Saturday, December 28, 2013

Use at your own parrell! Ha!

This will be my last post for the year as we're headed down to Phoenix for the Christmas week.

When I was down in Chicago visiting my friend Dale this past week, we stopped at an odd-lots type of store, and I came across a bin full of wooden beads with holes drilled through the center. My first thought was, "Aha! Parrell beads!" Just the right size.  And just $0.10 each?? Can you buy ANYTHING for ten cents these days?  So for a buck forty I got more than what I'll need for rigging the gaff jaws later in the build. Of course, you gotta wonder, for ten cents, are they going to break or wear down in thirty seconds?  As Dale said, you can't be the price...but use them at your own parrell!  [rimshot].

$0.10 wooden beads. 
I was happy to finish up all the cutouts for the stem, bulkheads, and transom before I left. When I get back from Phoenix, I'll have a big glue-up/epoxy day, and then make room for building the ladder frame that the boat will be built on. Then within a week or so, things will start to look more like a boat. Right now, it's just piles of odd-shaped lumber.

Lots of bulkhead parts

Meantime, I'm pretty pleased with how clean most of the cuts have turned out, and how my measurements so far are all checking out with the plans down to the millimeter. It's always a great relief when you break out the rule and verify that line X, which connects points Y and Z and which is supposed to be 137 mm long actually IS 137 mm long.

With regard to tools, I've been making good use of my Bosch jigsaw, my Ryobi band saw, and my friend Scott's Ryobi 10" sliding compound bevel miter saw. I replaced the general purpose blade on the miter saw with a nice diablo fine kerf 90 tpi blade. A good blade makes a world of difference.

I've also been putting my veritas block plane, edge plane, and a couple of small Japanese-style pulling planes for rounding edges. By the way, those Veritas blades are wicked sharp right out of the box. I sliced myself just taking it out of its protective bag!

A couple of people have asked how my shop is laid out. Pretty simple, really. I have my bench against the garage wall. I have set up a "power station" that holds the drill press, band saw, and router. I parallel to the bench I have set up a couple of saw horses with a 3/4" half sheet of ply as a cutting, measuring, gluing station. I have a wire rack with shelves full of boat-building stuff...glue, epoxy, bar clamps, paint stain, sanding supplies, cups, sticks, etc. at the other end of the garage, I have a stack of lumber and a (quickly filling) box of offcuts. Kinda nice really. It occupies one stall in the 3-car garage. And everything is close at hand.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Preliminary name and color scheme

So it's never too early to think about what the end project is going to look like, and I've got a list of about 15 "working names" at the moment. Top on the list of names is "Puffin".

Last year Karla and I were fortunate to take a trip to Iceland where one of the highlights was visiting the Puffin colonies. If you've never seen them, they're remarkable sea birds. Adorable as can be. They're a cousin of the Penguin, but unlike the penguin, they can fly, and frequent the northern climes. Look at this shot from our trip:

Are these just not the coolest birds ever?

Lots of people like to varnish their wooden boats. I like a little bit of "brightwork", but I'm more partial to the painted "working class" roots of traditional boats. I'm thinking of a scheme that looks something like this: Off white topsides and deck. A green sheer strake. Varnished rub rails, and black below the waterline. My spars will be wood, and I will go with a traditional varnish for the "working areas" AND white painted uppers on the non-working parts. Rudder and tiller will be varnished. Some people really like the look of dark, "tan-bark" sails. I prefer white, or off white. Here's my CAD sketch of what she may ultimately look like. I'm open to suggestions on both name and color scheme.

Preliminary sketch of "Puffin"

Another alternative would be a flag blue sheer strake with dark red bottom. 
A more patriotic Puffin

What do you think?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

More bulkheads...

Second day of cutting. Things are progressing much faster than I originally thought. I guess it helps when you have the right tools!

I got all the bulkheads, stem and transom rough cut, and have begun shaping the pieces to smooth out any misfires of the jigsaw.
Here's how I laid out the various parts. I think I could have made more economical use of the ply...

Working on cleaning up the jigsaw cuts on BH8. The ply looks thicker than it actually is. I doubled up the 9mm so that each side is identical. 

After all the bulkheads were rough cut, I laid them out in order on my cutting bench.  Looks funny without the proper spacing. 

Rear bulkheads and ransom 
Looking forward

You may notice on the above picture, that on bulkhead 2, there are 2 storage openings. One on each side. The plans called for only one, but I think that since the main mast will be right there, it would be awkward having to work around the mast for stowing stuff, so I made two smaller openings instead of one big one.  Also, you can see the round inspection ports on bulkhead 3. Those will ultimately have waterproof access ports. When closed they will form part of the positive buoyancy design of the boat. She may swamp, but unless there's a hull breach, she won't sink!

All the pieces are just clamped at this point. This week, time allowing, I'll work on cleaning them up, gluing them up, and adding all the various doublers and reinforcements. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

First cuts

So I got all the bulkheads drawn up in CAD and printed out at FedEx. I was pretty pleased with the accuracy. Everything is exactly spot on; angles to the decimal point, all measurements to the millimeter. I was a little worried about paper distortion, but from what I can tell everything has printed and laid out exactly as it should.

After getting all my tools handy, and rearranging the garage, today I began cutting plywood. I feel like I made good progress.
Tools include: Straight edge, mallet, countersink and sharpie. 

 In the series of pictures you can see bulkheads 1 and 2, the transom, and the stem are all roughly cut out.

The process to transfer the design from paper to wood is as follows:

I laid the paper onto the ply and trimmed the excess.

Bulkhead #2 trimmed 

I used a hole punch/brad countersink to mark the specific vector points. I used a straightedge and sharpie to connect the dots.

You can see the small countersink holes that I used to connect the dots.

Clamping the straight-edge to draw a fair curve for the top of the transom.

I used  Bosch jig saw with a clean plywood blade to cut the parts out.
I used a small block plane to trim some of the really rough edges and jaggies of the wood.

Seems like it's taking about 1 hour per piece to lay out, cut, and clean up. But these first ones are the easy pieces. Bulkheads 3-8 are more intricate. So I figure 15 to 20 hours of work before I have most of the bulkhead parts cut and trimmed.

Each of these parts will require a lot more work. Edges will need to be planed smooth to the cut lines, they'll need to be reinforced with plywood doublers in high stress points, coated in epoxy, filleted and sanded, which I will do before assembling them on the keel later on in the build process.

Parts...rough cut

Dry layout of bulkheads 1 and 2 on the composite stem

The sum of my work today. Note the 1/5 scale model compared to the full size pieces.