Harmonica Part 4  
By Bill Nolen - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - USA

A Micro-Shanty Style Houseboat as built by Bill Nolen

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

After waiting several days for the epoxy that I had applied to the hull's bottom to cure, I selected six 1" by 4" by 8' boards to be used for the hull's protective skid's and bottom stiffener's. These boards are bent over the bow of the hull, and are attached with screws and epoxy. At first I was going to attach all three skids at the same time, but decided that it might go more smoothly if I did one board at a time, allowing the epoxy to cure before going to the next board.

I measured and drew a line down the center of the boat. Using this line as a guide, and one of the skid boards, I marked the area where epoxy should be applied. After I mixed and applied thickened epoxy, the center skid board was placed onto the epoxy. A 2" by 2" board was secured by clamps at each side of the hull to apply pressure to the center skid at the bow end. Two SS screws were driven in to hold the skid board onto the bow bulkhead. The center and aft end of the skid was bent and secured into place with wooden boards, clamps, and SS screws.

As you can see in the follow photos, quite a bit of pressure was applied to hold the bow end of the center skid board, bending the 2" by 2" clamping board.

click to enlarge The bow end of hull, showing the center skid being held in position with SS screws and clamps, both at the bow and also in the center of the hull.

I then attached the aft end of the center skid in the same manner as I did the bow end of the center skid. To mate the two skid boards together I had cut a 45-degrees edge to the meeting edges of the two skid boards.

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The center skid attached to the bottom of the hull waiting for the epoxy to cure.

Repeating the same procedure, I attached the two outer skid boards. In the following photo you can see the two aft ends of the outside skids being held in place with a wooden board and clamps.

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The three skids.

My next step was to sand the skids and epoxy coated plywood bottom to ready the surface for the primer coat of paint.

In the following two photos I am using an orbiting sander, with 50-grit sandpaper, to sand the epoxy coating on the hull's bottom.

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Me sanding the aft end of the hull's bottom.

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Me sanding at the bow of the boat's bottom.

Although I had my shop vacuum attached to the orbiting sander there was still a lot of epoxy dust in the air. As you can see in the above photos I was wearing a respiratory face filter, and most of the time I also wore eye goggles. Hey, I wanted my beautiful blue eyes to show in the photos!

To aid in removing the dust from the boat's bottom prior to painting, I moved the boat outdoors where the wind was blowing quite strongly. I also used a hand brush, and the shop vacuum to clean the dust from the hull. To rid the hull of the very last of the dust I used a damp towel to wipe the bottom clean.

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Here is the boat outside

I would have used a tack cloth to wipe the hull down, but was afraid that the tack cloth might leave traces of wax or shellac on the surface of the epoxy.

Previously, I had decided that I would paint the Harmonica with a latex based paint and had purchased a gallon of KITZ Premium Water-Based Sealer-Primer.

Using a roller brush I applied two coats of KITZ to the bottom of the hull, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second coat.

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Primer Coat

After the two prime coats had dried I applied the first coat of Bright Red Acrylic Floor and Deck Paint.

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The first coat of red paint.

After the first coat of red paint had dried, I added two more coats of paint. I then waited for one full week for the red paint to cure.

Finally it was time to turn the boat right side-up! I made arrangements with four men working at a cemetery just down the road from my house. They agreed to come down and help me flip the boat. Prior to their arrival I moved the boat out of my little barn, and placed three old auto tires and a tarp on the concrete apron. I was hoping that this would lessen the damage done to the paint.

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The boat ready to flip.

I have no photos of the actual turning over of the boat because someone (me) failed to let the photographer (my dear wife) know that the men had arrived! It only took the men about 5-minutes to lay the boat on it's side and then on the bottom, and lift the boat bottom side down onto the dolly…and depart! As you can see in the following photo I'm still in a state of shock…wondering where everyone went!

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The boat right side up.