II: The Selection Process

gypsyLast year, when the 'itch' to build our sailboat reappeared, I recalled using the internet in high school looking for canoe plans and finding some Cajun boat plans that were easy to make, cheap, and sturdier than canoes. They were vetoed of course by "that mom," the one that tried too hard to make life one big reality check. She was actually awesome, but at the moment I was pretty peeved. 

As I recalled that chapter of my youth, I wondered if you could find more boat plans online in 2010 then you could in 1999 or 2000. And I was inundated with a world I hadn't had access to in the fledgling years of the world wide web's mass access! I was so inundated in fact that I wanted to instantly build at least two dozen boats... there were classic sloops that caught the eye and seared images of romantic windy evenings off the Maine coast (2000 miles from where I live) to the off-eye beauty of some of Bolger and Michalak's boxy boats; not beauties but oddly inspiring for their functionality. 

I: The Backstory

D60 SchoonerThere was a relatively light fog on a backdrop of dreary skies that made the Pacific appear relatively threatening to a person who had only left the harbor in pristine occasions before. The ship we were on was dwarfed by the container vessels coming in and out of Long Beach Harbor as we approached the breakwater.

Suddenly, the Tole Mour passed the rock structure that marked the edge of the harbor and the calm gave way to large swells. Our school group coordinator for this excursion had warned us to eat only toast and coffee for breakfast; anything more would result in seasickness. I had listened, and though I had been out to sea on a myriad of different sized vessels- all under 80' LOA- got seasick anyway. A great start to a 10 day, open sea cruise on the three masted Tops'l schooner where I was supposed to be a psuedo-counselor. 

i550 Sportboat build from Youtube

I just discovered how many cool videos Youtube has for wooden boat builders. Here's a great example of an i550 build.

Epoxy fillers - Which one should I use?

One of our builders asked a good question about using epoxy with fillers, "The question I have concerns gluing. Up until now I've been mixing 2 oz resin with 1 oz hardener and adding 2 oz of adhesive filler. I want to (1) thicken it up so it won't run and (2) create a fairing filler. Can I just add 1 or 2 oz of fairing filler to what I'm doing now or should I cut back on the adhesive filler and add more fairing filler?"

Westsystem filler guideThere are two must-read resources when it comes to fillers, both published on Westsystem.com. The first is this simple chart that helps show when to use different fillers. The second is their reference page with specific information on each of their filler products.

Another great resource is the filler bulletin (pdf) published by Tap Plastics.

The short answer to the question above is that there are three kinds of fillers:

  • Silica - used to make epoxy thicker so it won't run or sag. It also makes it VERY hard to sand. A non-sagging epoxy mixture is said to be thixotropic. You can buy cabosil on eBay.
  • Structural - used for bonding, adds strength to epoxy when gluing things together.
  • Fairing - easy to sand and made from hollow spheres (microspheres, available on eBay) You CAN add cabosil to resin with microspheres to keep it from sagging.

All of the fillers above will make epoxy thicker but you have to think about which one is best for the desired purpose.

If you're gluing parts together use a structural filler and add some silica to keep it from running. Fairing filler does not add strength to a bond. Fairing fillers are made from microballoons and are easy to sand. By contrast, silica fillers are like glass and are very hard to sand.

If you're making fillets then use microspheres to get a creamy light-weight filler that you can spread and sand easily.

Always mix epoxy with hardner BEFORE adding fillers.

Here's a great YouTube video from West Marine on how to use these.


Ok, here it goes! I'm new to this whole blogging thing, and better yet, I'm new to this whole boat repair thing. This is going to be interesting, at least to me if no one else. Well stay tuned as this is only a test.

Long Coot October 16, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Since the last log entry I have done a LOT of research into Aircraft Diesel engines that are or will soon be on the market.  The main move to the diesel was prompted by my observation at Kentmorr marina and Kent Narrows marina that diesel fuel was available at both, but 87 octane pump gas was the only gasoline available.  Also, at Bay Bridge Airport Jet A was selling for $3.30 per gallon while 100LL was $4.55, and highway diesel in our area is $2.90-3.30 depending on where you buy.  Unlike gasoline aviation engines, which cannot tolerate lower octane fuel easily, diesel engines designed & rated for Jet A can tolerate #2 diesel fuel with only slight modifications to the fuel supply system.  In fact running these engines on #2 diesel will provide slightly better power and fuel economy.  When you consider that diesel fuel or jet A are available nearly everywhere, it makes sense to go with diesel. 

Long Coot September 1, 2010

Friday, September 03, 2010

Tail design:

Long Coot August 2010

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Long Coot Sunday, July 25, 2010

For several years now I have been tinkering on the drawing board for a new seaplane.  I have recently made some design decisions that are solidifying the project and I am looking for people near and far who might be interested in a project like this.  So here goes. 

My wife and I, our luggage, and our dog routinely fly 400 NM from EZF to HXD for visits with family.  We are right at 2150 lbs gross in our Cherokee 140 with 40 gal of fuel and make the trip in 3.8 hours with 1 hour reserve.  We also have the ability to take two couples, no luggage and a light load of fuel up for a joy ride.  Our airplane cruises at 110 Kts at 6500 ft while burning 8.0 GPH, and 100 kts at about 7.5 GPH.  We want to be able to replace this aircraft with our new flying boat.  We live in the Chesapeake Bay region, right near the fall line.  We would really use our airplane a lot more if it were a capable boat as well as an airplane.  We like to go Dolphin watching and we like the water.   

Building the Ebihen 15

The Ebihen 15 is a design by Naval Architect Francois Vivier.   I started the build in September of 2009.    I have maintained a WordPress blog of the build at http://stansboat.wordpress.com

Ebihen 15

Best Marine Epoxy

My favorite epoxy?


EpoxyUSA.com Progressive Basic No-Blush Epoxy

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