Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yes it's oak

Yeah so I didn't like the sanding swirls that i could see on the transom. The epoxy finish was ok, but I wasn't impressed with my sanding before the stain. I plan not plan to paint the transom so something will need to be done. So I used a heavy grit sandpaper to rough up the finish. I found a nice piece of 1/4" oak ply, cut it to shape and glued it to the face of the transom. I then applied a coat of epoxy to seal it.

Unfortunately in the process my trusty 15 year old Dewalt palm sander crapped out. I checked the brushes and were fine so I'm guessing its the motor finally giving up. I'll take it apart later to check it out more thoroughly.

Time: 1 hr

Epoxy day

I cut the centerboard case packers to the correct shape. I also applied a layer of epoxy to the inside of the center case for cloth later on.

The Rudder case was sanded even on all sides and matching holes drilled for the pivot bolt. A layer of epoxy was then applied all over.
An additional layer of epoxy was applied to the rudder blade. I figure one more layer on the whole unit after a light sanding will do the trick.
I used the left over epoxy to give a coat the the centerboard around the lead slug.

Time: 2 hrs

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fiberglass cloth order

I ordered my fiberglass cloth and tape today from the fine folk at Duckworks.
I ordered enough to put down 2 layers on the bottom, and a generous amount of left over for the centerboard, anchor well, and other reinforcements. There's precious few sandy beaches in Newfoundland, so I'll need more bottom protection than normal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rudder case part 2

I glued my packers to one side and let it cure. Then sanded the faces flush with each other. All the inside faces of the rudder case was given a coat of epoxy. Once dry, I then glued the other side of the rudder case in place. A 1/4" drill bit was used in the pivot holes to make sure I had both sides aligned properly. Before final gluing I dry clamped the pieces together and test fitted my rudder blade, just to be sure everything moved smothly.
Once the epoxy is set, I'll shape/sand the outside edge of the case on the belt sander so both halves are even etc.

Time: 1 hr

Centerboard Part 4 (Lead pour)

The pouring of the lead slug insert for the centerboard was in my mind a big job. I never did it before and got some input from people who have. And the collection of lead I had was certainly enough. double the amount infact. I set up my small casting plant out in my Greenhouse. It was pouring rain, windy and cold. An enclosed space might be a cause for concern for some familiar with molten lead. But I have a fan in my greenhouse, all the vents were open as was the main door, not to mention my respirator being on through the process. I borrowed a Lobster burner from a coworker. quite capable of the task. That hooked to a 20lb propane tank and I'm all set.
I set up 2 work horses in the new casting plant, and leveled them. I placed the centerboard on it and leveled that in both directions. (I wanted the lead not to spill from any low corner) Taking an idea form Rick Coreless in BC. I screwed a panel on the underside of the centerboard to make a "bottom" to my area to be cast. It will be removed after the lead cools.
The melting of lead in a stainless steel pot went very smoothly. I used welders gloves and a large pair of gripping pliers to carry the pot. In all it took me 2 hours to complete. Only an hour of work, the rest was set up time. The bottom wood panel sizzled a little but the Epoxy helped protect the wood a great deal I think.
(as a side note, at this stage, I added 6 #10 stainless screws around the perimeter at the middle of the pour. This was to hold the lead in place once it cooled and shrank a little)

Once it all cooled I removed the back panel. It must have been a tight fit because there were no leaks. I used a spokeshave on the top side to plane it down to be flush with the rest of the centerboard. A bit of elbow grease to cut that much down, but A blade on a power plane it much more expensive than on my spokeshave. All in all a fun morning of casting and shaping. A productive day.

Time: 4 hours (including set up time)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

+40 hours

I did a rough calculation on hours spent on this project. I broke the 40 hour mark and am closer to 50 hours since the start. One regular work week. Not bad I guess. But based on a 250+ hour project, needless to say I have a ways to go. I need to put in about 8 hours a week to be on the water by next summer. No pressure. If I'm not on the water by then, there's nobody to blame but myself. I visit the John Welsford boat Forum regularly to look at the posts and pictures of the many great boats being finished by backyard builders. It gets me motivated at these early stages when there's not a great deal to show for the hours spent. People come by and ask to look at the boat... I show them the pile of boat parts in the corner. I explain and They nod with that glazed look you see when they have no clue to what your describing to them. But their polite and don't interrupt. My wife is the best. She comes down when I call, to take pictures, and listens to me explain what I'm doing. She gets the tell tale glazed look, but you wouldn't know by her excited responses and questions. She knows how much I've wanted to do this for so long and don't want to dampen my fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rudder Case part 1

With the centerboard ready for it's lead slug. I moved onto building the rudder case. Using my template I cut the side pieces with the jig saw some days ago. I then sanded and gave the inside a coat of epoxy. They are only rough cut to approximate shape. (the final shaping will come after packers are glued in place) For the middle packers I needed to make them from two pieces of wood. The Maple I have is not wide enough to make in one piece. With a lot of sawing and belt sander work I managed to get the basic shape before I quit for the night.
When I glue the packers to one side of the case I'll sand them all flush before I glue the opposite face in place. I continue to check to make sure the rudder blade will fit loosely into the case.
Time: 2 hrs

Centerboard part 3

Over the weekend I only managed to steal away for an hour or so. In that time I carved out the notch area for the lifting tackle on the centerboard.
My router was mounted in the router table and set up for the birds mouth mast construction. So I didn't want to mess up my settings for saving a few minutes. So I grabbed my chisel and started carving. The pine made it look easy.

Once both sides were cut I prepared for the next step.... cutting a large hole right in the middle of my work of art centerboard (to me anyhow) Before I chickened out I picked up the drill and bored 4 holes to mark the corners of the hole. Then cut the block out with the jig saw. I'll later coat the sides in epoxy to seal it up some.

The pouring of the lead slug will be this weekend. I'll try out my camp stove for melting the lead in 2 stainless pots I "acquired" Lead melts at a pretty low temperature so I think it will work. All my safety gear is in place as well. The only thing I need is a pair of welders mitts, and I'll borrow them for this weekend.

Time: 2 hrs

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rudder blade part 3

I had some spare epoxy left over from coating the centerboard. So I gave the rudder blade it's first coat. I have yet to drill out the pivot hole to final size and coat in epoxy. I'll likely use a 3/8" through bolt. Not for strength, but for larger surface area to pivot around and easier to epoxy coat inside hole. The pull up and drop down lines won't be under much stress so a small rope will be used. I'll also use a wing nut to tighten the blade up. (I had this on a previous boat and liked it) The end of the bolt will have a lock nut just to ensure that the wing nut never gets lost.

Too good to be painted in my opinion.

Centerboard 2

The centerboard got more shaping today. A heavy grit disk grinder, belt sander and palm sander did all this work. I flipped the centerboard over many times to ensure the profile was the same on both sides. The profile was finished shaped before I cut the curve at the bottom. I then scribed a line 2" from the edge. This was the end of the rounded part near the leading edge.I again used the grinder and belt sander to rough the general shape and finish off general shaping with 40 grit on the palm sander.I checked and rechecked with my template across the centerboard and a straight edge down the length. Finding small high spots etc. All these were rough sanded then fine sanded.

Once I was satisfied with the shape, I marked out the cutout for the lead insert. I applied a first coat of epoxy on one side. Once the epoxy sets, I'll turn it over and coat the other side.This will soak in and allow for good adhesion of the fiberglass cloth/epoxy later on.

I'm pleased with the results of the boards shape. The maple is hard and heavy and once covered in epoxy really looked nice. Too bad it will get several layers of fiberglass cloth and paint once complete. The pivot hole will be drilled when the centerboard case is ready. The notch where the lifting lug is attached is yet to be cut as well.

Time: 4 hrs

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A little sailing story

This space was for a story I wrote about a weekend sailing trip with the family, but it never got finished published. Until March 2009 (leap frog back through time)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I managed to get down to the workshop for a short while this evening. The centerboard is the next big carving project. A great deal of wood has to be removed, and half of it is rock hard maple.
I cut off the over size and squared the end where I will scribe the profile. The profile in the drawing is larger than the centerboard cross section so I will adjust it some. It tapers to a narrower cross section at the bottom anyway so no big deal. I scribed my center lines and where the centerboard profile stops. The centerboard was clamped to the table and I began what will likely be several evenings of shaping with the planer, grinder, and sanders. But I'm in no rush. If it turns out half as good as the rudder blade I'll be happy.
With winter quickly approaching and already one day of slick roads, I went to my local garage to get my winter tires installed. What does that have to do with my boat? This!About 60 lbs of lead wheel weights that will be melted down with my other small batch of lead for the centerboard counterweight. Its my little contribution to recycling/reusing. $10 for this and I can go back for another pail.
Time: 1 hr

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shaping softwood the dirty way.

I Have an angle grinder that I use for many functions. Cutting steel, grinding steel, and any heavy duty shaping of most materials. But it has taken on a new task in my workshop as of late.
A couple of years ago I set to make a couple of puddle boats for my 3 nephews. Like the ones I used to chop out of a piece of wood when I was a kid... only better. These were to be toys for boys so they had to be a bit on the sturdy side, and float properly.

I sketched up some basic plans and built them from laminated pine. The hull is hollow in the center and more so up front. I floated the first one in the laundry tub just to make sure it was balanced. The shaping of the front was to be the biggest challange. I used a 30 grit sanding disk on the grinder and clamped the block of wood in the bench vice. I went gentle at first only taking off small gouges, but with practice I was able to take of large swaths of wood in a single pass.

NOTE: A grinder equiped like this can ruin a piece of wood in a heartbeat if held in place for more than a moment. It's like a torch to a candle.

The exercise worked very well and the boats were fun to build and hand over the the boys. Yes they float at the painted water lines. Were else.

Rudder Blade Part 2

I went down to my workshop this morning to move to the next phase of the boat build. Shaping the rudder blade. It's been sitting in the jig for several days and its time to set it loose. I had A coffee in my hand and my Ipod was belting out some music over the old shop speakers. It's days like these I love working on my boat.
The glue has set and it's now time for the real work to begin. I broke the rudder blade blank out of the jig and stripped the plastic off. I planed down one face nice and flat so I could trace the pattern for the rudder.I placed the pattern for the best area I could see in the wood.I then traced the pattern onto the wood and marked the center point for the pivot.

I cut the end square and scribed the section the same shape as the plan. I cut a template out of wood as a guide for when I start shaping the blade.

The lines shown here are for when I make the transition from the foil shape to the flat area near the rudder case. I also scribed center lines down the length of the blade as a guide so I know where the middle of the blade is. Time to make some wood dust fly!

The grinder with attached heavy duty sanding pad was used first. I would make several light passes and eyeball it down the length. Once I roughed one side I checked it with the template. This process was repeated until I got the basic shape. I then moved to a 40 grit on my Belt sander. All the time checking with the template. (Belt sanders also remove a great deal of wood so be warned)

I used my random Orbital with 80 grit to smooth it more. Then 150 on my sanding block, and finally I moved to my sanding sponge. A cheap and durable little piece for furniture use. their about 250 grit I believe. I just wanted to see how clean my profile looked so holding the finely sanded piece to the light would show the possible high spots. I used a straight edge down the length for high spot checking too. Marking with a pencil and sanding off.It turned out well I believe. My wife thinks so too. It's not finished but the hard part is done for this part of the boat. I still need to drill the pivot hole, lift hole, and the down haul hole before I do any epoxy work. But that's for another day.

Time: 4 hours of shaping and sanding. (most enjoyable 4 hours thus far)