Loxley (goodluckfox) wrote,

Keehar: "Ees boat! Man make them! Go on vater!"

I got up this morning at 6AM, and met Uncle John at Lowes. He needed some oak plywood, paint thinner, and stripper to work on another paying project. By the time he arrived, I'd already scoped out the lumber that I would need.

A very nice floor guy named Jerome takes good care of my disabled uncle (he's old and infirm... he and Dad were best buds growing up, college roomies, etc...)

I'm afraid that if I don't build this little sailboat with him now, I will prolly never get the chance again. He's tickled pink to be helping me; it's not often at his age that he gets to do something new. He's built many a cabinet, table, bookshelf,and lawn furniture, but has never built a boat. His help consists mostly of telling me what to do; I don't want him lifting anything or overexerting himself. Maybe he's not in as bad shape, and I'm just overcautious since he seems to be in worse shape than Dad was, and HE died, so... yeah. Moving on.

This is a picture of Uncle John's shop. Many fascinating things come out of there. He is old school when it comes to woodworking. It's a good thing building this boat is like building a bookcase. Bookcases he can do.

He's Uncle John ripping a 2x6x12 intos smaller pieces that will make the chine logs and framing.

Here I am using a carpenter's square to mark the stations to draw out the pattern of the sides of the hull onto the 5mm luan plywood. This is some thin, lightweight stuff, but once everything goes together, it locks into a rigid sructure.

Uncle John shows that he knows a thing or two, by demonstrating how to cut a nice smooth curve by using a "batten" (although I don't think he knew the word, and just called it a "thin strip of wood") to trace a graceful hull line. What you do is drive a small nail at the appropriate points, leaving it standing straight up, just tacked into the wood a little bit. Then you clamp the batten onto it and it makes a nice, fair curve. Pull the tacks and you're done.

I should totally be wearing safety goggles here. Bad nephew! These little hipster frames I'm wearing aren't all that great for deflecting flying crap... not like my old yucky glasses. I'm going to wind up going blind, but I'll look good doing it. Anyway, this is me cutting out the side shapes. And yes, I did eventually go get some safety goggles.

This is me using an orbital sander to sand the edges smooth; luan is some pretty flimsy cheap plywood, and the jigsaw really tears it up when it cuts.

Here you can see the gunnel and a bit of framing that has been attached to the plywood by glue and nails (I like the pneumatic nailgun, although I did manage to perforate myself once with it).

The chine log has to follow the curve at the bottom of the hull; it is a straight piece of wood 12 feet long by 3/4" square. Needless to say, it does not want to do this willingly. Uncle John showed a neat way of making it do what it needed to do. You clamp the chine log to the luan, and then you use a pipe clamp to pull the next bit of chine log into line with where it needs to be, and set another c-clamp. It worked a treat. Work smarter, not harder. These joints also were glued and nailed.

While we waited for the glue to dry, we broke for lunch (yum roast beef sammiches!). This is an example of the kind of thing that Uncle John can make... it's just a simple shaped piece of wood that can hold a floor tile that you can write on with a dry erase marker. I guess it's a very rustic version of a Boone Board, but the thing will stand up on its own, and is a convenient size for jotting down notes.

When we came back from lunch we built the other side just like the first side. And I mean JUST like it. As in identical. Which is a problem. :( Uncle John called it "Mirror Immage" and even the best cabinet makers sometimes wind up building two left sides for their bookcases or whatever. Dammit! But it was easy enough to fix... just cut another piece of luan plywood to match the shape, and close off the side into what is essentially a long, skinny box.

The hull goes 3D! The bow and transome are atached. The two sticks across are there to keep the sides paralell and square. Ish. (In retrospect, this should be done from the topside). When one of these little boats gets to this stage in its construction, it becomes elegible for a hull number. I'll have to email the picture or send a link to my blog to they guy who invented the plan for this little boatlet, and I'll get my hull number. It should be in the 170s... meaning there's only 170 or so of these in the whole wide world. Aren't I special?

And the bottom goes on, is glued, and nailed down. We called it a night at this point.

Still do do is build the "air boxes" at the bow and stern that provide emergency flotation for when I inevitably capsize the thing. The boat won't sink, and I can climbe back in, bail out the remaining water, and be on my way again. Sailing is apparently a very wet hobby. Oh, yeah, also gotta build the mast, mast step, partner, rudder, and leeboards. The buckets will be cut and their tops will provide access hatches into the airboxes for inspection and storage purposes.

Uncle John has to go finish up work on a metal building tomorrow, and after he gets done with that, he wants to finish up my little boat (consisting of adding 4 cross pieces and 4 pieces of plywood. Hopefully it won't take much time.

::EDIT:: Maiden voyage: http://goodluckfox.livejournal.com/463240.html

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