First Run at Skinning the Chuckanu
September 18/19, 2015

When last we left the Chuckanu, she was fully formed, but bare. This week, we'd try to cover her.

Earl and his son, Chad, were walking the docks when I got to the Boathouse on Friday. They are builders - Earl is having Chad help him build an 18' tug. They were appreciative of the Chuckanu.

There are different schools of thought on treating the wood of a Skin on Frame. Some people say the boats will be stored inside, upside down, almost all their lives and need no treatment. Others can't leave well enough alone. I asked around and people said a well respected recipe for wood treatment is equal portions spar urethane, mineral spirits, and boiled linseed oil. I had the linseed oil, but needed to buy the other two - yes, that's $15.99 for a quart of spar urethane and $15.99 for a gallon of mineral spirits. Life on the coast . . .

Mix 'em up and paint 'em on. I started on the bottom - in case I screw it up, nobody will see it while I am learning.

Sam dropped by to ask about the Boathouse. I put him to work.

Sam was a great sport - I hope to see a lot more of him. He is a mechanic by trade, and those are useful skills. Photos by Bob.

Boat Turnings are big event - you usually invite friends over and but pizza. For the Chuckanu, not so much.

Starting on the topsides.

This is a really good picture - the afternoon sun sets things off quite nicely.

There we go - total coverage. The mixture is only shiny where the grain is flat, otherwise it soaked in very well. It's very sticky and stinks to high heaven - plus, if you get it on your skin, it burns.

Next morning, things had mostly dried. Conventional wisdom says to use this 1/3 1/3 1/3 mixture correctly, you are supposed to give multiple coats over time until the wood can soak up no more. I am not wise.

Tools for skinning: Electric stapler with stainless steel staples, hot knife (from Harbor Freight) and a heat gun (also from Harbor Freight.) Watch for sales, or be smart and buy real tools from reputable retailers.

Draping - it pays to take your time and line things up.

I didn't show the stapling process - essentially you start in the middle and work out while alternating sides - all the time pulling as tight as you can. Use LOTS of staples. Trim the excess.

Stitching the ends is fun - use a Table Stitch first. The cloth is so slick and the "thread" is so smooth, I went ahead and did a lock stitch.

Roll up the excess and do a whip stitch. See how nice and neat they were at the top?

Pull as hard as you can and there are still wrinkles - that's where the heat gun comes in, but not today.

I still have to pound in the staples - easy enough when you hold a sledge against the back and tap 'em in with a hammer.

I think it looks pretty just like that.

That, my friends, is a Boathouse.

Next week: More skinning.