Sunday, June 26, 2022

First time using peel ply

Two further overlapping glass tapes were added over the fillets between the transom and hull sides. Blue peel ply was smoothed over the wet glass tapes. As this was my first-time using peel ply, I chose a location that is hidden inside the lockers.

Well, the jury is out.....peel ply is the way to go. For the little extra labor involved in applying, the results leave a very smooth clean finish that requires minimal sanding. Yes, minimal sanding, oh glorious sanding.....sorry I just had to quote Mads from "Sail Life" on You Tube. check it out click the link below.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Filleting Time

For the first fillets I decided to start in the aft area between bulkhead eight and the transom.

This is how I make fillets:

  • Lightly coarse sand the area and remove the dust.
  • Mark the fillet radius with a compass.
  • Clean joint with methylated spirits (please note this is the recommended cleaning agent for Bote-Cote)

  • Mask the area.
  • Check the radius of the filleting tool or paddle against the masking tape.
  • Do a couple of trial runs with the filleting tool.
  • Paint a thin coat of epoxy to ensure good wetting out.

The wetting out of the joint prior to making a fillet produces a strong bond and prevents a dry joint.

  • Mix the epoxy and filleting powder to a peanut butter or vaseline consistency.
  •  Apply to the joint with a mixing stick or piping bag.
  • Hold the filleting tool at an angle and press firmly while drawing along the joint to smooth it out.
  • Clean up the edges with a flat spatula.

  • Once the epoxy has slightly hardened remove the tape and with a wet gloved finger smooth the edges.

That's the first fillet down, many many more to go.

 I decided to fillet, sand and glass the transom area between BH 8 and the transom first. I thought that would be a bit easier on the old body to do one section at a time.

  • The fillets are sanded.
  • The area thoroughly vacuumed and wiped down with methylated spirits.
  • Masking tape is located to allow the glass cloth to overlap at the edge.

  • A paper template was made for the glass cloth.

  • The glass is wetted out with a rubber squeegee

The glass is fully wetted out with the top edge overlapping the masking tape.
After an hour or so when the epoxy is "B" staged the excess glass cloth is trimmed along the masking tape line with a Stanley knife and removed leaving a neat clean line.

My Thoughts for the future.

I will add two additional layers of glass tape over the transom fillets to provide additional strength in this area. My decision to do this is to strengthen the area for future additions I may add. I have been considering modifying the boom gallows to support solar panels and radio aerial. As I intend to live aboard the Pocketship for up to two- or three-week periods. Well, that's my thoughts.................

Friday, June 3, 2022

Epoxy Welding Everything Together

It's time to bring out the piping bags and weld all the BH's and floors to the hull bottom and sides. 
Once the epoxy is cured it's time to remove all the stitches. 

I definitely recommend heating up the stitches with a heat gun for a few seconds prior to removing the stitches, my trusty old Ozito did a fine job, the stitches easily slip out from the softened epoxy.

I glued the transom in rather than epoxy welding to ensure a strong bond.

After a bit of a cleanup it’s time to start filleting.

In preparation for the next stages of the build I ordered the hull and sailing hardware package from Denman Marine the Aussie distributor located in Tasmania.

Here is their website:

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Back to the Build after a short break


Back to Boat Building after a Holiday Road Trip.

After a couple of weeks holidaying around the southern state of Victoria with renewed energy it's back to the workshop and boat building.

The blanks for the hull bottom and sides are scarfed. 

Here is a close up of the scarfing tool attachment screwed to the bottom of my 30 year old Black & Decker circular saw (still going strong) On thin ply I find this scarfer attachment very quick, easy and accurate to use, The saw is fitted with a forty tooth blade which leaves a perfect finish that does not require any further clean up.

The blanks are aligned by clamping to a timber straight edge, the scarfs are glued with plastic between and held together with weights until the epoxy is cured.

The two bottom blanks are clamped together and the bottom pattern is smoothed over the blanks.

Strips of carbon paper are placed under the plan and I trace the outside outline and the bulkhead locations with a lead pencil. Whilst this is a time consuming process I find it very accurate.

I carefully placed the (heavy) keel into the cradle not wanting to damage and have to redo the keelson again. It lined up with the front and rear of the centerboard case. As indicated earlier I installed wheels to the base of the cradle to make it easy to move the complete unit around. 

Stitching Time

This is my first experience at the stitch method of boat building and I have to say it works really well. The sections went together nicely and aligned perfectly.

The starboard bottom panel is wired stitched to the keelson.

Now the port bottom is attached.

I found a good method of stitching the bottom panels together was while twisting the wire with vice grip plyers gentle lever the jaws of the vice grip up from the face of the plywood with a small crowbar. Be careful not to go too hard and break the wire or pull the wire through the plywood.

Large clamps were used to pull in the  forward section of the bottom panels together. Small "G" clamps were fixed to the edges to prevent the larger clamps from slipping as pressure was applied.  

Wire stitches are inserted and slowly tightened while simultaneously pulling the clamps together to slowly pull the nose section together. 

It all worked without any problems and the bow section aligned perfectly.

The port and starboard sides are lightly sanded prior to glassing.


Both hull sides are glassed, once cleaned up the sides will be sanded between two more coats of epoxy to a paintable finish, much easier to do on a flat surface prior to installation.

The hull sides are stitched to the bottom.

Another view of the hull sides.

The Transom

Two 9mm pieces are cut for the transom, I picked a section of ply with nice grain formation as I intend to have a highly lacquered timber transom.

After a little research and helpful advice from Dave at "Boatcraft NSW"  I decided to apply a light Mahogany color to the transom and rudder cheeks. I purchased some spirit based proof tint. This will be added to the first coating of resin which is diluted with TPRDA  (Timber Preservative and Reactive Diluent Additive). This will enable the resin with stain to penetrate more deeply into the timber surface. But this will be done further down the build on some test pieces first to ensure the correct shade of stain color.

The transom pieces are glued together and held with weights. 

The transom sides and bottom edges are cut with a jig saw at the appropriate angles so as to neatly fit the hull sides and bottom. The transom is temporarily held in place with screws. 

I temporarily clamped the lower breasthook in place to give the bow shape prior to stitching in BH one.

A temporary timber filler piece aft of the  breasthook maintained the bow shape and provided access.

The BH's and floors are stitched in place, this is quite a challenge but if you take your time it all fits together quite well. To enable access into the hull I clamped a board onto the floors so I could kneel down and reach the bottom of the hull. 

This section of the build is quite the challenge, I think I lost a couple of kilos from climbing in and out of the boat. 

Finally all stitched together, the astute may have noticed I have not cut out the cockpit floor section on BH eight. I intend to widen the foot area, inspired by Brent's blog to relocate the footwell sides out by the width of the cleats.
       Stand back and admire the progress

That's the end of the fourth month of construction.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Pick up the last of Plywood

 The Last 11 sheets of Plywood.

At last a window of fine weather allowed me to pick up the plywood from Sydney. The last 11 sheets of Okoume are loaded onto the roof racks and a few other goodies in the boot. When back at the workshop I stored the plywood vertically on a raised floor and secured tight against the storage frame.

More work on the Keel.

I thought It would be easier to add some extra layers of cloth to the very bottom of the keel before installing the bottom and sides. This would provide extra protection when beaching and loading onto the trailer. I removed the keel assembly from the building cradle and placed upside down on two saw horses. 

I taped up the centerboard opening to prevent epoxy flowing into the centerboard case.

I applied a second layer of cloth wet on wet.

When cured I trimmed the excess cloth, sanded and cleaned the area and proceeded to place the assembly back into the cradle when............bang crash.......the keel assembly toppled off the wheeled trolley and the forward end of the keelson broke off, fortunately this was the only damage.

I recall reading a comment from another Pocketship builder who accidently broke off the forward section of their keelson and I admired their positive comment and attitude regarding the challenge to repair it. 

So now I've given myself that extra challenge to replace it.

"Oh the Joys of boatbuilding"

Here is my three-piece keelson, The challenge here is to firstly remove a large enough section above the nose block to be able to firmly glue the new piece in place. The section was removed using an oscillating renovator tool. The broken pieces are used as a template to make the new section.

Two straight edges are clamped to the centerboard case and used as a visual guide to ensure the new keelson piece is exactly midline along the keel. After a dry fit with screws and clamps the new piece is glued in place to the nose block.

The new keelson piece is cleaned up, now I can get back to the build.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

First Scarf on the Keelson.


I used a circular saw scarfing jig; it takes a bit of initial setting up on the base of the saw but once done it's quick to add or remove the jig. A forty-tooth circular saw blade left a perfect cut on the one in eight scarf.

The first scarf of the build on the Keelson.

A string line was stretched along the keelson centerline prior to gluing the scarf. This ensured a straight keelson.

Lead Smelting the Keel.

Now it's time to melt some lead, I used an old stainless-steel pot and a single burner gas stove. I was lucky enough to have some mates who donated a bunch of sinkers and old scuba weights which I combined with tyre weights, thanks Greg & Graeme.

The first melt was the forward section. The keel was levelled, and two concrete pavers clamped either side and one beneath. I raised the keel to allow the lower clamps to fit.

The pouring process went smoothly with lots of smoke from burning timber. Two pots of lead were melted to fill this section. I left an inch of melted lead in the pot after the first pour to speed up the melting process for the second pot.


Time to prepare the rear section. The keel was raised and levelled, a blocking piece fixed beneath, and four pavers clamped to the sides.

A good old Aussie penny was placed for good luck, I managed to find one for the year I was born (yes 1957 was a good year). Then the keel cap was glued and clamped in place. A small four wheeled trolley was placed under to help move the keel around, it's quite heavy.

Time to glue the keelson in place after trial fitting with weights, screws and clamps. The keel was levelled vertically with a spirit level on the side of the centerboard case and the keelson glued and screwed into place with a spirit level to ensure it was at 90 deg. to the keel and centerboard case. Fortunately, the keelson fitted over the circular inspection port spacer I installed earlier which prevented the inspection port catching on the swinging centerboard.

The Cradle.

The cradle is cut from an old and very large piece of 18mm chipboard. I was using it on top of sawhorses as a bench, I won't be sorry to cut it up as it was too heavy to lug around. 

I cut out the cradle plans and traced them onto the chipboard.

The cradle sections are cut out with a forty-tooth blade in a circular saw, lots of dust and noise when cutting chipboard.

The cradles are joined together and lined up with  
a large 90 deg. square.

Wheels are screwed under the cross members to allow the boat to be moved around the workshop. I used fixed wheels aft and rotating wheels forward which can be locked in. Each wheel has a load capacity of 120 kg. The wheels leave a 10mm gap under the cross beams which can be easily chocked if the cradle needs to be made more stable during the build.

To prevent the boat from tipping up when working inside the hull a rotating lockable wheel was constructed to fit under the aft end of the keel.

The wheel is temporarily secured
to the keel with a clamp and is also lockable.

Time to spend some more money, I received a call from the timber supplier advising the 6mm plywood sheets have finally arrived from overseas, however the recent weather conditions in Australia have been severely affected by La NiƱa resulting in severe flooding and nonstop raining. I will have to wait for a few weeks before I can pick them up, in the meantime I will do some more work on the centerboard and build the frames and bulkheads from the 9mm stock of plywood.

Lead Smelting The Centerboard.

Time to 
fire up the gas stove and melt 9kg of lead into the centerboard. A scrap piece of ply screwed under the slotted opening and the board was levelled.


The plywood scrap removed, and the lead cleaned up. The centerboard is ready to shape, glass and paint.


This picture shows the stainless-steel centerboard pivot. I used a long bolt and cut off the threaded end. After reading posts re issues lowering the centerboard, I will drill the centerboard hole a little larger than indicated on the plan.

The bulkheads and frames are cut out and epoxy coating commenced. 

There were a number of posts on the Pocketship forum where builders suggested strengthening bulkhead two. So, I decided to glass both sides of bulkhead two, much easier when flat on the bench. I also coated and sanded the remaining bulkheads and floor frames.

I have to say that while transferring paper plans to plywood, cutting and trimming all the pieces is an enjoyable challenge it is very, very time consuming. Its fortunate that I am retired and time is not an issue but if you are time poor it would be much quicker to build from a kit. (just my opinion/suggestion).

That's the end of the second month of construction.


First time using peel ply

Two further overlapping glass tapes were added over the fillets between the transom and hull sides. Blue peel ply was smoothed over the wet ...