Camo Painting, Hardware, and Floorboard
With the grass rails in place the next step was to prime the interior and
decking with the Ditzler. The same procedures covered in the "Painting the Hull"
were used. After the interior and decking received two coats of Ditzler I rolled
on two coats of Parker's hunter green duck boat paint. While I was painting my
trailer was at the welder for modifications. I sold my jon boat but kept the trailer
since it was a good quality one and could easily be modified. The welders cut out
a section in the back of the trailer to match the motor well. I installed another
set of bunk boards since the hull of the Scaup is wider than my jon boat was.
After the paint dried I installed the rest of the hardware. This included two deck
grab handles, a front cleat, the gas tank and fill, two transom handles, and two drain
plugs (transom and storage bulkhead). All hardware was bedded in 3M 5200 (marine sealing
adhesive) and screwed or bolted with silicon bronze or stainless steel fasteners. The
only exception was the gas tank fill was not bedded in the 3M 5200 so that it could be
removed in the future. The holes drilled for the drain plugs were sealed in epoxy prior
to installing the plugs.
The pictures below show the custom made gas tank I use. A friend and hunting buddy
made me a gas tank from polyethylene pipe. He used a 12" inside diameter pipe and capped
both ends. The end of the tank that sits against the flotation bulkhead has two "tabs"
that bolts run through into 3/8" threaded brass inserts. The threaded brass inserts
allow me to remove the tank without needing to get in the flotation compartment which is
sealed. The fit of the tank is very tight. Without increasing the deck height I would
have been restricted to a 10" pipe, thereby increasing to length considerably to maintain
the seven gallon capacity. My son Andrew is inspecting the design.
I debated a long time about the camo pattern I wanted to use on the boat and
the colors. I probably spent more time thinking about it than it actually took to do.
After making stencils from plastic for sale signs and testing on cardboard I came to
the conclusion I could get the desired effect by free-handing it. Besides, the boat
was going to be covered completely with natural camo so the paint job wasn't too
critical. In the end I was pleased with the way it turned out.
The paints/colors I used were from Parker's and a local hardware store. The base
coat was the hunter green I rolled on. For the camo portion I selected Parker's dead
marsh grass duck boat paint, and their black duck body decoy paint (color 34). In
addition to these colors I picked up some camo spray paint from a local hardware store.
I applied the paint with a sprayer to eliminate hard lines between colors and allow
blending. A small auto detail sprayer that works off an air compressor was perfect
for the job. I had never used one before but quickly fell in love with the control and
ease of use and highly recommend one of these sprayers.
The first color I applied was the black duck body. Let me add that this particular
color is one of the very best all-round camo colors available. I spoke with the people
at Parker's and they assured me that their decoy paints were as durable as their duck
boat paints. Using the sprayer loaded with this paint, thinned slightly, I began
sectioning the boat and painting areas that were several square feet in size. I picked
parts of the boat that defined the overall shape and painted them with the black duck
body paint which is a dark rich brown. The effect I was going after was to break up
the outline of the boat by creating shadows and hiding the true outline. Next I used
the remainder of the colors to create vertical random stripes and to define the regions
between the base coat and the black duck body color.
The floorboard was installed after the paint job was done. I actually built the
floorboard weeks earlier. The plans didn't give lofting points for the floorboard but
by this time the whole thing was pretty easy to figure out. If there's one thing
to be said for building a boat it's about half way through you will have learned most
of what you need to go the rest of the way.
The cockpit of the Scaup is nine feet long. I used 1/2" thick plywood for the floor
board and butt-joined a one foot piece onto a standard 4'x8' sheet. No need for a
scarf joint because the floorboard has plenty of support provided by the trough and the
timbers. To arrive at the dimensions of the floorboard I measured the width of the
cockpit at five positions. These included the front, the rear, and three equally
spaced places in-between. The actual width was determined by placing a piece of scrap
wood the same thickness as the floorboard on top of the trough. Then I used a stick and
placed it perpendicular to the trough on top of the scrap piece. I trimmed the stick
until it barely touched the bottom of the boat on both sides. This is the width of the
floorboard at that location. I did this for all five locations.
The next step was to draw a centerline down the plywood floorboard piece and mark on
it the positions where the width measurements were taken in the boat. At each one of
these positions I measured half the corresponding width and marked it on both sides of
the centerline. When all points were marked I had essentially created my own lofting
points. From there I used my batten to bend a curve and connect the points. This was
done on both sides of the centerline. With my jigsaw I cut along the lines. Next I
beveled with my hand planer the long sides of the floorboard so that they would meet
flush with the bottom of the boat. The angle of the bottom of the boat with the
floorboard created bevels that were close to being scarf joints. To add strength I
sheathed both sides of the floorboard with 4 ounce fiberglass cloth. This strengthened
the edges considerably and really sealed up the floorboard nicely. The floorboard is
attached with eight stainless steel screws screwed into the floor timbers. To keep the
floorboard from chaffing the hull where they contact I put a layer of 2" wide foam
tape around the edges.
One of the features in Jeff Smith's Black Brant that I really liked and thought was
a great idea was the use of neoprene foam on the floor. I bought four rolls of Army
surplus GI bed mats. These are 1/2" olive drab neoprene sheets. Perfect for the floor
of a duck boat. Using rubber contact cement I glued them to the floorboard and trimmed
with a utility knife. After hunting out of the boat for a season I am convinced that
there is no better flooring system. The neoprene foam is gentle on the knees and makes
things very quiet.
The last hardware to be installed was the electrical system. I added a small marine
battery and wired the boat with running lights. The following pages are pictures of the
completed boat. The final section will cover the total cost and man-hours, maiden
launching, motor adjustments, performance, Cordura camo compartment covers, and my first
hunting season with the boat.