Fly Fishing Traditions

Fly Fishing Traditions Blog and Website
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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!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Aft Knee Braces - Design Process

First I'l catch up a little with an update - I've got my dry boxes installed on both sides. This entailed using 5 minute epoxy to attach the front and two sides of each dry box  to the bottom and sides. The 5 minute epoxy was used in spots just to hold the pieces in place. Once they set, I mixed up some epoxy peanut butter, pretty darn thick and used it to fillet the pieces in place. The fillets form a cove that is a transition from horizontal to roughly vertical (floor to sides). Once the fillets are installed 4" glass tape is applied over them and then flow coated. A lot of busy work. It took a full day to get it done, and I mean a long day. That doesn't include the sanding once it's set up.

The photo above  is the aft pedestal in one of Jason Cajune's boats.

My next task of choice, not necessarily in the right order was to make a decision how to construct the aft knee brace. I like the idea of the flow through interior. I want to be able to get from the bow to the transom without crawling over a knee brace. I've decided to do a knee brace similar to the one that Jason Cajune does in his "Recurve" boat. The problem is, it ain't easy by any means. The one I'm constructing will look something like the photo above. I first thought they were a little too "George Jetson" for my taste. But as I've explored my options I've decided the Jetson's were cool.. There aren't any plans or instructions how to do this so I'll have to just dead reckon my way through it. I'm pretty good at that.

The reason I'm working on them now is that they attach somehow to the aft level floor step and are partially painted with the same material as the floor. So I've got to be able to;

(a) Figure out how to construct the darn thing.
(b) Figure out how to attach it
(c) Decide if it's permanent or removable
(d) Get it done or figured out before I paint the floors and the lower part of the sides and dry boxes.

Solving the Construction of the Aft Knee Brace

The knee brace is constructed by laminating 3 layers of 3mm Okoume plywood in what amounts to sort of a "Question Mark" shape. Pretty appropriate when you have no idea what you're doing. It will end up about 7/16" thick and glued together with thickened epoxy. I started out by cutting some different shapes out of scrap plywood to see what shape seemed "right". 

Here's a photo of one of the "Question Mark"s I cut out to see what it might look like. This one was too deep of a bend I thought. I cut  different shapes until I got one that seemed right. For me it's just sort of a trial thing. Try different curves until I thought "That's it". I'm shooting for a height of 27" above the aft level floor.

Once I determined the shape, I needed to construct a form to bend the plywood to the desired shape. I laid out the "Question Mark" on a 1/2" sheet of plywood and made to opposing pieces that will mate together with a 7/16" gap between them (the thickness of the laminated plywood). In the photo above you can see the 7/16" strip that is being cut out. I had to make two each in order to make a form that was approximately 24" wide.

Here's the forms assembled. I will be bending 3 pieces of plywood that are 24" wide by 48" long. All I have to do now is figure out how to get the 1/8" Okoume plywood to bend to the shape. Another "Question".

Next Up Steaming and Bending 1/8" Okoume Plywood 

A forewarning, It ain't Easy!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Kingfisher Driftboat Build - Dry Box Frame

Well, I've been doing my favorite thing. Epoxying and sanding. Sound familiar. I've got all the parts cut out and fit for the dry boxes and the four deck parts. I'll recap the process here.

It basically goes like this.

  • Cut and fit the rod beams
  • Cut and fit the deck support beams
  • Temporarily attach the deck beams and the deck support beams in place with screws.
  • Rough Cut, Scribe and final fit the deck parts
  • Fit the sides of the dry box to the sides
  • Fit the face of the dry box to the bottom and the bottom of the rod beam
  • Take it all apart and coat all sides with clear epoxy
Sounds easy, right, all except the last, Epoxy, sand, more epoxy, more sanding.

Deck Support Beams

  • The rod beam is temporarily held in place with 4 - 1" screws that are driven from the outside of the hull into the ends of the rod beam
  • I clamped an 8 foot long straight edge to the beam to keep it straight as I fit the support beams.
  • You can also attach a string line to assure the rod beam stays straight.
  • There are three main deck support beams and one at the junction of the side deck to the front deck
  • The deck support beams are temporarily installed with screws. 

This is the middle support beam. It is the same width and height as the rod beam.
13/16" x 2 1/2".

Here are three of the deck beams installed. The one at the front supports where the side deck meets the front deck. This support is laid flat.  I eventually added another support to reinforce the rear of the deck.

Side Deck Parts

  • The two side decks and the front decks are made from 1/4" Okoume plywood. 
  • They are rough cut to size and then scribed to fit the sides.
  • The interior straight edge of the side decks line up with the edge of the rod support shelf

Here is one of the side decks that has been scribed to the sides. The two openings for the dry boxes have been cut out. The top inside edge of the side deck aligns with the rod shelf. This is some tricky scribing. Take your time and get it right.

Front Deck Parts

  • The front deck is made from two pieces and glued together along the centerline of the boat.
  • It is made from two pieces so the grain of the front deck flows toward the rear of the boat.
  • The front deck has a half circle that is the same diameter as the distance between the two side decks once they are scribed in. (See photo below)
  • The front deck is raised about 2" high than the side decks at the stem (bow). This allows water to drain towards the rear of the boat.
  • It is important to make sure that the distance from the front of the pedestal to the apex of the circle is at least 16". Preferably 18". I had to make this about sixteen inches as my pedestal is larger than typical because it houses a cooler.

The front deck is temporarily clamped in place after it has been scribed in. The bow is two pieces.

Dry Box 

The dry boxes sit underneath the rod beams and are approximately 5 foot long centered on the rod beam length. (Approximate center of the boat)
  •  There are 4 pieces of 1/2" Okoume Plywood that are scribed into the sides that form the ends of the dry boxes (2 on each side)
  • The face of the dry box is made from 1/4" Okoume Plywood. The bottom of this piece is scribed to the bottom and fit under the rod beam.
  • This dry box face is set 1/4" back from the lip of the rod holder 1/4" plywood to allow a dadoed trim piece to be installed later.

Here the 1/2" Okoume Plywood is in the process of being scribed to the sides.

You can see the face of the dry box fit under the rod beam on te left. The face is held back 1/4".

Sealing the Parts

Now that everything is cut and fit, everything has to be disassembled and sealed with epoxy. The rod beam and deck support beams get flow coated with clear epoxy and finish sanded. The 1/4" Okoume plywood also gets flow coated and sanded. All of these parts are flow coated only and are not glassed. Oh boy!