Thursday, 14 June 2018

Sticking to the Plan

My little old mum was brought-up in an orphanage by a strict regime of nuns. It is of little surprise then to find that when she left them, aged 17, she had little knowledge of the world and its ways.    Undaunted, she memorised every saying, or proverb, she came across and used them as a knowledge base. Typically, "Liars should have good memories", "A leopard can't change its spots", "Proof of the pudding is in the eating," and so on.
   What is a surprise, is to find she also had a repertoire of Music Hall (Vaudeville) songs, some of which were quite risque. 

The reason I tell you all this is because today I found myself singing one of her favourites. I'm not sure what my non-British friends call things, but in the song, papering, is a term meaning sticking wallpaper to the wall with paste (glue). The song was written in 1910. Here is the chorus:

When Father papered the parlour
You couldn't see him for paste
Dabbing it here! dabbing it there!
Paste and paper everywhere
Mother was stuck to the ceiling
The children stuck to the floor
I never knew a blooming family
So stuck up before.

Today I resumed my unhappy relationship with Epoxy Resin and fibreglass cloth!
                          When Father papered the parlour

The coat of epoxy resin I gave the boat a few days ago was to seal the wood, rather than as a finish. Today I began to lay down the fibreglass. I began with a ten inch wide strip to cover the hog.

I then mixed up pots of epoxy resin and spreads them over the cloth as you can see below.

When Father papered the parlour
You couldn't see him for paste

As you can see, the fibreglass becomes transparent, and doesn't conceal the hog . Unfortunately, it wasn't as simple as that: strands of spaghetti like glass came off the fibreglass strip and had to be picked off ... bubbles kept appearing ... epoxy resin dripped where I didn't want it ... rubber gloves were constantly replaced. 

When Father papered the parlour
You couldn't see him for paste
Dabbing it here! dabbing it there!
Paste and paper everywhere

Finally, I finished. It was then that I felt the pain in my knee and found that I had glued my knee to my jeans. Then I found my pocket knife glued to a pencil, and both stuck to the inside of my pocket! All that for a ten inch wide strip..........
                                                               ..... I have the whole of the inside of the boat to fibreglass yet!

When Father papered the parlour
You couldn't see him for paste
Dabbing it here! dabbing it there!
Paste and paper everywhere
Mother was stuck to the ceiling
The children stuck to the floor

Now some might suggest, as my wife did, that I should forget fibreglass and simply paint the inside of the boat. Tempting as that is, life is never that simple. I'll explain:

You may remember that the boat comprises about 150 narrow planks.

These planks get glued together:

This is a modern technique I am using ... for the last time! The wood is Western Red Cedar, which is a wonderful straight grained timber to work with, but, it doesn't do well in water and isn't that strong. However, if you sheath the planking in fibreglass and epoxy resin - inside and out - then the Cedar never gets touched by water and the alloy of Cedar, fibreglass and epoxy are as strong as steel! 

To remind you, here is the outside when I fibreglass/epoxy resin'd it:

Fibreglass Cloth Before Epoxy Resin Was Applied

Fibreglass Cloth After Epoxy Resin Applied

All I can do is ....stick to ... the plan!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Beginning of Internal work.

Today I began 'varnishing' the inside of the boat:

As you can see, I only varnished one side at a time as I have to be inside the boat to do the varnishing, and can't kneel in the wet varnish to do the other side.
Before varnishing I had to go over the planks with Tack Rags/Cloths. For those unfamiliar with these items, let me explain. I buy the articles by the box, and inside the box each rag is independently wrapped in an airtight envelope.

Box of Tack Rags (or Cloths), an airtight envelope, and a Tack Rag 

The cloths are impregnating with mildly sticky 'stuff' to which all dust on the woodwork sticks, without leaving leaving a deposit on the wood and leaving the wood ready for varnish.

Tomorrow I'll do the other side.

Thursday, 7 June 2018


My battle with sticky things continues, namely epoxy-resin. Whilst I have chosen the new techniques of modern wooden boat building in Seagull's build, I still have the traditionalist's fear of using new techniques based on 'glue'. Which is why I have gone to the extent of belt & braces (belt and suspenders in the US: of men's pants?). I have put extra 'glue' on what I thought were areas of potential weakness. 

In the picture below you can see how I have gone around most joints with a (dark brown) fillet of epoxy resin.

Which sounds great but, as with anything sticky, the fillets are the result of a saga.
   I had kept the epoxy components in a warm dry place over the winter, yet, despite this, the hardener was discoloured. Not wanting to risk materials that might be 'off', I spent, too much, money replacing all the components.

From the photograph above you can see I replaced the Epoxy resin (105 on the tin/can), the Hardener (205), the 5:1 dispensers (bagged), the fillet powder (cylinder) and for good measure to rolls of fibre glass material (at the back).

I started by filling the internal gap between the planks and the stem

Although the planks are glued and screwed to the stem I wasn't totally happy with (a) the strength (b) the integrity to keep moisture out of the joint. I decided to fill the gap with a epoxy resin fillet (see below)

To make the fillet I thoroughly mixed the resin and hardener together and then added the fillet powder and continued to mix. I kept adding and mixing powder until the mixture had peanut butter constituency. Next I scooped the mixture into a cake icing (frosting) bag, below:

I cut the tip off the bag and 'piped' the mixture into the joints.

The fillet compound is really strong, bringing great strength to the joint and sealing the joint from any water sloshing around the inside of the boat  

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Next Stage - the inside of the boat

"June the Second, 2018!"

 Today I started the next phase of the build. 

I've had a long break as I had so many other things competing for my time. I'm already working playing a seven day week but I feel I have finally got clear of the barriers.

Today has not been a glamorous day, it involved a total clean of the boat and workshop. Weeks of sanding have covered everything in sawdust. I began with vacuuming the ceiling - massive cobwebs! Luckily we don't have poisonous spiders in Wales. 
   Every tool has been cleaned and stowed, floors vacuumed and washed down, the inside of the boat emptied and vacuumed.

This grand clean-up is likely to go no for a few more days yet.

3rd. June
The big clean up continues..... Shiny Boat Time!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Quick Look at Electrics and Electronics

I should be getting back to the build in the next week; I've been buried in artistic endeavours for the last few weeks. However, I have started to consider what I need to do about installing my own electrics.

This is very basic start which I will build on over time, but I have to start somewhere because I know nothing about electrics ... but what harm can I do? What could possibly go wrong? (grin).

TIP Join the (US) website group Off Centre Harbor. They have a real layman's series of short videos on Electrics & Electronics delivered by a University Lecturer, about all this - really simple to follow.

Click for LINK to Off Center Harbor

Let’s start with the various application types. There are two types: engine starting (or cranking) and deep-cycle to power other on-board electrics.    
  Starting batteries are designed to provide a big jolt of electrical power (or amperes) for a short period of time, then be quickly recharged. 
  Deep-cycle batteries (or House electrics battery) are built to supply a limited number of amps over a longer time and then be recharged more slowly. 

I will need two AGM (absorbed glass mat) Batteries: 

 An ENGINE START battery, the type I will need depends on which engine I install, and the  Engine Manufacture defines the  CAA * required.

HOUSE DEEP-CYCLE battery x 1

*A battery’s ability to crank an engine is indicated on the battery by its cold cranking amps (CCA), the amount of juice delivered at a specific temperature, usually 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This is shown as, typically CCA 800 (will supply 800 amps for 30 seconds at 32deg F)


The battery cable strands need to be tinned copper (untinned will corrode)

Standard Wire Gauge (SWG) of cable required, its thickness/diameter,  is determined by the amperage the cable will carry and the length of run (use Tables)

Terminal lug same SWG as cable (marked on lug), and hole suitable for battery terminal post

Cut of just enough cable insulation to fill the shank of the lug.

Crimp lug.

Heat shrink over lug connection

MARINE ELECTRONICS – Navigate/Depthfinder/Fishfinder

Raymarine E70293 Dragonfly-5 Pro Sonar/GPS - 5 Inch 12.7 cm with built-in Chirp DownVision, CPT-DVS Sensor and WiF

SAT NAV with built in CHIRP Downvision and sonar with CPT DVS (transponder) and Wifi

AMAZON £428.09 (longish delivery time)
Run it from House Battery

Thursday, 22 March 2018


Life keeps getting in the way of the boat-build; I won't bore you with the details. Having said that, there isn't a lot to say about sanding, but I'll try.

The tip to be emphasised is 'Wipe off the surplus glue, from both outside and inside, whilst you are gluing. Don't leave it to set hard or you will suffer from the sanding problem I have now."  

I was warned, but the significance of it was either not fully understood or/and not emphasised enough.

What seems such an apparently easy job - wipe off glue with wet cloth - isn't as easy as all that, for three reasons:

1. The inside of the boat, shown in the picture above, is hidden when you're gluing because the boat is upside down at the time and it's difficult to see, or get at, the surplus glue.

2. Even when you wipe all the glue off the problem isn't solved,  because one attribute of the type of glue used is that it expands to fill gaps. 
   This expansion continues for up to an hour and leads to the surplus glue continuously expanding out of the seam, and you have to wipe it off after every expansion.

Planking edge Glue

3. Where the masking tape was used to stop the moulds (molds) sticking to the planking, there is a considerable build up of glue. The worst of this I remove with a chisel, but there is a risk of damaging the planks with this method if you're too heavy handed. I'm not!

Tape with build up of glue beneath it

So I've been sanding for days and days and got about a half of the boat completed.

I'm mostly using the round orbital sander, supplemented  with my rectangular one.

Round Random Orbital Sander
Rectangular Orbital Sander

The rectangular one is of limited use with the concave curve of the inside planking, whilst the round one soon gets through the paper backed sanding discs. The wear on the disks is chiefly at the edges.

I looked around for alternative discs and came up with there metal mesh ones that have tiny hooks all over its surface.

They seem marginally better, but I've only just started to use them, so I will update you their performance at a later date.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Not Exactly a Boat, But......

I can't really claim that I have a boat yet, but certainly turning her over and removing the last few moulds (molds) has produced a hull, which I boarded for the first time.

The white strips you can see are the masking-tape I used to stop the moulds from getting glued to the planking. The next task is to sand -paper the hull internally, so as to remove all vestiges of glue.

An interesting view taken from inside the hull, giving a view never possible to see when she was being built upside-down.

You can see all the glue that has to be removed running (white) between each plank. Important Lesson to learn: wipe off as much surplus glue as you can whilst it's still wet - given that it is almost impossible at times when the hull is upside-down and full of moulds.