Camp Skiff Update 3
by Bob Chamberland
update 1 - update2
This was supposed to be the big day; the debut of my “Campskiff” at the Suttons Bay Classic Boat Extravaganza”. It didn’t happen. Everything came together more or less however because of some reach of the Village for revenue the event was canceled.
Yesterday the trailer was delivered. “Campskiff” though not quite finished was close enough to go in the water. A number of tasks remain to be done mostly dealing with sticky slides and some electrical work. We all, I am sure, have experience with windows painted shut or just stuck. Well that is the problem I am having: hatch covers sticking, companionway slide not sliding etc etc. A couple of coats of paint sure changes things in a hurry. All seems to be ok now with some judicious sanding here and some planing there but it still, in some instances, calls for a whack on a corner to get things moving. Electrical work is limited to running lights and perhaps a cigarette lighter fitting for anything else that might be used. I don’t anticipate generating any electricity so I aim to keep any loads to the minimum. The boat being on a trailer I will charge the battery at home after any outing.
The last couple of months work has been fairly straightforward; installation of decking, trim, construction of doors, hatch covers, companionway slide etc. Otherwise sanding, priming, painting, sanding, painting (not to mention varnishing). One wrinkle was the production of what Mr Chappelle has labeled “guards”. I would consider them more as “toe rails” but I defer to Mr Chappelle. It was my intention to steam bend them and varnish before installation. From a local boat shop here in Suttons Bay I borrowed a rig for steaming which consisted of a “remodeled” propane tank for a boiler, a turkey frier burner, and a plywood box. I rented a full propane tank from our local lumber yard. On a sunny morning I set the rig up, started the burner, got the steam going and sat down to read a good book while I waited first for the steam to get started and then for the 1 hour/sq. In. of cross section that I was instructed. After the requisite 3 hours of cooking I checked and discovered that I had recently run out of water. I hurried to clamp the lumber into the jig and then for 24 hours did something else. The next day I found out the dismal result. Too much springback. For the experience I did the rest of the job. This time I ran out of gas a little early. The results were better but not enough.
I opted not to go the steam bending route again. I went to Home Depot found a couple of mostly clear fir studs for the next effort. These I sliced in thirds, ran through the planer and then laminated on the same jigs built for steam bending. There was a fair amount of springback but they would bend to the curve of the hull easily. From that point it was sanding, coating with epoxy, painting and then fastening onto the hull. All very straightforward.
As I said the boat is essentially ready for the water.
The fly in the ointment has been the trailer. It really causes me great pain to buy a new, expensive trailer for a home built boat. With brakes a new trailer costs almost as much as the boat. Thank goodness I have a motor.The current crop of trailers are just not designed for a boat with the curves (and skegs) of “Campskiff”. I had finally narrowed my options down to a model from “Shoreland’r” that with modifications would suit. I have been adjusting the trailer today and now have to figure out how to get the boat from the “dolly” to the trailer. Most likely I’ll get our local boat mover, storer out to do the honors. Dave Skrocki has been a real treat with my boating endeavors mostly dealing with launching, rigging and turning over the “Campskiff”.
For power I have a 5 hp Nissan 4 cycle engine that I bought some years ago for my inflatable. Mr Chappelle specifies 5 to 8 hp so this should serve however for any future “show and tell” events I would like to have a period engine (1950's). I have dumped my problem on Max Wawrzyniak and he has generously come back with a detailed run down on the Johnson/Evinrude line and from his typically explicit and to the point prose I am looking for a 10 hp Johnson 55-57.
The next “show and tell” that I’m aware of here in northwestern lower MI is at Elk Rapids in mid July. The 16th I believe. I’m confident enough in my rig that even if it is an event dominated by restored ChrisCrafts and such from the like of the Morin’s, eminent restorers, I won’t be embarassed. Not quite the same class of work but acceptable.