Friday, May 25, 2018

A New Stem

After the laminated stem failed I had to come up with a new plan. Also, I still had to get those longer boards for the keel & mast. Well I got lucky the other day. I went for a $10 yard of mulch at a local lumberyard and they had some 8/4 white oak fresh off of the saw! Well not truly green, it had been drying for a few months. And this is what I love about small local businesses. This place is right next to the NC State Fairgrounds, it was my first time doing business with them. I couldn't take the board I bought when I got the mulch, but I could come back when the office is closed. So I paid $18 for a 2x6x16' air dried white oak board, and came back the next day and picked up a 12' board while I was there too. The guy said I could come back when the office was open later to pay for the other board. I will buy anything else I can from this place. American Woodyards in Raleigh is amazing.

Oak on the truck

The mulch I went there to get originally

a 12' and a 16' 2x6 fresh from the lumberyard
The 16' board I would use for my keel, I'll shape that up later. First I have to cut up that 12' board and form my new stem. The approach I wanted to take this time was to use a wider board and cut out the stem in a few pieces.

ignore those plywod bandaids

These joints are not watertight

3 pieces, but it fits the pattern
I really wanted to do some mortise and tenon work to join these together but the size of the patterns just didn't work out. I ended up with three pieces that could come together to form the stem. No good pictures of it, but I ended up getting a white oak 7/8" dowel and putting two 4" sections of dowel in each joint to stiffen it up tight. The end product was stronger than I expected! I glued it up with a ton of TiteBond III in the mortises and on the dowels and on the edges. After some time in the clamps it is really holding up strong.

Clamped up!

It got sanded smooth after the glue dried

So now I have an actual, fully formed stem. This one, I think, will work. Next step is to stand up the frames and stem on the strongback, then start forming the keel. Progress!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Landscaping updates

Just going to photo dump some landscaping updates

Cleared out this bed. It needs gravel like the rest of the driveway

Cleared out this bed too

Cleared, but I still have to figure out what to do back here

Got a big raised bed for the garden

Got half a ton of gravel added to the driveway

Azaleas in full bloom

Got the patio all lit up

Muscadine vines are pruned and ready for the summer

The first muscadine leaves are a sure sign of spring

We added this swing behind the patio. So comfortable!

One view of the patio

Panorama of the entire front yard
Really enjoying the way the yard is shaping up this year. Now if only it was cool enough to cut the grass....

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Stem Lamination part 2 - the fail!

You know they aren't all wins in this boatbuilding game. The stem for this plan needed to be thick and wide, so I thought I would start with some 9/4 white oak and laminate it up. That turned out to be a complete waste of about $30 worth of oak.

Last time we looked, I had just cut the strips. Making the bend is a 2 part approach. I have to soak the oak for a bit to make it flexible enough to bend without breaking. Then after it dries in the clamps I can remove it, glue it and clamp it up again. The glue should be enough. Start with the clamping form

Lofting of the stem pattern

Soon to be a box

Transfered the pattern to a board and attached some 2x4 blocks for clamping

ready to go

Strips just a-soakin
I made a box from some scrap plywood and threw a tarp over it to hold the water, then brought hot water out from the house. I don't have a steam box setup, so this was the best I could do and it's worked before.

One lonely strip

I could only bend 5 at a time

Kid approves
After I had enough strips bent, I put them back in the form with glue to hold up more permanently

Glued up in the clamps - the plastic prevents the stem from sticking to the form

That's a lot of strips

Finally out of the form
Now this is where it all goes horribly wrong. I let the glue dry in the clamps for a few days. I think I left the strips too thick? Or maybe the bend is just too sharp. I wanted to glue the stem in two part, so I could cut the rabbet into the sides of the parts before they come together, it's much easier than using a solid stem.

Starting to separate

That will not hold water

One block falls apart while the other is still in the glue
they keep getting worse

Straightened out and came unglued

Both parts should look about the same
Spoiler alert: the other part didn't hold shape either. You expect some springback from a glueup like this, but this stem became completely useless. So now I've still got a shitload of oak strips if I ever need them. But I have to go back to square one building this stem.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Backyard Lovin

I've been loving the backyard landscaping lately so I thought I would share a few pictures of the way it turned out. Most recently we've almost finished spreading mulch around some of the beds and the new patio. And I poured the concrete patio. And it's awesome.

Finished adding the deck skirting below level 1

Springtime in NC! Daffodils are blooming

We mounted the swingset between 2 trees. This might be a bad idea.

Border outline for the patio

Concrete up to the pad for the fountain

larger view

The patio starts with these stepping stones

Then I got to concrete and gravel through the rest of them

It's snowing! The view from the deck
Eventually we also spread out some grass seed. It hasn't really taken as well as I hoped so we might still tear up the entire thing and lay some sod. But for now, the end results is really cool

Looks good!

One happy landscaper
About pouring that patio. I ended up using 21 (80lb) bags of high strength concrete from Lowe's, about $4 each. I poured a 2" slab, thicker in some parts to compensate for the uneven ground beneath. The soil is very compact right there, I added a gravel base and made sure I had a clean solid surface to pour over. So far, it looked like it worked! The concrete has cured, is strong, and we've moved a table & chairs out there, and hung some outdoor lighting over it to make it even more fun. 1700 lbs of 'crete doesn't play games.

Finished off the stepping stones part

pouring a slab

Also had to cut up the rest of that swingset and get rid of it

Only 2 more bags to go!

So ready to be done by this point


We all carved our initials and handprints into the wet concrete

yes it's done!

Took the plywood forms down

And the swingset is gone


The family approves

Now with mulch, but the lights aren't up in this one
Ok so I should have made this patio a separate post. It turned out great!! The family absolutely loves it. Spring is hitting NC, and we're all really enjoying the entire backyard. Now if only that grass seed would germinate.