Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Love Me Tender, Volume VIII

Many a boat builder has, at some point, become so frustrated with a boat that they just wanted to take a saw to it, slice it into a million little pieces and be done with it.  Some have even act on the impulse. But most pull themselves together in time to save that object on which they have invested so much time and effort.  On an unrelated topic, I just sawed my boat in half.

The good news is that this was not fit a fit of boat building rage, but rather part of the plan.  You see, the Eastport Pram that I am building is the nesting version.  The forward section is designed to be removed and nest in the aft section for storage and transport.  I current cannot imagine any need I have for this feature currently, but just thought it too fascinating not to build.

From the crispness of this picture, you can see how steady my hands were.
One would expect that sawing a nearly-complete boat in half would be a highly nerve-racking experience, but I did not find it too bad.  The only part that caused me any digestive uncertainty was in marking the cut line.  I took the cheater route there and bought a long, long, long 1/8" drill bit, which I then plunged through the spacer in the take-apart bulkhead and repeatedly drilled through the hull with.  While this resulted in a perfect series of dots that I could connect with the saw, the act of drilling holes in the hull was, for me, a test of sweaty-palmed fortitude.

After that, the actual event was a non-event.  I took up my handsaw, and voompa, voompa, voompa, done.  I loosened the 6 bolts on the takeapart bulkhead and the bow gently slipped off.  Unable to resist, I swung the bow section around and nested it in the aft hull.  Perfect fit, and a relative tidy package.

It nests!
It was a good thing too, because the smaller package enable me to easily get the boat out of the way while the car comes into the garage for a series of maintenance and repairs.  Gosh, a car in the garage, what a novel idea! Do not worry, though, fair reader.  Once the oil is changed, the radiator flushed, and heater is working again, boat building will resume.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Love Me Tender, Volume VII

Sealed, sanded, and skeg secured.
They call it stitch and glue, based on the notion that those two words encapsulate the major components of the construction method.   I would propose,  however,  that this is a little misleading,  and that it actually should be called stitch and glue, and glue, and glue.  And sand, and sand, and sand, and sand, and sand...

It helps build a heated "tent" in
order to get epoxy to dry in a cold garage 
At last report, I had just wrapped up the glue part of stitch and glue.  With the hull solid, covered with fiberglass, and sealed in epoxy, it was essentially structurally complete.  Not pretty or usable,  but structurally complete.  In keeping with the "sand as much as possible, as early as possible" philosophy that I have been employing on this boat, I decided to take some time out to sand the hull before moving on.  As a note, I don't know that pre-sanding is saving my any construction time relative, but I do believe I'll get a modestly higher quality product in the end.  Plus, shorter sanding sessions are slightly more tolerable than a massive end-of-project sandathon.  

Glue, glue, and more glue.

I recently was on Chesapeake Light Craft'Craft ' website, where I ended up watching a whole series of YouTube videos on building your own stitch and glue kayak.  I don't know that I learnt anything new, but I was nevertheless enhanced through the whole thing.   The best part had John Harris looking straight into the camera, saying the words, "remember," cue  deep, deep reverb, "sanding is FUN, is fun, is funis fun, is fun..."  That was pretty much all that went through my head whilst sanding the hull.  

Adding thwarts, rubrails and other
 sundry bits help flesh out the hull
Next up, it was time to glue a bunch of stuff onto the boat, it from the aforementioned "structurally complete" state to the afore-alluded-to "more usable" state. Among things that were glued on were the skeg, rub rails, quarter knees, dagger board trunk, thwart supports, and probably a few other other bits and pieces that I have since forgotten about.  Each of these is individually a physically small part, but each serves an important function.  Less intuitively, and more transformationally, each part really helps to fill things out visually. What once was  the hollow shell of a hull, takes on new robustness and soon assumes the form of a sturdy little boat.

Now, what happens next will violently challenge that notion of sturdiness....

But that's the subject of another post.