Friday, December 22, 2017

Starting off, and a quick project

Well, it looks like my next boat is starting to come together. I need to come up with a proper name. Some proper plans would be nice too. Here's how it all came together, or at least how I think it's coming together.

I want to build a 17' sloop rigged sailboat for a trailer with bench seating so I could fit 6-8 people inside comfortably. I'm going to piece this thing together from a couple of sources. First, I'm starting with the free plans for Petrel, a 16' sloop rigged sailboat. You can download the plans from that link. I like the lines of the hull, the framing and lofting looks easy enough to pull together, and I think lofting and framing is going to be a flexible operation. The first two frames (from the transom) are spaced 30" apart, I'm going to move those to 36" to get the extra foot that I'm looking for. Also it's supposed to be planked with a plywood bottom and a hard chine line, so I think I'm going to add more curve to the frames and plywood the whole thing. Might even be able to work out that hard chine line too, depending on how much fairing I can do in the lofting. This is going to be fun.

I really want the seating to be low enough so my sailors won't have to duck under the boom, so seating inside the boat, not on top of the boat. When I stumbled on the Glen-L 15 the pictures looked like what I wanted to produce. It's too small to use the hull design, but the sail dimensions are the same as the Petrel. So without buying the plans, I'm going to try and come up with similar bench seating and work that in with the Petrel front deck design. However, I will purchase the sails, rigging, and all of the hardware from Glen-L for the 15, so I'm still giving them about $1200. The entire sail rig is perfect for this boat and I don't have the desire to sew my own sails.

In the workshop, getting started

and out for painting
Since I have to do everything outside to build a boat, everything gets coated in white exterior paint. I started with a full sheet of 3/8" plywood and a handful of 2x4's cut to length. I'm going to have to build it in the front yard, but I need to put the strongback on smaller sawhorses to get the base low enough to build frames. The plywood is to loft the frames, then I will move the tiny sawhorses and stongback in place to get ready to build.

I still need to find some air-dried white oak planks for the frames. Got a supplier for this?

Kid Project
Ella, my eldest daughter, came home from school with a class project where she had to build a guillotine. I procrastinated for about a week, but eventually got into the shop. There was a scrap 1x4 pine board, about 3 feet long in there, and that was almost all that it took to build this thing. Plus a lot of time on the table saw and some scrap 1/4" plywood from my last boat.

Day 1
Day 1 I cut out all of the pieces and put a groove in the two big legs there. Lots of TiteBond III holding this thing together. After that it was mostly just assembly (with Ella) and waiting on glue to dry. She didn't want to make it dangerous, so the "blade" was just a plywood cutout in the end.

Day 2+
We added a topper, and front braces to keep it from falling forward. I cut rabbets to ride in the grooves on the tall legs, and the blade falls in front of the platform. We put a hole in the top and used twine to raise and control the fall of the blade. She got an A on the project, and we had a great time putting this little thing together.  Fun times!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Now with more concrete

In the continuing escapades of my landscape adventures, we're now adding more concrete to the mix. We have always wanted to stop at this one store on our way home from my mother-in-law's lakehouse, this time we did. In particular, we were looking for a fountain for the new back patio. We did not expect to come home with like 7 new pieces.

The new fountain - just add patio. You can see an existing concrete angel in the background

Small birdbath, about 18" tall

This Gryffin fits right in with the rest of our landscape

This Buddha is a happy addition

It's a rabbit

Yeti sighting!! I'm gone 'squatchin now

The cat coming down the deck stairs

With my favorite landscaper

It looks like the sasquatch is hunting the rabbit
Since Kelley's mother had a retail store selling concrete statues like this, we've already got a bunch of other pieces in the yard. But this was our first time stopping at this store and we went a little crazy. I love having these decorations in the landscape.

Also I still have several landscaping projects going on right now. Still trying to deal with the fallen leaves, sure, but NC winters still have temps in the 50's or 60's most days. I can be outside woodworking, boatbuilding, or landscaping any day of the week. Fun times.

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.