I did a dry fit of the bulkhead and transom and discovered for myself what I’d learned on Michael Storer’s Woodwork forum, that a second pair of hands are really useful! Unfortunately, Kim works on most weekends (she’s a Registered Nurse) so a different way of thinking for a single handed assembly. It is only necessary to pull in the chine (the hard bit!) and the rest just comes along by itself. As you can see, using two clamps and a piece of rope does the job easily. In this pic I have not yet screwed bulkhead #1 in position as it is firmly held. This makes it easy to tap the BH into position and insert the screws.
There is a LOT of force on the first two bulkheads, which for the dry fit were only fixed with two screws per side. I did not want to unleash all that force by undoing the rope and risk stripping the screws, so I had another trick which worked a treat, and allowed me to undo the rope and move to fitting BH2.
Here it is.
Just a couple of wedges screwed into the trestle on each side to prevent the chines from spreading. It worked a treat.
Using this method, I just worked my way back to the transom, dry fitting the bulkheads.
You can see the low trestles I made to support the hull off the ground. It helps with inserting the screws and operating the clamps. They are only about 10” high.
It was just as well I did a dry fit, as I found myself out with 2 errors! The first was that I’d bevelled BH4 the wrong way! How I managed to do that is still a mystery to me, but it happened. Anyway, I marked the bevel and had it sorted quite quickly with the block plane. The second wasn’t so much an error as a tweak, with the transom side bevels needing adjustment. I do recommend doing a dry fit as it gives you the opportunity to get such things sorted without the pressure of an epoxy mix going off!
Well, after the dry fit, the glue up for real was a doddle and went without a hitch. Pretty boring hey? I bet you were wanting to read about a drama or two, which would have spiced things up a bit, but no, it went pretty well. After BH1, I did change from using Phillips head drywall screws to square drive screws. The square drive screws are so much easier to use than phillips head and the bit won’t jump out of the head when the real pressure is applied while you hold a BH with one hand and screw with the other.
Well, I must admit to a small panic when I came to measuring the boat for squareness. Measuring from BH3 to the opposite corner of the transom, it was off by some 75mm! Holy crap, that was a huge amount!! But folks, the hull is pretty flexible in this state and after figuring out what was going on (the alignment of the bulkheads gives you a clue when you sight down the tops of them), a few pushes and pulls had it sitting square. In the last pic you can see the yellow cord which is tensioning the diagonal. Installing the bottom will give me another opportunity to square things up if there is any spring back.
The last thing done before shutting up shop at beer o’clock was to clamp on the Hoop Pine sheer strake. This helps to fair the lines while the epoxy sets up. By the way, the car batteries are there to pride some weight so I could drive the screws without the boat skating away from me.
I was quite happy with how things went. All up, the dry fit, corrections and glue up assembly took me 7 hours, which I thought was reasonable for a single-handed effort.
A walk around the hull confirms one thing, that this is another GIS! The relief that this part of the build is now done, is considerable.
Guess what else, I’m feeling pretty good too :)