Sunday, October 11, 2015


Well, sort of… Today the last coat of primer went on the hull. The next step is a 50/50 mix of primer (white) and color ("Fired Clay" which is a creamy, buttery, soft yellow that looks nearly white in sunlight). After that, full color…

Here is a preview - just a touch of Fired Clay along the laps for a look-see…


(Yes, the stem still needs some work.)

We are enjoying great fall weather: crisp, clear, blue sky; lots of sunshine; some wind and low 70 temperatures. Nights are cool so the maple trees are going red and yellow. These are wonderful days for boat work.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Turning a Blind Eye

Two weeks past my estimated "paint by" date and I'm still futzing with dings and dimples in a couple of planks. I thought things looked very good under yesterday's coat of primer - of course, that was in fading light, I was tired and I was optimistic. In the clearer light of day this morning, I realized there are a couple of spots needing attention.

Now that those spots have been sanded and filled, I'll see how they sand out tomorrow.

Really, though, I'll soon turn a blind eye to these blemishes (as any number of people have suggested) as I am probably the only one to see them (although there is one spot in particular…). But, as Jan asked the other day, "Who are you building this boat for? Us or the Smithsonian?" Time to get on with the painting.

An update to the spar formerly known as the mizzen mast. I figured it would work as the yard for Gardens' balance lug main. However, having decided to go with the smaller sailplan, the spar is now the boom for the smaller main.

My experiment/trial/test of the biaxial FG sleeving was a success! The process went smoothly enough, didn't take as much epoxy as I expected and the results turned out better than I expected. I plan to use sleeving on the main mast, mizzen mast and the yard (I'll leave the boom alone).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Yesterday was like a birthday! The UPS truck followed the mail carrier up the drive, both delivering packages - for me! Of course, I was expecting these deliveries but still it was fun to get them.

One box from Duckworks included two sizes of Biaxial FG Sleeving - one for Gardens' mast, the other for sampling/testing purposes.

Also in the box was a copy of Dave Nichol's book, The Working Guide to Traditional Small Boat Sails.

One box from Amazon had two quarts of Rustoleum Spar Varnish. Not terribly exotic but I've been using this varnish for a few years and I like it.

The other Amazon box contained a roll of stretch wrap plastic - to wrap the Biaxial FG Sleeving as per the Duckworks' Demo Video (scroll to bottom of the linked page).

And now, on to the fun stuff: I built a short, small diameter (43mm) section of birdsmouth spar for sampling/testing the sleeving.

I built a small stand to hold the test piece.

The test operation was moved to the house so Jan (recovering from hip surgery) could assist. The sleeving went on the spar; epoxy slathered on; everything wrapped in plastic stretch wrap which was then perforated to allow the excess epoxy to ooze out.

Estimating how much epoxy to mix was interesting. The 10 oz. sleeving looks like it will take quite a bit of epoxy to wet out, so I mixed up 60mg (which to me is quite a bit). I only used about half of that to wet out the 16" of sleeving.

Now we have to wait until this evening - or maybe this tomorrow morning - to see the results. Since this is the first time using this technique and a learning experience, I won't be disappointed if the results aren't great.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Looking Ahead

I'm busy prepping, priming and painting the boat - although the painting part will wait another few days for expected warmer weather. But while waiting, I am looking ahead…

One task I've been thinking about is the trim work on the sheer plank… The trim is 3/4" square and the DF I've got just will not bend enough to fit the curves of the hull. I could rip the piece into thin strips and laminate them - but my luck with getting a smooth edge on laminations is less than good. Steam bending? Maybe, but a 20' steam box? Seems impractical to me. So, what to do.

Then, just this week, a post on WBF addressed the same issue I am facing. One suggested option included steaming gunnels in place using poly tubing. Here is a video from Tips From a Shipwright:

Steam Bending

So, the technique shown in the video is what I plan to try, probably next spring…

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Primer, Fairing, Sanding...

More of the same...

Work on the hull continues and it is looking better but I keep finding bumps and blemishes that need fairing. Almost ready for color, really.

The mast has been sanded with 60-grit paper and is looking better - pretty darn close to being round. Last week at the SCAMP Camp, Howard Rice commented he plans to use the Duckworks FG sleeving to strengthen the mast on his SCAMP. Based on that, I watched the demo video for the sleeving and decided to try it on Gardens' mast. So, with that on its way, sanding is just about done. I will try the sleeving on a smaller spar for practice.

Oh, yeah, Fall is here - overnight lows in the low-40s. At least it's not freezing yet but the winterizing of the workspace is gaining importance.

The more I do, the more there is to do… and the further behind I seem to be.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Camp, Primer, Sanding and More

Friday was a treat: my BIL and I attended SCAMP Camp #8 for the day. It was good to see old friends and meet new ones. Seeing five SCAMPS in various stages of completion under one roof was educational and motivational. I never knew a utility knife blade could be used as a mini-scraper. Discussions of winter-time boat building in Michigan and Ontario resulted in ideas for extending the fall season and getting back to the shop earlier next spring.

While at SCAMP Camp I came to a decision: I will give Gardens my best effort to have her launched, outfitted and shaken down in order to participate in next year's Texas 200. This is an ambitious goal but one worth focusing on: John Welsford will be sailing in the event as will a number of other friends and acquaintances. The Saturday Night Special project (6 of John's new Saturday Night Specials to be built and sailed in the Texas 200 and kept as loaner boats) is a feature of the build-up to the 2016 Texas 200. There is also a good chance four or five Pathfinders will be there! I look forward to being a part of it all.

While the leaves on the trees are changing colors (yes, already!), Gardens is changing colors, too. The darkish brown of epoxied meranti plywood is giving way to the bright white of primer. Gardens will soon have a splotchy look to her as I sand,fill and fair the few blemishes revealed by the primer. But the prospect of painting color is exciting and not far away.

The mast… The mast has been shaped to nearly round - it won't ever be perfectly round - using my block plane and 40-grit paper on the ROS. Lots of shavings and sawdust! The next step is sanding the entire length with 60-grit paper, but I suspect it won't take nearly as long to do as the initial sanding/shaping.

Three other Pathfinders that I know of are in the works in Florida, Texas and Georgia. It is exciting to see each emerge from wood to become beautiful Pathfinders. Seeing the progress on these builds motivates me as I work on Gardens.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Busy Times

This has been a busy week: Jan's hip surgery (it went well and she is home recovering); painting contractor doing their thing (painting the house); other routine household tasks that aren't difficult for me but take time and even a bit of boat work.

The mast is coming along nicely albeit slowly. It takes time and effort to take the octagonal blank to round.

The fairing of the hull is proceeding better than I expected. Painting will begin soon - possibly Saturday but no later than Sunday!

Figuring out a mast-gate arrangement involves a bit of mental gymnastics with a few sketches thrown in for good measure. I think I know how I want to build the mast gate but it will probably a bit of trial and error when it come time to actually installing it in Gardens. Fortunately, I have time to think about that project.

So, Jan is doing very well; the house looks great with its new paint scheme; the septic tank is empty; the propane tank is full and progress is being made on Gardens. Life is good.