Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Water and Waiting

It seems like one of the hardest parts of boat building is the waiting. Waiting for epoxy to dry, waiting for wood to soak, waiting for bent wood to set. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Well, I've been waiting a while to post an update, and I might as well put one together while I'm.....waiting.

I began mounting the chines 5 days ago. The Glen-L plans call for the chines to be built from 1" x 1-3/4" x 12'mahogany (although finished wood tends to be "3/4, not 1"). Given my lack of experience with bending mahogany, I thought that it would be very difficult to achieve desired curve. I decided to revert to making two laminations of 3/8" mahogany.

Luckily, I was able to get two 3/8" lengths from each piece of 1"x 1-3/4" length. I used the table saw at Norwalk Woodworker's Club to slice the 1" thickness in half, which removed 2/16 in the process. The planner took care of the remaining 1/32" on each strip. I highly recommend going to the Woodworker's Club. Bo was very helpful in teaching me how to use the machines, and assisted me in achieving the desired results.

Even with 3/8" chines, the wood was still stiff, and I could not achieve the desired twist (as described by BarnacleMike). The need to soak was upon us. I cut 2" PVC pipe down to 5' and placed a rubber cap on the end. A single chine was inserted into each, and then boiling water was poured into the tubes. Water was changed about every 12 hours for a total of 48 hours.

After soaking, I rough mounted the chines onto the frames. The portion of the frame where the chines meet (plus 5" above and below) was beveled using a power sander with 50 sand paper. Perhaps a power planer would be easier, but I have been using the sander a lot for taking away large amounts of material, and have gotten very comfortable with that method. The chines extend 8" forward of the stem. I attached webbing and winches to this portion to crank the chines into shape. They are still in this position today.

I have put significant thought into the question of how to mount the chines to the stem. Adhering to the advice of Wayne, a neighbor who BUILDS PLANES IN HIS BASEMENT (and yes he has a very cool basement), I will be making a mini chine breasthook out of laminated scrap mahogany. This will take some extra time, but will make achieving the outward chine twist much easier.

Now for the sheers. These are made from two lengths of 5/8" x 1-1/4" mahogany which are laminated together. I thought that I would be able to mount these dry....I was wrong. I first soaked these with the PVC method for 24 hours. When they were removed from water, I rough mounted them, and found that they were still too stiff to make the bend. I decided to compromise with them for the night. I clamped them in place along frames 1 and 2, and them clamped them just outboard of the forward breasthook. This gave them a gradual bend. They were then tightly wrapped with towels, which were ziptied into position (thank for cycling for the hundreds of spare zip ties). I then doused the towels with boiling water, and trapped in as much as I could using cellophane to wrap it all together. New boiling water was exchanged every 4-6 hours by cutting holes in the top of the cellophane wrap, and then resealing with additional wrap.

That process went on for 24 hours until it was time to clamp them into their final resting place this afternoon. Due to the shape of the breasthook (more or less a triangle), the erwin clamps had no solid surfaces to grab onto in order to hold the sheers against the breasthook. This was remedied by sawing scrap 2x4 into a saw tooth-shape and placing it on the aft side of the breasthook. The sheers were clamped tightly up front and sprung toward the rear.

Even with water, the sheers were far from spaghetti, and did not want to lay flat against the frames. In fact, they were pointing out from the breasthook at about 35 degrees. I lassoed a portion of the sheet between frame 1 and 2, and used a winch to crank them in over the next few hours.
You can never have enough clamps! These Erwin Quick Grips are great.

My sheers and chines are now in their final resting places, which brings us full circle...waiting. I'll leave these in position for the next day or two. This should give me time to mentally prep for the next steps.

I'm Brinkley and I approve this message.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Bee's Knees

Had to make a quick post about something I'm psyched out of my mind about.

For the past few weeks I have been dreading the thought of mounting the transom knee to the keel/transom. Unlike most other components, the pre-drilled holes will not help me in lining up the knee with the keel and transom. In other words, the knee is glued on when it is relatively free floating. This makes clamping very difficult because the wet epoxy creates a slip-and-slide for the pieces to be joined.

On other components that require gluing, I have been using a strategy that allows me to line up the pieces as desired even after they are coated with thickened epoxy. I first line up the dry components and pre-drill holes for screws or nails (whichever is needed). I then sink the screws through the first components until it protrudes about 1/8" through the side that contacts the other mating surface. Once the epoxy is applied, the protruding screw easily finds the hole on the adjacent part (this is depicted in the picture of the stem assembly below). This is not possible on the transom knee because I am using 1/4" carriage bolts placed within 1/2" holes. The excess space will be filled with epoxy to create a very strong, and very water-tight seal.

Here is what I am excited about. To ensure that the bolts are centered, I drilled 3/4" holes about 1/16" deep into the inboard side of the knee. The washers fit perfectly into this space, and ensure that the bolt remains centered. Once the bolts are under pressure, everything is pulled perfectly center. Meanwhile, it looks very appealing!

The bronze washer sits just below the surface of the knee. I intend to establish a water-tight seal around and under it prior to completion. Water in this knee would be a bad thing!

I borrowed this drill and bit from my neighbor, Wayne. It makes perfectly round holes and allows me to select the size hole I want. This made finding the right size hole for the washer very simple. 

The bolt will be perfectly centered in the knee. The head of the bold will be squeezed into center when pressure from the nut is applied. This is not the actual bolt I will be using.
I have other work to do today, so work on the boat will be light. The chines are currently soaking in PCV pipes to enable the bend and twist to the stem. If I have time, I will fit these to the stem and allow them to set for 48 hours. I will also have to sculpt the blocks that will be used to mount them to the stem.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Getting Back to the Blog

Luckily for me, I am a much better boat builder than I am a blogger...although that might not be saying much. I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled up this blog today to find that my last post was on March 2. Although I am having a terrific time working on the Squirt, it seems difficult to remember life prior to beginning this build. It certainly feels like more than 6 weeks!

From here on out, my plan is to post my progress every night, along with problems faced during the day and solutions. So far I have completed mounting the frames to the form, attached the stem to frame 2, and glued and screwed the battens/keel.
It might not sound or look like very much work has been done, but looking at each piece of the craft I cannot help but think of the hours that were spent carefully sanding, sculpting, and bonding every segment. I have learned a tremendous amount over the last 6 weeks, and I hope to post all of it on this blog. 

The build has been assisted by the blogs of many other Glen-L builders. I am hoping that this blog will help more in the future. 

More to come!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Well, things have been going so well with the build that I decided to stop completely....Kinda. I contacted Glen-L and purchased the Squirt plans. I figured that if I'm building a boat, I might as well build one that human sized humans can fit in.

The plans should be in on Thursday, and I am looking forward to getting started. I learned a few things on the last build that should make the first few steps of this one go much smoother.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Swapping Wood

Last night I was planning today's work. The goal was to trace and cut the mahogany sections. When I was moving the wood to my tracing area, I discovered that both lengths were noticeably warped. I exchanged both board and picked up an additional 3/4" x 6" x 5' length ($42.27). The guys at Rings End were very helpful. Pablo told me that to laminate or encapsulate plywood, the protocol is to (1) sand area with 80 sandpaper, (2) brush off excess dust, (3), remove dust particles using tack cloth. 

With straight wood in hand, I cut full-size templates of the mahogany frame components out of the white paper roll from staples (I have to return the brown roll from HD). The plans call for a 13' length of mahogany. Rings End lengths jump from 10' to 20', and at $10.50 a linear foot, I want to minimize waste. It took a bit of thinking time, but I finally figured out the best placement for the cuts. I felt a bit like Gary Sinise in Apollo 13 when he finds the perfect sequence for powering up the Command Module. 

Anywho, the 3/4" x 6" x 5' length I picked up today turned out to be a bit to small. REMEMBER, 6" really means 5.5". I'll be swapping that for an 8" x 5' tomorrow morning. I'll also drop by HD to buy a table saw to rip the mahogany. Everyone likes new tools!
Templates on Mahogany
Time:  5:00 (Total 17:30)
Cost: $42.27 (Total: $938.33)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mo Clamps No Problems

Picked up 4x 10" C-clamps, 4x 10" Jurgensen clamps, and some 2" x 4"s at HD ($99.07). I'll be returning some of the clamps I purchased on the first HD run.

I tested the West Systems EPOXY. Too cold to begin gluing frame components

QUESTION: What is the best method of laminating plywood? Sanding? Cleaning? Clamping together? Would like to hear input.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Jig is Up....Well, Not Quite

I began today by leveling the base. My garage slants about 1.5" over 8'. This was corrected by placing a "1 x 2" under the low end of the base in addition to adding several shims. I cut the jig components from scrap 2" x 4" and 1" x 4" poplar from RE. I intended to build the jig, but am waiting to purchase mounting brackets for the legs.

The bulk of my day was spent tracing frame components onto the marine plywood. Before I started the project, I thought that the patterns would have to be cut out from the large pattern sheet, and then traced on wood. THIS IS WRONG. No pattern should be cut out. This will make life not fun.

Because only half of several symmetric components are printed on the pattern sheet, I had to find a method of turning the half into a whole. After reading the Glen-L protocol and reviewing the forum, I concluded on a method that works well.

Tracing Protocol:

  1. Lay 5' x 4' marine plywood (excess from transom cut) flat on the floor.
  2. Place carbon sheet face up on top of the plywood. (Because I could only find 8.5" x 11" carbon paper, I had to tape multiple sheets together to make up a large sheet. Tape was placed on the back of the sheets, and the pages were overlapped about an inch to ensure the image was fully imprinted.)
  3. Place pattern sheet on top of carbon paper and weigh down with bricks. It is important that the pattern sheet does not moving during the tracing.
  4. Using a mechanical pencil, carefully trace the desired pattern. Straight lines were traced with the help of a 5' metal ruler.
Once traced, the pattern is on both sides of the sheet. For example, the front of the pattern sheet shows the left half, while the back shows the right half. Next, the image must be transferred to the wood. When transferring patterns that are only given as half-images, the following protocol must be used. If full size patterns are present, no reference lines are needed, and the image can traced anywhere on the wood.

Transfer Protocol:

  1. Draw a straight line in the center of the plywood. This will be the mirror line. When I was cutting the transom, I drew this line 90 degrees from the edge of the plywood. This line will mark the center of the boat. To keep the line perfectly straight, I used a carpenter triangle and a metal ruler. 
  2. Draw a line perpendicular to the straight line. The transom pattern has a line which corresponds to this line. Because I was using the edge of the Marine plywood as the top of the transom, I positioned this line the appropriate distance away from the edge. 
  3. Using an Exact-O knife ($3.99), cut small squares (1cm x 1cm) through the pattern sheet along the mirror line and the perpendicular line. These cuts allow the pattern sheet to be aligned perfectly over the plywood. 
  4. Place carbon sheet face down over the Marine plywood. Writing on top will press the image into the plywood
  5. Lay pattern sheet face up over the carbon paper, and carefully align over the perpendicular lines that were drawn on the ply wood. 
  6. Once in place, anchor the pattern sheet by using bricks. 
  7. Carefully trace the shapes. 
  8. Now that the front of the page is traced, one side of the image is complete. Now, flip the pattern sheet over (the backside has the pattern that was traced earlier), and repeat the process for the other side. In the case of the transom, the front of the pattern sheet showed the left, while the traced image on the back revealed the right side. 
I was pleasantly surprised by how accurately the form copied over. Everything was ALMOST perfectly square. I almost lost my sanity (if there was any at the start), and briefly accused my carpenter square of being un-square (91 degrees). After checking with two other squares and triangles, I found that the mirror line of the pattern board is actually 89 degrees. Loathing compromises in quality, I had to trace outside the lines to ensure that the transom would be straight. 

Word to the wise, the Glen-L pattern sheets are fantastic and have more information than what first meets the eye. If you can't find what you need on the pattern sheet...LOOK AGAIN. A good portion of my day was spent trying to figure out how to fit all the pieces on a 3' x 4' board, while minimizing the amount of straight freehand cuts I had to make. About the time I finally solved the puzzle was the moment I noticed the diagram (describing what I had just done) displayed on the corner of the pattern sheet. My hairline did not appreciate that!

I finished the day by cutting out the motor mount, breasthook, transom knee, and #1 floor timber. I used a ryobi jigsaw with a reverse cutting blade. Prior to cutting, I secured the plywood to the base I made the other day usingusing Jorgensen 10" clamps. These guys are great and allow the wood to be moved and secured very rapidly. I clipped spotlights to the tops of each to provide me with the needed light. It was my first time using the tool, and I was content with the quality of my cuts. Although the straight cuts came out acceptably when performed  freehand, I will use a guide in the future.

Time: 7:20 (Total 12:30)
Cost: $3.99 (Total: $896.06)