Deck the Boat with Hunks of Okoume

Way back on the Conversion to Stitch and Glue Contruction page I mentioned that I was not crazy about the way that the deck was pieced together in Bolger's design. So I made up a 20-foot long piece of 1/4" plywood, cut it to shape and covered the bottom with 6-oz glass. Now it's time to attach it.

Click on any image below for a larger view

Hanging the Deck

The problem that needed solving here was how to get the one-piece deck onto the boat in such a way that the epoxy glue on the carlines stayed there and proper pressure was applied in the middle of the boat.

The answer was to clamp the deck to the boat and to pre-screw it to the carlines. Then, the screws were backed out and the deck suspended above the boat. The carlines were puttied with epoxy thickened with woodflour, then the deck was lowered (starting at the back) onto the boat. As each set of screws lined up with the pilot holes in their carlines, the screws were tightened down, drawing the deck into close contact with the carline.

There is no significance to the cap, it just ended up there when the picture was taken.

Clamping the deck

Once all the screws were tight, every spring clamp that I owned was used to hold the deck onto the rubrails. Because of the shape of the boat, this made the deck bow up in the middle and a bit at the bow. 120 lbs of lead took care of that. In fact, the keel lead was useful in all sorts of applications during the build. I'd recommend that casting the keel would be one of the last steps done so that the lead will be available for other uses until then.

The Deck is On

Sure hope I didn't leave any tools in there. BTW, anybody seen the cat lately?

The slots have been cut for the drop keel and the rudder. It's starting to look like a real boat.

Cockpit Rough Cut

Still need to smooth the cut right up to the carlines and bulkheads.

Hatch Rough Cut

Same for the hatch opening. I really liked the shinto rasp for the smoothing. Because it was unpowered, it was less likely that there would be a catastrophic cut too far. Because it's wicked sharp, it wasn't much work at all.

Everything Test Fit

So here are all the pieces getting together for the first time. I used the mast stub again for convenience, even though being outside I could have used the mainmast. It wasn't as impressive, but I did get to tell a neighbor kid that it was a wooden chimney for my wooden steamboat. Hope I haven't scarred him for life.

Looks really boaty.

Deck Ready for Completion

Next up, remove all the screws and plug the holes, add a decorative onlay and glass the deck. But first, it's time to build the drop keel.

Copyright © 2014 László I. Mórocz. All Rights Reserved.

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