Thursday, October 29, 2015

Late October

The colors in the woods have dulled and turned drab. Crops are being harvested and fields are being plowed under. Winds… rains… low temperatures and overnight frosts. Yes, it is late October in Michigan and we are heading into a fine, refreshing time of the year.

Temperatures in the boat bay don't drop as low as the outside overnight low, but it doesn't warm up very well either - 46 in there today. The next coat of paint is waiting for the next day promising a bit of warmth. Looks like that will be Sunday; then Tuesday.

All things considered, turning Gardens at the end of next week - even if the paint work isn't completed - is beginning to make sense to me. Turn her for the winter; fit out the interior and decks as I can; turn her again in the spring to finish up the bottom and paint; and turn her again to paint the decks and outfit her.

Why not turn the boat this week and use next week's warmer weather to get started on the interior? My help isn't available this week. It's as simple as that.

Late October heading into one of the finest times of the year - just not great boatbuilding weather.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

End of the Month?

Can I get Gardens painted and turned over by the end of the month? Maybe... but probably not. Painting continues albeit slowly. Weather dictates when I can paint but last week's cold has passed and conditions have been more favorable. Still, the process seems to stretch out interminably and I think back on days lost this past summer... Can't do anything about those lost days now so I'll just keep plugging away.

I think the bigger issue now is getting enough help here at one time to do the deed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

While Paint Dries

Warmer temperatures allowed for painting yesterday.

While the paint dries I need something to do. Small, and some not so small, parts need work, including the mizzen mast step, the outboard bracket and the centerboard.

Gardens' mizzen mast step was first made up according to the drawing a couple years ago. This summer, with a mizzen mast mock-up (one of my test birdsmouth assemblies), I realized the front edge of the mast was not supported by the mast step. I glued up a new step a month ago and today took advantage of the paint drying to cut the step to size & shape - with one variation. (The first step is maple and mahogany; the new one is cherry and mahogany - it's what I had on hand.)

Yes, the new one needs sanding and finishing but I'm marking it as progress.

As for the outboard bracket, there is drilling, fitting, trimming, sanding, drilling, finishing and assembling to do. These are all small tasks that can be done to fill time and without hurry.

The centerboard was also assembled two years ago but needs to be finished: faired, sanded, drilled (pivot hole) and painted. These tasks, too, will be done over the next few days as paint dries.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…

Yes, autumn in Michigan is gorgeous - bright, crystal clear, blue sky, brilliant sunshine, wonderful color in the trees and gusty winds whipping fallen leaves around the yard.

Yes, absolutely gorgeous - and too cold for painting in an unheated barn! We've had frost the last two nights and daytime highs in the mid-40s.

But all was not lost:
  • Some clean up in the boat bay and in the shop.
  • Experimenting with different colors for the cockpit.
  • Planning and estimating materials for winterizing the boat bay.
  • Preparing blocks to support Gardens when we turn her over.
  • Lining up helpers for turning Gardens over.

This coming week looks promising: warmer, with less wind, but losing three days of painting time (Friday was lost to a doctor's appointment and errands in Grand Rapids) means Gardens may not be ready to turn over by the end of the month.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Story Board

Jan is an interior designer and artist - and she always uses a story board when planning a project (painting rooms or the house) but not a watercolor, oil or acrylic painting (those just seem to flow naturally). The story board helps her visualize different combinations of colors. While I spent a good bit of time thinking about a color scheme for Gardens, I never made a story board to help me decide anything. Until this week…

I had picked out a nice, soft, buttery, creamy yellow ("Fired Clay") for the hull and hunter green for the sheer strake to be off-set with varnished Douglas Fir trim. I really had no idea for deck or interior colors. My story board - a small mock-up cobbled together this week - is helping me sort things out.

That "nice, soft, buttery, creamy yellow" contrasts nicely with the white primer - until there is no white primer next to it. It also looks very white in direct sunlight - just not as harsh as a "real" white would be.

The hunter green is very dark and, in certain light (like our kitchen lighting), looks black.

The color of the deck sample ("Camouflage") is not the same as the "nice, soft, buttery, creamy yellow" but in certain light they look identical. In certain light the deck color has a green tint to it; in other light it looks white. It is amazing to me how much light and shadow affects color.

The deck piece comes off the mock-up easily so I can try different colors without any trouble (beyond picking and choosing colors).

Gardens received her first full color coat of paint this afternoon. I'll let that coat sit at least two full days before applying the next coat.

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.