Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Someday I Will Remember All This

Last night I applied the first fillets to the boat! A fillet is a goober of peanut butter-thick epoxy that reinforces the seam where two plywood pieces come together, usually at an angle. The fillet is then covered with fiberglass tape and painted with unthickened epoxy.

It's kind of like attaching two index cards together with a bead of chewing gum and then a strip of tape along the inside of the seam. I'll need these fillets all over the boat, to provide extra strength in high-impact areas, but these were the first I installed, in and around the motorwell just to give it extra strength (along with stainless steel through-bolts, high-grain-count yellow pine, and plenty of epoxy glue.

The other reason to start with these is they'll be less visible than nearly every other fillet on the boat, and I want to get the ugly practice fillets out of the way before putting in the visible ones. For these you'll have to grope around inside the aft lazarette (storage compartment) even to feel them.

And with that the thought struck me: Someday, when I'm sailing a hard reach across blue water, or drifting off a marshy shoreline under the heavy thunderheads of August, my hand will graze that first fillet and I'll be transported back, across the years in an instant, to the hot garage with its boat skeleton, and the smell of epoxy and plywood sanding dust.

2 comments:

psoutowood said...

Every once in a while, you past self actually does something better than you thought you could do and you look back and think, huh, I did a pretty nice job of that. But mostly you think, "What a hack!"

S R Wood said...

I think it's generally good to be better than your past self: otherwise we'd be dwindling like in Flowers for Algernon. How did I do that? How did ... uh ... ?

Still, it's disconcerting to realize that by the time I finish the boat, I'll have learned skills that would have been VERY HANDY to have at the outset. Solution: build more boats!