Sunday, February 28, 2016

Small Bits

No major work done over the last few days - but enough small bits that I feel good about the progress.

  • More sanding, of course;
  • Doublers (for boomkin mount, BH-1/king plank support, hatches, stern seat for mizzen) installed;
  • Epoxy & fiberglass applied to stern sections;
  • Main mast mock-up glued up;
  • Second coat of epoxy to inside of planks;
  • and, more sanding…

The stern section under shop light assist to the epoxy:

Oh, yeah, about 95% of Wednesday's 10" snowfall is gone! Two days of warm weather and sunshine have melted most of the snow. Mild weather is expected to continue into this week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Snow, Sanding, and Mizzen Mock-ups…

Winter weather has returned with wind and snow. Accumulation of 3"-5" this afternoon and 3"-5" more expected overnight.

It is not bitter cold so the Boat Cave is at a workable 54° and sanding has resumed. I hope I remember to be more careful with epoxy on my next build to reduce sanding to a minimum.

I've completed the mizzen mast mock-ups. Both are birdsmouth construction using pine I have stockpiled in the barn. Both are 2½" OD.

One, using 16mm x 27mm staves has an inside dimension of 41mm. The tenon x-section (28mm x 30mm) is smaller than the plug x-section, so none of the staves had to be cut for the tenon.

The second one, built with 19mm x 27mm staves has an inside dimension of 25mm. The tenon x-section is larger than the plug x-section so, when cutting the tenon, the staves are necessarily cut into (yeah, grammatically incorrect, I am sure). This mock-up is long/tall enough to help me get the mast cut-outs in the rear seat and deck just right without having to haul Gardens outside to step the mast.

The second mock-up is certainly more robust than the first, but the first one ought to be sturdy enough for the mizzen mast. And I like that the tenon is cut of a single piece. I plan to build the mizzen mast with 16mm x 26mm staves fashioned from CVG DF (which I have on hand)… as soon as the weather permits. The mast will have a slight taper to it for aesthetics.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Squirrels Are Messing With Me…

The shop is in an old barn so critters have ways of getting in and out - and I don't doubt critters have visited the shop. But I don't need reminders: Two weeks ago I found a walnut on the floor of the Boat Cave. Last week I found a walnut in the middle of the shop floor. And today I realize the squirrels are just messing with me (more on that later).

Practicing my birdsmouth cutting and building skills, I'm putting together two short mock-ups of the mizzen mast. I'm using slightly different specifications for the staves to help me decide the cross-section I want for the spar. The samples will be long enough for me to figure out the cut-outs for the mast in the stern seat and the partners.

Planning ahead, I've cobbled together rollers to facilitate handling spars when I epoxy coat and, in warmer temperatures, varnish them. Three pairs of 2" fixed castors attached to the "spar bench" support a spar. I can readily turn a spar by hand but I've crafted a crank/handle for the mast fitted to the tenon at the foot. The crank will allow a helper to rotate the mast while I epoxy or varnish.

Back to the squirrels: Yesterday I found a walnut carefully placed next to one pair of castors on the spar bench:

Proof the squirrels are messing with me.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sanding, Sanding, Sanding… and More Sanding

Sunshine and warmer (55°F) temperatures are certainly welcome and buoy the spirits a good bit. No major milestones to report but things do seem to be happening.

Lots of sanding going on toward finishing the bilges.

The operator error I noted earlier this month isn't as bad as I thought. The too-wide gap along the edge resulted from me not paying attention to fitting the panel around the chine. The chine was holding the panel too high, creating more of a gap forward of where the panel crossed the chine. Cut a little here, sand a little there and now... the panel fits well enough to use!

Two other projects, unrelated to Gardens, were completed: Simple mahogany picture frames for two pieces of Jan's artwork. Not a big deal but my miter corners and finishes are definitely improving!

I've about given up with my overly optimistic plans and time frames. Things happen when they do, not when I think they will. And sanding seems to never end!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Warmth, Epoxy and Experimenting

Back in business with a full tank of propane and a warming Boat Cave…

The undersides of the seat panels were coated with the first coat of epoxy late this afternoon and should be ready for the second coat in the morning.

The rigging plan calls for six cheek blocks for reefing lines and lazy-jacks so I've been experimenting with making my own.
The sheaves are from Duckworks and the wood is from the scrap bin. The white oak sample looks better to me than the CVG DF sample. Four of these to the boom, two on the mast. I need to do a bit of reverse engineering to get the drilling, cutting and shaping to a workable sequence (as evidenced by the off-center fastener!). I also want to find better looking machine screws - maybe pan head. Or maybe just a bit more thickness to better counter-sink the fastener.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


We had a bit of excitement over the weekend: two bald eagles spent nearly an hour in our back yard Saturday afternoon! They are spectacular! It was fascinating to watch the eagles sit, fly a short loop and resettle in a tree before repeating the cycle while they visited. The small birds didn't seem to pay much attention (the small birds disappear when a hawk is in the area) but we saw no squirrels while the eagles were in the yard (usually there are up to a dozen squirrels around - but not when a hawk is near). Sorry to say I have no useable photos.

The last few days have been colder… Down to 1°F on the back deck this morning (translates to 10°F in the Boat Cave). The propane tank ran empty on Friday so I couldn't test the heater against the weekend's low temperatures), so there's been no boat work over the last few days. The forecast is promising warming temperatures this week and I'll refill the propane tank, so I expect to get back to work on Gardens in the next day or so.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

More Cold, Doublers and Hardware

Back to real winter weather: 18° F with NW winds @15, so not too much real work happening over the last few days. The heater is good and the wind doesn't blow through the Boat Cave, but it is a losing struggle to take the chill off, let alone bring the temperatures up to a decent working level.

The doublers for the seat-front access hatches are cut and fit but I'll wait for more warmth before installing them with epoxy. A lesson learned while sanding the cut-outs in the doublers: the spindle sander (that rather innocuous power tool) can cause injury (not severe injury)… I'll live but I have a really sore thumb!

I replaced the ½" bolt and Nyloc boomkin pivot with a ½" Clevis pin and clip:

I think the Clevis pin/clip will be easier/more convenient to rig than the bolt/nut combination.

Spending a bunch of time indoors wasn't wasted. I'm helping out a bit with the Saturday Night Special project for the Texas 200. Checking the outfitting list for the SNS also had me checking the hardware list for the Pathfinder and comparing that list with what I have on hand. Now I have a shopping list for the bits and pieces needed to rig Gardens.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Paint and Hatches

Today felt more like March than February. The sunshine and mid-40 temperatures were a surprise as the forecast called for cloudy and cold. It was great!

The anchor well has been painted - but at least one more coat of paint will be needed.

Work has begun on access hatches. Well, actually, the work is to install doublers so the fasteners don't go through the plywood (creating annoyingly sharp snags on the back side).

An 8" hatch in the middle of the stern seat provides access to the lower pintle fasteners and storage.

The port and starboard compartments at the stern will be sealed and not used for storage.

Doublers are being added for the hatches in the cockpit seat-fronts. These doublers should have been added when I built the seat-fronts but that was then (and I didn't even think about it) and this is now.

There will, obviously, be more paint and more hatches!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Operator Error and a Question

Interesting - and strange - result from yesterday's adventure using a tick-stick to mark-off one piece of the foreword platform deck. I used the same stick, the same type of foam-core for the pattern and the same technique I used for the seat panels. But there is nearly a 1" gap - much too wide for epoxy to fill - between the hull and the deck panel. The gap is not consistent: wider in some places than others but it is certainly annoying that I am unable to use this bit of ply (yes, it will be used for other items)! I have no idea why/how this happened (other than operator error) but I do know that I now have another (much pricier) pattern piece to use with the tick stick tomorrow.

After a bit more tweaking, I'm satisfied with how the king plank fits with the stem, BH-1 and BH-2. The anchor well, however, has not yet been painted so the king plank has not been installed.

I've been pondering a question for some time now: Cockpit drain tubes? Necessary or nice-to-have? Drain tubes are not shown on the plans (unless I'm badly mistaken) but I know a number of builders have installed them.