Day 13


Today's tasks were to fillet, tape, and epoxy the newly formed joint between the deck and hull.  Unlike previous filleting and taping sessions, this task has a difficulty level of 9 due to the fact that only a portion of the joint can easily be accessed through the cockpit and rear hatch.

First all of the stitches and shrink wrap were removed as well as the coaming ring, then the boat gets flipped on its side and is supported by scrap wood clamped to the cradles.

In order to reach all the way into the bow from the cockpit to spread the filleting material and unroll the fiberglass tape, I had to make some special tools.  Three of them actually.  A filleting tool, a paintbrush, and a scraper attached to 3 foot pieces of scrap wood will allow me to reach almost all the way to the tip of the bow.

As with previous fillets, epoxy is mixed with wood flour to a thick peanut butter consistency and then spread into the joint.

This was a fun picture to take...

The paint scraper was handy for removing the excess filleting material.

The fore section of the boat was a piece of cake compared to the aft section which is only accessible from the hatch.  For the aft section I ended up donning my backpacking headlamp, inserting one arm holding a filleting tool loaded with epoxy into the hatch , then sticking my head into the hole so I could smooth out the fillet.  There are no pictures of this operation unfortunately, so you just have to use your imagination.  Think of a dolphin giving birth and that's probably pretty close to what this operation looked like from the outside (and the inside come to think of it).  Thankfully I am using low emission epoxy or I probably would not have survived.

This is a picture taken by holding the camera inside the hatch looking back toward the transom.  I have to say given the tight quarters thats a pretty fine fillet (it's the one on the far right).

Once both sides were filleted, I measured out 4 pieces of fiberglass tape.  Two were measured starting three inches from the bow and going to the bulkhead, and two were started from the bulkhead going to about three inches from the transom.  Those strips were rolled up and placed in an aluminum pan and then saturated with un-thickened epoxy.

There are no pictures of the next operation either.  The reason for this was that the epoxy started going exothermic about half way through applying the tape to the filleted joint so I had to move very quickly.  Basically one end of the tape was placed at a starting point at the bulkhead, then the paintbrush screwed to the wood was used to unroll the tape the entire length of the joint, smoothing it as I went.  Again, the fore section was pretty easy, the aft section was once again aquatic mammal lamaze.

Here is the fore section completed:

And here is one from the hatch looking toward the stern:

I also added fillets between the bulkhead and the deck on both sides to ensure a watertight seal.  

Since I had some filleting material left over, I decided to go ahead and apply the fillet to the coaming ring as well.