit shipper) and discovered that my kit was out for delivery!  It was only noon but I had an afternoon flight and I knew I wouldn’t be getting home until after 1730!  That wait was no fun, but when I did get home I instantly knew I would be waiting even longer to start building.  I found a trail of epoxy leading from the street, all the way up my driveway to a plastic wrapped box.  The box sat in a puddle of the stuff.  I immediately moved the larger of the two boxes (the one containing the wooden parts), slipped on some gloves, and grabbed handy my box cutter.  It was no easy task breaking into the partially hardened box, but when I did I saw a gallon of resin and a gallon of hardener had burst open.  It was obvious that the package had been dropped, landing on the throats of the containers and popping the caps and foil seal right off.

Now I can understand that accidents happen. But when this shipper realized that my package labeled “fragile” was leaking a sticky unknown substance, they decided to bag it and continue delivery.  I find that incredibly strange.  The epoxy must have wreaked havoc on the delivery truck and the driver’s hands because it wasn’t just dripping out of the package, it was running!  This is evident by the substantial trail on my driveway.

Knowing that both CLC and AIT were closed for the business day, I grabbed my iPhone and snapped pictures as I unpacked.  Once I was able to separate all of the epoxy items, I moved onto the wood and other assorted parts.  No damage or missing items there.  I went back to the epoxy and made an assessment of the total damage.  Although the Cab-o-Fill and Wood Flour containers were covered, no epoxy mixture had penetrated them.  I also had an in tack gallon of resin, but would need new pumps in addition to the damaged resin/hardener.  I put all this information together an emailed it to CLC.  I guess I’ll wait and see how this works out…

Time Spent: 0.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 0.5 Hours

My Garage Is Waiting For My Skerry Kit

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Preparation

Believe it or not, this is the workspace I intend to use to construct the Skerry.  It is a one car garage and should be just wide and long enough for construction… I hope! If you are wondering what that thing is at the bottom of the picture, it is a mosquito coil.  When I work in my garage at night this saves me from the bites.  Mosquitos in February?  Yes, this is South Florida and it is 80 degrees out!