At the time of the last update, the frame was completely assembled. The next step after that is to start installing the plywood panels that make up the hull of the boat. But, first, there is some fairing to be done.
What, you may ask, is “fairing”? The answer is, fairing is the process of planing, sanding, bending, etc., that makes the frame properly shaped such that the plywood panels fit snugly and securely. The pictures below show an “unfaired” section of the boat, along with a similar section where fairing is complete.
To do this with an degree of efficiency, I needed some tools that I did not have – one of which I bought, and one of which I made. The tool I purchased is a power planer, which makes quick work of removing wood. It generates prodigious amounts of wood shavings, but conveniently hooks up to a shop-vac for easy collection of said shavings. The other tool I needed was a strip sander; that is, a sanding block that is 18 inches long and three inches wide. This tool allows me to sand two frame members at the same time, so that the faces I am sanding are pretty much co-planar. The tool is simply a strip of plywood with handles on one side and sandpaper (actually, a sanding belt that I cut) stapled on. Works like a champ!
When I got ready to dig into this task, I noticed something distressing: part of the tunnel frame had warped. The picture to the left shows how bad the warping is – the tunnel side should be exactly square, and is clearly far from it! Not sure why that happened, but I was pretty sure I had to fix it – I had visions of my slightly asymmetric little boat running around in tight circles as her crooked tunnels would not allow her to go straight! It was easily fixed by installing a couple braces in the tunnel itself; these will be a little tricky to remove once the bottom is installed, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it!
Once the tunnel was straightened, it was time to start fairing in earnest. All frames had to be beveled so that they were roughly co-planar, then they had to sanded with my long samding block so that they were perfectly flat with each other – or at least as close as I could get them. It got particularly tricky up at the bow, where the boat is curved, and everything somehow converges together. I have a feeling that at some point it is going to take a lot of epoxy and filler to make everything clean and watertight.
Once fairing was complete, it was time to glue the panels to the frame. With a bit of trepidation (and lots of epoxy everywhere!) I clamped on the panel on the port side. It took every clamp I owned to hold the thing in place, so I had to wait a few days to put on the starboard side. As you can see from the pictures, initially the fit of the panels is pretty rough.
Once the side panels were installed, another big fairing task was required to get ready to install the tunnel floors. Both the chine logs and the tunnel runners needed to be extensively beveled and sanded so the tunnel floor panel will fit snugly. I am very interested to see how it all comes together at the bow. Hopefully I will find out this weekend!
Here are some photos of the faired hull, ready to start working on tunnel floor fit and assembly. I cleaned things up a bit for the occasion. Enjoy!