Boat Festival and Doc Bemer Build – Day 2

As we got off the Washington State Ferry in Edmonds, Washington, just a few miles north of Seattle, my wife said, “I’m glad you are working on building a boat.  There’s just something about being out on the water”.   We’d spent the day at the Wooden Boat Festival at Port Townsend, Washington, one of the biggest wooden boat shows in the nation.   I always have the boating “bug”, now, as we headed back home to North Seattle, she’s been infected, too.

A good day.

Keith sun
Photo by Keith Lowe.

The ferry ride across Puget Sound is just a nudge over a half hour long, but that’s clearly enough time to get the first jolt of inspiration.   As a life-long native, I sometimes forget that people come from around the world to get out on “the Sound”.   To the south you see Mt. Rainier.   To the west it’s the Olympic mountains.   Behind you, the beautiful Seattle Skyline and Washington’s Cascade Mountains.   Up north, Mt. Baker and Whidbey Island.  Around you countless seabirds, jellyfish, fishing boats, seals and killer whales.   If this doesn’t inspire you to go boating, nothing will.

Well, perhaps the Port Townsend Boat show was even better at it.   It’s a beautiful setting along the waterfront in a turn-of-the-century town.   There were easily more than 100 boats, all kinds of them on the docks and on land, ample inspiration no matter what your boating interest.   Lots of wood, brass and rigging.   (As a side note, also lots of grey hair.  I’m 56 and felt like the youngster in the crowd.)  John Welsford was there, too, speaking of great inspiration.

pt boat seven
The day started cloudy, even misty, but that didn’t last long.
pt boat six
Great little Pelican 18.
pt boat five
Marsh Duck. Pretty slick little boat if you don’t mind camping in a space the size of a small coffin. I actually thought it was a great design. Plans at Duckworks.

pt boat four

pt boat three

pt boat two

pt boat oner
This beautiful boat is a highly modified Bolger Beetle Cat.

Doc Bemer Build, Day Two:  At the show I visited the MAS Epoxies booth and listened to a pitch on their products.   In effect, they claim to be just like the others, but cheaper.   What got my attention was their epoxy fillet in a tube, WoodZilla.   I love building boats, but epoxy can be a real hassle.   Mas Woodzilla is basically their two part epoxy with the wood flour and coloring already mixed in.  Stick the tube in a caulking gun and a properly measured and mixed line of thickened epoxy is delivered neatly right where it’s needed on your project.


Does it work?  As soon as I got home I set up the front frames for my “Doc Bemer” Shantyboat project, laid out some blue painter’s tape near some of the seams to keep things clean, grabed an old caulk gun, and set to work.   First off, they tell you to get a good 20 to 1 caulk gun in order to make it possible for you to actually squeeze the epoxy through the mixing spout and out onto your project.  Mine wasn’t labeled, but it became pretty clear that this was not a good gun.   Getting the WoodZilla to ooze out was possible, but took all my strength.   Still, it worked.

But does it work well?

The first thing I noticed was that getting the epoxy delivered right where you want it in a neat line is wonderful.  I can’t overstate that.   Point the caulk gun tip where you want it, squeeze, put the gun down, use your tool to make a gentle curve in the bead… and that’s it.   The perfect thickness with no stirring mess or messy cups and stir sticks.   No epoxy stuck in the hairs  of my wrists.   No sloppy messes on either side of the seam I intended to join/fillet.   And… it is SO good at doing that you end up being able to use far less epoxy.

mas one

I may add more fillet tomorrow, but even then, it will be less that I have used in the past.

mas two

Verdict?   MAS Woodzilla does make it easier, by far.   It’s more expensive to do it this way, as each tube is somewhere around $20, but it also seems more efficient.   Is it the equal to those more expensive epoxies?   I’ll keep you updated as the build progresses.

Costs for day two:

The MAS WoodZilla was $15 a tube, boat show special price.    I bought 4 tubes for a total of $60.   Each tube included two mixing tips, and they threw in four more.

Oh, in the “this doesn’t count” category… add about $35 for the ferry, even with the “short car discount” given to our Smart Car.   Add another $30 for the boat show entrance fee.   Lunch was $16.    The experience?  Priceless… as they say.

See all Doc Bemer Build Stories

A website about Shantyboats and affordable living on the water. More than 800 stories to date, and growing.