Steve's Tolman Project 30th page...

May 18th, 2003

There's one thing I really hate to do on my Jumbo and that's to drill holes into the hull. Although epoxy conquers all, and I can patch or repair just about any issue, drilling holes just plain gives me the heebiejeebies. Well, today's task was to drill two 1 1/2" (!!!) holes in the hull at the bowstem and then to install the bowpipe. The bowpipe is an option that Renn suggests instead of using a normal boweye/eyebolt/ubolt to attach the trailer winch cable or a tow line to. He claims that boweyes are a bad design in that they very easily can be bent or work lose and do some damage to the fiberglass or cause rot in the bowstem. The hotrod-esq lowprofile bowpipe design won me over.

First step in building the bowpipe was to make a jig that would properly guide my drill bit on either side of the bowstem. I used Renn's measurements, but modified the jig by adding a thicker piece of wood on the backside of each pre-drilled hole. Reason I did this is because I didn't have a holesaw drill the proper size, but I did have the correct diameter Forstner bit. Issue being that the Forstner bit is shallower than a holesaw bit . Without the taller sides of the holesaw, there might be a chance of the Forstner bit wandering around and mangling wood.

With the jig made and tweaked to properly fit the bowstem and side/bow connection, I screwed it into place and started drilling. I was nervous to say the least, and took my time. And when the bit finally started to come through the outside of the hull, I then drilled a bit from the outside if only to score through the fiberglass and epoxy to prevent a big nasty area of tearout.

After drilling the holes, I cut the 1 1/4" copper pipe to length and fit it and two 90 degree angled connectors to the corrosponding holes in the hull. First attempt didn't work and I had to whack off an additional 1/8" sliver from the pipe. Put it all together and it fit like a charm. Then I sanded all the copper pieces so there would be a good grip for the epoxy. Precoated the edges of the holes with several coats of unthickened epoxy, let that cure until it was sticky and then installed the pipe bits with a rather thick fillet of thickened epoxy. Let that cure for a bit, brushed on some unthickended epoxy and put two layers of 10 oz fiberglass over the fillets and beyond. Gave this a couple coats of epoxy and called it a day. Looks great, is super strong and I'll have no silly ubolt hanging out in the breeze to get bumped, bashed, and bent. Soon as I get a piece of super strong Spectra Line, I'll install it and show folks the proper knot.

Next Installment...