Bring out the epoxy

This weekend I started by adding in the transom pieces and using cyanoacrylate glue to align the planks and ‘kicker’ to set it off instantly whilst I held the planks in exact alignment. I just needed the glue to hold the planks together so that I could cut out the stitches before I apply the epoxy. I was worried that the glue wouldn’t be strong enough but when placed in drops fairly regularly, it seems to be plenty strong enough.

I also added in the rear bulkhead which all fit together perfectly. Once I had temporarily glued the entire rear section of the boat, I cut some fibreglass tape and lightly sanded the inside of the compartment ready for the first of the fillets.

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I laid in fillets of thickened epoxy (West System) along the first 2 chines and all around the transom and bulkhead joins. I was a bit rubbish at making a fillet – they were definitely not the neatest but luckily this is going to be fully enclosed and so will not be too visible. While the fillets were still wet, I laid on the 50mm fibreglass tape I had cut previously and wet it out with unthickened epoxy. I used a disposable chip brush to smooth and wet out the tape, which also assisted in smoothing out the still wet fillets which was an added benefit.

The joints between the 2 garboard planks and the 2 upper strakes were too flat to add a fillet. So I first painted epoxy on the 50mm strip around the joint and then used this to tack up the tape while I went back and wet it all out. All in all, it seemed to be pretty successful.

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When I worked on the design of this boat on the computer, I got a Rhino file from Nick of the Ripple III hull – which is based on Mack Horton’s original Ripple build (see side bar on home page for links these guys). Nick had first created a smooth ‘ideal’ hull shape but then worked out where the plank lines should run and cut the model into the 8 strakes. When I was designing the rest of the boat, I used these plank lines to cut my pieces. This has worked perfectly in the rear of the boat where the pieces are all naturally flat. But towards the bow, the ‘ideal’ hull in the computer has more curve across the plywood plank than can be achieved in reality. This mean that I had to manually cut off some of the curve to straighten the worst bits. I only had to cut off the 2 sections of the front bulkhead where they met the garboard. After this, I could get a good enough fit for the rest  – and as always, the epoxy will take care of the rest.

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I finished this weekend off by cutting and attaching some 25 x 16mm Tassie Oak stringers to the inside of the sheerline at the bow. I need this inwale to attach the hull top to and to help hold the shape and strength of the boat. The plywood had a funny wriggle in it up at the bow that was ruining the smooth lines – but the addition of the hard wood stringers sorted that out. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos – I will have to do that next weekend.

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