May 2009 - Chapelle 35' Utility Launch

Ok, the bottom layer is on and the boat is beginning to "solidify"... That's one of my best helpers removing screws in the pictures, -hard work indeed! Of course, we could use the drill, but it's so noisy. Working early in the morning, loud noise just seems wrong. So, between the two of us, the screws come out pretty quickly, even if not as quickly as w/ some electricity.

About all those screws. -If you don't want to vacuum bag everything, you need to make sure the layers stick together all over the place. If you don't screw them together all over the place, you get air pockets. Air pockets can produce rot. Rot is bad. Even two perfectly flat pieces need some help staying together. Weight them down all over or you'll get little hills and valleys. I laminated the 2 transom layers together w/ the help of just about every loose object in my shop: a rolling set of drawers, my router box, a case of socket wrenches, a bunch of C-clamps, a couple of bottles of epoxy, etc... I missed one spot, -and of course I can see the edge is a wee bit open. Luckily it was at the edge, so I can fill it before gluing the bottom and sides onto it. The transom is made up of one layer of 1/2" and one layer of 3/4" for a total of 1 1/4". Another 3/4" layer will be installed inside the outboard splash well so that the transom will be 2" thick where the engine mounts. I could have made the whole transom 2" thick, but it seemed awful heavy. Glad I didn't.

Next up will be some tabbing at the keel line to keep everything lined up. Note all the little pieces of wood keeping the bottom halves in position. There are actually even more now, after these pictures were taken. I've screwed in a few extra pieces, similar to the little pieces at the bow to keep the sides and bottom lined up. Works better than ties in the bow. On the bottom it's just easier, -no drilling... I also need to tab the bow & (virtual) stem so that I can get the next layer on without all the ties and little pieces in the way. The tabbing needs to be strong enough to hold everything in place. There's a lot of pull on those bottom planks. They want to spring out. I may need some glass tabs there. We'll see.

I'm rethinking the thickness of the bottom and the sides yet again. I think I'll land on either: 3/4" bottom + 1/2" sides, or 1" bottom + 3/4" sides. The 1/2" stuff I found at Lowe's seems like a shoe-in for the sides. There's hardly any bend in the first four panels. The tumblehome at the stern might be a problem, but I very much doubt it. For the bottom, the first panel at the bow might need to be 2 more layers of 1/4". The rest of the bottom is fairly flat and 1/2" should be fine, even on top of the thinner stuff. As usual, we'll see how it goes when I get there :-)