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Sunday, June 27, 2010

So a surfer builds a boat... Update Part IV

Sounds like the beginning of a joke right? If it is, I haven't reached the punchline yet- and from where I'm standing (did I say, sanding?) that ending looks a long ways away. Did I tell you what I think about when I'm building this thing? I have big dreams of rowing it over to the tip of Point Loma  and going for a surf at one of the boat-in-only breaks over there. I'd bring a little cooler with a sandwich, a couple of beers and a bottle of water. Time it right and paddle out during dead water and in with the tide. Take a nap under an umbrella laying in the bottom of the boat. For now, however, I just keep making passes with the sander.

Anyways, here's where I'm at so far:

Last we talked, I had just finished putting the bottom reinforcement layer of fiberglass onto the outside of the hull. Since then, I've trimmed it to the chine (that way the seam of the glass is hidden in the chine of the boat). Here I've laminated glass onto the transom and I'm waiting to cut away the excess glass and feather the edge in.

Next, I (well, we... Pat McCloskey, a.k.a The Ding Devil, our local ding repair guy who pedaled over at just the right time) flipped the boat over and got ready to take out the temporary frames that helped give the boat its shape. Pat's here showing me how to sand down the seams perfectly. In his words, "You've got to give it some love...". Thanks Pat.

Here, I've taken out the temporary frames and I'm sanding down the butt seam. This is where the longitudinal planks were joined together to make fourteen foot long planks from 7' long planks. I guess this is the boat's week spot. But, never fear, the plans call for some heavy fiberglass and epoxy reinforcement here. How exciting.

I got a little excited seeing the boat all opened up so I decided to test fit the seats (where you sit in the bow and stern) and the thwarts (the benches that you sit on, there are two... you got me, nautical nomenclature is crazy, part descriptive, part historical, part mystery...). The only pieces I couldn't set in place were the knees (two pieces of triangular wood that join the corners of the transom to the sides of the boat and the gunwales which are the rails that run along the top edges of the boat. Not looking too bad, eh?

After wasting time dreaming about what she'll look like with all her innards in place, I got back to work. After sanding down most of the high and rough spots, I busted out the epoxy and laid down an encapsulating coat on the inside. This is where you say, "Wow, that wood is beautiful- are you going to leave it that way?" Well, it looks great from here but if you were to get right up close to it, you'd see that I'm not exactly the world's greatest woodworker. There's lots of dings and goofs and messed up seams.

Plus, this is a working boat, not a coffee table (I learned that from reading the Wooden Boat Forum where people are always clowning each other about not using the beautiful, work of art, wooden boats they've lovingly built and painstakingly varnished... thanks guys) so I'm going to paint her insides a light tan. This makes life easier for me since now I know that the paint will hide all of my flaws (wish that were true for life- is it?). Kathy, my wife, did convince me to leave the outsides unpainted or, as they say in the nautical world, bright. Her reasoning is that we can always paint her later and that my dings and goofs just make her more authentic and less Thurston C. Howell. The wood does look nice so I'll run with it for now.

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