Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Now Playing with a Full Deck

Installing the decking started with locating one of the forward pieces and tracing the support structure onto the underneath side. I decided to use silicon bronze nails to secure the decking as I had purchased the fastening kit from Glen-L which was all nails, but then decided to use screws for the hull. So I had 4 boxes of nails that might as well be put to use. Besides they look brass rivets. I laid out the holes every 2" per the fastening schedule. Then I applied two coats of epoxy to the underneath side. After cure, I predrilled all the holes in the decking using a 1/8" drill. All bonding surfaces were sanded and epoxy applied to decking and boat, then locating screws secured. Then I drilled 3/32" pilot holes and pounded in nails three at a time, working from the center outward. I used a small sledge as a backer where I could reach as the battens were a bit bouncy in the center of spans.
Second verse same as the first for the other front decking piece. The rear pieces were located and the butt joint cut to fit. An 8" long backer piece had been previously made to fit between the carling and shear to back up the butt joint. It was screwed and epoxied in place to the front piece of decking prior to installing the rear section.
I had a bit of a delay for installing the first rear section since I inadvertantly epoxied the top side rather than putting the second coat to the underneath side. Oops. After installing the front pieces with a few clamps along the outer edges, later I discovered the outer edges were not always tight to the shear and clamps were needed the whole distance to ensure that the plywood was in firm contact. So I rigged up a way to provide clamp pressure and put on clamps after all nailing was completed. At the back of the boat due to the slope of the deck, I used a couple of "third hand" pusher poles working from the ceiling down.

After all pieces were installed, I trimmed the outside edges with handsaw, plane and file to get them close to the sides. Trimming the inside edges will be another day. Top sides were sanded and a coat of epoxy applied to help reduce splintering when the inside edges get trimmed.

I was on the fence between appearance and weight. The lowest weight option is a plywood deck with a paint scheme to hide joints and mimic planking strips, but the best looking option is to plank over the plywood with solid wood about 1/4" thick and make it look like a big boy wood boat. The solid wood option I estimate to add about 20-25 lbs. After putting on a coat of epoxy I see that the rear half of the Okoume plywood decking is considerably darker in color than the front. The color difference was not apparent before finish, but with a coat of epoxy, the difference in color is quite noticeable on one side. So it looks like this decking will be the sub-deck and it will be time to go pick out some more african mohogany for the top side. BTW, my aesthetic director agrees that the solid wood deck is the way to go and if the boat's too heavy, she said I can lose 20 pounds.