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Continuing on the Skerry Hull construction

Part 1 of the Skerry Hull Construction here. Part 3 of the Skerry Hull Construction here.

making skerry hull

I finally put a second coat of resin on the bottom and on the first panel (garboard), and a first coat on rest of the boat interior. Looks pretty rough but I'm happy. Long day but lots to show for it.


making skerry hull

The breasthooks are the triangular pieces at the bow and sterns of my Skerry. They have to be strong because that's what you hang on to when you carry the boat.

I used a big old rasp I've had for years, then sanded with coarse sandpaper.

Stern breasthook just fell in place perfectly without even a whimper. The boat is starting to look like an oversize fat canoe with the front and back breasthooks in place and no seats yet.


Skerry breasthook

I was expecting a fight to get the breasthooks in and only had a small argument from the bow. The stern practically jumped into place by itself.


Skerry breasthook

Had to fiddle the bow breasthook some. Eventually it fit reasonably and I got it in.

Outside of the boat gets a good sanding and any hole filled. I rounded the front and back and the bottom. Very nerve-wracking! It feel very nice to the hand.


sanding skerry hull Cutting fiberglass to fit first panel of boat

Cut the fiberglass about an inch larger than required and taped the edge of the second panel. I'm ready for resin. I've also cut and put aside the fiberglass strips for the front and back.

I'm much smarter than I was when I did the inside of the boat. That's what you call experience. This time I worked a small area at a time applying resin as I go. When I run out I just measure another batch. I like this slow set feature.


Skerry hull outside glassing Skerry hull fiberglassed

The outside of the boat was much easier to work with than inside. Experience and positioning both added to make it easier to control the resin. Now everything has to set a little before I trim the extra glass and apply the strips front and back.

Heavy duty fancy extractor fan in the kitchen is showing it's worth today. it's not really smelly but I don't like to take a chance.

The outside of the Skerry gets 3 coats of epoxy. Here it is after the first overall coat. it's so magic to see the wood just come alive with the resin. it's a shame I'm planning to paint the outside of the boat. I think it would be just too much wood but I am tempted.

There are surprising few drips. I applied quite a thin coat. It needs to harden now for a couple of days because I'm planning some serious sanding on the outside next.

The Skerry has a pretty shape.

While it sets I am working on wooden cleats.


outside of skerry hull is coated with epoxy resin Skerry rubrails

I found a fabulous mahogany board and cut it in 1 inch strips. Then I was able to sand a scarf and glue the pieces together to make 16 feet lengths. The annoying thing is that they had a 16 feet long board but I simply could not handle the length. My table saw lives in the basement and that's a 10 feet limit to bring it upstairs. Plus I don't have that much room to feed to the table saw. Never mind.

I managed a nice joint using a belt sander first then a sanding block. Glued everything alongside a straight board and let it set for a couple of days.

Skerry gunnelsSkerry hull gunwales

After cleaning up the joints with my sanding block I reinforced the joints with clamps and started bending the boards.

The wood is exceptionally rigid and I was afraid the gunwales would break or fail at the joint if I just tried to install them on the hull without pre-bending.

I've been wetting the boards and adding weight. It seems to be working. I will let it bend for a couple of days increasing the weight gradually.
Every one is making fun of my poor living room but no permanent damage yet!

Note: I was right to be concerned about the gunwales. One failed a couple of days after I launched the boat. I was lucky because only the outside thickness gave way. The inner thickness stayed good and solid. It had been a scorching hot day and I suppose the epoxy gave way under the tension.

The wood was very stiff and I think that my joint had sucked out the epoxy to the point where the joint was glue starved. I eventually re-glued AND added a layer of cloth top and side. It has held perfectly.

After pre-bending the gunwales for 3 days I started installing them. I dry assembled the first 2. One scarf joint failed while I was adjusting the other side and since it was perfectly clamped in place with only a partial de-laminate I just re-glued it in place. The other side went on relatively easily. The shape was improved slightly. Side curves are more smooth.
You see pretty much my entire clamp collection! Only one side is glued the other just clamped to keep the shape of the boat from distorting if only one side was clamped. I will take my time and allow things to set properly. Meanwhile I am working on the mast step and the daggerboard well. Also I am adding epoxy to the birds mouth mast and sprit. I've also been putting paint on the rudder pieces and the daggerboard.


Skerry Gunwales Skerry gunnel

Transferred my clamp collection to the other side! I now have a first layer of gunwales applied to both sides. I am a nervous wreck! Even with the pre bending, my wood is very stiff and resistant to bending. If it does't pop off it will add considerably to the rigidity of the boat.
The scarf joint that had partially failed open seems to have glued well. I will have to even up the edges because when I cut the sides with my little saw I weaved this way and that and this is now showing up against the mostly straight gunnel. I don't think this will be a problem though.
Clamping the tip is tricky. Here I have a clamp on the opposite side and I am clamping against it. It seems to be working and has pulled the front of the rubrail tightly against the side and front.

Coaxed the second layer of the gunnel this time both sides at once, I managed to convince George to give me a hand. Used every clamp I owned. I will now leave the boat to set for 2-3 days. The gunnel has made the boat absolutely rigid. it's amazing how much influence it has structurally.

I used cut up water pipes to supplement my clamp collection. They worked quite well and were surprisingly useful just to tack stuff in place before I put on a c clamp. I found that a section about 1.5 inches wide worked quite well. I doubled up the narrower sections to give them more spring. it's easy just put one section inside the other and the clamping power is pretty much doubled. I don't think only pipe sections would have worked in this case but they were very useful. The price is right!

Skerry hull assembly Skerry hull assembly

I fitted the seats and gave them a first coat of resin.

I will be adding a patch at the very tip of the fore and aft seat to reinforce and thicken the seat to allow me to attach little cleats if I want.

Started fitting the seats. I had not cut the front seat very well. I will have to check the plans. The middle seat was also too large. This is definitely a discrepancy between the plans and the measurements. The stern seat was relatively good and will go in with a minimum of coercion. They were all too big so I'm wondering if the plans I got had been reproduced / photocopied correctly.

Cut a round hole for the mast. I cut the mast holes in the step and on the seat slightly oversize. I intend to pad the holes and use the play to adjust the rake of the mast and experiment. This boat is essentially one big toy! Everything has received a coat of epoxy and is hardening as we speak.

It seems like all I've done today is sand but I've actually done quite a lot. I marked and cut out the holes for the flotation compartment opening gizmo. I should have done this before assembling the boat. It was difficult to do.

Eventually I turned the boat upside down and sat under it. This make the access to the front and back bulkheads much easier.

I coated the inside of the bulkhead with another layer of resin and sealed the opening edges. I also added some glass cloth where the mast is backing to strengthen the wood. With the mast attaching there I was worried it would not be strong enough. I think i'm over cautious.

Speaking of paranoia, I have not removed the clamps that hold the gunnels at the point where the scarf joints are. I'm hoping the wood will settle in its new shape and not stress the joints too much if I wait. I think that once I have a couple layers of resin on the whole gunnel wood, they will be quite solid.

NOTE: I had good reason to be worried. After launch I came back to my boat after it sat overnight and was warming up in the sun under its cover, and one of the joints had come undone. In hindsight I think I clamped too tight and starved the joint of glue. I re-glued with more epoxy, clamped it in place with a little band of fiberglass on the underside and it's been fine for several years.

I have sanded the top of the gunnels so that the boat and the 2 layers are nice and even except at the breasthooks and under the clamps. I was too chicken to do those yet.

Applied the fillets to the 3 bulkheads. No one is going to run after me to give me a prize for these but I think they are reasonably smooth. I can always sand them!

Best of all I sanded and sanded and sanded. The inside is vaguely coming together.

Skerry hull sandingSkerry hull assembly

Part 1 of the Skerry Hull Construction here. Part 3 of the Skerry Hull Construction here.

Read about other parts of my Skerry being constructed

Links to: [ back to Skerry page ] [Making a birds mouth mast,] [rudder and daggerboard,] [sail,] [oars,]
[cleats,] [ daggerboard well and mast step, ] [my boats] [Mihai builds a Skerry

emails: Christine

This web site reflects my personal ideas and doesn't represent anyone else's point of view.