Build update

Time for the decks

In the last update the ply for the decks had been cut to a rough shape, the past few months have seen slow but steady progress in fitting the decks, king planks and gunwales. There was an additional distraction as the next workshop project has been lined up, necessitating a trip to view a lovely Tideway on the way home from the RYA Dinghy show, then a repeat visit to collect the new boat.

The Tideway is safely back home and wrapped up ready for work after Zenith is finished, no doubt I will record progress here.

So, back to Zenith‘s decks, the first task was to dry fit all the deck pieces and to make sure the ends of the panels butted up nicely to each other, so a bit of fiddling was required to try and match up the grain patterns across the two pieces.

With all pieces dry fitted it was time to mask up the hull and to tape up the king planks as I wanted to glue down one panel at a time, using the king plank to provide a clamp on one side while weighing down the decks prices with bags of sand, no nails or screws are used to fix the ply in place.

With the hull masked up the next stage was to apply epoxy to all the glueing surfaces, slide the deck panel under the lip of the king plank, screw the king plank down and carefully add about 120kg of bagged sand. I’d left the deck panels slightly oversized by about 100mm so the bags could be taken over the gunwale.

This process was repeated for all 4 of the deck panels.

With the two rear panels glued into place the king plank could be removed and the mainsheet horse fitted while access was easy.

Once the horse was fitted, the king plank could be finally glued and screwed into place. With the deck now fitted the next stage was to trim it all to shape.

I used an adjustable square to find the amount of timber to be removed and transferred this to the top face of the deck. This was repeated along the length of Zenith and this formed a fair(ish) line on the deck showing the position of the edge of the deck.

This pencil line was then used as a guide for a masking tape strip that would be easy to see when using a jigsaw. I found I could use the tape as a guide and line the inside edge of the jigsaw foot on the masking tape to give a cut 4mm from the true edge.

Now the oversized lip had been reduced to 4mm the next stage was to carefully plane this down so the edge of the deck was flush with the hull.

With the decks edge trimmed down the next job was to fit the gunwales with strips of 25mm x 10mm Utile. With Zenith being 5.2m long the gunwales required several lengths to be joined with scarf joints. The gunwales were dry fitted so the deck edge could be adjusted if required.

As with the king planks, all screw holes have been counterbored so the screw heads will be hidden under plugs.

Before the gunwales can be fixed in place the last activity was to cut the recesses for the chainplates.

At the time of writing the gunwales still need to be glued and screwed to the hull, and after I’ve cleaned up all the excess glue from the deck I’ll be able to start the varnishing of the deck and cockpit combing.

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