Cruisette: Builders' Diary

Ron & Devy Porter

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Framing Jig
Framing the Hull
Sheeting the Hull
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Let the bells ring out and the banners fly! We're finished sheeting in the hull. We finished off the starboard side last week-end and this week-end we finished off the port side. It actually looks like it will float! (Well, duh, it's wood, right?) Anyway, the starboard presented it's own trials and tribulations, but the port side was just plain nasty. On the plus side, we had everything precise enough that we were able to use the starboard sheets as a template for cutting the port sheets. On the downside, I did something wrong, either when we were getting things lined up and setting up the alignment screws or during the actual installation. It quickly became apparent that the port sheet was going to overlap the starboard sheet at the stern, starting about 2 feet from the transom and to a maximum extent of nearly an inch. In a race against time--the epoxy has a working life of only 30-40 minutes--we pulled a few screws, did some realignment and charged back in. I tried to stay relaxed so as to avoid making things worse and I kept a close eye on the epoxy in case we had to quit, scrape everything off, and start over. In the end, we got the panel in place just fine, although even with 4 fresh batteries, I still had to use the backup corded drill for the last dozen screws. I guess the motor isn't actually burnt out as I thought last week, but it's definitely never going to be the same. And I guess we should probably invest in a new backup drill!

Starboard sheeting is complete


When were getting started on Saturday, the Plant Manager told me that we had to move from this spot to another location within the warehouse by Monday at 8 am. On Sunday, after giving things overnight to cure, I went back in and cleaned up the rough edges and then did a preliminary inspection of everything, looking for humps, hollows, and other imperfections. I checked measurements. I check horizontal and vertical alignments as well as verifying that things are still level and plumb. I got out my 8-foot straightedge and looked for large areas that might need filling. The verdict: pretty darn good!

Then I set out to move everything. I didn't anticipate any problems now that the hull is fully sheeted and everything worked out fine. Since we had anticipated this possibility, we had done all of our set up on a 16-foot pallet that we made more stable with appropriately located lumber. I put a pallet jack under the stern end and a hand wheeler under the bow and zipped it right over. Then I gave things another fairly detailed inspection and couldn't find any evidence of shifting or twisting. In the end, the only spots besides screw heads that needed filling or filing were at the actual butt joints on the panels (16-foot plywood is too expensive, and scarf joints weren't deemed necessary). Those joints came out so well that there was very little sanding required and just a small amount of filler.

There actually is a slight dip across the entire bottom extending about 4 inches forward from the transom. In fact, this looks like it might make our life easier when it comes to truing up that region as part of sheathing the hull with fiberglass. Fiberglass doesn't work very well on sharp corners, so every corner has to be rounded. However, my Glen-L book on plywood boats (or was it the fiberglassing video?) makes it quite clear that the corner where the bottom meets the hull should be 'crisp' (sharp, not rounded). To that end, the builder is expected to put a few layers of fiberglass over the corner and then grind things out to nice flat surfaces with a crisp corner. That slight dip near the transom looks like it should reduce the amount of grinding on the bottom of the hull, which doesn't hurt my feelings at all.

Port sheeting is complete