Wheel Layout

With epoxy drying, I decided to layout the steering wheel.  Kilburn has designed a beautiful wooden wheel for the Skiff America.  I love the well balanced look and feel of this wheel.



This took a few tries to get things right.  I made several mistakes, but with my 15 year old son looking over my shoulder, I received correction…which was awesome.  The only change we made was to hold the inner radius off the center steering hub a bit for a 1/4″reveal.  We also shortened the spoke to wheel radius…but I might change this back to Kilburn’s 1″ radius.  I’ve got to stare at it for a few days to decide.


I’m now going to set the wheel aside and work on it when I hit another slow spot.  



Finishing Rear Bulkhead

With 51 screw holes to plug in the rear bulkhead, this took longer than expected.  But, totally worth the effort.

DSC00470DSC00471It’s not hard to do and turns an ugly screw hole into a custom finish look.


So much of building a boat consists of small details.  Easy to accomplish but time consuming.  If you have 2 hours a day to throw at this build, it will come together nicely for you.  


Moving the Football Forward

First off, the rear bulkhead.  After everything received 2 coats of epoxy, I was finally ready to install all the parts.

DSC00473DSC00475The assembly was mostly accomplished with screws, but a few C-clamps were needed to set the larger pieces.  After screwing/clamping all the pieces, I spent nearly an hour cleaning up all the squeeze out.  The clean up can save hours of sanding later.

DSC00472Next up came the transom and doubler.  8 C-clamps did the job.

DSC00470And then I epoxied the bow and cabin panels.

DSC00471And finally, I rolled epoxy over all the holes that had been previously filled with thickened epoxy.  This might be unnecessary, but I want the floor very well sealed from rain.


A boat is built one piece at a time.  If you work on your boat daily, it will get built right before your eyes.  It also helps me to blog about my progress.  Strangely, this seems to keep me motivated as well.  Plus, you’ll have a cool record of the building process for your family and friends to see.  

Shaping and Installing Inner Stem

The stem is comprised of (2) 3/4″ plywood pieces.  After glueing together, you’re ready to shape the inner stem.  But, you can’t shape what you can’t see.  So, I first marked off the areas to be removed using a sharpie.


DSC00474There are 2 different bevels that need to be cut.  One for the 1/4″ panel, the other for the 3/8″ panel.  I used a jack plane and a rasp to make these bevel cuts.

DSC00476After trimming off the front of the hull panel, I screwed a 1/4″ x 3″ lag up through the hull panel, into the inner stem.  The stem is cut 73 degree off plum and begins to defines the skiff shape even further.  This is getting fun folks!

DSC00472The front hull panel needs to be raised so that the front hull doubler is about 2,1/2″ above the construction frame.  This gives the hull a nice classic skiff shape.


This is the dry installation of the inner stem.  I won’t use epoxy until I have checked the alignment with the upper side panels.  I can now focus on finishing up the rear bulkhead, side panels and transom.  

Filling & Plugging Holes

After spending 4 days in Moab, Utah to relax with my wife, I’m back in the shop.  I spent some time this morning sanding, filling and plugging holes.

DSC00464DSC00470All the screw holes in the hull doubler need to be filled.  I used micro balloons and wood filler to thicken the epoxy.  The micro balloons make for easy sanding once cured.

DSC00469I then rolled another coat of epoxy on the oak dowels that were used to plug the screw holes in the front bulkhead.  The oak dowel provides a great custom look and is very easy to achieve.

DSC00463Then I rolled epoxy on the transom and transom doubler to move forward with the next piece.


I did see a little blush on the hull doubler after returning home from Moab.  This epoxy is not suppose to blush, but all epoxy can blush.  Don’t worry, it’s no big deal.  Just take a bucket of warm, soapy water and wipe with a rag.  It comes right off easy peezy.  

Remember every piece gets 2-3 coats of epoxy with sanding in-between each coat.  This takes time and patience, but makes for a beautiful boat.  Give these little details time and attention.  It’s not a race but instead a remarkably enjoyable project.  

More Epoxy Work

DSC00468If you look closely you can see the 3/4″ shim that places a chamber on the hull of Skiff America 20.  This camber helps keep the nose down while cruising.

DSC00471After sanding, I added a 2nd layer of epoxy to the cockpit hull this morning.  The forward cabin area now has 3 layers of epoxy on it.

DSC00472The rear bulkhead is getting epoxied along with all the solid Sapelli pieces in preparation for assemblage.  I want 2 coats over all the parts before I assemble the bulkhead.

DSC00463Cutting the 3/8″ oak plugs that will fill the screw holes in the bulkheads.

DSC00467I’ll cut these plugs flush after the epoxy cures and then roll them with additional epoxy.

DSC00465The front bulkhead after receiving its 2nd coat of epoxy.


These little steps all seem small and insignificant, but they’re all very important.  Take your time when building a boat, do it right…you won’t be sorry.  


Front Bulkhead

With Marinepoxy in hand, I was ready to glue the solid pieces to the front bulkhead.  Remember, I’ve already fit and screwed these pieces in place…but this time it’s permanent.

DSC00479DSC00480After rolling un-thickened epoxy over all the mating surfaces, I then added thickened epoxy to these same surfaces.  After that, it’s simply a matter of aligning the parts and reinserting the screws.  This makes all the prep time worthwhile and insures a simple, error free assembly.

After completing the front bulkhead, I rolled the subfloor and rear bulkhead pieces in epoxy.


It takes as much time to clean up the squeeze-out as it does to assemble the entire bulkhead…but the time you spend cleaning up is very important and saves hours of sanding the next day.  I use a sharpened popsicle stick to clean up all the joints.  I then use a rag soaked in alcohol to wipe up globs and ugly spots.

Installing Cockpit Subfloor

My epoxy arrived, so I can now move forward.

DSC00484You are looking at the back corner of the 3/4″ hull panel.  I drove three screws into the construction frame at the very back edge of this panel (within a 3/4″ margin along the back).  I chose this location because it allows me to install the subfloor without interfering with the screws.  I then placed the 3/4″ shim in its proper position.  I then drove two screws through the doubler at the front edge of the cockpit panel.  This bent the hull into it’s proper shape.

DSC00485Subfloor placed onto hull panel.  Remember, I left 3/4″ at the aft end to accept the transom.

DSC00486After driving the screw, I used C-clamps to make sure the edges were down tight against the hull.

Steps I took:

  1. I rolled a generous amount of un-thickened epoxy onto the 1/2″ subfloor and let this soak in for about 45 minutes.
  2. I glued and screwed into position all hull doublers.
  3. I secured the aft end of the hull to the frame using (3)  3″ screws.
  4. I positioned the 3/4″ shim.
  5. I secured the forward end of the hull to the frame by driving (2) 3″ screws through the cockpit/cabin doubler into the frame.
  6. Now the hull panel was properly cambered (around the 3/4″ shim).
  7. I rolled epoxy onto the top side of the cockpit hull panel.
  8. I spread thickened epoxy to the top side of the cockpit hull panel.
  9. I placed the 1/2″ doubler panel onto the cockpit hull panel.
  10. Starting at the forward end and moving toward the stern, I drove screws through the 1/2″ panel into the 3/4″ hull panel.
  11. I placed C-clamps along the edges for a secure bond.


I now have the subfloor properly secured to the hull panel with both hull and subfloor properly cambered.  


Preparing Subfloor Panel

While I have great access to the hull, I have decided to prepare and install the subfloor in the cockpit area.  The additional subfloor panel is to strengthen the cockpit floor.

DSC00475I placed the hull on top of a 1/2″ sheet of Okoume.  I left the aft edge of the hull proud 3/4″ to accommodate the transom (the transom sit flush with the back edge of the hull).

DSC00476I then traced the outline of the hull onto the 1/2″ Okoume.

DSC00486While the 1/2″ plywood was still square, I laid out my intersection lines for the screw holes.  Approximately 12″ on center.

DSC00487I stayed 2″ in from the edges.  There are 43 holes in total.

DSC00492After drilling the holes, you need to take a rasp and clean up the back side of the plywood.  These little protrusions will keep your plywood from laying flat against the hull.  I then trimmed the subfloor to its proper shape.

DSC00493After cutting small squares of wax paper, I built my mini clamping devises.  Notice how the wax paper keeps the washer from falling off the screw.


I’m now ready to assemble the hull panels.  After the hull panels are secured to the construction frame (with the 3/4″ hull shim in place) I’ll add this subfloor panel.

Hull Butt Blocks

Still waiting for the arrival of my epoxy, I decided to dry install the hull butt blocks.

DSC00463DSC00464I marked the location of the holes per the plans.  4″ apart, 1″ & 2″ off the center line.  I used a counter sink to drill the holes.

DSC00465I first drove the screws into one side of the butt block…then after making sure the panels were tight, I drove the screws into the second half.

DSC00466This pulled the butt block up tight to the panels.  I then removed all the screws and cleaned up the holes with a rasp to remove burrs from the back side of the butt block.


This approach of dry screwing the panels allows you to relocate this position later when epoxy is applied.  Think of all these screws as mini locator clamps.  Once all the pieces become slippery with epoxy, you’ll be glad you took the time to pre-drill the holes.  Now if that epoxy would just arrive.