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#1 26 Feb 2021 6:37 am

pape
Member
Registered: 28 Sep 2020
Posts: 5

Pocketship build in Finland

greetings fellow builders!

I'm building a Pocketship and thought I'd share some of the stuff I've learned and document a bit of my progress. I'm hoping someone might get a useful hint or perhaps find this entertaining? At least I can read these later and remember the good building times :-)

I've been sailing for years, I live on a lakeside here in Finland and love building stuff. I've build three simple plywood boats before and was looking for something a bit more complex. The Pocketship seemed to tick all the boxes and I was happy to see Fyne Boat Kits was selling them in Europe. With the Brexit looming and nobody knowing how it will effect trade and duties, I decided to go for it. I actually ordered everything at the same time, including sales, hardware kits etc.

I got the plywood kit in September. The time from order to delivery was a bit longer then expected due to the influx of orders at Fyne but no biggie, I was kept informed by the good folks at customer service. The hardware kits+ sails arrived a bit later in November. It was not like I needed them this early anyway, but the key thing was to receive everything before Brexit.

So let the building start!

Here it is, my new boat! (Some assembly required :-D)


IMG_20200921_115636.jpeg

Everything was neatly packed and I spend some time going over and unpacking everything. A lot of epoxy!

Starting with the keelbox as per instructions was straight forward, except I immediately messed up my first ever glassing and epoxing and the surface got a lot of bubbles in it. Probably because of a chain of events that lead me to be in a hurry and I tried speeding things up by gently warming the epoxy. Bad idea in retrospect.

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I used a heatgun (as instructed by the friendly customer service at Fyne and not for the last time :-) )to remove the glass and started over. This time things went well.

Then the build continued!

I'll write more about it later

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#2 27 Feb 2021 10:33 am

pape
Member
Registered: 28 Sep 2020
Posts: 5

Re: Pocketship build in Finland

and the story continues:

Next issue to avoid was making sure the keel box comes out straight. Many blogs have horror stories on it being crooked after gluing and the agony that ensues.

So I tried to be very very careful when doing the gluing and sure enough, it wasn't straight. What did I do wrong? Not sure, but it was a little bent on the bottom, no biggie, but more on the top, which would have been fine for a propeller blade, but not for keel.

In the process I found using a laser is a handy way to check the straightness:

IMG_20201012_075132.jpg

I started fearing that when I pour the led into the keel, the weight and pressure of the molten stuff is going to make the keel top list even more and make things even worse. So I made a sturdy support that forceably straightens the keel, top and bottom, and I kept my fingers crossed that the led will actually freeze the keel in its straight form.

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After the pour I measured everything and what a happy day! The keel ended up almost perfect! Within a few millimeter, which is plenty straight.

Onwords and upwords smile

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#3 5 Mar 2021 6:46 am

pape
Member
Registered: 28 Sep 2020
Posts: 5

Re: Pocketship build in Finland

The build continued with assembling the long plywood panels that will form the hull. The CNC made finger joints are nice, but mine were just a bit off and required quite a bit of sanding to fit. What was wrong? No idea, but got them to fit in the end.

Glassing the long, large panels requires space and it wasn't easy, but this time I was happy with my results

IMG_20201026_124822.jpg

In my experience you need four layers of epoxy rolled on to have enough thickness not to sand easily into the glass. Getting a nice flat smooth gray layer requires a lot of sanding smile

Stitching the hull is easy and fun. The only slight complaint about the kit is the copper and steel wire provided, as I had to switch to a thicker gauge to have any hope of pulling the panels together. And even then I had do some tricks to get the alignment right.


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The bow is the hard part. It takes A LOT of force to join the panels, or even to get them fairly close. As instructed in many blogs, I had to add some blocks to allow pulling the edges closer, and only even then only got them to about 5 mm of each other.

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A suggestion for metering epoxy while on the subject: In the kit there was a note suggesting to use weight ratio instead of the epoxy pump ratio and that's what I did. At some point I checked the pumps, and they are not nearly as accurate, and if the pump has air in it and spits, you'll have no way of knowing how much was dispensed. So use a scale.

onwards and upwords!

Last edited by pape (5 Mar 2021 7:19 am)

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#4 7 Mar 2021 4:53 pm

teejay
Member
Registered: 26 Oct 2020
Posts: 31

Re: Pocketship build in Finland

Really interesting reading about your progress and good to hear your ideas and tips - despite your build being a lot more substantial than the small kayak I'm building (I've had no need for a tractor yet!) the issues are similar.

The weighing out of the resin has been a real step forward for me too - and I'm interested that you feel 4 coats of epoxy are what to aim for.

All the best - I'm looking forward to seeing more of the boat build

Tim

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#5 8 Mar 2021 9:25 am

pape
Member
Registered: 28 Sep 2020
Posts: 5

Re: Pocketship build in Finland

thank you Tim for the kind words and encouragement!

A word on the four layers of epoxy I'm endorsing: The way I do it is to spread the first layer and then after the layer is sticky but not tacky I roll on the second layer. That way you don't have to sand the first layer when the glass weave is still showing through and risk sanding it. After the second layer light sanding, I try to sand the third layer as good as I can and the fourth layer will then make the outcome perfect. Well, not perfect but as good as I can get it smile

The build continued:

Tack welding between the wire stitches is actually very easy. You just have to take care the stitches are rather small so they won't interfere with the final fillet. It is also amazing how strong the tacks are!

IMG_20201206_143658.jpg

Then starts the part that all bloggers call the most miserable of the build: Filleting and especially sanding the fillets.

I started by making the appropriate filleting tools from scrap 4 mm plywood pieces. Seemed to work well and you can sand them clean if they develop crumples.

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I had to make an even larger radius fillet tool for the chines, not pictured.

I used ordinary freezer bags, mixing about 200 g of epoxy (+hardner) at a time and seems to be the practical maximum.

The actual dispensing and faring of the fillets is not that hard with a little practice, except for the inner corners and T-junctions. The Fyne friendly customer support gave some excellent advice: after a few hours, mix a small batch of clear epoxy (like 10 g), dip you gloved finger in it and you can shape and smooth the epoxy like putty. The clear epoxy will soften the surface saving you hours and hours of sanding. This was very good advice! The manual talks about using alcohol, but the small epoxy batch works as well and saves the alcohol for consumption smile

Here is the stern bay where I started:

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The surface is very very rough and very very hard. I was scratching my head how to sand it. By hand it is mission impossible, so I tried everything I had:

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After a lot of trial and error, the Makita orbital sander misused by just using the very edge proved to be the best approach, and especially difficult jobs were best attacked with the Makita narrow belt sander, which proved to be absolutely essential in hard to reach spaces. It eats away epoxy mix at a respectable rate as long as you tune the belt speed to about half. Here you can see it equipped with headlights for the dark bow compartment work:

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Instead of the manual outlined work flow of filleting everything, sanding everything and then glassing everything I approached this job differently. After filleting and sanding the stern compartment I filleted the next compartment towards the bow and then moved on to glassing the stern compartment. I moved forward slowly this way: Filleted a compartment or two, sanding until arms sore, glassed a compartment and so on. This way I didn't have to do one very very boring job for a long time but instead alternating between different tasks to keep motivation up. For me it worked well. Someone else might prefer a different approach

Here is the stern compartment sanded:

IMG_20201214_195523.jpg

As I try to be cautious, I kept checking that the radius of the fillets stay withing the 1 inch radius limit:

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many times I had to do another layer to meet the criteria, and also many times I needed to do the visual fillets, like chines, twice to get them to be visually excellent. Well, actually just good. Well ok, even adequate is enough smile

The build continues!

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#6 12 Mar 2021 11:25 am

pape
Member
Registered: 28 Sep 2020
Posts: 5

Re: Pocketship build in Finland

Slowly but surely I got the hang of filleting and sanding, but it was still a lot of fairly miserable work! All the while doing that I also commenced the glassing starting with the stern compartment.

I have read a lot of blogs on the subject, as I think many do, and tried to copy all the good ideas. A lot of them seem to carefully tape the area to be glassed and I did that but only with the top edge as in the picture.

IMG_20201219_140520.jpg

When laying out the glass cloth I overlapped the tape a bit and then after a few hours used a sharp knife to cut the excess.

IMG_20201219_153137.jpg

On hindsight this is not needed in my opinion and I should have left the tape out. First, it was not an easy task in cutting the layer carefully and not overly damage the other glass layer below. very often a strand was not cut and when pulling the excess it would also pull the glass from the plywood making a mess. And if you carefully feather the edges while sanding after all the glassing work, you can't tell where the glass edge is anyway.

Laying the glass cloth is fairly easy, if you stroke it with a cotton gloved hand it seems to pick up static and sticks to vertical parts very well.

in the above picture you can see pieces of tape holding the glass cloth at a few places. In my opinion this was also not a good idea. If the tape is ever so slightly "pulling" the cloth it will not sit nicely in the inside corner right below it. I found that cutting the overly long vertical parts short enough and stroking them flat and then trusting the static was the best way.

My typical working order: Start the workshop extra wood burning heater and keep about 25 - 27 C for a few hours. The epoxy runs better and hopefully will soak into the warm wood better. Then around noon stop heating and start the epoxying. The workshop will slowly cool to about 16 C. After the first layer is done, usually after about 6 hours, the epoxy feels kind of sticky but doesn't stick to your gloved finger and I roll on the second layer. I then let those dry for a at least 48 hours before a light sanding. I didn't sand and add the third and fourth layers until I had glassed everything.

I found a foam roller to be the best tool for spreading the PEC epoxy in the kit. A brush, especially in the first layer, will only stick to the glass cloth in the vertical edges and pull it from its place. Very frustrating.

I learned to start in the horizontal part and when that was almost done "climb" the epoxy in the middle of a vertical wall and widen towards both corners. Leave the corners alone, as the last part to be epoxied needs to be a corner. If you have moved the glass cloth a corner is the only place you can either get a bit more material from or hide a bit if you have excess.

I never quite got the hang of inside corners and sadly ended up with a few air bubbles but no wrinkles, which I surprised and proud of.

The middle "T" sections were just a bit harder, but nothing too difficult. In the picture below is from my largest glassing job of doing three (3) bays at a single go. Took quite a while and boy my legs were sore from crouching for such a long time!

IMG_20210109_103921.jpg

it seems a lot of people do templates first then cut the glass cloth and place it. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I cut a square piece long enough and as wide as the widest part of the "T" horizontal section. I then placed the cloth and cut out the excess. I found this easy and quick. Not to say the results were perfect, there were a couple of bubbles here and there, but structurally sound.

After what seemed like many many many weeks of this, one Sunday morning the whole boat was finally glassed from stern to bow! What I happy day!

IMG_20210214_192708.jpg

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