Sunday, August 31, 2008


After vacation I moved the joined halves to the storage area. They sit here with a tarp over them. My wife is looking forward to having the pathway back.

The fourth half proceeded like the others with few changes, other than that I was a little faster and more proficient at getting the shapes correct. I like having the keel in place and shaping the planks to fit. After thermoforming, I marked them for length at the deck edge and cut them before attaching. This was faster and easier then cutting them all together at the end as I had done previously.

I have been deviating from the plans by using 3/4 inch material along the keel. I'm hoping that it makes it easy to shape the keel without sanding through near the transom (plans talk about this risk). It also raises the 'floor' inside which gives a wider surface for taping.

Plank to keel gap.

After joining the firs two halves and experimenting with sanding the exterior of the float I'm convinced that a small gap between the planks is best (at least if using QuickFair like I am). It is very easy to sand (no different than foam) and some of the planks which were pushed together tight and didn't have this squeezed out look 'dry'. I think some will require a little Dremel work and backfilling -- easier to leave a playing-card size gap and skip the potential extra step (Oh, to be VB'ing and have these spaces automatically filled).

'V' with gap.

The gaps above after filling and sanding, ready for fiberglass.

Here is a cross section (at the transom) of the 'V' that the dovetail router bit leaves, filled with QF.

My brother Jeremy came over to help with the fiberglassing of the interior.

After VB'ing the stiffener and fitting, trimming and marking, it was ready to join.

The trimmed keel defines one center line, so bulkheads are trimmed as necessary to allow it to lay together. At the deck I screwed a block at the center of the bulkhead which rested on the form (you can see them mounted, though not yet in use). This assures proper width of the hull -- and most importantly that the alignment holes for the beams are in the correct place. I learned from the first join that I didn't have enough clamps to go along the keel, so I prepared some blocks with two screws to replace the clamps as I moved along.

My daughter helped me place the epoxy and lift in place.

Went without a hitch. I will note that I use two different materials: a System Three premix EZ Fillet material around the bulkheads, and QFair along the keel. The QF is because of concerns about shaping the keel if I used a non-sanding material, and I couldn't convince myself why this joint needed more after overlapping glass above and below. The choice of these materials adds a little angst since the EZF has a twenty minute work time, and the QF only 10 minutes.

Next, the interior.