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Building “Joe” — 15’ ski boat — Stiletto


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Starting Topside Work

Being on the trailer now, I can roll the boat outside and spew wood dust and shavings onto the lawn rather than onto everything in the garage.  Nice feature of this stage. 



Using my power planer (new for this build... I’m really liking having this tool) I went at the sheer clamps. I knew that I’d be hitting some screws since installing the side planking to the sheer clamps includes some guesswork when placing the screws.  Sure ‘nuff, hit some screws I did. I had purchased a dozen spare blades so I was ok with losing some.  I was too aggressive with hitting... well, “planing” screws before just digging them out when working on the first side.  After some chunks of the cutting edge went missing on one of the blades (it looked like a kid smiling while missing a bunch of baby teeth.) I figured I should change blades. ?  I was surprised that the remaining blade pieces were still cutting wood, enough to complete the first side.  The blades had “sort of” shattered. ?


The blades are supposed to look like this:  ?


The first sheer clamp went from this...


to this...





New blades went into the planer and I planed the second side. (A new set followed doing the second sheer clamp as well.)  


At least I was quicker the second time to dig out screws that were surfacing.  I ended up digging out this little handful of screws (from both sides.)



COVID Shots Are In... Time to do some Travel

We have planned a number of trips for the next few months so I used the morning getting the van ready for the first trip.  

The first task was to replace the snow tires with the regular tires (I barely needed snows this winter.)  That done, I placed the bed platform into the van.  It is firmly anchored to the floor and has lots of storage below. 


Then I lowered the storage shelf in the garage to get the Thule roof trunk (this will be our first chance to use it ?.)

And I placed it onto the roof rack. (The last time I used the roof rack was to pick up my boat-build wood from B&B Yachts.)



So, the van is ready to load for our first 2021 trip. ?

Some breaks in boat-building are coming up. 

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Diversion: The Tree Guys

A crew came in yesterday to do some tree work (and to provide me some great entertainment ?.)  They took down two pines and lots of dead limbs. This guy felled his tree onto the driveway (protected by logs) and landed it right in the  the middle of a couple stakes my wife happened to have in the ground (don’t know how successfully the video will play):





Another guy does the climbing... he went up into the skinnier branches after my shot:




Meanwhile, back in the garage, I was able to cut and fit the carlins for each side. I will leave them out until I epoxy, prime, and paint the insides. 

I used southern yellow pine 5/4 inch deck boards from Lowe’s for the structural pieces (battens and frames) but everything else for the boat  (plywood and their very nice southern yellow pine 16 foot boards) was purchased from B&B Yachts.)  I like that these structural pieces are pressure treated (and thicker than the plans call for) in addition to the epoxy/paint I’ll apply. 



The “wavy” ply layers in the bow stem resulted from shaving and shaping that area; I had to do that to even things out. Earlier in the build, immediately after I’d installed the sheer clamps on both sides, the screws in one side let go and the sheer clamp sprang out.  It was a challenge to get it back in place... I got it almost to where it was supposed to be.  I knew things would need to be “adjusted” after I turned the boat over. 


Today, I applied a first coat of epoxy to the inside of the boat. I appreciated that I’d already coated the frames with epoxy layers when I built them... less brushwork today. 


While brushing on the epoxy, I kept “hearing” my dad telling me to “just slop it in... slop it in... make sure EVERYTHING gets covered... you want it to soak into the wood and all the little crevices.


When I built my 11 foot version of this boat in 1969 (high school) my dad was a chemist with a plastics and resins research division. He was nicknamed Joe at work (remember that I’ve named this boat after my dad—Joe—and we included dad’s work nickname on his headstone some years ago.)  In my high school boat built, when I was ready to install top decking, my dad came home from work one night with some jars of stuff he’d been working with and told me to paint the insides with the stuff to protect the wood. He mixed it up, I painted, and he told me to  “just slop it in... slop it in. ?

That’s what my brain was “hearing” all while applying the first coat. It was kinda fun. (By the way, that stuff he brought home made the wood survive quite well to this day, even after being stored outside since 1995... his company was developing a variety of epoxy type materials in those years.)

And speaking of fume stuff, heed this public service message:




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Three Coats of Epoxy are Inside the Hull

I was able to apply three coats of epoxy to the inside of the hull prior to leaving the boat alone for ten days. The epoxy will cure nicely for sanding, priming, and painting when I get back into town. 

I had bought a box of cheap brushes from Harbor Freight. They are bristle brushes and kinda skimpy... good enough for a lot of applications.  Being thin and wanting to cover a lot of surface quickly, I wanted to use a thicker brush.  So, I tried taping two together, making for a “thicker” brush; it worked great!  I’d rather do this than use a more expensive brush for painting on epoxy, knowing a thicker brush will likely get stiff even with a good cleaning. These skimpy brushes actually clean up OK with acetone and some perseverance.  (I removed the tape for cleaning and used the same two brushes for all three coats; they’re even ready for more.) 


So, today, the van bed is made, the new car top trunk is packed, and three ebikes are on the back. We are READY for some camping!  Yes, there was new snow on the ground as we left for southern climate. ?







And we are here in the evening starting to set things up. 

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Day 6 of camping with family in our “little village.”  My son and I are thinking some about sailing this summer with my CS15, the Norma T, (in addition to fooling around with Joe, of course) and trying out some overnights sails — entering modestly into the world of dinghy cruising. ?


Nice view for such contemplation, camping along a 180 mile long lake:


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My son — who just began his 4th canoe build — sent me this image. Yes, I’ve had some of these moments (well, not quite as bad, but still deflating when the mistake is realized.). ??


The moment of realization: “What the.....??  How did THAT happen?!”  ?


Followed by, “Now how am I going to fix this one?”  ?



I’m back from my camping trip. I spent a couple hours with The Wheezer helping to install the dagger board trunk and seat tops into her Spindrift 10  (she has her own B&B build thread.). I also spent some time sanding the three coats of epoxy inside Joe that I put on before leaving for my trip. I’ll start priming the inside tomorrow. ?

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One is bigger than the other... can ya tell which?  ?



I found a bow eye with a 5.5 inch shank, about twice the length of the other. (The photos on Amazon didn’t make it appear so “heavy-duty”; oh, well.)  Since the bow stem is almost 4 inches thick I preferred that the eye shanks go all the way through rather than to cut out a bunch of the stem. 

I purchased three of the smaller ones from B&B for my boat. I’ll still use two of them in the Joe’s transom for tie-downs and will give the third to The Wheezer for her Spindrift (she lives across the street and is building an S10.)

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Yep, holes are called for in the plans.  But, The Wheezer’s dad is looking at getting a trailer. I think a bow eye could be useful for that.  We’ll see what is finally decided.  

Thanks for the photo of the sheet bridle. I was JUST looking at that in the plans. ?

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I bet Wheezer could pull the boat up onto the trailer simply by pulling the bow painter. If mechanical advantage is needed, just tie a bowline in the painter near the bow.  Once the boat is on most of the way the last bit takes but a tug.


When it comes to hardware, less is better is my motto. It bangs into things, people bang into hardware. Things snag on hardware. A hole, or a knot can replace a lot of hardware. I don't use shackels at all.

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I created floorboards between frame 1 (in front of the transom) and frame 5 (the most forward frame at the bottom of the photo.)  Aft of frame 1 will be the space where I will place the battery and a couple 6 gallon fuel tanks.  (The plans call for a built-in console between the seats for a fuel tank; I decided I wanted an open, possibly flexible cockpit area.)  I haven’t figured out yet what I’ll do for seats,)

Looking toward the transom... the yellow level on the right illustrates where the carlins/coaming will be and the storage pockets beneath:


(The wine box and drill on the left are holding down the floorboard... I became inspired to get myself a glass after I took the photos. ?)


The four floorboard pieces will be screwed down to the frames (in the middle and aft area) and to the bottom battens/keel in the front section that will be under the fore deck.  I’m wondering about adding some gasket material under the floorboards where they meet the frame/battens, thinking that there could be vibration sounds. 

The yellow level across the middle sort of simulates where the dash will be placed. There is a little drop to where legs can go. 


I built some 5 inch deep pockets along the sides to put stuff, like bumpers, lines, towels, etc. (The yellow level simulates the Carlin/coaming line... top decking will go between the level and the outside sheer.)



My second, narrow piece of 9mm plywood that I used for the starboard side was a bit too narrow to reach the side planking... it was the biggest piece I had left over.  So now, the boat driver has a handy little pocket on the side available. ?


I wanted to get floorboards made before I painted the interior, so painting the inside of the hull white is a next step.  The floorboards need to be painted with epoxy and primer before they get white paint.  Only after the painting is done will I install the carlins and begin fitting the top decks. 

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Trivia — some Life happened — I led a funeral service yesterday, the first time I did “work” since retiring in the start of 2020 (a 42 year old dad and family friend.)  It kinda knocked the boat-building motivation out of me and the lethargy continues today.  

But I did get new tires installed on my car this afternoon and that always makes the car’s ride feel nice. ?


I think I can finish my floorboard project tomorrow, adding some bracing, and then I’ll begin the task of epoxying and painting them... and can finish painting the inside of the hull (that will take some days... if the motivation/energy comes back “on-line”.)


AND!!  I will travel downstate on Sunday to get my Core Sound 15 out of its 5-month winter storage!! ?. I have a first project for the sailboat: fashioning raised floorboards for the aft cockpit that can serve as a sleeping platform.  With comfortable sleeping available my sons and I will try out some overnight  “dinghy cruising” this summer. 



And, speaking of trivia, the world’s largest trivia contest happens this weekend in my town... the 51st annual event... 500 teams... thousands of people... three days... and the same guy continues to organize it. ?. Check it out and tune in for a while (there is a link on the site for streaming.)  It’s a fascinating event. 


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Floorboards are ready for epoxy/paint coats.  


I installed a bow eye... more heavy duty than needed, but that’s preferred over being too light with not quite sufficient backing.  Ok.  My approach is a little “overbuilt”... but it “gives me comfort”.  ?





I was able to help The Wheezer for a few hours today on her Spindrift 10.  She has recovered from the ol’ wisdom teeth thing. 

And, I got a second coat of primer inside, an off white color.  Coats of Brightsides white paint are next. 

Finally, I will go downstate tomorrow to pick up my Core Sound 15 from winter storage. ?


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I got a coat of Interlux Britesides white on the hull’s inside... one coat over the two coats of Interlux’s primer. 


After an hour or so a number of areas have this wrinkly texture develop, like the primer is swelling up a bit from the new paint. I don’t recall encountering this yet using the same paint and primer on the hull’s bottom and on my sailboat.  The surface looks like it has been sitting out in the weather for a few years. 

I am trusting that some sanding between the next couple coats of paint will take care of the issue.  Besides, the floorboards and decking will cover nearly everything I just painted.  I consider painting the inside like this to be an “extra.”

I’m kinda wearying of this phase in building the boat... three coats of epoxy, followed by three coats so far of primer/paint, and still on the way: at least a couple more coats of paint... before I actually build anything more.  Well, I guess that’s not quite true since I DID fashion some floorboards last week. 

I picked up the Norma T sailboat from winter storage this weekend.  ( I built this Core Sound 15 last year.)


Joe the ski boat will be looking similar in its  painting and finishing scheme. (See the last photo in the previous entry. ?)  It’s fun to have both of them in my driveway/garage; some day I will pose them together. 

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A Nice Sunny Day

The white paint inside the hull is having a harder time drying and curing.  With it being a nice day I wheeled it out of the garage to sit in the sunshine.  Since I just picked up my CS15 sailboat from winter storage I thought I should “introduce” them... Norma T, this is Joe, the not-finished-yet ski boat.” ?



(It is actually the same red color on both boats.)


I also added a first coat of epoxy to the main floorboards. 



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