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Allow me to introduce CLOUD CAP

Ladies and Gents, here she is!

I have slowed on posting for two reasons; one is that my camera has degraded to the point that it will only take one round of photos (maybe up to 10) before it decides that the AA batteries are dead, second is that I can't imagine people being too terribly excited about "hey, this is the third coat of paint, which looks just like the first and second!". Since our last good visit, she has received a handful of interior coats of Interlux Brightsides in Grand Banks beige, a final coat of red Bottompro gold, and a last coat of the beautiful Kirby paints' Grey Green.

After the administration of the smelly colored stuff, I went back through and assembled each part with a loving dollop of 3M bedding compound in each screw hole and anywhere a piece of metal touched the boat. In a few places I switched to 4200 fast dry where I thought it might be best for the compound to cure up in less than three weeks.

I am welcoming any questions via the comments section, or the forum at forums.bateau2.com in the LB22 thread. To keep from babbling on and on, Im going to just post MANY pictures of her, and let you decide!

She will be unceremoniously splashed either tonight (Friday May 9th, 2008) or tomorrow morning. She is registered at Jamestown distributors and boatbuildercentral.com. She requests that all information remain public and that you share the photos of her with your friends anytime you like.

I have succeeded at hitting my target of completing her before June, I just missed it by a year is all......






Big happenings are afoot

Stay tuned, check back often, there will be a major post coming very, very soon.



I quit!

I have quit.

Im done with all of the prep work, detail work, and general BS related to getting ready for paint. What a pain, dealing with the cold all winter long (one of the longest in memory here in Spokane). We have had flirtatious days of 55 degrees, only to be dealt a crushing blow of 7 days below 45 degrees and regular overnight snowfall. It melts during the day, only to come back and assault us yet again overnight.

Good news is, the last of the epoxy work was completed, and the splashboards on the bow are done! This was by far the most difficult fillet I have ever dealt with, being not only small, but delicate and difficult to get to thanks to the angles. It did turn out well, however.

After getting the splashboards up, set, glued, and filleted, I did one last detail sanding of various parts, then a nice long bath to get all the wintertime blush off. The fast and medium hardeners the epoxy needs sheds a blush when it cures, which is water soluble. This required a sponge scrub of the entire boat with mild detergent and a 3M pad. Afterwards, she turned out to be very clean and smooth, which was nice. It does, however, have what my friend Jerry refers to as "scobies" on it. These are the little balls of sanding dust and junk that have settled over time and made the boat a little "hairy" feeling. I think this week (since it is STILL too cold to paint) I might have to go out and give her a once over with the 220 grit, just to peel the scobies off and make it 100% buttery smooth for the paint.

Without further ado, here she is, ready for paint:

A sidelong glance:

Quartering shot to show the finished splashboards:

I had SWMBO's camera, with the big wide angle lens, so I shot some interior photos for the LB22 builders that might happen along after me, looking for ideas on how to do their aft seating and forward bulkheads:

Here is the finished splashboard:

I chose to run it inside the coamings so that the visual line of the coamings was uninterrupted. Obviously these splashboards are only going to be good for spray and rain, as a good sized wave will laugh at it just as it drenches the occupants of the boat. I did add some drain holes in the small pockets so they dont retain water and dirt. I think she gets a nice 40's flair from it, a very lean look. The windshield as-designed took away the armrests on the decks that SWMBO loved, so I chose not to add Jacques' windshield. Im always open to comments and ideas as well.

I have many more photos (including ones where I had sanded all of the lake scunge (a friend of mine's coined term for the green slime on the sides of our boats), if anyone is interested.

Now if it would only get over 60 so I could paint this thing.....



2008 boatbuilding season commences!

The weather has finally reached an epoxy-able stage (only cooling to 33 tonight!), so we are off like a turd of hurdles (herd of turtles?)

I had been stagnating at the thought of cutting more holes in the poor boat. The hole cutting isn't too much of an issue, as after so much fairing and fairing and sanding with some fairing, I essentially despise my boat. Devlin says you need to hate a boat, well, deal.

The bow bulkhead (frame A) is supposed to be trimmed completely open based on the design, but I saw this as an opportunity for a storage compartment with a lid. This was also fueled when the initial plywood order over a year and a half ago was the wrong thickness. The A frame ended up being 6mm instead of the requisite 9mm, so the designer helped me fix the scantlings and utilize the frame I had. Today, we poked a hole in it:

Whilst feeling a little saw happy, the benches were just flotation tanks until this point, so I had the same festivities with those as well. The side seat is non-draining and sealed, so it received a vertical locking hatch, allowing some storage of sundry items (probably the keys/cellphone/wallet/dry stuff compartment). On the other hand, the aft compartment will have a drop-in hatch made from its own cutout. This compartment is the main drain to the bilge well aft. Obviously this isn't an offshore boat, otherwise large 1000gph ports would be cut into the sides. The bulk of its life will be spent in freshwater lakes and occasional excursions to the Puget Sound / San Juan islands, which are essentially overgrown lakes with a bad attitude on windy days. Do note that I painted these compartments EEONS ago:

There are other additions, such as the bow eye holes were drilled and an 8" long 1x1 mahogany wood backer glued in, so we will have a true bow eye and the ability to attach her to the trailer, a novelty in itself. I didn't take a picture.

My largest concern since about September is how I was going to do the windshield. I have wavered from Jacques' intended design of a Bolger-inspired sloped windshield forward with side windows (axed due to losing the armrest in SWMBO's seat), to nothing at all, to a Chris Craft looking Duvall style windshield. After much meditation (mainly on the toilet), and considering the costs associated with a CC windshield (from $450-$2000), I opted to step back in time.

Back in the 30's and 40's, many of the utility boats with this hull shape and open layout just used coamings of various types. Some rounded, some sloped, some shaped in odd and majestic ways. I opted for the saxboard/splashboard look of the ocean going vessels. This gives a dose of protection if a green wave is shipped over the bow (which will never happen), has a very jaunty look, and was relatively easy to do with scrap on hand. I am looking for comments on this, good or bad. Any forumites please post in the forums, otherwise feel free to throw a comment in here at the blog.

I think it's simple, understated, and cost effective. I couldn't justify putting a windshield up front that wasn't going to block any wind of consequence, as the forward seats get no breeze, and when I stand I get a face full of bugs on the way in regardless. For our needs, where being out in the sun is King, I think this will work out well.

Next up is finishing out the splashboard fillets, and getting her ready for paint!
I will have to wait a bit for paint, but once 60 degrees rolls around, we are going full tilt, paint, cure a week, and then add the lights/wiring/engine/controls.

Ahh, its nice to be moving again!



We are up to 40!

Ahh, the weather is starting to break.

Its been an exceptional winter, with some news agencies placing us at 180% of our normal snowpack in the lowlands, and 130% in the higher elevations. Good for the skiing, the lake, and the fish. Not particularly conducive to the blogging boatbuilder. The current snowpack here at home is about 18", and its basically a monolith of ice, as the snow has been through many freeze-thaw cycles. What is nice, however, is it's ending!

Here is a good example:

Normal snow year:

This year:

Sun broke out the other day, many scurried away from the bright, horrible burning orb floating where the clouds normally are, until a few intrepid citizens found the heat to actually be a good thing. The snow from SWMBO's car melted into lakes, so I spent a good deal of time sweeping that out.

This instigated a little rejuvenation of the boatbuilding virus. Once the ice and snow and water were moved, well lets get this tidied up. Thats better, now let us clean this. Hey, these need to be put outside, but this needs to be over here on the shop wall. Okay, now that this is happening, let's get serious and pull her out of the garage to get things really tidy....

Ahhhh. Now Im thinking about how I can do this, fix that, get this sanded, recoat that, and lets get some paint on this pig!

I also took a few minutes and made a little more convenient clamp rack out of my last remaining sawhorse that isn't a motor stand. Pretty snazzy, eh?

A friend has donated some clamps to the cause temporarily, but I am getting far enough ahead to be able to call most of those my own. There is a rowboat project and a workboat project in the offing that will require more use of clamps than this one has....

Also working on SWMBO to help me develop a REAL webpage! Blogger is great, but there will be more boats, with more stories, and more mildly irritating banter, which all need to be compactly held together in one place. You will be the first to know....



You thought Id quit eh?

Let's just call it slow going. Do you have any idea how boring it is for me to take thousands of pictures of the same damn boat over and over when the only thing that changes is how smooth it is?

You can't feel it, so it's pointless! "Look, that shade of grey is different than the shade of grey over there, he must have switched grits.... ooooo..."

Needless to say, it's different now. It is all greyish, silky smooth, and bordering on ready for paint. Yesterday after work, Shayne came up to help me hoist the motor out of the boat again. He's a kind soul, but gullible. Once the motor was out, it was time to press on again, and get this thing outa the shop.

First, though, let's look at what we are contending with:

It's a little cold out there. We haven't enjoyed temps over the freezing mark in, well, awhile. We did have a short spell, but snow has basically been on the ground since we ate that turkey and his yam friends. As you are well aware by now, I don't have heat out htere, let alone insulation. I have been trying to either find tasks that don't require heat, or that I can be basically stationary and get under the IR heater. Today was one of those days.

With the motorwell emptied out, I put my carcass in there, took a sander with me, and got the last of the open spaces prepped. The whole boat has now been sanded. I also put as much filler as possible in a heatable space (the splashwell) on the tape, setting out to have it cure sometime before the fat man slides down the chimney.

It was a little something like this:

A 250/500w work light turns into a 250/500w heater pretty readily. Its basically infrared heat with more light than usual. Still rather effective.

Throw a towel into the mix to retain more of the heat:


I'm going to ski tomorrow, so don't expect me to work on the boat.



Fairly fair

Every boat builder will be familiar with this statement. I have reached "Good enough". I think Sam Devlin had a good point when he said in his book "You have to hate a boat to finish it". Im so sick of looking at fairing boards, swapping paper, cleaning out the vacuum and getting the refrigerator dirty that its time. There are several little spots that could use quickfair. They would require hours of longboarding. There are spots on the fillets that are going to be wavy due to a lack of concentration when I was taping. Guess what, Im done fairing.

Let't look at it from another angle. I'm betting that most readers are either building a boat or will be building in the future. Some have spent the time and effort to actually go back through and read this blog from start to finish (if not, its getting cold out, its rainy, grab a mug of warm beverage, nestle in, and read it.) and can see how the mistakes were made, and why places aren't fair. If you are an astute reader, in the pictures you can see where the boat is seriously deformed and is now perfectly fair. I'm not going to tell anyone where anything is, because its my secret. I think that might be the point, in the end.

It will be your boat. You built it. If you feel that you are out to build a boat for show, then each infinitessimally small detail will be perfectly faired. To whom are you trying to be perfect for? Some need this level of perfection for inner peace. Others seek the adoration of onlookers. This is especially true of the mahogany runabout crowd. The beauty of the boat and the joy of its use is lost in the spectator's staring at the finish and nothing else. This isn't my style.

Other will go through the process in drudgery, and at the first possible moment slob on paint, not caring about smooth surfaces and unfair areas. Their need to be done and put their boatbuilding experience behind them is more powerful than going a few extra steps to make the boat last beyond next summer. These boats will be left out, destroyed by the elements, and relegated to sandbox duty.

Im somewhere in the middle. I like smooth lines, I like nice paint. I can't see doing any varnishing, though its beautiful, as my life is too short. I want a boat I can be proud of, but one I can use day in and day out (yes, we use our boat more than most, probably 5 or more days a week, 6 months out of the year). I don't want to worry about rafting it up with my friends and scuffing the paint. I want to be able to run it up on a beach and not give it a second thought. I built this boat to use, to enjoy, to take my wife out on evening cruises at 6mph in the fading sunlight. I built it to get 8 friends together and see both ends of the lake, hit the beaches, and be social. I want to go find that lunker bass in the weed edges, getting as shallow and close as I can. At the end of the day, I want a boat that will provide us with enjoyment, year after year, with low maintenance requirements, but one that I will still look longlingly at as I leave it at the dock at night.

I think we are there. It's a little imperfect in places, just like me. It is rugged and durable, great to look at, and the only ones who know where the flaws are will be myself, and people who build boats like me. Depending on the other builder, they will either find my workmanship below theirs, and feel better about themselves, or they will see the world as I do. They will understand that life is too short to sweat every detail. They will see the little flaws and smile, knowing that when they build their next boat, they will have a few too, and that it's okay.

So following that diatribe (its like talking to a diabetic about their eating habits. Noone will listen to what I said, but it felt good to say it) there are a few tidbits and some great photos to show this time.

Firstly, my wife loves me. She knows I have a boat problem, and instead of nagging and harassing me about it, she enjoys the fruits of it and supports me. It means quite a bit to me, as I know it can be hard sometimes with how often I work on it and what it costs. To show her support, she got me this for my birthday:

This is an original H. Chapelle's Boatbuilding from 1941. Fantastic read, with tremendous info for boatbuilders of all kinds. Highly reccomended.

Secondly, the boat got some new digs. I found the first trailer I purchased was going to be tough to set up for this hull. Craiglist came to the rescue, selling that trailer and picking up the newer one. Mobile bunk brackets, more length, better suspension, and brakes that function, Im happy, shes happy.

This is how a boat should be supported, not the bunk contact to the hull:

The bunks are also quite close together, as each side has two which are attached via brackets that pivot. One nice side effect of this is the skeg guides the boat onto the trailer, no matter how windy it is (when I switched trailers, winds were 25mph gusting to 40. The controls were not on the boat, and I did it with ropes only.):

Now its always a mistake to let people see the wood under epoxy as they will beg you to varnish the boat. Only after explaining the time and effort that goes into 25 coats of varnish do they realize why we paint. In the spirit of full disclosure, here are the last photos of the boat in her naked wood state, with 3 coats of epoxy. Note the fairing compound on all surfaces, and a thick coat on the sole which covers the wood:

Shes going in for her last sanding, this the finish sanding of 120 grit in prep for paint. Its good enough. If someone sees a flaw and points it out, im okay with that. As of today, we are very near 12 months total in the project. Mind you, much of that is wasted time in ski season, waiting for plywood, and using the boat through the summer heat. Paint will hopefully be next week sometime, or the first week of November. That might require heating the garage in some fashion, but thats a bridge to cross at that point in time.

All comments and feedback are welcome, either here on the blog, or over at forums.bateau2.com