Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Last chine glued up

Today I got the last chine on Liz's boat glued on.  Taking off the clamps on the first one this morning was very satisfying.  I suppose I might have made the chines a little bit thinner and that might have made the whole bending process easier, or I could have steamed them.  It's done now.
chine being glued on.  Note the variety of clamps.

Last chine being glued on.
It was nice to see gunnels and a chine with out any clamps on them.  Tomorrow I can remove all these clamps and get ready to put the bottom on.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Working it all out, letting it happen.

I was not happy with the way the shaping of the chine logs was going so I decided to try a different approach.  This seems to make more sense.
I had to keep the bottom of the boat at 24" to be able to get it out of the remainder of the plywood sheet.  The form kept the shape from wanting to be anywhere under 30".  I guess the angles and the gunwales pushed it all out, no problem for me just take the boat off the form and let the wood do what it wants.  I added a 22" spacer at mid ships, then clamped the chine logs on to the sides at midships too.  This insured the 24" width, while letting the wood reshape itself as it needed.
If I had worked out all of the angles properly on paper first, or even as I went, then I could have left it all on the form and had the boat I set out to build.  The slightly new shape is fine with me, I am sort of free form and like the "organic" evolution of the whole thing.
Off the forms and work table.
Jigs for shaping the chine at the stems that don't stress the
plywood or lightweight cedar stems.
 I made these jigs to shape the stems.  These pull in the chine logs but don't pull out on the cedar stem or the thin plywood.  The c-clamps on the end are helping to twist the chine log in to the curve of the hull.

chine log jig.
If the chine was not beveled I suppose I could have just laminated it in  2 thinner pieces.  Even bevelled it wouldn't be hard to do, but I didn't want to cut these pieces and loose the thickness or mill more chine, so......

The bottom is at 24 inches to the outside of the chine.  This means that the remaining plywood from the one sheet will just fit.
I will give the chines a day to get used to their shape and then I will glue them in.  They will be glued only except at the stems where they will get ring nails also.  I may add ring nails to the inside yet, but as for now, no.

This boat has a specific requirement, as did the last, and that limits it's usefulness and practicality.  Had I not limited the boat to a "One sheet" boat, then I would like to see this shape at about 12 feet overall.  It looks a lot like a little dory.  I am sure it will be just as kranky, but I hope it will do the job.

New mast step is in

the new mast step is varnished and attached.  mechanical fasteners only.
New mast step.

The new one has the holes for belaying pins and the "slot is a constantly decreasing angle rather than the circle of the original.  I think the original was pretty but this should work much better.  It is also 1/2 inch thicker.
Original mast step.
Now to rework the snotter.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Repairs to the skiff

I figured a shape and made the cuts for a new mast partner.
The first replacement mast partner being test fitted.
I decided that it looked to bulky compared to the rest of the boat, so, I cut it down in thickness.  I took it down to 1 inch.  It is still 3/4 inch thicker than the rest of the frames on the boat, but that extra 1/4 inch is the laminated part that will give it some more integrity.  That combined with the open mouth design should allow it to do it's job.  We shall see.

I am also adding 4 holes for belaying pins, 2 for the mast itself and 2 for rigging.  I don't plan on fiberglassing the step this time.

Gunwales attached, time to flip

Now that both gunwales are attached and I have removed the forms, I can flip the boat over and attach the chines.  I need to set up the 3 forms so that the bottom holds it's shape while the chine is bent into place.  Although the plywood work table has it's benefits, this is where a "ladder" type of work frame would help.  When the boat is flipped over the stems will be below the plane of the center form and the plywood work table gets in the way.  With a ladder the stems would just poke thru the space in the middle.  I may make up a ladder real quick from some salvaged palettes that I have.
Gunwales attached and forms removed.
ready for the chine and bottom
I was very surprised by how little the boat weighs at this point.  I hope that it ends up being strong enough.  I received the fiberglass, that I ordered from Duckworks, and the 3 oz. glass is pretty thin.  This boat maybe pushing it for lightweight, but it is fun to see how far we can go.
I still have to mill the chines.  I am thinking that they will be 3/4 x 1 inch finished,  so I will have to cut them about 1/2 inch taller to make up for the loss of wood for the bevel.  The wood, yellow pine, will come from the salvaged packing crate that I have used on 2 other boats and a set of oars.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Liz's boat gets glueing

Today I milled the stock for the gunwales.  This is the second/outer layer of the gunwale and is made of yellow pine.  Not only will the contrasting color be interesting but the pine is tougher than the inner layer of cedar.
gunwales layers being together in place
After these set up I can take them off and work them a bit before I attach them to the sides, which will be much easier than working them in place, but now they will hold their shape while they are off the forms.

gunwales being glued up.  Note that I use many different kinds of clamps
I found a Youtube video where a guy describes building what is basically the same boat.  He calls it a "pirogue", which makes perfect sense, especially because he was from Mississippi and that type of boat is popular in the "cajun south".
His boat was a stitch and glue method where as this one will be a hard external chine. 

The sides are bowing out about an inch on each side, at the bottom at midship.  Because of the way I set up the forms, I can't clamp the sides to the forms on the bottom.  I am not to worried about this as I think that when I turn the boat over and set up the forms again, inverted, it will all work out.  I think the movement is a result of the stress from the bending of the gunwales.

Repair has begun

The repair on the skiff has begun.  It wasn't to difficult to get the broken parts apart.  First I cut the fiberglass on the partner to separate it.  Then I had to drill out the bungs that attached the coaming, remove the screws.  Then I cut into the bedding compound with a razor knife where the coaming attached to the bulkhead.  Then a bit of a tap with a mallet and off it came.
coaming separated and ready for repair.
 Then I had to cut the stub of the mast step that was left, of the coaming.  Not to tough.  It was screwed from behind and glued in place.  It sanded down smooth and the surface should be fine for receiving the new step.

After playing around with ideas for a while I came up with a design for the new step.  It is much like the original, but twice as thick, and will accommodate a few belaying pins.  I drew the shape out on one piece and then glue the two pieces together.

new mast step being laminated.
I think that this time I won't fiberglass the step.  The glass held fine, but it seems pointless if the rest of the wood is going to break.  My hope is that the added thickness, the glue and the grains being set against each other will be enough.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Broken boat

 A Skiff Wind yesterday had a rather Stiff Wind.  I took the skiff out on the river with the idea of an afternoon sail.  The wind was really up to a level that was too much for this little boat, somewhere above 15-20 knots.  It really seemed that as I rowed away from the dock it picked up.  What was questionable, became certain, too much.  The sail was brailed up and I had no intent of letting it loose, but as I said, it seemed to pick up as I rowed away from the dock.
Were all those "white horses" out there when I put in?  I didn't notice them before.  The boat started sailing just with the sail brailed up.  I had to work very hard to keep control of the boats direction.  Actually, at a point I couldn't really control it much other than keeping it within 25 degrees of dead downwind.
I decided that getting the pfd on was a good idea because I was going to try and drop the mast so I could try and row back to the dock.  I got the pfd on, but as I lifted the mast up out of the socket in the partner, a gust grabbed it and it worked like a crow bar.  The sound of splintering wood, on a boat that I built, would have been heartbreaking, had I not been more concerned with capsizing and loosing the whole boat.
Broken mast step.  The 10 foot long spars worked like a lever and
split the wood right along the grain.  The fiberglass kept it from completely splitting.
I probably should have glassed the bottom as well as the top of the piece.  I probably shouldn't have had the mast in it with the wind
so strong.

A nice sand beach to take refuge on.  In the background is the broken
seawall of the petroleum docks, a remnant of Hurricane Sandy.

Well the lowering the mast seemed to convinced the God of the Sea and Wind that a little more wind might be just what is needed.   I started scouting for a place to beach or seek shelter.  I missed the first yacht club entrance, and the next place was a marina that still looked ravaged from the Sandy Storm.  I chose not to go in there as I couldn't see what might be sticking up just under the surface.  I had noticed a few broken pilings elsewhere.
 I eventually found a sand beach.  It was actually in the lee of a big gas dock and tanks so it was a good choice.  Rowing hard,  at about a boat length away I shipped my oars and moved aft so that the bow raised up and we slid up the beach.  I was able to walk forward and step off the bow onto dryish sand.

I stripped the sail off  the spars and stowed it in the aft compartment to cut down on windage.  I was hoping that as the sun went down, so would the wind, which is often the case, but it would be a few hours till that seemed possible.  So I lay in the bottom of the boat with my head on a floatation cushion and my pfd and pulled the hood up on my anorak, stared out at the waves and waited, and dreamed, and waited.

I dreamed about being in this boat, on a day like this,  somewhere up this river, on a cruise to the headwaters and back.  I tried to imagine what it would be like waiting out a day of too much wind.  Lying there in the wide flat bottom of the boat was very comfortable, a boom tent would make it cozy.  The view and the sound of the waves were entrancing.  Yes, I think I could imagine the trip, and that's the first step of a voyage of any kind.  But first, I will have to repair the boat.

I think that I will go back to the "open mouthed" partner that I had originally.  The reason I made it that way was to avoid things like this happening.  I can't really remember why I changed it now.  With the open socket I could have just lain the mast over, rather than having to lift it up and out.

I waited for about an hour but the wind did not come down.  I decided to give it a try anyway, thinking that with the sail stowed and concentrated effort I might be able to row to windward for the mile I needed to get back to the dock.  launching was easy enough, being in the lee of the petrol plant, but when I got out around the point it was like opening the door to a storm.  The bow instantly got pushed off the tops of the waves and to leeward and fearing that I might break the oars or the sockets I came about and headed back to my beach.  Landed again, just as nicely and pulled the boat up a few feet.

Eventually and after some exploring I realized that there was a path to the road thru the back of an abandoned building, thru a missing fence and over a bit of debris, thanks to Sandy.  So I decided to walk back to the truck and drive back to extract the boat and limp on home to nurse my wounds.  On the road, sheltered by the trees the wind didn't seem so bad, but as I got back to the town launch I could see that it was still going strong out on the river.

Extracting the boat wasn't to difficult, though I almost tripped and fell over into a very healthy patch of poison ivy because the thin bicycle tires of the dolly dug into sand and made the boat seem twice as heavy.

As I drove back up the road and past the town launch, I slowed down to look back out over the water.  Where had all the "white caps" gone????!!!!  The surface of the water was still riffled by wind but the white horses had all ridden away.  I am sure that I could have made it to windward in that level of wind, a level down from what I had tried to make it thru earlier, but of course, now the boat was in the back of the truck.

Being more concerned with safety kept me from being sick about breaking my boat.   In the past, on other boats, it has always been the same.  Things break and can be fixed, safety and survival is what matters.  In the book, "Wind, Sand and Stars" by Antoine Saint-Exupery, he tells of how the early aviators who flew with now electronics and in open cockpits, had to keep one track of their mind on possible emergency landing places just in case their single engine plane had problems.  One always noted, even if subliminally, a field, or strip of road that might be used to land, and one was especially aware of the lack of emergency options, like when flying over a mountain pass.  Small boat sailing seems to be similar to this in someways, or at least it did to me yesterday.  It was easy to imagine "crash landing" on my sandy beach and being stuck there for a day and a night, maybe coming up with my own "The Little Prince" story while I waited.  It was also easy to imagine a rocky shore that would have prevented landing and kept us going farther and farther down wind and tide.

'Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.  Simply messing, ' he went on dreamily: 'messing--about--in--boats; messing----'  Kenneth Graham, "The Wind in the Willows"

Friday, May 10, 2013

Another boat, really?

Yes, it's true.  I have begun to build another boat.  This will be a small (of course) double ended canoe, hard chined, pond boat for my wife.  She indicated that she would like me to build her a boat & that she might like to be able to come out to the pond in the mornings to use it.  Soooooooooooo.

The form comes from the needed dimensions at mid ships.  As much surface area as possible, for buoyancy,  little flair on the sides for paddling, depth of hull for reserve buoyancy and comfort.  The rest comes from the limitations of the single sheet of plywood and making as few cuts as possible.

I realize the boat might be lighter if I built it stitch and glue instead of with a chine, but I wanted to make it dead simple to and low tech.  Hammer, nails, and caulk is all it really needs, (don't even need the caulk if you don't mind bailing a little) but the glue and paint and fiberglass armor make it a bit more serviceable.

Lizzy's Boat
double paddle canoe

LOA     7'-6"
Beam   2'-6"
depth amidships  11.5"
Draft    3"  (one person 125 lbs.)
weight 20 lbs. (+/-)

Made from a single sheet of .55mm luan plywood.  Cedar decking scrap for stems, gunwales, and misc.  This is in order to keep the boat as light weight as possible for portage.  Galvanized ring nails and Gorilla Glue for fastening.  Hopefully 3 oz fiberglass clothe on the bottom for armor.

-4 saw cuts for the sides panels.
-the stems where cut with rabbets and bevel, in 4 passes on the table saw.
-the gunwales will be laminated in place, 1 cedar, 2, yellow pine.
-chines will probably be external, one piece with continuos bevel, yellow pine.
-the bottom is trimmed to fit and attached last.
basic shape set in place with one mid station(jig,mold,form) and the stems taped on.

The nice thing about building one sheet boats is that the building forms fit on a piece of plywood and can be lofted on the wood.

I'd like to finish it with varnish only.  I have to work carefully, no marks, mistakes.

rabbeted stem fastened with galvanized ring nails and Gorrilla glue.
So far I have about 1 and a half days time in on it, most of which was spent in building and setting up forms and jigs.  I Have since added 2 more forms.
Added stations at 18 inches from midships, stem brace forms,  All of this was added for
shaping the gunwales and chine.
I also added braces at the stems to keep everything aligned, this was a problem I was lazy about on the skiff and the pram.  They are both crooked boats, but you have to look real hard to notice and it doesn't affect their performance, as far as I can tell.