After a lovely trip back to my hometown of Salem, Oregon for the holidays, plus a couple shifts of work, I have finally gotten back in the shop. Unfortunately my new assistant didn’t know I was home, so I was alone, but it was quite nice to be on task again. Immediately, I got the Heavy Stuff Clamp removed from the decks and seat tops, cut back and ground down the overhangs, rounded over some of the edges, and got her shaped up for some filleting.
The foredeck went in a thousand times easier this time as compared to the last tug I built. There’s something to be said for experience and learning from previous projects.
Fillets were added to strengthen the bulwarks, make everything smooth, and make her eminently cleanable. There was even some actual woodworking today, putting in the dimensional knees on the transom to stiffen and strengthen her for that blistering 2hp Honda engine.
Plenty of grinding went down, taming the selvage edge of all the tape. I think the fairing is going to be relatively easy with this remaining tape, as it ground out smooth. Unfortunately, we are looking at some bitter cold temps this week, dropping to below zero at night.
Epoxy had to be put down rapidly before a rather lengthy cold snap descends upon us here in Spokane. Tug work will be interesting in the unheated shop, but with a deadline looming, there are few choices available.
Initially the cabin front was mocked and sitting on one of the benches, so I dropped it in for a bit to give scale to the boat. The cabin posts are still untrimmed, so it is a bit tall.
And in the opposite direction.
While doing a bit of consternating, I decided that finishing the bulwark to side joint, then adding the rubrail makes very little sense because the final product wouldn’t show the additional work, so I placed the rubrails on first.
This had to be slightly modified from plans to suit the available material. Opting for a slightly thicker, but smaller in height rail has little visible change, but it will be more durable and easier to install.
Pleased with that progress, the remaining time in the work day was dedicated to pre-coating the wood with neat epoxy.
Without fail, this phase of construction always fills with people asking “why don’t you just varnish it?”. As I always comment, you don’t want to see the joints because they aren’t gorgeous like a chunk of CVG fir, and paint over epoxy will last years and years, while varnish will always require repeated additional coats each year. To my eye, it just isn’t worth the effort. A nicely detailed paint job, with highlights of varnished mahogany, always seems to have the most class and the longest lived finish.
Now the drudgery of fairing commences. Fill, sand, fill, sand, fair, sand, fill, then sand 3 times, then clean, then paint, sand, paint, sand, and finally, paint.
I sustained a mild eye injury due to a lack of eye protection, some sanded epoxy balls, and a trip to the clinic for a close look at my eyes. The good news is no sustained long term damage. The better news is I was put off duty for a shift from work (too much infection risk), and given an extra day in the shop to get caught up and move as far forward as I can.
Weighing the options, I made the call to add the fairing filler and do as much work simultaneously as I can. This was heavily assisted by a good friend down the lake who has stepped up to help out, coming in before he goes to work to put a few hours down on the sander or helping do woodwork. He’s had some training in auto body work, and it is paying in spades.
Here he is, helping do the fitting and setup of the cabin in the hull.