Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I won't bore you with the small stuff, but after squaring and tabbing everything in place, it just becomes a ton of filleting and taping. I got advice from a friend that is building a 43' Dick Newick designed trimaran in Aspen, CO, and after that I started doing my fillets as follows. 1- mix and fillet several feet (I usually would try to mix up and fillet about 8-12 linear feet). 2- after filleting, start precutting your double bias tape (set aside in an order you can remember). 3- set up a piece of plastic sheathing on a flat work surface (I did mine on a 1x12 set on sawhorses). 4- Wait until fillets start to gel, and mix epoxy in small batches, wet out the precut pieces of tape on top of the plastic (I used a chip brush and squeegee), wet out then lay the tape to your fillet and squeegee in place (I found the side of my gloved finger worked well) also use your finger to gently push/slide the tape into the fillet, so that you get a good bond. doing this technique I felt I was able to work very efficiently, and created my best fillets.

Stringers: I pre marked where I wanted my stringers to sit, then cut plywood scraps to length and roughly 4" tall, I then used a technique counter top installers use, and held my stringer to my layout marks, then used a 3/4"X3/4" block/pencil to slide along my hull panel and transferring the exact hull shape to the stringer, I then cut to the mark with my skill saw, check that it fits right, now use it as a template to cut another, (if you laid your frames out correctly it should fit perfectly on the other side of the boat), repeat until all stringers are cut, then you get the fun of doing more fillets, by now it will be second nature (I put my iPod on shuffle, cranked it up, and just kept moving).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stitching the hull and setting frames.

This was an exciting time in the build, and you get to see a boat take shape very fast. This is also where a good cradle will start to pay off. I found that my panels just laid in place, no bending, forcing, or very much tension on the zip ties was required. The green strap was used to just hold the sides roughly in place, there was no pressure on the strap, and the hooks kept the panel in place as I set frames and started to zip tie everything together. 

 Frame alignment/squaring the boat:  I had pre- marked the centerlines on all my frames, top and bottom and had snapped a chalk line down the center of the bottom panel when I had cut the frames/panels (I had also marked the centers of all my cradles) this helped in several ways 1- it allowed me lay the bottom panel, centered exactly on the cradle. 2- having the marks on the frames allowed me to set the marked frames to the chalkline on the bottom panel, and I was able to zip tie the frames in while also seeing their alignment down the centerline of the boat. 3- At this stage I had used auto jacks to level the cradle from my sloped garage floor and set the cradle level down the length and side to side, I then ran a string line down the length of the boat, at centerline, and was able to verify that my centerline marks at the top of the frames, lined up down the length of the boat. Everything lined up perfectly and after measuring diagonals from the stern, I had a little less then 1/16" variance in square,,,, TIME to start filleting…….
4- You will later be happy that you made those centerline marks as you construct your keel trunk, install your compression post, etc, as the marks have already been made, and by now you know that things will line up almost automatically. I hope that made sense and helps a little.

I plan to make the cradle available to any Colorado boat builders Spring/Summer of 2014 and would like to help anyone with an interest in getting their boat going, you can email me :

Monday, January 20, 2014

I cut all of the hull panels and almost all  of my frames with a skill saw, (only using my jigsaw to connect the dots on inside corners or the tight radiuses needed for cutouts).  A skill saw will cut most of the radiuses faster and more precise then a jig saw and will save you a ton of time. (buy a sacrificial piece of 3/4" plywood to stack on your saw horses, set the blade depth to 5/16" and cut away) also: look a little ahead of the blade, and you will follow the radius easily.

The next time saver was to do away with the messy paint to mark the tyveks, I got tired of waiting for paint to dry, so I stretched my tyveks across the 1/4" plywood, held in place with frog tape, and used a dark highlighter, to mark the outline of the tyveks, it created a nice sharply defined edge to cut to, with out the mess and wait time of paint.