Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pronounced Fill-it

While building this boat I have had to acquire new skills.  How to fillet a joint is one skill I think I am finally beginning to master.  Ok I don't want to go overboard (pun intended) but I have become significantly better at the technique.

To fillet the joints at the plywood, I mix epoxy with wood flour and a bit of the silica powder for a bit of added strength.  This mixture is dumped into a zip lock freezer bag and with the corner cut and is dispensed like a pastry bag.  It is like decorating a cake wearing gas mask.  

I started at the stern area because everything will be covered up by the cockpit and will not very often see the light of day.  The results were not horrible but will require a significant amout of sanding.  The better the fillet the less sanding it requires.  I am all for less sanding.

Every "pastry bag" of mix and application get better and better, until now instead of dreading another round of filleting,  I actually enjoy it.

For future builders out there the key to my mistakes were too dry of a mixture and not applying enough mixture to the joint.  Before mixing the next batch, be prepared.  Have tools clean and sized for the joint you are doing...i.e. have the proper radius and handle length on your spreader. It may take several tools depending on the number of different angles you plan to fillet.  I found my standup belt sander (1954 model Delta 6X48) works great for not only making the tools but also cleaning the tools too. 

This is the bow area.
These are some of my early fillets.  The bow is really tough because you are pretty much working in a hole.  I have to stand on a chair and bend over and reach down.  I am 6' 2" and my arms are not even close to being long enough to get down to work all these fillets.  This is an area that will be sealed and never seen again, but I sill need good smooth fillets so that the fiberglass covering them will lay flat and be strong.

Last fillet today.
This is the last fillet I did.  I like the way it came out.  It will be visible inside the companionway, it needed to be good.

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