Day 5


Back to work after a brief hiatus.  The plans from CLC arrived today as promised so I can resume building.  I have to say that the way that CLC handled this situation was first class.  Too many companies sacrifice good customer service in the name of profits today, but Chesapeake Light Craft is not one of those companies.

First I unrolled the plans to see what I was dealing with.  Kit builders don't typically receive plans, but if I were a plans builder  I would have received two full size pages like this one which would be laid out on sheets of uncut plywood and transferred from paper to wood using an ice pick or other sharp tool.

I opted to use thumb tacks.  It was a bit of a challenge to line up the paper with the already cut and beveled parts, but I got it as close as I possibly could and then tacked the paper down to keep it from moving and punched out all the stitch hole locations.

Once both deck pieces were marked I then drilled 1/16" holes at each of the points where I had poked a hole.

Next I started stitching the deck together.  The deck consists of two deck panels and two shear panels.  First the deck panels are stitched together to form the cockpit opening, and then the shear panels are stitched to that.  I thought it might be easier to do this with the panels laying on the hull assembly thinking that the hull would align the panels properly, but I was wrong.

This actually created gaps that were difficult to close up with the copper stitching alone,   it was difficult to hold the panels and stitch them from underneath, and it would have been impossible to get the deck forms in place using this method, so I transferred this assembly to my other set of saw horses and completed it upside down.  This proved to be much easier.

All of the camber in the foredeck of the boat is created by the form that is just in front of the cockpit.  This form was the most challenging to get stitched in tightly because you have to force the deck panel to bend around the form and wire it in tightly at the same time.  It would have been easier with two people as the manual recommends, but it can be done with one person if you have a stable surface to press down against such as a saw horse crossbar.  First once side comes together and then the other.

Next both shear panels were stitched to the deck and forms and then I flipped the entire deck over to adjust and tighten the stitches.

Once all the stitches were tight, it was time to bring the deck  and hull together.  I admit I spent a lot of time just admiring the shape of the boat at this stage, because this was the first time I could actually see the shape of the finished project.

Next it was time to actually join the deck and the hull.  This is a dry fitting and its main purpose is to make sure that everything comes together correctly.  This is the time to make any adjustments to either hull or deck, because after this step both will be tack welded and will permanently keep their shapes after.  I was fortunate that I really didn't have to make too many adjustments, really just a little tightening.

I used the stretch wrap method rather than stitching the parts together.  I placed a couple stitches at the bow, then wrapped that area with shrink wrap, then began shrink wrapping sections moving toward the stern.  In places where the panels didn't want to come together, especially the cockpit area, I would add a stitch on each side.  I think I used a total of four stitches and six shrink wraps.

The next step will be to remove the deck, tack weld all joints, then join the two back together so they cure to the proper shape.  This all has to be done in one session.

Total time on this phase: 4.0 hrs. 
Total time on construction: 13.0 hours