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.  


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.

Wrapping Rear Bulkhead

Now for the rear bulkheadDSC00460DSC00461DSC00463I again screwed through all three layers to secure both front and back solid pieces.

DSC00465DSC00468DSC00469Here I’m attaching the cover piece to the edges pieces.  This creates a very finished look while hiding all plywood end grain.

DSC00474DSC00477Take your time on these corners.  You’re going to be staring at them for a long time.   I used an 1/8″ round over bit on all edges.  Use a sliding bevel to determine the angles.  Your chop saw works beautifully to cut these angles.

DSC00481I used calipers to layout the screw holes for a symmetrical look.  I plan to plug all these holes using an oak dowel.


This is such a blast folks.  I can’t explain to you in words how much fun I’m having with this build.  The more I touch this boat the more I love it.  Doing is believing.  




Forward Bulkhead

Wrapping the front bulkhead in Sapelli was a delight.  The different thicknesses and angles make for an visually interesting panel.


As I contemplated how to dry attach all the parts, I decided to screw through one piece, then through the plywood and finally, into the solid piece behind.  This allowed me to secure both front & back pieces of solid wood with one screw.  It worked very well, but I needed to carefully clamp and check all the parts before drilling.

DSC00468Checking to make sure the filler board isn’t proud of the plywood panel.  This required a few passes with my hand plane to get just right.

DSC00471Taking my time to check both the offset and the alignment, I drilled holes using a countersink bit.

DSC00465Where members of a different thickness come together, taper the edges down with a block plane for a clean look.


It’s really fun to see the bulkhead take shape.  The Sapelli adds a warm look to the panel.  Kilburn’s use of varying thicknesses of the solid pieces only adds to the visual appeal.  It also makes good sense…finesse the design for lightweight rigidity.


A top view of the front bulkhead.  The tops will be cut off later to their appropriate length.


This is the lower portion of the front bulkhead, where you would step through into the bow.  Though hard to see in the photo, the forward portion is sloped 15 degrees downward from the horizon to keep rain from entering the cabin.  A small 3/8″ filler piece is also added to cover the end grain of the plywood panel…it too is sloped 15 degrees.



This system of drilling through all three layers and securing with screws worked very well for me.  It takes more time to setup but will save significant time and frustration when epoxy is applied.  I’m just taking my time and having fun here.  If I do a little each day, the boat will get built.  

Bulkhead Wood Trim

While I await the arrival of my Marinepoxy, I decided to get busy dimensioning the solid wood pieces for the bulkheads.

DSC00460The front bulkhead gets a special wrap of wood with a filler piece to hide the end grain of the bulkhead.  Also notice that the front margin has been cut back 1/16″ to allow movement of the filler board.

DSC00461The 1/8″ piece drops into the slot.



This doesn’t look like much, but all these pieces are different thicknesses and widths.  You have to take your time to get all the dimensions correct.  I couldn’t have done this without a planer.  Widths varied from 1/2″ to 5/8″ to 3/4″.  The cabin roof supports are 7/8″.  Hence you need a good way to dimension the pieces.  If you don’t own a planer, I would run down to Home Depot and get one before you attempt this build.  I used an 1/8″ round over bit on all exposed corners.

Note:  Kilburn read this post and felt my opinion regarding the necessity of a planer was overstated.  After re-reading the above post, Kilburn is correct.  You could use a table saw to dimension all the wood.  So, no a planer is not absolutely necessary.  

That being said, I’m sure glad I had one, and I continue to believe it’s the best tool to accomplish the task.  I’m a huge advocate of buying and owning useful hand and power tools.  Good tools last several lifetimes and make your building experience so much more enjoyable.  

Final Word:  The choice of tools you use to accomplish any woodworking project is a highly personal decision. 



I really enjoyed making all these pieces.  There’s over 25 pieces to cut, and the time you take here will make for a very beautiful boat.