Yesterday we got more than 1 1/2 inches of rain – a record for December 26. Since I started building the shed we’ve had unseasonably heavy snowfall, a record windstorm that knocked out our power for a record length of time, and the rainiest November in history. I’m expecting locusts any day.
December 28, 2006
The strongback is finished. It’s 2×8 construction on a base of 3 sheets of OSB (oriented-strand board). The OSB is to guarantee squareness. There is a cross-piece at each of the five stations. Later I added a whole bunch of uprights to create a 24 foot long platform to scarph and assemble my hull panels on. You can see the start of the platform behind the chair below. There will be four hull panels, 2 sides and 2 bottoms. I had initially planned on making eight or ten identical sawhorses, but using the strongback made a stronger, straighter foundation with less material.
Of course, as soon as I made the strongback I had to draw the boat in blue tape and put some chairs in the virtual pilothouse. Instantly all my complicated ideas of how to fit extra seats and storage in the pilothouse disappeared when I saw how small the interior really is. The whole boat looks very compact and manageable laid out like this. In my mind it had grown huge and complicated.
Working off the plans I drew pictures of all of the plywood panels, showing the bevels. If I’m careful maybe I can make them all without screwing any up. They’re too expensive to waste. The hull will take 14 sheets of 1/2 inch plywood, plus 10 or 11 more 1/4 inch panels for the bottom sheathing and the round laminated stern.
If I don’t need to work all weekend I can start scarphing the plywood so I can begin assembling the long panels on the weekend of January 10. I need to buy the epoxy before then. I can’t decide between West System System 3 and the MAS epoxy sold by Joel through Devlin. Devlin will give me a 10% discount on the epoxy because I bought the plans from them.
December 22, 2006
The plywood delivery guys from Edensaw just left, leaving a huge stack of beautiful plywood in the middle of the shop. They promised a morning delivery but finally showed up at 3:30 in the afternoon, but they were friendly and efficient and did all of the unloading themselves. This is 20 sheets of 12 mm Okoume for the hull, and 12 sheets of 18 mm Hydrotek for the bulkkheads. I’ll order the 6 mm bottom sheathing later – this was enough of a sticker shock – $2700.
While waiting for the delivery I worked on the tent, making it more wind-proof and stopping some leaks. It’s in pretty good shape but I need a few warmer dry days to really finish it.
The next step is to build the strongback and set up a scarphing assembly line. Then I can make the hull panels and the bulkheads and start putting it all together. I also need to order the epoxy and look for a dead refridgerator to keep it warm in.
Idea: Devlin generally builds his hulls right-side up without molds, then adds some bulkheads and flips the hull upside downto finish it. Godzilla is different, I assume because of the round stern which needs a form to build it on. It’s built upside-down on bulkheads at each station. When I made my model I made all of the bulkheads full-height, that is, they went all the way to the sheer. Once I flipped it over I ended up cutting all of the bulkheads down to cockpit sole level because I have a walking surface almost all of the way around the boat. I’d hate to waste that much Hydrotek so I’m thinking of using Hydrotek for the part that will stay in the boat and cheap 3/4 inch ply as a form for for the upper part, or maybe even no bulkheads above the sole. That way the upper hull panels will hang as I attach them to the hull bottom and assume the shape they want to be. The gunnels will give them their finished strength and shape.
December 11, 2006
Spent the weekend erecting the shed. It towers over the back fence and glows like a big white UFO in the dark when I turn on the fluorescent shop lights. I have a few days of finishing work to do before it’s completely enclosed and ready to use.
I extended the tent poles two feet in height, so the eve line is now 8′ off the ground, and the peak of the tent is about 13′ high. According to the model it should be high enough. I extended the tent 3′ along the south side to act as a work area. It will hold the radial arm saw, a work bench, and a little office area to sit down with the drawings. And of course, the Moaning Chair.
It poured rain all weekend. Last night when I was done working it was a great pleasure to sit inside and listen to the raindrops on the roof. It’s a real relief to be finishing this initial step and to start thinking about actually building the boat. I hope to order the hull and bulkhead plywood and epoxy this week. Possibly start scarphing in December, a little earler than I scheduled.
Update – Dec 12 – I stayed home from work today to finish this up. After hard rain for the past week today was relatively clear. Even some sunshine for a couple of hours! I got the plywood attached around the base, put on roll-roofing on the shed part, and made a door. It’s pretty well closed-in now and should be somewhat heatable. They say we’re getting more storms starting tonight, through the weekend.
Idea – instead of making 8 sawhorses to lay out the plywood on to scarph, build the strongback early, with the crosspieces at the stations, but screw same-height uprights to the station pieces to act as sawhorses. After the panels are finished, use the uprights to attach the bulkheads. Saves time and materials, and I’ll feel better about spending the time levelling and squaring the thing knowing it will be used to build the boat on.