Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Shop Space

Spent yesterday and today building a new deck-floor for the Shop. And... I'll spend tomorrow finishing up - I ran out of steam this afternoon. The update is posted to The Shop page.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Skeg Timbers and Other Materials

I found an old 17' length of 2x6, which really does measure a full 2" x 6", in the potting shed and figured it could be cut down and used to fashion the skeg. The fact that it is old and has numerous nails sticking out of it wasn't a concern - until today.

Those old nails (there are about 30 of them in the board) are not coming out of this old wood without a higher power of persuasion than I can muster. Cutting the nails out pretty much destroys the board - at least as far as using any part of it for the keg.

But, that cache of timbers I found a couple weeks ago is even better than I first thought. There are white oak 2x4s (actually measuring 1¾" x 4¼") ranging from 5' long to nearly 9' long. There are pine timbers, 1¾" x 4", and nearly 8' long. There are three 20' long 2x6 (not old, dimensional) boards (could be a mast in there…) Other shorter, pieces - some nearly 12" wide and better than an inch thick - may not be useful for Gardens but could certainly find new life in other projects.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Looking Ahead to August

Okay, so the marathon won't be finished this year. But, there are sailing plans afoot which will provide interesting comparisons of three different boats and motivation to complete Gardens.

The first two weeks of August will see my sister and her husband taking their ComPac PicNic Cat, WildCat, to McKay Bay in Les Cheneaux Islands in Michigan's Upper Peninsula at the top of Lake Michigan. Joining them will be our cousins from Austin, Texas bringing their Potter 19(name unknown). We will join them with Karen Ann, our Goat Island Skiff.

While no one admits to being competitive, we all are… so there will be some spirited sailing. The GIS, generally speaking, sails away from the PicNic Cat in most conditions but I must admit that I favor lighter air (in which Karen Ann excels and WildCat does not). In heavier conditions, I am less comfortable with the Goat (hence Gardens) and WildCat handles stronger winds better than I do. The Potter 19 will probably outsail WildCat in all conditions but light air should, again, favor our Karen Ann. We'll see…

Sailing in McKay Bay, August 2013:

In the meantime, I will be working diligently on Gardens so that next year we'll be ready for the McKay Bay outing and other adventures. I'll also check Karen Ann for any maintenance, cosmetic or refitting needed to take her sailing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

From A Sprint To A Marathon

When I began building Gardens in the late fall of 2011, I had great plans and expectations of completing and launching her in the Spring of 2013.

Then a funny thing happened in February 2012. Oh, not funny "Ha-Ha" or even funny "Peculiar" - just funny as in an unexpected turn of events…

I attended Sail Havasu that February - and learned a great lesson in humility - but that wasn't the funny thing. When I returned to Michigan I resumed volunteering in the local Food Kitchen. While prepping the noon meal, the leader of the group asked, "Bob, have you met Jan?" And that was IT… even though we didn't realize it was so that day, that was the day the "funny thing" began. We've been together ever since.

So, what does all this have to do with boat building? Life is so dynamic that a small change here or a funny little thing there has a great impact on everything else, including plans and expectations. That February meeting, although we didn't recognize it at the time, changed building Gardens from a sprint into a marathon. And I don't regret it at all.

Looking back on earlier posts, I realize I have been busy getting ready to do this or do that but precious little actual boat building. While family affairs continue to arise - and we'll be traveling a good bit more this summer - I am content to experience life and work on Gardens when I can. Late this summer and into the fall, Gardens will progress toward completion with an eye to launching in the spring of 2015.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


These distractions are the good kind…

Twin grandchildren (a girl and a boy) arrived this week! All fingers and toes accounted for and everyone is healthy.

A 2011 Ford Escape has replaced the 1990 Volvo wagon as my everyday, utility and tow vehicle. The Volvo is a classic but the Ford should be a bit more reliable - it is certainly more comfortable.

Building out the shop (not really a distraction) is progressing. The space is nearly empty - and will be before the sand/gravel fill arrives to level out the floor. I discovered another cache of old wood in the barn, too!

Michigan weather is warming - be it ever so slowly - and it won't be long before I can work with epoxy in the barn! While serious boat building work has not yet resumed, the pieces are falling into place and I can see progress on the horizon...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Modified Bird's Mouth Method

Thanks to Joel's comment last week referring me to the Modified Bird's Mouth Method, I looked it up on Duckworks. The modification involves cutting the V-notch a little differently: the notch is cut so the corner of the next stave nests flush with the upper tip of the V (placing the point of the V below the center of the stave). This minor change results in less waste and a thicker wall for the spar. These results are clearly illustrated in the article.

I plan to use the Modified Bird's Mouth Method when I mill, assemble and shape the spars for Gardens. Unfortunately, beginning the spars will be delayed until after Memorial Day as we have some (good) family business to attend to (and I will not have much time for boat building or wood working.) It sure seems to be taking a long time for me to get to these spars...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Yard Mock-Up

Clean-up of the soon-to-be shop space is proceeding…

In the meantime, the router table and drum sander have found a home in the garage.

Since I can't be cleaning all the time, I decided to build a mock-up of the yard (sort of practice for the yard, boom and masts to be built for real…). The staves for the yard measure 10mm x 16mm (about 3/8" x 5/8") - so I figured a practice round was a good idea to see how these small pieces would work. I rough cut the staves to 15mm x 19mm and ran them through the drum sander to sneak up on the finished dimensions. What I learned is that I can cut them closer to the final dimensions and save some time on the sander. The staves were then notched on the router table. Gluing these small staves was actually easier than I expected it to be - but I'm still wondering about gluing such small cross-section pieces that will be 12' long.

The plug came home from the store as a 1" x 1" square dowel (hey, that's what they call them at the store…), which wasn't quite square, measuring 24mm x 25mm.

A few passes through the drum sander squared up the dowel at 23mm. Then, using a chamfer bit in the router table, I milled the square dowel to an octagonal plug.

The plug fits the hollow in the spar section with a small gap between the walls of the spar and the plug. Thickened epoxy will fill the gap.

Today's experiment showed me that the small cross-section of the yard staves is not a problem and work can begin on the yard.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Time (finally!) To Get Busy

With the weather (slowly) improving, the list of things to do is getting longer:
  • Set up to turn Gardens
    • Lifting system (similar to Rik's)
    • Building platform (something to support the hull once it is turned)
  • Spars
    • Mill staves for mizzen mast, main yard and boom (band saw & drum sander)
    • Notch staves (router table)
    • Glue/Assemble (temporary spar bench)
    • Plane & sand to shape
  • Shop Set-Up: From this…
to a functioning shop... soon... Time to get busy!