Tag Archives: Caledonia Yawl

CALEDONIA yAWL pROJECT: sUMMER DETAILING

I’ve been moving along motivated to complete the boat in 2020. As things are with projects like this the desire to call things “good enough” is tempered with the awareness is that a “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. For example spending the time to drill the screw holes oversized and then fill them with thickened epoxy and then re-drill them to the appropriate size again.

We’ve tested the Norwegian tiller and report that it appears satisfactory

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I also finished shaping the chocks out of reclaimed local cherry wood I’d been seasoning.

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The next step was doing things I’ve been putting off as they are simply put dramatic. Cutting the hole in the motor well was one of those things I considered not doing until I actually bought a motor. But it would have then become a space that collects water and it would be harder to do well once out of the shop. So I made the call modelling my hole on the space needed for a Torqueedo 1003CL which is the motor I’d like to be able to use. The electric motor takes up much more room than the gas motors so I figure it will be plenty large if for some reason I decide to use a four-stroke engine instead of electric. I used a small drill bit to get started and then finished with a small keyhole pull saw which worked very well.

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I was then ready to star pulling out the protective coverings. Starting with all the surfaces that will get the Deks Olje. The idea being that if I go over with paint later, It will be easier to wipe clean rather than when it seeps into the pores of fresh wood.

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I also created the plug for the motor well that fits onto a backing plate and will keep the hull flush and fast when sailing.

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I then tackled the interior of the hull. Removing all the floor boards, thwarts and benches.

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Priming felt amazing, I really felt I was reaching a milestone.

Before painting the foils and the hatch covers, I did a final fitting of the centreboard in the boat. I had been satisfied the last time I tested it. But today I found that mostly due to the way I had finished the tip with a generous extra roundover of expoxy, it was a little too long. So I cut off the tip and removed a 7mm strip.

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Small strip of centreboard removed. Shows good shape and construction method.
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I then reglued the tip to the centreboard. This shortens it by just shy of a cm and also provides a protective water break in the centreboard. That way if by chance I nick the tip on a submerged object, it won’t wick up the cedar grain that is at the core of the centreboard and rot.

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primer on the rudder head, hatch covers, centreboard and rudder
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I had chosen the teal colour I used below the waterline to be used in the interior as well because I really like the contrast with the colour of varnished wood. Thought while applying the alkyd enamel up close I started to wonder if it is too punchy. I’ll finish applying the first coat to the whole boat and remind myself that the benches, thwarts and floorboards will obscure a lot of what is currently visible.

Caledonia Yawl Project: fitting out the interior

The fitting out of the interior to get it ready for painting continues. I’ve been adding all the fittings to make it possible to have removable floors.

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Adding a cleat to the bulkhead to hold the bow floors down
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all glued up.

Adding little wedges to finish the bow inner and outer stem pieces.

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Cutting out the reclaimed cherry to make the boomkin brace

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And then deciding whether to place it at the bulkhead or further back? to interfere less with the motor well.

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Then I tackled the bow chocks out of pieces of cheery from the neighbourhood that I had been seasoning for a while.

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This was a very satisfying sculpting of wood. The cherry is hard but quite nice to work with.

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I’ve also built a backing plate for the motor well to have something to glue the piece of hull I will cut out to so that when sailing we can still have a nice smooth hull.

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The next step that has been slow going but necessary work is creating the hold-down tabs for the floors.

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I’m using leftover brass keel strip 1/2 rounds and small pieces of reclaimed mahogany as risers.

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I had to glue a couple extra pieces to the floors to allow for the adequate spacing of the hold-down cleats.

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I’ve also been spending extra time drilling oversized holes for the screws and then filling them with epoxy into which I will then set the screws. This will help prevent moisture entering the wood through the screw holes. I think this is especially important on all the horizontal surfaces where rain water might trickle down.

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I’ve also shaped the tiller arm

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And cut the mortise in the rudder head

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It took a while but eventually it all fit nice and snugly.

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I even did the little wedge out of a small piece of mahogany

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The eye for the eventual reaching sail is now attached to the bow.

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I’ve also started on a pair of chocks for the stern. They will allow for stern tying to the beach or a shoreline and to tie the boat to a dock.

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Now i’m all caught up. with the last month and a half of work on the boat. I’m motivated to get done before summer gets underway. Once the floor cleat risers are glued. I’ll be ready to start prepping the hull for painting. I’ll start with doing all the parts that will have Decks Olje. The gunwhales, the mahogany trim and the cherry chocks. The rest will all be painted teal or white.

Caledonia yawl project: the floors, odds & ends

The cross country ski season has come to an abrupt stop with the closure of the local mountain trails due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is unfortunate as March has seen considerable new snow and what I imagine is great conditions. That said it is imperative to self isolate and maintain physical distancing to control the spread of the virus.

My adaptation in Vancouver to stay active is to make a small investment in roller skis to keep the technique sharp and to do much more running. Now that we are working from home, I’ve replaced my bike commute time with morning runs. It helps to create a sense of separation from the home and the work even though they are take place in the same place now. In reality it is a struggle to discern what time is for what. Is it homeschooling hour? work hour? personal development and reading or the general tending to domestic needs?

With all that I’m endeavouring to find moments to return to the boat which is providing as always a place and time of quiet meditation, applied problem solving and creative output.

Here is a rundown of the discrete projects I’ve tackled on the boat.

Building the mizzen mast collar on the aft deck.

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Collar cut out of two pieces of 9mm okoume plywood
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Glued down with a groove between the two pieces to enable a mast boot to be connected.

The next item was the boomkin brace or hole that goes though the sheer strake. This is one of the scary items where positioning and aligning is important to that the boomkin end is aligned with the centerline to sheed the mizzen sail. The other consideration is the rudder head and making sure there is no impeding the rudder swing (a good reason to do the rudder earlier in the build process)

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I got a 1′ long drill bit for the hole saw to help with alignment and cutting on an angle.

and away we go.

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The angle is sharp enough that I had to cut from both sides.

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I then cut the remaining tabs with a needle width pull saw. Then I reproduced the angle of the cut on a piece of 1″ thick mahogany board.

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which I then cut out as a frame for the brace and cut that in half (delicate operation with a pull saw) to be able to have the frame on each side of the hole.

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This was a challenging glue up shape the clamps just did not work. So in the end I used small 3/4″ copper ring nails to hold it down during the glue up. I like the look of it so they will remain in place.

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I also took a leap and cut the shape of the bow and stern stems. I’d been holding off as I’d waffled on having a more flat profile or the curved profile Ian Oughtred also puts in the plans.

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I’ve decided on the curved profile and I’ll add this bronze bow eye that will be used for as a secondary forestay location or to attached an eventual jennecker. The normal pad eye for the foresday will be just behind the the bow brace on the deck.

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And the stern stem cut to rough shape

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That is the first part of this COVID-19 boatshop isolation chronicle.

CALEDONIA YAWL PROJECT: SUMMER PROGRESS

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.

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Gluing the rowlock riser out of small pieces of reclaimed mahogany

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.

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Shaping the knees for the forward bulkhead

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.

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I then epoxied the underside as preparation for gluing them down.

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These are parts that will be hard to get to in the future. So I coated them in epoxy and painted them.

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Taped the deckbeam and kingplank for painting so that later I can glue the plywood to that unpainted surface.
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Primer in the front
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primer in the back
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The interior is all painted white to make it easier to see in the confined space.
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The underside of the decks are painted before gluing.
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testing out the location of the cleat and the padeye.
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Gluing down the decks and clamping with a mix of screws and clamps where possible
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My assistant made sure they still fit inside.

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.

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Looking forward to painting the rest of the interior soon

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.

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: flipping the boat

Last night I put the call out to a few friends to help out to turn the boat over. I rigged a long 1/2″ braided line to the rafters.

Then I crawled around under the boat trying to find all the brackets I had set up to hold down the keelson. I also removed all the braces for the station molds.

Then under a torrential downpour with the corrugated tin roof making a racket we got ready to lift the hull.

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It unstuck fairly easily, and with 6 sets of hands we lifted it without any trouble. We then went along while the line held the boat up to remove all the station molds.

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It was amazing to finally have an unobstructed view of the inside of the boat for the first time.

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Then we lowered it down and spun it while it was still held by the line just above the strongback.

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Here is a short video shot on my friend Dom’s go-pro camera mounted in the corner.

There is a fair amount of scraping ahead of me to get all the spots I was not able to clean up that were behind clamps.

I’m looking to figure out who supplies shavehook scrapers or contour scraper in Vancouver?

Then I think I may round over all the edges of the plywood inside and apply a small fillet of epoxy to help the paint hold better and avoid voids where my clamping was less than even.

 

 

 

Caledonia yawl project: painting the waterline

This was profoundly satisfying. I used alkyld paints from Cloverdale paint on Terminal Avenue in Vancouver. The colour scheme is inspired by @captainMax’s (on Flickr) Sooty Tern in Sweden.

I like the bright colours. I hesitated a long time with something more like black with a thin yellow or light blue stripe. But in the end decided that white highlighted de clinker construction more.

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I taped the waterline that was still visible through the two primer coats and went to work painting.

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Two hours later it was all done

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I rolled and tipped with a brush to fairly good effect. I just found that the “nice roller” I’d selected lost quite a lot of fuzz. So I’ll have to do a bit of sanding before the second coat.

 

Caledonia yawl project: priming the hull

Today was a turning point. I put a roller in a tray of Cloverdale paint alkyld primer and started to hide the wood.

the first few strokes of primer

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.

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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.

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Caledonia yawl project: sanding, fairing & more sanding

This is the part where the changes are almost imperceptible but where so much of the final appearance of the boat rests.

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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.