Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

Hi all, I am at the start of my first ever boat building project. Today I got through the stitching and was delighted that it now looks like a boat. Aiming for tack welding tomorrow. It's cold up here in Maine, but we have started heating the work space with a propane heater to cure the epoxy during cold nights.

I do have a question about pages 34-35 in the instructions for tack welding. First it says to smooth the beads of epoxy with a fillet tool. Then it goes on to say trim off any excess with a putty knife/spreader. I guess I am wondering why smooth them first, if I am supposed to remove any excess right after? Maybe I am not reading it right. Anyone have any insights about how much epoxy should be left on the wood for the tack welding?

With thanks

(I am sure I will have many silly questions along the way.)

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RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

   And here is progress so far after stiching today:

RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

When you smooth a tack weld or fillet, some of the epoxy escapes out past the sides of the smoothing tool. So you end up with a smooth middle with a couple of ridges of crud on either side. It's those side ridges you want to scrape off - they don't belong there. Much, much easier to scrape them off when the epoxy is soft than to sand them off later.

ps: your photo isn't displaying for me. I see it's google hosted. Probably a rights issue - it's not public enough.

RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

Welcome to the CLC project club then!

One caveat about that propane heater: is it a vented type, that takes air to burn then vents the water vapor and Carbon Dioxide / Monoxide out thru a flue to the outdoors?

You ought to be careful if not. Carbon Monoxide will kill you before you know it. Then there’s the contaminant risk from burins fossil fuel in an open flame while your project sits idly by to collect what settles out. Propane - LPG by another name - is Liquified Petroleum Gas essentially, and can vary widely in quality.

Tack welding’s just that. Little dabs of epoxy (or cyanoacrylate glue too can be used) to hold things in alignment until you can get the stitches out if you think you need to. Fillets usually come later, once you’re sure everything’s under control & in proper position.

With tacks there should be little need to go back and clean up if you’re tidy by nature. Slop gobs of the stuff on though, then yes you’ll want to get the extra stuff off before it cures hard. Otherwise you’ll certainly wish you had! My advice? Try a few small tacks where you can easily work the surrounding surface, see how it goes for you.

With fillets you’ll first add a coat of unthickened epoxy to the surfaces to be filleted so the thinner stuff soaks well into the raw wood and end grain where present. Otherwise you risk having epoxy sucked away from the thickened mix that actually forms the fillet. That gets applied where needed once the thinned stuff’s cured to a tacky point but not yet hard. Otherwise it’ll need sanding (if roughish) or at minimum a good rub with ScotchBrite abrasive, then a good vacuum & wipe-down with denatured alcohol.

The art comes in when you smooth the fillets you’ve placed with various tools. Invariably there’s some that’s left at the edges of where the fillets should otherwise end. That’s the stuff you want to get off with a scraper (wood, plastic, metal; they all work!) before it hardens. Otherwise that’ll need to come off too before you cover the fillets with a layer of ‘glass cloth saturated with unthickened epoxy.

Don’t be discouraged over your pic not showing either. This forum’s a great one when it comes to advice from others, yet trying to post images is simply a dreadful endeavor for some of us.

RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

ARRGH! It's not welding! It's bonding. From Wikipedia - "Welding is a fabrication process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by using high heat to melt the parts together and allowing them to cool, causing fusion. Welding is distinct from lower temperature metal-joining techniques such as brazing and soldering, which do not melt the base metal."

Just try applying high heat to your Okoume and see where it gets you. 

OK, deep breath here, end of rant mode.

A bit more seriously, if you make the tacks small there;s no need to smooth them, either.

The tacks here are just thin smears of epoxy. Lots of small tacks give you the strength to hold the boat together until the fillets are in

While pre-coating the joints before applying the fillets is an excellent idea, I've found that there's no need to wait until the pre-coat gets tacky before proceeding with applying the fillet. The length of time between painting on the unthickened epoxy and mixing and getting ready to apply the fillet material is plenty for the epoxy to get sucked into the pores of the wood.

And Chenier's right, you have the permissions set wrong in Google. It wants us to sign in before we can see the picture.

Welcome and remember, welding a wooden boat is step one in a Viking Funeral :-)



RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

   Wow, thanks everyone for the helpful replies, what a great community! Is there an easier way to get photos embedded in the thread? I've changed the permissions of the photo, but I'm not sure if it is working as on my end, the photo is embedded.


I really appreciate all the replies. I suspect I will have more questions as I go, as this is very new to me.


RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

It works.

Ariel's Jimmy Skiff II

1.Click on that link you posted here.

2. When the shared album page opens, click on the image on that page. That will show just the image.

3. Right click on the image, select "Copy Image Location".

4. Come back to here (Add a Reply) and select the "Image" icon (next to the question mark). That will open the Add Image dialog box.

5. Paste the image location that you copied into the URL field, set the width to 512 or less and hit OK. If you want to get fancy, set the other options, like alternate text. That's it.

When someone views the thread, the image will fit on the post space, but if they click on the image, it will enlarge to full size and the paragraph immediately under it will be displayed as a caption.




RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

Yep, Ariel, you now have a boat-shaped object, one of the great joys of building from a kit, and a strong encouragement to keep you going through the not insignificant work remaining and the odd challenges which will present themselves along the way.  I mean, she now looks like a boat, however incomplete, you'll start referring to her by name, and you can now well imagine the joy you will have together just by looking at her!

When we built our Passagemaker Dinghy, something of a multiple generation family project, my younger grandchildren would giggle themselves silly playing at messing about in boats (gently) once we had her well and truly stuck together with some of the seats and structure secured.

To wit, here are a couple of young'n's having a grand old time:

...with much more work to be completed before simulated messing about in this particular boat would become actual messing about.

And, it was not just the young'n's, as here the old boatwrong shows his bride how he might be able to sleep aboard if he can figure out how to tent the business in someday:

So, by all means, have some fun messing about in not quite completed boats along the way to keep your enthusiam up.

Oh, and there are no "silly questions" here.  The only way to have a stupid question is not to ask it.  <;-)


RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

I've always pegged 'silly questions' as those you already know the answer to myself.

Thanks Laszlo for the how-to for correcting missing images. I just might try that later, see if I can overcome my 'learning disability' when it comes to getting that image embed dialogue box to work for me.

As for weld vs. bond: I have yet to run across anything anywhere that describes the procedure as 'tack-bonding' so I'm willing to accept the misnomer myself. Leaves time for less trivial pursuits....   

RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

And my comment about adding fillet mix over unthickened 'prime' coat comes from my experience watching fillet mix slide off the primed joints when I'd rushed things with joints somewhat less than horizontal.

Yes you can add fillet material to the primed joint with the prime still wet, but it makes things easier when it comes time for smoothing and clean-up if the prime's begun to tack up a bit. Holds the fillet blend in place it does.   

RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

   Thanks all for the replies. Got the tack welding done last night and did my best to keep it tidy. I have never worked with epoxy before, so this has been a good learning experience all around.

RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

   Another question about applying structural fillets and fiberglass tape... The instructions say not to tape on inside corners of transom. Does that refer to just the two inside corners where the transom meets the sides, or also where the transom meets the bottom? I know seats will go in and there is a risk of them not fitting, so I want to ensure I understand.

RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder


RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

  Ariel, I am at the same point on my Jimmy skiff and had the same question about taping the corners of the transom (pg. 36 instruction book)
I understand not taping where the seats join the transom, but do you NOT tape the corners between where the seats fit and the bottom of the quarter knees?
Anyone have the answer?

RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

   @Minisail - I can't vouch for this process, but looking ahead to the installation of the seats, it made sense to do the spaces in between. So this is what I did. We will see as I go if any problems arise.


Overall, I was pretty happy with how the fiberglass joints came out. A bit messy, as it is my first time, but seems to do the trick.


RE: Jimmy Skiff - first time builder

   Ariel, thanks for the reply and pics.

Looking good!

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