Boat Building Class 5

I know.  I know.  It is time to clean my shop.  Since I took this picture, I have done a huge clean-up down there.  It is funny how once the boat starts taking shape, I always realize that I don’t have enough space planned out.  So I cleaned up the area around the boat to give me some more walk-around room.



So, boat building class is still a challenge.  My son’s kayak project is on hold until I pick up some Sapele for the deck (hopefully on Monday).  My daughter has seemed to lose a bit of interest and I am starting to think that she was just using me and her Bobcat to stay up a little later than normal.  I was OK with that.  If being used means I get to spend more time building boats, then use away!  Then she actually cried to me last night when I told her that it was too late for boat building, but I promised her I would make time for it tonight.  She seemed excited, but time will tell.  As you can see above, I have been busy in the meantime.


I think one of the tasks that lost Maggie’s interest was the measuring and cutting of all the pieces.  It is tedious work measuring everything out.  So I went and did that myself.  I got all of the side and bilge panels scarfed and cut as well as all of the frames.  I started all of the cuts on the insides of the frames as well.  To keep their rigidity, they will not be completely cut out until the boat is glued up.  As you can see in the photo on the left.


20140310_232500I then assembled the hull with just the frames and side panels.  I am waiting on some white oak I acquired from eBay to arrive for the transom, and the stem will need to be fastened in.  My thought process here was that the next time Maggie goes down in the basement, she will see the shape of a boat instead of a pile of lumber and her mind will be blown.  I know mine was.  This boat is going to be gorgeous!  The strip of teak nailed to the second frame is to keep it straight.  It was bowing badly when I first put it in.

At this point in the build I am a little confused about the process.  The book says something to the effect that I should “tack” cleats at the end of the frames to catch the nails coming through the panels.  When someone says to “tack” something in I always assume that it is temporary.  That is all well and good an pretty self-explanatory.  The part that I am not sure about is what to do with those cleats as I progress?  Do they come out?  Do they stay in?  At the beginning of the taping instructions it says that all nails should be drawn or hammered flush at this point.  Is that the point that I pull the cleats out?  If so, what would keep the frames in place?  My thought is that I tape one side of the frame and then remove the cleat, but I am concerned that if a little epoxy seeps through that joint, now the cleat is permanent.  So I posed my question to a handful of forums I belong to.  The reply I got from Chuck Leinweber at Duckworks Magazine ( was perfect:

My theory is that there is no “correct” or “right” way to do stitch and glue. We can’t even agree on what to call it: stitch and glue, tape and glue, taped seam, stitch and tape – all have been used. The way I see it you are here and you want to get there. Any way you get there is fine as long as you are happy there.

And that folks are words to live by when building a boat.  Boat plans and directions are more guidelines than anything.  Sure you can follow them exactly, but you need to be flexible enough that when you come to a point where the directions are not clear enough to understand, you are able to think through the problem and come up with your own way to skin the cat.  For now, in my greeness, I follow instructions, but a real boat builder works from just a set of plans and builds the boats using his own honed tricks and techniques.  I look forward to the day….way forward.  In the meantime, I will be pulling out each cleat, covering the corner with packing tape to fend off the epoxy, and nailing them in with copper wire nails so that they can be removed later.


**UPDATE:  Maggie and I worked for 1.5 hours last night.  First we nailed cleats to the temporary transom.  Then we pulled out the clamped in cleats to cover them with packing tape to make sure the epoxy won’t make them permanent.  Boat building class is back on!!!  I am thinking the best way to do this is to show her a step and do it with her for as much time as we have, but then go down on my own to finish that step.  That way each time we have class, she both sees progress and has a new step to focus on.

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