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Core Sound 15 #162 — Building the “Norma T”


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@PadrePoint— I hung my sprits below the masts.  The problem I got doing this was that at road speed, the wind scooted the brackets aft.  That’s why you’ll see some white paracord in there.  Also, I don’t support my masts in the middle for trailering.  I used to.  But since I furl (wrap) my sails around the mast for storage, they rubbed at that middle support.  Had to replace the main because of that, since I got a series of holes in my sail.  If you remove your sails every time, you don’t have to worry about this.





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End of Week 6 — Day 28: The Flip


I had hoped to be around day 35 or so at this point but my body’s epoxy reaction took me out of commission a few times. Nonetheless, the boat is progressing. I decided to flip it today to bring the bottom and outside of the hull to its painted finish before continuing other things. It involves the most epoxy work and I simply want to do it as soon as I can. (The rash situation IS improving with a few days of using the ointment from my dermatologist... OK, enough of all that.)


I took the boat off the building cradle.


Since it was in this position, I cut the bottom for the centerboard. It’s quite satisfying to use obscure tools from my 50 years of collecting and sometimes rarely using them. Years ago, I needed an extension for drilling unreachable places, like through the bottom of the centerboard trunk. 

I needed to figure out a way to correctly angle my smaller (inexpensive Harbor Freight) router to match the angle of the centerboard trunk to the hull bottom. I have no idea what the right-angle piece that came with the router was intended for, but I came up with a way to use it to “adjust” the router’s angle correctly. 


Success!  I’ve been concerned how the centerboard would fit; might it be too tight in the trunk?  I put off glassing the centerboard until I was comfortable that things wouldn’t bind up. There is plenty of space and I think adding fiberglass to the centerboard will produce an excellent fit.



I modified the building cradle a bit. A 2x4 across the top points of the aft cradle and cutting down the points on the bow cradle let me put another 2x4 in the bow, thus keeping the boat level... in case I decide to paint a waterline boot while it’s still upside down.  (Note: the two red boat bumpers I recently bought are being used to help keep the boat stable on its side... useful already. ?). I probably didn’t need to add the flat side of another 2x4 to each end like I did; I tend to overbuild sometimes. But, I thought that wider supports to the upside down seats would be better than just the 1.5 inches of a the 2x4 side. 


Using a couple old tarps there will be plenty of padding on the supports (the tarp at the bow harkens back to 1976; I still use it all the time; it’s been worth the $3 purchase.)22C0ED8D-EAAB-41E5-BABB-FE82CE817108.jpeg.76b0cc62a6cad07e55ec0ab7d886eb7a.jpeg


The boat is now rock solid, level, and stable, ready for sanding and fairing in preparation for fiberglass.  Now, glassing the hull is another one of those tasks that intimidates me. My first and only attempt in applying fiberglass cloth of any size was with the hatch covers.  It was a dismal failure. In frustration, I tore the still wet glass off the hatch covers and made the decision they would only be epoxied and painted like the seats. 


When the day was finished things were sanded, the keel has a flattened one inch in the center, the transom is sanded with edges rounded, and the chines were reasonably rounded (maybe not as wide a rounding as called for, but I’m satisfied with how things turned out.) There are lots of little holes from temporary fasteners that I’ll fill tomorrow and there is a dip where the longboard sander sits in the photo... I will try to fill that as well.  The dip occurs at a finger joint; I kind of messed that up a little when I accidentally left a countersink bit between the plywood pieces as I glued them together (I described that error back on page one.)  It’s time to fix my early error.4952F8A0-7997-4EBA-B2EA-AA7A16D9D10C.jpeg.cfcaba55bed598c306510f475fdcadfc.jpeg


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I have some video from my Core sound 20 mark 3 build that has another example of glassing the bottom.

While is a larger area I don't think it's more difficult to do. My most current preferred and order of operations is...

-sand the bottom as you've done. 

-Fill in all the little voids 

-lay down the glass cloth (immediately after previous step so no sanding)

-spread epoxy to soak in and squeegee off any excess. There will be a lot of glass texture. 

-Finally Squeegee on a layer of micro-sphere (easily sanded fairing filler) thickened epoxy to fill the weave within the curing window of previous step. 


The best trick for working with big pieces of glass is to not try to remove wrinkles at the site of the wrinkle. That is hopeless. Instead move to the edges and grip a short section of edge maybe a dozen fibers or so and slowly pull them and watch the wrinkle magically disappear. Move to the other edge, locate where the fibers for the wrinkle you want gone run out of the piece and pull in that spot. presto wrinkles gone. 



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Perhaps you are aware of this. If you have a sensitivity to epoxy and probably even if you don't. It pays to be cautious when you are sanding epoxy, especially if the epoxy is not completely cured. (Potentially several days.) Contact with the incompletely cured epoxy and epoxy sanding dust could be problematic.

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Alan, thank you for the explanations and techniques. I shall make use of them. Likely, I shall glass the hull in the next few days. 

Joe, I’m guessing that epoxy dust is as problematic as direct skin contact with wet epoxy  I suspect my biggest error in all this was early on, bracing myself with the inside of my bared forearms on the inwales (as to reach in enough to coat the longitudinal bulkheads and floor areas) when there was some ooze-out glue from their installation (lots of skin contact that day.) Plus, I did nothing to avoid fumes other than having an open garage door. Lesson learned. ? 

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Back at you with reading about your build. It’s a beautiful piece of work. Your thread was very informative, interesting, and especially fun to see your kids’ hands-on involvement in a lot of the projects. 

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I have supported my furled main and mizzen with a holder about the same as yours mounted in the main and mizzen tubes. Since 2007 I have had no sail damage since 2007, however I put a piece of carpet in the curved section slightly wider than the board thickness. Also, I always tied the sails tightly to the deck so they have very little movement if any. Whenever the boat is home I release the hold down line pressure.


You might try that. It has worked for me.

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Week 7 — Day 29


The bottom of the hull is ready for fiberglass. My son plans to come up in a couple days to help me do the job. I filled a slightly low spot at a finger joint; I think it leveled well. Filling all the holes from the wires and temporary fastenings was sort of like “whack-a-mole”.  I’d think I-got-em and a few more would “pop up.”  Eventually, I think I spotted them all. I filled the spaces between plywood pieces on the keel and chines. I donned my elephant-man suit for sanding to avoid dust contact as much as I could. Everything is sanded and set for the glassing process. 

I also glued together the bottom two parts of the masts and will add the top pieces to them tomorrow. It was kind of a messy job, but it seems they are straight... so far. 

I received the name decal that I ordered for the boat. My mom is remembering that it will be named after her and thinks it’s a neat thing. 

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It’s good to get the big surface divots now, but the fine tuning of the surface comes after glassing.  Alan has some good video coverage of this in the video of his CS20.3 build.  Your third and last opportunity comes after primer.  Once you get a uniform coat of flat paint on her, all the little surface flaws jump out.  That’s when its time to use fairing compound, sandpaper, and a little more spot primer.

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@Dale Niemann— You are lucky.  I had an eye strap attached to the mast that lined up perfectly with that mast support in the middle of the boat.  (It was to positively locate my snotter.)  On one road trip, that eyestrap was pointing down, and bearing hard on the crutch.  The undulations of the trailer did a nice job of wearing a dime-sized hole into my mainsail about every 7-7/8” (2.5XPi) down the sail.  That’s why you‘ll see a strip of sail cloth down my main in this photo.  It was a repair done by a sail loft.  It was a lousy repair, and I replaced the sail.


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Week 7 — Day 30:  Masts and Coats of Epoxy


The shorter top portion of the masts were joined to the mast bottoms.  Things were much smoother feeling today, after doing my first two joints yesterday.

I had stumbled across Alan’s explanation of a new method to join mast sections, essentially making a fiberglass “tube” around the smaller piece, placing a couple fiberglass strips around the end to help hold things together,  and then pushing the whole works into the opening of the wider tube.  I used this “new” method on my first joint attempt yesterday. It felt felt messy and awkward, but it was successful. I had made the wet fiberglass tube the correct dimension for a tight fit without binding.  The tubes lined up accurately “on their own.”  For the second attempt yesterday of joining the other 2 inch tube to the 2.5 inch tube, I decided to make the two fiberglass bearings as described in the plans. But, rather than waiting until they hardened and sanding them to fit, I made use of the new approach by adding a couple strips around the still-wet bearings to hold them in place as I pushed the tubes together. Again, I had measured the bearings a few times, adding/wrapping fiberglass strips until they made for a tight fit. The wet glass gave a bit of resistance but slid in with moderate pressure. Again, the joint made the mast straight on its own; no adjustments were needed.  

And so, I successfully added the top portions of the mast to yesterday’s work, repeating the approach I used with yesterday’s second joint.  Not having a hack saw blade handy, I used the smallest toothed sabresaw blade I had and just gave it a try.  I could easily cut the top aluminum tubes to size with the saw.  The joints were then joined more smoothly and the masts are straight.  ? 


The mast joints will still get fiberglass collars and I’ll make ramps for under the sail tracks. I bought a heavy pop-rivet tool this morning to install the tracks. 


The other work I did today was to put three coats of epoxy onto most of the small parts I’ve yet to install.  (The tabernacle still needs sanding, a bit more glass, and another coat or two of epoxy.)



I also added a first coat of epoxy to the rudder and the top sides of front hatch, all decks and the thwarts ( the undersides of these pieces already have three coats.). Eventually, I will varnish and install these pieces after the inside of the boat is painted white.

My son will come up in the afternoon tomorrow to help me glass the bottom.  To me, it’s another one of those really intimidating tasks and my son has some experience fiberglassing the three cedar strip canoes he’s built. 

I rounded the edges of the centerboard trunk opening with a 3/8 inch router bit and gave those plywood corners a few coats of epoxy. I’ll try to get some glass to come around the corners and a little way into the trunk opening, but I expect to not succeed at this.  I’ll be satisfied if at least a few more coats of epoxy are added to these plywood corners. I suppose this particular spot is easily checked in the future; sanding and additional sealant can always be added if needed. 


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There is a good discussion on this forum about whether or not to glass the bottom joint of the trunk. Look for the post regarding Spindrift #1275.  Whatever you do, make sure your c/b passes freely through the slot.  Adding glass to both sides narrows up the slot.

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The centerboard will be glassed today. Testing the fit recently, it seems that there is plenty of room in the CB trunk to accommodate a layer of glass around the CB without a binding issue. 
When I glass the bottom later today, I’ll see if I can make a half/three-quarter inch of fiberglass stick to the rounded edge of the trunk opening. I don’t think it will. We shall see. (And, yes, I’d seen that thread last month; it helped me relax on the issue.)


Correction: my son’s departure and arrival was late enough that we’ll put off glassing the hull until tomorrow. Oh well.

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I glassed the corner from garboard to trunk on my Lapwing.  Of all of the B&B plans the Lapwing is the least detailed and least updated. Graham designed the boat for a friend who didn't need any details and when he published them for sale I get the impression he just threw in stuff from other plans.  The boat was never intended for a beginner anyway.  It showed glassing over that corner.  I was glad to hear in Graham's reply that is isn't necessary. Of all of my issues, the centerboard fit was the most tedious to get right.  I have had to sand, by hand most of the resin and glass off. Now the fit is near perfect, it slides freely with no play at all.

My point I guess is that if Graham says you don't have to for your model, don't.  All of the calculating and measuring goes down the toilet, or it is based on the added material, and the rest of the fit is sloppy.

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The first half of the glass is ready for epoxy (after my son and his family arrive this afternoon.). I have just over 1/2 inch of cloth inside the centerboard cutout. Again, I’m not sure I can make it stick to the corner of the cutout.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll just cut the cured glass as needed and apply some coats of epoxy to the corners. 

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Week 7 — Day 31:  Not so much done today


The brightwork pieces (decks, rudder, thwarts) had a good sanding and a second coat of epoxy added today. 


My wife seems to really like the looks of the rudder... I too think it looks interesting with the varying colors. 


I’ll repeat this sanding/coating process once more before varnishing. My brother-in-law uses Interlux Schooner Varnish for his Chris Craft and I will go with his recommendation. 


I began making collars for the four new mast joints and will try finishing them tomorrow. Adding sail tracks is coming up soon.  

I cut and placed fiberglass cloth on half the hull, hoping to also apply epoxy today, but, family things got to be later than I planned.  That job will also wait until tomorrow. (I notice that I have a hefty number of unfulfilled “tomorrows” in my postings... it’s the nature of things, I suppose.)


One of my sons and his family came up from downstate today for a few days of camping in our yard. For them, it’s a much delayed and deserved mini-vacation. They brought plenty of vacation toys with them, including one of the cedar strip canoes my son built. He cut the strips from cedar boards he had removed from his basement walls. It’s a very nice looking bit of work. 

He and I will fiberglass my CS15 hull... yes... tomorrow. The first piece is ready to go  ABA151FA-D3DD-4994-9A35-B559DE260CF3.jpeg.89e4c8a2b0be4e8c36633be7f9bd05b4.jpeg

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