Wednesday, June 11, 2008

JCH at CLC saves the day with his CNC

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

Aft deck

After a bit of a struggle, I finally overcame my procrastination and planed the sheerclamps, prior to deck installation. I'm not sure why I had avoided this for so long, but on the hottest day of the season so far, I used my inadequate, cheap block plane and worked the clamps into the proper angle. Two templates are provided in the kit- the angle of the sheerclamp aft of the forward hanging knee should meet a 30" radius curve. At the bow, the angle changes to a 24" radius curve. I found that little planing was needed in the forward area, but the 30" area took a good bit of planing to meet the proper contour. I won't say my planing was skillfully done, but the final result should be reasonably acceptable.
Then before dehydration set in, I installed the aft deck section. The precut part was first coated on one side with unthickened epoxy. This side then was turned to face the interior of the aft air chamber. The endpour, sheerclamps, and bulkhead surface were then coated with mustard thickened epoxy, and the deck was clamped in place. I also applied a ratchet strap to temporarily hold the deck to the proper contour. Next, bronze ring nails were driven through the deck into the sheerclamp with the aid of a gauge that allowed them to be positioned squarely in the center of the sheerclamp. I spaced the nails along the sheerclamp every three inches, driving a couple on each side, alternating sides all the way to the stern. Once the nails were all driven, I wiped up some mustard epoxy drips, and went inside for a cool drink. I now know why boat builders tend to set up shop in Maine! Total hours 32.75