Over the last couple of weeks we have completed the framing of the decks of our new gig. That has involved installing an inwale and an outwale and the short, stubby “deck beams” that connect them. Now we are engaged in fitting and gluing down the 1/4″ marine plywood that will cover this lattice work. These decks will provide our gig with strength and rigidity and anchor the oarlocks. They will be finished with a solid mahogany cap inside and out and wrapped with a protective rope. You can see some of this in the photo attached here. We are also preparing the thole pin pads for the eight rowing options. They are a sandwich of spruce on the bottom and super-hard ipe on the top. See the photo. Other important details in progress: the bow and stern decks and the mast step and partner. As always we are working Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, 12:30-4:00. Everyone is welcome, but the number of jobs is beginning to shrink and the more interesting ones often go to those who arrive on time.
On Sunday a nimble crew of VCB volunteers laid the last length of glass cloth inside the new gig. While David P and Dan patiently rolled the thick molasses-like epoxy into the cloth, Elys, David B, Ruth, Jack, and Aidan carefully scraped up the excess juice until the cloth was saturated and tight to the boat.
Meantime there was a steady team of mixers pumping and stirring to keep the process rolling. A tip of the hat to Aidan for staying behind to clean all the tools with vinegar. The fiberglassing of our new gig is now complete.
Under Marcel’s direction work on the frames and floors proceeded also. We should be able to start gluing these into the gig next week.
The painters were at work also. The razzle-dazzle finish on King Tide is finally looking like it is done, and the Pete Seeger oars are getting the Ukrainian blue and yellow treatment.
By one count there were 22 people at our boatbuilding session today. I don’t remember there ever being that many people, and I certainly don’t ever remember when we ran out of aprons. It was a busy day!
Today we laid glass cloth over half the interior of the gig, coaxing it into the stem and the transom, spreading clear epoxy until the cloth was saturated, and scraping until there were no drips or blobs. Next Sunday we will do the starboard side. The 12″ overlap in the center will give a little extra strength to the hull.
We also began the process of fitting out the inside of our gig by cutting out the frames and the floors. King Tide got one more coat of paint on its black patches.
There were a couple of grandkids in our crew today, and Sally brought us pizza again. Both are always welcome!
The inside of our gig is now (mostly) smooth to the touch after a vigorous Sunday afternoon of scraping and sanding. It’s not really as smooth as a baby’s tush, but it’s about as close to that gold standard as boatbuilders are likely to get. With just a bit more work we will be ready to fiberglass the inside.
In addition to polishing the inside of our cedar eggshell, we also ran some epoxy fillets to reinforce corners, shaped the top of the stem, and trimmed a handsome curve across the transom. Once the fiberglass is complete we will be making ribs and floors and decks. We have begun laying these out.
Also today, the repainting of King Tide pushed ahead. Its dazzle camouflage color scheme of white, red, blue and black is almost complete.
Yesterday we carefully lifted our new gig up off its molds, set it on horses, fastened three new cradles to the strongback, and then flipped it over and put it back, right side up at last.
With the outside now planked and glassed, and with the first gunwale glued in place, it is time to address the inside. That inside does not look so pretty right now. All the glue that we failed to wipe away when we were planking the gig is just lying there waiting for us.
But it will get done. Scrapers and sure-forms and sanders will do the job. Lots of hands will make light work. And once it is smooth we can fiberglass it just as we did the outside.
We will be working Sundays and Wednesdays (and students on Fridays) for the next several weeks. Everyone welcome.