To Build a Boat (kit) day 4

boatbuildress …or just call me the queen of clamps.

Today was the first full day I have put in. And full it was. I was off to the building supply store before breakfast for safety goggles and more clamps. Good luck my dears in Liverpool if you need to buy a clamp this week. I have purchased every last one and should I drive by one in a yard sale tomorrow or see one at Frenchy’s I’m having that one too. I needed the goggles because I found out yesterday that I am acutely sensitive to the epoxy; both the fumes and the dust. I had worked without a mask the day before and I woke up in a state with the headache from Hades. I was also still frightened by the sight of my bright red eyes the night before. I should have known better being sensitive to everything from new sheets to WD40. Taking no chances today – the boat must go on and before I had my morning coffee I had my tools up and ready:

toolsYou will see there is even a clamp for my hair. My worst nightmare would be getting my braid epoxied to one of the planks. First job of the day was cleaning up the puzzle joints:

jointsThen on to clamp a supporting board to the uppermost hull panel, called a sheer clamp. This was a tricky business and I enlisted Lance to assist. And a fine assistant he made. Then there was work to do on the bulkheads and a temporary support to build and more sanding and fussing.

clampedThis was the first day I really got the epoxy mix right. They said to add filler until it reached the consistency of jam. Well us Newfoundlanders likes our jam right thick so the first batch of that I made I could hardly spread though it seems to be holding. Next batch was more like warm molasses which was too runny. (Thinking of molasses inspired me to have it on bread for dessert after supper – molasses on bread, not epoxy) Got it now I think. They should have said it should be like lemon pie filling just when it is starting to set up and I would have gotten it right away.

So I spent the day in a kind of sensory deprivation suit in the 28 degree heat. I was mute from the respirator, deaf from the earplugs and blind with the dust collected on my safety glasses. Sweat trickled down the small of my back and I thought I might have to call Olivia Newton John to borrow some terry cloth wrist bands to keep the sweat which was running out of my rubber gloves from dripping on the wood panels. What a girl does for love!!! So what have I learned so far? Here’s a short list: 1. if they say to do something then do it. The people who wrote the book already made the mistakes to figure it out. 2. Prep time always pays off. 3. check the on/off button on the sander before you plug it in.  4. make sure your workbenches are level and wide enough for the job. If not shim. 5. only use clean tools. I saw stuff drop off a clamp from the garage that could have qualified as animal, vegetable and mineral. 6. Don’t epoxy the pages of your manual together  7. all tools have legs and they will sneak away just to get your goat unless you put them precisely in their favourite spot. 8. waiting for epoxy to cure is a lot like making doughboys: don’t lift the lid to take a peak – leave everything alone until it is all done. You just have to have faith. 9. the kerf on your scraper blade goes into the wood (thanks Lance for that one) 10. add more clamps. 11. don’t be afraid to ask the experts online. In reading the boatbuilding forum I found all of the mistakes I have made thus far have been made by others and all I could think when I read some entries was “there but for the grace of God, go I”.

So it’s four days in and I still don’t have anything boat-shaped.  There is still a pile of pieces in the barn room waiting for attention and the fibreglass is still folded neatly in the bag. Tomorrow I will lose a half day but then I can buckle down for another two. My only question tonight is: how the heck did they build boats without the internet? Without kits? Anyhow, it’s all put to bed for the night. I wonder what time it gets light in the morning.

closed for the night© Judy Parsons 2014

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