Monday, March 13, 2017

Now in 3-D!

Remember Flat Stanley?  He existed in only two dimensions.  That's what the boat has been like up to this point. Flat sides, flat bulkheads, flat bottom. Going to "work on the boat" just meant to make these 2-D pieces. Well, after this weekend, there is "a boat" to work on.  But first.....  flipping that bottom over.

I wanted to take advantage of the bottom being up and round off the edges.

Just kidding!  I would never let a 3 year old use a router!!

I started by hoiking it up onto its side with Dad's chain hoist.

Then I built a crib to set it on and lowered it down onto that.

To draw it over onto the blocks, I had to use a handy-billy.  I doubt it weighs much less than 400lbs.

Also had to pull it back a bit.

Then, I discovered a boo-boo.  I had used 1" drywall screws to pull the sheets together, then took them out before I sheathed the bottom.   Looks like I missed some.  Some metal detector work narrowed it down to five screws.

 I don't know how bad this really is.  One would assume they will eventually rust and cause nail sickness in the wood. I took a 5mm socket (how often do you use 5mm?) and filed teeth onto the ratchet end, chucked it up in the drill,...

 and drilled out the offending screws. 

 Ground back the dynel a bit around the holes

Then I made a dowel to fit and plugged the holes up with plenty of epoxy and re-sheathed over them.

Good as new?  I dunno. Was this necessary?  I dunno.   I had half a mind to call an expert, but it felt like one of those situations with various wrong answers and no right ones (besides prevention), so I just went for it. 

OK, here comes the 3-D part.  I hoisted up the mid-bulkhead  (they don't call it a handy-billy for nothin')

Then the forward one.

  The aft bulkhead doesn't actually sit on the deadflat, so it will be hung on the sides and the bottom will come up to greet it rather than it resting on the bottom, so it doesn't go in yet.

  Ale and I were too busy wrestling this side into position to take any pictures,  It was a lot of work. 

   There it is.   We have a bit of a boat to look at. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bottom and Rudder

  Sides and bulkheads done, time to laminate up the bottom.  Had  a real dilemma about whether to go with titebond 3 or LPU for my laminating.  I'm sure the Titebond would have done it, but I'm really afraid of not being able to get the plywood snug enough, so I ordered some off-brand Gorilla Glue, which expands and therefore is more forgiving of what Dave Z. calls "gap-osis."

  While I waited for it to come in, I used the time to make the rudder stock. Here are the cut out pieces.

  This finishes out to 1 1/2" which felt nice and beefy.  Next I Glued up three more pieces for the rudder itself.

Rudder before shaping

I did all the shaping with various planes, except the part near the top, on which I used an old farrier's rasp I got from my dad. 

Belt Sanders???   We don't need no stinking belt sanders!!
   I followed Michalak's 7% of submerged surface area suggestion for a sink-weight cutout.

  Here you see it with a metal plate clamped to the bottom and the center rabbeted out with a router.  After I did it, I realized it would have been better to round off the outsides  instead of setting in a rabbet, but whatever.  

  It takes a LOT of tire weights to fill a cylinder 6" by  1.5"  Melted them in an old tea pot.  

This was my first time pouring lead into wood.   Didn't char the wood the way I thought it would.  

  Once it cooled, I lifted it and decided that 1.5" for the rudder may be TOO beefy.  Rudder, stock, and hardware are going to weigh like an outboard!  Probably that's normal for this size range of boat.  God knows the rudder and cheeks for my old boat weighed like a pig.

    With the glue in, I started lamming up the bottom.  Started with the deadflat section, bottom-side-up on the floor. 


Then I glued the second layer onto it and rolled out the dynel I want to sheath it in. This will provide at least a little protection against abrasion. 

  I looked up the resin coverage for 5 oz. dynel, which is hard to get a good number on.  Sounded like I could need as much as 3 gallons,  I couldn't stomach buying another 3 gallons of epoxy, so I went with good old stinky polyester.


  This is the cheapest resin that US composites sells.  Just fine for this purpose.   

I had never worked such a large, flat area before.  I soon found that my old had glue spreader was not going to cut it.   The paint roller I had wasn't working.  In desperation, I ran into the house and did something I'm not proud of.   I stole my wife's squeegee. The one we mop the floor with. The one we brought back with us from Uruguay in 2004. I used it to spread nasty resin on the boat.  Worked soooooo nice, though.  I would suggest this tool to anybody.

Sorry, Honey!!!

 Here it is all sheathed.  The only regret I had was not thickening some resin and puttying the holes left by the removed screws.  Thought they would just "fill up" when I put resin over them, but they ended up as divots to fill- under the dynel.  I poked holes in the dynel with a nail and my shop hand went behind me with thickened epoxy in a syringe. 

Child labor.....   so sad. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Samson Posts

Go Samson!   Who said hippies aren't tough???

As long as I am doing bulkheads, I figured I might as well do the bow and stern transoms. At the corner of each, I wanted to do Samson posts. I expect they will be handy and look shippy.

I cut some pieces off a black walnut 6X6 that has been sitting on an old disker (farm machinery) in Dad's field for several years.

They look really rough, but cut off that outside 1/2" and it is as purty as the day it was sawed.

 Wasn't sure about the design, so I made a practice piece with white pine...

And tested it.

Then I shaped the posts and sanded them down with some handy-dandy long strips of sandpaper a friend gave me. Note the back-lit flying sanding dust.

Here is the port side one attached to the 1 3/4" pine board I'm using for the bow transom.

The greenish wood on top of the transom is s strip of black locust I put on to protect the edge of that pine board. Locust will take a beatin'. 

Hmmm...  This picture looks strangely familiar when you crop it like this. 

  I wish I had a bronze rod to use as a pin. I hear old keel bolts proliferate in boatyards, but we don't have boatyards in the mountains.  I'm using copper pipe with plugs in the end that my friend, Jeff, made me out of black locust on the lathe. There will be 1/2" steel rod epoxied inside for strength. Just potting it up with resin would probably give all the strength they need.   I'm not sure these need to be strong at all and, being on the corner like this, I may well wish that little protrusion had been hollow when I run it into a piling and it rips the whole aft face off of the post. Not to worry. If that happens, I'll just cut it off with a chainsaw and screw in a cleat like regular people use.  

Camila hiding between the boat side and the wall.
(It's well supported, don't worry)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cutting out Frames

Now that the sides are pretty much done except for cutting out window holes, which will happen later, time to turn my attention ninety degrees and focus on things transverse.

The three bulkheads you see along the bottom of these unphotographable (thanks for the word, Sinatra) plans are the next step.  I haven't got a good picture yet of the finished product, but here you see them being cut out.

I check a piece of plywood for squareness, cut it down to 83" (7 feet minus 1" for the sides) and carefully mark it up, measuring and remeasuring all dimensions.  After its cut out, I attach the framing timber that bonds it to sides and decks and strengthens the big openings down low.

Between the work I've been doing on this building, building it as I am with rough lumber, and the work I'm doing on the boat, I have been doing a lot of joining of lumber with a hand plane.  Now, I am no hand plane expert, but I am slowly getting better at this after straightening a thousand boards.  

Notable is one change in technique for checking for straightness of a board.  I used to always lay my aluminum flat bar on top of a board

then get my head down even with it and check for places where the board is not touching the bar.

Side View

I call this the "checking for daylight" method.  It works OK, but it is subject to back lighting and I have trouble seeing it well.

 Lately, I've been relying more on what I call the "wiggle-waggle" method, where you stand and look down on the bar resting on the edge of the board and wiggle it.   

Top View
At the spots where it is touching the board, it will stay fixed and the parts that are not in contact with the wood will be free to wiggle.   An added bonus is that you don't lose the spot you needed to take down when you go from squatting to standing.  

Another fun trick is this plywood-whispering I just learned about that I mentioned earlier.   Here is a piece that had a troublesome bend in it and I put the hump side against the stove and wetted the valley side.

Hey you, wipe that silly grin off your face!

Ten minutes later...

That's better! 

Friday, February 17, 2017


  Having cut out the shape of the sides, we then attached timber such as chine logs and deck supports. I had some indecision as to what wood to use for chine logs, considering factors such as gluability, fastener holding, surface area, and what I happen to have on hand.  I ended up going with 2" hemlock, but by no means am I sure that was the best choice.

I had read that a circular saw could cut a large radius curve more nicely than a jig saw and it sure did with the sawn curves for chine logs on the bow and stern curves.

 Both sides are ready for assembly now. Here is starboard side, all screwed and glued up with PL Premium.

I gave Camila the all-important job of chiseling off squeezed out glue and then pretending that the long bits of glue are worms.

Here she is, channeling Rosie the Riveter

Meantimes, I hired Lucia as a personal organizer for my work bench.

Both sides knocked out! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Getting Ahead of the Curve

Now that we are looking at two long, square pieces of plywood linguine, It's time to mark out the curves and decks to be cut out.

This is my weapon of choice.  I found this stick in the slab pile behind my dad's sawmill. I was looking for bracing material for setting posts back in August.  After it was tacked up, holding treated posts upright, I noticed that it was a beautiful, knot-free, quarter-sawn oak batten, straight as a pin- not something to be cut up for firewood.

  Here we are, encouraging the batten to take the curve we are looking for.  My lovely assistant, here, is Andrew, my grown up stepdaughter's boyfriend.  He is on leave from his little "job" in the USMC.  I call him my "pet marine."

  Letting the last bit of the batten run free, as per the advice of a prominent internet boat wiseguy.  This is supposed to make the plywood bending go better. 

Andrew looks on in awe (this is actually a yawn) 

The process is very simple, you simply hold the batten with both hands, then trace along it with your third hand.  Andrew helped with this. 

Celebrating a job well done. 

I forgot to take a picture before I started attaching timber to it, but here is the shape cut out.