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).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mizzen Sail is Sewn

I spent the weekend visiting my daughter in Chicago. We got crafty and built a platform bed for her and began repainting two dressers. Saturday's 70° weather reminded me that spring is nearly here.

Back to Central Michigan and boat work...

The sewing part of building the sail is done! Sewing sail edges will always be a challenge for me: balancing and supporting the sail feeding into and out of the machine calls for creative solutions. Two people working together made this part of the project easier than what I experienced building Karen Ann's sail. All that is left to do is install the grommets and finish off the corners with a hot knife.

The boom frame will be glued tomorrow. Wednesday I'll trim any excess goo and fit the plywood sides. It will be interesting to see how the weight and stiffness of this boom compares to the other boom designs I've built.

The weather is warming which means I can resume work in the shop.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sewing the Mizzen Sail

Over the weekend we read the SailRite instructions that came with the kit and watched the SailRite Tutorial Video on how to sew a sail.

Today we set up the sewing machine on the dining room table, sewed a few practice seams to get the tension set correctly and began sewing Gardens' mizzen sail!

This project is going so much smoother and easier than Karen Ann's 105 sq. ft. balance lug sail two years ago. Admittedly, the mizzen is only 26 sq. ft. so it is easier to maneuver and handle but my sewing is much improved, too.

I have one question to ask SailRite in the morning (didn't realize I had a question until after they closed for the day) and then I'll finish up the sail tomorrow.