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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - The Stitching Crew

Well, today was the day. The day a few pieces of plywood and some sheets of plastic end up morphing into a drift boat. It's "Stitching Time".

I elicited the help of three of my fishing buddies, Mike Williams, Peter Burnes and Ed Tulley to put together the 4 person "Stitching Crew". Today we got to wrangle and wrestle 2 - 24" x 17' sheets into a drift boat. The anticipation was building, on my part anyway,

The Stitching Crew L to R - Mike Williams, Ed Tulley and Peter Burnes.
Thanks a bunch!

I got up early this morning to do some last minute stuff to get ready. Things like;

  • Sand one of the side panels that I had to re-flow coat yesterday.
  • Make and screw about 24 little blocks that were about 1" x 1" along the inside of the side panels about 1" up from the bottom edge to help align the side panels to the bottom.
  • I had to drill holes along the bottom edge to "Stitch" the panels to the bottom.
  • I had to make a rear transom template out of a piece of plywood to hold the stern together, It's temporary as I'm building a curved transom.

1" x 1" blocks that will get attached to the side panels

So what the heck is stitching a boat anyway? You essentially drill holes along the bottom edge of the side panels and then corresponding holes in the bottom. You use 16 gauge bailing wire cut into 6" long pieces and you feed them through both holes and then tighten them with a pair of vice grips. Twisting and tightening them up as you work from the stem of the boat back to the stern. Sounds pretty easy doesn't it. Well it sort of like wrestling with two surfaces that want to go wherever. That's where the crew comes in.

So you start at the stem and work your way back towards the stern.

The stem is pretty difficult to get to come together. You just have to get it as tight as you can. Any voids will get filled with epoxy peanut butter and then fiberglass over that, You can see the 1" x 1" blocks and some of the wire stitches.

When you start at the stem and spread the side panels out as wide and you can to get the stem stitched together. You then slowly move the side panels back in towards the bottom as you work your way down.

Here you can see the side panel spread real wide as we were stitching the bow section. The bucket is full of nails to keep the bottom bowed down. This helps shape the rocker of the boat.

You work your way along adjusting the joint between the sides and the bottom as you go. It's not really hard, it's just a finesse kind of thing. Things are lined up well and then the next thing you know it's moved and you have to back up and readjust things. All in all in took about 2 1/2 hours to get the boat stitched. That doesn't include about 2 or three hours more that I spent fine tuning things after the crew was done.

 Here you can see the Stem (bow) starting to be stitched with the 16 gauge wire. It came together pretty nicely once I fine tuned it.

The boat here is just about stitched to the transom. 

Here's looking from the transom towards the bow prior to screwing the temporary transom in place.

Here the boat is completely stitched and the temporary transom in place. I've install streachers across the top of the sides in three locations. The clamps are being used to hold the bottom and side in the correct relationship.

Looks pretty good, don't you think.

1 comment:

Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.