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