To the Ocean

I’m really excited that in just a few days all three boats will be on the trailer heading to Nags Head. I’ve been doing a bunch of little work on the boat to get ready. I drilled 5 holes in the boat and filled them with epoxy to make waterproof bushings for holes for lines. I removed the cheap plastic cleat from the front of the boat and drilled a large hole to tie a short painter. I drilled two more holes on the dagger board case to attach a piece of shock cord to hold the dagger board down. Finally I drilled two holes in the aft bulkhead wood to tie a line across the back of the boat to keep the tiller from slipping into the water when dropped. While I had the epoxy out, I filled the rudder mortise and then sanded it back to get a tight fit on the rudder arm. It’s not a perfect fit where the mortise and tenon come together, but it’s very tight now. The pin is decorative at this point. It’s not moving on its own.

I finished off the trailer by putting down 2″ of foam on the bed of the trailer and screwing down the outdoor carpet to it. I’m still thinking about the best way to tie down the kayaks on top. Right now I’m just using dock lines and truckers hitches. The good thing about that is that when they are off there’s nothing getting in the way of the skerry, but it’s not the fastest thing. Debating whether to keep one up there all the time for fast access to the water.



finishing yard and boom

I still haven’t glued up the 8 piece mast yet. There’s been a lot of crazy happening both in work and personal life. Today I wanted to get some boat work accomplished so I decided it was time to fiberglass tape the ends of the yard and boom. I’m using the Duckworks DWX epoxy to coat the glass and since it has built in UV resistance you can use it as a finish, so I just painted it on both spars. It has a long pot life, so I mixed up 3 pumps each. I didn’t have quite enough to do all 4 sides, but I coated 3 sides each. It started to get a little gummy toward the end and I’m worried about drips and runs. I’ve gone back over it once to remove drips. I’ll check back in a while to see if there are more. At least there’s a little progress.


graphite coated skeg

I was working on a screen door project this afternoon. The screen had been ripped at the top of the door for some time and it was just enough of an opening that Carolina Wrens kept sneaking through it on their hunt for spiders and then getting stuck in the screen porch. The door is on the north east side of the house where it tends to stay a bit wet. The door also stuck to the concrete when fully opened. I decided to cut a 1/4″ off the door and give it a coat of epoxy to protect it from the elements.

screen door project

screen door project

I had enough epoxy left over that I coated the nose ring hole in the Toto and then mixed in some graphite powder and painted the skeg. The combination of epoxy and graphite is supposed to make a very durable finish. I’ve been debating coating the entire bottom of the Toto in this mixture. I may yet do it. In the mean time the white oak skeg with a graphite bottom should stand up to some dragging over rough terrain.

graphite covered skeg

graphite covered skeg

I didn’t have enough to cover the sides and they need a bit of touch up sanding first anyway. I’ll come back and get them later.

Happy New Year!

The crazy weather finally broke for the new year. Woke up to temps in the 40s instead of 60s. The epoxy was pouring a little slow this morning, but I got right out there and did some work on the Toto. I first ran a chalk line along the length of the boat to ensure the skeg went on straight. Then I drilled a small pilot hole through the hull and a matching hole in the skeg. I mixed up 3 oz of epoxy and painted on an unthickened coat on the skeg. I then went back and thickened it up and gooped on a layer. I flipped the skeg into place on the screw and tightened it down in the front and clamped it in the back with a good amount of sqeeze out. I then thickened the remainder of the epoxy to fillet consistency and ran a line around the skeg.


skeg installed

I had a little left over and started a fillet under the gunwale. Once that ran out I mixed up another 4.5 oz, dropped it in a ziplock back and shot a line down one side of the boat and a little bit of the other side. I used my 3/4″ radius fillet stick to smooth in the fillet and with the excess I refilled the ziplock bag and finished laying in the other side.


gunwale fillet

After a bit more sanding we’ll be ready for bottom paint.

One final shot of the “boat shop” and the new Toto with the original hanging above it.



more sanding

It’s still raining! So much for using the winter vacation to finish picking up the leaves in the yard. Despite the soggy state of the carport, I did manage to get out there and finish the sanding of the boat today. I’m glad I’m not building a much bigger boat, that’s about all the sanding I can handle. The next build is going to be a Michael Storer Goat Island Skiff. I’m planning to epoxy coat all the pieces flat masking off the places where they get joined together. It should make both the epoxy work and the sanding a lot easier. The Toto is just about ready for paint. I need to hand sand the corners gently and install the skeg. Then I plan to run a fillet down under the gunwale. As today is Dec 31, I obviously didn’t get it launched this year, but that’s okay. It’ll be a spring launch one of these days soon.

Mast Repair

I noticed a while back that the top of my mast was starting to split. I should have done something about it sooner, but today I noticed it had gotten worse. We did an overnight camping trip to Kerr Lake. The predicted 5-8 mph wind didn’t fill in so we just did some rowing and fishing. At home I discovered this:


This actually looks a little worse than it did. I took this photo after hitting it with the dremel to open it up. Then I poured in some epoxy and let it soak in for a while. Finally I added a little sawdust to thicken the epoxy and ended up with this:


Hopefully that will hold it for a while longer. Eventually I might have to cut it off and add a new piece. I’ve learned the hard way that you really should not use the last few inches of any wood that you purchase as the wood dries from the ends.

Once this cures it will be time to give all the spars a few more coats of spar varnish. My yard took a bit of a beating when I dragged it under a bridge that I thought I could clear. I should have touched that up long ago too.



Can’t beat camping in December in T-shirts.

nose ring #2

After getting the painting done, I decided to drill out the hole for the nose ring. I put a more substantial block of wood in the nose of this boat so I didn’t have to do a large epoxy pour like the last boat.


I drilled through this block under the gunwales and then coated it with epoxy to protect the wood.


Using the leftover epoxy, I filled the 4 screw holes in the gunwales.