Sanding and the Skeg. And Sanding… and Sanding.

July 3rd, 2013

A while back I got up on my expository horse and rode around for a while as I expressed the joys of planing old growth Douglas fir. It seems only fair, therefore, that I dismount now and do some good old inarticulate grousing about sanding. I loathe and detest sanding with a burning, fiery vengeance which is why I haven’t updated this blog in a while; I’ve been too depressed with the task in hand to take pictures and pretend to be excited about the process. But now I’m nearly at the end, and fiberglassing is in sight. before I drop the glass on the wood, I thought I’d document the (admittedly satisfying) outcome of that sanding, as well as a few of the other  fun details I’ve been working on.

Most conspicuous in the latter category are the skeg, the fillets, and the stem. In reverse order: the outside stem started life as a bent mass of laminated fir. I screwed and glued this blank to the bow a while back, but as I refined the shape of the planks, I went back and faired the stem into them. The top of the stem (the bottom at the moment) stays square, and will eventually receive some sort of an anchor roller. But most of the stem forms a (hopefully) invisible transition with the planks. I got to plane a bit more on this transition, which made me happy. As did carving the scallop at the bottom of the square section with a chisel.

The fillets are crescent-shaped masses of thickened epoxy at the chines between planks. Once all is smooth, I’ll lay a layer of 2 oz fiberglass cloth over the whole boat. A sharp corner would create air pockets between cloth and hull, and the fillets and rounded corners are there to prevent this. Check out the detail photo. Lots of epoxy and fairing filler happened this month.

The skeg is a big ole hunk of laminated fir that keeps the boat going straight, and makes the bottom of the keel a straight line– helpful for beaching and trailering. The back edge also serves as a mounting point for the rudder. I figured out the rough dimensions  from the plans, and then mocked up the final size using a string to represent the bottom edge. Then I cut slightly over-length pieces of fir, and clamped and glued. To create the curve of the keel on that upper edge, I just rested the skeg next to it on the boat, and transferred the keel shape to the skeg with a pencil. A little bandsaw, a little spokeshave, a plane, and viola!

After all this sanding, I laid on a thin base coat of epoxy to help the glass tick. This ran and dripped, so I’m in the middle of sanding everything. Again.

It will end.

It will end.



Entry Filed under: Building Ratty


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