Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mast Step

The main mast step is (mostly) ready for epoxy coating as there are some saw marks/burns to be sanded out.

Earlier in the week, I epoxied a piece of 9mm ply to the bottom.

The assembly was trimmed & squared up with the table saw. Using the drill press (with Forstner bit), router and sandpaper I cut the hole in the bottom for the mast foot and cut drain slots with the table saw.

The sharp edges were rounded over using the router.


The mast step will be sanded (a few more times, I am sure) and coated with epoxy.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Lumber Delivery

Tuesday, a buddy of mine and I took a road trip to LL Johnson Lumber in Charlotte, MI, to shop for some lumber. Andy was looking for mahogany to rebuild the companionway hatch-boards for his 36' big boat. I was looking for materials for Gardens' main mast.

Andy didn't find what he was looking for - but I've got a couple of mahogany boards that will work for his hatch-boards so, in a sense, his day was a success. I found the clear, vertical grain Douglas fir I was looking for - so my day was a success, too.

Since we couldn't safely strap three 20' boards to the top of the car for the 50+ mile ride home, I arranged for delivery and we headed back to Greenville. Delivery was scheduled for today.

Around 12:30pm the LL Johnson truck was backing up the drive.

About 30 board-feet of CVG DG:

And the obligatory (not so clear) close-up of the grain:

Jan and I moved the lumber to the back of the barn this afternoon. There it will wait for me to get in-feed and out-feed tables set up with the radial arm saw so I can rip the staves for the birds-mouth main mast.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Plodding Along

The mast-step has been cut to size (185mm x 185mm), planed and sanded. I decided to add a 9mm thick piece to the bottom but - as is the normal course of events - my 9mm plywood is buried at the bottom of an assortment of other materials and supplies, so the step won't be finished until I can access the plywood.

The birdsmouth staves intended for the main yard - but cut from lesser quality lumber - are being repurposed into a boat-hook hook for my brother-in-law. Ironically, I am using the table-saw to cut the staves down to a size that, until recently, I deemed "too small" for me to work with. Funny how a little experience changes one's perspective.

With the warmer weather, I have begun sanding the hull in preparation for paint. Lots to do there but the process has begun.

Other (not related to Gardens) projects receiving attention this week included milling the stock for the barn windows, work on a quilt rack (mortises and tenons), milling stock for picture frames and riding my new bike about 105 miles (preparing for a Colorado bicycling vacation in July).

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Tide Has Turned...

…so to speak.

With spring-time weather arriving here in Western Michigan, work on Gardens has resumed!

The blank for the main mast step has been laminated using maple and mahogany.



This will be sanded and cut to down to size. Details, such as chamfered edges and a drainage slot, will be added before the step is epoxy coated.

The main yard has not been assembled but the eight birdsmouth staves have been notched and scarfed to length.



The assembly jig for the yard (and boom) has been set up and is ready for action.



I, on the other hand, am contemplating the "how" of the gluing, assembly and clamping of a 13' long birdsmouth spar… I know it can be done… I've seen it on the internet (so it must be real, right?). Seriously, I am coming to grips with the process of mixing and spreading epoxy on eight long pieces of wood and then assembling them (along with the necessary plugs) without gluing them to the jig, the bench or me. I am beginning to recruit help.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Observations on Birdsmouth Spars

Building birdsmouth spars using the modified birdsmouth technique (asymmetric V-notch) requires paying closer attention to details than I did this past week.

The scarf cuts in the milled-to-size and notched pieces didn't match up properly due to the asymmetric features of the notch (and my inattention to that detail when making the scarf cuts.) Fortunately, the pieces are long enough to let me recut them. (And if you have the luxury of having full length lumber available, good for you!)

Using less than perfect "Select" grade lumber meant dealing with a few knots in the staves - and I figured I could just flip/flop staves end-for-end to stagger and/or separate the knots. But, wait… because that notch is asymmetric, it isn't possible to flip/flop the staves end-for-end as doing so changes the orientation of the notch. I'll insert a plug to reinforce the area with the knots. (If I'm not happy with this yard when it is completed, I'll build a new one.)

Using a jig to cut the scarfs on the table saw was, once the jig was built, faster and easier than using a router with a jig to cut the scarfs.

Cutting plugs for the spars on the table saw is easier than I expected it to be (remember, I have been using a table saw for less than a year and I am still learning.)

Assembling the staves for a dry fit is tricky and frustrating. That (trickiness and frustration) can be minimized by using stands/supports to hold four or five staves together while adding the last three or four staves. I can only imagine how much fun assembling will be with everything lathered up with epoxy...

CVG DF is much nicer lumber for building spars than "select" grade lumber from a big-box store. Two years ago I purchased two 20' pieces of CVG DF, intending to use them for the main mast. However, moving those 20' pieces from where I was to where I am meant having to cut them to a more manageable size. So, those two pieces are being used to build the main boom and mizzen mast. I'll order new material for the main mast. (I bought the select grade lumber to experiment building birdsmouth spars, figuring if it didn't work, I didn't "waste" the DF on the experiment.)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Works In Progress

Sure, everything is a work in progress these days, but here are a few of the specific items underway in the shop:
  • Yard: 6' and 8' pieces for the birdsmouth staves have been cut to size, notched and readied for gluing.
  • Main Mast Step: 25mm x 50mm x 185mm blocks have been cut for laminating the mast step.
  • Shop Clean Up & Reorganization: New shelves being built; new bins for hardware and sandpaper storage acquired, larger burn-box (to collect scraps/off-cuts) acquired; table saw cleaned out and given the once over; and, a new seriousness about tossing small bit of wood (am I really going to need that someday?) into the burn-box.
  • Barn Windows: Stock milled to size; pieces cut and ready for routing.
I am hopeful that I'm climbing the steep part of the birdsmouth spar learning curve with the yard, and that the boom, mizzen mast and main mast will be quicker and easier to fabricate. I am also hopeful that work on Gardens speeds up (without creating problems) as I get back into gear with my boat building.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Clock is Running

I work better/more/faster when facing a deadline/target/specific goal.

So far, with Gardens, my "deadline" has been, "When I get her done." Well, that is not specific enough. But as of today, I have a specific goal/deadline/target for finishing Gardens.

August. We plan to take Gardens to Cedar Beach in Cedarville on Michigan's Upper Peninsula to share some sailing time with family and friends.

Karen Ann, Lake Huron, 2013

Plans, lists and scheduling on tap for the next day or so and then the real work begins…

The clock is running.