In my last post I was excited to report that the side panels were installed, and now I am equally thrilled to report that the tunnel floors are now in place as well, meaning that the hull is essentially assembled. This means that if I turned her over and put her in the water, she would float. I could even get in and paddle around! But, it’s not time for that yet.
The tunnel floors were fairly tricky. Once they are in place, they are difficult to modify. This meant that I had to cut them very close to their final shape prior to installing them. This is not trivial when we are talking about ten foot panels of plywood. At least, not trivial for ME…
Installation was complicated by the fact that there is really no way to clamp them into place. This meant pre-drilling all the screw holes, applying epoxy, holding the panel in place on the frame, and screwing it into place. I was determined not to have a colossal, glue-y mess… and I was successful in this regard.
Once the tunnel floors were installed, there was just one more simple installation step, and that was mounting the splash rails. It wasn’t as easy as it looked, but I got it done in good order.
So, once the splash rails were on, I had a completely assembled hull… complete with rough spots, minor overhangs and gaps, and hundreds of countersunk screws and nails. Hardly something ready to finish. So, I went out and bought some fairing compound, a bunch of sandpaper, and a random orbital sander, and got to work. Thanks to my inexperience, this turned out to be a lot of work indeed! Much, much hand-sanding, filling and refilling, more sanding, etc. A couple weekend’s worth, in fact. It will go much faster when I do the topsides, I promise you that!
Now, while it is not perfect, it is good enough, and/or as good as it is going to get! This means that it is time to seal, prime, and paint the bottom, prior to flipping her over and working on the top side. I am going to get started this weekend, and I can hardly wait!