New Boat Part 15

Interior prep, centerboard, and bulkhead templates:

It has been months since we have been able to work on our Penny Fee project, but with the arrival of March it looks like we might actually get something done on this lovely little boat.

If you cast your mind back to a much earlier post on this project (New Boat #8 ) you will recall that when we clamped the strakes together we used long battens screwed through the strakes to hold the planks together until the epoxy dried. We plugged those holes from the outside before we painted and flipped the boat. Now it was time to clean out the boat and plug the interior ends of those holes. This is one of those jobs that often gets glossed over because it is not all that romantic or glamorous to climb all over the bilge of a boat wielding putty knife and pot of epoxy spooge, but in fact it is vitally important; an unplugged hole in the bottom of the boat is a very bad thing.

Filling interior ends of screw holes

With the interior ends of the holes plugged, we needed to sand the interior.

While this was going on we were making the templates for the bulkheads. The plans do not call for bulkheads, but because of how we intend to use this boat as our launch, we want lockers fore and aft which will allow us to keep gear for the boat locked on board. In addition we want areas where we can put inflatable floatation. Knowing this we have figured out the location for our bulkheads and are making templates in cardboard. One of the nice things about lapstrake construction is that making templates is relatively easy because the section of the boat is made up of a series of short straight lines. We used a shop compass to get the templates close, and then hot-glued short pieces of cardboard onto the master template to make any corrections.

Cardboard template for aft bulkhead

Corrections made with scraps of cardboard and hot glue

We have also been working on the centerboard, which is made up of three layers of marine plywood leftover from the planking that have been glued together. The idea is to create a wing-like cross section to reduce drag through the water. The leading edge is simply rounded, but the trailing edge poses more of a challenge because it has a significant taper running from the bottom trailing edge up to about half its length, at this point I wanted to keep the aft edge of the board rectangular in profile so that the board will not twist or rattle in the centerboard trunk. This meant that as I shaped the trailing edge there would be a sort of scooped place halfway down the length of the board that would ease into a hydrodynamic trailing edge. In essence the problem was to scoop out some of the laminated plywood without raising the grain too much.

After some experimentation, the best tool for the job appeared to be a round-bottom plane that I originally bought for shaping the propellers of a full sized airplane that I built in High School (a story for another time).

Round-bottom plane

After roughing out the shape the rest of the shaping was simply done with a sander.

Roughing out the centerboard

The board will be coated in epoxy and the leading edge will be glassed with 4oz fiberglass to protect it from groundings.

The centerboard after shaping

Coating the centerboard with epoxy

Meanwhile the interior of the boat with all holes plugged, was sanded and cleaned. This allowed us to apply a sealer coat of epoxy to the interior below the waterline. The idea is to protect the interior if it has to sit with rainwater in it for any extended period of time.

Cleaning out the interior of the boat after sanding

Coating the interior with epoxy

With any luck we will be shaping floor timbers, finishing up the centerboard, and building the centerboard well soon.

If you would like to read all the posts related to this project together, go to the category at the right called “Penny Fee” and click on it. It will pull all the posts on the penny fee onto one page for you.

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