Boat Building – Bolger Catboat

This week I have been able to spend a handful of nights down in the basement much to my wife’s chagrin.  I have made some fantastic progress on the Bolger Catboat (Bobcat) and completed a step on the CLC Wood Duck as well.  It has been wonderful being down there and getting some work done, but it is time to catch up on some sleep.

I got both bilge panels sprung on the hull.  This was a tricky part and it was not without its problems.  Here are the steps I took.

  • Tack cleats to bulkhead 2 and 320140731_003134
  • Dry fit the panel
  • Tack the aft end to the transom
  • Dry fit and make adjustments if needed
  • Nail bilge panel to cleats to remove the bow
  • Stitch areas still bowing
  • Soak the area that will twist with water
  • Clamp in place and check all is fair (pictured)
  • Glue and nail in place

Plywood has no problem bending in one direction, but it does not like to bend in 2 directions.  Soaking it in water makes it a bit better, but it requires some strength to convince it to go.  The second panel is a bit more challenging since there is no where to put a clamp (picture at the bottom of the page for solution).

As you pull the panel in, various places start to bow outward.  That is why you see the cable ties in a couple of sections and the reason you want to tack cleats on the 2nd and 3rd bulkheads.

20140804_075122Problems (could be major).  Both bilge panels came up about 2-3″ short at the upper part of the stem.  Obviously, I was off on my measurements somewhere.  Maybe the stem, maybe the bilge panels.  I will probably never know.  I will just have to take measurements off the boat for the deck instead of off the plans just in case my boat is now 2-3″ longer than it should be.

My solution to this problem was to create some additional surface on the stem to glue/nail to (pictured).  If I left it this way, there would definitely be a strength concern here since that is where the majority of the resistance comes from the bending plywood.  Once I flip the boat over and start filleting the seems, I will load up the stem with a big chunky fillet to compensate.

She sure does have pretty lines so far.  Next will be to commit the shape with some epoxy in the seems from the outside.20140805_001243


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