Monthly Archives: May 2014

Joining Plywood

Joining Plywood

Choosing the Best Method for the Task

By Captain James R. Watson

A long time ago, I was building a 16 foot William F. Crosby design—a plywood, skiff-like sailboat. I was having trouble figuring out what to do because the plywood was only half as long as my boat was going to be. (Up to that point, all the boats I’d built were 8 footers.) I thought my prayers were answered when I heard that a distant lumber yard had some “special stuff” 16 feet long. But when I arrived at the yard, I thought I had been deceived. The “special” 16 foot plywood had been made that long by joining two standard 8 foot sheets, with a joint that looked pretty vulnerable and weak. I reluctantly bought the material on the assurance that it was plenty strong and I was not being deceived. Continue reading

scarffing plywood

Plywood Scarffing Methods

By Tom Pawlak

There are many ways to machine scarf bevels on plywood panels. The best method depends on how many scarf joints your project requires. If you need to scarf only two sheets of 3mm plywood, using a block plane and sanding block is a good low cost option. If you have a daily need to scarf many panels, a reliable machining method is a wise investment. This article reviews several popular scarffing methods and tools, to help you decide which is best for you. Continue reading

vacuum table

The Vacuum Table

By Tom Pawlak

A vacuum hold down feature can be incorporated into a table to hold individual sheets of plywood in place while you machine scarf bevels. This feature works especially well when using the router box technique described in the scarffing article. You’ll need a fairly large vacuum pump. We use an oilless rotary vane vacuum pump made by Gast, Model No. 3040-V115A. It generates 25 cubic feet per minute (cfm) at no vacuum and 5 cfm at 20″ of mercury. Smaller units may work, but lots of cfm and reasonably high vacuum are required when plywood is warped or rough. A vacuum table will work most efficiently holding down smooth, flat plywood panels. Continue reading

Relief from Fiberglass Irritation

By Tom Pawlak

Working with fiberglass fabrics can cause skin irritations ranging from minor itching to a serious rash. It’s caused by microscopic, needle-like fiberglass spindles of that prick your skin. It helps to protect your skin with gloves and long sleeves, but you still might be faced with fiberglass induced itch.  Continue reading

vinegar is for salads

Vinegar: Save it for Salads

By Glenn House

Vinegar is a mild solvent and is sometimes promoted as a “harmless” solution for cleaning epoxy from skin. At first blush, this seems to makes sense. Vinegar is a common food ingredient. It has been used medicinally as an anti-fungal agent and as an old time sun burn remedy. Italian dressing, sauerkraut and pickles could not exist without it. Continue reading

Boat Recycling

An Historic Tradition

By Meade Gougeon

It was 100 years ago this spring that Joshua Slocum departed Boston Harbor on the first single-handed voyage around the world. What made this feat even more amazing was Slocum’s boat: the 37’ oyster dragger was rumored to have been over 100 years old when it was given to him in 1892. She lay rotting in a field when Slocum began a restoration that took two years of hard work. He also modified her original design, making her more seaworthy and easy to sail single-handedly. He named the boat SPRAY. Continue reading

A Teak Wheel in a Weekend

By Ray Locke

This is a project which will give your stainless steel helm’s wheel a beautiful wooden look, a softer and sturdier feel. Mine looks great and, with a new teak cockpit table, really improves the look of the helm station. It is done by wrapping the wheel with pieces of teak that have been hollowed out and rounded over, then epoxied together. The end product feels heavier than the stainless steel wheel, is about ½“ greater in diameter, and is beautiful. Continue reading

New Beach Cat (Part II)

Final Details

By Captain James R. Watson

(In Epoxyworks #5 I wrote New Beach Cat (Part I)—The Hull Story about constructing the hulls of my new beach cat.)

There is a little aftershock related to this event, with all the anticipation and abstracting of what she’ll finally be like—now we find out. One finds it is also time to evaluate whether or not this project fulfills the criteria that drove its initiation. Continue reading