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Old Jan 24, 2005, 02:19 PM
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Monterey Bay California
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Dumas Chris-Craft "Utility"

I finally got started on my Chris-Craft "Utility" this past weekend. This is my first Dumas boat kit and so far I am pleased! A few impressions/hints of the build so far:

This is a very complete kit with easy to follow instructions and several sheets of informative pictures.

Like the old die-cut plane kits of the past, it is helpful to sand the back side of the sheets containing the bulkheads/chines/sheers to ease their removal. A few passes with 50 grit had them falling out cleanly!

The instructions admonish the builder to check and double check the alignment of the frames during the first stage of assembly... This checking and double checking is definitely required because of the relatively loose fit of the parts. For first time builders this stage can be a little nerve wracking but take your time and you will be rewarded with a straight structure to build on.

While fairing the sheer and chines, I noticed that frame number 3 was not quite wide enough at the chine to create a fair line so I added a little bit of spruce to the frame to widen it approximately 1/8th of an inch.

Picture shows an afternoon of progress! I should have finished cleaning off my workbench from the last project but I couldn’t wait to get started on this kit! Please excuse the mess!
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Old Jan 24, 2005, 02:32 PM
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Plymouth, MI/Philadelphia, PA
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Great tip about sanding the back of the part sheets! Getting those little suckers out of there without splintering was exactly what I was having a problem with.
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Old Jan 25, 2005, 01:23 PM
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Monterey Bay California
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Framing completed, I installed the plywood sheeting. The Utility uses 8 pieces of pre cut plywood for the sub-planking rather than the diagonally laid planks as seen in the other Dumas builds. This approach speeds and simplifies the process. the shapes and sizes of each plywood panel are well done and provide a little excess material which is quickly (and carefully)delt with with a Dremel tool and a 'drum' sander bit! (Dremel tool is your friend!)

Throughout the build process, I have clamped my building board to my workbench. This was useful in the framing and initial fairing because it kept things steady for greater control. For the sub-planking phase, having the board clamped allows you to use both hands to apply appropriate pressure to the sheet being glued to ensure good overall contact with the framing.

without too much effort, this is already starting to look like a boat!
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Last edited by Aerominded; Jan 25, 2005 at 01:27 PM.
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Old Jan 26, 2005, 07:40 AM
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Albuquerque NM
Joined Oct 2003
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Aero, The Utility is looking good. That's one kit I've had my eye on for years, and one day I will build one! Can't wait to see yours progress.
PAT
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 12:29 PM
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After sheeting the hull, it was time to add the balsa blocks to both the bow section and the transom. The transom should be at an approximate 90 degree angle to the deck while forming a gentle transverse arc. A full size pattern for this arc is provided in the plans. Fretting about how I would maintain a consistent 90 degree angle while cutting the arc, I took a short break . During the break, I realized I was holding the solution in my hand! Wrapping a glass bottle with sand paper made quick and accurate work of this step, confirmed with a square!
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 12:36 PM
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A little bit of fairing was required in the bottom, mid-section of the hull where the transition between the bow and aft panels happens. I used Evercoat polyester glazing putty- This is a two part spot putty designed to fill minor imperfections in auto body work. I prefer this over the single part spot putty from Bondo because in my experience, it sands better, holds a better edge and shrinks less.
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Now the fun begins! Mahogany!
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Old Feb 07, 2005, 12:21 PM
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This weekend I finished the last of the bottom planking and removed the hull from the building board. Be sure to go through your wood selection included in the kit before you start the planking process. Some of the planks have taken a curve and twist since they were milled which can be used to advantage or create headaches depending on when and where they are used. The next step was to seal the inside of the hull since I definitely plan to play with this one! I used West System epoxy. The pumps used to meter the resin make it a no brainer and provide very reliable, quality results. I put a date on the cans so that I will know how long they have been opened. I still have some around that I bought 10 years ago! While it would probably still work, I decided not to risk it on this project! I taped up the bow section to prevent resin from leaking out thereby creating a filet at the intersection of the bottom sub planking and the "keel".
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Old Feb 07, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Sealed!
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Old Feb 07, 2005, 12:29 PM
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While waiting for the resin to cure, I went to work on the interior side panels. I used a ruler and a razor saw to cut the grooves which define the individual planks used on the full scale version. I also built up the engine box. I then installed the deck beams and painted the bilge. From what I’ve been able to tell, Chris-Craft changed from gray to a dark red bilge paint in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s. The color I used is Testor’s Model Master Enamel “British Crimson” which seems to be a very close match. Painting the bilge may be ‘too much’ but this is a scale model!
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 01:49 PM
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Progress this weekend was to install the interior side panels, deck and the remaining planks to the sides of the hull. I used 30 minute epoxy to attach the interior side panels. While C clamping the panels to the frames using the outside of the hull would work well, I chose to use scrap wood to cross brace the panels in place while the glue set. If you do choose to use C clamps, be sure to place scrap wood between the clamp and clamping surface to prevent marring the mahogany.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 01:51 PM
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While the epoxy was setting, I finished up the seats. In an earlier build session, I cut out the vaccuform pieces, following the instructions provided by Dumas and attached them to the seat backs and seat bottoms using epoxy. The wood pieces required some trimming to fit but nothing major. After the epoxy set, I primed the seats using Tamiya spray primer. This weekend, I applied the color- Tamiya “Italian Red” spray lacquer. According to a book I have, this model of C-C came with either red , black or black/yellow interior upholstery. I may apply a dull coat to reduce the gloss to make the seats appear more like vinyl. I have been using Tamiya products for a long time and they have always produced excellent results.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 01:52 PM
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After the interior pieces were trimmed level with the sheer pieces I made one final check that the deck beams were fair and then installed the sub-deck using Cya. There is enough flex in the sub-deck to allow you to glue it in ‘thirds’. Being careful with alignment, you can glue the aft deck section, then the center deck and finally the foredeck section- one side at a time.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 01:54 PM
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As a “moral booster” it is sometimes useful to loosely assemble all of the parts before ‘closing time’, sit back with your favorite refreshment and look at the overall progress. Springtime, pond-side with a picnic and the C-C is just around the corner!
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 01:56 PM
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Another "moral booster" may be to take a little time to clean shop!

I will do this before the real finish work takes place!
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