Wednesday, December 13, 2017

That's How It Works

In the end everyone builds the boat their psychology prepares them for. That’s how it works… Any serious undertaking is subject to psychological necessity. We really can’t do anything else but follow our compulsion. It isn’t about capability because we can always get that if our psychology allows it. - Mik Storer

These words (from comments to the Duckworks’ article, Why I "HATE" Boatbuilding) give me insight to a thought (some might say rationalization) I’ve voiced for quite some time now: What I see in my mind’s eye doesn’t come out of my hands.

That's how it works...

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Shaping With an Angle Grinder

Cold weather has set in - not unexpected in Michigan... in December…

The shop is still functional - after the heaters run for an hour or so before I begin working.

Yesterday I shaped the main mast cap, giving it a “domish” shape. My tool of choice: a 4-1/2” angle grinder.

Concentric circles on the top of the cap helped guide the shaping, which was followed up with sanding using an ROS and an 80/120/80/220-grit progression. I plan to soften the bottom edge of the caps with a round-over.

When the other cap is done, I’ll glue them to the masts (cold temperatures not withstanding).

Update: Thursday’s post generated some discussion (sort of, but more like a lecture) about hand tools vs. power tools… the idea being that a spokeshave was a better tool of choice for shaping the mast caps than the angle grinder I used.

Admittedly, a spokeshave never crossed my mind for shaping the caps. Admittedly, as well, I am not very experienced in using a spokeshave which is not to say I am unfamiliar with hand tools, particularly planes.

(I keep my spokeshave with my chisels - mounted on another wall of the shop - rather than with my planes, for no good reason other than my convenience.)

Intrigued by the idea, I decided to shape the second mast cap using hand tools, specifically the spokeshave. It worked. I was able to shape the cap using the spokeshave and hand-sanding.

The spokeshave is definitely quieter and less dusty than the angle grinder. But, it took me three times as long to get to the nearly finished shape (yep, pretty much the same shape as the first cap). I’m happy I got the same results using the spokeshave but there was no deeper sense of satisfaction from using the hand tool compared to using the power tool. And the extra repetitive motion aggravated the arthritis in my hands and shoulder so, on one level, there was a bit more discomfort associated with using the hand tool… for me… for this task…

The angle grinder - and any other power tool - is just a tool, as are hand tools (saws, chisels, planes...). I like to use the tool that works for me for the task at hand.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

November Was a Busy Month

How quickly time flies! Our trip to Maine seems a recent memory but it has been seven weeks since that trip ended (yeah, seven weeks is recent but I meant recent like last week…).

November began with the caps for Gardens’ masts. Then, a visit to Oregon to see grandchildren and start a kayak build with my son. Thanksgiving followed on the heels of the Oregon trip. Meanwhile the kitchen remodeling project has continued at a snail’s pace. All appliances were installed and functional the day before Thanksgiving, so Jan cooked Thanksgiving dinner and I baked a pumpkin pie and we are both thankful to be cooking in our own kitchen again (the remodel is not complete - the cabinet vendor had quality control issues which meant about half of the cabinet doors had to be redone).

A follow-up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon last week confirmed the necessity of knee replacement surgery (both knees need replacing but I’ll do them one at a time). Scheduling has an eight-week lead time, so it will be early February before I’m out of commission for about six weeks.

November leads us into the Christmas Holidays and a growing list of gifts to make and projects to complete. I’ve had a small drill press that has been adequate and access to my BIL’s larger drill press - but the convenience of having my own larger one (and a good sale price) lead to the purchase of a new Jet drill press.

Also, in the background of November’s events, my nine-year old MacBook began faltering and became progressively worse as the month worn on. Last week I purchased a new MacBook Pro. I’m doing my part to support the economy - and I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet!

So, November was a busy month. I suspect the next two months to be very busy as well. I plan to get as much done on Gardens as I can before being laid up recovering from surgery.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Return to Gardens

The Oregon trip went well. Spent good time with grandchildren, made a great start on the kayak project with my son, and got to visit with my other two children before returning to Michigan and Gardens.

Today was a 'travel recovery' day - unpacking, catching up with Jan, napping and generally taking it easy. Didn't even go out to the shop to see what's what.

Tomorrow soon enough.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Change of Venue, Different Boat, Next Generation, New Skills

Based on some discussions with my son in August, we decided to build a skin-on-frame kayak. We picked Dave Gentry's Chuckanut 12s - a 12' stretch version of the Chuckanut 10 design.

So, here I am in Klamath Falls, Oregon for a 10-day build session. I arrived last Tuesday and we cleared out a space in the garage, ran some errands, bought some materials and supplies before beginning the actual work on the kayak on Friday.

Scott cutting stock for the chines and gunnels. Photo

Scott planing stock for the scarf joints. Photo

Gluing two chines at a time Photo

About half of the chines Photo

Strong-back, Frames 1 and 5, keel, and gunnels loosely tied in place Photo

Bow stem Photo

Improving shape with Frame 3 loosely in place Photo

Two more frames to cut out and fit, which will further improve the shape. Twist resulting from being "loosely tied" will be taken out when we lash the fuselage together.

This project is an opportunity for Scott and I to work on a project together (tough to do when we live so far apart). I am hoping to pass some woodworking skills on to him - and he is doing quite well with the block and smoothing planes.

Work on Gardens will resume when I return to Michigan this coming weekend.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mast Caps and and a Collar

Gardens' masts will sport caps, primarily as a decorative touch but also to better protect the wood end-grain at the top of each mast. The mizzenmast gets a collar, too. The caps are CVG DF and the collar for the mizzenmast is mahogany. A (rough) photo-essay of the process I used in creating the caps and the collar follows:

Eight segments with each end cut (on the table saw with a miter gauge) at 22.5°.

(Different) Segments assembled, glued (with thickened epoxy), and clamped.

Octagon blank ready for drilling (inside diameter begun), cutting (outside diameter), and sanding (all surfaces).

Top and bottom pieces of cap glued together with top piece cut/sanded to match outside diameter of bottom piece (could have used another photo or two here).

Top of cap will be sanded to "domish"/round-over shape. This is a practice piece.

Collar for the mizzenmast.

Collar and its base. The underside of the base is contoured to fit the aft deck.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Slot and Plug/Cap

The concept for the Slot, to facilitate mast raising, came to me a year-and-a-half ago. The idea of the Plug, to fill the slot and hold the mast upright, was part of the original concept. How to hold the Plug in place took a while to figure out. Here's what I came up with:

Slot with Demo Mast:
View of underside of Plug/Cap with turn-buttons lined up fore-n-aft:
View of underside of Plug/Cap with turn-buttons athwartship:
Plug/Cap in place:
Below deck view of Plug/Cap in place with turn-buttons fore-n-aft:
Below deck view of Plug/Cap in place with turn-buttons athwartship (no worries about that knot):
This configuration works well - sitting still in the Boat Bay: the Plug/Cap just does not move when tightened down. But I expect it will work just as well on the water.

One more design element is, what i call, the Mast Block. My intent is for the block to help support the mast (although that may not be its primary purpose) and to provide an anchor point for the foreward ends of the cockpit coamings (probably its legitimate purpose) and the downhaul. It is a work in progress.