Mill Creek 16.5 Build

Mill Creek 16.5

Things I have learned:

The hardest part is deciding “I can do this” and forking over the credit card number.

Sand the deck prior to adding combings, hatch rims, or other ornamentation.  It is much easier to sand a wide open area than to sand around things. 

Wood is a hugely forgiving material and epoxy is utterly amazing.  Together, I am certain you could build almost anything.

I both love and hate epoxy.  Expensive, sticks to almost anything, you use too much of it but there is never enough of it.

Better is the enemy of good.

Good lighting is under valued.

When you really need help or have questions – you know, after 5pm or on weekends, when you’re not at your “real job” and you’re boat building – CLC’s help desk is closed.  That’s why there is a builders’ forum.

While all of the information on the forum is beneficial, inspiring, and educational, 80% of the useful information seems to come from a handful of dedicated craftsmen.  Of this, we should be thankful.  For while there may be 100 ways to skin a cat, all but 2 should ever be witnessed, or spoken of.

With a bright finish, I am able to show my mistakes.  Battle scars – proud of them - won’t be there on the next build.

So, in spite of working in a less than ideal work space (dust, insects, temperature and humidity variations), with children, a wife, and 4 dogs who are certain that I am neglecting them whenever I “disappear” into the basement, 81 individual pieces of wood, 2.25 gallons of epoxy resin and hardener, 18 yards of fiberglass cloth, 2 quarts of varnish, and too much time have resulted in one hell of a nice kayak that I am proud of – as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.

The learning curve is steep - have learned an awful lot.  I can’t wait to build my next boat.  The list looks like a NetFlix queue.  Need a bigger basement and a kayak trailer.

6 replies:

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RE: Mill Creek 16.5 Build


RE: Mill Creek 16.5 Build

I hear ya. I am ~80% done with my 1st boat and already plotting the next 2!

RE: Mill Creek 16.5 Build

You said a mouth full!  I am confident in my ability to cut, drill, saw, stitch and read a blueprint.  I really could build another one starting tomorrow and I know it would be better.  I know for sure, the next time I will be very careful and precise when it comes to applying epoxy to the glass.  I also know for certain that applying the glass, epoxy and of course sanding were my least favorite parts of the build.  I will not use a roller again for epoxy (I wound up with too many little pits) and I will keep the coats extra thin. 

Just like czdan, I'm already looking yak at #2...a Wood Duck.  BTW, my first is also a MC and it just got it's first coat of paint today.  Splash day is Father's Day.



RE: Mill Creek 16.5 Build

Completely agreed.  Even though I'm not finished with my MC-16.5, I feel 100% more confident in my woodworking skills as a result, and am already looking at leveraging this experience on other projects, such as a bar-top (possibly using varnished okoume as the top surface) and maybe homemade paddles and fishing rods.

RE: Mill Creek 16.5 Build

"Things I have learned"  a good thread to pass along those tips you'll use on the 'next' build.

I too am just finishing a MC 16.5, while not totally finished, it got some water time last weekend.

Things that I've learned ...

1) Winter is NOT the time to work with epoxy, not even a heated garage.  70+ and epoxy is wonderful.

2) I would tack the fillets and remove the wires before doing the fillets to get a smaller joint.  I would prepare the knee braces, remove, fillet, then install.

3) Keep well away of any oil based products, like WD-40 etc, to prevent contamination, no amount of sanding has removed the fish eyes.

4) Be very careful of any sanding done on or near wood before it gets a coat of epoxy, those scratches turn color with epoxy and never go away (unless you paint), get a coat of epoxy on the wood as soon as possible.

5) My building only allowed doing a coat of epoxy every week or so, causing much extra sanding.  Try to arrange so you can do next coat(s) within a day or so.

6) While filling the glass weave, a smooth credit card did a nice job of spreading epoxy, a roller after that was good.

7) Paint and varnish work much better in warmer weather too, but too hot isn't good.  Fall sounds like a good time.  (I've just done first coats of each, too warm now)

8) First trial run is showing up a space problem for the rear seat and foot pegs. I mounted the rails just below the fillet, I may have to cut them out and start over, higher up.  Also, need to cut the seat rails some to position all the way to the rear (I'm 6 ft) and also try to move front seat a bit forward.




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