Sunday, June 26, 2011

Making the Grade

There are several reasons the quality of my work on the boat can suffer.  Insufficient preparation is one, impatience another.  But the biggest offender is usually hunger and fatigue.  I'll be trying to get a big chunk of work done and will neglect to eat or start getting tired and that's where things get sloppy.  And that's what happened on my fillets.  I got started an hour before lunch, and consequently put off lunch until I was done four or five hours later.  Toward the end, I was really rushing to get done so that I could get some food in my belly.   Rushing is bad for quality, but who cares about quality when you are hungry?  And now I have to pay for that.

I was shooting for an A+ on my fillets.  The best ones were probably up to that standard.  The worst ones were maybe a C.  On average I'd say it worked out to a solid "B" effort.  What this means is that the next step, sanding the fillets, won't be tooooooo onerous, but bad enough.  And with the advent of nicer weather and the activities that go along with that (hiking, kayaking, bike riding), the prospect of having to spend a few hours sanding is bad enough that I've only spent maybe an hour working on the boat in the two weeks that have elapsed since I finished filleting.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Preparation. It's a Good Thing.

Earning an A in boat building (actually, a B+ is OK by me) takes several things.  Spending time in preparation, cleanup, a paying attention to details is what moves a boat to the next level.  Doing it right means sweating the details.  Sweating the details takes time.    And in life, lot's of things compete for time. 

On the bright side, when it comes to the "gluing" phase of stitch 'n glue construction, sweating the details can also save time sanding.  In the bizarre calculus of boatbuilding, three hours spent taping just to save an hour of sanding still somehow counts a saving time. .

I want to do a really nice job on my fillets.  I can do a pretty good job free hand, which is what I did on the rudder.  But, I wanted to take the fillets on the interior of boat to the next level.  As a result, most of my progresses since last report has been spent carefully masking all the soon-to-be-filleted seams on the boat.  And there are a lot of seams.  Done right, masking them off, applying the fillet, and then removing the tape yields a nice, sharp, clean, straight fillet.  Nice, sharp, clean, straight fillet look good and require less sanding.  And nice, sharp, clean, straight fillets are what I've decided I want in my boat. 

 With other things in life competing for my time, the multiple hours of taping (not to mention the multiple rolls of tape) constitute most of the progress I've made. 

I suppose I should also mention that I pulled all the stitches out.  Combined with removing the stitches from the cradle boat, there were a lot of stitches.  A lot.  And throughout the process of clipping and pulling hundreds of pieces of wire out of my hull, I couldn't get the famous Beatles lyric, "now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall" out  of my head.  When I built me Pygmy Opsrey double kayak (which, by the way, had even MORE stitches!), that same phrase ran through my head as I pulled stitches.  I'm not really sure what to think about that.

The cradle boat is moving along too.  Just like big brother, it is all taped up and awaiting a couple of thickened epoxy fillets.  Maybe tomorrow...