Sunday, November 15, 2009

Prepping for hibernation?

Well, it has been awhile since any meaningful progress has been made on the boat, except that she's been moved into storage in my barn, tops and bottom fitted onto the form and all wrapped in plastic. I took some time off and Rick and I headed to Italy for 2 weeks, which was wonderful! This winter I will be able to work on the rowing deck form and carbon fiber casting in our workshop as it is only about 9ft long, but I don't expect to get started on that until the new year. I'll also have time to order in all the hardware that I require....including the rigging with quick-release that I'm lusting after from Australia. A rest is good.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pop the hull off! First look.

This weekend was spent attaching the splashboards and laying the glass on the outside of the hull. Today I could pop her off the form. What a thrill! I need a scale, but I reckon the hull is between 6 and 8lbs, so with the 2 decks, the boat is currently still under 10lbs.

First look at how she'll shape up.

I'm happy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hull strips finished and sealed

This weekend I only had one day, but it was a nice one! Finished the hull strips, sanded, and applied one coat of epoxy sealer. I also assembled the splashboards, but have delayed attaching them until I see how the color of the hull turns out. The blond wood on the hull is very blond red cedar. Although it looks a lot like yellow cedar, it is lighter weight.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wake up call

The strangest thing happened while I was working on my boat yesterday. It was a long weekend laying strip after strip after strip on the hull. As soon as I finished placing a strip at one end of the boat, I'd move to the other end and lay another strip somewhere else. By the time I'd attacked all the areas where I could work, the glue would have dried in the starting spot, and I'd start the whole circuit again. Row by row the strips were creeping up the forms.

About half-way through the third day I happened to glance down the length of the strong back and was suddenly shocked! There was a BOAT! It wasn't just a form with some strips on it! It wasn't the potential for a boat. It WAS a boat! Suddenly she yelled out to me, "I'm here! Get me off this thing and take me to the water!!"

Now that she's come to life she is pushing me toward completion. Ahhh.... this is going to be a wonderful friendship.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Progress on the Hull

Finally getting some strips laid on the hull. Photos for now.... more later.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Starting the Hull

This weekend I flipped the form over and re-aligned it, then started work on the hull. The biggest challenges here are at the two ends of the boat. The pieces require a LOT of fitting where they come together at a sharp angle. After about the 5th row up from the shearline on both sides, the surface begins to flatten out and it will be much easier to interlock the pieces.

Strips overlap at the stern and will be trimmed off later.

Here the bow strips are being blended using long tapers which are formed with a sander.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Top deck stripping finally DONE!

Bow and Stern Decks are both done and glassed with 1st coat of resin.

Pics only now....more later.

Glassed on one side and sealed on the other, the bow deck weighs a little over a pound, and the stern deck which is much shorter, weighs less than a pound. I am hopeful about reaching my objective of 35-40 pounds for the whole boat.

Monday, August 3, 2009

BC (Boat Construction?) Day Long Weekend

Got all the strips laid on the stern deck, ready for sanding and fairing.

Sanded with 80grit, 100grit, and finally 220grit using a fairing board.

Sealing with a coat of epoxy. This stops the cedar from drawing all the epoxy out of the cloth when it is laid.

2nd coat of epoxy on 3oz cloth. I wasn't sure if this cloth would be heavy enough, but I was really happy working with it.

Epoxy and glass curing on the stern deck. Thankfully it wasn't as hot today. Temps have been over 30deg C (about 100deg F), which is too hot for working resin.
Now to get to work finishing the strips on the bow deck!

Monday, July 6, 2009

3 Days On Deck

This was an interesting 3 days of soul searching and reminding myself that Rome wasn't built in a day. Once I lowered my expectation of how quickly things would move, they started to go a LOT better. Funny how that works. More details later, but here are a couple of pics.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Top deck stripping

Hoping to get the strips on the top decks done this weekend!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

First Strips

At last I'm laying strips and the boat is
FINALLY getting started!

This weekend I cut all the cedar strips on the table saw using a glue-face blade. Last weekend I tried cutting strips on the bandsaw (less kerf loss), but the finish is too rough for gluing without sanding first. Life's too short for that, so I decided to sacrifice 30% fibre loss to table saw blade kerf. The benefit was that the strips were cut quickly and the edges are smooth. There will be more payoff later too in reduced sanding time.

I also figured out a better way to do the purple-heart inlay. First I build up the basic stripe pattern (red/yellow/red etc), then sandwich those strips with purple-heart, and cut the whole works with the bandsaw. I'm free-handing the curve as I cut.

Here are the built-up strips. Once each strip is assembled it goes onto the form and is edge-glued to the adjacent piece.

I am using two clamping methods here.

The first is very fine fishing line which is pull tight around the newly glued piece, wrapped around the shearline brace and clamped with spring-clamps. The benefit is that as soon as one row is glued, the next can be laid up and glued. When the glue is dry, it is easy to pull the fishing line thru and reuse it in a new location.

The second clamp is the combo rubber-band / bull-clip (heavy-duty office paper clip). These are exerting a downward force on the strips to keep them tight against the form.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Test Strips

This was a test of the strip inlay method, and for cutting strips on the bandsaw. While I was happy with the 'look', I was not happy with the quality of the strips, nor the finickiness of fitting for each individual piece in this puzzle.

This effort is likely to end up in the fire-pit. Some days are productive, some aren't.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finishing the Strong Back

Here's the finished strong back, but first....

All the forms got positioned, squared up, and braced with blocking. Then I installed the Shear Line Bracing using an air-driven stapler with 3/4" staples.

The next step was to sand down the shoulder that was created by a 'squared off' shearline brace intersecting with the rounded edge between the top deck and the hull. This was easy to do with a belt sander and following the curve of the top deck. Then I glued the shear line bracing at the bow and stern and finished shaping these with the sander.

This is the bow....

...and here's the stern.

Later, a black bear stopped by to check out my boat, although Rick said he was really checking out the BMW.

: )

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Setting Up the Strong Back

Building the strong back consists of two parts: making the strong back, the beam on which the forms are mounted; and making the support, which keeps the strong back aligned and solid during construction.

The support consists of 6 inverted T's each made of two layers of 3/4" G1S plywood sandwiching 3/4" Baltic birch in the base, for receiving threaded 1/4" inserts and plastic feet, and a gap at the top where an L will be mounted and height adjusted for receiving the strong back. The adjustment is necessary because the strong back varies in depth from 3", to 4" to 5" and back to 3" as it goes down the boat. As long as the support is rigid and close to being aligned, the fine-tune adjustments can be made with the L pieces as shown below.

The longitudinal and vertical position of the T's are held by 2x6's which are lag-bolted (not shown) and bolted thru with ready-rod.

Here I am fine-tuning the position of an L seat. The red dot is from my laser level to ensure that all the L's were vertically adjusted correctly. The string aligns all the L's down the length of the support. and the spirit level is used to make sure that the seat of the L is parallel with the ground. As each one was set in true position, I clamped it with a spring clamp, then screwed it twice from each side of the support.

Here is the completed support with the L's set as required to receive the strong back with the boat in the upright position.

Note that it is common to build kayaks making the hull first, therefore mounting the strong back upside-down initially. I have a reason to build the top decks first, which I will get into later when we get to that part.

Then, it's a matter of building up the beam portion of the strong back, and sliding the forms on at their 6" intervals. A trick is to rub floor wax generously on the beam to help ease the tight-fitting forms along. I know I broke a couple of forms in my first project. I didn't break any this time. Either I'm more patient now or perhaps just wiser. I'll credit the Baltic Birch.

So, after a 13-hour day, the forms are on the strong back and the whole affair is sitting on a rigid support. Note that the 26ft long boat is fitting diagonally across 2 bays of our carport. This was a great compromise because it left room for Rick to park his BMW motor bike, AND the entire length of my boat is under cover! (see pic below!)

This photo also shows my first boat hanging in the rafters, and the form for it up on a rack on the wall to the right. Hopefully I'll get "My Escape" into the water soon so I can row while the new boat is getting built.

Whew! Just fits! But, not finished the form yet. Each station has to be checked and secured, than the Shearline bracing goes on. Lots to do yet....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shearline Bracing

I have decided to install a 1/4" x 3/4" strip along the shearline. Because I intend to use a non-linear layup of strips, I'm going to need somewhere to clamp the strips to when they land between form stations. To do this I needed to scribe and then cut out a notch for the strip on each form.

Here you can see how the shearline bracing starts to define the shape of the boat.

Tiny form!

Cutting the Forms

The first step in transferring the patterns to wood is to check that your photocopier isn't stretching the image. Once I found a copier that was true, I made a copy of the drawing for every form (52 in total).

This time I used 8.5"x11" sticky back labels on Baltic Birch plywood, rather than gluing the forms onto G1S (good one side) plywood. Baltic Birch plywood has very thin laminations that are thoroughly bonded, and the surface is very smooth on both sides. It is sold in 60"x 60" sheets. I purchased 3/8" for the forms and 3/4" for the strong-back. My experience so far is proving that this product is superior to structural plywood by far, and is well worth the cost, especially if you intend to use your form more than once.

Using a bandsaw for cutting out the forms was sheer luxury after the jigsaw method of my last project.

Finally I have all the bow and stern sections cut out. There is something very satisfying about seeing all the forms line up like this!
The end form protrudes from the center of what will become the strongback. I formed the V in the bottom with a power plane, but a belt sander works just as well, especially on Baltic Birch.