Monday, March 29, 2010

The "BALCK FLY" Dinghy 4: Dacron Skin Installation

I've been procrastinating doing this job, but every time I walk into the shop, which, being retired, is about a gazillion times a day, I feel a twinge of guilt for not forging ahead and just ... well .... doing it!

So this morning I decided to set a date for the task, and suddenly thought: "Why not right now?"

The first thing to do was re-read the instructions that came with the plans.

The plans recommend laying the Dacron cloth over the hull on a bias, so the material can be more easily stretched around the curves. As I only had about 1" to spare in cloth width this was not an option, so the cloth was run lengthwise along the hull, and held in place with a few spring clamps.

The next step was to bond the material to the gunwale, shrinking it as I went along, starting in the middle and working both ways. What worked best for me was to heat the area from the gunwale up to the first stringer, preventing too many puckers close to the glue joint on the gunwale.

After both sides and the ends were bonded it actually looked pretty good ... almost like I knew what I was doing!

The next stage was to gently shrink the rest of the material only enough to remove any wrinkles and to make it tight.

Shrunk Dacron
Heat 'n Bond tape melted into Dacron fabric:

Dinghy turned upright:

...And trimmed:

Interior shot:

Who knew ironing could be so much fun?

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