Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Last Epoxy, Sail Making and The Painting Begins!

With my son Josh home, much has gotten done this week. In fact, the progress seems miraculous these days! Maybe we'll get in the water by Labor Day... just a month late. The only bad thing I can think of related to Josh being home is the fact that there is someone other than me to man the camera! That means you are forced to see me in some of these shots! Sorry about that!

Here I am applying the last of the epoxy resin. There wasn't a lot left... and we decided to use it all up to strengthen some weak spots, and provide one more coat in some areas where water might potentially find it's way in. Here I am applying some eopxy.
The last step before painting the hull!
Our sail material came in this past week... and we finally had time to lay out our sail. The plans we bought came with a drawing of the sail dimensions. As you can see here, we used some string and some 10 lb. barbells to lay out the dimensions on our driveway.
Then we began to unroll the sailcloth across the string line. We could clearly see the string through the fabric. Here Josh is laying a long straight edge along the string-line, and marking with a pencil, so we know where the outside edge of our sail will be.
After marking, Josh cuts the fabric... allowing a couple of inches for seem... and error. We've learned to always allow for potential human error! This boat building can be might humbling!
Finally, we had the sailcloth cut into the rough shape of our Lateen sail rig.
The unfortunate thing is, NOW this beast needs to be sewn together... which proved to be no simple task! The material is a synthetic sailcloth... some kind of polymer. It is very strong, and yet extremely light. The problem is, it is HARD to push and pull a needle through it! The "sailtwine" recommended by the maker for sewing it is like thick dental floss... with a load of wax on it. The thickness of the floss adds to the difficulty of sewing! After some experimentation we found a workable technique. We use a small piece of leather on our thumb to push the needle part of the way through... and then, if you look closely in this picture, you can see me using plyers to grip the needle and pull it the rest of the way through.
It's a long, tedious project, but it can be done. And I am thrilled to tell you that my wife Leslie has gotten very involved in this process. She spent many hours over the last 24 hours sewing. And miraculously, the sail is already 3/4 of the way complete! Just one more long stretch to go! Sadly, Leslie refuses to let me photograph her helping us. So you are forced to look at one more pic of me! All I can say is, it's hard on the knees and back. Because of this, Leslie, Josh and I have been taking 30 minute shifts... any more hobbles me!
And lastly, today, between office work and an evening meeting, Josh and I put the first coat of paint on the boat! We are starting off with a coat of an acrylic, latex, water-base primer/sealer. Here you see Josh starting off with a little of the trim on the inside of the boat.
Under the Maststep is the hardest spot to reach!
Here I am rolling on the last of the inside coat. Looks nice doesn't it?
Now we've flipped over our vessel, and Josh has got the roller this time. Goodbye ugly color inconsistencies!
It goes on quick and easy! In fact, we go through a full gallon of primer/sealer to do the hull... inside, and outside.
Top and bottom...
And, we have put a coat of sealer on the rest of the pieces of the boat as well... the sail spars, the mast, the rudder assembly and the leeboard.
This finished our day. Tomorrow, barring rain, we'll put the first top coat on the boat, and maybe even finish up the sail!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Quarterknees, Breasthooks, Filling and Sanding...

It's been two weeks plus since our last post. We were away on vacation for 8 days. Since we returned, we have been working hard... just have been bad about updating the blog! Tonight we make up for it!

I am happy to say that my son Josh is home for a couple of weeks before college begins again (he was in Seattle all summer)... and that he has been able to join me in finishing this boat! Dan has now left for Optometry School... but will be home on weekends, hopefully to be present at the time of our maiden voyage! You will see Josh in many of these pictures taken over the last few days as we have made major progress on this boat.

The first step shown here is Josh doing some heavy sanding to level out the back corners of the top of the boat, for proper fitting of the Quarterknees. The quarterknees are triangular pieces if 1/4" plywood that pull together the back of the boat, create handholds for lifting, and give a surface to place hooks for tying lines. The sanding is heavy because the angle of the top of the transom does NOT match the angle of the gunwales!
Hard to see it here, but we have a nicely prepared surface now.The quarterknee in place without glue and screws...
Applying glue....
And now attached with glue and screws.The "breasthook" meets the same purposes at the front of the boat... over the stem. Here it is in place, with the screw holes puttied.Another step we completed this weekend is the block-set that will hold the leeboard in place. We drilled a hole in the side of the boat, just forward of the 10' mark. Then we glued a 4" X 4" spacer block on the inside of the boat...As well as an oblong chunk of 1 X 2" on the outside of the hull. As you can see, the thickness of this piece matches the thickness of the gunwales and the chines. The 3/8" bolt will hold the entire thing in place... including the leeboard.
Another need we took care of was sealing the seams between the boat bottom, the hull sides and the frames. We used some water-repellent gap filler that can be painted over. You can see the seams filled nicely here.
One of the more tedious needs to "fill" is the puttying of some 300+ screw heads over the outside and inside of the boat. Here you see me mixing some putty. I spared you the pictures of filling the 300+ holes!
And then, it began! One of the most time consuming parts of this whole job... SANDING! Josh and I spent many hours sanding over the last few days. Here Josh is sanding the bottom of the boat. You can see many of the screw hole filled putty spots now sanded out smooth.
Sanding putty....
Sanding the sail spars...
Sanding the rudder...
Sanding the leeboard...
Sanding the top edge of the hull and gunwales...
Sanding the inside of the hulls... and perhaps we went a little overboard with the sanding...
Sanding our Bassett Hound Cody...
Don't worry. No animals were injured in the filming of this blog!

Thankfully, we expect to have just 1-2 hours of sanding left... before it will be time to paint! We'll show you that later this week! Until then, have fun!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Gunwales, Mast, Mast steps...

I know, it's been a long time since our last post! Actually, it was about 9 days between free moments to work on the boat at all. Now it's taken me a few days to find the time to put up some pics. The installation of the gunwales was next. Here you can see us using an electric sander to make quick work of the sanding of the 18' length of wood. The more sanding we can do now before installation, the less we'll have to do later!
The gunwales are installed by putting them in place with some clamps... driving some screws (6-8) dry to create guide holes (because with the glue on they tend to slide all over), then pulling the screws back out for the application of glue. After that, it's just a matter of putting in a ton of screws, interspersed with a bunch of clamps. Then you just wait overnight for the assembly to harden nicely. Clamps and screws... clamps and screws.The next step is to cut out the mast blank, the yard and the boom. These are all cut from the remains of the 18' X 2" X 12". I reset the jig we used earlier to cut the 3/4" pieces (for the gunwales and the chines) so that it cuts a 1 1/2" wide piece. This setting will create two lengths of wood, for the yard and the boom. The yard and the boom are the framework for the sail... and are 11'7" and 14'7" in length respectively. Once these are cut, we miraculously have what amounts to a 2 X 4 left! Here is what was left of the 18' piece of lumber after the cuts were made:And, here are the three pieces of lumber, after we had done some work on them. You may notice that the mast (the piece on the right) is shorter than the others... and is tapered. The mast is 10 feet long, and we tapered it from 4" wide at the base to 1 1/2" at the top. We also took a router with a round-over bit in it, and rounded the edges of all three pieces.
So you can see the taper in more detail, here's a close up of the butt end of the pieces...And here's a closeup of the tapered end. We'll take the sander to these, and then they'll be ready for painting... and finally some sailing hardware!The next project we tackled was the installation of the mast step and the mast partner. These are the pieces of plywood that will hold the mast in place. Here you can see that we have installed a support piece to go under the mast step... with glue and screws from the outside of the boat. They are placed about 3 1/2" from the top edge of the boat.Here's a shot of the supports on both sides.Next, we had to cut holes in the mast step and partner, for the mast to slide in. To do this we found the center of the wood, then drew the outline of the mast cross-section in the correct location. Next, we drilled 3/8" holes in each corner, in order to get a hole saw started. Then we simply cut out the holes! Here you can see what the finished product looked like.Here, we have installed the mast partner with glue and screws... and that pretty much finished up the 400 3/4" screws we purchased for the boat. Imagine that! The next step in the process is to accurately locate the mast step in the bottom of the boat. In order to do that you slide the mast into the partner. To do this, I had to pull the boat out of the garage, and into the open air! Here's the mast in position! It actually looks like a sailboat now!

In order to correctly locate the mast step, you have to check the mast to make sure it is perpendicular to the ground. Here we use a level to check it along the side and the front... and make small adjuctments until it's in the perfect position.When it is, we carefully mark around the mast step with a pencil. This is then glued in place by driving screws through the bottom of the boat. We'll do that tomorrow.