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Forward Frame Speaker Ports

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Mishaps, Modifications, Tools, Woodworking

So I had a little mishap to clean up today.  The Skerry comes with a half cut hole in the forward frame for an offset deck hatch.  I opened up the hole a few days ago before thinking about speaker layout.  After the electrical test I decided to mount both speakers in the forward frame.  Because the deck hatch and the speaker have a different diameter, the existing hole wouldn’t work.  It was also not symmetrical with the starboard speaker.  I opened up the hole where it was supposed to go then used some spare plywood, a jig saw, and my router to make a plug for the rest of the hole.  When sized appropriately, I glued it in with silica thickened epoxy.  When this cures, I will fill in the gaps with wood flour thickened epoxy.  While this may be a little bit unsightly, it will be out of normal view in the completed boat as it is under the forward seat overhang.  I plan to relocate the hatch to the top of the seat. I will also be using a hatch that is 2″ larger so I have better access to the waterproof compartment.

Time Spent: 1.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 98.5 Hours

Fixing My Fiberglass Mishap, Part 2

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Epoxy, Fiberglass, Mishaps

I was finally able to re-fiberglass the sanded out bad fiberglass on the hull tonight.  The process was identical to the first time.  I laid out the fiberglass, cut to size.  Then I used the squeegee to spread the epoxy into the fiberglass weave.  You can barely tell that anything was wrong.  When it all gets sanded smooth, you definitely won’t be able to tell.

Time Spent: 1.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 45.5 Hours

Fixing My Fiberglass Mishap

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Epoxy, Fiberglass, Mishaps

In my last post I talked about how I screwed up and let some of my epoxy get too thick to saturate through the fiberglass weave.  Today I got out the sander and removed the two problems areas.  It was tough work sanding through all that epoxy and fiberglass.  I will soon redo these areas.

Time Spent: 1.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 44.5 Hours

Fiberglassing the Bottom of the Hull

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Epoxy, Fiberglass, Mishaps

I woke up this morning all set to epoxy my fiberglass cloth to the bottom of the hull.  Per the manual’s instructions, I mixed up some unthickened epoxy and started pouring it on the hull, using a plastic squeegee to move it about the hull.  The thickeness is right when the fiberglass weave is still visible but fully saturated.

It was going great until I started noticing that the epoxy in the cup was starting to get hot.  I had about 8 ounces left and I poured a few ounces on to the hull.  The epoxy was smoking it was so hot!  Unfortunately it was now so thick that it would not penetrate the weave.  I had only mixed about 20 ounces, less than the manual recommended, and it was already curing in my cup!  Maybe I wasn’t working fast enough or maybe it was the South Florida heat, but I was left with a 20″ section of the bottom panel that I would need to redo.  The epoxy was just too thick to saturate the fiberglass cloth.

I mixed up a new, smaller batch and completed the rest of the hull.  When complete, I ran a razor blade in the first lap to remove the extra cloth.  I then removed the plastic skirt and cut some fiberglass cloth to lay on the bow and stern.  I quickly glued these pieces to the hull.

The manual says to come back between 4 and 30 hours to apply a second coat to fill the weave.  I will do this in a little bit, but will avoid the bad spot.  I am kind of disappointed because I will have to sand out and redo the bad fiberglass.  I guess it is all part of the experience…

Time Spent: 1.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 43.0 Hours

It Looks Like a Boat! Hull Stitching Complete!

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Mishaps, Sanding, Stitching, Tools, Woodworking

Neighbors are starting to peek in the garage, joggers are stopping as they run by, and I can’t help but go into the garage every hour or so to look at my creation.  Today I finished stitching the hull and it actually looks like I have a boat sitting in the garage!  It is really exciting.

I am going to keep the post short since I am tired.  I will let the pictures do the talking but I want to speak to a little mishap that scared me and a couple things I learned.

  • The first panel I installed today was the port #2.  When I did, it was about 1/2″ shorter than the number #1 at the stern.  I went ahead and installed the starboard panel and saw the same problem.  I recalled a few other blogs where this had happened, so I wasn’t too shocked.  What I elected to do was use my bonsai saw to remove 1/2″ off the #1 panels and generate a fair curve with the #2s using a hand sanding block.  It looks good to me, so I am happy.
  • My thumbs and index fingers are raw!  Feeding and twisting copper wire for hours with bare wire takes its toll!  I tried using gloves but they proved nearly impossible to use.  With them I wasn’t able to pick up new wires nor  initiate a twist with the desired tension.
  • I ran out of the 18 gauge copper wire that was supplied with the kit,  This is due to wasting a ton of it by removing my incorrectly installed #1 panels.  I have also been cutting my pieces to 3.5″ rather than the suggested 3″.  I couldn’t find replacement 18 gauge wire locally, but I did find 20 gauge at Michael’s craft store.  I think I may actually like this gauge better.  It is easier to work with and seams to bare nearly the same load.
  • The vice grips are an essential tool when stitching, especially in the completion of the frame stitching.  Due to the sharp angles and tight working area, the vice grips helped me pull wire through rather than feed it through with my fingers.  They also work great for tightening up hand twisted wire.

Enjoy the pictures!  You will notice that when I finished the stitching I dry fit the daggerboard trunk, breasthooks, and seats.  They are not attached and will be removed before inverting the boat for the next step.

Time Spent: 5.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 22.5 Hours

Stitching. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Take Everything Apart.

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Mishaps, Stitching, Tools

I spent most of the morning drilling and finishing up some steps I had passed over. Knowing that stitching was next, I just had to keep working.  I cut 3″ pieces of copper wire and got started at the port bow.  I fed stitches from the interior and twisted on the exterior.  About 25% through, I wished I had cut the stitches a little bit longer.  I also wish I knew where my pliers were!  Twisting thin copper wire over and over again with bare fingers was no fun.  I ended up using vice grips when my fingers began to ache.

It was nice to have Kelly helping me today because she was able to hold the #1 panels erect while I stitched them into place.  We got the #1 panels attached to the bottom panel and began working on the frames when something caught my eye… Why are my gains on the INSIDE of the boat?  We were devastated, Kelly especially.  She had been super excited to work on the boat and now we were reversing nearly everything she had helped with.  We had wasted 2 hours and were now spending 30 minutes to remove all our beautiful stitching!

So what went wrong?  I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but one of the following could be contributing factors:

  • When I clamped my #1 panels together and cut the gains, I neglected to look at the labels attached to the panels.  They were labeled right and left, but I cut them opposite.  This isn’t a big deal because the panels are identical.  I didn’t see the labels when cutting the gains because they faced each other between the clamped panels.  Unfortunately, I did see and relied on them when I began stitching.  I should have been looking at the gains!
  • The picture of all the panels and gains in the manual may have led me astray as well.  The diagram has all panels laid out and it appears that the gains are on the interior.  As a builder you know they aren’t, but I may have quickly laid them out as diagrammed without reading the disclaimer on the right.  See the attached scan.

With the stitches removed, I swapped the panels and started over again.  Thank God I had drilled both sides of the bottom panel and the #1s identical!  As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to be a little more precise than “every 4″ or so.”

During this stitching session I used a longer bits of wire.  It was much faster and more comfortable.  I also used ratcheting tie-downs to pull the hull together because Kelly was taking a break.  When it came time to install the frames, I got my helper back.

Today was my first major setback, but at least nothing had been damaged.  I only wasted some time.

Time Spent: 4.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 15.0 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.

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