Sunday, July 8, 2018

Chines and Clamps

When last we left our sailboat, the chines and clamps had been scarfed and the epoxy was curing on the deck. Now the fun begins. This is the first time I've had to bend boards around the frames. These boards are actually the lines of the finished product, so it's kind of a big deal.

My plan is to notch the frames and attach the chines and clamps first with drywall screws. Then after they stay in shape for a while, let the frames get some rain. The wet and dry should help the piece hold its shape. We're getting into some weird bends here.

The first chine coming around the wide part of the boat

Notched into the back end

D'oh!! Got a break in the scarf

Starboard got the scarf joint on a frame - stronger that way

The boatbuilder is not looking forward to attaching those angles in the chines

But I did it anyway

Got a different problem attaching the clamps

The starboard clamp is on there

Transom is really shaping up, still have to trim off that last clamp

The port clamp broke at the scarf too

Transom is cleaning up nicely

This view really shows the lines
After the frames are all notched, the keel, chines and clamps are screwed in place. Then the lines of the final hull really start to show up. These boards are all just screwholds for the plywood in the cold molded hull. I drilled pilot holes, then countersinks before attaching with drywall screws. I got it this far before I went out to Colorado for a marathon and a few days of solo exploring. When I got back I finished the job by taking out the drywall screws, adding glue and sinking the final copper screws.

Chines and clamps on the stem

Check out the bend after I took the temp screws out!

The same board glued back in place

I like these lines, but that port clamp isn't exactly fair

And there you have it. This is as far as I can go with this boat right now. So far I've got about $150 into this setup. The next step is to buy about $500 in plywood and $250 in epoxy and fiberglass. Cold molded plywood gets the same treatment as the chines did. Cut, shape, form it just right so it fits between the keel and the frame edge, and secured every 3" with pre-drilled pilot holes & drywall screws. Then when it fits just right, pull out the drywall screws and coat every side and the inside of every screw hole with epoxy, then secure finally with copper screws and glue against the frames. But it's going to be at least September before I can save up enough cash for the plywood and epoxy. Until then, we'll just leave this boat under the tarp.

Btw, Colorado was an amazing trip, even if running at elevation did produce my slowest marathon ever. Still mind-blowing how beautiful the terrain was. A couple of weeks after I got back I had a hernia surgically repaired, so I can't train at all or lift anything over 10 lbs for 4-6 weeks. That shuts down all landscaping, boatbuilding, the front porch project, everything until sometime in August. So far recovery is going really well.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Before - the old porch

My next big project is going to be replacing the crumbling front porch. It's going to take concrete block, lots of brick work, plenty of woodworking, we're even going to add to the roofline. But it seems like every time we tackle big renovations like this, we forget to take "before" pictures. So here you go, all the before pictures I could get.

I hate these stairs. And the handrail.

This concrete is crumbling

Child added for size reference

Long back view of the front elevation profile

This one, I really like. As we build & landscape, think I'll try to recreate this angle

Shows you where I'm building the boat

There are a number of problems with getting in the front door. The entire hardscape is this stone L shaped path that hides a hedge and divides the front yard. The steps are pointed toward where you park the car, but the house faces a different road. Corner lots are fun. I was raised to believe that the steps should go straight in front of the front door. That stoop is barely wide enough to open the storm door. So trying to move a couch or large piece of furniture into the house means you have to lift it over the handrail from the ground. Azaleas are not supposed to be shaped into a hedge like that and those are very overgrown for the space that they have available. The stone pathway is all broken up too, the concrete just didn't hold up. The entire thing looks ok, sometimes, but is a complete design and usage failure.

So what is the correct way to layout the front entrance and landscape? We're going to start with a 10' x 16' front porch with stairs coming down directly in front of the door and three pillars going up to support a roof extended from the existing shingle lines. Concrete blocks support a painted wood floor, brick veneer around the foundation and stairs. Add rocking chairs, a porch swing, and some hanging baskets. For the landscape, a curved loose brick or stone path swoops around with an accent piece in front of the stairs, then continues towards the garden & shed. Add accent trees that get up around 20' tall with understory shrubs creating a variety of visual interest points. 

I should actually do some drawings, but I'm ready to get some concrete & block and start demo. I know what I want to do here, and I'm ready to get started.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Cold Molding

On the sailboat, I was debating how to construct the hull. After reading this book, I'm going to give cold molding a try.

This is the bible of cold molded construction. It samples using much larger boats than the one I'm building, but the process scales down. Hull construction is the only thing that is significantly different from traditional boat building concepts. The book has a great section on how to build out cabins, build masts, all kinds of interesting stuff around the deck. Great section on lofting. But a lot of that is also available in other books too.

What makes cold molding unique among plywood hull techniques is the layering. My biggest problem is leaks in the plywood joints, and cold molding solves this with layers and epoxy. In my sailboat, first I'm going to scarf the plywood joints going left to right. Second I'm going to use two layers of 3/8" plywood so I can stagger the joints over the layers. This should give me a leak-free hull. Plus I'm going to have to use copious amounts of fairing compound and epoxy.

If this is your first book on boat construction, you picked a good place to start. If, like me, you've read a crap ton of books on boat construction, this is a really informative read on a very specific aspect of boat construction. It feels like I gain something new from each book. In addition to the hull aspects, I also learned a ton about building your own mast & booms and other sailboat-specific aspects. Most books will focus on general concepts and throw in stuff like "if you're building a sailboat try this..." but this book is specific about sailboat construction. I'm sure there are other books about motorboat construction that have details about the electrical systems or steering consoles. But this one is specific to sailboats and covers sailboat-only details better than any other book that I've read.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Let's get scarfed

In boatbuilding, when you don't have planks that are long enough you have to scarf two boards together to get the length you need. Scarfing is establishing a ratio to taper the end of the boards, then glue them together. There are different type of scarf joints, including taper, keyed, and notch. Boatbuilding typically uses a 12:1 ration, which means you taper out 12" of board for every 1" of thickness. For me, this means I planed my boards down to 3/4" thick, and used a 9" scarf.

Cut the boards to width on the table saw

Got the rabbet cut into the stem

Chines ready to taper

Chines and clamps cut to width and planed

Planed the first 9" of the boards to a taper

taper station in full effect
I cut the chines 1.5" wide and the clamps 3" wide. None of the source boards I was able to start with was long enough, so I ended up with 8 boards total that glued up into only 4 boards between 18' and 20' long.

Scarfs in the clamps

One of these is longer than the rest
Now that the scarfs are all filled with epoxy, the final long boards are ready to attach to the frames. I'm going to notch the frames to inset the boards, then bend everything in place.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Cutting the centerboard hole

Now that I've gotten the keel attached to all of the frames and the stem there are only a couple of other boards to go before applying the plywood to the hull. Before I build that out, however, I have to cut the hole for the centerboard. It feels dirty to work this huge keel, then try to lay the plywood down to a watertight seal, then finish the whole thing watertight, only to have a massive hole in the middle. But that's what it takes!

The plans gave me the basic shape of the centerboard but I had to decide the overall length of the hole based on the spacing between the frames. On the top side (when the boat is right-side up) the centerboard case will have to extend above the waterline and the topside joints will have to be watertight as well.

Nothing like a giant hole in my watertight keel!

That would have been much more difficult if the chines & clamps were already in place. Up next, let's scarf!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Go Garden

I decided to shorten up the garden beds this year to accommodate the new front porch project (details to come later). So I had to rebuild the existing beds, and take the leftover lumber to kick up a 3rd bed.

At the farmers market, got the entire plant load for $17

Planted out these 2 beds

After we got that 3rd bed planted too
So I added a double stack bed in the back with the lumber I got from shortening the other two beds and we planted out the whole thing. Beans, tomatoes, okra, squash, zucchini, several types of peppers, and basil. Yeah!

That was all planted out in May, here's how it's growing now

Beans and Okra, mainly

Squash & zucc growing in the back bed

The okra is waist high! That has never happened before

Got a squash!

The tomatoes are taller than I am (6'1")
So I really like how the garden is turning out this summer. One of the bright spots, for sure!