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Spindrift 10N #1621 Build Log

Bryan Rolfe

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That should make a good gunwale. I think its fine on the interior. But id also consider if you'll have a soft bumper on the outside of the gunwale like gunnel guard. Graham still has a bunch of old firehouse he uses for this. In that case typically a lot of fasteners will be going into it. Graham started using "pamlico teak" also known as good old pressure treated deck boards ripped up and let dry for a few weeks. This way fasteners causing the wood to rot is not nearly as much of a concern. On his last dinghy he held the firehose on with monel staples. Adhering the gunnel guard with 5200 is possible but tricky but that would be the best. 

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Alright, tonight I will glue on the gunwales. I got all the pieces ripped, scarfed, and joined, and then dry fitted them to the hull last night. Definitely anticipate it being awkward to get this lamination done, and am thinking of some ways to make it go more smoothly.




I also cut my gunwales to 1 1/4" wide instead of 1 1/2" -- it says in the plans that they are specified at 1 1/4", but the material list also calls for ripping 1 1/2" stock (I think). So mine might be 1/4" narrower than others, but it's fine. 




For the scarf joints, I did 8:1, which is about a 7-degree angle. I originally thought I could do these with my shooting board and my jack plane, but it proved too difficult/awkward and instead I made a simple jig for the table saw which worked fine. It's a little bit sketchy since the drop pieces are small and sit close to the blade, but as long as you put a piece of tape over your blade cut-out to make a zero-clearance notch, it shouldn't be too much trouble. I also designed the jig so that I would be standing off-center from the blade in case anything did get flung back at me. 






I also used Titebond III wood glue instead of epoxy for the scarf joints. My reasoning was that it was all going to be epoxy laminated and epoxy coated, and so the joint only needs to be structurally sound for the final glue up to the boat. Also, the scarfs end up lying at a location where there isn't a lot of bending force on them. Finally, wood glue is arguably a stronger bond then straight epoxy for this kind of joint (since epoxy really needs some small gap to create a good bond. 




I think overall, I've spent way more time on the gunwales already than I was expecting to -- if you can move 12' lumber around, I highly recommend doing that over trying to scarf  a bunch of thin strips together to make long enough strips. 



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It always seems that those who are doing scarfing for the first time, or only do it once in a while say it is a pain and/or tedious.  But once you have a jig, it is down right easy and fast. The rub rails on my Lapwing are 5 pieces each side. This meant I got to use up some small pieces of Teak.

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I got the port side laminated on today -- it sure was a chore getting all 3 strips to comply with the 2D curvature at the bow, but it eventually got there. When the epoxy cures, should I cut the gunwale flush with the starboard side, and bring the starboard gunwale over the top of the port gunwale:




I originally cut my fir strips to 5/16", but looking at them they may be a tad thicker. The outer ash strip is probably 1/4". I probably would have had a slightly easier time if I had done 1/4" on the fir strips as well. 


I didn't use every clamp I had, but just about every small one. 



The bow required the  strongest clamps. I also used a large bar clamp to span across the entire stern (not shown) to old the aft end of the strips flush with the shear line there, as it was difficult to clamp anything against the knee, and I didn't really want to screw into the knee right now. 


I did my epoxy in one batch, and it was fine. I'm using a slow cure hardener, and the temperatures here right now are in the 60s, so I had ample time to work with it. I got good squeeze out everywhere, so I'm confident the lamination will be solid. I mostly cleaned up the extra epoxy on the bottom of the lamination, but will have some sanding/grinding to do on the top as I couldn't clean everywhere between the clamps. 


(photo is before clean-up)





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So I got the gunwales planed and sanded down fair. I then moved onto tack welding the fwd bulkhead in place and adding my first glassed fillet to one of the nesting bulkheads. 








I used peel ply on the tape to make my life easier for the next layer. 




After peel ply was removed, looks ok from a distance.






A couple small air pockets up close though that I'll need to come back and fix. I drilled my holes through the nesting bulkheads prior to this step (and prior to installing the bulkheads into the boat) because I didn't see the note in the instructions about doing it after the bulkheads were glassed in. One question I have, is should the tape be fully covering the places where the bulkheads will be bolted through? If so, I'll need to adjust where I place the other layers of tape. 




The other question I had is: presumably the sides and bottoms should be taped separately, as it's impossible to make a piece of fiberglass tape round that 3D corner (without cuts). I did mine in separate pieces, with about a 2" overlap. Is that acceptable? 

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Looking good and bringing back memories. I did my tape like yours. I did slide my tape just a bit to reinforce the bolt holes, FWIW.  I think that first pic is at the stern. I knife can clean that joint up quickly. You aren't getting any strength out of that gap. After you add your fill coats you can fair it if you are going to paint it. "Don't let perfection be the enemy of good". In the end, after you've used her, none of this will matter as long as she's solid. 


Take Care, 


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Will post some updates soon. 


But right now I have a question about the aft seats and inspection hatches. I'm going with 6" inspection ports because we will probably use these areas to store small things on occasion since this will be our primary means of transportation. 


The plans call for these to be added to the seat tops, but I've also seen people add them to the sides, and this is my preference as well. Should I reinforce these areas with an extra layer of plywood, or some laminated stripes of wood, or am I over thinking this? 

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The Wheezer placed 4” inspection ports in the each flotation tank. She also put an 8” or 10” port in the forward bulkhead (not really accessible if the mast is in place), but it can provide some storage potential.) 

This shows the installed port in the bow:


Here is The Weezer’s build blog:

AND, just to say it, that once 9th grade girl just let me know the other night that she has been accepted into Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran College in Minnesota and is receiving a whopping scholarship of well over HALF the annual cost. Bravo for that young boatbuilder!!

(Sorry about deflecting from the subject a bit… I kinda do that sometimes.)

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That's awesome! Good for her, seems like she's going places. Also, that's a pink boat!


On 10/2/2023 at 6:14 PM, Alan Stewart said:

A round hole in the side shouldn't need any extra reinforcement. Where does it say to put it in the top in the plans? Must be a typo. Defenitely put them in the sides. 


You're indeed correct. It doesn't actually say this, I think the wording just made me think that they should be on top of the seat. 

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Here's an update! It doesn't look like a lot has changed, but that's because I've been busy filleting and glassing all the joints. This has taken more time than I expected, mostly because it's a new technique to me, and figuring out how to get smooth fillets and lay up glass on top of these nicely has taken time. I've also been using peel ply everywhere which slows things down. 


I've also been wetting out my glass directly on the wood of the dinghy floor rather than laying out plastic since it'll all be painted anyway. However I'm not sure I find this significantly easier than laying the glass out dry and wetting it out on the joint itself.







A few things have either not gone as planned or have been a little confusing:

  • I wasn't sure when/if to glass the transom joint to the hull. I didn't see it specifically called out in the assembly instructions, but the plans do call for all interior seams to be filleted and glassed, so I went ahead and did this prior to trying install and fit the aft seat compartments. That meant that the corners of the CNC-ed panels had to be sanded/cut to accommodate the fillets, but that wasn't a big deal of course. 
  • (one) edge of the 10oz glass tape I'm using produces a rather harsh "lip" that does not accommodate a second layer very well -- it will form an air pocket like you can see below. This might not be unique to my glass tape, but one edge does seem to be "stitched" and I've been cutting this edge off moving forward. If I let the tape fully cure below applying an additional layer, I sand down the edge. This only applies to the nesting bulkheads.
  • The reinforcement panels on the nesting bulkheads create a hard 90-degree edge that the tape can't bridge across the bottom of the nesting bulkheads. The glass either needs to be cut in these locations or a fillet made. I decided to just add fillets to these edges to make my life a little easier and also maybe improve the appearance of these panels -- not sure if this is a typical thing. 


4 layers of glass, haven't added the 6th layers to the top 1/3rd yet. Air pockets are visible at the glass lip from the underlying layer. Layers have been offset ~1/2"



Fillets added to the reinforcement panels:





I've started to install the aft seating compartments -- the forward panel (the smallest piece) required a lot of planning and checking to get to fit, but I think this is expected since every boat folds differently. I used hot glue and then tack-welded. I'm not sure if these panels are meant to be glassed in place or just filleted, but I will see if it's explicitly specified anywhere. 




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Great thread, thanks for taking the time to document your build.

We've been using a S11N as a tender for just over two years now, as full time cruisers. Great little boat! We've carried up to nine people without difficulty. Sailing it around anchorages has been great fun, and we rarely use our outboard.


In answer to your question, I glassed all the joins when building the aft seats. I also waited until after I'd sawn the boat in half, which was just as well because I needed to sightly alter the pieces to ensure that the bow would nest. Hopefully when building from a kit this won't be a problem.


You also mentioned the tape having a bulkier edge on one side, leading to an air bubble when overlapping the next layer. I noticed this too and apparently it's called the 'selvedge' and is a product of the weaving process. I was advised not to cut it off, but in some places I did trim it off just before wetting out the tape. If removing it, best to do it at the last minute because the tape won't want to be handled much after that.

Sometimes I waited until the epoxy had gone past the tacky stage and then shaved off the selvedge with a small sharp chisel.


Happy to chat about the practicalities of using a Spindrift as a tender. Oh and by the way my first boat was also a Vega. Good luck with the rest of the build!

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"selvedge" -- that makes sense. I guess that's also a term used in the Denim world, probably with woven fabrics in general. I've continued to cut it off in places where I know I'll need to add layers of glass ontop, and it hasn't been too much trouble yet! 


I am a little nervous about the nesting test, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. 


Another thing I found, and this might just be me, but I find that: 

  1. I get nicer fillets if I immediately apply my glass tape over them, rather than waiting for them to cure slightly. I find that once they've cured slightly, its harder to mush down and bumps or imperfections. 
  2. I actually prefer not to wet out the glass prior to applying it to my joint. If I'm applying over a cured joint, then I'll wet out the area and then put the dry tape on top. If I'm applying over a wet fillet, I'll just slap it on. Wetting it out is very easy and doesn't seem to disturb the fillet. I think part of the reason I prefer this method though is that I'm using peel-ply on all my joints, and I'm not too concerned about applying too much epoxy since it will just soak into the peel ply and be removed. 

So cool that you owned a Vega! Do you remember which hull #? 

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