Rear Bulkheads Assembled

Rather than drill holes for zip ties to hold the rear bulkheads in place, I decided it made more sense to assemble them outside the boat. So that’s what I did.

Dry Fitting the Rear Bulkheads

The first thing I did was confirm how close the rear bulkhead plan dimensions were to the very real boat I was trying to build. Here’s how it looked:

Dry Fitting Rear Bulkheads
Dry Fitting the Rear Bulkheads

However, because I hadn’t replaced the stitches with epoxy, things were still a bit wobbly so I expected I’d need to do some more fitting.

Some Assembly Required

To keep things lined up, I used a small nail to tack each of the two bulkheads that make up a side of the boat. I found that each of the pairs of bulkheads had one that stood proud of the other. So before I continued, I trimmed them. Once trimmed, I edge glued each pair and used a right angle clamp to secure them.

Once this was dry, I created an inside corner fillet and covered it with wetted out 3″ fiberglass tape. While I was here I decided to epoxy coat both the inside and outside surfaces. The results were better than I expected:

Assembled Rear Bulkheads
Assembled Rear Bulkheads

More Dry Fitting

After assembling the bulkheads, I found that I still needed a bit more fitting. The bottom edge of the transverse bulkhead met the sides just fine but by the time it got to the top, I could see this gap.

Fitting the Rear Bulkhead to the Sides

Rather than hit it with a hand plane, I decided to make quick work of it with my circular saw. Here’s what I did:

  1. Take the measurement from the observed gap and mark it on the bottom – not the top – of the transverse bulkhead.
  2. Draw a line from this mark to the top corner of the transverse bulkhead.
  3. Cut along the line.

What this effectively did was move the top corner in by that measured amount. I performed the same steps on the other pair of bulkheads and we were ready to glue them up.

Lessons Learned

I would have done two things differently.

  1. I would have replaced the stitches with a bead of epoxy before I started fitting the bulkheads. Sides were moving a bit more than I would have liked and having these glued in would have probably saved me the time I took for the second dry fit.
  2. I would have not coated the surfaces of the bulkheads in epoxy until after I glued them in place. I thought I’d save myself a bit of trouble by doing it while I had them right in front of me. However, the area is still very accessible once it’s in the boat. In addition, epoxy drips will happen and as I would later find out while permanently gluing them in, I would get epoxy onto those nice clean surfaces.

Next Steps

Time to get the boat firmed up by replacing the zip ties – acting as stitches – with beads of thickened epoxy. I think this will help a lot to reduce the amount of overall movement in the hull which made it a bit more difficult to fit other parts.

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