Friday, July 31, 2009

Lofting the side!

YEAH mateys! Enough baloney, time to get to business! Tonight I began to transfer the plans of the GIS on paper to the plywood. This is called lofting. I have plans that give me the dimensions of the sides, and I grid out the plywood and make marks where instructed. Subsequently, I will "connect-the-dots" if you will, and have the curved shape of the boat.

Storer instructs to draw vertical lines across the plywood at 300mm intervals. The majority of the points will be along these lines.

I got home today from a hellish trip at work, which included a missed commute and three hours of sleep the night prior. Fatigued, I set in motion the boat. Promptly, the shit hit the fan and I became a superstitious paranoid sailor. Which is what sailors are naturally, except I wasn't sailing, I'm building my boat. The two pieces of ply I picked matched together quite nicely as far as the grain was concerned. The flowing pieces seems melded as though one, and I took this as a fortuitous sign. Alas, one corner of the plywood had a small crack through the first layer of ply. This was my first dilemma. Do I let the crack stay on the side of my new boat, or use this piece for something less critical, like a seat? I decided to use another piece of ply just so everything was right on the first aspect of the boat. But now, the grain did not match. Had I split a perfect union of two pieces of ply? WOE! I finally went with integrity, and said a quick little sailor's benediction (OH! Plywood! Let me draw on you with grace!), and began drawing my 300mm lines.

I thought I was a veritable rockstar, marking out my 300mm lines at the top and bottom of the pieces of plywood, with plans to match them up to make sure all the measurements were the same. They were, except near the center of the boat, where I had upward of 5mm of difference between the top and bottom marks. This took a while to figure out, and while the points are measured from the top, I wanted this to be relatively spot on, as Storer differentiates some spots by 1mm. Accuracy, in my mind, is paramount. After struggling for a bit, I went for ice cream, came back, and kicked it up. Soon, all the lines matched and verified each other. On to the dots!

The measurement delineating the side of the boat came quickly, until I realized that all vertical measurement regardless of position on the side come from the top of the plywood, not the bottom as the arrows allude to. This I chalk up to my lack of skill reading plans. What tipped me off was that the stern was freaking huge, and since the side, once cut, is flipped over to the remaining plywood, I realized there would be little space left for the hefty bow. Stern is normal sized now. Phew! Glad I caught that one before I started munching into $60 plywood. The whole ordeal took 2:25 min, primarily due to rooky mistakes, but this is why I'm tracking this, so other neophytes like me can count on something realistic as opposed to the "It took me a weekend to cut, build, and glue this boat" shtick.

This is me, lofting. Notice my brave countenance and the infant life-jacket to protect my bony knees. This is symbolic, the life jacket means nautical pursuits, the infant means I have no idea what I'm doing.

The dots for one side are done. Now I need to find something that's 17' long and flexi-like so I can connect the dots in a smooth motion. This is called a "batten" and I'm not sure what I'm going to use.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Horse Saws (saw horses)

I'm tooling up and getting ready to go. Built myself a couple of horsesaws this weekend. Hoping to start drawing up the plywood and cutting soon. I'm almost there! Work is keeping me away from home for an extended period of time, dammit.

Edit: ok, ok, sawhorse. They are sawhorses. I know this, but apparently work + tiredness + being away from home = bad grammar and loss of words. Holy cow!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A beautiful boat

Maybe I haven't said this enough, or strongly enough, but this is one beautiful boat. The GIS looks graceful, powerful, and ready to rock. I love the lug rig, and I can't wait to sail her. It would behoove the reader to search for pictures of a GIS in full sail. Harbor Woodworks in Oregon has this picture of this beautiful GIS. This is what gets me all worked up about it. I definitely have moments of intimidation, but also moments of sheer determination. If there's anything I love, it's sailing, and if I could sail a boat I built, well, that would be quite awesome.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I finally got myself some wood! I wandered over to Maine Coast Lumber in York, Maine, with a friend of mine. Everyone was exceedingly helpful and friendly though somewhat amused at my virtual ignorance. That's to be expected. I grabbed the Okoume sheets of plywood, which were just shy of sixty bucks a sheet. At 6 sheets, the stuff adds up and the ante is now sufficiently increased to not screw up. The entire purchase amounted to $570.80. This included:

  • 6 sheets of Okoume
  • 63 feet of Western Red Cedar
  • 40 feet of Douglas Fir
  • And an 11 foot Fir plank.

I still have more wood to purchase, specifically the hardwoods for the gunwales and inwales, the blades, and the spars. Some pieces of wood are supposed to be 17' in length. I can't, for the life of me, see where I'm going to get 17 foot long pieces of timber that are already cut to the dimensions needed for the gunwales, as an example. I mentioned this to one of the guys working at the lumberyard, and basically, I'm going to have to get a giant unfinished plank and rip it myself. This is a problem, because I do not have a table-saw and was not anticipating one. The lumberyard said they could rip it, but it was just with a circular saw, and over 17 feet, eh., they didn't seem too stoked on the idea. I'm contemplating perhaps renting one. Regardless, perhaps more interweb research is required to figure this one out. I'm not too keen on ripping 17' strips that are 1.5" wide.

Here's the wood that I have in the hopefully-dry basement of my future in-laws, where I will be building the GIS. This portion of the basement will be used for cutting and prepping. Assembly will happen elsewhere. Somehow, this is going to become a boat.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A note on relativity

Relativity is the name of the game with this boat, I think. As my title-page subtitle above implies, I have heard that the GIS is cheap and easy to build. But what is easy to build, when the builder has no boatbuilding experience?

I have mentioned that the plans I bought are "comprehensive" but what do I know, if they are comprehensive or not? I thought they were chock-full of goodness until I bumped into the directions for making the stem, which said: "Make Stem" and a picture of a triangular looking thingie that's tapered from one end to the other. Ooooh boy.

All of sudden, in relation to the stem, the plans are not as comprehensive as I would like. Realistically, however, I cannot expect the designer to teach me how to work wood or build, so I guess I shouldn't expect more than just basic technical diagrams of the boat. It's up to me to solve problems and actually know what I'm doing. The majority of the plans are in fantastic detail.

As one friend put it, "As you get going, things will just come together." I'm sure they will.

Thank goodness for the interwebs. One blog already demonstrates making the stem in detail, answering lots of questions I have had been scratching my head about. Other blogs and picture archives also offer ideas or jumping off points for me to use when I'm confronted with a new, as-of-yet-to-be-determined problem. Phew! Of course, I don't know if that makes my life easier, or if it just diminishes my overall problem solving capabilities for future problems with no guidance. Maybe a little of both! Regardless, the accessibility of so much information is a relief for those moments when I'm reading the plans on the head and my mind sinks into "how are you going to do this, dude?" I can find the answer, or close enough.

I hope to get the wood together this week, and then I'll really be in trouble, I'm sure.