Sunday, December 3, 2017

Buy 'em Books, send 'em to school

and you still can't learn 'em nothing - that's what my grandfather used to say. But this time it's the Beginning Boatbuilding class at the Harvey W Smith Watercraft Center at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC. They put on the class once a month and it was the best $135 I've spent all year. The kids are in a year-round school, so they had the entire month of September off and that's when we like to take our family vacations anyway. So I took Friday and Monday off from work, and we did a long weekend on the coast.

Beaufort is a fantastic small coastal town. It's the very lower end of the southern outer banks of North Carolina. The waterfront is a marina with some amazing boats. That's my kind of beach town - no sand and lots of boats. We saw some wild horses roaming the islands across the bay! It was beautiful. A bit warm, perhaps, but overall the weekend was amazing.  We started by getting down there Friday.

The first beer of vacation! Actually got that in before leaving the office

The kids picked this room in the hotel

Awaiting the pirate adventure
Our first stop was the Pirate's Revenge - a boat tour of the bay. The kids got to fight off the attacking pirate bad guys with water cannons. It was fantastic fun. The pirates were hilarious, and I highly recommend taking the tour if you get the chance.

Water cannons capable of fending off pirates

The evil attacker

They drove him away!

Ella wants me to build a sailboat that looks like the Black Pearl. Addons like this might be the closest I can get

a 50' sailboat called the Miniskirt

The Maritime Museum
In front of the Watercraft Center
Day 1:
We started with lofting, and I finally got it! I had read through the lofting process a few times but it took an in-person explanation to finally get the finer points through my thick skull. Buttock lines, waterlines, frames, how to read the table of offsets and turn it into actual drawings. We also got to cut some molds from the drawings and get the body assembled. It's amazing how much stuff you have to build before you actually start building the boat.

Interior of the watercraft center with a restoration in progress and some show-off boats

The center is right on the water

This years volunteer built boat
Day 2
On the second day we were able to focus more on building techniques. Spiling planks, laying both Carvel and Lapstrake planks down on the frames that we built on Day 1, that kind of thing.  We went through in detail about finishing techniques & materials as well.

Overall the class was very informative and the center was amazing. Really grateful that my family was able to take this adventure with me and that it turned out so well. Here's some other pictures of stuff around the center, including the frame & techniques we built.

spiling a plank with a batten and the icepicks

carvel planking with cotton caulking

lapstrake and carvel planks over a keelson

Next years volunteer giveaway boat

and older restoration project in progress

The front end of a kayak that we used Stich & Glue to build

whale weights & half models

the finished lofting boards

that white film is caused by an epoxy condition on solid wood

cool canoe with a motor!

The 2017 volunteer built boat up for raffle at the museum

The watercraft center is a really amazing place

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.