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.
With half a dozen helpers and six old tires, this took only a few minutes, even in the confined space where the boat is being built.
I cut the gaff and rounded its edges, and finished up the bowsprit. I also did a test-fit of the bowsprit. Then I finished shaping the edges of the centerboard.
The boat is just about ready to be flipped, so that the bottom can be glassed and finished!
Lots of work here:
- 24 scarfs had to be cut on the 18 strips of rail material.
- The 18 pieces had to be glued together to make 6 full-length pieces
- Each piece needed to be run through the table saw to give it a trapezoidal cross-section.
- I had to build a temporary bending jig from scraps and the pallet the kit came on.
- Each piece needed to be steamed (with the same setup I used for the sheerclamps) and clamped to the jig for a couple of days.
- Each piece had to be test-fitted in place, and the screw holes drilled.
- Each piece had to be glued in place one at a time, and held with temporary screws, clamps, etc.
- Finally, the completed rails were planed and sanded smooth, and the ends were rounded.
This took quite a while. There was a lot of area to cover.
I glassed the cabin roof and installed the cleats around the edge of the companionway.
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.