Millcreek 13

1) I've got this boat under construction. It's a flat bottom craft and I'm wondering how it tracks in the water; does it wonder all over or do the chine edges hold it in a track. I'm thinking it's a "wonderer" and may need a small keel to keep it straight. Anyone have any experience in paddling this craft?

2) Lumpy fillets: I'm able to put down a nice smooth fillet w/ the epoxy, but then plans call for the fillets to be covered w/3" fiberglas tape and epoxied until clear; that's when the lumpiness begins. Evidently I don't know how to apply the epoxy over the tape and not create lumps......which I now have to sand smooth. I'm thinking next time I'll place the fillets, let them set up a bit, then place the tape. Hopefully not as much sanding needed, but the edges of the tape expand when epoxied and make sanding smooth difficult anyway.  Maybe there's no way to get around all this sanding. The plans call for a 1" fillet; is tape really needed? Seems to me a 1" fillet would be very strong.

Any comments on either 1) and/or 2)?          Thanks

2 replies:

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RE: Millcreek 13

No comment on 1 since it's been about 20 years since I paddled a Mill Creek and that was for only 10 minutes or so. 

As far as item 2 goes, don't skip the tape. It's what gives the joint its strength. The fillet mostly just gives the tape a smooth surface to lie on so that it won't fold and cause a stress concentration.

Letting the fillets firm up some to prevent lumps is a good idea that's used by lots of builders, so you're on the right track there.

You can also use a gloved finger lubricated with unthickened epoxy to smooth the tape and underlying fillet while the fillet is soft.

My favorite way to get a perfect taped fillet is to lay down the fillet and immediately paint it with a chip brush dipped in unthickened epoxy to smooth it.. Then, I take the glass tape, roll it up and dip that into unthickened epoxy which I then work into the glass by squeezing the roll in my gloved hands. Finally, I squeeze the excess epoxy out of the roll, unroll the perfeclly saturated tape onto the still soft fillet and smooth it in place with my gloved finger. The excess epoxy gets spread across the bare wood, which you have to eventually cover in epoxy anyway, so there's no waste.

The edges of the tape can be hit with a scraper to get rid of most of the hardened edges, That's much easier than sanding it all. That's how I end up doing almost no sanding on my taped joints.

Finally, if you're painting your boat, you can make a mix of epoxy and phenolic microballoons and lay down a cosmetic fillet over the hardened bumpy ones. Since you won't be covering it with glass, this has a much better chance of ending up smooth and, if it doesn't, it's a lot easier to sand than epoxy/woodflour. The paint will cover it all up and you'll have perfectly smooth fillets.

Good luck,



RE: Millcreek 13

I appreciate your detailed input re: fillets........I'll have to try that w/the next boat; thanks  

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