Thursday, October 12, 2017

Some Random Landscaping

Since we finished the deck we've been landscaping around it with some success. Level 3 has stairs down to the ground on both right and left sides. I knew the left side needed a path to the gate by the driveway. We started with a brick landing for the stairs before building a path. On the right side, we started with some of the leftover stone for the landing, then had the idea to pour a concrete patio. In front of the deck, we wanted to open up as much yard as possible because it's easier to maintain than heavily planted beds.

Bricks are down, First edge of the path is in

The view from the gate at the driveway

coming around - notice the fucked up stairs

All of those hostas are moved and the 2nd edge is in, defining the path

After grading the path, I started pouring pea gravel

Kelley pulls out a bed for planting, mulching, and decoration

The path is poured!

Starting to layout the transition to deck & yard

The whole path from gate to deck

Planted and mulched the bed to the left of the stairs (still fucked up)

Also planted the planter beside the stairs

This side is almost finished

The bed to the inside of the path was planted with lariope and mulched
Added some banana plants to the outside of the fence. These are supposed to be hardy in NC

I rebuilt the stairs! they are un-fucked now.

On the right side, I also rebuilt the stairs there. These stones are defining the edges of the patio with those stepping stones.

By adding the skirting under Level 2, this side of the deck is finished

Also finished defining the edges, mulching, planting, and decorating this bed as well.
This set really focused on the left side of the deck. Since this we have actually planted some fescue over the remaining bare dirt. The next update I'll get some pictures of the front side bed, lawn additions, and right side patio.

We used a pebble adhesive to glue down the pea gravel in the path. I didn't really know how much product to use, and I don't think I used enough. It said to put a 1/2" layer of mixed product with pea gravel over the existing bedding (loose pea gravel), and I think that might have been a bit light. It did firm up nicely at first, but as people started walking on it the glue broke up pretty quickly. I still have about half of the gallon left over, so I'm going to try a heavier mix next time, and I think we're going to try and use the same stuff to go in between the stones in the patio. We're exploring other options for solidifying the surface of the path, I'd love a comment if you've ever tried something like that before.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Finishing Quicksilver

After the One Sheet, One Weekend, One Boat project built out, I had myself the woodworking all set for a boat. All that was left was to make it float! That means epoxy, fiberglass tape, more epoxy, seal it up and paint it. Then add the hardware to join the two sides, and it should be ready to take out for a water test.

Front half ready to glue

Back half ready to glue

Now with more epoxy

and fiberglass tape over all of the seams

No fiberglass tape on the inside of all seams

but I did epoxy the inside pretty thoroughly
All of the seams got a coat of epoxy inside and out, and the outside got a layer of a 3" fiberglass tape where it was going to be anywhere close to the waterline, and then another layer of epoxy to seal in the tape. This should seal the seams and prevent leaks, keyword there is "should".

painting the hull

fitting the joinery

Inside paint

I added a seat from the scrap 1/2" plywood and painted the inside of the back half

Happy Boatbuilder in the shop
I painted the outside first with a plain exterior house paint from Lowe's. I used a color called Quicksilver. At the same time I'm doing all of this, my wife's cousin finished his masters degree from NC State, then took his first professional job and moved to Colorado. When he thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, he picked up the nickname Quicksilver. I'm very proud of the kid, he's one helluva architect. So when I saw the paint color (I was looking for a gunmetal gray) I was sold. And it's likely I'll give him this boat when he moves back to NC if he wants it.

It looked like it was going to rain some, so I pulled the boat back inside the shed and put a coat of paint on the inside. Then got creative with the table saw and leftover 1/2" plywood to fashion a seat. I screwed the seat into the braces in the back half, then gave it a coat of paint too. All that's left is a water test!

It's important to assemble on the front yard first

Fits in the truck, even when assembled!



My legs hit the divider at a really funny spot

but I fit in the boat!

It sits a bit low in the water

yeah, really low in the water

paddling around

Back home and resting on top of My Busted Foot
Turns out that I outweigh the stated capacity for this boat by about 20 lbs. Cousin Quicksilver is easily 50 lbs lighter than me, young skinny bastard. I took it down to Lake Raleigh for the water test, right down the street from my office. Only brought one canoe paddle instead of the kayak paddle that would let me paddle easily from both sides. It didn't handle particularly well, spinning in circles a lot. But I was able to stay out on the water for about 45 minutes before the leaking had me concerned enough to head back to shore. This thing leaked like a strainer. Got to add some more epoxy and get it all sealed up. But it easily fits in the back of the pickup truck, and was a lot of fun to put in the water and paddle around. This was an experiment, it might be a failed experiment, it might turn into a nice gift. Who knows. But I do know that it was a really fun project to build & finish, and I'm glad I did it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Boat Design

Lately I've been having trouble finding the "right" design for my next boat build. Been looking for plans for a 17'-19' sailboat with maybe a sloop rig or different mainsail. But everything that length has a cabin and isn't just an open bench plan. I want a sailboat that can seat about 6 -8 people so that I can carry my whole family and maybe another one on the water for an afternoon on a windy lake. So I thought maybe I would have to design it myself. Enter the $5 book from Amazon How to Design A Boat

Turns out, there is a lot of math in boat design! It looks like drawing would be the main focus but it's mostly covering calculations to ensure a goal for the boat. There are some outstanding descriptions and sample drawings for different hull types, lots of different boats from 10' up to 67' long.

I'm kind of a math geek to begin with, I make a living as a software engineer so it's all math all day anyway for me. This book took water physics to a new level. The displacement effects from different hull shapes is fascinating. It's a great read if you're into that kind of thing.

I was looking for more specifics. Like with a 6' beam and a round bottom, how deep should the hull be? Baseline displacement weights how deep below the waterline is required to stay balanced? How deep/long do you need to go before adding a water ballast? I guess I was looking for more general guidelines than calculations.

So the bottom line is that - thumbs up - I really enjoyed this book. But I still don't feel quite confident enough to design my own sailboat. I could probably come up with something on paper with absolutely no confidence in how much sail was needed for that size boat, or how deep it should sit at the waterline. This is an older edition of the book. It's totally worth the $5, if you want the updated versions you will pay more but the facts are still pretty much the same. Check it out if you want too, I'm really glad I read this one. It still gives me a really different approach to reading other plans.

Friday, September 1, 2017

One Sheet, One Weekend, One Boat, Day Two

After getting the basic frames built up on Day 1, it is time to finish the carpentry on Day 2. I had a goal today to get the One Sheet wrapped up. Spoiler alert: I finished.

I started by adding the gunwales, but the plans called them "rubrails" so I'll likely use both terms now. They were actually rough cut on day 1. I added some relief cuts to make them bend easier and screwed them in place from the inside.

added skids on the bottom of the back

added the deck & stiffener to the front

Deck & stiffener on the back

There is a floor stiffener on the bottom as well. No way that left joint will hold water out.

Happy boatbuilder with a happy boat
And just like that the carpentry is done! I added a top to both halves, and stiffened up the floor some. Actually had enough of that 1x2 to add 2 boards to the back floor. Plans say you can double that floor if you are a heavier guy - and I am about 20 lbs heavier than the rated capacity for this boat. After the rubrails went on I added corner caps at all 4 corners as well.

Everything had to be rough cut to length or shape, then trimmed to a final fit. The corner caps were frustrating, as they had to be the same for each half, but inverted. strange. The front half is supposed to nest inside of the back half, but I think I left the gunwales too long. The point in front looks great, but I think it's going to be too long to make the fit.

Top got a skid too
And that was all on 8/6/17. Carpentry is finished! All that's left now is to epoxy the seams, add fiberglass tape, seal the inside with epoxy as well, and give it some finishing touches. This has already been a fun project and I have no idea if it will float.