Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Whole Lot Going On...

The last two weeks have been busy - but not much boat work is getting done.

Gardens is in the barn - still on the trailer and waiting for me to bring the building platform over, recruit a few willing souls and find a good weather day… All of those will come together soon.

The former tack room in (another part of) the barn is being made over into a work shop. We've cleared much of the odds and ends stored there over the years. Some stuff went to Good Will, some to Habitat for Humanity, some went upstairs to Jan's studio and some went to recycling. It feels good to have started the project. Next on the agenda is to make the floor a single level - hard to describe, but roughly half the floor is about 9" higher than the other half and the lower section is uneven. The plan is to bring in gravel/sand to fill in the low spots and then build a deck floor to match the height of the "high half" of the floor. New lights and additional power will be added and the space will be ready for me to make some sawdust!

The holidays are right around the corner and we will be participating in an open house Holiday Gift Sale in early December. Jan is an artist and will have some paintings and note cards while I'll have some gift items (napkin rings, tea-light holders, coasters and small picture frames) crafted of wood. It is fun creating useful - and pretty - items out of wood. And, I am learning new skills, too (never used a table saw until early this summer).

The weather is changing - chilly to cold, less sunshine, more rain - but that is part of the natural cycle of things in this part of the country. I enjoy to cooler temperatures and the brilliant fall colors. Too bad this beautiful autumn has to give way to months of cold and snow. Again, that's part of life here and winter is a small price to pay for the rest of the year here. In fact, there are enough beautiful winter days to carry one through to spring.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Moved to the Farm

This past week has been especially busy - preparing for out-of-town family and friends to arrive for our wedding celebration - so not too much boat work has been done.

But we took advantage of having strong, young out-of-town family (and local friends) being here to put Gardens on a trailer and move her to the Farm. Thanks to Donna, Jim, Scott, Todd and Andy for all their help on Friday.

The plan included turning Gardens over and setting her back on the (modified) building platform. Unfortunately, the weather, timing and - what was that other thing? - our wedding kept us from completing the plan. We'll figure that part out in the next week or so… and then get on with fairing those planks and painting the bottom.

It was a wonderful weekend.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rudder Installed - Everything Fits!

After too many days of working in fits and starts (incorrect fasteners one day, no drill another, and so it went…) on the rudder, everything came together this morning… And, it all fits!

The rudder stock will come off the transom so I can varnish it and work on the hull.

And, speaking of the hull, plans are developing for moving (weather permitting) Gardens to her new home and turning her over next weekend!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Musings on a Color Scheme

What color should Gardens be? This is a personal choice and needs no explanation or apologies but, of course, that won't stop me from musing about Gardens' intended color scheme.

I don't consider myself a contrarian but I don't particularly like white-hulled boats - even "traditional" boats. Hence Karen Ann's (a Storer Goat Island Skiff) color scheme.

Now it is true that the Goat Island Skiff is not a traditional boat, although it does have an "cute old-timey look" to it (I heard those words at a small boat mixed fleet regatta - I had the only lug rig - summer before last).

The Pathfinder is more traditional looking (to my eye) than the GIS and some beautiful Pathfinders have been built with drop-dead gorgeous white hulls. But I like color and, with a name like Gardens of Fenwick, I believe her colors ought to reflect her name.

For reasons that are now somewhat obscure, I thought a dark blue hull with a white sheer strake, mahogany trim and a light gray interior was what I wanted. But… what garden ever looked like that? My current thinking is something like this… and, please, bare with me… Gardens will have a green hull with a yellow-ish sheer strake...

The light - white looking - color on the car is really a pale yellow. A more yellow (but not bright) is what I see for Gardens. (As an aside, it is amazing to me that the 57 Ford sheet metal is so plain when compared to the 57 Chevy's sheet metal. No wonder the Chevy is a classic and the Ford is just an old car.)

So, I envision a light, bright (but not neon bright) green hull, with a light yellow sheer strake, mahogany accents, a cream/buff/tan-ish interior and bright yellow (leftovers from the GIS build) foils. The spars will add a richer golden yellow while the white sails add yet another color to Gardens' pallet. Pennants flying from the mastheads offer opportunities to add another touch of color.

This is, of course, not cast in stone as I absolutely, positively reserve the right to change my mind up to and including the time I hold the brush and roller in my hand!

We'll see what happens...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Rudder Assembly

The rudder assembly is done (except for the cosmetics of varnish and paint)!

I didn't get things quite right for the pintles mock-up - but close enough to see that the gudgeons are lined up correctly and the darn thing is going to work. The whole thing will be disassembled, varnished and painted as need be, reassembled and put away for the winter.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Another Piece of the Puzzle

After many weeks of scouring western Michigan by way of Craigslist for a suitable outboard motor, I found one today, literally, just down the road. I spotted a small outboard motor for sale in front of a neighbor's place and stopped to take a look. It was an old, beat up motor that didn't look worth the $30 "as is" asking price. But when I talked with the guy, he said he had another small outboard for sale. He showed me a Johnson 3HP outboard that looked very good. When it fired up on the second pull, I was sold.

Gardens now has an outboard.

Still looking for a trailer.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rudder Assembly Progress

The rudder hardware (RL-690-G-3, Transom Pintle and Rudder Gudgeon Set from DuckWorks) arrived this week which means I can continue assembling the rudder stock. The rudder stock is ready for gluing but before I can do that I have to clamp everything together and drill the aft holes for the lower gudgeon because those fasteners (¼" flathead machine screws) need to be counter sunk. Can't access the inside of the cheeks when the stock is assembled.

So, the stock is clamped together and ready for placing the gudgeons and marking, drilling and countersinking those two holes. It would help to have everything (stock, gudgeons, drawings and fasteners) all in the same place at the same time… but, no, I didn't have the gudgeons with me today!

I was able to test fit the rudder blade with the stock. With some very minor trimming of the top of the blade, the holes lined up and the blade fits! I had drilled holes for an up-haul and a down-haul before fitting the blade to the stock - and realized I had to reposition the down-haul hole - just in case the blade isn't weighted enough to stay down on its own.

Photo: 6678 Later in the day I picked up a ½" x 3½" hex-head bolt, four fender washers and a lock-nut to use for the rudder pivot. There is enough room between the cheeks for a plastic washer (cut from a yogurt lid) on either side of the blade and a fender washer on either side of the blade. The other two fender washers will go on the outside of the cheeks.

After too long a time of "invisible" work, it was nice to see the rudder assembly looking like a rudder assembly. Tomorrow I'll fit the gudgeons, drill the holes and assemble the rudder stock.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Not as bad as it might have been…

A string of mishaps yesterday could have resulted in a disaster… and when I left the shop late yesterday afternoon I wasn't sure what I'd find this morning. I was only half-joking when I said I didn't think I epoxied the centerboard to the work bench.

But, this morning, I was relieved to learn the CB was NOT glued to the bench and, further, things weren't as bad as they might have been. Another thing I did wrong yesterday was to leave the CB where the late afternoon sun could get to it. All the sparkles in the photo? Out-gassing bubbles from the CB warming in the sun. The CB first thing this morning:

After some careful grinding and sanding, the sparkles are gone and this is what the CB looks like now:

Those gaps around the plug have been filled and the plugs will be glassed.

One good thing to come out of yesterday's fiasco is that cross-section of the CB is thinner and more streamlined than it had been. Oh, the REALLY good thing result from yesterday is that I don't have to build a new centerboard!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

If Something Can Go Wrong… It Will

Murphy's Law was strictly enforced today…

As much as I like the work I did on the rudder sink-weight, installing the centerboard sink-weight did not go so well. Oh, the sink-weight is installed - and it is NOT going anywhere - but the process did not go smoothly at all. Epoxy voids (to be filled); epoxy where it shouldn't be (to be ground out); spilled epoxy (wiped up); a botched epoxy mix (oh, it was 2:1 - hardener to resin!) discovered before slathering it into the centerboard and more… No photos of the mess as I had just enough sense not to reach for the camera with epoxy-sticky gloved hands. Good thing I have a variety of grinding/sanding tools on hand - I'm going to need them.

On the bright side, I don't think I epoxied the centerboard to the workbench - but I won't know for sure until tomorrow…

One layer of 6 oz. fiber glass cloth was applied to the lower section of the rudder blade without much drama today.

The stray strands will, of course, be sanded out and the weave filled prior to painting.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

(More) Centerboard and Rudder Work

The sink-weight for the centerboard has been a bit of a puzzle for me. I thought 44 lb. (20kg specced in the plans) seemed like a lot. After reading some material about creating sink-weights, I thought, maybe, the plans were mistaken - that John really meant 20 lb. not 20 kg. But then the dimensions of the sink weight specced in the plans, when plugged into the formula I found, produced a weight of 44 lb. But I was hard-pressed to find a suitable mold measuring 2" x 3" by 8". What I found was a 1½" x 7" x 11" metal baking pan I decided to use for the mold. Lead was melted over a camp stove and poured into the baking pan to create a sink weight of 42 lb. Not quite the specced weight but close. The top surface of the weight isn't pretty but it will all be sealed and faired. If the CB doesn't stay down, I'll add weight…

By not using a 2" thick weight, I needed to fill space in the cavity. I "sealed" one side of the cavity with a piece of sheet metal wrapped in brown packing tape (to keep epoxy from sticking to it) and taped to the centerboard. I slathered neat epoxy on the edges of the cavity and layered a good amount of thickened epoxy over the taped sheet metal seal. A ¼" luan plug (cut to fit the cavity) was pressed into/onto the thickened epoxy followed by another layer of thickened epoxy. The sink weight was set on the thickened epoxy in the cavity and more epoxy was poured around the edges.

Thats where I left it this evening. Tomorrow I will coat the sink-weight with thickened epoxy, place another ¼" luan plug over the weight and "seal" it with the taped sheet metal backing board. Once the luan skins are sanded fair, I plan to cover the centerboard with fiber glass cloth.

As for the rudder, I am happy with the sink-weight. I plan to sand it, cover it with fiber glass cloth and fair it before painting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rudder Sink-Weight Installed

Sink-Weight. Sounds a bit awkward to me but maybe that's just because it's a term I haven't seen or heard very often. I found the term in an online item about adding weight to a foil and that author cited Jim Michalik's use of the term. So, there it is: Sink-weight and, awkward or not, it is very descriptive.

At any rate, I have installed a 10# sink-weight in Gardens' rudder blade. The weight was poured in a mold and, once cooled, epoxied into a cavity cut into the blade. Two things I didn't like about pouring molten lead directly into the cavity: the possibility of burning/scorching/charring the wood; and, the unknown affect of that much heat on the epoxy holding the blade together (it is an epoxy lamination). Photo shows the dry fit of the sink-weight.

The other component of the rudder assembly, the rudder stock (or head) is being varnished - at least partially for now. The spacers/packers have been glued to one cheek and what will be the interior surfaces are being varnished before assembly (getting to those surfaces once the head is assembled will be terribly inconvenient). Not sure what I'll do for maintenance but I'll figure that out when the time comes.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Centerboard and Rudder

The centerboard has evolved from a large laminated block of wood into a foil waiting for the addition of a sink-weight before finishing work begins.

The rudder blade blank has been shaped into a foil and could be finished (sanded, primed and painted) as it sits. However, I plan to add a sink-weight to the blade (eliminating the downhaul), so there is some work to be done. I made a sink-weight but the form I used (don't really like the idea of pouring molten lead into the blade itself) didn't hold its shape very well and I need to redo the lumpy weight that resulted.

The rudder stock/head is being assembled. The pivot holes have been drilled oversize, filled with thickened epoxy and drilled to size. The spacers/packers have been glued (but not yet screwed) to one of the cheeks. The interior surfaces will be finished before gluing (and screwing) the second cheek into place. After that, I will finish the outside surfaces.

I am considering finishing the mahogany stock/head with varnish only. I may coat the exposed interior surfaces with epoxy before varnishing but I am not convinced this is necessary.

Even though these bits and pieces take time, I am encouraged with the recent progress.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rudder Assembly Progress

The rudder blade and the four parts of the rudder stock have been cut to shape.

The rudder stock packers/spacers:

The blade and rudder stock cheeks/sides:

Rudder stock "dry fit":

There remains a good bit of work: sanding, fitting, filling & redrilling the pivot holes, aligning and fitting the rudder stock, giving the blade a foil shape, adding a sink-weight, painting, varnishing and assembling.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Woodcarving with a Grinder

Well, way back in March of last year, I began shaping Gardens' centerboard using hand planes (a block plane and a No. 5 jack plane).

Sometime after getting one side roughed out, I was distracted by other boat-building activities and never finished up with the centerboard. Today is too humid to do any epoxy work so, looking around for something to do, I decided to continue work on the centerboard. But this time, instead of using my planes, I used the 4" grinder... Grinding the lands for the planks gave me the confidence to do a little wood carving with the grinder. The sawdust produced with the grinder is not as elegant as the shavings created with the planes, but the work progresses much more quickly.

Half of the board is shaped and the other half is nearly done. I'll use the ROS with 60, 80 and 120grit paper to finish shaping the board. Then I'll create a cavity for a lead sink-weight, epoxy and cover the entire board with fiberglass cloth before prepping it for painting. Still a bunch to do but making progress.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A First For Me... Amine Blush

Working on bits and pieces, I began coating the cheeks for the rudder stock and the anchor well deck with epoxy.

The anchor well deck received two coats without any issues but the third coat had an oily/waxy film after the epoxy cured. So did the first coat on the rudder stock cheeks. I was surprised. This is the first time I've experienced this amine blush phenomenon in the eight years I've been using epoxy. Yeah, I know, "...even when you can't see it, it is there..." but, honestly, I've never experienced it before. I've never washed epoxy coatings with warm water before applying the next coat and I've never had a failure...

From what I've read, the likely culprit was this week's hot and humid conditions (although I have used the same resin and hardener in similar conditions without issue). I'll need to mind conditions a bit more closely than in the past. Still no success in finding a trailer...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Busy Summer

Nearly three months without an entry - or much boat work for that matter! But, it has been a busy summer: traveling (Colorado, three trips to Cleveland, Traverse City and Les Cheneaux Islands on Michigan's UP), biking (three long charity rides - 50, 80 and 145 miles plus almost daily riding), sailing (Dickerson Lake, Grand Haven Pirate Fest, Les Cheneaux Islands), milling lumber from downed trees on the property and planning a wedding . Huh, doesn't sound like all that much… but it has been a busy summer!
I have begun shopping for a trailer. Currently there are not many decent used trailers for sale in Western Michigan but that could change. On the other hand, I like the idea of a new trailer - I get to create (or prevent) my own troubles with lights and bearings… However, talks with two trailer dealers were less than satisfying ("We don't do sailboat trailers." "Okay, think of it as a 17' fishing boat." "Yeah, but we don't do sailboat trailers.") I am waiting on a reply from a marina up north that sells and services powerboats, sailboat AND trailers. If they can help me, it will be worthwhile to drive four hours (round trip) to get a new trailer. I'd like to get a trailer as soon as possible so we can move Gardens from the shop in Fenwick to its new home at the Farm. There are alternatives to moving the project other than a boat trailer but I think a boat trailer is my first choice. As for actual boat work, I am fabricating the rudder stock and shaping the blade. The spars are nearly done - and I have the hardware to outfit the main yard so that could happen soon. The important thing here is, work on Gardens is resuming.

Friday, May 31, 2013


There are many elements of the build under way at the same time - maybe I'm multi-tasking?

Prepping the interior for the cockpit decking and seat tops, fitting the king plank, spars, varnishing, shaping foils, working on the rudder head - and more… But then I came to a realization:

Maybe it's time to flip the boat? I mean, adding the decking and seat tops will do nothing but add weight. The shop space is already quite tight and a lighter hull will be (should be?) easier to turn - and it will have to be turned twice (once now and again when the bottom is done).

So, yes, I think it is time to roll the hull to work on the bottom. I just need to figure out how to turn the boat over safely: How much help do I need? How will the building platform need to be modified? Is there enough ceiling clearance to lift the hull mechanically and roll it "in place?" What is the bottom going to look like (how much work have I left myself)?

I have some time to figure out the answers to those questions - the earliest opportunity to roll the boat will be mid-June (traveling a bit this week, family events the first week of June - you know, life).

No boat work until next week but then the spars, varnishing, shaping foils, working on the rudder head - and more - will keep me busy while I figure out the hows of turning the hull.

Another recent realization is that Gardens isn't going to launch this summer. Too much to do, too little time - and there's no point in rushing the work. I'll just have to sail Karen Ann this summer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In the Meantime... Varnishing

Multi-tasking is the name of the game in boat-building. Epoxy work, shaping foils, building spars, sewing sails, varnishing, painting… seems that the list goes on and on.

One of my first tasks of the day (lately) is to lightly sand and varnish a few bits and pieces. The mast steps (main and mizzen), the boomkin mount and the mizzen boom are the current recipients of the daily sanding and varnish.

Varnishing of the yard and main boom will begin in the next day or so.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Remediation of Frames 1 & 2

When I lofted F-2, I misread a dimension on the drawing resulting in the notch for the top stringer being 40mm too high. I found that error when I was fitting the stringers last summer. My solution - once I found my mistake - was to cut the notch 40mm deeper to fit the stringer without cracking it. I planned to reshape the top of F-2 later.

"Later" came the other day. After checking the dimensions several times, I drew a fair curve from the top of F-2 at the cutout for the king plank to the sheer line where F-2 meets the sheer. Using a grinder, I carefully removed material until I had a shape I liked without going below the arc drawn on the port side of the frame.

A straight edge clamped to the frame was used to measure and mark points on the starboard side to match the curve cut in the port side.

I marked the curve and continued with the grinder until I was close to matching shapes. Then it was a matter of measuring, grinding and patience to get the starboard side to match the port side.

Last week I put a 19mm thick board across F-1 and F-2 and up to the stem to simulate the king plank. Where that board met the stem seemed to be too low on the stem.

I thought the fix would be to cut a deeper notch in F-2 so the king plank would pivot on F-1 and meet the stem where it is supposed to meet it. I thought cutting that notch would just be part of remediating F-2. That wasn't the case as the recut notch in F-2 would be too deep.

That left modifying F-1 so the king plank would meet the stem properly. About the only modification available was to make the notch in F-1 shallower (pushing the king plank higher). Several thicknesses of plywood were tried but the best fit was 9mm plywood cut to fit the notch. That piece was epoxy coated; then epoxied and screwed into place.

The king plank now meets the stem where it should.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A First...

A first for me and Gardens! I climbed into Gardens for the first time ever and surveyed the work to be done. There is a lot of work to be done but it was exciting to actually be inside Gardens. A new step stool for the shop facilitates getting in and out of the hull.

The current view from on board:

The "Before" photos of the interior.

The foreward cockpit deck stringers in place (but not installed - this is just for show).

Sanding doesn't show up very well in photos but I made dust and mess enough today to vacuum the hull out twice - when I began and when I finished for the day. It'll be like that for awhile but I can see, in my mind's eye, the decking and seats are not far off.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Interior Work Begins

Having done just about all I can with the first four spars (main boom, main yard, mizzen boom and boomkin) short of varnishing, I began fitting out the interior today.

The foreward cockpit deck stringers were fit but not installed. Since I was having such a good time with the planking last fall (not really but I was on a roll), I didn't fit the deck stringers or the deck before installing the third and fourth planks. So, I have to fit and install the stringers and the deck from inside the boat. That means I will need to be better organized than usual - making sure I have tools and supplies in the boat with me (climbing in and out of the boat in the shop is not going to be easy).

But, before I have to worry about fitting the decks, I have to finish (sand, vacuum, epoxy seal and paint the bilges below the decks. Yes, I began that process early in the winter but did not progress very far.

As for the spars, well, I will be varnishing them - but watching varnish dry isn't much fun and watching photos of successive coats of varnish being applied is even less fun. I'll share photos of the spars as the varnishing is completed.

As for the interior work, I will share photos as the work progresses. I forgot my camera today but didn't get too much done… Tomorrow's photo will be close enough to a "Before" shot.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spars and Main Mast Step

The spars are beginning to pile up while waiting for varnish. The Mizzen Boom, Main Boom and Main Yard are pretty much ready for varnishing. Milling and assembly of the Mizzen and Main Masts will wait until I get a new router table with router lift up and running.

The Main Yard has been tapered, its edges rounded over and the whole spar has been sanded. It weighs 7lbs (3.17kg). This is heavier than the hollow-box yard I built for Karen Ann, but this yard is, much to my surprise, stiffer. Supported at its ends, the yard deflected 16mm when 22lbs (10kg) of weight was hung from the spar's mid-point. Karen Ann's yard deflected 28mm. The difference between my gut reaction (thinking the new yard would not be stiff enough) and the data (suggesting is is) probably explains why I'm not a boat designer...

Other items being worked on:

I am building a hollow-box square cross-section blank for another new yard. This blank will be shaped to a rounded cross-section. Another yard isn't strictly necessary but there is a degree of experimentation going on in the GIS community so, while I'm at it, I'm building an extra yard for comparing different designs and techniques.

Main Mast Step: The other day I began assembling the main mast step. The photos and my description probably did little to illustrate what I was doing. Here is a photo of the mast step blank all glued up and trimmed to rough shape.

The step still needs sanding and shaping before being coated with epoxy and varnished.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday's Spar Work

Main Boom: Edges were cut to shape with a trim router. I think the flush cut bit wants to be more than a flush trim bit, the bit needs replacing or my technique needs improving. Here's how the top and bottom of the boom looked after the sides were trimmed to shape.

The those cutting marks on the top and bottom were sanded out and the edges were rounded over today. The butt joins still need fairing but the yard is shaping up nicely.

This is a "monster" boom weighing 4.55 kg (10 pounds). Compared to the Karen Ann's boom (similar dimensions and construction but with lighter materials) at 2.18 kg (4.8 pounds), the new boom is quite heavy. It is also quite stiff. A 10kg weight suspended at the mid-point of the boom caused a 6mm deflection in the vertical dimension.

Boomkin Mount: Finally assembled. The outer most blocks are being used for clamping pressure and are not part of the mount.

Main Mast Step: Assembly of the main mast step began today with the gluing of the middle staves. These two photos show the middle section of the step glued up in two parts. When spaced properly and sandwiched between the two outer sections, these two components will create the square hole for the mast to sit in. Not much to look at now but in a day or two these pieces will be part of the larger whole.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Spars... continuing

Boomkin: The shaping of the boomkin - by way of a block plane, rasp, grinder, ROS and hand sanding - continues. This is one of those projects that I can only spend a few minutes on at a time, so the progress is slow.

Main Yard: The tapers have been cut. The more wood I take out of this blank, the looser it becomes. By "looser" I mean it is less stiff. I plan to measure the stiffness - probably tomorrow - to see if what I think I see is supported by the data.

On the other hand, I also plan to build two other yards using different building methods in a search for a light, stiff yard that is simple to build and doesn't cost a fortune. I've already mentioned plans for a birds-mouth spar of appropriate dimensions. Also on tap is something I jokingly call a "four-sided birds-mouth" spar: four identically sized pieces (say, 19mm x 44mm) cut to the proper length and lap joined to create a 63mm square cross-section. This can then be planed to a 53mm (or smaller) square cross-section with 15mm (or less) thick walls or shaped into a round spar.

Main Boom: The 9mm sides have been glued to the frame and cut/trimmed to shape using a trim router with a flush cut bit.

The edges need rounding over; the plywood butt joins need some sanding and fairing; and the entire boom needs sanding before it will be ready for varnish. This boom feels significantly heavier to me than the boom I did for Karen Ann (my Goat Island Skiff). That boom has 6mm plywood sides. I will weigh the new boom and measure its stiffness once it is ready for varnish.

Main and Mizzen Mast Steps and the Boomkin Mount are slowly progressing toward completion.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spars and Related Bits

Work continues on the spars and related bits:

Boomkin: The boomkin has been cut to its rough shape. The band saw did a good job cutting the tapers - the minor irregularities of the cuts are due to operator error. The spar gauge was put to work lining off the boomkin for rounding or, more accurately, ovaling (pretty sure that's not a real word) since the boomkin has a rectangle cross-section.

Main Yard: Two 1x3s (19mm x 89mm) were ripped and planed to 19mm x 70mm. These will be glued together to form the blank for the main yard. The plans specify a 30mm x 65mm cross-section, tapered a bit on both ends, for the yard but I may not take the blank down to 30mm. I'm a bit concerned about the stiffness of this yard. My experiences with yards for the Goat Island Skiff have me thinking this yard will not be stiff enough. Since I am planning to experiment with birds-mouth spars, my first attempt will be an alternate yard. I'll have the as-drawn yard ready for varnish before I am able to experiment with a birds-mouth spar.

Main Boom: The 9mm plywood sides for the main boom have been butt joined using thickened epoxy. Once the epoxy cures, the sides will be glued to the frame.

Boomkin Mount: I fabricated the pieces for the mount this past winter but, because I damaged one piece, hadn't assembled it. Today I cut out a replacement piece, drilled an oversized hole for the mounting pin and filled the hole with thickened epoxy. Once that cures, I'll line up and drill out the proper sized hole for the pin and assemble the mount.

Main and Mizzen Mast Steps: This evening I am reviewing the drawings for the mast steps and checking my wood supplies for the hardwood needed to make the mast steps.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Working on the Boomkin

Today was a good day: sunny skies with temperatures in the low 50s brightened everyone's mood and outlook.

The boomkin blank was milled from 50mm x 90mm to 45mm x 75mm. I could have trimmed part of that 90mm on the band saw but for some reason, the saw wouldn't track to the cut line on another piece I cut. I used the thickness planer to take the blank down to size.

The centerline gauge I threw together yesterday:

Using the centerline gauge, I marked off the centerline on all four sides of the blank. Then I measured and lined off the shape of the boomkin shown in the plans.

Here is the rough cut foreward end of the boomkin, which will be pinned to the boomkin mount on the starboard cockpit seat. This will be cleaned up and the edges eased a bit.

The problem with the band saw was the tension. I didn't set it high enough the other day when I installed the new tires and guide blocks. That didn't occur to me until the end of the day - well, early enough to re-set the tension and cut a test piece (it worked!) - so I'll have to cut the boomkin to shape tomorrow.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Clear White Pine and Birds-Mouth Spars

I picked up the clear white pine for the mizzen mast and the main yard today. To answer my own question from a few days ago, there does not appear to be any difference between clear white pine and Monterrey pine. The material I picked up today looks exactly like the Monterrey pine sold as "Select" in the big box stores.

Still too cold today for effective wood-working. I was able to fabricate a "Center Line Marker" fashioned after a spar gauge but with a single pencil centered between two guide pins. When I use this simple tool I'll take photos.

In a recent WBF thread regarding building small masts, one respected poster stated the birds-mouth method is easier, faster and less fiddly than rounding off a solid or glued-up blank. I find this difficult to understand. It seems to me to be a lot of fiddly work involved in building a birds-mouth spar. This may be because I have very little experience using a table saw. But… I'm willing to learn. I am planning to try the birds-mouth method for the mizzen mast and, possibly, the main yard. Whether I use the method to build the main mast will depend on the success of my efforts with the smaller spars.

Not having a table saw is an issue. I don't have one and I have precious little experience using one. One possibility, at least for the mizzen mast and main yard, is to take the lumber to a friend's shop for ripping and cutting. I'll have to ask about using his saw and recruiting his help.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Famous Last Words...

From Wednesday's post:

"Tomorrow will be another busy day: picking up lumber, installing the new tires on the band saw, sanding the mizzen boom (will pick up 50 or 60 grit sandpaper), gluing up the blank for the main yard and milling the boomkin."

Well, okay, maybe not famous and certainly not last, but those words at the end of my last post were meant to be a preview of the next day's activities. So, here I am, two days later waiting for the good weather to return.

Rain and snow (yes, snow) kept me from picking up the materials for the main yard and mizzen mast, which means I didn't glue up the blank for the yard.

The band saw is back in operation after my wrestling match with the new tires. With the new tires and guide blocks the saw seems to be running more smoothly and quieter. The few test cuts I did were much smoother than the cuts have been. Perhaps paying attention to the guide blocks and adjusting them correctly really does make a difference. (It does, really.)

I did pick up some 50-grit sandpaper and continued work on the mizzen boom. It has been sanded with 50 and 80-grit paper and is ready for 120, possibly 150, and then varnish. Varnishing will have to wait for better conditions. Besides, I think I'd rather have several spars ready before I begin varnishing.

Milling the boomkin will have to wait for warmer weather, too. It was just too cold in the shop to work on it today.

So, tomorrow's list looks much like Wednesday's: pick up lumber, glue-up yard blank and mill the boomkin.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sanding, Materials, Parts and Supplies

The mizzen boom is nearing its final rounded shape. I knocked off the edges of yesterday's octagon, creating a roughly 16-sided shape. Then the question was, "How do I sand it round?" There are many answers to that question and good - but somewhat inconsistent - information is available on the WoodenBoat Forum. One of the more popular methods involves turning a belt sander belt inside out and powering it with a hole saw chucked into a cordless drill (sorry, that's the short version and not altogether clear). But, I experimented with that method when I built the oars for Karen Ann and I couldn't turn the sanding belt inside out… So, I decided to go lower tech with another sanding method described on WBF.

I cut a short length (about the length of a sheet of sandpaper) of 1½" PVC pipe in half lengthwise. Using double-backed tape, I taped a piece of 80 grit sandpaper to the inside of the PVC and began sanding the mizzen boom. This tool works well - and will work even better with coarser sandpaper for the initial sanding. Later I will work up to 150 grit paper to prepare the boom for varnish. For larger spars I'll use larger diameter PVC.

The blank for the boomkin is glued up and ready for milling.

Thinking about materials for the mizzen mast, I wasn't sure where I'd find 14' stock - without going back to LL Johnson for cvg DF - as the big box stores around here don't carry 1x stock in 14-foot lengths. When I built Karen Ann's mast I used pinus radiata (Monterrey Pine) ordered from the local contractors' lumber yard. This morning when I went in to order the Monterrey Pine, the counterman drew a blank. He just didn't know what I was talking about - and the guy who helped me previously wasn't in today. When I told the guy I'm building spars for my sailboat, he suggested I look at the clear white pine they have in the shed. I'm not sure what the differences are between Monterrey Pine and clear white pine, but the clear white pine is very nice, clear, not-quite-vertical grained. It comes in 10, 12, 14 and 16-foot lengths. I can use this for the mizzen mast and the main yard. I didn't have my roof racks on the Volvo so I'll have to pick up the lumber in the morning.

A quick trip to the Woodcraft Store in Grand Rapids resulted in new tires and guide blocks for the bandsaw, shop-vac fittings to use the dust port on the bandsaw and some tips for refurbishing my Stanley No. 5 Jack plane. I need the plane to be functional but not restored to as-new condition. So, it was a successful shopping trip. I'll get to work on the plane as I want to use it to work on the main mast next week.

Tomorrow will be another busy day: picking up lumber, installing the new tires on the band saw, sanding the mizzen boom (will pick up 50 or 60 grit sandpaper), gluing up the blank for the main yard and milling the boomkin.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Busy Day!

Today began with bright, clear, sunny skies and the promise of warmer temperatures. Also of note, the peepers in the pond are alive, well and loud!

At 8:00 AM the LL Johnson Lumber delivery truck arrived with the clear, vertical grain Douglas Fir and four sheets of 9mm Meranti plywood I ordered last Friday. The DF (two 20' long 1x6s ripped to 3½" along with the cut-offs) will become Gardens' main mast. The plywood will be used to build Gardens' interior.

The mizzen boom blank (38mm square), glued up yesterday, was planed to 32mm square, marked off with the spar gauge and then planed to an octagon. It was fun to use a tool - the spar gauge - that, in my mind, wasn't going to work for me. A few years ago I tried making a spar gauge and because it didn't work for me (trying to drill precisely spaced and vertical holes with a hand drill was a challenge), I was convinced a spar gauge was beyond me. Well, building one on Sunday and successfully using it today was very satisfying. I'll continue rounding the mizzen boom tomorrow.

I created the blank for the boomkin today. It is laminated from three pieces of 1x4 pinus radiata (sold in the big-box stores as "Select" grade lumber). Two pieces, each 19mm thick, sandwich a third piece milled to 10mm. This blank will be milled to 45mm x 75mm before the tapers are cut. The boomkin will then be shaped to its finished size and shape.

Depending on tomorrow's weather, I expect to get the main yard blank glued up in the morning, continue rounding the mizzen boom and mill the boomkin blank roughly to shape.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spar Work

The main boom frame is glued up. Not much to tell as it went pretty smoothly - no spilled epoxy, no giant globs of goo where they shouldn't be (hey, I even put wax paper under the frame to keep from gluing it to the spar bench!), no known disasters…

The frame will be sanded and prepped for the plywood sides. The plywood sides will be fitted and glued tomorrow.

Risers were added to the bench to make gluing and clamping spar blanks easier.

The blank for the mizzen boom was glued up today. I used two 8' long 1x2s, which glued face-to-face create a 1.5" (38mm) square cross-sectioned blank. This will be planed, trimmed, shaped and rounded to a 6'10" spar 32mm in diameter.

And, to help turn the square blanks into round spars, I (with help) made a spar gauge.

The spar gauge will be put to use tomorrow to mark the lines to turn the four-sided blank into an octagon (on its way to becoming a round spar).