"Not all those who wander are lost."

J R R Tolkien

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28 July 2013

Building the boat: First bottom panel in place

I have finally managed to permanently fit the first bottom panel on the boat. 10ft by 4ft weight 100kgs! Darn thing was hard work. The next ones though should be a little easier to fit because they will have something solid to butt against.

I have used  Sikaflex 252 (white), a structural adhesive  for glueing along the side panels of the boat, with 55mm stainless screws. I hope that stuff is as strong as I believe it is! It will keep the boat together, along with the screws and the bi-axial tape covering the joints. The first beam is also fixed now. It's bolted both ends to the vertical part of the framing, as well as being glued and screwed to the bottom panel. I used Sikaflex 221 (brown) for this. It is still very strong although I understand not quite a strong as the 252. 221 is also quite bit cheaper than 252. I swear, there must be gold dust in there judging from the price! I could have used epoxy, but the convenience of the tubes in a glue gun made it worthwhile despite the price, with enough open time to apply all adhesive. I think the epoxy would have hardened before I had time to apply all of it.  I used two different colours of the Sikaflex  to make sure I put the right stuff in the right place. I have cut some large limber holes in the frame, mainly to help with ventilation. Hopefully little or no water will find it's way there!!

Only one beam is fixed now, the nearest one, bolted to the vertical frame. The second on is on the wrong side of the frame, temporarily to help keep the bottom panel flat and in its proper position. The next panel to be fitted will be the one with the speed clamp holding it to the support frame underneath.

The support frame underneath supports the panel about 2" below the bottom of the boat. This gives me enough space to apply the adhesive. Then large clamps on the outside of the hull are used to lift the panel to its proper position against the side panels, then the panel gets screwed along the edged with stainless screws. That was quick and easy compared to applying the adhesive!

Well one panel down, only 8 to go now! Then the stern & bow transoms....Groan....

Oh, yes. I have to make the 4 forward panels differently, (in fact it's 4 panels 4ft wide and 2 panels 2ft wide). There is a curve in them which has to be built in before they are assembled because there is no way a panel assembled flat would then bend to follow the curve of the bottom of the boat (The panels are 1 1/2" thick. I am going to laminate them on top of the forwards beams, which obviously follow the same curve as the bottom.
A 2ft wide, curved panel being laminated on the top of the beams. Once the glue has gone off, I'll turn it over to fibreglass it on the under-side. I have put a smaal amount of over-bend in it, as there is always a bit of spring back when released.


  1. I like it. Good to see it coming together. Looks like quality work. There's a nice to feel to the whole thing.

  2. I love being on the water, but when it comes to building, I think a johnboat would be more in keeping with my skill and patience. I respect your work!