Archive for August, 2009


Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Finishing is going smoothly, with only a slight detour.

cetolMy choice of finish is “bright” for the interior and decks and paint for the hull. There are lots of options for “bright,” and I decided upon one that is closer to work boat than show boat. For a show boat, one can tediously work up to 12 coats of fine varnish. That’s beyond my patience, and I want to get in the water some time this century. Instead, I decided to use Sikkens Marine Cetol, an alkyd resin that builds much faster than varnish. Three coats will do instead of twelve. I know the stuff is tough because I helped my son strip some of it off a rustic swing last summer. Tenacious stuff! Looking back on notes I took while at the Wooden Boat School, I was amused to see that Greg said this about Cetol, “The first coat will scare you.” Yep. It does. The first coat is uneven and blotching from the way the material sinks in. It evens out with additional coats. Cetol has a bit more pigment, resulting in an amber cast that’s not as clear as plain varnish.  The photo shows two coats.

paint colorsThere’s a slight delay for the hull paint. I ordered, and received, it way back in April. One small problem. Wrong color. Kirby is a brand of marine paints that is now being run by the 4th or 5th generation George Kirby. I saw Kirby color chips, real ones, last spring and decided on a color. When I ordered from Jamestown Distributors, I sought out that color … as indicated on the tiny little swatches on their web site. That was a mistake! The swatches Jamestown uses are not correct. Before opening the can, something prodded me to look at Kirby’s online color chart. Ouch, the #37 Permanent Green that I ordered was not the #12 Bottle Green I wanted.

Jamestown’s policy says they will authorize returns within 30 days, but not for certain items, such as paint. Yet, even though this was paint and the order well beyond the 30 day period, they said “send it back.” No questions, no fuss. They have always treated me well, and going beyond the letter of their policy is better than I expected. Thank You Jamestown Distributors. The correct color is on a UPS truck somewhere.

Lesson: Check and double check, maybe even triple check, paint colors and be very careful about what you see on web pages. Going back to those class notes, I found “#12 Bottle Green” as a marginal note.

Last Laps and Other Small Jobs

Monday, August 24th, 2009

fine caulkingLapstrake construction often wants a sealant applied where the laps meet. The sealant / adhesive of choice for this boat is 3M 5200, the “white goop” that easily, and tenaciously, gets all over everything. The boat’s designer wisely advised against using 5200 for the full length of each lap while planking. Looking back, you’ll see that I only used adhesive on the gains areas near the ends of the planks. Deferring the lap caulking made for a much neater job. It’s done this way: Use the tip of a screwdriver to make a shallow groove (about 1/8 inch) along the join of each lap.  Then, fill that shallow groove with 5200. The technique works very well and avoids a big mess. To make it easy, I used a syringe with a quite small tip rather than the large nozzles usually found on caulking tubes. The same technique was used for the 5200 along the laps and for the simple acrylic latex caulk along the coamings. Oh yeah, the corner of a credit card is perfect for shaping these fine caulk lines.

A couple of other small jobs. …

seat mount rivetsThe brackets that mount the seat back are designed to have rivets through them to prevent splitting when lifting the boat by the seat back. A few inches of #12 copper electric wire and a few roves provided the raw material. Tap tap tap did the rest.

rub stripsHalf-round brass rub strips at the base of each stem offer a bit more protection and wrap up the last of the small assemblies. Well, maybe the penultimate small assembly. I’m considering a cane seat instead of a simple cushion but haven’t decided yet.

Harry specs the 12 foot Fiddlehead at 46 pounds weight when built as he does. My lumber is slightly different and I wondered if it would add extra weight. Without paint, the boat now weighs 47 pounds. Not bad. Actually, much better than I anticipated.

Gone Swimmin’

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

keep the mud warm WilmaThe location is a very unusual sandy beach on the Dalmation coast. Most of the coast is craggy rocks with sharp rocky bottoms that require thick sole swim shoes. Not here. This beach is sandy, and the bottom too. It’s located on a very wide shallow lagoon just west of the tiny town of Nin, Croatia, about 15 kilometers north of Zadar. The beach is on a peninsula facing toward the mainland. The mountains are part of the Velebit range. The azure water is absolutely delightful. Most days bring very clear skies, or very few clouds, and very low humidity. Perfect swimming.

Some people like the nearby mud, which is thought to have medicinal value. Keep that mud warm Wilma. After ObamaCare passes, this may be the best medical care one can get.