Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flippin' pix

As promised, here are the pictures of the boat flipping, in order.  You can admire the glossy finish, or the lightness of the hull, or the beautiful lines (if I may say so myself).  Or not.

Since then I haven't done much on the boat, but I spent a wonderful weekend in Cleveland (yes, you read that right) with my wife and daughters.  It the past few nights I mostly cut the curves into the fore bulkheads, and it's so hard and awkward that I wish I had done it earlier, but you live and learn.  I still have to sand the tops smooth.  I also fit and trimmed the inwales--once again one of them broke, at a knotty spot.  I glued it back together and cut a few shallow kerfs to prevent it happening again.  They are now ready to glue in place.  I hope to make a lot of progress in the next two weeks, while my wife goes to see her mother again (hurricane Irene permitting).

Meanwhile, keep reading 176inches (which, with the bow trim--or false stem as some call it--and curved transom, will be closer to 179 inches in the end).


Sunday, August 14, 2011


This past week I gave the hull a couple of coats of paint, which made it very shiny and made the small flaws stand out even more, but as I said before I don't care.  Finally, on Sunday afternoon I marshaled together four other guys (thanks, Carl, Chris, Gregg, and Paul!) and we flipped it over (right side up) from the building frame to the trailer.  Before doing that I removed the nails that secured the boat to the frame, and rigged together a safety system of ropes running through eyebolts screwed into the garage walls.  Here I am with the rope system in the "before" picture.  You can see everything being reflected in the super-glossy paint. 

It turned out to be utterly unnecessary.  Two people can lift the boat hull with great ease, and using the ropes would have meant doing the flipping inside the garage.  Seeing that the boat's beam is almost six feet, that would have been awkward (it would have hit the garage door opener overhead).  The guys therefore decided on the spot to ignore the ropes, lift the hull, walk it outside and flip it manually.  It took almost no time.  It was a revelation to finally see the inside, after only a few glimpses while clambering underneath.  Ah yes, and it became clear that the trailer is too small.  Designed for a personal water craft, the trailer is fine for my little 11' 6" (3.26 meter) first boat, the good ship Robin.  But Aerie is 15 feet long, and the trailer, while fine as a building platform, will not be safe enough on the road.  You can see two "after" photos, inside and out.  By the way, the strip at the sheer was left unpainted to receive the 2-inch-wide oak rubrails.  Next I will be giving the inside a coat of epoxy, gluing in the inwales, filleting some seams, and putting in the bench tops.

So, I hear you say, where are the "during" pictures?  Well, my camera ran out of juice at the wrong time.  Fortunately, my daughter Georgia is visiting from San Francisco, and she took some great photos with her camera.  Unfortunately, she didn't bring the little USB cable so I can't upload them.  We'll have to wait until she goes back and e-mails the photos.  So, as usual,

keep checking 176inches!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Epoxy and paint

 The past week has been devoted to filling, puttying,  sanding and coating with epoxy.  As I've already confessed, sanding is my least favorite activity, so a purist would be able to look around and find many small flaws.  I don't care.  After many passes of setting nails, filling with filleting compound, sanding, more filling, more sanding, etc., then some final spot touching up with wood putty, then more sanding, came the time to call a halt to it and coat with epoxy.

Word to the wise: working with filleting compound (epoxy mixed with wood flour) is a pain.  It starts getting stiff very soon, and requires a lot of sanding afterwords.  If it is allowed to cure for more than 48 hours, it's very hard to sand level to the wood.  On the other hand, it's extremely strong and adds to the structural integrity of the boat.  The scarfed joints of the strakes, 8 in total, benefited a lot from filleting compound, since they were far from perfect to begin with.  With a bit of wood putty at the end they will be completely hidden once the paint goes on.

So here is the boat after the second and final coat of epoxy, which has brought out the beauty of the wood and gleams blindingly.  Too bad it will be covered with paint, but it gives an idea of what the inside parts (benches, lockers, thwart, floor, splash guards, CB case), which will be left natural, will look like.

This coming week I will give the hull two coats of paint, after some light sanding.  Then I will flip the boat right-side-up onto its trailer (which I hope will be big enough) so I can work on the inside.  The flipping will be done with a few friends and neighbors, perhaps with the aid of a canoe hoist that I attached to the ceiling of the garage years ago.  I promised to pay them in beer.

So check 176inches in a week or so for more pictures and stuff.