Monday, September 15, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The first big goof in building the Mill Creek 16.5 became apparent yesterday as I test fit the side deck panels. After having tested them prior to permanently installing the bow deck, I now found that my haphazard placement of the bow deck left a gap between it and the aft deck panel that was too large to be spanned by the precut center/side panel. The precut parts are cut with excess material to allow trimming to an exact fit, but I used up all that buffer by moving the bow deck panel too far forward. The error left about a quarter inch gap that needed to be spanned. Since I plan to give the deck a bright, or varnished finish, filling the gap with an additional scrap of wood or even peanutbutter epoxy would have been unacceptably unsightly. I had first resolved to order another sheet of okoume plywood and cut replacement parts myself, making them just a bit longer. However, the fine folks at Chesapeake Light Craft helpfully offered to cut a custom panel with the needed extra length. This will be much cheaper than purchasing and shipping an entire sheet of plywood! Thanks CLC!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Deck installation continued with the foredeck. This process was the same as previously described with the aft deck, except that the foredeck is significantly larger. It also must be worked into a sharper curve than the aft deck; the radius of the deck is 24" at the deck beam, compared to 30" in the aft section. To hold the deck in place, I applied a rachet strap at the location of the deck beam. I also used several spring clamps to hold it along the border of the cockpit at the carlins. Nailing along the sheerclamps every 3", and alternating sides every 4 nails or so eventually worked the deck into place. I found that my original positioning was a bit off, and the port side near the bow almost didn't cover the sheerclamp- put it came out flush, and will merely eliminate the need for much trimming in that area. Total hours 34.00.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Over the past couple of days, I have been adding coats of epoxy to the hull exterior to fill the weave of the glass cloth. Between the last two, I sanded the surface with 100-grit paper to knock the peaks off the texture that was printing through the epoxy. With a nice, smooth surface produced, I then flipped the hull. The next step was to install some fittings, including seat cleats and brackets for the foot brace rails. The forward set of brackets are normally through-bolted, with a bolt head visible on the hull exterior. Instead, I used some special fittings with a bolt and perforated plate which were glassed onto the hull interior. The position for the forward foot brace rails was measured and marked. The substitute bolts require the plastic rails be drilled out slightly to enlarge the existing mounting holes. These bolt brackets were then glassed on the surface of the hull with a combination of silica thickened epoxy and unthickened epoxy to wet the glass tape that had been cut in 3" x 3" squares with a hole cut in the center. Once the glass was wetted, I taped the bolt to hold it in place. The instructions call for rolling the hull on its side and allowing gravity to hold the mount in place until the epoxy cures. This would have been easier and neater.The aft pair of foot braces will be screwed into riser blocks so as to clear the hanging knee in that location. These blocks were simply epoxied into position and held in place with tape while the epoxy cured.
Finally, simple 3/4" x 3/4" pieces of lumber were epoxied into place on the hull floor to serve as seat cleats, or guide rails for the seat assemblies. Care must be taken to use the correct pieces of wood: for each seat there are four pieces of lumber- three are longer than the fourth. Two of the long pieces are used as the seat guides, while the third is used as a structural part of the lower seat. The fourth, shorter piece is used as a structural part of the seat back. The guides were measured and aligned, then epoxied into place with silica thickened epoxy and weighted until cured. Total hours 28.25.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
After some prep work, including filling stitch holes and chine gaps with thickened epoxy, and a final overall sanding of the hull, the fiberglass could now be applied. A large bundle of 6 oz fiberglass cloth is supplied for this purpose. It is unfolded and draped over the hull, and the excess trimmed off to where only a small overhang remains beyond the edge of the sheerclamp. The loose weave of the cloth allows it to be arranged without wrinkles fairly easily. Then, in a technique detailed here, batches of unthickened epoxy were mixed and poured onto the flat surface of the hull. Using a rubber spatula, the epoxy is gently spread so as to wet down the cloth. The idea is to get the cloth just wet enough that it turns from white to clear, but so that some of the cloth texture remains after the epoxy is cured. This allows the cloth to adhere to the wood of the hull, providing strength, durability, and waterproof-ness. Adding excess epoxy also adds weight, and runs the risk of "floating" the cloth out of close contact with the wood, reducing strength. It is a slow and painstaking task, but after a couple of hours, the hull was glass coated. Then, after a couple hours, when the epoxy was semi-cured, I trimmed the excess cloth from the bow, stern, and sheerline. Additional cloth tape will be applied to the bow and stern, and additional thin layers of epoxy will fill the weave of the cloth, leaving a smooth surface. Total hours 23.45.
Friday, May 2, 2008
N.B.: Some of you may be curious as to where to find the Passagemaker Dinghy Forum for builders and fans of this CLC design. The forum has recently been moved to a new home, and can be found here. Interested in learning more about this nifty little sailing dinghy? Check out CLC's Passagemaker page, and my first blog.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
The hull could now be flipped over, and the copper wire stitches removed. The approximately 250 stitches that had been painstakingly drilled and twisted have now served their purpose, and were clipped off flush with the hull exterior. The portion of the stitch embedded in the epoxy fillet will remain, but the exterior portion was clipped off. I found it easiest to untwist the tighter stitches a few turns, in order to provide room to slip the small wire cutter under the loop. A word to the safe: wear eye protection! Some of the wire fragments can fly in dangerous directions. With the stitches removed, the hull is now ready for sanding and filling prior to fiberglassing. Total hours 18.50.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
With the deckbeam in place, I next installed the carlins. These are small, flexible pieces of lumber that will form the framework that supports the inner edge of the deck, along the periphery of the cockpit. In contrast to some reports of other builders, I had no problem bending the carlins along the fair curve described by the hanging knees and deck beam. Chalk it up to the humidity of spring in the deep south, I suppose. After a bit of trimming and bevelling at the bow end of the carlins, I tested for a tight fit in the notch formed by the blocks on the deck beam. Once everything was ready, I mixed a small amount of mustard epoxy and coated the mating surfaces, the returned the carlins to position and clamped in place. At the bow, I clamped a piece of scrap to wedge the two carlin ends snugly against the deck beam notch. Total hours 17.50.