Schedule for Skerry build

I'm excited that I finally pulled the trigger after 3 years of lurking and ordered the Skerry kit.  I was hoping to do a classroom build but could never make the schedule work.  When I built a Mill Creek 16.5, it took a lot more "days" than probably needed because I didn't think through how to do tasks in parallel on the same day.  It is just amazing to me that the classroom build completes in 5 days what took me a month or more.  For the Skerry, I was hoping to try to replicate some of the class schedule to be more efficient.  I understand that some of the parts for the classroom build are custom made to speed construction.  However, is there a similar schedule that would work for the base Skerry kit to be more efficient?


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RE: Schedule for Skerry build

I don't know how they organize the class, but a redo (no time soon for me!) would go faster a second time, no question.  The actual assembly was very quick, once I got the parts ready for each assembly step.  For my Skerry, I didn't have enough flat surface to do it, but I think it would have gone faster if I had glued up all the scarfs at one time, planks, rails, spars.  Some would have just sat for a while, but they'd be there when it was time.  Also, I'd think about putting an epoxy seal coat(s) on all the interior parts at one time, way before they went into the boat.  Sand down the edges where the fillets would bond.  It's so much easier to coat and sand those parts while they are flat.  And I'd do more reading/watching their instructions on how to fillet, and make more use of masking.  My back would not be as stiff from bending over in the boat sanding!

RE: Schedule for Skerry build

+1 to everything sawdust said.  

I took the Skerry class last September, and was glad I did.  There was just no way I could have crammed 50 hours of high quality shop time into a single week at home.  The engineer in me wanted time to read through the manual first, but there wasn't really a chance to do that during the class, and since the order of work is different than in the manual, it was tough to reconcile the advantages of one method over the other in the moment.  And FWIW, the parts are exactly the same for the class, just the procedure is a bit different.  Also, they had the panels already assemble before the class ever started, so that saves quite a bit of work right there.

Some random thoughts in hindsight:

* masking for the fillets was more trouble than it helped.  smear it in place, draw the fillet with the stick, and clarefully scrape the excess.  Practice in the bow and stern compartments.

* the bow and stern seats take a LOT of shaping.  their original shape from the CNC machine is nowhere close to the final shape for a nice fit.

* think ahead about how you want the outwales to look when done.  If you want the rails to have a wrap-around effect at the bow and stern, you'll need to shape the bow differently (and cut the outwale long) than if you want it nice and rounded with the rails stopping just short of the tip of the bow.  Either is fine, just know what you want it to look like before you a) round the bow, and b) cut the rails.

* On the efficiency front, I revised my punch list every day of things to complete next, and then put them in an order that grouped like-work together.  It really helped me stay focued and minimize over-thinking things.

* Like saw dust saidm grouping like-work is a huge help.  If you're scarfing the rails, you might as well scarf the mast and boom while you're at it, even if you're not ready to work on the mast and boom.  If you're done sanding the hull one day and have an hour's time to fill, break out the dagger board and rudder and sand those.  Stuff like that.  There's always SOMEthing to sand.

* Speaking of the daggerboard and rudder, get those assembled and shaped early -- they'll then be available to take those drabs of left-over of epoxy you'll have in the cup at some point.  Always have something ready to take epoxy, even if just a little bit at a time.

* If you're doing the inwales, those alone added about 30 hours for me, your mileage my vary.

Good luck, you won't regret it -- Skerry is a fun boat to build.  Oh, and post pictures!

Matt B


RE: Schedule for Skerry build

The class build techniques are designed to have a completed hull in a week, which they do admirably. However, it leaves the builder with an awful lot of sanding to do.

Most of this sanding is avoided if you take a little longer in the build, but of course that's impossible at the class.

The main things that make a class move so quickly are having all the materials in a dedicated workspace and the coach/drill sergeant instructor to keep you motivated and moving. Some have even been known to stay late hours after the students have gone to fix problems for the students so that everyone would start at the same point the next day.

So the first piece of advice that I would offer is that you plan on a 2-week build, not 1. That would let you save at least the same amount of time sanding, probably more.  You could also add personal touches, such as onlays, rice-paper graphics, fancy rub rails, etc.

Second, work with family, employers and friends to set up the same kind of free time and space that a class offers.

Not sure where to get an instructor, though.

Good luck and make haste slowly,



RE: Schedule for Skerry build

The fastest way to a completed boat is to follow the manual exactly.  Do not deviate, do not add any customizations.  Anything you do on your own will add more time than you can predict.  Having said this, to me half the fun is trying your own ideas. 

Read well ahead to make sure you are prepared for the next step.  Maybe you can work on spars and apendages while epoxy cures on the hull.

Take as much time as necessary to clean up all squeeze-out, drips, etc. The time used to clean these up after they cure will be increased exponentially.  Use cabinet scrapers before sandpaper.

Hooper Williams - Brevard, NC      

RE: Schedule for Skerry build

I am sanding my Skerry now prior to finishing the interior, although following the manual will prevent you from making errors in assembly, thoughtful planning will allow you to get a more efficient schedule.

- Sand everything while it is flat to 220

- Looking back, I would have epoxied the frames prior to installing them, this makes the sanding so much easier since you can hit the whole thing with the power sander rather than a small sanding block.

- I added the skeg as soon as I was done glassing the outside, then I flipped the boat and put it on the trailer, letting the skeg hang free while I installed the breast hooks and glassed the interior.

- I glued the rudder housing in two steps which allowed me to clean up the interior well prior to closing it up.

- work ahead on all the sub-assemblies (mast step and partner, rudder housing, dagger board, etc.)

- I am now debating finishing the interior and seats before I install the seats so that I have better access with the sander.

- I through bolted the rudder, so I will have to install it prior to installing the aft seat, which means completely finishing the outside.
Good luck with your build.

RE: Schedule for Skerry build

Scott –

Lots of good advice above – some very generous and wonderful people frequent this forum.  I started my Skerry in WoodenBoat class at CLC in September, 2014.  Needless to say, the class was very well organized and taught by an instructor who really cared.  I can't imagine how many mistakes were avoided simply by having someone to ask for guidance or a helping hand, and the skills I (sort of) mastered and the confidence I gained were invaluable throughout the build.  But the fast pace did have some consequences.  For one thing, I tend to be pretty meticulous in my work.  I want  to do something once, correctly, and be done with it, but in a class of seven, I was the last one to finish every day, and I still came home with a whole lot of sanding yet to do, some of it in very inconvenient places.  I think the biggest issue was that I simply didn't have time to (1) get very good at filleting and (2) to clean around the fillets before we had to leave the premises.  I also think I could have gotten a better fit for the bow and stern seats so those fillets would not have to be quite so large.

There were also some things I would have done differently, given the time to do so.  For example, in class we deviated a bit from the manual in how we glassed in and around the limber holes, so later I sort of had to puddle some epoxy there to end up with a flat surface through the limber holes.  I would also have liked to hide the edge grain of the sheer plank by relieving the inner surface of the rail so as to overlap the edge, and I would have liked to end up with a smoother surface on the interior of the daggerboard trunk. 

Having said all that, I now have a beautiful boat of which I am enormously proud.  I was very fortunate, as an empty nester, that I could turn  an unused basement playroom into a boat shop. I had the whole winter in a well-lit, heated environment, and no self-imposed pressure to launch, so I had the luxury of being able to enjoy the process as much as the result.  It helped that the MAS epoxy has virtually no odor that I could detect, and even the Interlux paint and varnish were easy to live with.  The one thing I had to do outside was sand the primer, which is a very dusty proposition.


RE: Schedule for Skerry build

   Thanks for all the great advice.  I ordered the PDF version of the manual, so I've been trying to study it and make out a work plan.  I have a couple questions - one that is specific to the Skerry and one that is more generic but multi-part.

First the generic:  in several places in the manual, there is the recommendation to sand between coats of epoxy.  I don't know how long you need to wait to sand.  I thought you would sand if you waited "too long" to put the next coat on so you would need to scratch the surface.  However, this seems to be more about creating a smooth surface.  So how long is it supposed to cure before sanding?  Where I got most confused is the "filling the weave" part where if I read it correctly suggests doing all three epoxy coats on a Saturday.  That would mean only 4 hours or so between coats.  So is it ok to sand if only 4 hours went by?  Also, for other parts of the boat (e.g. seats), the epoxy is more for protection.  Is sanding needed between coats or just sand prior to varnishing?  When I made my Mill Creek, there was much more fiberglass and not as much bare wood to just epoxy.

Specific to the Skerry:  I ordered the inwale addition.  The question is about the breast hook.  In the normal kit, the breasthook is screwed in and then the outwales are mounted.  The inwale instructions describe gluing in the breast hook *after* the outwales are already in place.  Is there a reason why you couldn't install the breasthook for the inwale setup the same way and time the manual describes?

Sorry this is so long but it seems there is a lot more wisdom here on the site than in my head.


RE: Schedule for Skerry build

   My experience was that I needed to wait four or five days if I wanted to sand between coats of epoxy. If you sand much sooner, the epoxy tends to gum up your sandpaper.

I think it makes sense to sand the boat thoroughly before putting on your final coat of epoxy (or what you hope will be your final coat). Earlier coats need to be dry to touch before recoating (four hours to 24 hours depending on the temperature), and I don't see the point in sanding. True, the little specks of dust in the epoxy will build up, but I prefer to sand them all off at once. 

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