It has been awhile since I published an update on how the boat is coming. It does not mean that I haven’t been working on it, because I have! But I certainly have been going slower than I would like. Since I am no real hurry, though, I am not complaining.
At the end of my last update, I was getting ready to install the floor of the boat, known as the “tunnel floor”. Before adding the floor, I had to mount battens along the frame to support the plywood floor, which is only a quarter inch thick. Then the floor was ready to be mounted, using epoxy and screws. The lines on the tunnel floor are chalk lines which show the locations of the battens underneath the plywood.
After the tunnel floor was installed, it was time to turn the boat over and do some work on the front of the boat, or “bow”. The bow piece is where all the framing elements come together, so I installed that to the floor and battens using healthy amounts of epoxy and screws. The picture below shows the bow of the boat, with the bow piece being the curved member towards the bottom of the picture.
Yes, I know, I am neatness-challenged. You don’t need to tell me…
The long strips of wood that are held to the bow piece with clamps in the picture above are called the “sheer clamp”. These framing members basically define the border between the deck of the boat and the sides of the boat. As the sheer clamp has to be bent into shape, it was a little tricky to install. Since the boat is very flexible at this stage, it is easy for the tension of the bent wood to deform the hull. So, I tried very hard to keep everything symmetrical, and in balance. The picture below shows the boat right-side up, with the sheer clamps installed. In case you are wondering, those are tow 50-pound dumbells on the top of the boat, I use these to keep the hull firmly on the sawhorses.
Now that the shear clamps are installed, it is time to turn the hull back over, and install the chine logs. The chine log is the framing member that sets the boundary between the side of the boat and the bottom. If you think these names are confusing, you are not alone. I spend lots of time scratching my head over this, and doublechecking to make sure I am working on the right thing!
The chine logs are another frame member made with bent wood, that need to be installed very carefully so as not to deform the hull. It also turned out to be quite tricky to make all these pieces come together properly at the bow of the boat. I *think* I got everything right, and am hoping I don’t get surprised later! Once again, liberal amounts of epoxy seem to help. The pictures below shows where things are now; click on any of them for a closer view.
If you use a little imagination, you can almost tell that it might end up as a boat!
The next step is what is known as “fairing”. Basically, fairing is the process by which all edges are smoothed, bevels created, and curves adjusted such that the planking matches perfectly with the frame. As I am very challenged as far as detail work is concerned, this might be interesting!