Thursday, February 25, 2010

Daggerboard planing, rudder blank, transom re-enforcement, Oar Prototype #1

Well, a busy frenetic post. Lots of small items got done over the past few days on my Goat Island Skiff.

Daggerboard planing:

The daggerboard needed to get smoothed out. It was a lumpy mess.

I didn't know whether to hit it with the orbital sander or my hand plane. I really just want to feed it through a real machine plane since I need to lose 2mm off the blank, but maybe I'll do that by hand... (?) However, in the end I got a roughly smoothed out daggerboard using my hand planes. It was not as tortuous as I thought it would be, and it all worked out pretty good in the end.

Rudder blank:

I also needed to get my rudder glued up. Initially this had not occured along the daggerboard due to the lack of appropriate timber, I had used my supply dedicated to the blades for the daggerboard mostly. However, I did have a lump of cedar left over from the stem. I had forgotten about this one. It took a few minutes of brainstorming, a couple of swipes on the table saw, and in no time I had my blank, and it was glued up on underneath the ubiquitous heat tent in my 45 deg. F garage.

A different wood pattern than the daggerboard, but that is OK by this amateur!


Then it came to my attention that my transom was not backed up enough for the rudder. The intrepid reader will remember when I put the backing to the rudder gudgeons on the transom. It was a sticky mess. WELL I should have looked at Duckworks first and checked out the dimensions of the equipment I was going to use. Then, I could have fitted an appropriate backing. I did not. My backing was far too inadequate, so today I added sides to it for a 6" width, and then sandwiched on another solid layer on top.

The brick weighs it all down.

Finally, how in tarnation am I going to propel this boat when there is no wind? By oar!

Oars-- Oar Prototype #1:

My oarlocks, sockets, and another hatch came in the mail yesterday.


The oarlocks are beautiful. I got two pairs of sockets, one for the gunwales, and another pair so I could have a socket on the transom, in case I lose an oarlock or oar, I can still yuloh my way to shore and safety. Search yuloh.

This also means it was time to try my hand at oar-making, which interested my lovely wife.

Jim Michalak offers us some oar plans in his book, Boatbuilding for Beginners, and I used those. Storer also has free oar plans available, but Michalaks were simpler, and I decided to mix and match a little bit. No problems, right? Haha.

My oars for the GIS should be about 9'. Technically, 9'2", which is what we used. I bought two cheap pieces of pine lumber to make my oars, 10' long each. Each board will offer up all three layers for the laminate construction of this oar. The plans call for oars that are 6' 11" long. We extended these oars 2'3" (27") by using a formula at Shaw and Tenny oar-makers extra-ordinaire.

58" (width lock to lock) / .5 = 29 + 3 = 31" of inboard length.

The grip on these plans are 5" long and the inboard portion of the loom is 16", so we added 10" to make it 26" + 5" = 31"

The remainder of the 27" was 17" and we added this to the outboard section of the loom.

Then, off to map the stations, trace and cut.

After some deliberation I decided to cut the entire oar, all three blanks, by hand. So away I ripped with my Japanese handsaw. It was more accurate than the jigsaw, and quieter. The table saw would have been a sweat-fest. Here we are, half-way through one side of the main blank:

Then, with 4" to go on the last laminate side, a eye-knot snapped, and sent the last 6" of one of the laminates that attached to the blade soaring into the garage. BOO. I had just ripped 20 feet of board by hand, and the last 6" decided to let go.

So I decided that this end was going to get the shaft (haha) and it was going to be a little short. Prototype #1, right?

I did a mini-scarf by cutting right on through the two pieces, eliminated the knot, using the method illustrated below:

Then, off to the basement for the gluing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bottom trimmed, centerboard trunk, and bat house!

Today was a productive day, the boat went upside down and back again.

My friend Peter ambled over with his router. This, combined with a flush-trim bit for the router, is a fabulous tool at dissolving the extra overlap left over from the over-sized bottom. It was either going to be a hackfest at sawing/planing it off, or this. The router was mucho easy to use, I cleaned up the enter boat in mere minutes. It left a little lip, which was cleaned up by my handplanes. Long strokes parallel to the boat to get it close, and then the smaller block plane held at an angle to the hull to get it finally flush. This took longer but was enjoyable work. The boat got dropped once, and it was not any worse for the wear.

The centerboard trunk components are also all glued up, but in two pieces. They will not be glued together until the daggerboard is complete, and then I can appropriately take the down the spacers inside (made from daggerboard jetsam, hence same width pre-finishing) to match the daggerboard, plus 2mm for a cozy fit. The daggerboard is being worked on on the side... I think I have a tempestuous relationship with the board and I'm taking it slowly.

Peter, while he was over, made a three chambered bat house for his own house. He's hoping to attract a small colony of bats to summer with him in his moist woods. One brown bat will eat 500-1000 mosquitoes an hour (yes, read that again) and a large bat house could contain tens upon tens of bats if not well over a hundred. That's a lot of mosquitoes that are going to bite the dust. Additionally, bats eat truckloads of insects that attack farmed crops, help in seed dispersal and some species can be key in plant pollination. Bats do not equal gross, bats equal important. In New England (and spreading south!) we are afflicted with "White nose syndrome" which is hacking away at our bat population. The more bats we get, the better off we all are.

Each chamber is 3/4 of an inch. There will be a plastic grated landing zone below the chambers. The box will be painted a dark brown, and affixed on his house. They like it hot, and hot it will get. Bring on the bats!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Knees are fitted

Enough said! Big day mentally, for this build. This was a step I was really looking forward to finishing. I feel like the hull is basically complete, besides the millions of little things. Structurally, she's sound. I like that.

The bow knee/breasthook took two tries, but I am happy with it. The plans call for the stem to be basically 19mm below the top of the ply, and the breasthook will slip over the top of it. My stem comes right to the top (my mistake) so I'm butting it up against the back end. The fit is not super tight, but close enough to be filled with a little epoxy. The rest of the fit is really nice.

The stern knees also took a few tries and were a little trickier, I thought, due to the cut-out for for the inwale and the bevels needed to accommodate the sides and the transom.

Here's what I wrote to my compatriot in Sacramento about making the stern knees.

1. First I traced the corner before I installed the inwale spacer or the inwale. If you didn't do this, don't despair, make something up.

2. Bevel the Transom-side FIRST before making any cuts to accomodate the inwale. This way, you will have it appropriately sized before you cut the space for the inwale. This is what I did not do my first time around, and when I beveled Transom-side the whole knee slid back, creating a gap aft of the inwale.

3. Measure the cut you need for the inwale

4. Cut space for inwale.

5. Bevel Side-side. Then, eyeball the inside of the cut, it will be the same bevel. I used my dremel drum sander, and chiselled out the corner, carefully.

Tight DF is a bitch to plane/bevel.

Good luck. Make sure you can make a few of them if need be, materials wise.

See better pictures here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Inwales, daggerboard case.

OK, first a very rare off-topic rant.

The Men's Downhill is a huge event, very important to me. A Swiss man (Didier Cuche) and an American (Bode Miller from NH) were two top contenders. NBC in its totalitarian control over Olympics coverage DOESN'T AIR SHIT when it's actually happening (1:30 EST). They'd rather sit on it until Prime Time, and show you a few select races instead of the whole thing. This is blasphemy. For Chrissake I never watch sports on TV, but this is one thing I don't like to miss, it's on every 4 years, what's it take to show the whole thing live? I miss Switzerland in this regard, very very much-- I took complete coverage of one of the most important ski races for granted apparently. I looked everywhere online for live streaming, but couldn't find anything free, no matter how much I tried. Canada in theory offers it, but it would never load.

In the end, Didier DEFAGO of Morgins, a few villages over from mine, took gold in a mini upset (I'll post the run once I find a good link), knocking down Bode to Bronze. I would've loved to see it, not knowing what was coming.

I bet I'm missing a great party over the pond.

I mean, I've got a million ESPN channels showing 20 year old basketball games, but only one damn station covers this Olympics!?

NBC, I hate you, go to hell.


Well, my back and I are arguing again at a very good clip. It's frustrating and limits boatbuilding.

That being said, with the aid of my lovely wife I have installed the inwales.

It was relatively simple. A second person is a help in the initial installation, but I did the starboard one solo. A few dry runs, few coatings of epoxy to seal everything, some thickened epoxy on the inwale spacers, a few clamps, some clean up, and the inwales are installed. These bastards really make the boat. She shines.

There are a few things that are not perfect. The inwales lined themselves up with the spacers nicely, though in some areas the inwale rose above the spacers, in others below. Some sanding will even it all out. The port side, interestingly enough was more exaggerated in this regard compared to the starboard side... the port side was also the copied side. Maybe that had something to do with it. Be sure to get the inwale flat up on the spacers, there be some twist in there, arrrr.

ALSO, some intrepid readers will remember BH3 sidearms not meeting the sides. This has been rectified with careful thickened epoxy application, some tape covered wood bits to act as dams, and also a spacer split in two, and placed on either side of the arm to provide extra strength. A good fix, rather than sucking in the side and losing a bit of fairness down the gunwale.

Two days ago, I also glued together my mentally challenged daggerboard case:

I was really intent on only using the wood I had available. For instance, I had leftover pieces from my daggerboard itself, which is more-or-less already the same thickness as the daggerboard will be (a little more since the board will be planed down some). This meant these leftover pieces were ideal. So I put them together the best I could. The vertical lighter pieces that guide the daggerboard are cherry, the same as the front and back end of my board. Again, leftover pieces. The hardwood will provide banging and clunking protection. You'll notice the lower right frame overhangs a bit. This is on purpose, since the shape of the trunk itself, as described in the plans, did not fit what the boat actually was. I have a little less rocker coming out of amidships, apparently, than Storer was imagining. Again, this is why the amateur should not cut specific pieces such as seats until the hull is 3-D. Just my opinion. Side cleats along the bottom will fill the gap that is left, of that I have no worries, but I wanted the base of the wood along the bottom of the hull, for strength.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gluing gunwales, spacers, and BH2 side arms...

Ahoy mateys!

Another bunch of small items taken care of over the past few days to share with you.

First up, I decided to bite the bullet and glue those gunwales on. Pretty much the whole show was waiting for this to happen. I've also decided to delay gluing on the rear seat until I get the rudder hardware. Technically, the rear seat should be glued down along with the front seat, and then the gunwales, and then the spacers at BH4... However, everything fits really nice, and the boat is dialed in really sweet. I'd rather just have the space to work with rather than screw around through an inspection port to get my rudder installed.

The gunwales, as you may remember, were already clamped into position and screwed in place to suck them in where need be. I carefully removed the gunwale, left the screws in position in the sides, and coated everything with epoxy. Then, I mixed up a bunch of glue, made it quite thick, and coated it on the gunwale. With the bow end propped up on a bench, I screwed in the stern, and worked my way forward. I then inspected the gunwale for gaps above and below the sheer. The gaps on the underside of the gunwale can only be corrected really with screws. Fortunately I had my can of ply-backed screws nearby, and added a few more per side depending on where they were needed. A line of packing tape kept things nice and clean.

Then, I decided to throw in the side arms for BH2 and 4. It had come to my attention through the Storer forum that the side arms for BH2 are oversized. I had cut mine like the others, and there's not enough gluing area for this high stress location. This was a bummer, because my sidearms were really nicely shaped with a good fit. I whipped out some cedar, traced the old BH's down, and in a few minutes had new sidearms. You can see the difference below.

Tonight, I glued up the starboard inwale spacers. They fit so nice, only a little bit of glue is needed. Some very gentle playing with the clamps and some thick glue and I got every spacer to sit where I wanted it. PHEW. It takes two hands per spacer but there's a definite feel how to get them to stay in position so they don't float.

Here's a nice picture of my boat with her gunwale glued on, and planed to match the ply. She's looking good!

AND, here's a quintessential boatbuiling pic that I swear was not staged. Clamps, hand planes, shavings, inpsection port, this picture has got it all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gluing on Front seat


Today I glued on the front seat. I also epoxy sealed the rear watertight compartment.

I'm just going to let you know that today was the most productive, least disastrous, most efficient gluing event yet on this boat. Still some mistakes, but NOTHING like gluing the boat together or putting them bottom on. Which makes me worried that I screwed up or was deficient on the most important parts of building, but alas, what I have, I have, and we'll see if she sinks or swims. Hopefully, she soars.


When I realized that the garage was holding steady at 44 deg. F (7 C) I decided to get with some gluing. I mixed up about 3 pumps of resin and the corresponding hardener and dumped in a bunch of thickener, and applied it to my pre-coated seat cleats and BH1 + 2.

I just really dumped the thickener into the mix. I figure this: If I have a tight fit, less silica, if I have a loose fit, more silica for a more filling mix. It took me this long to figure it out. This, with some valuable information from the Storer forum has helped me make better epoxy mixes. One rule to follow: Pulling the mixing stick out of the glue, if the point droops, its good for gluing, if the point stands tall, its good for filleting. Variations apply to temperatures, however, as you will soon find out.

After I applied the glue, I realized it was stiffening up because of the cold temps in the garage. This is not conducive to smearing and filling holes. I grabbed a hair dryer and tried to warm it up the best I could. Using this information that is stiffens, I kept my fillet mix a little thinner than the point "standing tall." I applied the seat and it dropped right in nice and tight. I threw some bricks on it to weigh it down, and took a few pictures from inside the compartment to see how I was faring with the glue. Here, we're looking towards the bow:

As you can see, good squeezage on the middle cleat, not so good up around the bow. I added some bricks. I DID have good squeezage from the sides of the seat upwards, so I know I have good contact. I'm not bothered I don't have excess spilling off the side of the cleat. Next up was some fillet work. I was using a squeegee and then a PLASTIC SPOON that did absolute wonders to throw down a sweet sweet fillet. Nice and clean. I kind of eyeballed what looked good to me, and this was the result:

I think that's sufficient. Here's the forward seat glued in position with the forest of bricks:

I'm pretty happy with the result. However, after I was done I wandered into the kitchen where my beautiful wife asked me what I did.

Wife: So how'd it go?
Me: Oh it went great, I'm the man, I'm the next Herreshoff, I glued on the front seat. I am The Man.
Wife: Great! You're great. I'm so glad I married you! That's the watertight compartment, right?
Me: Yup! The seat forms the forward watertight compartment!

Then I wandered downstairs to get a beer and realized... Son of a GUN... Do I have any gaps between the plywood seat and BH1 that forms that watertight compartment? OH NO! Look at this picture again, pay attention to BH1 starboard side and glue amounts:

Now look at this picture snapped from within the mast-well between BH1 and 2 looking forward on the starboard side!

Gaps! And while I don't think they run through, there are photodocumented gaps on the inside of the tank as well. Dammit.

I'm too tired and whooped to worry about it tonight, I will make sure to squeeze some epoxy in there in the future. It's also a strange spot to get to, I have to get into the boat to make this one work, and she's up on buckets, so it will have to wait.

Thank you, wife.

OH YEAH, here's my heater tent. I can keep it 56 F (13 C) in there with my little space heater.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Screwing around with the timer on my camera

I'm in the process of gluing the forward seat into place. This will seal the forward water-tight compartment. I have epoxy-sealed the compartment, now I just need to glue the seat down. In a final fitting session, I cut open the hole for the mast and the inspection port. However, I noticed that I needed to push down on the starboard side in order to make contact with the seat cleat. I thought I had everything pretty level but apparently not. It's not much, but to be sure I took pictures from inside the compartment with the seat in place, using the automatic timer on my computer. These were taken before I epoxy sealed the ply.

The bow, notice the faint shadow smudge on the starboard side:

More pronounced in the aft section of the tank:

Nice fit on the port side:

Anyway, neat idea to see what was going on in there. It's not perfect, but close enough. I also slightly angled the seat cleats up from the BH's to the stem in order to facilitate draining so water didn't pool up front, so that may have skewed some things a small amount.

No glue yet, just still fitting and getting ready.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Small progress, daggerboard, gunwales, mast step, partner


I continue to slowly progress on the boat. I am really stymied by the fact that it's been all of 0 deg. F (-18 C) here at the house for quite a bit now. The garage has been holding temperature at just under freezing. I'm not interested in doing major epoxy sealing work in these condititions because: a) it's cold, b) the epoxy thickens and is difficult to spread.

However, I can do small spot gluing jobs. For instance, I installed the mast step and partner yesterday:

My Step was placed in first (obviously) as a whole piece, as in the 6mm ply backing was already glued in position. The fit was relatively tight, but not perfect because my BH's are not exactly perfectly parallel along the bottom. I'm talking a few mm's here, but still. Anyway, when you drop something into a tight spot to be glued, pay attention as to how you're going to place it in and glue those places accordingly. To clarify: Don't put the glue on the location that is going to get scraped by the incoming piece, put it where it will be squeezed in so the glue remains.

The partner went in nice and simple, except I dropped it on my heater fan. My partner deviates from the plans as in it is two pieces, with the bottom piece extending underneath the seat cleat on BH2. This is for stability issues, I could twist the top of the BH with my hand. This partner makes it very burly.

Notice my heater and my brick compression system. It's a $12 heater I bought at Lowes. With a plastic sheet, temps went up quick.

Next up I screwed the gunwales into place. I didn't want to necessarily do it, but it's almost essential.

The next picture illustrates a non-screwed gunwale. Basically, the flare from the sides of the boat in the stern and amidships is translated to the gunwale to the bow, where there is minimal flare, the sides are relatively straight. Only muscling the gunwale with my hands could I make contact. Not conducive to gluing, as you can imagine.

Storer (el designero) promised that screwing the gunwale would pull it in. I had doubts and didn't want to deal with it, but I tried. Working from the stern forward, I placed one screw in the stern, two amidships, and two right in the bow area where the twist was most apparent. I used the 1 1/4 screws with the ply pads from the bottom screwing event.

SOB, it worked:

Nice and tight, all pulled together. This makes me happy. All ready for gluing. Screws were hidden underneath the areas where I am going to place my inwale spacers. Speaking of spacers, all of them are cut, and I have marked where I will be adding them. I started at the seam between the two pieces of ply for the sides, one will join them at the top, then one will be place next to each BH sidearm, with BH3 sidearms getting two small ones on either side due to the fact that it does not meet the side near the top. Re-enforcements, if you will. I need 52 spacers for this scheme.

Next up, I glued my daggerboard together.

I precoated the sides to be glued, then made a thin epoxy mix with the filler, not too much since the wood had been run through the joiner. The typical GIS clamp scheme as seen below:

And we're off to the races! Looking good. Looking good.

She arrives, one step at a time boys, one step at a time.