During the winter of 2015/16 I built a CLC Skerry. Recently I decided I wanted a bigger boat, and that I needed something to keep me busy during the Coronavirus pandemic. So in October 2020 I ordered a Pocketship kit.
This went basically according to plan: I put 3 coats of epoxy on the underside of the two pieces, glued them together, and carefully checked its fit on the hull. I used lots of glue and temporary screws, working quickly to get it all done before the epoxy started setting up. Afterwards I used a router and a plane to trim off the excess.
This was the last major component to be added to the hull. The next steps are a lot of filleting on the cockpit, lots of sanding all over the upper hull, and glassing the entire cockpit and cabin roof.
I cut it with a bandsaw (which made a rather wavy cut), and got it flat with a plane.
I installed the dorade boxes and their reinforcing blocks and cleats. Then I cut and installed the curved cleats on the front and rear cabin walls.. Finally, I installed the breasthook. All these pieces needed some routing and sanding, and three coats of epoxy.
I finally glued in place the front sheerclamps. which I had steam-bent a couple of weeks previously. I also installed the transom skirt cap pieces. Both of these jobs required a lot of clamps!
I cut lots of pieces of styrofoam insulation and put them in the buoyancy chambers. I also primed and painted the storage compartments at the rear. Next I glued the seatback panels into place. They are held in place with clamps, stainless-steel pneumatic brads, and a couple of weights. The last step was to glue down the top pieces.
I installed the transom skirt:
I decided that the forward sheerclamps were too stiff to successfully bend into place, so I decided to steam them first. I made a minimalist steam box from an empty paint can and seven feet of “spa vacuum hose” from Lowe’s. For a heat source, I naturally used the same LP gas burner I got for the lead-melting. After an hour of steaming, each sheerclamp bent easily, and I clamped them to the outside of the hull to dry out for a few days.
I did a bunch of filleting, and applied fiberglass tape to the side seams. I also started installing the parts for the seatbacks.
Below is a shot of the centerboard pendant sheave, safely tucked away in the trunk. I 3D-printed the spacers on either side of the sheave.
Actually, I still need to finish the removable sections, but that will happen much later. Now I have to cover them up to continue working on the hull.
I have been finishing the floorboards with Danish Oil. It is slow work. Because the stuff is stinky I have to work in the cold garage, so the Oil needs a long time to dry. So far about half of the floorboards are installed, and the rest need one more coat of Danish Oil.
I also finished the centerboard trunk with several coats of clear water-based polyurethane. People will be able to look at it and know for sure that this is a wooden boat!
To avoid poisoning everybody in the house, I used water-based paints from System Three: their epoxy primer and polyurethane topcoat.
The primer was nice to use: it goes on smoothly, and is easy to sand if you do it within 12 hours after application. Your tools clean up easily with water, and it doesn’t smell bad.
The top coat was much trickier, and there was a learning curve – I did reduce it the first coat, which ended up blotchy and lumpy. For the subsequent coats I reduced it about 12% with water, and the job went more smoothly. But it took 4 coats to get full coverage in the important areas of the cabin. The bilges are still blotchy, but nobody will ever see them. At least the stuff is mostly odorless (about the same as household latex paint) and it dries quickly – you can recoat after 4 hours, and it’s quite hard after 8 hours.
I’m glad to finally be done with all the fiberglass, epoxy, and paint work for the cabin and bilges.
This is getting tiresome…
But notice how I can keep working in ideal conditions, despite the blizzard outside.
I have to sand all the edges and bumps out of the fiberglass on the bottom of the hull. After that, it will get one more coat of epoxy, and it will have to be sanded again!
I put the cleats on the footwell sides, and coated them and the footwell floor with epoxy. Then I glued the two halves of the bowsprit together, even though I won’t be doing anything else with it for months.
I marked and cut one side, then used each cut piece as a pattern to cut the other side.
Some trivia for other builders: I needed 134 screws: all 1-1/2″, except for two in the outside rear corners that are 1-1/4″. I used flat-head Frearson bronze screws, with the heads slightly countersunk below the surface.
As soon as all the floorboards fit nicely and the screw holes were drilled, I removed them and set them aside to start work on finishing the interior.
Lots of cutting, planing, and drilling screw holes. I 3d-printed some handy jigs to get the floorboards properly spaced and the screw holes nicely aligned.
The last portion to be glassed was the bow compartment, which is a hassle to reach.
Notice that for the forward compartments, I marked up the fiberglass cloth with a Sharpie to help me cut it out and position it. Nobody will ever see it after the boat is finished.