Monday, October 25, 2010

I Think I Already Said "Getting Closer," But...'s true.  I have made substantial progress on the kayak and will be ready to start the endless process of sanding and finishing this week.  PocketShip construction could commence in as little as two weeks (three is more likely). 

I have not been idle on the PocketShip front, though.  I priced out everything in CLC's PocketShip Sailing Hardware Package at Fisheries Supply.  I found that I could beat CLC's price by about $100.  With state sales tax added into Fisheries' price, and accounting for shipping from CLC, the total cost is nearly identical.  Of course, if I license the boat, I'll have to pay sales tax on everything that I hadn't already paid sales tax on.  Plus, Fisheries Supply will probably have a sale before I need any of the hardware, so I'll wait until it goes on sale and see how that changes the picture.

The price on CLC's epoxy package can't be beat, though.  And I tried EVERYWHERE.  So, I'll be ordering that from them.  As soon too, if my build is really going to start in just a few weeks.

Other things I have been pondering...depth sounders, compasses, dust collection systems (my shop vac bit the epoxy-laced dust this weekend), and whether there are any nautical superstitions about the use of black walnut in boat construction.  I can think of some bits of PocketShip that would look great with walnut trim, but I've heard folks say that it is considered unlucky in boats.  Of course, I've also heardof lots of folks who haven't heard that one.  The jury is still out. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Getting Closer

Yesterday I had that "one good day" of boatbuilding I wanted and made some great progress on the Pygmy.  Soon she'll be done and Pocketship construction will begin. 

One of the advantages of having built a few boats before is that you find that you have a lot of clamps.

I have on the order of 50 clamps in use here....and what's worse, if I had 20 more, I could have used them all!  These clamps, and possible many more will be put to work on PocketShip

Also yesterday, I made my first PocketShip-specific purchase: a cheap pair of welding gloves to use when pouring the lead into the keel. 

This morning is too cold to work on the boat, so I'm going to go hiking.  I've got measures that I can take to enable cold-weather boatbuilding, but I'm not quite ready to break them out.  I'll probably be using all the cold weather tricks this winter once I start on PocketShip.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Starting a Web Log and Catching Up

I have decided to undertake the construction of a PocketShip, designed by Mr. John C. Harris of Chesapeake Light Craft.  This boat is a 15' pocket cruiser.  I started logging my activity in a journal, but inspired by other PocketShip builders, most notably Dave Curtis, I have decided to "blog" about it.  To catch the blog up to date, here are my journal entries thus far: 

20 September, 2010 – Farnborough, England - Today, I ordered the plans for PocketShip, a John C. Harris designed 15’ sloop-rigged pocket cruiser from CLC boats.  I have been on a wind tunnel test for the past week, and have been re-reading Dave Curtis’ blog about his building of a PocketShip in my spare time, and finally decided to take the plunge.  Taking a cue from Dave Curtis, I’ve decided to build from plans rather than the kit.  As he argued, how can you claim to have built a boat if someone else cut all the wood?  That, and it should save a few dollars.  Plus, I can stagger the cost…buying materials as I need them.  So, from scratch it is.      My plan is to finish my Pygmy Osprey double kayak and clean up the garage before actually starting.  After that, I plan to prepare any sub-assemblies, scarf together the plywood, cut out the parts, pre-fiberglass as much as possible and build the spars this winter.   Then, the car gets kicked out of the garage and a boat will take shape in its place.  Let’s see how it goes!

25 September, 2010 – I arrived back home from England two nights ago.  The PocketShip plans arrived today.  I had my mail on hold whilst I was away, and though it was supposed to be delivered today, it didn’t come.  I was so anxious to get the plans that I drove down to the post office to collect my mail.   I have spent a few minutes pouring over the drawings, but am afraid to unroll the templates just yet, lest they get too badly crinkled.  I will try to stop at Martin Lumber tomorrow after work to price plywood, and stop by Fiberglass Mart to see what they can do on prices there.  CLC offers an epoxy package that may be the cheaper way to go, but I’ll price everything out first.
I’ve been thinking through details since ordering the plans.  One big thing is painting.  I’d like to have enough bright finish to declare in no uncertain terms that this is a wooden boat.  One Idea is to paint the hull (up to the rubrail) green (or red), and then bright finish everything above that, with some strategic green (or red) on the toerails and other trim pieces.   Another idea is to do green and white (like the prototype’s blue and white), but then add wood trim and decking in and around the cockpit.  Ideas, ideas…
I’ve also been re-reading the manual since I got hone, and getting a better idea of what all I can get done before starting final assembly.  I might need to make a list to plan things out more.
In the meantime, I have to start making progress on my Pygmy kayak again.  I need to finish sanding the hull (or at least sand the shear) and then I can fiberglass the deck.  I’ve got to get that boat done and out of the shop before starting on PocketShip. 

28 September, 2010 – I stopped at Martin Lumber today to investigate plywood prices.  For Marine Grade AB Okoume plywood, their prices were $33 for ¼”, $49.50 for 3/8” and $99 for ¾”.  Thus, the plywood for Pocketship will run $650-$700.  A far cry from the “wood-parts only” kit offered by CLC for $2400.  Of course, that kit comes with all the parts cut out, but for $1700, I’ll cut my own, thanks.
 I also spent some time of Fishery Supply’s web site to scope out hardware.  My conclusion is that I can easily beat CLC’s “hardware package” price by doing my own shopping,  but it’ll take actually going to the store to make sure I’m getting the right stuff…web-ordering won’t cut it.  So, that’s a trip for another day.
1 October, 2010 –  I find myself itching to start cutting wood on PocketShip.   Until I get that Pygmy Double out of the shop, though, there just isn’t room.  So, sander in hand, I’m headed out there now to make some progress!

8 October, 2010 –  I have been making progress on the Pygmy.  I've been trying to put in 1.5 hours per night a couple nights a week, and have been moving along pretty good that way.  I need a good, free Saturday to sand a bunch or stuff and glue a bunch of stuff.  That would really speed things along.  But not this weekend: other plans. 
I've been reading PocketShip blogs, shopping (not buying, yet) for supplies and hardware, and dreaming about PocketShip during my lunch hour.  Can't wait to get started.  Some questions are already coming to mind.  For example, when do the outsides of the topsides panels fore and aft of the cabin get 'glassed.  When you glass the cabin top, the manual says that it is a good time to 'glass the topsides panels to the sides of the cabin, but to wait until the boat is rolled to 'glass fore and aft of there.  But I can't figure out exactly when that is is.  Seems like it'd have to be before installing the rubrails, which means before rolling the boat, which contradicts the manual.  The photos in the manual seem to support my theory too, again in contradiction to the text.  Sigh.
I have put all that reading of Pocketship plans, blogs, etc to good use on the Pygmy!  Somewhere in all that read, John Harris highly recommends hooking up a vacuum to your random orbital sander.  I've done this while sanding stuff on the Pygmy, and what a difference it makes!   I also took a cue from Dave Curtis and ran my headphones inside my ear protection so I could listen to music whilst sanding.  Aaah...small luxuries.