Clark Fork Drifter Build Session
1-2 December 2012
When last we left our build,
we had given her one coat of primer. Now it was time to get to paintin'.
The build process slows considerably when it gets time to paint.
Depending on how detailed you want to get, you can paint a boat
in as little as 20 minutes, then you have to wait a day for it to
dry. I have to try to plan for other activities to keep everyone
busy or we we'll just devolve into a place where a bunch of old
Coots come to sit around an complain about the gub'ment.
I'm a big believer in primer - I believe the boat should be primered
brilliant white, then painted so no white shows. The problem with
white is scratches, so some people use 'tintable' primer colored
to the topcoat. You can even get pigment to add to your epoxy from
various places - Duckworks
has a nice, inexpensive selection.
I found some marine
spar varnish made by Rust-Oleum, at the local Ace Hardware store
and man, that makes a purty finish. I really like Rust-Oleum products
- the boats I make rarely rust.
Primer inside, primer outside. Paint paint paint.
Painting and varnishing were done in a half hour or so, but instead
of just wandering over to the Twisted
Snout for a beer at 4:30, I thought I'd introduce Curt and Bob
to the project I'm planning for the Family Boat Build this coming
Spring Break. Remember our last Family
Boat Build? It's like that, only doing a Michalak
QT Skiff powerboat instead of a Dave
Gentry Ruston IGO canoe.
I've made a few alterations to Jim's perfect plans, and I needed
to see how badly I messed everything up before I forced this on
the innocent families. Who better to test on than volunteers? I'd
prefabbed most of the parts at home - I'm planning on prefabbing
as many parts as possible for the families - and wanted to see how
well things worked with Curt and Bob putting things together.
I'd wanted to dry fit the boat together, see how it all looked,
then take it apart and use the pieces as templates, so we are doing
this without glue. It's fun watching the build from the outside
- 14' long 1/4" thick plywood is pretty floppy.
My biggest modification is not using temporary frames - I use (4)
frames that will become seat supports once the braces across their
tops is removed. My math didn't come out perfectly, so this boat
has a wee bit of a 'sexy waist' to her, back at the aft seat - not
a big deal, but I will correct it.
What you can't see here is that the frames don't come all the way
to the very edge of the plywood - there is a 1/2" space. I
decided I wanted a free path along the bottom of the boat so water
won't collect in specific spots. I figure it'll make mopping out
the water easier and maybe prevent some rot.
This design calls for (3) sheets of plywood with the bottom being
cut from the excess after you cut out the sides and transom. Because
of variations in the bending of material, you really can't make
a good guess as to the exact shape of the bottom, so you have to
place it, mark it out, cut it, fit it, and trim it during assembly.
I have lots of fear and trepidation about this step of the Family
Boat Build - but that's why we practice, ain't it?
That's enough for one day. Let's go have a beer.
It's time for the topcoat on the Clark Fork Drifter. A drift boat
is a fishing boat, intended for fishing fast-moving rivers and streams.
If this boat is lucky, it's interior will be awash with fish blood,
guts and scales. I wanted to put some non-skid on the floor to help
our future owner when he's trying to land 'the big one.' Rather
than just cover the entire floor with nonskid, I wanted to make
treads. I made a template for how I wanted the treads to look and
used a piece of scrap for a spacer. Look close - you can see how
I'm laying this out.
I found it's very easy to wander left and right down the length
of the boat, so I took to measuring to keep things centered.
Next step was to tape off the non-non-skid areas and trim the taped-off
areas to shape.
Mix the anti-skid with the paint. The instructions said "1/2
cup to a quart" but I'd only purchased a quart of paint for
the interior - it wasn't all for anti-skid. I poured a bit of paint
into a separate container, guestimated how much Tread-Tex to add,
and continued . . .
Hey, Visitors! Mel brought by his daughter and her friend to see
what was happening at the Boathouse. I tried to talk them into painting
with me, but they were reluctant. We talked for a while, I told
them about the Family Boat Build, and I hope they apply.
There's the anti-skid on cockpit sole. The rest of the interior
will be that dark gray.
Since I couldn't paint the entire interior, I decided to do the
detail work - I'll hit it with the roller next week.
Details, details. This is why I like canoes, people!
All that interior/detail stuff could easily be done by one person,
so what was I to do with Curt and Bob? I decided to have them actually
assemble the QT Skiff into a boat. They had to take it all apart,
then glue and screw it all back together. We are using PL Premium
for the glue, 1-1/4" Grip-Rite Deck Screws from Rust-Oleum
for screwing into timbers, and 3/4" stainless screws for attaching
the chines and wales.
Oh, I like the look of this boat - nice and utilitarian, just my
kind of project.
The final step for the day was attaching the chines. We suffered
one chine breaking at a knot in the wood, but recovered nicely with
glue and clamps - it'll barely be noticeable. Remember: It's not
the mistake, it's what you do about it.
And while they worked on the QT Skiff, I kept painting. Oh, my!
That's a very blue boat.
Next week: Finish painting and install the seats.