Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cleaning Up the Seams, Continued

Well, several weeks have gone by, with more holidays and more guests. The rebate plane turned out to be a good idea, and made pretty quick work of what I had feared would be a long and painful task. The clearly articulated three step process for cleaning all the squeeze out from the seams was not, in the end, the best approach for most of the boat. As I worked along, I developed a slightly different approach: just do whatever seems to work best.

The epoxy that squeezed out had different consistencies, depending, I guess, on how much wood flour I mixed in, and how much it had cured before I got the plank into position. I ended up going back and forth between working toward the plank edge and working toward the face of the next plank. In places where the epoxy formed a convex "bead," everything went pretty smoothly which ever way I approached it. If the epoxy had settled into a "fillet," though, the plane would want to ride up out of the corner. Sometimes I would change directions back and forth, sometimes I would plane down to the wood in one direction, then turn and plane away the rest of the epoxy from the other. In the end, it went pretty quickly, and pretty successfully.

I did notice two things as I worked along. This was the first time I had really, carefully, looked over the whole hull since beginning this project so long ago. First, my level of craftsmanship has increased dramatically. The more recent planks have much cleaner edges than the earlier ones, which have some wavy lines. I was able to smooth some of the earlier ones while cleaning up the epoxy. Mostly, though, I figured these will be below the waterline and no one will ever see them anyway. I'll get to clean them up a little more when I round over the edges in preparation for putting a fiberglass skin on the hull.

Second, there are a few places where the seam is a little glue starved. I'll need to go back and use a syringe to fill some gaps. I still need to fill a ton of screw holes along the keelson. This will just add a little to that part of the project. The only area I'm concerned about is between the fifth and sixth plank near the starboard bow. There is a 2 to 3 foot stretch where I can see light between the planks. I need to figure out how to get a good bond between those planks. I'm thinking of taping the bottom of the seam and letting some unthickened run into it. Maybe use screws to pull the planks together while it cures. The gap is small - less than a millimeter, but with unthickened epoxy, I guess it's probably better to minimize the gap.

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