Houston, We Have A Problem

After completing the hull I was ready to move on to the deck.  The deck on my boat is made of Sapele, a dark, hard African hardwood similar to Mahogany.  The deck is what really pops and catches people's eye with a wooden boat, so doing it right is really, really important.  

So I pulled out my deck parts, lined them up according to the manual, and with copper wire in hand was all set to start stitching them together.  At this moment I realized that something was wrong with these parts... no pre-drilled holes.  

The manual says that the builder should expect to have to drill up to 5% of the holes, but this seems to be a lot more than 5%.  I just don't see how I can proceed.  Without the pre-drilled holes, it would be too easy for me to misalign the two deck panels and the two shear panels which could introduce a twist into the boat.  A twist would not only be unattractive and it could also cause the boat to not track correctly.  Also, without pre-drilled holes I have no idea where to place the forms and guessing wrong could cause the hull to be misshapen.

I fully understand how this can happen.  A CNC machine cuts panels based on plans that are uploaded to the control computer.  The CNC can also drill holes based on those instructions.  But if the drill bit breaks off or is missing, the machine still goes through the motions and if the operator isn't paying attention, this will slip right through.  I'm not sure how this got missed in quality control at CLC, you would think something like this would jump right out at an experienced person who handles hundreds of panels.  It's pretty sloppy in my opinion.

The only thing I can do at this point is to contact CLC and see what they can do to help.  Of course it's a Saturday and after 5:00 pm so calling them is out of the question, so I will send an email and maybe post to the builder's forum and hopefully I'll get a response.  I really hate missing a whole day of building time though.  Maybe I'll work on tidying up the bow and stern sections instead.

*** UPDATE ***

I emailed CLC on Saturday and posted a question about this in the builder forum on Sunday.  

The production manager from CLC called me first thing Monday morning.  He is going to be sending me a PDF with as many measurements as he can provide so that I can locate and drill the holes myself to join the deck pieces.  This is the fastest way to get my project back under way, so I'll give it a shot.

I also got an email from John Harris who offered to send me replacement parts, but I think I'll opt for trying to drill the holes myself first. 


David with CLC called me back.  He decided it would probably be easier and leave less to chance if he sent me full size patterns of the hull which I could then lay over my panels and mark the stitch locations.  I like that plan better.  He is sending them to me overnight so tomorrow I should be able to pick things back up.  Their QC may be a little lacking, but I certainly can't say anything bad about their customer service.  They have been extremely responsive so I can feel assured that if anything else goes wrong they will be there to help out.  

John Harris emailed me again to say that they tracked down the the run where the CNC machine lost it's 1/16" drill bit, and of the five Sapele decks that were in that run mine was the one that didn't get the stitch holes.  Just my luck I guess.