Day 11


The hidden footbrace mounting kit allows me to mount my footbraces without having to screw through the hull.  Because they would be difficult to reach they need to be installed before the deck is attached which is different from the CLC manual which has the foot braces installed at the end of construction.

You may be wondering why I don't want to mount my footbraces using the CLC prescribed method.  There are two reasons actually.  The first is aesthetics. After taking the time to sand for hours and hours so that the outside of my boat is completely flawless and as smooth as glass, why on earth would I want to have four large screw heads proudly protruding through the sides of the hull right above the waterline?  The second reason is water.  Coating every surface of the boat with thick coats of epoxy ensures that water will never come into contact with the wood below the epoxy.  Having four holes drilled through the hull with screws that will have a lot of pressure put on them when the footbraces are used properly just seems like a recipe for disaster to me.  I would rather not take the chance that one of those holes develops a small crack which could allow water to penetrate below the epoxy, which would result in large ugly water stains and eventually rot.  Plus this kit only costs $14, so I really can't even understand why it isn't standard anyway!

Step one is to drill out the footbrace holes because the studs in this kit are much larger than the screws provided for the standard installation.

I went through several bits until I got to one that was large enough to accommodate the studs.  I can't remember exactly what size ended up getting the job done though, sorry.

Next I measured 38" forward from the bulkhead on each side then down 2" and made a marks (my ruler is 2" wide by the way which is convenient):

Then I used the footbraces to find the forward location and made a second mark, again measuring down 2" from the top of the hull on each side:

I covered the backsides of the footbraces with tape to prevent the epoxy from sealing them in too soon.  This may have been unnecessary, but I am all about being cautious.

I mixed up some epoxy thickened with wood flour (silica would have worked here too).

Each of the studs was slathered in epoxy then clamped into place.

One the epoxy had dried, I removed the footbraces.

I covered the threads of the studs with tape to prevent epoxy from getting all over them.

A small square of fiberglass tape is then applied to each of the studs.  The tape is applied at a 45 degree angle, otherwise known as "on the bias".  Applying the tape this way gives the studs more strength since the fibers of the glass will not be aligned parallel to the sheer forces which will be applied to the braces.  

Then the glass is wetted out using un-thickened epoxy and smoothed out.

Here are the four complete studs with the tape still protecting them.  I plan to leave the tape on until the final outfitting since I still need to apply additional coats of epoxy to the interior.

At the same time I was working on the studs, I patched the holes I mistakenly had drilled into my bulkhead by injecting the wood flour thickened epoxy into the holes.  They should not ever be a problem, especially after getting a couple more coats of clear epoxy applied to both sides.