This summer was spent with 3 weeks away in France visiting family and friends. I was lucky enough to be able to get my fix of beautiful wooden boats in the port of Douarnenez.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a few weeks where I was able to devote several weekends and evenings to the boat building. Although my progress has not been as quick as I’d hoped. My desire was to be finished for the labour day long weekend. But there is still so many things to do and I quickly realized that I was not in any position to keep to that desired deadline.
I shaped the forward and aft deck plywood to shape. It was tricky to scribe and cut just right. I was also pleased to see that the deck beams aligned nicely with fair curves.
I then epoxied the underside as preparation for gluing them down.
These are parts that will be hard to get to in the future. So I coated them in epoxy and painted them.
I did a nice fillet around the edge of the deck. The next step is to make the hatch covers. I will have a frame that protrudes so that water can’t seep through and into the bulkhead compartment. But Ideally it will be as low profile as possible. I’m thinking a 1cm fence on which the cover will rest. I think this will be preferable to a flush deck hatch which relies on a gasket to keep the water out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This summer I’ve been working on getting the interior of the hull completed.
I started with the thwart and and thwart cleats.
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″.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m close to getting it right, a little more trimming and it will soon be ready for gluing.
Yesterday after consulting Ian Oughtred’s guidance on whether or not to paint the hull with epoxy before painting. He is adamant that it is not a good idea. So I decided to go straight to priming the hull.
My next resource is the small book by Joni Blanchard “Tricks, Cheating & Chingaderos” a collection of knowledge and tips for varnishing and painting wooden boats.
I liked her suggestion of wiping down with denatured alcohol to try and have the surface as clean and dust free as possible. The only problem is try finding denatured alcohol in Canada. You won’t find it in the paint section of the hardware store. I found it as burning ethanol for garden fireplaces and stoves at Rona called Bio light. Otherwise the other option was marine stove fuel or 99% isopropyl alcohol à the pharmacy. But that only comes in small containers.
I also found a neat little tool to mark the waterline in such a way that it would remain visible under the paint.
It comes from our sewing kit. And leaves a nice little series of small bumps.
I’ve sanded and added low density fairing epoxy filler to the parts that needed it. Then the process of sanding continues. Each time a thin layer of dusts covers the hull everything appears more fair and smooth. This dangerous as I have learned when mudding drywall, what lies beneath needs to be exposed to be sure there aren’t any bumps, holes, bubbles or ripples that would be even more apparent once the paint is applied.
So switching up the tasks from laying the strakes is a big shift and the boat is really feeling substantial under my hands now. Each action is now in relation to this compound shape and having to add or remove material to fit something new. I have started working on the stems.
Just placing the outer stems on the hull before I had done any preparation just started to transform my conception of the hull further.
I have now started to plane down the faces of the stems to match the curve of the outer stems I had laminated with the inner stems months ago.
I have now also cut the douglas fir stock I had been keeping for the outer keel pieces.
I decided for simplicity’s sake to build the keel in four pieces and glue it together rather than shape one single piece of wood with the centre board slot cut out. This approach should be just as strong and offer much more ease of building.
I have also started to look for materials and hardware that will be needed. most pressing will be more fir for the gunwales which I still have in stock. Early in the process I bought rough dimensional 2×4 fir from Dicks lumber that was still green. It has now seasoned for several months, I used some for the stem lamination and kept the rest for the outer keel and the gunwales.
So the hardest piece of hardware for me to source in Vancouver so far has been the half oval brass rub strips to go on to protect the keel and stems. Either it is not possible to ship from US based distributors to Canada or shipping from Classic Marine in the UK would be cost prohibitive. I did find Tendercraftboats.ca
who are based in Ontario as a supplier of 1/2″ half oval but not 3/4″ half oval that is necessary. Their catalogue was however very good and I was able to find 6″ long bronze machine screws for the rudder gudgeons that will get through both the outer and inner stems.
I also found that the supply a bronze bow eye that will work well with a 6″ machined bolt. Peter at Tendercraft boats has been very helpful and I am looking forward to my shipment arriving.
For the half oval after some searching I considered UHMW (ultra high molecular weight plastic) which was done by Yeadon on his Hvalsoe 18. I found a quote from Associated Plastics that was almost the same price as what I found from Alaska Copper & Brass who have an office in a suburb of Vancouver for brass half ovals. Going trough their catalogue I was able to find exactly the half oval dimensions I was looking for. Both 3/4″ and 1/2″ in 12′ lengths. I will end up with a little left over which I’m sure I’ll find used for elsewhere on the boat as rub strips or chafe protection.
Today I started on the beveling of the landing for the sixth strakes. Before starting I laid them up in place to see how they landed and mark where I’ll cut the gains on the ends. It also feels good to get a preview of what it will look like.
I was able to include my children with the removal of the clamps after it was glued up and they participated in roughing in the seventh strake on the starboard side.
I’ll close this post with a little video of my daughter helping me with the removal of the clamps.
I have to squeeze my boat shed time between other competing obligations and interests. Not to mention a desire to hold on to a good nights sleep. As such my boat building seems to progress in micro-bursts.
I in a few hours I was able to cut the bevel and the gains on the port side garboard to get ready to glue the second strake.
The change in angle between the garboard and the second strake is large enough that it seems that the bevel takes away all the gain. So that the plank does not appear to sink down into the garboard.
Maybe it is possible to do it by cutting down deeper and reducing the gluing surface. But to my eye, it seemed better to focus on the fair landing of the plank on the stem rather than trying to worry about the gain on the garboards.
My hunch is that all the subsequent strakes have much smaller bevel angles and so the gains will look better.
I managed to get out at 8:15pm and glue the port strake #2 this evening. I’m pretty pleased with the way it looks.
Projects, images, and ideas for my little piece of the internet