Friday, July 11, 2008

Skinning the boat

Got the skin on and finalized. Found out it sews pretty easily, I used the method, where I sewed a bit of the bow on, took it off and sewed the stern about 4 inches too short, and stood on the boat to pull it on. It seemed to tension the hull nicely and made it pretty easy to do the sewing down the deck.
The method for the deck was to do a running stitch first, putting the needle in about half inch from where they come together when tight, then using that inch to let you draw up that last bit of slack.I found that starting from the centre and working towards the ends is a great concept, as by the time you get to the tips the fabric is pretty much on its bias so it stretches easily.

One important note, the stern is harder than the bow, which seems counter intuitive but those last two darts to pull the fabric in were painful.

Once I had the running stitch down the hull I then trimmed the fabric with a hot knife to 3/4", and rolled the ends under, holding them in with a final X stitch down all seams. A curved upholstery needle makes this process much less painful.

I decided to go fancy and actually wrap the fabric along the side of the cockpit, over the top and down the inside, as opposed to the Greenland style floating cockpit. I liked the solidity of the rigidly braced cockpit rim for car topping and entrys off the rear deck. It turns out to not be as scary a process as I thought, just drill the holes in the rim and use a thick thread to pull the skin in tight to it. The nylon stretches enough that it pulls through without a wrinkle, the only hard part was pulling the inside cut edge up and over to form my rolled seam, I ended up having to use a few clamps to hold it up as I sewed it. Oh, and of course the fun part was trying to remember where all the holes were drilled and find then with the needle. Flashlights help.

After that it was drum tight, but to get rid of some awkward wrinkles on the bow, stern, and cockpit I simply wet the skin and cooked the water off with a heat gun. So if you are building your own, don't panic about the large overlapping wrinkle that doesn't go away how much you pull it tighter, it will all work out. Oh, and about the warnings you read about the drips of water staining your hull, they aren't kidding. It doesn't show up until the polyurethane. If I was doing it again and I had drips I would probably try to wet the whole hull evenly.

No comments: