Progress, progress, progress… it still feels too slow but at the same time it is nice to see things I thought about in advance come into play.
I had the 6 gauge copper wire for several months and it is quite satisfying to see it work nicely with the home made roves.
I also did the final shaping of the inside of the jaws with a half round file. In hindsight it would have been better to cut out a semi circle from the but of the spar before gluing and advancing the wedges a little too. But although it took a little more work I think it looks fine.
I finally applied the first coat of Epifanes clear varnish mixed with 50% brushing thinner so that it penetrates into the wood as much as possible.
It is such a satisfying feeling to finally stop sanding and apply the finish to the wood. I did realize that I had not completed all the little thumb cleats that need to be added to the spars and will need to be varnished. So I started on that this afternoon. I’ll keep at it tomorrow morning so that the next coats also cover the cleats as well.
After a short hiatus in June due to a heavy workload with spar building partner, we took a couple days off to do a final big push in the workshop to cut all the staves for the hollow eight sided birdsmouth masts.
Each stave was 15mm by 32mm for the Caledonia yawl mast. my friends’ masts are a little bit smaller and his were 14mm by 29mm.
All the Sitka Spruce stock was excellent in the pieces we used to cut the staves. Unfortunately with 15mm width, could not get eight pieces from the one good 2×6 I’d reserved for the mast. I had to scarf together the eight piece from other stock that had some knots or other imperfections. Fortunately small diameter Sitka Spruce was easy to plane into the scarfs with the long jointer plane.
The next step was to set up the router table with the birdsmouth 45 degree router bit. Since we are routing 20′ long sections we set up a feather board on each side of the router and a fence on top as well to hold it in place. Such long skinny pieces have a lot of flexibility and wobble if they are not held down against the fence.
Once we had it all set up we made quick work of it and produced quite a bit of sawdust. Fortunately the woodshop had an excellent dust collection system.
The final product looks great. The final step is to cut the taper in each one so that the mast can have it’s appropriate taper.
Last night I escaped after dinner to the boat shed to keep the momentum established over the weekend. All the fairing and bevelling was with the intention of glueing the garboard strakes. The most interesting part was as I was dry fitting the garboard strakes to see the angles of the curve of the board at each floor.
What happened after that was a lot of epoxy… Pre-coating the surfaces with unthickened epoxy to sink into the fibres, then applying epoxy thickened with West Systems 406 colloidal silica. For the next couple hours my latex gloves were wetted with epoxy and I had started a process I could not stop.
When I finally pulled off the gloves, the two garboard strakes were on, all the squeeze out epoxy cleaned off and it was one in the morning. Fortunately gluing is quiet so I did not bother any of the neighbours. It will be interesting to see how the second strakes line up, in the meantime it feels good to reach this milestone.
The idea has been brewing in my mind for many years. I’ve been pondering a way to reconcile my love of simple self propelled travelling with having two young children. I want to be able to share the experiences, while not inoculating them from every wanting to do it again when they are older. So my wandering mind has settled on a plan that will satisfy many requirements.
I would like to build a small wooden sailboat.
Seaworthy enough to sail up and down the inside passage from Vancouver to Cortez Island and maybe even up the inside passage up to the Broughton Archipelago or Prince Rupert.
Capable of taking my whole family with camping equipment and food for several days
Able to sail in light to strong winds
Able to be rowed comfortably by one or two people when there is no wind.
Capable to accommodate sleeping aboard when in still water with a canvass boom tent and plenty stowage for equipment and food.
Beachable, so that people and equipment can easily be brought to shore in remote locations.
Can be stored on trailer on land or in the water
A small motor well or mount when conditions and distances warrant.
So these parameters in themselves do narrow down the possibilities somewhat. But the key determinants of narrowing it down to a smaller list might be the subjective design qualities. The intangible special sauce that mixes function and form into a beautiful seaworthy sailboat. The final element is one of size, how small is too small for a family of four? Would an open boat on a typically rainy west coast day be too miserable for my family? Does the boat have to have a cabin or could we manage without?
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