Monday, October 27, 2008

Rudder blade

I Mixed up 2 batches of epoxy glue and laid down my rudder blade in my holding jig. There was no wax paper in the house and i just didn't bother, so I reused some old grocery bags, just to keep the whole thing from sticking to the jig, now that would be embarrassing.
The clamping was easy and I could access both sides to scrape off the excess glue. That will make the shaping work that much easier when the time comes.

The mask is comfortable so I don't mind using it. It's not like there's much odor, but the thought of developing a reaction leads me to error on the side of caution.

With time to spare in my evening I set up my router and tweaked my settings for making my mast sections. I cut a short piece and ran a test run of the setting. All worked fine. As I mentioned before I left just a little bit of an edge so the router bit didn't run too close to the top.

When the rudder blade and Centerboard are done that will be the next task. But after. I'm going to make some mess shaping these two items. And it will take some time.

Time: 1 hr

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Summers End

Ah Yes, Fall. A heavy frost blanketed the ground this morning. A moose has been eating some young limbs from one of my Maples. I didn't even know they'd eat that sort of tree. I've spotted a Female and a yearling around, and my neighbor has had much of his garden trampled by the creatures. But at least it's not bears sniffing around for food.
A few flakes of snow has even fallen this week. As normal we usually get a light dusting of snow around Halloween. Cold days indeed to be out in an open boat. All the boats have been taken out of the water at the marina now. Time to shut things down for the long winter ahead.
My planks sitting outside need to come in very soon. Their not drying now with this frost and colder temperatures.

Centerboard & rudder blade jig

I Spent a while cutting all the pieces of 20x30 for the rudder blade as well as the remaining pieces of 20x60 for the centerboard. A fair bit of wood gets eaten up in making these two items.
I've seen other builder sites where the person laid down their wood and clamped flat. I've done that before, but having the clamp on only one side, cause the assembly to "cup" a little. I wanted to be able to access both sides of the assembly while I'm gluing (mostly to scrape off excess glue being squeezed out).
The answer, this jig. I made it from a couple of old pine veneer doors from a kitchen renovation project several years ago. I never had the heart to throw out all that wood thinking someday I might need some. Here's one use.

I cut the slots and assembled it square. Though I will fasten it to the table when I start gluing. I don't want to induce a twist in the assemblies, what would be worse than a cup in the profile. I did a dry run in placing all the pieces in proper order, (not all pieces of wood have the same grain) and then numbered them in order of placement.

Time: 3 hrs (cutting nearly 40 pieces of wood to same size, and building a jig)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Transom Experiment again

I wasn't about to give up on figuring out how to epoxy over stained wood. I applied some water based stain on a scrap piece of wood (AGAIN!) and applied after drying, epoxy solvent to one side and leaving the other alone.The color on the left I liked better than first attempt at the transom. I then applied the epoxy. The results were pretty good. the untreated side was a little uneven but it passed the test in my view. Next TRANSOM EXPERIMENT No.2

The Transom got the stain applied. Solvent washed. Then coated in epoxy with a foam roller.I think that will do the trick. The first coat is on. Now that it has a coat of epoxy I'll leave it alone and concentrate on the other parts of the boat. My intention was to protect the wood from any marks that might ruin it. Mission accomplished!

Time: 1 hr

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Birds mouth method

A friend was over last evening and I showed him my birds mouth router bit set. Curious to see how it all works, we took a couple of scrap pieces of pine and set up the router. Both of us were pleased how nicely it fit and what possibilities these bits open up for building things.
To avoid any unevenness on the thin edge of the cut, I might set it up so theres a bit of a tongue left over (as in picture) after cutting and fitting to be planed off in the rounding process. I sketched out my mast dimensions as well as the boom and gaff.

Another test

The test pieces using oil based stain then epoxy, and the oil based stain then epoxy solvent then epoxy, failed. As you can see, the stain only yielded the same horrible results as the first time around. I haven't given up on the idea completely of staining and epoxy coating my transom though. I picked up some water based stain/dye, and started yet another test. applied the stain on same kind of wood, one side will get a epoxy solvent treatment before the epoxy, the other side just stain and then epoxy. I shall soon see what happens.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Transom part 4

I waited a couple of days before I attempted to do anything to the transom and it's problem. I sanded a small area to see if i could remove the epoxy and the stain without ruining the wood.
The results were promising.So this morning I went at it. Sanded with 40 grit until I got down to the wood, and changed the sandpaper regularly to get rid of the stain.
It looks pretty good I think. But how I will proceed from here is the question. I have a couple of test pieces of stained wood prepared again. Trying out things to see what caused the epoxy fish eyes. A bit of an experiment as much as deciding how to prepare the transom. But I have other things to do as well, so on to it.
I cut the rough lumber from the maple I cut this past summer. These pieces are for the centerboard leading edge. I managed to fill my dust bag under the saw from all the cutting in the past couple of days. I measured the mast cut lines on my spruce that lay outdoors as well.
Time: 4 hrs. (2 sanding and preping transom, 2 measuring and cutting centerboard wood)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Centerboard case

I will give the transom another day to completly cure so I can sand freely without clogging the sandpaper. Meantime, I have a center case to start.
My home sawn maple is nearly dry enough so I began cutting some of it for the center case packers. The maple cuts like metal in the table saw and chop saw. very hard stuff. But it will take the epoxy glue and screws very well I think. No doubt pilot holes will need to be drilled for the screws when the time comes. Only the rough lengths have been cut and planed to the width and thickness. I also rough cut my center case side panels this evening. The panel is 1/2" thick not 3/8" as in the plans. I feel more comfortable with that thickness. Adjustments are to be made in frames and keel slot for this.
I have not seen a detail of the lifting block for the centerboard. Though I know a pulley is needed. I'll likely have a fixed deck mount pulley on the forward face of the case for the rope to come over the top without chaffing.
Time: 1 hr

Troubling times

Though this blog is primarily about me building this boat and the adventures after, I can't help but comment on whats happening around me with regard to politics and the economy.
So as I expected, We had an election here in Canada, and voted for a minority Conservative government. So that means we'll have another election in about a year after the liberals choose a new leader, likely Micheal Ignatieff, or possibly Justin Trudeau (highly unlikely) or even Frank Mac.
South of me in the US... What can I say, their economy is about to hit a major recession or worse.
Their current government is spending like drunken sailors driving the country deeper in debt which is how the whole thing started in the first place, on a consumer level. And the winner of that election (Obama) will likely be blamed for the mess to follow. Tax increases that will be needed to pay for the "Stimulus packages" and there will likely be 2 or 3 versions of these money handouts, will make him more unpopular. He will be charged with the unhappy duty of fixing the huge mess with their debt and economy. And suffer politically for it. Best of luck to him.

But the US is no longer alone, many countries are trying to plug the hole in their banks. All the while their mere feet from the jagged rocks and the boat has no oars. (sorry I couldn't help myself). The Canadian economy will do a little better, but Oil and commodities are our strong and our weak points. So were in for a rough ride too. I wouldn't be surprised to see oil temporarily hit $60 a barrel. That will hurt the Oil Sands projects and people who work for them. Many from Newfoundland. Rough seas ahead I fear.
But I have a load of lumber, epoxy and plans to follow, I'm a contented builder.
That's my spin. But what do I know eh, I'm no economist.

Setback #1

I put my first coat of epoxy on the transom last evening. The results were less then encouraging.
What appears to be "fish eyes" or the like is on the epoxy. This is a clear indication of contamination. The problem is not on the whole thing, but it is on about 2/3 of the transom. I don't think the stain was the culprit, but rather the wood conditioner I applied before the stain. When I seen the epoxy avoiding all these spots, my first reaction was to light it all on fire after hacking it all to bits with my axe. (refer to the TLC I gave it the day before).... but after a couple of seconds, knowing I could do nothing about it now, I started to come up with possible solutions.
1/ Once the epoxy cures, I could sand it down to near wood, clean it with my epoxy brand solvent, then apply a fresh test coat to a previously troubled area.
2/ If this fails to cure the problem, I'll have no choice but to sand the whole thing down to the bare wood. (thus sanding away stained area) And apply the solvent and epoxy, and forget about the transom being varnished. (painted hull color instead)
3/ If I still want a brightwork transom, I would need to glue a panel of mahogany on the back. likely in strips. Something for me to keep in mind, depending on how this plays out.

The evening wasn't a total loss though. I used the leftover epoxy to put a coat on 2 frames. "Eppiglass 9000" soaks into wood quite well.

Time: 30 min, (another 30 min with a coffee in hand staring in disbelief at my poor transom)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I placed my order with the find folk at Duckworks in TX last evening. The value of the canadian dollar has been dropping quickly lately and I need the sails anyhow.
Egyptian Cotton colored. 5.5oz Dacron.
2 rows of reef points
3 pairs of telltales.

I ordered the heavy sailcloth since I do sail the north atlantic. We get either fog or high winds.
the EXTRA reef points will let me stay out and enjoy the good winds without taking on too much sail area.

Transom Part 3

I cut my top stringer notches in the transom. Now I am to the staining preparation. I cut my hole for the tiller (hopefully in right place) and sanded the outside with 80 grit, then 120.

I sanded the last run with 220 grit sand paper on a sanding block my friends dad Maxwell Sr. made. A fantastic sanding block and I reserved the honor for the transom. The transom is a very visible part of the boat and I want a good job done. The 220 brought the wood to a fine sheen. very nice. (thanks for the kind gift Mr. Patten)
Since it is a softwood, I used a wood conditioner and waited 30 minutes before I applied the stain.
The stain was applied and left to soak for about 10 minutes. I tried a test piece earlier but the 20 minutes was too long and a dark color was the result. The picture is a little deceiving. It is a lighter shade that it appears.

Time: 1hr

I finally got excited about the project this evening. Seeing the transom turn out well and knowing that i'm out of frame production and into other parts. Once I laydown a layer of epoxy in this transom it's on to the centerboard.

Frame #3

I now have my drill press up and running. So cutting the drain holes in the frames is that much easier than by hand. I also have sanding drum attachments for it.

I used a hole cutter that comes from a door lockset jig. The size is just right for the drains.
The frame is in one piece right now. I will cut it when I install it on the building jig.
Time: 30 min.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The mess that is my workshop

I see pictures of clean workshops and wonder "Do the owners actually use them?"
I use mine a great deal. But space is limited and some is dedicated to storing stuff that has nothing to do with my projects. Car racks, coils of house wiring, gardening tools, used motor oil, my 250 gallon home heating oil tank, car ramps, gas powered weed whacker, cross country skis, old doors, pine siding, scaffolding, and oh yeah a 16ft cedar strip canoe up in the ceiling. This is aside from my tools and storage units. In that try to fit a 17'-4" sailboat. My god what am I thinking!

I'll need to make some serious effort soon to clean up the mess and clear out my "boat shop".I'll need all the space i can get when I scarf and splice the keel, and set up the building frame. Tonight though i'm setting up my new drill press. I've held off getting one for years but I see too many areas where it can help. An early Christmas gift i've been told. Thanks mom. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Frame #5

Frame 5 will be located at the rear (aft to those salty seafolk) of the centerboard case. I glued the seat supports, then followed up with cutting the last stringer slots. The seat supports are on the opposite side of the frame than whats shown. Other than the transom, Frame #5 was the simplest to build. Not that the others were any challange. This one just seemed simple where it needed no holes or considerations.

Time: 1 hr

Frame #6A

I glued the extra bits on the frame last evening. Then cut my stringer slots, trimmed off the excess wood and sanded the frame this evening.
This shot shows the temporary upper rib. It will be removed after the planking is on.

The portable work table is getting a bit crowded. Soon time to clean up a bit.

The cockpit drains will be added after the frame is installed along with the transom.

Time: 1 hr

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Frame #2

Frame #2 now finished construction. Again, no epoxy coating until just prior to installation. I never cut the center section out until I was done with adding the bottom and top pieces for floor etc. The double thick cross member for supporting the deck is quite strong. And the whole frame is straight and solid. All finished exposed edges got rounded off with the router. Typical for all my frames.

Time: 1hr

Frame 1

I've completed construction of frame #1. The tabs on the sides are oversized so I can trim them when I install the stringers and planking. There's been some discussion on the forum about gaps at this area so I figured I'd be ahead of the game a bit. I've marked where the stringers should go. These odd shapes were scrap from the holes cut in the stem spine section.I Won't coat the frames in epoxy until just befor I glue/screw them into place on the building jig. I have also yet to cut the hole for the forward round hatch. Likely it will be 8" diameter.

Transom Part 2

I found some time to cut the mid level stringer slots and mounted the ribs to the transom.The upper and chine stringer slots will be cut when I mount it to the keel.

With the left over glue i covered the screw holes. These slots are now 1" (25mm) thick. Plenty of depth to safely screw the stringers in place.

The transom is made from spruce, a light color. Too light. So I plan to stain the wood a nice mahogany color. So I grabbed a couple of scraps of transom leftovers and experimented. The one on the left is untreated with the stain left to soak for a time. the one on the right has a wood conditioner and then the stain was applied then wiped off moments later.

The one on the left appeals more to me. But I haven't made up my mind on it. So i'll let it sit a while and maybe do a few more small tests.

Time: 1hr

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I am going to part with John Welsfords plans a little and have my motor mounted on the outside of the transom instead of in a motor well inside the cockpit. In doing this I need to beef up my transom a little. So instead of using 9mm (3/8") I'm using 5/8" ply.I'm making the side mounts for the stringers thicker as well (1") total. If I intend to use any stainless eyes at the back for strapping to the trailer I'll be mounting them through these 1" side pieces.
I used the same method for sanding opposite pieces of framework. Clamping them together and sanding with my belt sander to start. Then finish sanding and routing the exposed edge with a 1/2" round bit.
I'll cut my stringer notches and epoxy/screw in place tomorrow.
Time: 1 hr.