All posts by Gwendal

Caledonia Yawl Project: Installing the knees to the thwart

My next step for the forward compartment was to glue in the perimeter batten to hold the edges of the deck. I used small ribbed copper nails to hold down the battens in place while the epoxy set.

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I will leave the copper nails in as they won’t rust and won’t do any harm.

Then on to the knees that I had laminated a while ago, while I was in a laminating mode with the stems. I had enough off cuts of fir laminating stock to do the knees at that time. But since I’d just run the through the thickness planer when I had rented one for another task.

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The knees were first smoothed with the 1/4 round over bit of the router. That all worked mostly well except on one outer corner of the curve where the wood likely under tension ripped out with the router. I had to then glue the ripped section back down and sand it smooth.  To fit the knees instead of doing a template, I first cut the base angle and then scribed the right angles cuts to fit it to the inner gunwhale. When I made that cut I was a little conservative and I had the plane it down a few times to get it to fit snugly. I then used one side as the template for the other side and it went much faster.

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I’m now just going to do a touch more sanding before I get on to coating it all with Decks Olje. A two part oil finish that creates an fairly easy to refinish gloss coating. I like the rich clear finish it gives. Since I’m not planning on having too much material with a clear finish (Gunwhale, knees, thwart, Centreboard caps and bulkhead trim) I’m not too fussed about the cost. (nearly one third more than the cost of Cetol Natural Teak finish or most varnishes).  I have hesitated with my final choice for a while but ultimately decided to give Decks Olje a shot because of the penetrating oil of part 1 and the ease of touching up. In theory if you keep on top of it you could just touch up abrasions indefinitely without having to strip it all down as you would with varnish. Time will tell if I’m happy with it.

The Caledonia Yawl Project: gluing the forward bulkhead

Over the last few weeks I’ve been going in several directions at once. Playing around with the rudder straps and figuring out exactly how to place them parallel on a curved aft stem. Sourcing nice bronze rowlocks, small cleats and trying to find a reasonable amount of Sitka spruce for the masts and spars.

But the fitting of the hull was slightly stalled. Mostly because I was still a little stuck fitting the deck beams and the kingplank. But with some playing around I’ve finally fit it in a way that seems to work.

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We cut out the holes in the bulkhead for two 12″ Armstrong hatches. My son is testing them out to see if he would be able to go into forward section for a nap.

I came up with a nice gusset for connecting the kingplank to the bow that will allow me to screw down the head stay to a very solidly fitted pad eye.

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rough fit of the bow gusset

I also installed the bow eye that is bolted right through the stem.

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Then when everything was fitting well, I took the plunge and glued it all together. I had a small scare when one pot of epoxy set off much faster than expected (I had maybe miscounted my hardener pumps?) but recovered and was able to make a fairly nice fillet along the whole length of the bulkhead.

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The next stage is to figure out what kind of access hatch I’d like to put in the top. I don’t think the two access holes in the bulkhead are sufficient. The curved fore deck will however make it a more complex little hatch to create. Particularly if I want to keep the profile low and water tight.

Caledonia Yawl Project: Thwarts and bulkheads

This summer I’ve been working on getting the interior of the hull completed.

I started with the thwart and and thwart cleats.

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Thwart cross-section https://flic.kr/p/K5ndVX

I glued up some 3/4″ reclaimed mahogany that I found on craigslist that had been pulled from hold Vancouver home window and door frames. It was not quite wide enough or thick enough. So I glued two pieces on edge and then onto a 1/2″ douglas fir boards. I then planed it down to 1″ thick which is just over the plan specifications of 7/8″.

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The Thwart Cleats

The Thwart cleats were a complex piece to put together with a bevel on top of the curve of the hull to shape. It was also fun to figure out how to place it level and just in the right direction. But spending a little extra time on this I believe will bear fruit in the long run as it is such an important structural part.

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The next step is to install the forward bulkhead and the deckbeams and kingplank. This part is also confounding me as the plans show the deck following the topmost lap between the sheer strake and the strake below. But this seems to create a curve that does not match the curve of the deckbeams specified in the plans. So essentially I have a choice of which path to take to reconcile the plans to the real world.

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scribing the shape of the deckbeam on reclaimed wood.

For the deck beams I needed more wood, so I made a trip to Jack’s New and Used in Burnaby and found some good old Douglas Fir door frames that were 1 1/4″ thick. this gives me a nice dimension to work with to shape the deck beams.  The old Douglas Fir is now super hard and maybe a little brittle but also very solid. So I’m hoping it will result in a durable choice.

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And again there are a lot of bevels to line up on this piece. But I’ve been taking my time making good templates first and then transferring the shape and angles to the final stock I want to use in the boat.

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I’m close to getting it right, a little more trimming and it will soon be ready for gluing.

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Caledonia Yawl project: gluing down the centreboard well

This Sunday for father’s day as a present I got four hours of uninterrupted time. Enough to do the final step that will make this hull finally water tight.  Glue the centerboard well to the keelson.  I set up a string down the centre line to help me line up the centreboard well and make sure it is square.

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I then put the first layer of clear epoxy down on all the surfaces and then a nice thick layer of thickened epoxy.

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It was a hot day and I had to make sure my sweat did not drip down into the epoxy as I was troweling it down. This was a critical step and I am now looking forward to completing the centreboard well trim and side braces.

then on the next projects:

forward and aft bulkheads

Thwarts and benches,

Knees and floorboards,

Engine well.

Paint and install the hardware.

Find a good trailer for the boat.

 

Caledonia yawl project: gluing the centreboard well

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So now that all the component pieces of the centreboard well are completed it took me a couple hours to double check everything so that once I have it all glued i would drill the centreboard pivot in the right location.

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After double and triple checking squareness I glued it all together.

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I also finished making the little shims that fill the wedge shaped gap between the frame and the hull. It is important to fill this as the chain plate bolts would otherwise deform the hull to meet the frame.

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I then sealed the underside of the frame so that it is ready to be placed in the hull and not an area of potential rot.

Caledonia yawl project: fitting the centerboard well & breasthooks

I finally glued the last gunwale and with the magic of a belt sander I borrowed from my neighbour. I have been able to make it look nice and smooth. This is a tool I thought I’d only need occasionally but now that I’ve started to use it, it appears indispensable and I suppose that looking back shaping the keelson might have been easier if I had it.

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Next I tackled assembling all the pieces for the centerboard case.

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It is not super complex but you do need to pay attention to the dimensions in the plans and since they are unique it takes some planning to figure out what size stock you need to match the need. I spent a fair bit of time looking at the rows of clear douglas fir at the lumber yard figuring out what I wanted.

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what felt good is that everything roughed in really nicely.

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The last challenge is to get the centerboard pivot location placed at the right spot. The plans are good but my centerboard ended up slightly oversized and I have to figure out if I will need to modify the board .

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I still need to put graphite epoxy on the inside faces of the centerboard case and shape the forward brace.

then I tackled the breasthooks.  In the plans for the gunter yawl and gunter sloop version the breasthooks are much smaller than for the lug yawl version. The sides are only 6″ long vs. 10″ long.

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I made templates and played around with different ways to scribe the inside curve. I tried a compass but in the end fount that a very thin and flexible batten was the easiest.

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the wood came from offcuts from my neighbours hose renovation. He had found reclaimed fir from a warehouse demolition that was milled into 3×14 lumber for his rafters. Needless to say this douglas fir was dry and seasoned. When I glued it I put in threaded bronze rod to help tie the pieces together so that the glued surface is not the only part taking the load.

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this is patient work with multiple angles to keep track of. I felt like the breasthooks are one of the most sculptural parts I’ve had to work on so far.

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I worked at it with the block plane, the belt sander the random orbital sander and the very useful rasp.

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I alternated working on the bow and stern breasthooks to try and keep each learning from one process fresh for the other.  The only concern that came up is that there was a very slight offset in height of the gunwhales at the bow. The bow breasthook had to be shaped in such a way to to blend the difference and hide it.

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bit by bit I got it to take form

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and I’m quite happy with the results.

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Caledonia yawl project: the frame unveiled

Yesterday I snuck back to the boat shed with my little apprentice.

We found that the epoxy had set nicely. So far I’ve yet to have had a problem with the West system epoxy even when skirting the edges on the temperature limits of the 205 fast hardener. But it is always a nice relief to find the laminated Wood solidly bonded.

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So we started the process of removing the multitude of clamps holding the laminated frame for 24 hours. I then put it in the hull at the appropriate location.

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The epoxy squeeze out still needs to be cleaned up and the whole frame will be planed down to 1″ thick. The outer frame will be bevelled to match the angle of the hull and the ends will be cut down to mate with the completed inwhales.

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I also flipped the frame upside down and found that it looked like a great shape to mimic for an eventual canvas cover for camping… But that is a project for much later. First I need to finish the inwhale laminations and continue to fit out the interior of the boat.

Onwards, regaining momentum feels good.

Caledonia yawl project: inwhales and frames

The last couple weeks the temperature has been steadily increasing and getting up closer to ten degrees consistently. This has allowed to glue up the inwhales.

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There are three laminations to glue up on each side for the inwhales. Each are 1/2″ by 2″. The first one needs to be beveled down but 1/8″ to allow the inwhales to toe in slightly and not appear too flared. The second lamination needs to be tapered down to 1/4″ at the ends so that the mass of the inwhales does not look too bulky at the bow and stern. The last lamination is full size all the way along.

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All this to say that the preparations for each lamination takes some time. They also have a fair bit of curve and so I have needed to mobilise all the clamps at my disposal.

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Finally this evening with the threat of rain held back for another day I tackled gluing the shroud chainplate compression frame.

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I worked on a flat surface to set it all up and then once it was all clamped up, I tilted the plywood backing up and screwed it to the shed wall where it would away from the elements.

I am feeling good about the progress and now that the cross country season is winding down, I hope to be able to get through a few more big milestones in outfitting the inside of the hull.

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Video: Le kite, un système de traction efficace ?

Le kite, un système de traction efficace ? The Swiss project Race for water odyssey is integrating a kite with their solar powered round the world journey.

I’m particularly interested in the search to automate the kite control system. That in my mind is the key à transformative use of kites for transportation.

Check our raceforwater.org

 

Caledonia yawl project: preparing the gunwhales

This weekend the weather started to turn through the day on Saturday. In the morning it was wet and warmish. But as the day wore on the forcast bore itself out and the temperatures dropped steadily to -9 overnight. With this in mind I decided to forego any gluing and do more things that would set me up for some productive days of gluing when the temperatures start to rise.

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I started by sanding all the fillets I had done in all the interior laps. The last set of fillets I plan on doing are between the aprons (inner stems) and the planking. This will strengthen the bond and present a better surface for painting and keeping clean.

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I also cut all the scarfs needed to lay up three laminations od 1/2 ´´ thick Douglas fir that will be  nearly 21’ long once glued up.  I just found that my last pieces were a little knotty with some grain runout and so I could only get 8’ out of them. I will need to get two more lengths of 13’ 1/2” strips to have all the materials ready.