Build 3

So then you have the formers in place and stringered up ready for the foam. Have you covered all the stringers in gaffa tape yet, we don’t want the Gorilla glue used to join the panels to stick too hard to the stringer.

We fitted the foam panels by first dividing the 1.07m squares supplied into 3 strips. I think if you could get the foam in 8 x 4 sheets as sometimes possible then I would. It may seem a little wasteful at this stage to cut the ends off at the widest point but it will save 1 join each time. The smaller left over bits will be used in making the ribs and bulkheads and its surprising how little foam is wasted. Do spend a little time in getting each join as tight as possible as it will save work later and sanding back any extra glue is a pain later, certainly cutting the foam with a sharp knife is easier than sanding.

We used a cheap 220W heat gun with an air spreader on it to heat the panels. From about the centre of the boat forward, you will need to heat and bend as you go. Even toward the rear we used a heat gun on the second half as we found the panels just sit better in the former. We used a technique of making up and securing the centre strake and then the cabin side, which are both flat panels, get these looking right from the front as these two panels will be the panels that will catch the eye when the boat is built. If you look from the front at about the height of the bow, you can look along the panel lines and you can see any slight mis-curve there.

There are so many ways of securing the panels but we found a 4.5mm x 30mm cutting screw, simply put in with an impact screw driver straight through the batten from the under side, locks the panel down really well. These battery impact drivers are the biz and you can put in a row of screws in a minute.

With two of us we quickly worked out a technique of 1 heating and pushing down the foam into the former, the other would quickly  put battens locking the foam down from the top, then simply put in screws at about 100mm centres along the battens which form the most bend, put in less along those battens that have the least curve, any curve held in by the foam, you don’t need to bother. You can do this on your own, certainly I did one of the halves on my own in about 1 ½ days. With two you can do it in 1 day.

We didn’t use gorilla glue as we used a technique  of leaving a 1-2 mm gap and squeezing in an epoxy micro bubble mix before laying on the fabric. I think now that I have used Gorrila glue to put the bulkhead foam together I would evolve a technique of bending and shaping the foam, then put in a bead of glue and then tighten up the seam and lock it down. The gorilla glue does everything on the label and does sand easy. Experiment a little, we tried putting a tongue and groove on each panel but found it was just too much time involved. Maybe a little more time on the router rig may have done the job better.