Peeler Skiff build for Chesapeake Light Craft day 16

It’s flipping time! I have been thinking about how to do this job, by myself, since I was first asked to build this boat. I have plans to add a beam to the ceiling of the shop to use as a sturdy place to attach a winch, but too many projects at my new place in the mountains have pushed these important shop improvements further into the future. So, I used brute force and leverage to get it done the hard way.

First I lowered each end, one at a time, onto furniture dollies. This way I could easily position the boat anywhere I needed it to be. Once I had moved it, I cleaned up all of the mess that had accumulated under it, and began final planning of the flip. The leftover foam insulation makes a terrific pad to roll it on so I positioned it under the boats leward chine. On the other side, I used a 2x4 as a lever to lift it to a high enough angle so that I could put a short stool under it. It is heavy! I knew it would be impossible to hold upright when I got it to a balance point on its side, so I had to figure out a way to hold it using straps so that I could come around and slowly let it down onto sawhorses on the other side. I decided to use a pair of short bar clamps attached at the frames to loop the straps to. They looped around a leg of a workbench creating a sturdy hold. I lifted using levers and force in short increments, tightening the strap as it went up. This enabled me to take many breaks as I went. At the point where it was balanced upright, I went to the other side and gently let it down on a pair of heavily padded sawhorses. Success! The sawhorses are positioned under the seats. Very sturdy.

Lowering one end at a time onto moving dollies.

All of the steps leading to this point were too involved for photography. The 2x4 I used as a lever can be seen at the bottom. The foam insulation makes a terrific pad!

The strap is wrapped around two small bar clamps attached at the frames. The other end is wrapped around a workbench leg. From here I was able to gently let her down onto heavily padded sawhorses.

Now for the work to start. The bottom panel needs to be made flush with the sides at the chine. I started with a power plane, but gouged in immediately with the aggressive tool creating the need for filler. So, I decided to, instead, do the job with my block plane. It is one of my favorite tools, and it creates near perfect results every single time. Mine is kept much sharper than a razor, and the work is quiet and enjoyable, albeit physical.

Flush cutting the bottom with my block plane. It does near perfect work every time. The work is physical and slow, but it is also quiet and controlled. I prefer doing a good job over doing a job quickly that is not so good.

The butt block running down the center of the bottom needed a bit of shaping at the bow. I gave it a scarf taper with my block plane and finished saping it with the Shinto Rasp.

Shaping the point of the butt block at the bow. The Shinto makes short work of this sort of thing.

Now, all of the edges need to be aggressively rounded before proceeding with any fiberglass. All of this work was done with my orbital sander with 80 grit. It can be difficult to get these roudovers to come out fair when using a sander, but taking it slow, and steady, I got a really nice looking chine. The edges at the transom were close enough to 90degrees to use a roundover bit on the router to start. They still required finishing with the sander.

The outer stem needs to be added. It will be filled and pointed with epoxy.

I had only hoped to get this far today, but since I had made such progress I decided to go ahead and glass the transom. It will certainly be finished bright, so I went ahead and gave the surface a good finish sanding with 120 grit. Then I filled all of the voids I could find and added a fillet to the butt block near the stern. I will finish this fillet later when I am about to glass the bottom. I cut a piece of glass large enough for the job and hung it onto the transom using push pins to hold it until it is wetted out. Then I wetted it by holding my plastic spreader against the transom and pouring the mixed epoxy slowly onto the edge of the spreader while spreading the dripping mixture all over the surface. This can be done many different ways, but for me, this is the quickest method. It gets incredibly messy, however, so be sure to put plastic below to catch the mess.

Filling any voids at the transom with thickened epoxy. The fillet at the butt block is also needed for this step since the glass overlaps onto the bottom.

The finished transom glass. Note lthe epoxy drips on the plastic. I use push pins to hold the glass in place until it is wetted out. The scissors are needed to cut the darts at the corners. Don’t forget to clean them after using them on wet epoxy!

I also need to fill the “outer stem” at the bow. For this I used epoxy thickened with colloidal silica. This is the raw material that glass is made from, and when mixed with epoxy, it becomes stronger than wood. (It does not come with the kit, however.) It is also extremely difficult to sand when it is cured, so I made sure to under fill this so that I can add more material later with minimal sanding needed.

Filling the “outer stem” with epoxy thickened with colloidal silica. I made sure to under fill this. I will fill more later. By doing this a little at a time, I hope to avoid a lot of the difficult sanding that would be required otherwise. Colloidal silica does not come with the kit. This could be done with epoxy thickened with wood flour, but it would not be nearly as strong. It will also be wrapped in a couple of layers of 6oz glass also, but I do like overkill when it comes to strength.

Not bad for a day’s work!