January 25, 2015 Hours spent building to date: 600
Ray and I won the Battle of Okoume Bend after a pretty tough fight deploying big clamps and big screws, finally getting 1/2-inch plywood around Tardis’ shapely bow.
Actually it wasn’t all that bad, even though I initially thought we were staring at a tactical disaster coming into the day. I had been working on the diagonal planking all week, which was going very well, and while waiting for glue to dry made patterns for the topside planks. They were very stubborn, popping up in bubbles here and there, seeming to change the chine curvature at will, on and off the boat a dozen times each. They would not lay down to the forward stringers at all.
So coming into planking day with Ray, I said to him, “Our goal is just to get a plank onto the boat somehow with drywall screws and see how much shimming and trimming we’ll have to do.” But during the dry try, I had a pretty good fit at the scarf. Ray said, “If I put all my weight against it, looks pretty good at the bow.” So we spread the epoxy, and screwed her down, using big, squeezy clamps to make the bend.
I walked around the bow with trepidation and climbed into the boat. All frames, bulkheads, stringers, and stem were very tight. Mark had figured out the bend on the 1/2-inch just right. There were a couple places where the chine didn’t quite line up between the 1/2-inch topsides and two 1/4-inch layers on the bottom, but I attribute that mostly to the different bending characteristics of the ply. Also, after walking around the boat 500 times in the last couple months, I think the topside stringers flatten out at their ends a bit, but I’m glad I didn’t mess with them, since what we have seems so strong. We evened up the topside and bottom planks with plywood clips and drywall screws, but this area will still have to be faired.
Extremely glad I went with diagonal planking for the bottom curvy part. There is a bit of a bass drum effect when you whang on the rest of the boat, but a solid “thunk” up front. Seems very, very strong. If anyone ever wants an IceBreaker Olga, you could continue it all the way to the stern.
The one problem with the diagonals was the scarf between 1/4 and 1/2 inch ply. The first layer went in smoothly, but the second, being at a bendy place, would not lay down flat. So I put the planks into a thick bed of epoxy full depth without a scarf and will fair them in with sort of a reverse scarf from the top. Any way you look at it there will be a full 1/2 inch of material, the chine and two layers of tape at this junction, so nothing is going to fall apart.
So there is a lot of fairing and patching ahead before the glass goes on, but Tardis is planked at somewhere between pretty close and close enough. I love looking at her.