Fly Fishing Traditions

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - I'm Done

I started the "Kingfisher" build in September of 2014. Today is April 20th, 2015. It's been quite a journey. I purchased the plans from Jason Cajune and they were worth every cent! The varnish has been curing and hardening for about two weeks, The build has taken me about 7 1/2 months, not bad from what I've heard. This includes 3 weeks off to build a pole barn/garage, so the actual build time was a more like a strong six months. I have probably averaged about 40 hours a week, so I've got something like 1000 hours into it, but who's really counting. My trailer should be arriving next week, so the trip to see if it floats is about a week away. 

Photo Gallery of the Kingfisher

The finished boat is 17'0" long. It has a beam of  6'6". The width at the bottom is 4'10". It should float high and dry and be real stable.

I had a decal made with my "Fly Fishing Traditions" logo imprinted on it. The sides are 3/8" Okoume plywood that have about 3 coats of epoxy and layers of fiberglass cloth. The main body of the boat is painted on the outside with "Blue Water Marine Paint". It is a silicone copolymer topside enamel. The color is "Super White. The bottom and 4" up the sides at the chines are coated with "Linex" bedliner, smooth Black. The gunnels are black oak with 3 coats of epoxy and then 6 coats of flat "Last n Last" satin varnish.

The transom is "Rounded". Constructing the rounded transom was the most intimidating part of the construction. My plans had a squared off transom so I had to figure this out myself. It was bent around a form using 3 layers of 1/8" Okoume plywood. The rounded transom has 3 coats of epoxy and 6 coats of varnish. It turned out great!

The interior of the boat has decks and sides of Okoume mahogany plywood. The rowers seat and the fore and aft seats are made from white oak. The floors, dry boxes and the lower portion of the sides are coated with bed liner that was applied with a roller. The oars are Sawyer square topped counter balanced oars,

The fore and aft seats are made with white oak. The base of the seat was steam bent using 3/16" x 2 1/2" strips. The seats have 2 coats of epoxy and 6 coats of varnish. The rope for the seats are 3/8" diameter double braided poly. The seats are mounted on "Springfield" swivel bases with a bracket that allows them to be removed.

The rowers seat slides in a track and can be adjusted forward and backward. Rubber retainers hold the rowers seat in position. The deck in the background has a dry storage box that is accessible by opening the hatch doors. There are dry boxes on each side.  

The rear knee brace is made by laminating 3 layers of 1/8" Okoume mahogany plywood. I constructed a steam box to steam the plywood and then placed them in a plywood form to conform to the desired shape. I call it a "George Jetson" knee brace. There are two cup holders integrated in the middle section.

At the rounded transom there is a wooden plate with a handle integrated into it that reinforces the transom and is where the anchor rope runs through the hull. There are two pulleys that are lined up with the hole that runs through the transom that guides the anchor rope.

There are 4 hatches that access the dry storage boxes. two at the starboard and two at the port side. The dry boxes ate about 5 feet long. The cup holders are sealed t keep the dry storage boxes dry. The foot rest for the rower is adjustable to 4 different positions. There are two positions for the oar locks.

The front seat has a large pedestal with storage underneath. You can see the circular lamination of the seats. There are two cup holders tucked up in the bow section. There is a triangular casting deck to catch your fly line when you are fishing.

An ice chest fits snugly into the pedestal under the front seat.

There are rod holders tucked under the main deck on each side, starboard and port side. You can store two rods on each side for a total of 4 rods. This is a spey rod broken down in half. The rod holders will take 10 foot rods fully assembled.

All I need is a trailer and it will be a fishing machine. Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Painting the Hull

Now that I've got the boat upside down, all prepped and masked I'm ready to start painting the hull. I'm using a one part paint. It is a polyurethane enamel. It will provide a hard protective coating and with super high gloss and has very good color retention and is durable. The paint was manufactured by Blue Marine. I decided on their Super White Color.

I'm using "Blue WaterMarine Paint", which is a one part polyurethane enamel. 
The color is 'Super White'

The first step is to get everything I'll need to get the job done. Here's the list;
  • Blue Water Marine Paint, Super White
  • Half gallon plastic container
  • Stir stick
  • Toluene for thinning - 1 ounce per quart. 5-10%
  • 1 pint plastic measuring cup
  • Excellent quality brush with soft tips
  • 6" foam roller and frame
  • Disposable paint tray
  • Clean Rags
  • Tack Cloth
The first order of business was to re-vacuum the areas to be painted. I then used the two rag method and wiped down the surface with Acetone. Once wiped down, I used a tack cloth to do the final cleanup of the surfaces to remove any remaining dust particles.

Next I opened the quart can of paint and pour it into the half gallon plastic container. Measure 1 ounce of Toluene into the small pint plastic measuring cup and pour it into the larger container with the paint. Use the stir stick and stir for 10 minutes. Yeah, really 10 minutes.

Next set up the roller pan, roller frame and foam roller.Get the kind that have rounded edges at the ends. Get your paint brush.

Time for Painting

The method for applying the paint is referred  to as "Rolling and Tipping". the paint will be applied with the "Roller" and then "Tipped" with the brush. I'm right handed so I decided to work from right to left. I will be brushing left to right, which is opposite to the way I'm working. This is important. When you are "Tip" the paint you always want to go from the dry area back onto the painted area.

The boat will take two coats with a hand sanding to 320 grit between coats.

Here's how the first coat is done.

  • The fist thing to do is to load the roller with paint and then roll it repeatedly on the roller pan to have a loaded foam roller but not overloaded. I count to at least ten strokes each time I load or reload the foam roller. 
  • Starting at the transom and working to the left I roll out the paint working to the left with vertical stokes. Press hard on the roller to squeeze out all the paint. If you don't the paint will go on too thick. I work to the left until I am loosing coverage with the paint.
  • I then work the roller horizontally to spread the paint out evenly to the left. 
  • I finish this application with a vertical roll at the left edge to create a straight vertical line. You will end up with a vertical line with dry  surface on the left of the line and paint on the right.
  • One roller load covers an area about 24"tall by about 1 foot wide.
  • The paint will have lots of air bubbles in it and should be a thin even coating. 
  • Put the roller down in the tray and stat brushing from left to right. Start at the top and brush horizontally.
  • Place the brush on the dry portion of the vertical line on the left and brush to the right with a light touch. 
  • Lift the tips off the paint at the end of each stroke. Feather the paint out.
  • Continue the same method from top to bottom using horizontal passes.
  • Start back at the top and repeat.
  • That's it. Repeat the same steps all the way around the boat, move quickly and efficiently and keep a wet edge.

Prepping for the second coat

Once the paint had dried thoroughly, which was about 48 hours in my case as it was getting below 50 degrees in my shop at night, I hand sanded the surface with 220 grit sandpaper with a sanding pad. I then used a 320 grit Scotchbrite pad and hit the surface once more. 

I then vacuumed the surface and finished up with a tack cloth.

Just repeat the same process as the first coat.


I'm really happy with the paint job. It's not perfect like a spray finish but it has that hand made look to it. A few brush marks here and there but I think a job well done.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat - Prepping the Hull for Painting

It's time to get ready to paint the hull, I've done about all I can do on the interior of the boat and it's time to work on the outside for a while, This will entail flipping the boat upside down to work on. To get ready for painting the hull I had do do quite a bit of work prior to getting it done.

Getting a little ahead of myself. Here's the hull after it was painted.

The critical path went something like this
  1. Flip the Boat over
  2. Sand or use a cabinet scrapper to prep the bottom of the gunnels
  3. Flow coat the underneath side of the gunnels once they are prepped.
  4. Run a fillet of epoxy peanut butter at the junction of the gunnels to the sides.
  5. Run another flow coat of epoxy on the underside of the gunnels and coat the fillet
  6. Sand and flow coat the rounded transom with it's last coat of epoxy
  7. Finish sand and the underside of the gunnel, the sides and the rounded transom progressively to 220 grit.
  8. Mask off the gunnels and the rounded transom to get ready for painting the hull.

Flipping the Boat

I enlisted the help of three friends to flip the boat over. It has been residing right side up on a 4' x 10' table with rolling casters. The first task was getting the boat on the floor of the shop. I worked the boat to one end of the table. Imagine launching a boat from a trailer. Once I got the stern on the floor we just lifted the bow and slid the table out from under the boat. I had furniture blankets on the floor. The gunnels are coated with at least two coats of epoxy but I still wanted to have blankets under anything on the boat that contacted the floor. The steps went sort of like this.
  • Place furniture blankets on the floor in position so that as the boat is lifted up on one side and supported on one gunnel (half-way flipped) the blankets are under the spots of the center section of the gunnel. Pretty much in the center of the boat at the oar locks.
  • I also placed furniture blankets that are folded up in multiple layers under the stem and transom so that when it is flipped it is cushioned under these areas.
  • Two people are on one side of the boat and two are on the other.
  • The boat is lifted by two people so it is resting on one gunnel, basically half flipped. The other two people help support the boat in the vertical position.
  • It is then tilted over to the upside down position and supported by the two people on the other side of the boat.
  • Once the boat is flipped and is resting on the floor, lift the bow up and slide extended sawhorses, about 5 1/2' long, underneath so the bow is supported by both gunnels. Cover the tops of the sawhorses with padded materials. I used old towels.
  • Repeat the same procedure for the stern of the boat.
  • The boat should now be flipped upside down and resting on the padded extended sawhorse.
  • Ready to go to work.

Prepping the Gunnels and Rounded Transom for Flow Coating

One problem when flow coating the gunnels when the boat is right side up, is that it is almost impossible not to have drips or runs of epoxy on the underneath side of the gunnels. I found that the best approach is to use fast set hardener in small batches and tend it until you can't mess with it anymore. Even doing this I had some runs and drips. The best way of getting rid of these drips and runs on the underneath side of the gunnels is to use a cabinet scrapper. The scrapper removes the material you need to remove quickly and efficiently. Once the runs and drips are knocked down I then final sanded them by hand. I used 120 grit followed by 150 grit followed by 220 grit. They turned out pretty darned nice. Note: Remember to use cabinet scrappers to do the dirty work.

I finish sanded the rounded transom next to get it ready for its last flow coat of epoxy. Most of the rounded transom will not get painted and the mahogany plywood will be varnished.

This photo shows the detailed and sanded underneath side of the gunnels and the epoxy fillet at the junction of the gunnels to the sides.

Flow Coating the Gunnels and Rounded Transom

Once the underneath side of the gunnels were sanded it was time to flow coat them. I masked off the gunnels at the center of the 1/4" round over all around the boat. I didn't want the epoxy to run back down the face of the gunnels. I also flow coated the rounded transom. This is basically the last of the flow coating of epoxy on the entire boat. Wow, it's been a long time coming.

Sanding the Sides, Gunnels and Rounded Transom

Now that the flow coating was completed on the hull it was time to finish sand the entire exterior of the boat. I used a random orbital sander and sanded the sides to 220 grit. Being that the rounded transom is curved I used a flexible pad and hand sanded it down to 220 grit. I hand sanded the underneath side of the gunnels to 220 grit.

Clean Up and Masking

The last steps were to vacuum all the surfaces and then wipe the surfaces down with acetone and then start masking. Once the surfaces were vacuumed, I used the two rag method for prepping the surfaces. One rag is used to wipe down the surface and a clean rag follows.

Now it's masking time. I used 1/4" wide green masking tape that is used in auto body shops to mask the line that I will paint to. Once the 1/4' tape is laid down I use a masking machine with 3M 3/4" blue tape and 12" wide masking paper that comes on a roll. I taped off about 12" from the 1/4" green tape along the gunnels, the rounded transom and the Linex material that wraps up the sides about 4".

After the sides were masked to isolate the portion of the boat to be painted I checked to see that the tape was set tight at the paint line.

You can see the green 1/4" wide masking tape at the line to be painted. It is taped to the Linex that runs 4" up the sides. I then used a masking machine to finish up.

Next Up - Painting