Video: Restoring Vela – Episode 4

Progress aboard Vela, the Graves Constellation undergoing a full restoration in our TotalBoat Workshop, is moving along nicely. The deck beams and carlins from episode 3 have been attached and glued in and this week we see the aft bulkhead shaped to prepare the boat for new decks. Once again, boatbuilder Dan Shea uses cedar strips to make precise patterns for 2 layers of marine plywood decking. Dan gives us some pointers on making the patterns and shows us how the first and second layer of plywood are bonded to each other and to the deck beams and deck flange. It’s a full on boat show for the cameras and we hope you will enjoy episode 4 in the Vela Restoration series. 

We have long been regaling our Thixo product for usefulness and versatility – and Dan really puts Thixo Flex to good use aboard Vela. The easily dispensable, 2 part thickened epoxy mixes itself as you use it via the special mixing tip. Dan has used Thixo Flex for so many of the important spots on Vela, like the deck beams construction and now also with the bonding of the deck to the hull flange. The flexible properties of Thixo Flex will prevent it from cracking as a result of being too stiff and brittle. It’s perfect for bonding applications as well as a bunch of other uses both above and below the waterline. Likewise, the 2:1 High Performance Epoxy is also flexible and as such, is ideal for wooden boats and wooden pieces like the deck pieces and the carlins, beams and so much more. Have you tried our Thixo or the TotalBoat 5:1 or 2:1 High Performance Epoxy?


19 responses to “Video: Restoring Vela – Episode 4

    1. Yes, the plastic polymer are sacrificial as the crown is sanded away when the layup is cured and ready to be prepared for the next operation.

  1. i’m loving the video . its great to see youngsters working with modern materials doing the job us old timers did with bronze screws , bedding compound , planks and a jig saw . cant wait to see next chapter

    1. The ply is marine grade mahogany 1×3/8 + 1x 1:4″

      The deck fastened much more effectively by adhering the entire face with epoxy rather than local compressive contact provided by a screws. Screwing and plugging is less effective and less time efficient.

      The beams are wrapped in “painter” plastic because they are bent on the jib side by each and it is less messy.

  2. Less music, more narrative please! This episode was better than previous ones, but you’ve still got a long way to go. Why are frames wrapped in plastic? Why not screw plywood decks to the deck beams and plug them? What thickness is the plywood? Is it marine grade?

  3. In my opinion it doesn’t compare to the previous series. it leaves too much unexplained and undefined.

    1. This series is an overview of materials and processes employed in a custom
      reconstruction of a fiberglass hull.

      As a custom job, the processes shown are “typical” only. Each boat and job lwould have its own specific methods.

      We hope that in total the series would provide encouragement for others to regenerate perfectly good composite hulls.

      Very well built composite hulls designed by the best in the business can be had on the cheap and put back sailing with the low tech cost effective typical methods and materials shown in this series.

    2. simply put: this is a different series.

      Lou’s was being MADE FOR A VIDEO SERIES> This is a video series about a job that was underway in our shop. And as such they were working diligently on the job and less so on making a video, as Lou was. Lou’s was How-to. this is an overview.

  4. Dan, thanks again for doing this series. I enjoyed your work with halsey herreshoff on the H-20. A great boat!
    Can you tell us the advantage of doubling up on the decking plywood instead of using one thicker sheet? Are you using thickened epoxy to glue them together?

    1. Thanks for the good question. The Vela project wisely included the services of a darn good Naval Architect. The deck panel specs were engineered by him to meet various loads, impacts, torsion and structural comparability with the hull. Two layers were chosen as a single layer to the desired thickness would have been to stiff to bend. Also the panel laminated to the deck camber would be stronger than a single “bent” panel. Multiple panel decks allow for seams to overlap making the entire deck a single “monocoque” structural panel.

      1. And, yes we used Toal Boat epoxy thickened with silica and a little milled fibers. One panel side would get the thickened epoxy notch troweled on and the other straight epoxy as a primer to preclude a “dry” layup. This is belts and suspenders as mahogany ply does not pull a lot of resin from the glue line

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