Sunday, April 1, 2007

The light of day

Yesterday, my daughter helped me move the Jimmy Skiff ™ outdoors so that I could test the fit of the mast in the mast step and partner. As it turned out, I did need to take the belt sander to the lower portion of the mast and remove about 1/16" to have it sit snugly in the mast step.

The photo on the right shows how I checked to make sure that I had the mast step positioned correctly before I set it in a bed of thickened epoxy and drove four stainless steel screws up through the bottom of the hull. I made a short, 'dummy' mast in the same shape and dimensions as the real mast, so that I could get the mast step installed before I could move the boat outdoors. I leveled the hull from side-to-side, and then taped a level to the dummy mast to make sure that the mast would not lean sideways.

The construction of the mast actually began several weeks ago when I cut the parts. See my Feb. 22 post for details and photos of the mast part making process. The next step came a week or two ago when I epoxy glued the parts together into blanks for the mast and boom. Then, this weekend, I was ready to mill the blanks into the final shapes. Since the bottom 16" and the top 10' of the mast are tapered on three sides, I rough cut the tapers with this hand saw that cuts on the pull stroke. Then I planed and sanded to the final shape. The wedge helped to keep the wood from binding on the saw blade.

After I was sure that the mast would fit, I coated the mast and boom with epoxy. After the epoxy cures, I will varnish these spars for a traditional look.

I also installed the rubrails which I milled from 1½" oak. Since I couldn't think of an effective way to clamp the bow end of the rubrails, I used screws to temporarily hold the rubrail until the epoxy cures. Then I will remove the screws, taper the front two feet of the rubrail in toward the deck, and then fill the screw holes with silica thickened epoxy.

After another round of sanding everything, I think I am getting close to being ready to paint and varnish. I ordered a sail kit from Sailrite, so I'll write more about that next time.


Ensign Pulver said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog. It appears that you are doing a quality job and making great progress. Your blog is inspirational and instructional.

I have been researching small sailing skiffs for my first build project. How did you decide on the Jimmy Skiff as compared to the Skerry? What were some of the other designs you looked at? What type of waters will you be sailing? Will you carry passengers?


Ron Paro said...

Thanks for the compliments!
I really liked the Skerry as well, but my shop size was the limiting factor. The Skerry is almost two feet longer than the Jimmy Skiff, and that would not leave enough room to work around the hull in my small(ish) shop. I am very pleased with the classic look of the Jimmy Skiff and the ease of construction. I do not yet have sailing experience, so the stable hull is a plus. I am planning to sail and row on lakes, bays and coastal waters when the weather allows. I will often have one or two passengers, but may also go out single-handed at times.

Ensign Pulver said...

I am really considering the Jimmy Skiff and will continue to watch your blog. I also have no sailing experience but really have the bug for something "traditional" that I can sail and row. I have never built a boat but have moderate wood working experience. I am on the coast of Texas and would sail on the area bays and lakes. I kayak and fish in these same waters. My only concern is size. I will be sailing both single-handed and with my wife and/or young son.

Thanks for your response

Robert Duncan said...

Great job. I am building the Jimmy....due to circumstances I had a ten year delay. I have lost my instruction book and plans. I am about to fasten the rub rails. I am contemplating not removing the screws instead counter sink and plug with teak plugs. I believe they should be replaceable should the rail become damaged.. How has the bottom and skeg held up?

Ron Paro said...

Thanks Robert, I think it is a good idea to leave the screws in the rubrails and plug them. I have not had any damage to mine, but I am pretty careful to use fenders when at a dock or alongside another boat. After five seasons, I am sanding and re-painting the bottom this spring. I have only had cosmetic damage to the bottom paint. Scratches that show the primer, but did not go through the fiberglass, with the exception of the rear end of the skeg, where the glass was worn through. I am putting a couple of more layers of fiberglass on the skeg. The wood is still in very good condition. Have fun with yours! - Ron