Day 10 Peeler Skiff build for Chesapeake Light Craft.

Today I got the final fill coat on the undersides of the seats, and the insides of the compartments. I started by sanding the undersides of the seats, then I fit the edge doublers. These had a seemingly endless numer of machine tabs that needed to be taken off. The parts are flimsy and fragile, so the work was tedious. I used the Shinto to get me part of the way, but it was the sanding block that took the brunt of the workload since they were too floppy for the Shinto to be used safely. They snap together with little puzzle joints on their ends and fit perfectly.

The seat bottom has been sanded and is getting a dry fit of the edge doublers. It is removed as a unit and put nearby for installation on top of the epoxy fill coat.

I also fit the cypress twart that will support the center of the rear seat amidships. I found mine to fit little bit proud as cut by the factory and rather than cutting the notch deeper in the compartment sides, I decided to shave a small amount of of the board off by passing it through the table saw. Then I rounded over the bottom edges with a router. This will become impossible after it is epoxied in place with the seat. While I was at it, I noticed the tank sides forward are a little warped, and I didn’t think I could live with tank sides below the seats that were not flat and true, so I decided to cut some of the lumber I have in to 1 1/2 x 3/4 strips and glue them to the insides of the edges to straighten the tank sides. It seemed to work. These were not part of the lumber parts in the kit, but I feel better about having a thicker edge, not only to hold the tank sides straight, but also to give some more glue surface for my seat install. I didn’t add anything to edge for the aft section since it looked straight there.

Rear seat brace thwart fitted. Bottom edges are rounded over with a router before installation. The tank sides are warped forward. I milled a board to glue to the insides of the top edge to straighten them.

Next, I mixed a big batch with fast hardener to coat the big seat. I had removed the dry fit edge doublers first, but I left them assembled so that they could be installed onto the wet epoxy surface and clamped quickly. Speed is always something to think about when using fast hardener. Even on cool days, it will set up quickly in a big batch. To illustrate my point, by the time I got the entire seat coated, the doubler ring clamped on, the epoxy that I was spreading onto the last U shaped piece for the back was sticky and stringy. I was barely in time, and I worked fast.

The second fill coat applied and edge doublers clamped on.

The doubler on the aft edge of the forward seat has been rounded over top and bottom.

For the rest of the fill coating, I switched to West System with Special Clear hardener. The kit only comes with MAS and it is great epoxy, but for fill coating, I have not found anything better than West System with 207 Special Clear hardener. It goes on almost as smooth as varnish, and seems to sand more easily than MAS. Another thing I like is that the pump dispensers that West System uses, pumps nearly triple the quantity of meterial per pump, than the MAS pumps. This means 10 pumps to fill a red cup instead of 25. I would recommend adding a West System resin and 207 hardener to your order when buying a kit. CLC carries the full West System line, and their pricing is good. MAS has far less odor than West, so it is still generally preferred for that reason. A smoother fill coat will need less sanding, which means less sanding through, and therefore fewer fill coats. It is worth the extra purchase, in my opinion.

The second interior fill coat is on. By using West System with 207 Special Clear hardener, I am able to get a much smoother coat with fewer runs. The tank side have been straightened with the wood clamped in. I left these boards a bit proud of the top of the tank sides so that I can plane the perfectly flat later for a better gluing surface for the seats.

This fill coat is really starting to show how nice this boat is going to look. It is time to stop and stare. She’s really coming along nicely!