Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wooden Boat Build: My project continues!

I finished up a boat building project last summer. I worked on a 14' wooden boat called a wineglass wherry which is similar to a dory but has a wider transom shaped like, you guessed it, a wineglass. Check it out:

Here she is finished out at the end of the summer- well, not exactly finished. There's a lot of fine touches left to be done- sanding, varnishing... painting.

I've had her out a couple of times (I still haven't named her)- paddling this boat is really fun. First of all, you've got two eight foot oars, traditionally wrapped in leathers, powering you along- you can really get jamming on this thing. Secondly, wooden boats are just style masters out on the water; the thing attracts all kinds of attention. And finally, it's stupidly satisfying to pull through the water in something you made with your own two hands (shapers in the house... am I speaking your language here?).

I've known that I'd eventually have to attend to the remaining chores of the build- but I was having so much fun paddling her around that I kept putting off those duties. The most important task was protecting the epoxy and fiberglass skin from the sun's UV rays. Epoxy is broken down by UV so it's important to either varnish or paint the boat. My plan was to keep the outside in it's natural wood state- chicks were just digging it too much to cover it up with paint. But, since the boat was meant to be used and not just stared at I decided that I'd paint the inside of the boat to cover up scuff marks from oars, anchors and beer cans. So that's what I started working on today.

I started by sanding the inside of the boat to scuff up the fiberglass and to take down some of the major runs and drips. I did a good job of scuffing things up and a not so good job at getting all the runs and waves out of the glass. Oh well... work boat.
As you can expect, sanding is the big job here. This was pretty back breaking because you have to lean into the thing to sand all the nooks and crannies. Oh well, had to be done!

Somebody thinks they're funny...
Eventually, I got the thing to a point where I was semi-satisfied... it looked smooth enough for me to lay down some paint. I went with a high quality, polyurethane boat paint- which, translated, means: this shit is expensive! Thirty five bucks a quart! Ouch. At least the color was cool, Hatteras White.

Pricey stuff... but worth it for my girl.
Here's how she came out after a quart of paint. I've still got all the detail work to cut in around the seats, gunwales, bow, thwarts and transom but I'm pretty happy with it so far. I'll let her dry tonight and then look to see if a second coat is needed tomorrow. The outside will be next- I'll sand that much more carefully and then do a few coats of varnish when it warms up.

I'm seeing a lot of brushwork and contorted body positions in my future.
Be sure to check out the paddlesurf.net page on facebook for even more minute-by-minute, facebook style updates about stando surfing, race paddling, boat building and semi-useful information about what's going on in my life.

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