Jump to content

Action Tiger builds sailboat. With epoxy!

Action Tiger

Recommended Posts

Well, I needed a quick, cheap boat I could drag out east next year (and other stuff, too), so I decided to build one.

It was a great excuse to build a boat!

Domestic ply? Did I not mention this is a cheap boat? It will also be sheathed and glooped, and I know boats built like this can last and last, if cared for.

Also, I'm saving the good ply for a nice lapstrake boat, when I really NEED it.

Anyway, my Michalak Frolic2...



  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am looking forward to following your build, I am very interested in the comparison between Michalak's 'chevvys' and Graham's 'cadillacs'. he bottom

If you plan to daysail off the trailer it does not matter, bur reading Lugnut's EC reports on duckworks, I thing that water ballast would be a very good thing to have in a hard chance.

Just guestimating from the sketch in the plan description, it looks like the seat benches are 12" off the bottom. A 12" wide by 12" high tank behind the bulkhead would act like a bridge deck and hold about 275lbs. of water

Just saying

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was reading EC reports here, got distracted and wandered into other reports of the race, and kept reading about that very boat, so I checked it out. I must say, Lugnut is an entertaining guy, and he and his boat are quite a pair.

I'm game. It certainly has proven to work well enough for me, and it it a quick, cheap build. Not a skimpy or bad build, but budget, in the spirit of the designer. And I won't feel too terrible gifting it to one of my kids when I'm done with it.

Not my first stitch and glue, but my first in many moons. I quit epoxy, but I'm trying some of this BPA free 100% solids stuff. No reactions yet! I have learned many techniques on this forum I will incorporate into my build. Thanks to all who contribute here, on all the boards.

I already considered the ballast issue, and decided several small pucks of lead, well secured, would be better, if needed, than water. That said, I have a stable of large and willing potential crew...

Thanks for your interest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, I'm going to entomb it in glass cloth and epoxy. Doug fir ply, no matter what grade, always checks, but my experience is that even 4oz glass will stop the checking on a dry sailed, covered boat. So will muslin cloth glued down like canvas deck.

Anyway, the real draw was quickness. I started cutting parts the first weekend in June. I'm doing some more tack fillets inside tomorrow, then flipping to glass the outside next week. I'm planning to minimize sanding by using peel ply. This boat comes together quickly, and it ain't got no interior to build, per se.

The best part is, it should trailer easy, and sit low, and it's big and small enough for me to drag out to the SAMA2.:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Goodness, y'all, I just used up three freezer bags tacking this beast together. But it's together. Now I gotta flip it and glass it, then it will really be together.

Same guy who made the sail for my canoe is making the sails for the frolic, by the by. I'm adding a tiny mizzen...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The funniest part is, the Wrights (and Charlie!) are some of my heroes, and air and spacecraft are fascinating to me as machines and human accomplishments, but I just will not plane ever again.

Been in all types from a Bonanza to a 747, and just can't relax at all.

The two ruptured discs preclude any extended flights, as well.

Back to the boat, though, I read in an EC report by the owner of the sister ship to this one, that he has lusty feeling towards Graham's MKIII, so I think we're safe assuming we really are dealing with apples and salted caramel apple tartlets. :)

Here's the part where I will sleep and the part I will drive from, in that order. The sleepy place is getting the actual filets and tape today.

I hope to flip and glass the outside next week...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, there's a place to lie down, and a place to sit and drive, sort of. I'm fitting the cockpit seats.

Also, I'm fitting the house top halves. I made a little breasthook what will be tied into a king plank to help spread out the mooring cleat's load.

Lots of fiddly bits and a few mounting cleats to install before the outside is glassed. I'd rather not drill through a sheathing if I can help it, and I'd rather screw through thin plywood than into it.

It's really hot, too, so I'm postponing the sheathing a week and handling all these little fiddly jobs instead. This is siesta weather, so the day is broken into early and late.

The middle of the day is when you eat fruit, drink water, read a little, and take a nap...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, per information I received from an expert in the field, really, I am going to wait for my epoxy to cure longer before working with it than I ever have.

This is kind of slowing my building a bit, but I feel safer letting the epoxy cure and become as inert as it can before I start sanding and grinding away at it. Funny how we worry about safety as we age, eh?

Shoot, though, I may even borrow a power sander for this one, though the longboards will be in heavy use, don't fret.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't get too complacent with the epoxy.  The part of the epoxy that has the scariest datasheet (to me anyway) is the hardener.  The hardener is a problem even after the resin is cured.  It can still be absorbed through the skin when sanding, so wear long sleeves and the normal breathing protection to limit your exposure when sanding even if you've let it cure a long time.

Having said that, the datasheet really warns against prolonged exposure, so if you're not working with epoxy all the time (and we're not) it's not as dangerous.

After having typed all that I'm suddenly remembering that you're using a something-or-other-free epoxy so my warnings may not apply...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, brother, I am anything but complacent with this stuff. I treat it like the toxic sludge it is, even if it is BPA free.

I also intend to minimize sanding by using peel ply when I sheathe the outside. Also, I do not care about a shiny, smooth, glossy finish, just smooth. Let's say I'll settle for satin. :)

My favorite method of building boats is skin on frame, because there is very little glue, and that only for scarfing stringers, and practically no sanding at all. In fact, I don't sand my wood, I file or scrape.

And, yes, I use very little epoxy. This is the first boat in so long I can't remember. It's the polyester from my youth that will come back to haunt me...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once epoxy cures fully, which takes about 2 weeks (depending on formulation), it is inert. It's so inert that implanted devices, such as pacemaker wiring and the like, are sealed with epoxy. The problem most have is they sand dry, but not fully cured goo, which places still chemically active particulates into the air, which get sucked into lungs and they imbed into mucus membranes, which is a beeline to the brain (the first place blood goes from the lungs). 


A good particulate mask is all you need, unless working with it 8 hours a day, as a career. Technically, it's possible to absorb really fine particulates through the skin, though you really have to work at it, such as mash it into open cuts. The digestive systems handles it pretty well and some brands are more tasty than others, but avoid eating the liquid state stuff.


Currently, I don't know of any bisphenol free marine epoxy formulations commonly available. The stuff you're using is formulated to be less allergic to some that are sensitized, but it's still a bisphenol resin, with a modified amine cure.


Most folks building a boat in their backyard have nothing to worry about, especially if using reasonable precautions, like gloves and a mask. It generally take many years of exposure to develop sensitivity. I've been working goo since the 80's and only have a very slight sensitivity and only to certain brands, typically their hardeners. Avoiding these brands has eliminated any issues. Compared to polyester and vinylester resin systems, the epoxy health issues are modest, again assuming reasonable precautions are taken. This said, some seem more susceptible to epoxy than others and I seem to be one of the lucky ones. If you are more susceptible, change brands or try the new DWX stuff from Chuck (nice guy BTW) over at DuckWorks. There's no guarantees, but usually just switching brands can help a lot, for most. For the most part, the BPA worries that have cropped up in recent years are from some testing results done in the 90's and ought years. In these tests they force fed some mice (or rabbits or whatever) extremely high does of straight up BPA laden materials and guess what, they got some issues in time. I can assure you that if you were caged and force fed nothing but straight up strawberries, you'd have issues too, though banning strawberries isn't going to happen anytime soon. My point is, don't get too excited about some of these tests. More often than not, they prove to be false alarms. 20 years ago, coffee wasn't good for you, but now it is and the same can be said about pregnant women drinking red wine, so if you use reasonable procedures, you'll probably be just fine, plus you can get your antioxidants from your morning coffee and an after dinner buzz, with your wife's wine too.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul, I almost always learn something when you post (sometimes you're not teaching us), but I always laugh.

I didn't know that about pacemakers and such, for example.

I wear a big old breaking bad respirator whenever I sand or paint. It's left over from when I used to spray a lot of paint...

I thought this goop said BPA free. I don't know. I know it's pretty thin, pretty clear, and not too smelly, though I wouldn't want to huff the fumes. I really use so little, and always double glove (I generally wear long sleeves, anyway), and always mask when I sand or cut wood (boy have I huffed some wood dust in my life, like a dummy), and I don't sand or use power saws often.

Strange, though, but I think my ryoba saw makes much finer dust, due to the thinness of the kerf, than the worm drive does.

Anyway, never breathe any dust, and if you can smell it, you're breathing it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a bit on the sceptical side of the BPA being terribly harmful debate. I've seen the data and I'm just not convinced, though to error on the side of caution, babies, pregnant women and folks with respiratory issues, should avoid prolonged exposure to BPA's. The problem is, the widespread use of BPA's in just about everything. I think they've stop making disposable baby bottle liners out of it and this sort of thing, which seems sensible enough. Sometimes, I think someone just gets a bug up their butt and runs enough lab mice through hell, to prove their pet project and the crap hits the fan. 


I'll give you a classic example. I'm conducting some materials testing and have built a rapid environmental accelerator machine, designed to mimic conditions in the sub tropics over the course of a year, in just 2 months. Sounds fancy, but it's really a box, with some UV lights, some glass and a dribble hose along the top. Samples can be put in it and in 60 days, I can show what happens to a new varnish, after a year in Florida sunshine. Well, I always conduct a baseline, for the actual time and invariably the base line shows different results than the accelerated machine time. Is it my calibrations on the machine or is it much like the poor lab rats that get force fed BPA's for a year or two? Simply put, if these lab rats were given a regular diet of stuff they usually eat, but occasional doses of BPA, much like real world exposures, I'll bet they don't develop the diseases or medical issues they do in the force fed cages. 


Given your precautions, I'm sure you'll have no problems, two headed babies or any of the issues associated with BPA.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you trying to write off your tanning bed as a business expense? :)

My two favorite animal testing panics were the charred meat scare and the egg scare. You know we're the only animal to be able to metabolize the burnt parts? Cooking is unique to us.

Also eggs. Eat your eggs folks. Cholesterol is good for you. Really. It's insidious dietary sugars and additives that are fattening and softening us. Well, not US, but the collective us.

Thanks for reminding us to be safe, but not to panic.

My biggest concern with the epoxy, really, is how much sweat it can absorb before it changes its chemical makeup. I'm drippy, y'all, and it is already warm time, so I do be dripping the sweat.

Most importantly, though, this boat is flying right along, and it will allow me to take a little trip next year to see some of y'all in person...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.