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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Rod Beams

Well it time to get back into some woodworking. I need a break from all the epoxying and sanding so the timing couldn't be better. I've glassed in the fore and aft pedestals and also the fore and aft level floors. The 3/4" conduit is installed for the anchor rope,

It's time to start on the "Rod Beams", the rod storage shelf, the dry boxes and the Decks. The rod beams, joists and dry boxes provide a lot of structure to the boat. It will stiffen up the boat once everything is epoxied into place. This will all be covered in the next number of posts.

1st Up - Build the Rod Beams


There are two lower level temporary spreaders that are about 10 1/2" on the floor. They give the boat structure will the dry storage boxes and the decks are installed. The rod beams set on top of these to establish the height off the floor. The rod beams are made from 4/4 stock milled to 13/16" x 2 1/2".

There are two rod beams that are 10' long, one each side of the boat, and the rift sawn white oak I have is 8'6". The first thing I have to do is to scarf two 6' long pieces together to make a 11' long piece. My board stretcher is busted.

I had to layout and cut scarf joints on each piece that are 8" long. I rough cut these on a jig I made for the table saw. and then made another jig to run a top bearing straight bit to fine tune the cut. (Difficult to explain without photos, sorry)

Once the cuts were made I sanded the scarfs with 80 grit to rough up the surface. I then mixed up some epoxy peanut butter and spread it on both scarf joints with an 1/8" notched trowel. I matched up the scarfs and clamped the joint together, careful not to starve the joint and squeeze out too much of the epoxy peanut butter.

The next day I took the clamps off and sanded the rod beams. I now have two 10'4" long pieces. I cut these to 10'1" long.

The next step is to cut 2 pieces of 1/4" Okoume plywood that are 2 1/2" wide by 8' long. These will be attached to the bottom of the rod beam forming a sort of "L". with the 1/4" piece oriented towards the interior of the boat. This 1/4" piece will become the rod holder. There will be rod storage on both sides.

This photo shows the 1/4' material that has been screwed to the bottom of the rod beam set on top of the lower temporary spreader. The 1/4" x 8' long piece is centered on the 10'long rod beam. There will eventually be a trim piece attached to the 1/4" shelf.

The 1/4" is screwed into the rod beam with 1" long stainless steel screws. These screws will be left in. and sealed with epoxy.

The rod beams with the 1/4" material attached are them placed in the boat on top of the spreaders and placed so they are touching the sides and the distance between the two rod beams measured across the boat are equal. This takes some fiddling around but once you get them parallel make a mark on top of the spreaders as a reference.

Now the rod beams must be scribed into the sides and then cut to length. The total length needs to be roughly 10' long. If they asre a little shorter once they are massaged to fit it's ok. Scribe the rod beams and then clamp the beams to a workbench and make the cuts with a Japanese pull saw. Once they are cut fine tune the cut by sanding the ends. take your time and get them to fit right.


Here's one of the ends of a rod beam scribed to fit the sides.

Once the rod beams are cut, both rod beams should be the same length and the distance between them should be the same. The two rod beams should be parallel. 

When you are satisfied that the fit is correct. Take a pencil and mark around the beam ends were they meet the sides (4 locations). Remove the rod beam and drill two pilot holes from the inside to the outside. Then put the rod beams back in place and screw them in place from the outside. The screws will be temporary.

So at this point the two rod beams should be parallel and straight.



Here is a photo of one of the rod beams in place, temporarily screwed in place from the outside and sitting on both of the spreaders. The two spreaders are parallel. 

Next Up - Deck Framing 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Interior Raised Floors

The Kingfisher is designed with two raised level floors. One in the front casting position and one in the aft casting position. When I say level the front floor has a slight slope towards the center of the boat. The aft floor is relatively level. So the idea is to create a raised floor with 1x members that are fit to the correct height and width and then put in a floor made with 1/2" Okoume plywood. The process of building the raised floors is a multi-step process.



This is the front pedestal in position with the bottom scribed to the slope of the bottom. The side with the opening is 19" tall and the back side is about 16 1/2" tall.  I shimmed the pedestal level, scribed it, then cut it.

Scribing in the Pedestals


  • The first step is to cut the bottom of the two pedestals to conform to the slope of the bottom.
  •  marked the position of both pedestals on the floor with pencil lines.
  • The bottom at the front and rear of the boat has a slope to it. The pedestal has to be put into position and shimmed to be relatively level. This is a little bit suggestive as the boat's bottom is not flat. Support the bottom of the boat with scrap 2x4's so that the bottom of the stem and the transom are relatively the same. There is a spot where the boat sits when on the floor relatively level.  This is what you are after.
  • Once the boat is supported as is in it's "resting position", shim the pedestals and use a level on the top. I shot for dead level. I supported the side with the opening up with a 2x4 laid flat and then added shims to attain level.
  • Once the pedestal was level I use a compass/scribe to mark the line to cut the pedestal.
  • I cut the bottom with a jig saw with a blade to cut curves.
  • Once it was cut, I checked the fit and fine tuned it by re-scribing it. I used a random orbital sander to get the final fit.
  • I did this for the front and aft pedestal.


Epoxying the Pedestals



Here is the rear pedestal in position once it has been sealed and sanded
  • The next step was to give the pedestals a coat of clear epoxy. The pedestals will be painted so they just need one coat. 
  • I sealed the inside on one day and then the outside on the next. I sealed the edges and the opening.
  • Once the epoxy had dried I sanded the interior and exterior with 80 grit and then 100 grit.
  • I tabbed the front pedestal into place using 5 minute epoxy to establish its final position.


Installing the Anchor Tube


A piece of 3/4" electrical conduit that is about 5 feet long is installed along the centerline of the boat for the anchor rope to run through. The tube runs through the bottom of the aft pedestal and extends to under the rowers pedestal.
  • The electrical conduit first had to be cut to length. It needs to extend just through the rear pedestal and about half way to the rowers seat.
  • Once it was cut to length the conduit has to be bent and massaged to fit the contour of the bottom. I did this by placing one end of the conduit on a 4x4 and stepping on it to get the desired shape. This was a trial and error process. Bend it a little check it, bend it a little more and massage it into shape. 
  • I had to cut 2 slots in the front and rear of the aft pedestal for the conduit to run through.
  • Once I confirmed it all fit nicely, I duct taped the conduit into position and then mixed up a batch of epoxy peanut butter and tabbed the conduit in place. I let this set up overnight.
  • I then cut and fit a cross support that will form the vertical portion of the step up at the aft level floor. I had to cut a notch in the center for the conduit.
  • Once the support was checked for position and fit I used 5 minute epoxy to tab the cross piece into position.
  • I also tabbed the aft pedestal into position with 5 minute epoxy.
  • I then mixed up a batch of epoxy peanut butter and to fillet the entire conduit and the cross support into place.


Cutting and Fitting the Level Floors



This shows the floor scribed and fit onto place

Now for the tedious part. The fitting of the fore and aft floors is a meticulous process that you just need to take your time and get it right. 
  • The front level floor fits around the front pedestal. I started by laying out the circle for the pedestal. I also took rough measurements for the shape of the piece where it makes contact with the sides. The size of the floor from front to back is about 2'7". The bottom of the floor where it approaches the stem must be planed or sanded down to meet the rising bottom of the floor. This is like a scarf cut. it goes from 1/2" to zero in about 2 1/2". This joint will be "faired" with epoxy peanut butter and then will get a 4" glass strip across it.
  • I made a rough cut to get the approximate shape and then placed it in position. Guess what, it was too big. Just what I was hoping.  I scribed it about 4 times, nibbling a little at a time until it fit just right. The joint where the level floor hits the pedestal and the sides will eventually get a fillet and a strip of 4" glass so it just needs to be close. I got it pretty darn perfect.
  • There are two cross pieces that form the step up that will run from the sides and butt into the pedestal. These pieces are about 3 1/2" tall.
  • I also had to fit a cross piece that in placed at the front of the pedestal for additional support. This gets screwed into the pedestal and tabbed with 5 minute epoxy to hold it into place. 

This shows the front level floor wrapping around the front pedestal as it was being fit


Glassing and Sealing the Parts


The two floor pieces have been glasses and flow coated. You can see the taper cut into the aft floor piece that allows it to fit tightly to the floor.

Once the parts were fit I had to seal all of them with clear epoxy. This is a two or three day affair because you can only do one side at a time. The 2 floors pieces get glassed on both sides and then flow coated. The other parts just get flow coated.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Pedestals

Hurray! It's time to start working on the interior of the Kingfisher. I've gone through about 6 gallons of epoxy and who knows how many sanding discs. I'm ready to start some woodworking again. The first thing for me to do is start building 3 pedestals. These pedestals will be used to mount the front and aft seats and the rowing seat.


Here are the 3 pedestals once the have been taken out of their respective forms. 

These seats will be constructed with laminated 3mm Okoume plywood. The first task is to build 3 forms to bend and laminate the respective shapes. The photo above from left to right shows the 3 pedestals once they have been released and cut to their final dimensions. The one on the left, the aft pedestal is the smallest. It will have a small door to access storage underneath. The two hoops in the middle are cut from one laminations and will become the base for the rowing seat. The large pedestal on the right will be for the front and is designed to store a "Yeti - Roadie" cooler.

It starts with the Forms

The first step is to build the forms that the 1/8" Okoume plywood will be bent around. Here's the steps.

  • Cut out a top and bottom out of 1/2" plywood for each sized pedestal. They should be exactly the same size.
  • Measure the length of each lamination making sure the are at least 1" longer than required. 
  • Determine the height of the pedestals. I cut all my 1/8" plywood pieces 19" wide.
  • Cut 3 - 2x4's for each pedestal 3" less than the width of the plywood. In my case it was 19" - 3" = 16".
  • Attach the 2x4's to the plywood tops so that you have basically a 3 legged stool
  • Attach the bottom and you now have a form.
  • Cover the edges of the plywood and the 2x4 edges with clear package tape so the epoxy will release from the form.
  • Pre-bend the laminations. Attach one of the 19" wide edges of each lamination to one of the 2x4 posts at the front.
  • Bend the laminations around the form and make sure they are the correct length.

Now Time to Laminate

You'll need clamps to help massage the laminations around the form and to keep them in place when the epoxy is setting up.



  • Coat the two plywood faces that will mate liberally with epoxy.
  • Attach the two sheets to one edge of the form with screws.
  • Bend and clamp the laminations around the form. I drilled 1 3/8" diameter holes in the top and bottom of the form to secure the clamps. See photo above.
  • Make sure the two pieces of plywood align on the edges as you bend them around the form.
  • Let them set up overnight.

Assembling the Pedestals


Once the pedestals come out of the form you need to cut them to size, sand the edges and then attach the top and front pieces.


  • The first step is to clean up the top edge of the pedestal. I was able to sand them flat without cutting them as they aligned nicely when epoxying them together.
  • I then cut out the pedestal faces out of 1/2" Okoume Plywood. 
  • I cut out the opening in the larger pedestal prior to attaching it.
  • I used waterproof Titebond Glue to glue and clamp the faces to the pedestals.
  • Once the glue had dried I scribed  pieces of 1/2" Okoume Plywood for the two tops. I marked them about 1/16" larger than the finished size.
  • I glued and clamped the two tops to the two pedestals. I cleaned up as much glue as possible once they were clamped.
  • Once the tops were set I used a pattern bit with a bearing to flush cut the tops to the sides.
  • I then used a 3/8" radius router bit and rounded the top edge and the edge at the sides.
  • Last step was to sand everything.
  • I sanded the radius at the edges to about 1/2"

Rowing Seat Hoops


The rowing seat hoops are bent on the same form as the front pedestal. They are 3 laminations of 1/8" plywood instead of two.



  • The rowing seat hoops are laminated with 3 pieces of 19" wide pieces of 1/8" Okoume plywood.
  • Same procedure as the pedestals.
  • Once they are released from the form they are cut into two hoops that are 7 1/2" wide. I used a jig saw to cut them.
  • Once they were cut into two hoops, I sanded the edges and the inside and outside surfaces.
  • I then had to layout slots in each hoop to receive a piece of white oak that was 13/16" wide x 2 1/2" tall that the actual rowers seat will be attached to. This piece needs to stick up about 1/2" above the top of the hoops.
  • I just used common sense and laid the cut out and used a jig saw to cut it and a sharp chisel to fine tune the ends of the slots.