Tag Archives: boomkin

Caledonia Yawl Project: Spar Building PartV

The race to be done for my vacation is still on. But I’ve resigned myself to the reality that the first week of my vacation will be spar making and rigging the boat. The finishing line is in sight, but there is still so much to do.

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I’ve tackled the main mast shaping going from 8 sided down to 16 sided, then 32 sided and 64 sided.

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I used a used West Systems thickening powder container as a sanding backer and pulled out some sand paper left over from sanding my floors a couple years ago. I started with 36 grit to cut down the corners. Then 60 grit, and 100 grit sandpaper.

Sanding, sanding more sanding

This was hard work and Vancouver this summer is going from one heat wave to another. Fortunately I went out an bought a large ventilation fan that I mounted to the rafters of the shed. This has worked wonders to help me keep cooler while I work up a serious sweat sanding.

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I then cut the mast head to a smaller diameter with a router. This will create a nice saddle for the shrouds to loop onto the top of the mast.

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I did most of the shaping with the Japanese rasp and finished with the random orbital sander.

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I think the scalloped ends of the plug and birdsmouth look really cool.

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Using this portable guide I drilled the ends of the mortise for the halyard sheaves.

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The tricky part was drilling the hole for the axle at 90 degrees to the mortise.

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I’ve also sanded the sprit boom and the boomkin and finished the ends on those.

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Then onto the mizzen mast. Where I experimented with the difference of using the power planer.

And using the drawknife to cut down from a tapered square to the 8 sided shape.

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My conclusion is that with the drawknife guides it is much easier to control and likely just as fast as the power planer. If kept sharp it is almost easier and certainly quieter and less messy overall. It is way easier to pick up the shavings than vacuum up all the sprayed chips sent out by the power planer. I found it gets me quite close to where I need and then I can just finish it off with the jack plane and the block plane.

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The mizzen mast is now complete. I now have three days to complete the main boom and yard. Then I will lay everything out and varnish them with 6 coats.

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.