Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A bunch of pictures, a 3rd Course of planks and a tiller

Fits and starts. Fits and starts. I wish the obligations of daily life would stop interfering with my building hours! Alas. Progress continues, and what follows is a random string of pictures of the work over the past few weeks. 

I'm inspired to make rapid progress at this point. I think I mentioned that we're building a new home, and I want this to be finished by the time we move in. I'm also harboring a little plan to launch my Nav in Florida when we head down there over Spring Break next April. So...6 months. But fall is in full swing here in Wisconsin, and the weather is getting colder, and cold weather, ice and snow make for longer hours in the shop, and less time enjoying Wisconsin's waterways.

So... on with the slide show.

Here I'm planing the bevels on the top edge of the 2nd course of planking and stringers to accept the bottom edge of the next plank. You can see I have scribed a line in pencil and am planing down to that line.
Here's another view of the same thing. The objective is to plane the plank and stringer down to the scribe line and close the gap between the plank and the vertical bulkhead. You can see I'm getting close at this point. I do this all by eye and free-hand, checking progress as I go with a scrap of off-cut ply. 

Current view from the step into my garage. You can see the 3rd row of planking complete. I'm fitting the starboard gunwale stringer. The port gunwale is on the floor, awaiting its fitting. You can also see I've dry-fitted the forward compartment "seat" top. This needed to be done as I was putting the 3rd course of planks on. Otherwise it would have been much more difficult to get right afterwards. I think the fun and challenging thing about building this boat is that you have to be thinking 3 or 4 steps ahead of where you're working, or it's very easy to screw and glue yourself into a corner. 
Forward port quarter view of progress. You can see I'm experimenting with phenolic microballoon-enfused epoxy as a filler on the stem sections. I got this idea from Barrett and her blog. Mix a batch of 'poxy, dump a mess of PMB's into it, and whip it up into a light "froth". Trowel it on, smooth it out, let it dry, and sand. Works great as a fairing compound. You'll see more of this once I get the boat turned over.
Front view. You can see the scribed lines on the top edge of the 3rd plank course. That's my planing guideline. I can't bevel these until I have the gunwale stringers finished, as they'll provide the final bevel angle reference point. I chose to do the gunwale stringers in 2 parts. Well...4 actually: two 8-foot length's of 20x20 poplar, scarfed into a 16' long piece. I think the samson post is too big and bulky, don't you? Need to size that down some.
Port side stern quarter, showing butt-end of planking so far. The bottom edges of the planks are not particularly fair yet. But I have a very nice little mini ebony smoothing plane that is working well to trim them. I'll get better pictures of that when I get the boat turned over. I've also clamped the rudder cheeks and blade in place. Because I want to make the tiller next, and I need to make sure the sizing is correct. 
Making a Tiller

So, I looked through the plans a few times and wasn't able to find any specific dimensions for tillers. So I measured the sketches of the finished boat that JW provides and scaled it up. I've decided my tiller will be 47" (1194mm) long with a 6.5" (165mm) rise. I will make it out of laminated Honduras Mahogany and White Oak—same as the rudder blade. Both the blade and the tiller will be 'poxied and varnished. Here are (most of) the steps:

Use a long piece of scrap wood to estimate and measure how long the tiller wants to be

Lay out a grid on a scrap piece of 3/4" ply and draw the lines of the desired shape.
Line up some cheap steel L brackets to use as clamping surfaces for the wood. 
All the the brackets screwed in place. I ran them out longer than needed.

Assemble yer laminations. Here's a stack of HM and WO in rough condition. I didn't take pictures of me running these through a thickness planer to bring each lamination down to 3/16" (5mm) thickness. But it happened. There is more wood than I will need for a tiller in this stack. I will also use it for the stem laminations and skeg.

Planed laminations, nice, clean and shiny smooth, alternating wood species for a stripy effect.

Dry-fit the laminations to make sure they can take the bend and clamp in place.
Mix up a batch of 'poxy goop. Spread unthickend across all lams, then, thicken the remaining goop with wood flour, spread that on all faces (except the outside ones), clamp it up and let it dry. Following SHOULD be a picture of me carving the laminated blank to shape with my handy spokeshave...but I didn't actually take any pictures of that :/

So here are some shots of a rough-carved tiller instead.

Voilá! A rough-carved tiller. Still needs some finessing of thickness. I want this to have some really sexy curves and a good hand feel. That will need to wait until my next shop session.  :)

Tiller protruding from between the rudder cheeks. Yikes. Can't believe I wrote that sequence of words.  Pin hole still needs to be drilled. Final shaping still pending.