Day 5, Peeler Skiff for CLC.

Today I stitched the port side strake on, added the transom, and tack welded everything into place so I can fillet tomorrow. At Chesapeake Light Craft, we often call the “stitching” stage, “stitching and bitching”. This is a nice quiet time when you can work with a friend and talk about all sorts of things while you make progress with your boat build. Yesterday, I was working alone, but today I had my little friend Louie helping me out. It was much more fun! We talked about all kinds of things while we made sure all of the wires were installed nice and tight so that the panels would be precisely and exactly installed.

The side panels require a fair amount of muscle to go completely home into the rabbet. As a rule, I generally start tightening wires from the stern and move toward the bow. The panels should be aligned to the transom (mallet work), and then as you move forward tightening, the bow sections of the panels will end up at the same place making it easier to get a nice plumb bow. This is more difficult the more strakes there are, and it can be very challenging on a double ender, but the peeler is pretty easy. The panels came together perfectly! They should align with the inside corners touching. If they don’t, it is because your panels are not in the same places from one side to the other. Check the alignment to the stern. If that is good, there must be a section of stitches that are not tight enough. Retigten and give mallet blows as needed. I also found the need to employ some temporary screws into the transom to hold everything where it should be. This is a fine solution when you know you are painting the exterior.

Once the hull was as perfect as I could get it, I “tack welded” the seams. I normally do this with CA glue so that I can remove the wires and fillet the seams the same day, but this is a bigger boat with thicker panels and the job requires more hold than the super glue would be able to give. So I used epoxy, thickened with wood flour to a “ketchup” consistency. Syringes are good for squirting the mixture into the seam, but I decided to try using a chip brush. It was an experiment that went pretty well. I liked being able to brush the thick mixture quickly, but the clean up was a bit more than I had hoped. I used a plastic spreader to clean away any excess epoxy that may get in the way of filleting tomorrow. Always hope for NO SANDING. This requires many trips around the boat cleaning little globs you missed on the last pass. And I can be sure that tomorrow there will still be some to sand away before I can begin filleting. Something to look forward to.

Port side stitched on. Aligning the corners at the stern, then tightening the wires from the stern forward, the panels come together perfectly (corner to corner) at the bow.

A good helper is hard to find.

I had a slight “dip” on the bottom at the stern that required a clamp to pull up. I screwed a block through the bottom into the transom (which held the transom flush to the bottom) and then I used the block as a “chock” to keep the clamp foot from slipping of while I tightened it. When the transom lifted home, I added another screw through the side panel into the transom to hold it in place. After the screws were in place, I removed the clamp. Both sides required this.

Looking pretty good!

This is a straight as it gets. I added some stitch holes and two more wires where the bow was showing light through the joint. This ensures a stem that is fair.

The forward bulkhead had a bend in it and if it were glued like this it may make parts fit poorly later.

So I clamped a 2x4 to it to hold it straight until the crucial gluing is done.

“Tack welds” installed between the stitches. The bulkheads are tacked too, but the aft bulkhead gets the center cut out later and should not be glued.

It was another half day to get here. I could have combined yesterday and today into one day, but who wants to work that hard? It is easy to burn out on a boat project. Pace yourselves. There will be plenty of long days later in the build.