Building the PUD-g  
Design by Warren Messer - Seattle, Washington - USA

Click here for Part 1

Part 2

When I ended the last story, I was installing the PVC plastic fittings I use to hold the mast in place. I used a block of hardwood that's shaped to fit the hull for the mast step. It is then smeared on the bottom with EZ-Fillet and set into place. There is a lot of checking for level and center before that happens, but the directions to do so are spelled out in the study and building plans.

The hardest part of building this hull has been locating where the hole in the top of the center seat for the mast support tube went. After some head scratching, I figured out a way to determine where the center of the mast would be at rail level. I added some scrap strips to hold another piece of scrap with the mast's diameter cut in it. By moving the "holed" scrap {looked like the part you hold on a ouija board} around on the scrap strips, I could line the center of the hole up with the two cords that located where the mast would go. With that point fixed, I could shorten up the pencil bob cord that was over the mast step, and use it to locate the hole in the center seat.

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With the hole cut in the top panel of the seat; everything could now be installed, jump stitched, filleted, and taped. But first I had to double check that all the interior surfaces, and edges had been given a good coating of epoxy to seal the grain. Then it was time to paint the interior of the hull with three good coats of marine enamel. Again I had to tent the hull with a plastic tarp to hold in the heat from a small electric heater for the paint to cure between coats. Nothing like cold and damp NW weather to slow down your progress. The last coat was still damp when I rolled the hull over to do the bottom.

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With the bottom up, it was time to fix all the rough edges on the panel seams. First to clean out any junk in the gaps, then give the panel edges a good coating of epoxy to seal them off. Another good place for using my old toothbrushes. I found a great way to keep from having to throw them away after using. On my last trip to Costco, I picked up a double gallon package of plain white vinegar. I had an old plastic jar and lid that was deep enough for the toothbrush, and still be able to screw the cap on the jar again. After using, I just drop the toothbrush in the jar of vinegar, put on the cap, and forget it until the next time I need to use it. I can also put a little of the vinegar on a cloth, and use it to clean up epoxy drops (uncured) off the floor and such.

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I failed to follow my own instructions when it came to dressing up the seam edges. I used my new rasp to dress them up, instead of a sanding block held flat on the panels surface. The rounded seams looked good until everything was glassed taped, then the low spots showed up. Live and learn. With the seams taped and the selvage along the glass tape removed, it was time to fair the edges; and the only good way I've found is to "bag" the QuickFair and squeeze it out in a bead. Since it really is "Quick"Fair, you want to squeeze out "all" the material before you fair it in with a 3" putty knife. With the material in a small bead, the surface area of the surrounding particles of epoxy and filler don't kick in so fast, and create more heat, which makes it cure even faster. I know I am going too slow when I can feel the bag of QuickFair warming up in my hand. Thats a signal to hurry along, or toss whats left if I can't use it quick enough.

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It's time to give the faired tape edges a good sanding and to check for a smooth transition along the seams. Look for an "even width" of fairing compound along the tape edges. This can be hard to see if you don't have good lighting in your work area. The problem is trying to figure out where the high spots are and how much to sand; then where to add more QuickFair to the low spots. I've produced some truly rough edges from a combination of low room light and wearing the wrong glasses. The high spots became higher and the lows, lower. BUT, I have found a way to help me figure this out.

I was going to save all my flowing superlatives about adding pigment pastes to the weave filling section of this story. That was the way I had outlined this second part, until I was re-fairing my daggerboard and saw the little 2oz jar of black pigment paste. You will read later my exploits ($%&!*) of adding black to the pot, said the kettle. My Monty python "oh, just one more cherry can't hurt" moment. With a what the hell approach to boat building, I added just the most minute drop of black to the part A side of the QuickFair. It turned to a soft licorice as I stirred it in, and more so after adding the part B. The revelation, hallelujah brother, came as I spread it out on the daggerboard. I could tell exactly where it was and wasn't going. It was no longer a wet or not wet spot guessing game. This knowledge came after I had just completed the hull; with all the fix and fair, fix and faired seams, taped edges faired, weave filled, and the first coat of paint rolled on. More live and learn.

Back to where I was in this story before the enlightenment. Adding the masking tape that sets the limits of the bottom glass and laying on and smoothing out the 4oz glass cloth. I used 50" cloth on this hull and had to place the "upper limit" tape in the middle of the glass tape of the upper seam. This led to fairing problems later, and I would change that part of the construction if I did it again with 60" cloth. The cloth would then overlap all the tape and stop above the upper edge. More live and learn.

You want to make sure the hull's surface is smooth and free of any thing that might snag the glass cloth as you unroll it on the hull and move it about. Try to square up the weave with the hull, so the fibers in the longer direction line up with the length of the hull. This will make it easier to smooth the creases and folds in the cloth to the ends. Let the cloth set for two to three days before you wet it out, and give the cloth a good smoothing several times in between. You can chase away all the folds and conform the glass to the hull by doing this, and reduce the seam darts (cuts in the cloth) to those most difficult places. On this hull, I could get rid of all seam darts except for one in the stern. I was surprised that I could get away with all but one.

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As I had told myself when building the FlyCaster, I was not going to build another hull without adding pigment pastes to the epoxy for the weave filling. But the "first", wetting out coat of epoxy has to go on clear; so you can tell when it has a complete wet out. As you can tell from the photos, I never put on epoxy anymore without finishing with a roll out. I cut the 99 cent foam rollers into 3" sections and use as needed. Every coat gets a roll out no matter how big or small the job. It keeps from wasting too much time spent sanding and scraping excess drips and runs later, to worry about 33 cents worth of foam roller.

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Once the wet out layer has cured, it was time to play with the pigmented pastes that I got. I wanted to try for a light gray, so I got the small jars of 2oz of black, and 2oz of white. My first mistake was to start by adding black to the cup. Hummmm, is that enough? (Oh yes, more than enough) Maybe a little more. (No, No too much) Then I added the white and stirred; then some more white. As you can tell from the photo, it would have taken a lot of white to counter the black. Being a cheap (read thrifty) person, I was not going to waste 3oz of good epoxy because it was too black. So I started the first coat of weave filler, and finished with the run stopping roll out.

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But the dark coat did show me a "bubble" in the surface that I had not seen in numerous inspections of the wetted out glass. It just didn't show up, and would have caused more hair pulling when I put on the first coat of paint if I had not used the pigmented pastes.

The next coat had less black and a lot more white. I was hoping to cover the first coat with a lighter coat. The mix came out a medium gray, and was closer to what I had wanted in the first place. The third coat, only had straight white in it, and did a pretty good job of lightening the hull. Between each weave filling coat, I was able to fix and fair any flaws that I could find.

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One of the products that I would like to see to aid in final hull preparations, would be a very smooth, not so quick, fairing compound. Something with a longer pot life, so you could go over an area a couple of times with your straight edge and not rip it up with quick setting partials. Those crusty little partials that leave those damn little groves, that later need fixing. With a smoother, slower setting compound, and the addition of colored pigmented pastes, life would be great.

After letting the hull set for a couple of days for a good cure, it was time to break out the marine enamel. I've had really good results with the marine enamels from System Three; and the PUD-g got three coats of Orca white. Now it was a race between the paint curing (at least a week for a good hard surface), the weather getting warm enough so it would, and my desire to start the next new boat design.

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With the full cure on the bottom paint, it was time to flip it back on it's bottom and install all the hardware. Getting the stainless backing plate, and nylok nuts on the "U"bolt inserted in the bow, let me practice some stretching exercises and my finger balancing act. Raising it's location to "above" the center seat came to mind as I fumbled with the parts.

The five quarter turn hatches I got from Chuck and Sandra at Duckworks got a good bead of sealant around their flanges, and were screwed in place. This was followed by some head scratching to decide the best place to attach the hardware for the lower end of the mainsheet tackle. My rig is currently set up with a mid-boom system, but I had to temporarily change it to a bridle system on the transom. I ran a line between holes I drilled into the two corner blocks, and to this I added a double pulley traveler block for an end boom set up. The building plans show several different ways to do this.

One of the problems with a new boat launching, is to have enough people on hand to take photos, and to fill up the boat with it's designated load capacity. Luckily I have my long time friends, Nick and Eddie to fill that task. At least for the rowing part. The odds of having that happen when the wind blows is in the range of winning the lotto, so those photos will have to wait.

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During the "sea trials", I saw that I needed to raise the "U"bolt in the bow; either up one panel, or above the seat as I had thought as I installed the backing plate and nuts. Also the lower gudgeon needs to be raised about three inches; or a 3/4" block added and epoxied to the inside, and the lower bolts replaced with stainless wood screws. If you are never going to sail the PUD-g, this is a moot question, but the kids will have a blast. I can't wait for the first windy day to try out my 36 sq ft Opti sail on this short boat. Have I said that the boat only weights 65 pounds complete? Using 4mm plywood, and not installing the sailing add ons, the hull should get down into the lower 50's. Without the sailing option I would also construct the center seat assembly the way I did the stern seat; stitched and glued, with fillets and tape on the inside and tape on the outside. With or without any hatches.

I was a little nervous about how the boat would float, but after rowing it around the lake while waiting for my friends, my smile only got bigger. After seeing the hull riding even with two adults, I was happier still. Nick is 6'2" and Eddie is 5'11", so that should give you an idea of how much room there is in the hull. I think the results of my musings about such a design during my walk down the docks in Bellingham, Washington last fall, have satisfied the mission statement I made to myself then; and I hope you will be too.

I want to thank those of you that have followed along with all my construction stories, and for this series on building the PUD-g. I hope that what you have read about my mistakes and fixes, will lead to your successes.

I have added a lot more photos since the last installment, so check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/pud_g for the latest additions. The sailing photos will be added when available.

Warren Messer SND
Red Barn Boats

P.S. The next hull down the ways at Red Barn Boats, will be my Yakima River Flat Nosed Drifter design. Look for the first story and "flickr photo" link in Late July or August.

Thanks again

Plans and study plans for PUD-g available here

Other Articles by Warren Messer

SAILS

EPOXY

GEAR