The boat project is coming along nicely. Check out the dash — I stained this piece of oak:

Of course, you can see the woody putty where I covered up the screws. But, what do you expect — I mean, it is a homemade boat.

Before I started on the motor well, I decided to address one niggling concern. The bottom of the boat isn’t covered at all and the instructions never said it had to be. (I’m using marine grade lumber — that’s probably why.) However, I know that water’s going to be running down there — it’s designed so all the water runs to the lowest part of the boat in the back. I need to install a couple of drain plugs on either side of the keel to drain the water out. After talking to my boatbuilding friend, I decided to open up the floor a little and put a coat of primer and paint down there to protect the wood a little more. I also realized that I needed to drill a hole in the keel so that water could travel from one side to other. I plan to install a bilge pump to pump water out automatically — without the hole in the keel, then the water would only get pumped out on one side.

So, that’s all to say that I cut a hole in my floorboard so I could get access down there:

I had to  inbuy a  long drill bit to drill the hole in the keel. It was too long to fit down there, so I cut it shorter with my power handsaw. It made a lot of sparks.

Then I drilled a couple of holes in the bottom of the transom for the drainage. Always a little skittish when I’m drilling holes through the boat I’ve just built. The drain plugs (picture above) are 3 inches long, so I had to cut them down to the right size. That proved tricky because they are made of brass, a metal so soft that it would bend in my vice clamp. Here’s my solution:

I jammed it over a slanted piece of wood and then just cut the whole thing. Worked pretty well. Only took me 30 minutes to come up with the solution.

Here’s the finished drain plugs:

After putting the top planking on the sides, I moved on to the motor well. It’s relatively complex — several different pieces all with different angles, because the transom is sitting at the back with a 12-degree angle. I went out and bought a gas can to be sure that it’ll fit on either side. Here’s what I built:

I’m not going to put the top on it until after the motor is mounted. I’m not sure where all the cables are going to come out exactly. And, I can’t put the motor on until I get the boat on the trailer — right now, the back of the boat is too close to the ground.

So, at 9 a.m. on Saturday, I’m inviting some people over to help me put the boat on the trailer. (I bought it from a private seller in Gainesville last week for $250.) If you’re around please come by and lend a hand.

Today, I started painting the boat — hopefully I’ll have the whole thing painted before Saturday morning. After that, I’ll install the motor, the seats, and the windshield. Then, I’ll take The Shackleton out for her maiden voyage. I’m getting close…