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.


  1. My 2 Cents.
    -Make sure the C in your C clamps is large enough. I used to build windows for a living and can’t begin to tell you how useful they are. The blue ones, by Stanley are great.
    -Make sure your drill bits are magnetic. Though, I suppose you’re using stainless screws RIGHT! Even then, get the magnetic bits because they’re worth their friggin weight in gold.
    -I suggest you begin your wood buying experience with a windy preface on European cars and how stupid Americans are and how badly cut their wood is. Then proceed to get the hillbilly new Hampshire wood vendor to help you out.
    -You can adjust for slightly out of squareness, more likely from your cuts than the plywood base, with the trim. Have you ever made a 6 foot cut in a 8x4”? I have, it’s not easy without a template. You might to get scrap plywood to make some templates from. Freehand plywood (what thickness?) is not easy. Make sure the plywood isn’t going to jump around.
    -Hang a motivational photo in your “shop”, like an example of finished boat or picture of me.
    -Craigslist is an awesome place to buy tools. Don’t be daft, be sure to check them out.
    -Speak with a general contractor in the area to find the best lumber yard. Do it. I did and now I get amazing prices on ply / 2x4 etc versus home screwpot.
    Some other project management questions I’m dying to know about, please answer! What is your timeline for this? Where are you assembling this? What is your budget? Do you have ANY tools? What was the last woodworking project you did?

    I hope everything goes great, but I have the feeling that this being your first boat build – you are going to make mistakes. We have widely differing views on quality, I’d just wing it and build it fast and cheap. Then if I liked it enough to do again, rebuild nice and slow and reuse what I can. Knowing you, everything will be painstaking, which is good, and you’ll get a pretty good result, at the cost of time and money. I suppose it evens out.

    Be sure to call me up when you’re done so I can test its seaworthiness. By the way, the sail area on that boat - way underpowered. Needs a jib, chute, trapeze, longer daggerboard, and a hydrofoil, then and only then does it become a SKIFF! SKIFFS ARE RACING BOATS!

  2. Timeline: However long it takes to finish. If I get it in the water Spring '10, I'll be happy.

    Assembly: The house I'm living in has ample garage and workshop space

    Budget: Not much, that's why I picked the GIS, and I'm keeping a tally on the left hand column.

    Tools: Some, but not all.

    Last woodworking project: As noted in Post #1, a gigantic Ice Shanty that was built in a modular format and then assembled on a remote northern Adirondack lake, were it subsequently squashed by the Hand of God into millions of little pieces. We never found any remnant of the roof. I was helper, not head builder. Which means I pounded some nails and sawed some lumber.


    c'mon i gotta throw in my 2 cents!