Fly Fishing Traditions

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build -Line-X for the Bottom

I'm at the point that I'm needing to decide on what type of material to use to protect and coat the bottom of the driftboat. I'm going to use Line-X. Linex is the product used by Jason Cajune of whom I purchased the plans for the Kingfisher. I've read a lot about how using Line-X is a great way to go but it is cost prohibitive. I had investigated Durabak which is a do-it-yourself bed liner and was feeling that that was the way I'd go. I could purchase the material for about $140.

I stopped by a Line-X dealer in my area to discuss using one of their products "Linex Standard" and was very impressed by the thickness and apparent durability of their product. I was quoted a price of $700 to $800. I agree with the idea that it is pretty pricey.

I decided that I'd load up my Hyde drift boat and take it to a couple of Line-X dealers in our area to have them see how big the boat will be and get additional quotes. There are 3 dealers in my area. I explained that my actual "Kingfisher" glue and stitch boat is about 6" wider and 10" longer than my Hyde. I also explained that I would do the prep and sand the bottom and the sides up about 4" with 80 grit. I would mask the line to be sprayed with Line-X. All they would have to do is apply their proprietary tape with an embedded wire to my masked line and then spray it. No prep, no muss, no fuss. I was quoted a price of $300. Now we're talking.

They explained that there would be no warranty as the product is not specified to be used in a marine environment. I'm OK with that, it has been a proven product by Jason Cajune and other boat builders in Montana.

So I'm scheduled for next week. I'll post some photos of the masking and spraying process and update this post later.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Aft Knee Brace Construction

In a previous post I discussed the design process of building the aft knee brace for the Kingfisher. It is an involved process to say the least. In essence the aft knee brace is constructed with 3 pieces of 3mm Okoume plywood that are approximately 24" x 48" each. They are cut to size and then must be bent into a sort of "S" curve in a form constructed to the desired shape. The form ended up looking more like a big question mark. There is an inner and outer form that will be clamped together once the 3 pieces of Okoume plywood are steamed.

The first decision that had to be made is which direction to bend the plywood. In 3mm thick plywood it bends way easier one way than the other. The way I wanted the grain in the plywood to be oriented was unfortunately the hard way. Just my luck. Prior to steaming the plywood I could bend the dry plywood easily in one direction and hardly at all in the other. I'm steaming it right? I figured what the heck I might as well give it a try. So onward I went.

I had to construct a plywood box in which to steam the 3 pieces of plywood. I made a box that was about 30"wide x 54" long and 6" deep. It was like a plywood coffin. I devised a method to separate the 3 sheets as they laid in the box. I attached a radiator hose to one end of the box, fired up my propane hot plate with a 5 gallon bucket of water attached to the other end of the hose and steamed the pieces for 2 hours. I did some research on the internet where I found information stating that the marine adhesives would hold up to the steaming process.

Here's a photo of the steam box with the radiator hose coming into the bottom. There are 4" screws installed at the sides to sepatate the 3 sheets when they are placed in the box.

The box is closed up and the 3 sheets are inside and being steamed. I placed the box on a slight incline so the water vapors that condense can drain out of the low side. I placed an oven thermometer to see the temperature. The 3 pieces inside were steamed for 2 hours.

I took the 3 pieces out of the steam box and place them in the form and clamped the assembly together. This was not easy and it took four attempts to get in done.  The two opposing forms where hard to keep aligned. After much frustration They finally came together. You can see the "Question mark shape which are the 3 pieces of 3mm Okoume plywood clamped tightly together.

The three pieces of 3mm plywood were saturated and wet when they were clamped together. I left them clamped in the form for 10 days to enable them to dry back out before gluing them together.

Here's another view of the forms clamped together. Thank goodness for bar clamps!

After 10 days it was time to glue the 3 pieces of 3mm Okoume plywood together. I round sanded the surfaces that were to be glued with 80 grit paper. I lined the form with 3 mil plastic so the pieces would not end up glued to the form. I then flow coated each surface with clear epoxy.  This took about 3 ounces for each side that was coated (4 sides). I used one side of the form and used pieces of 1x2x24 oak across the sheets with a clamp on each end. I stared at one end and worked lengthwise along the sheets. This took lots of patience and clamps.

Here's another view of the clamps with the 1x2 pieces of oak stretched across.

I let the epoxy set up for 48 hours to make sure it set up properly. I removed all the clamps hoping that I would not have much spring back and that the plywood would stay in the same relative shape as it was in the form. Epoxy is strong stuff and it came out perfect.

The next step was too layout the final shape of the knee brace and cut it out. This was a very important step and one that I took my time doing in order to get it right the first shot. If it was done wrong I'd have to start over from the beginning. I mainly worked of photos of the knee braces designed by Jason Cajune and just winged it. 

Here's what it looks like. There are "horns" made out of 4/4 mahogany that will attach at the top which will form the actual "Knee Brace"  You can see a vertical piece made from 5/4 mahogany that reinforces the brace from flexing downwards and two braces on the back side to keep the brace from leaning forward. This unit will get epoxied to the bottom with biaxial tape and then additional 4" fiberglass tape and be installed in a permanent fixed position.

Here's another view showing the two braces on the other side.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Finishing Booth

I've got a shop that is essentially a two car garage. It used to be larger, but I took an area of about 10 x 12 to expand the Fly Fishing Traditions World Headquarters. Once you put a drift boat inside the shop, it gets pretty cramped. Lately, I've been doing woodworking associated with the build and then flow coating epoxy on the various parts. One thing about doing wood finishing is that dust and finishing do not mix. When I'm flow coating epoxy I turn on a fan to clear the fumes and guess what. The dust starts floating around and the next thing you know you got a real fuzzy finish. This means more sanding and re-coating. It's basically taking two steps forward and one step back.

I've come up with a solution, I've built a finishing booth inside the shop.

Here's a photo shot from just inside the man-door into the finishing booth. I've set up 3 sets of saw horses and have all the latest parts to be flow coated with epoxy laid out.  They were finish sanded and vacuumed prior to going inside the booth. My exterior gunnels are about 17 feet long and they fit in with about two feet to spare.  When the drift boat is inside I've got about  two feet of room in length and about 4 feet in width. I've got a 3 speed box fan mounted to the top right and my 3.5 mil plastic garage door is to the left. The plastic door is duct taped closed when it is time to seal the booth up and is large enough to move the drift boat inside and outside.

Constructing the Booth

Here's the plan I came up with.

I built a frame out of 1" pvc pipe. It is 10 feet wide, 19 feet long and 7 feet high. I used 10' lengths of 1" pvc pipe, pvc tees, pvc 90's and, 3 way corners. The rectangle you see in the photo above to the left is my access door. It folds up when I need access, when it is closed I duct tape it shut. The drift boat which is on a low table with casters can be moved inside the booth or outside when I need to finish other parts,

I purchased a 3 speed box fan and mounted it in the top corner facing the outside. The box fan came in a cardboard box. I just cut out the front and the back of the box and taped cardboard box with the fan inside to the pvc frame. On the opposite wall I installed two 1" x 20" x 20" HVAC filters to filter the air circulated through the booth.

I used 3.5 mil clear plastic sheathing for the walls and ceiling. All the seams are taped with duct tape. to make an airtight seal. The plastic on the walls are folded inside the booth about 12" +/-. I can also lay down a tarp down or another piece of plastic over these edges if I want a complete seal, or just tape the seams to the subfloor.

I've constructed two access doors. The larger door is to the outside and is sealed with duct tape when it is time for finishing. On the opposite wall I made a man-door that is about 2'6" wide x 6' tall. This was constructed by making a vertical cut in the plastic wall. I laid a strip of 2" duct tape vertically on the inside and outside and then cut it down the middle to the floor level. I did the same for the top of the man-door and made a cut horizontally about 30" long.  It looks like a capital "T". This opening has another piece of plastic that drapes over it and when the fan is running it seals the opening. Well enough anyway.

The booth cost me about $200 to buy everything I needed. A worthy investment from my perspective. It will save time, turn out a better product and save me a lot of aggravation.

The booth sits just inside the sliding garage doors. My work bench is mounted behind  the spray booth with enough room to work at my radial arm saw and chop saw.

The booth is also light enough that when the weather permits I can actually drag the whole booth outside. The pvc parts are not glued, just taped together with duct tape, so when I'm done with it I can just disassemble it and store the parts away for next time. All that I'll be out when it comes time to re-set it up is probably having to buy some more plastic film.


On final assessment, I really haven't lost much space at all because up to this point the boat has been in the same footprint. I can move the boat in and out of the space. I can roll the boat outside to do the sanding and roll it back inside to flow coat or eventually varnish. When it comes time to varnish this booth will pay big dividends.

Yesterday I flow coated all the 1/4" Okoume plywood decks parts, the oar locks and all the gunnel pieces. So far it's working perfect. I flow coated yesterday and guess what, no fuzzies. Success!