Getting unstuck

All the plank are hung and filleted.  The fairing compound totaled five pumps of epoxy, and enough filleting microballoons to result in a consistency of peanut butter.  A lot.  I used a putty knife to apply the epoxy, dragged putty along the joint with a gloved fingertip, scraped excess off with the putty knife, both sides of the fillet, smoothed a second time with a fingertip, scraped again on both sides, smoothed a third time, scraped again if necessary, smoothed, until I was happy with it, always ending with a smoothing operation. 

When all 14 joints were done, i cleaned up the planking with a rag wetted with denatured alcohol, and dipped a gloved fingertip in alcohol for a final smoothing of all the fillets.  The next day, I created a small bullnose for 120 grit sandpaper, and sanded the fillets till all the gloss was gone, and no rough surfaces remained, to the point that one can run fingertips rapidly along all joints without risk of splinters or catches.  I'm happy with it, though I'll sand the entire surface with 180 before a first coat of Brightsides primer.

So whats this about getting unstuck?  Before I paint, I want the stem, the keel, the skeg, and the rails on the boat.  The rails can't be done until the stem is installed.  The stem can't be installed until I know how it joins to the keel.  The keel depends on understanding how the daggerboard slot emerges from the keel, and the skeg goes on when the keel is in place.

I looked at the whole thing over and over trying to decide.  The Brooks & Hill book recommends a flat keel for such boats, and I like their reasoning, but that would mean a much broader flat landing than I can manage with what I have so far (or milling a tricky winding vee in the boat-side of the keel), so I have decided to stick with the original plans.  Sort of.

I will depart from the plans in two respects.  The most important of these departures is that I intend to fashion the keel and skeg from a single piece rather than add the skeg after.  I may abandon this approach if it gets too tricky, but it seems like making them of a piece is a better choice at this point.

The other departure is to laminate two pieces to the keel, one on either side of daggerboard slot, and fair all of this into an aerodynamic bulge that gives good support around the slot, and keeps turbulence to a minimum.  And looks cool.  I hope.

I'm making the keel assembly of Alaskan yellow cedar, because I have enough to do it of a piece, and because the stem is laminated from it.  It is a light and strong, clear grained wood, but it may be a mistake not to use something more dense -- heavier and tougher.  Time will tell.  I'll probably put a bronze half-oval rub guard on the stem portion as far back as where it meets the keel to provide some additional abrasion resistance.

I milled rub rail strips from the sapaelle I bought for this purpose.  The plans call for 7/16 width (tapering to 5/16 at the bow), 3/4 high.  No way will such a piece turn the corner from midships to bow.  I cut two strips about 1/4 wide and I'll laminate them in place.  Stronger in any case, though a significant additional effort.  I haven't decided yet whether to do open or closed gunwales on the interior.

It took a couple days to sort out what to do, but I think I'm moving again.


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