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Building “Joe” — 15’ ski boat — Stiletto


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I didn’t do much on Joe the past few days but I did get to do some sailing a couple times.   Also, I spent a few hours with the kid across the street with her sailboat build. (It’s nearing being ready to paint.)


It’s really nice to be able to move my boat out of the garage to do some of the messy work and today’s job was one of those.  Doing planing and sanding outside, the shavings and dust stay outside.  An example from a couple days ago was using my new power planer (I really like that tool) to shave an 8 foot boom for The Wheezer’s 10 foot Spindrift build (a ninth grade girl across the street that I am helping.)  I needed to thin and taper the boom that I had glued up early this week and I routed a half inch round over on all the edges. It’s a messy job, but a few swipes of a broom rake will scatter the shavings. 

Since my last post, I installed Joe’s carlings. Both bending and twisting of the 10 foot 3 inch boards was needed to get them close to where they are supposed to be... some significant force was applied... so much that I pulled out a couple screws from two frames.  After some verbal expressions — during which my wife and son who were helping me kinda quietly backed out of the garage leaving me to figure things out ? — I made up some more thickened epoxy and clamped a few backing blocks in place to fix things. It came out fine.


I also cut out, fit, and rounded the edges on two 10 foot pieces of nice southern yellow pine (that I got from B&B Yachts). These coaming pieces will be varnished and will be a significant amount of bright wood.  Installation will come a ways down the line. 

Today. I faired the carlings to begin fitting the side decks, which need to be installed before I put in the coamings and begin transom work.  To install the curved sawn battens for under the deck plywood in the bow I needed to install 10 small blocking pieces to the frames, such as this these blocks which will back up the side deck’s butt joint. 



This was an “easy” job that became a little frustrating and messy with the epoxy glue getting everywhere.  But, those jobs are now done.E700BB8E-032E-4110-934A-2220211FFF36.thumb.jpeg.6a2796f21e239c2b21715253575b06df.jpeg






I’ll start fitting the side decks tomorrow. ?

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All of yesterday’s new pieces are planed and shaped to receive the side decks so four paper templates were made.  Rain fell most of the day and prevented me from cutting out the pieces. 

Marking the fold over the edges works great. (This photo will only load sideways.)



Four templates are set for tomorrow. 


THEN, when fitting a couple side battens for under the side decking... for some reason that I cannot think of, I cut what I thought was the line I marked for the batten length.  Yes, it was one of those “What did I just do?  Well, THAT was dumb!” things. 


So I fixed it ?:


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Only a couple hours today, cutting out the top/side deck pieces.  I just barely, but successfully, cut the pieces to fit the length of the boat with the butt joint within an inch of where I wanted it.  Actual installation won’t happen for a while. 

I also pulled the boat over to the marina this morning. They will be doing the electronics, controls and motor installations. I needed to ask some questions on the needed dimensions in a few areas. 




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I finished prepping the coamings for installation, rounding the edges and cutting rabbets to receive the side decking.  I also shaved the inside curves of the side deck pieces but won’t install them until after the coamings and controls are installed.  (I marked the outside curve onto each side deck piece and will trim them down tomorrow.)

The top-side deck pieces have a butt joint about half way from bow to stern. I managed to cut the four pieces from just over one sheet of plywood such that the butt joints fall almost where I intended (the plywood sheets were shortened a few inches to fit them into my van for the 1,000 mile transport and I knew the plywood would be VERY close to being too short... they were just long enough.)  I was aiming for the middle piece in this photo.  Because I was using the slightly shortened plywood sheets, I needed to place the joints on the pencil line. 



Two inch holes in three frames will serve to channel the controls from dash to motor. Since I wanted to provide some support to the frames around the holes I fashioned round doublers for each side of the frames. 



Before having the controls installed by the marina technicians I’ll need to install the coamings, dash, and motor well... and build a 5 inch extension below the driver side coaming upon which the throttle/gear controls can be mounted. I’ll see if I can get these things done by the weekend. 

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No Work for a While on Joe

My wife and I are taking 6 or 7 weeks for some travel we’ve put off because of COVID realities.  Here are some photos of where I’m leaving Joe “hanging”:


The outside is done (except to finish the transom.)  The coamings are installed and fill in the boat’s profile. (The side decks are cut out and dry-fit for later installation.)


This is all that I have left from that huge roll of fiberglass cloth I’ve been carrying around since 1968.  I decided, for nostalgic sake, that I will put some fiberglass tape on the top and bottom and make my leftover cloth cover the rest of the transom’ back side through some strategic cutting and placing. ?

I cut the dash to fit into the coamings and provide seven inches of height for the steering hub and gauges (the local marina will install them along with the motor when I get things done sufficiently.)  The inside visible surface of the dash is B&B wood (I really like the quality of the southern white pine used by B&B and it’s grain patterns) and the reinforcement wood behind it (seen below) is from Lowe’s.



The dash and coamings will be bright finished.


I made the ends of the dash taper but wondered whether I should make it a bit “thinner” and straight across on the bottom, as shown below by the blue tape (I know, kind of a minor detail... but, hey, it’s what I’m gonna be looking at a lot while using the boat):



My wife suggested that being cut straight across at the tape line makes it look like it’s “just a board” and the shape I put in makes it seem to be more like it was intended to be the boat’s dash. I’ll go with that opinion. ?







Also this week, I cut and fit the support pieces for the motor well.  The piece with a dado is also matching B&B wood and will be bright finished.04D54C6D-FB3A-4449-BFAB-30A568E27C18.thumb.jpeg.48c4e5cd2387381301d4e6c621acbebf.jpeg


The inside of the motor well and transom will be white. 


Trivia... I bought a DeWalt sander for my CS15 build. The Wheezer, the 9th grade girl across the street building a Spindrift 10, has a cordless DeWalt sander. I got “jealous” of it and bought one for myself.  My younger son can now use my corded sander to work on his canoe-build.


See? I really NEEDED the cordless... right?  ?


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Didn’t think of that. I’m on my last bag of B&B wood flour and was thinking about whether I should order more or not.  I kinda like patronizing the B&B Yachts business and I like everything I’ve received from them. 

I’ll likely order more... plus, my son is planning to build a Phoenix 3 sailboat and I plan to see if I can get a lot of his building supplies from B&B when he’s ready to start.

He wants to finish his current canoe project first.  He recently made the double-fish design for the bottom into which he’ll be cutting and fitting the rest of the cedar strips (which he cleverly cut — and routed tongue-and-groove edges — from “discarded” cedar wall paneling boards.)



Plus, he has cut enough strips for another. What to do... what to do?  ?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I stopped on the way back home to visit my son’s family.  He and my grandson played a round of disc golf where I was ahead of the little 5 year-old disc-golf-shark by only one throw. ?



And, I took some photos of my son’s cedar-strip canoe build yet in progress. (The shop is a little tight with his second canoe in there... he removes it out the door to work.). He started filling in the two-fish design on the canoe’s bottom. (Yes, he’s still eating his ice cream cone. ?)







He taught himself how to make hand-caned seats and carve a carrying yoke  in his last build. 




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  • 2 weeks later...

Nope, no work on the ski-boat since the second week of May.  After the trip to the Smokies we spent a few camping days along the Mississippi River.  This is a popular spot on a bluff trail. 


Then, we flew to Reno and are settling in for three weeks at the Ridge Tahoe. My first little hike brought me to the “Bench” above Carson Valley, on which I am sitting to write this post. ?


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  • 2 weeks later...

HEY!!  Today my son got the old 11 foot Glen-L TNT in the water and RUNNING!!  (This small boat is patterned after my current Stiletto build.)


I built it in 1968 while in high school. He recently replaced the deck, repainted the hull inside and out, and added seats.  This year, I brought the non-working 1956 30 hp Johnson to an older marine mechanic and he fixed it. The fuel tank still needs a new pressure relief valve (soon) BUT, he got it running today in the water… the first time since about 1995. 


His six-year-old son was nervous about the speed but enjoyed his ride.  He insisted on making a “cool” photo.  ?

Meanwhile, I’m still on vacation with the rest of my family. We went through a Sequoia forest today.  (I didn’t realize my granddaughter with the pink hat was standing at the base of these two almighty trees when I snapped this photo… but she provides a bit of perspective.)


A bit later on another hike… is this cute or what?  My two granddaughters following their aunt down the trail.  I especially like their little raccoon and fox first aid kits. ?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The “kids” and grandkids are back home and my wife and I are just a bit lonely. We’re down to the last full day and we’re both anxious to head back home.  This is the longest consecutive time we’ve spent on vacation, over three weeks, plus a couple more weeks last month. 

We took a hike to a few secluded (and clothing optional) Lake Tahoe beaches yesterday.  This photo is from “Whale Beach.”  I wonder why that name was chosen???  ? 



Actually, we walked by a flat-on-his-back heavier older guy trying for a tan on his entire — rather bleached — body.  (Maybe too much information… but he kinda offered a beached whale image. ?)


I’m really looking forward to our return flight, my first participation in a sailboat race in a few days, and getting back to the Stiletto build. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Two Months: NO Boat-Building

Great vacation time in May and June… and a long time in coming.  But, I’m back home now. It took me nearly a week to “decompress” from our trips and motivate myself to pick up working on Joe.  Also, I needed to let my body recover from a sort-of spectacular slip on a hiking trail that sent me flying off the trail. Luckily there were some granite boulders to cushion my fall and halt the down-the-mountain progress. ?


On a warm 90+ degree day, I finally took time to begin installing pieces of the transom supports.  Four carriage bolts and four lag screws supplemented the installation of the 2x5 inch upper transom stiffener.  The other transom pieces need epoxy coats, primer, and paint before installing. So, today was mostly about painting on an initial coat of epoxy to a whole bunch of pieces:




dash, deck beams, the top transom stiffener, motor well forward beam, and the floorboards that will go under the front deck…



then the cockpit floorboards, motor well plywood, and the underside of the four side deck pieces. 

Everything gets one or two more coats of epoxy along with primer/paint or coats of marine varnish.  Whew… a ways to go. I might need to order more epoxy but I’m not sure yet. 

Meanwhile, an under-sink concern came to my attention:


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  • 2 weeks later...

Progress has continued even though it has felt very slow.  But, today was more productive… two significant additions. I installed the dash:



and completed the motor well. 


Also, I have cut out and shaped all of the remaining pieces of the boat (except two front deck pieces and the gunwale… a final installation).  I hoped that things were completed enough to have the controls installed while vacationing next week, but with a few little setbacks that popped up I still need a few more days. So, the controls installation will wait after I return. 

Of the stack of 8” x 16’ clear southern yellow pine boards that I bought from B&B (secured to the top of my van)…



this is what I have left that won’t be used.  I hit it pretty darn close. 

The boat’s frames were made from Lowe’s pressure treated 5/4 southern yellow pine decks boards. 

And, for fun, I am posting a short video clip made this morning of my son and grandson starting their two day canoe/camping trip down a local river that eventually passes a couple blocks from our house. I’ll see them again tomorrow.  (My son built the cedar strip canoe.)



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Finally, the transom and motor well are ready for finishing: another coat or two of epoxy, then coats of primer and paint.  Then, the boat goes to the marina for the installation of the controls. 

In May, I half-jokingly indicated that, to cover the back of the transom, I would piecemeal the scraps left from the large fiberglass roll that I got from my dad in 1968.  (That roll has covered a couple boats and several canoes before “running out.”)


When I started this little project last weekend (just before leaving for yet another vacation) I decided instead to use leftover tape that I had bought from B&B. I came back home this evening and epoxied the strips across the transom.  (Note one of the seats in the floor that arrived while I was gone.)

Sanding and a fill coat tomorrow… THEN, it’s off to another out of state camping trip with family. ?


Here’s my son and family in a little paddleboat yesterday… he prefers his cedar-strip canoe and she prefers her stand-up paddle board. The little kid in the middle???  He just prefers to be between his mom and dad.  ?




AND, a reason things aren’t quite exact in this build:


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Finally, no vacations for a while. Whew. ?


Today was all about sanding and getting another coat of epoxy on the dash, coamings, and transom.  I’m finally down to my last gallon of resin and I think I have enough to glue and finish the decking. 

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I think I have put on the final coat of epoxy to the dash, coamings, and motor well. Tomorrow, I will temporarily put the floor in, which isn’t painted yet… only epoxy coated. I haven’t decided for sure on a plan for finishing the floor with seating. But, having floors in place will allow the controls to be installed… maybe next week.  The transom will get some more sanding/priming before the red paint with white stripe.  Once the controls are in the decks will be installed and clear finished. 


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  • 1 month later...

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