Questions about Fillets and Taping

I'm building a Chesapeake 17 and have reached the "filleting" stage. Problem is, I've read the manual several times, studied the illustrations (all of which are great, by the way!) and I'm still little confused about filleting and taping the seams.

 My first question is: Does the fillet go all the way from the keel to the top of the side panels?  As that's a really acute angle in there, it's obvious that the my 1" radius fillet tool is not going to fit. So, if the entire seam does get a fillet, my next question is: How? Do I use a smaller fillet tool or simply my gloved finger? Don't have a problem with it either way but do need some advice as to how to proceed.

Lastly, along those same lines: Does that seam (up inside the side panels) get an application of fiberglass tape or will the end pours take care of that?

 Needless to say, any and all advice will be most welcome!

 thanx, mj



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RE: Questions about Fillets and Taping


I'm just getting ready to apply paint and varnish to my 17.  As I recall, (and it's been a long time) I used popsicle sticks to fillet those small spaces near the bow and the stern.  You can tape all the way along the keel to the extreme ends, but in the end, the end pours will anchor the sheer clamps and panels together. 

The chine fillets will definitely need tape all way from end to end.

 At least that's the way that I did it. :-)

RE: Questions about Fillets and Taping

MJ - my recently-completed Ches 17LT is still fresh in the mind, so my response is based  on that: your query is not absolutely crystal-clear to me, but...

The fillets run along the inside of the hull from end to end: at the bottom of the hull in the cockpit area the fillet will be about 3/4" to 1" wide.   Side panel fillets may end up a little narrower - it is not an exact science.   Do not get carried away too much by 'nominated' width of filleting tools - I think you'll find that's just a guide and you will quickly work out what suits you and your level of expertise.  

If your question relates simply to the extreme ends of the craft - yes, it's difficult if not impossible to get a tool in there to effect a nice smooth fillet, but a gloved finger will do a better job!   If you leave the fillet to partly cure you will find that dipping the gloved finger into some warm water with a splash of washing-up liquid in it (acting as a kind-of lubricant) and simply working it along with some gentle pressure will allow you to make very smooth fillets indeed, almost looking like they came out of a machine.

I made it a little easier by chamfering the square cut-off ends of the sheer clamps to an angle (viewed from above) - much like the scarf joint in the sheer clamps - which gave me somewhat better access.   A plastic throwaway teaspoon is a good filleting tool for some of the tighter angles, too.

Tape is applied to both the hull and (side) chine joints, over the fillets.   Again, very tricky to get this neatly right into the ends, but nobody will ever see them (and so long as the strength is there it doesn't matter).

Finally, don't get carried away by the end-purs - if done to excess you will waste a lot of epoxy and add unwanted weight at the wrong ends of the craft.   In my view and experience, soaking some 3" fibreglass tape in epoxy, rolling it into a cigar-like cylinder (very messy!), then ramming it into the ends is at least as good as an end-pour, easier (no need to tip the boat up), and probably lighter.   About 12" will suffice for the bow, about 7" for the stern, and the result will certainly be more than strong enough in normal use.   If you do this, keep returning to the craft after you've done the ramming so that you can scrape up any excess resin that will inevitably run out of the ends and down and along the bottom hull chine - again, a plastic spoon does an excellent job here.

I am following all the above well-learned lessons in my current Shearwater 17S&G build, so am personally satisfied with the results!

Enjoy the rest of the build.




RE: Questions about Fillets and Taping

I took a very different approach to end pours on my Shearwater 17 S&G. You can see photos and description at my blog site:

RE: Questions about Fillets and Taping

Another alternative that takes care of all these problems is a wooden stempiece. Just roughly shape a piece of wood so that it mostly fits in the bow. The perfection of the fit is up to the individual builder, but it doesn't need to be perfect at all. Then, smear a blob of putty into the seam and push the wood into the putty. Clean up the oozes before they harden and you're done. This replaces the fillet, the tape and the endpour all at once. The bed of putty fills the gaps caused by the roughness of the shaping.

It's lighter, stronger and cheaper than an endpour, but you have to do it before the deck is put on.




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