Diesel Duck 382

Diesel Duck 382
Diesel Duck 382 with the "get home" steadying sails up.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Under Cover

It's been a very busy 5 days!  Last weekend found us completing the sheathing of the end walls.  Additionally we added some heavy bracing to stiffen the arched end walls.  These braces connect from the ridge board to the top plate of the lower end wall.  The brace is made up of two 2x4's with 3 pieces of "2 by" blocking in between.  The blocking allows the "2 by" stock to slip around the ridge board where it was fastened with three inch screws.  It connects to the end wall with a 45 degree notch cut into the brace.  I predrilled and countersunk the screw holes so the wood would not split.  Six #10 2 1/2" screws hold the brace to the end wall.  The bracing worked great and completely stiffened the wall.  I have no concerns with wind loading, she ain't goin no place!

The last big job was getting the roof on.  This took a fair amount of planning and cooperation from the weather.  I originally planned to use boat shrink wrap to cover the shed, however I changed my mind, for the moment at least.  I wanted a practice run with an $80 piece of plastic before I tried with a $400 piece of shrink wrap.  So I order a roll of solid white opaque, 6mil visqueen (20' by 100') from amazon along with some U/V protected sheathing tape and 1" plastic cap washers.  I also ordered 6 small cap vents that attach to the plastic (used in the shrink-wrap industry to provide ventilation for boats) and two 12"x 12" ridge vents.  Total cost was under $185 dollars.
The next hurdle was turning the 20' by 100' roll of plastic into a 50' by 40' rectangle.  This required a large area to work.  Conceivably you could do it in the yard, but I think that is the hard way.  Not only would it have required me to work on top of 6" of new fallen snow but having to also contend with the wind.  Even if you had a beautiful spring day I would be reluctant to walk at all on the plastic, as you would be required to do, when making up the seam.  the ground is inherently uneven with plenty of hidden sharp stuff (sticks, rocks, etc).  I started to brainstorm where I could find a huge open area, preferably with a soft floor.  I thought maybe I could use the local school after hours if I got permission but then I had a better idea.  I work in our headquarters building which is perpetually under construction.  Most of the building has been renovated but, the old Rochester Fire Chief's office is still vacant and un-renovated.  It has a huge carpeted room, decent lighting and a completely unoccupied space to work.
Time capsule! Most of the floor is remains the same as it was 10 years ago.

I rolled my plastic out and learned 100' is not really 100', more like 98'.  slightly disappointed, but still confident it was enough to do the job.

I used my 300' surveyors tape measure, and cut the 98' roll at 49' feet, quality scissors work well and cut the plastic easily.  I then laid the two strips parallel to each other in preparation for seaming. I learned you don't need to unfold the entire piece to access the edges.  If you find yourself doing something similar, take a moment to understand how the plastic is folded at the factory so you can find the edges to seam.  Once I had my edges, I overlapped them by about a foot and ensured that the overlap was maintained the length of the seam so the finished product would be as close to square as possible.  I removed my shoes, grabbed my sheathing tape and began to seam the two sheets together.  This process goes quickly and was easy to do.  I then flipped the assembly over and seemed the other loose edge with more sheathing tape.

I used white tape that matched the plastic perfectly so unless you really look, it is difficult to spot the seam.  I then tried to fold the plastic back up along the factory fold lines as best I could and rolled it up into a buddle. I then began to watch the weather, in hopes of a calm day.

That day came on thanksgiving eve when my "windy" app called for virtually no wind for the entire day.  I gathered up my father and son and began to prep for the roof install.  The best way we came up with was to unroll and unfold the entire plastic assembly in the yard adjacent to the boat shed.  We then rolled up two battens (we used 1" furring strips for the battens) a couple of turns into the plastic and used a staple gun to secure them.  If I had to do it again I would have used screws and cap washers, while the staples held, they did so just barely.  I then pre-drilled for a couple small threaded hooks and installed one in each batten.  We then tied 50' of clothesline rope to the threaded hooks and fished the rope over the purlins and the ridge board.  we positioned the scaffold  about a 1/3 of the way from the west end of the shed and we set up the ladder 1/3 of the way from the east end.  My son took the west side and I took the east.  We pulled in unison as my father worked the ground in the spaces between us with a long painters pole with a soft broom head attached.

I wish I could have taken some photo's but all our hands were occupied!  We slowly worked the plastic up and over the ridge and then my son and I repositioned ourselves outside and continued to pull the plastic over the roof.  My father continued to use the painters pole to move the plastic up and over the purlins and the ridge. 

The plastic itself is around 70lbs.  Now you add the surface friction of nearly 2000 square feet of material dragging across the ground and over the wooden arches and it takes quite a bit of effort to move that plastic roof.  It took about 15 minutes to get it up and over but eventually we accomplished our mission.  The roof was on!

This was only half the job because now the roof had to be secured to the structure.  We used furring strips again for battens.  We rolled the battens up a couple of rolls in the edge of the plastic and then screwed through the layers of plastic and the wooden batten into the knee wall with coated deck screws.  2" screws would be ideal, but I used 1 5/8" because that is what I had.  Each cap washer has to be predrilled or else the deck screw would split it.  Do not over torque the screw as you can easily blow through the plastic cap washer.

Originally I was concerned the 1" cap washers would not be large enough to provide a wide enough point of contact with the plastic sheathing but they worked fine.  There are larger style cap washers available that are normally used for installing rigid insulation, but after having done it with the 1" cap washers I believe they are more than adequate for this application.

For the arched end walls we again used battens cut into shorter lengths.  We rolled them up in the plastic and screwed them  in with cap washers.  It is almost like wrapping a large present on the end walls where you roll up a small section in a batten then fold over the pleat that is created and apply some sheathing tape.  We then rolled up the next short batten, repeated the process and worked our way up.  We stretched the plastic as tight as we could get it because it was a very cold day.  The plastic will expand in the summer sun and I don't want it loosening up.  If it is to loose the plastic will rub and wear through prematurely. 

I then added approximately 30 more screws with cap washers around the perimeter of the roof where I believed additional reinforcement was required.  I just screwed through the layers of rolled up plastic into the sheathing, no battens were used.  I then taped a few more seams and pleats that I thought looked like they may catch the wind to complete the roof install.

Next up is the installation of the battens to the arched end walls for the board and batten look.  We'll then finish priming and painting all the exposed plywood and build a door to keep the weather out.  Things are progressing well and we could be lumber shopping for the keel within a week or so!


  1. Congrats on getting your boathouse "wrapped-up" -hoping your Holiday weekend is off to a productive start.

  2. Thanks jay, gonna be working on some doors I think. Hope you have a good holiday as well.

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