Friday, March 30, 2012


Second layer interior brightside polyurethane is spread out. Could not resist and taped the half inch reflective stripe right under the blue masking tape below the gunwhales. She is starting to look very nice. I have accepted the roughness and ugly spots as mine. What matters is tha Nemo will be safe on the water. Sturdy she is and I think we will have a blast on the water with her.

Interior painting

Basta with the sanding. It is a workboat, a learning project, I want to get on the water! So the first coat of paint was slapped on the interior. The deck was not planned to get varnished but a good section of it was unblemished so I taped a triangle section to varnish it together with the seats. Gives a very nice wooden touch especially with the SS hardware to be mounted.

If I had done what I had read about filling, using a rounded something to fair the corners, all the time, I would have been done much sooner. The stern seat fill on the port side is near perfect. The rest is a good example of poor workmanship. The methods I use to make the fillings were different, trying out what works easiest. The process of filling includes the sanding the next day. This was minimal with the rounded fillings so this is the preferred method (as I was told by many people before).

The starboard gunwhale is smooth while the port gunwhale shows a gap between the inner and outer sections. You can see my learning path on various sections of the boat. I wonder if the still rough areas can be patched with filled epoxy the day I want to attempt cosmetic fixes. Should be possible with some sanding of the paint. That will be another project. First on the water.

The reflective stripe will be attached along the masking tape which gives me a nice baseline. The vinyl name can also be attached to the bow. Getting close...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Last filling session?

Same actions as yesterday except using less epoxy since the gaps are getting smaller and less in quantity. Sanding with 120 now instead of 80 is also indication of last sessions of filling and sanding. Maybe one or two sessions left before first paint coat. Getting closer to the water!

Fitted the engine on the bracket and it feels strong. The transom does not wiggle at all upon moving and tilting the engine. The forces get sent straight to the entire boat.

Need to fit two small feedstock on the inside hull under the gunwale where the oarlocks go. These are an inch or two longer than the gunwale. This could also be done at a later stage. Some small elastic nets against the inner hull to hold small items will require similar cleatstock to be epoxied to the hull.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Filling ?

No pics today because there is nothing to show. The final phase before interior painting is filling the tapes and other gaps resulting from amateuristic boat building. More and more of these quality issues pop up after previous bigger issues are covered. The perfectionist in me is relentless even though he knows he is eating humble pie with this project.
I cut a spreader in half so all spots coild be reached easier. The two speader, one in each hand works real well, like when drywalling.
Touched up some sanded spots on the hull with the left over paint. No problems there.
But how can the rounded corners be sanded better? And the 3 plane corners? There must be a secret method because i cannot reach those half inch round corners... Any ideas?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Thought that I could speed things up now I see the finish line... made a large batch of epoxy (you can tell what's coming) with 410 so the filling of all the corners and unfair surfaces a could be done. I put all of it in a plastic bag so I could cut it's corner and push it out into the corners. All went well until the plastic bag and its content started feeling very hot in my hand... The filled epoxy all of a sudden went rubbery and it was very tough to work with. The contents were quickly spread to the corners to reduce the volume in the plastic bag as much as possible. Then this was cleaned up and made reasonably fair. It did fill all the big gaps well.
The lesson is to stick with small batches and be patient with the process. When this project is done I will miss working on it so there is no reason to rush.
I hope the epoxy will be OK after it sets.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fitting panels V

Deck, center seats and srern seat were glued in place with 403. No mechanical fasteners were used, just a bunch of heavy weights to hold down the panels.
Two pieces of 12x6x1/2 were fabricated and glued to the transom to beef up the area where the engine will be mounted.
Will tape the deck to the vertical support panel and tape that panel to the inner hull so that the pulling forces on the deck will be transferred to the hull without pulling off the deck.
Filling the gaps, fairing the taped areas and then painting of the interior can start.
I forgot to sand the transom, which has already been painted before the engine mount enforcement was glued to the transom. So now i am not sure if the will stay put. There will be no particular force on the glued piece since the engine will clamp it to the transom anyway. Just hope it will not fall off.

Friday, March 23, 2012


The trailer, motor and bimini arrived today. Motor fits perfectly although i need to make a thicker area on the transom so it has something beefier to push against. Did not do anything on Nemo today because of unpacking and reading motor manual.
These purchaes cost a multiple of the boat's materials. But we knew that. She is coming together...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fitting panels IV

Center and stern vertical supports for the seat panels were taped and epoxied for strength.

After this the tapes will be faired and top seats placed, glued and screwed to the supports

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fitting panels III

Spent 2 hours filling the gaps of the center set vertical panels. The gaps were pretty large. They were filled with the 410 but I do not have a good feeling about the strength of the bond to the hull. I will tape the insides of the panels to the hull tomorrow. That should give adequate support without much need to cosmetic touchups. Inner gunwales will then also be epoxied since only the side which got glued were covered. All the clamps are removed from the gunwales.
Lessons learnt today:
1. use blue paint tape along the to be filled areas. Saves time and leaves much neater finish so less sanding.
2. Find out how to get a panel to fit nearly perfect along a not so straight surface of the inside of the hull, filled chines being the culprit
3. Use thicker than the thinnest blue tape for lesson 1. Makes it even easier to fill the corners.
4. Most work is on the interior. After the hull was done, I thought, that's it, I am done, faster than what the designer said, haha! I am such a professional... Yeah right. If it was that easy... 2/3rds of the projecthrs are spent on the interior, and this is a dinghy! It is a peanut... One tenth of any decent sailboat, one hundreth of any small cruiser.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fitting panels II

The vertical center seatpanels are set with epoxy... But I think the gaps between the panels and the bottom of the hull turned out a litle too large. They will be filled with 410 tomorrow. Breasthooks are also glued to the transom and the stringers. Left the clamps on the gunwales for fear of them releasing. Will give them one more day. Panels glued yesterday were filled with 410 today. I wonder if another layer of epoxy is needed over the faired surfaces to make them waterproof... Or will the paint job take care of that enough?
Next is fitting the two seats and the deck and filling all gaps and "fairing" interior surfaces, followed by painting.

Fitting panels I

Stern seat vertical panel, inner gunwales and bow vertical panel were tabbed with filled epoxy in place yesterday. Nemo is starting to look like a real little boat now:

The streak on the starboard hull is caused by trying to sand off an epoxy drip out of the outer gunwale. Me walking away from the project after an epoxy job to avoid breathing fumes, also results in these issues. I think I will just fair it a little and repaint.

The deck, stern seat, center set with support panels and breast-hooks are dry fitted:

Started using the 403 filler adhesive filler. It works very easily, spreads nicely, just have to be very careful mixing it because the fibers are very light and will either blow away or jump out of the mixing cup.

Filling all gaps with 410 and adding a fiber tape with unfilled epoxy should beef up the structures plenty. Still quite some work to do before finishing her up.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Inner gunwales

Fitting, shaving and sanding the inner gunwales together with my 4 year old help was a joy today. She held them strongly while I used my low angle plane on them. The choice not to use my router nor the orbital sander but do do it manually not only was due to her presence but also because the desire to build Nemo with my hands as much as possible. The finishing phase is nearing quickly as all the woodwork is now done. Fitting, filling and finishing the interior is left to do.
Bought some Manilla rope since it begged me to pick it up. After looking at all the beautiful wooden boats, some tradtitionally rigged, the brown rope drew my attention. I spliced and eye in it to see if I remembered how to do it. After a few tries the results were satifactory. My future sailboat will have traditional rigging, using traditional materials. I am not gong to build a wooden boat and not use the ropes that look best on it. So some wooden cleats and blocks need to be constructed after Nemo is done (soon).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Prepare fitting

All panels have been coated at least once with epoxy. The last parts, quarter knees, were fabricated. Flotation chamber is moved to the sterm since both Mike and I thought it be better to have it closer to the motor. The two small hatches in the center seat will provide access to some storage there. The cleatstock fit perfect for the stern seat. I do not dare to release the clamps from the bow cleatstock for the deck since the slight curve may spring it loose.

The vinyl lettering for Nemo from iBoat came in as did the reflective liner. That will put on as last item.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


After figuring out how to clamp seatbrackets 6 " below the gunwale and transom, woodflour filled epoxy was smeared and clamped betweet the inside hull and the plywood blocks. These will function to carry the downward force of the stern seat. Also the bow deck will have support to brace itself to. No mechanical fasteners were used. I assume the epoxy bond is strong enough. The panels still need to be epoxied before they can be fitted.

Looked at the Eider design, a new one, of Sam Devlin today... What a beauty. Will it be my next boat? She seems perfect for me. Both to sail and to build next.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Another coat covers the previous epoxy layers. The last one makes me feel ike another milestone is reached. Considerable inside fairing is still to be done but after the seats and deck has been placed. The interior panels will be coated with two more epoxy layers tomorrow and the day after. The weekend may see the fitting of the seats. Tomorrow the brackets for the deck and seats will be placed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


After a one day stall triggered by scary thought about possible consequences of epoxy handling the building of Nemo continued.

Sanding paper 80 sanded the interior hull to prepare it for the next epoxy coating. 8 pumps of both containers in the small bucket, mixing it up for 2 minutes, while dressed in full gear, including full face mask instead of just goggles, organic air filter, tyvex suit, ruber gloves and rubber shoes the job was done smoothly. I looked like a warrior scientist waging war against some virus in my blue tent... Washing up after taking all equipment in reverse order I thought about checking on line how others may have perfected this operation.

Not much to show for today in pix. In the mean time the remainder of epoxy is used to cover the seats and other interior pieces.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Interior epoxy coat

Entire inside hull received first full epoxy coating. Don't know how many but I guess two should suffice. Another filled epoxy coating will be added after all seats are fitted. Spent nearly 2 hours straight on this and the two deck elements. Gunwales also were coated for the first time. The underside of the gunwale needs its layer also but this will be done when bottom is up.

Stepped into the shed (without the organic air-filter on) and smelled the strong epoxy damp... better keep the filter on all the time when wet epoxy is around. That stuff is very bad smelling and the filter works very well because I do not smell one thing with it on. At least I now know to recognize it, exhale and get the h..l out from where I am, cross the wind draft.

The hull is nice looking, imho:

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Dry-fitted the "deck" today. Got a bigger cleat and better hatch. Starting to look real now:

Used my low angle planer a lot and used eye sight mostly. The deck sits about 4 mm higher that the gunwale level. I a thinking about planing an angle on the edges. Everything will be painted with a white paint so filler will be used to round it all out. A rounded deck is my favorite but this 2 footer is just too small to try and make something very fancy. The large cleat is meant for solid anchoring/towing and will be bolted to the deck with bolts and nuts and large washers. The two pieces of rope place holders are meant to prevent chafing as much as possible. Another smaller cleat will be placed at the stern.
All internal segments are fabricated so next is epoxying all surfaces, followed by fitting them in place.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Third coat is on after some sanding. What worries me is how fast the paint comes off with sanding with 200. I guess that's what sanding is supposed to do. Hull painting is done, hurray! It was not bad at all actually. Turned off all the lights in neighborhood of nemo to avoid moths and bugs, like landgull knows. Tomorrow will show how shiny she will be.
Bought some 4" hatches for the stern seat. 27 kilos bouyancy from the center seat seams enough. Rear seat can store small stuff. Large hatch intended for bow compartment is a problem. The rubber washer comes loose... Worthless this way. Will check if i can get another larger hatch with better waterproof system.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Second coat Interlux bright went on as smooth as the first one, after a very light sand. Most areas are completely covered and the deep dark blue color is truly beautiful. Lines are harder to see now. Lots of wind tonight so I expect some dust settling on the fresh coat. Nothing I can do about that. Just to plan the last coat after checking windguru for lowest knots expected.

Monday, March 5, 2012

First coat topside paint

The little one could not stand it anymore: "Let's paint Nemo now!" she ordered me. So we took out the interiors, turn the hull, sanded lightly and gave her the first coat of Interlux bright paint: beautiful navy blue. She rolled it and I tipped it. Small 2-3ft square patches, without a problem. A moth found its way on the fresh paint just as we were done. Oh well, it's the first coat and it will be sanded lightly tomorrow for the second and third coats. My doubting about when to paint the hull was eliminated thanks to my 4 year old.

I have to control my perfectionism, or in other words, I have to eat humble pie because already the imperfections in the hull are visible. I thought all was faired reasonably well. By touch, the seams could not be identified. But with this dark paint and the light's reflection where the tape runs is clear. Maybe with some more layers the color differences will even out and with the planes angled down the shade will hide most imperfections.

This is a learning project. This is the first time the hull was painted. For me, this is another great boat building experience.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Interior cutting

Cut the forward compartment wall (the round cover will be placed on that), two seats (middle and stern) with supports. Dry-fitted them and things look good. Slight layout change, since I will not used Nemo for sailing, only motoring and rowing. The two closed seat compartments function as floating capacity. the large front compartment will be used as storage but of course is sealed off so will assist with floating if necessary. Not sure to fill the seat compartments with foam...

Now I really know where the other 2/3rds of the projected hours will go to. Cutting and fitting these panels took about 5 hours. Especially fitting and shaving until right, took time.
The gunwale will stay clamped for another day, just to be sure. Once the clamps are removed, the forward "deck" will be measured, cut and fitted. Everything must be routed, sanded, epoxied, sanded, x 3. Inside hull will be epoxied completely. Panels can then be fitted, followed by filletting and tape-glassing for strength. Then filling and sanding for all to be neat.

The seats will probably get a nice varnish-epoxy finish...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Gunwale 2

Found two 2x8 beams from which the four strips for gunwale could be made. Cut them out and dry mounted them.
Prepared some thickened epoxy and just went for the two outer gunwales.
Not sure if screws are needed to fasten them. But screws will go in after inner gunwale and other inside items are in position.
The thin hull really needs a lot of clamps. Seems that these are still not enough because there are places where the space between the hull and the gunwale is slightly wider than at other places. Very curious to see how they will hold. How long should I wait to release the clamps? A few days and it should hold up...

The whitish areas on the hull are where the scarfs caused some issues on the hull which were faired with filler.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Gunwale 1

Before painting and to give the hull some more curing time, the gunwales need to be mounted. But here in Aruba we have a very limited choice of available wood. All wood is imported mostly for construction use, roofing specifically. The timber is usually pitch pine. Seems to me like ok wood to use for masts, oars, booms and gunwales. The piece of 10 x 2 was cut on the table saw in a 3/4" thick strip. It snapped the moment I picked it up... At the knot in the middle of course. That wood was weak around the knot was known, but not this weak! This particular 10x2 minus the cut strip did not have a length of at least 9 foot without a knot somewhere. So tomorrow the search for a nice knot-less piece of wood will start.