Thursday, May 11, 2017

Quick Update

I've gotten a couple things done in the past couple weeks.

Here is the Tabernacle all glued up with its bearing plate glued and bolted on. The metal strap is copper pipe pounded flat for lightening.  Everyone has their opinion on this matter.  Lightening is such a mysterious phenomenon, it's hard to know who to believe, but my money is on some kind of grounding and bonding.  At least when things start going BOOM BOOM BOOM all around, you can look at your first mate and say, "Honey, it's OK.  I have taken measures."

  Here it is installed. I had the disconcerting experience of having the 5/16 nuts pop loose after I torqued them real good on 5/16 threaded rod.  I bought a bag of these from Fastenal and they are all kind of loose. I wonder if their threaded rod isn't machined light as well, perhaps to be more forgiving of having the threads all boogered up when you cut it??  I will have to address this.

I don't usually go in for testing, but deck sheathing begged for it.   Here are some odd bits out of the bargain bin. There was a stretchy polyester, a double ply blend, a plain, thin cotton-poly blend of the very most common type, and some cotton canvas. My money was on the cotton canvas, but it was not to be....


  I followed Dave Z's procedure for laminating, skeptical as I was.  I-gor did the heavy lifting, as you can see here.  The double ply stuff was too hard to wet out.  The cotton canvas resisted wetting out and raised bubbles as it dried. It would be a poor choice for this.  The other two wetted out nicely and had a good feel.

After three coats, we were good. The thin, purple cotton-poly would have been ok after two coats and the third really slicked it up too much for my taste.

  I made the test piece into a sled and drug the kids around the driveway for half an hour, trying to replicate light to moderate abuse.


There was very little damage to any of the samples except the cotton canvas, which tore badly.  Whew!  Glad I didn't go with my gut on that one!   

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Real Carpentry

  After all this fooling with plywood, I am now making a lot of trim pieces. And there are several on the boat:

toe rails-                      4
hand rails-                   2
walkway coamings-    2
outer wales-                2
inner wales-                4
hatch board retainers- 4

That's 18 by my count. I started with the forward toe rail.

Here it is laid out.  I think I was subconsciously inspired by the aluminum toe rail on my buddy Jason's Mirage 18 to make lots of little holes. Bad move. Easy enough for a robot to mill out of aluminum.  A lot of work in wood.

Here I am drilling all those little holes. I was half way done when I changed my mind, so I just pressed on. Get it?...pressed on? never mind.

Here they are, roughed out with a chisel.

For the curves at the ends of these, I opted for a series of straight cuts with a hand saw.

Then rounding it all off with a big ol' horseshoe file my dad gave me from when he was a farrier. It's a lot easier than doing it with a jigsaw.  I find that cutting really hard wood with a jigsaw puts tension in my whole body and makes me really uncomfortable.

I rounded off the insides of the holes with the handy dandy router (thanks for that gift, Tommy)

and put my lovely assistant to do some of the tedious sanding.

Lucia got in on the sanding, as well.

The outer wales involved two scarf joints each.

Damn, I'm good

Would you have been able to pick out the joint if it weren't for the screw mark on the wood?

This board had a little wane in it right at the end, which made the perfect base for a scarph joint.  It worked out!

 The inner wales were a little less tedious to make, but a little more dangerous, it turned out.

See all those little pieces glued on the end grain?  I cross cut dozens of  them on the table saw against the fence. I had a little push stick to send them over onto the floor, but toward the end, one of them got a little caddy-whampus between the blade and the fence and, ZING! That little sucker flew back and got me literally right between the eyes.  My safety glasses (thanks for reminding me, honey) absorbed the blow and fell off my face in three pieces (but never broke, strangely).  Oh, how very lucky I was, not to have taken it in the mouth! That would have really added to my pirate look.  From then on, I stood well out of line with the blade.

The fine students at Carroll County High School planed me this lot of white oak.

Here we have staves laid out to be gang-cut for the tabernacle, trying to use the prettiest wood from each board.

  I tried to order them so that the bows of the respective staves cancelled each other out.

Here they are glued up with LPU glue.  Right glue for the job?  I dunno. I'm always doubting.

Cami chiseled off the foamy squeeze-outs for me. It was a fun weekend for the kids.

Ready for pucky

Making a table with the window cut-outs

Boat as playhouse

The weather was nice, so we took their boat out for the first time since last fall.  This is an Auray punt scaled WAY down from Bolger's interpretation. I built it for them two summers ago.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Back in the Saddle Again

Thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, I am back.   I finished gluing up the bottom panels on the bow. You can see them here before I trimmed them off flush with the bow transom.

I moved on to the roof.  Here you see a piece glued and screwed to a butt  block underneath.  I will epoxy/tape the seams once both panels are installed. 

I thought I would experiment with beveling the edges this time to create that negative space for the fiberglass to fill so the whole thing finishes flush.  I decided to make a little jig for this by sawing a little sliver of polyethylene off the lid of a plastic drum.  I heated it with a propane torch and formed it around the heel of my hand plane.

The result fits nicely on the plane and just stays in place.

Here you can see the low angle it makes.  I just go at it until I get down to the bottom of that first veneer (provided the veneer is an even thickness, which it isn't always!) I know I need to glue up the handle of that plane, but it never seems like the right time.

Here I'm getting that first roof panel in position.   

My strategy was to screw and glue half of it, then lift up the other half from above while I spread glue under it.

  The quality of the plywood is a constant issue.  I find a void with almost every cut.  Where the edges will be exposed, I have been filling them with little wedge-shaped sticks of thin wood, coated in liquid polyurethane glue. Sometimes they go in six inches, sometimes they barely go in at all.  Sometimes one is enough, sometimes I have to jam a whole bunch of them into one void.

Next job was to scarf up a long board for the little coaming piece that reinforces the roof panel, keeps water out of the cabin, and provides a lip to attach the canvas cover to. 

I never did any scarfing, So it was all very new and fun.   I followed what I read in Jim Michalak's book, and made a plexiglass plate for the router and a tapering jig to run it over.  

You have to nibble away at a board little by little, moving the jig up the board a thousand times.  That got very tedious, so on the next board, I cut an approximation of the right angle with the hand saw, then put it on the jig. 

Here it is all tapered.

Ready to glue.

All clamped up. 

One thing I would like to ask for advice on is how to do the following bit of carpentry concerning these coamings.  The simplest seems to just screw the board up from below like this.

 I was going to use the oak boards you see here just because they are really stiff and strong.  However I could make them out of a 2x4 and cut a rabbet down the whole thing, something like this.

This kind of hides the edge of the plywood and it may be a little stronger. It gives you something to bump your head on, though.
 Please comment with any opinion. Thanks!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Lock Stock and Tiller

Here I am, down for the count, getting my rest and fluids and making no progress on the boat, thanks to these guys:

Strep throat.  First time I remember having it. Oh well.

 Anyway, it has given me some time to ponder on what kind of tiller locking mechanism I will use.  Too early to think about stuff like that?  Well, not really, since everything hinges on everything else and you can make things easier on yourself by thinking ahead, even to the final stages.    

So what kind of mechanism should I use?  The old boat had a rope tiller tamer that I made myself.  It worked really well.  On the new boat it would look something like this:

Rope tiller System

Pros- Fairly easy to make, works OK. 

Cons- Moans and groans and wears the rope out. 

Something else that occurs to me is a wedge system.   First you make a wooden wedge with a finger hole in it like this:

Then, you cut a groove in the tiller for the wedge to ride in like this:

You attach a fixed bar just under the tiller so that when you want to lock the tiller, you introduce the wedge into the groove and hammer it in with the palm of your hand, forcing it down against the bar (or up, if you groove the bottom) and jamming it in place. 

Pros- easy to make. would probably work ok.

Cons- you have to keep up with the wedge.

Then there is any number of ways to make the bar moveable so that it pinches the tiller against the wood above it.  Such as:

Cams or wedges that independently lift the ends of the bar.

Very Fiddly.   This would work but I'm not about to try it.

 You could lift the bar from the middle with one stick that you jam in.

This is another type of super-simple lock that would be too fiddly to use, but it occurred to me.  

   Here is another one.  You draw the bar up against the tiller with a cable or rope that runs on two pulleys.  There would be lots of ways to tighten it.

This would have too many parts to break, I think.

All in all, I'm leaning toward just going with the rope again or maybe experimenting with the inset wedge.  

If anyone reading this has any input on this, please leave a comment!