Monday, November 30, 2015

Decked over

The adventure continues. I am so glad to have helpers more flexible than I.

Everything in the universe is connected to everything else. Especially in boats.

While Janek continues to fasten things in, I grind them to dust. Lots of guttering. It's all about trying to think like water.

Here Janek is making the storyboard for the big rear deck. The art of spiling is a wonderful thing. A board, a stick, a pencil, and no rulers. The pokey end of the stick goes to every corner and every curve of the proposed deck piece. It's position is recorded.


Then, with the same stick, the points are transferred to the fresh plywood. Connect the dots and cut.


The hatch lid is cut out of the huge deck, then the deck is fastened down.

It is very handy having a crane in the shop. I need to screw in the center bulkhead that separates the side hatches and supports the boatman's footwell. So we lift the boat to the ceiling with the push of a button. I do so love my crane.

In goes the boatman's footwell.

And Janel screws in the last piece of decking. Day fifteen of the build.

People ask why I still use slotted screws. It's because I have to take them out again after they've been covered with filler, paint, and other glop. When I rebuilt the Betty Boop I saved nearly every brass screw. Most of them went back into the rebuild, but I still have a lot. They come in handy when I need one odd size. So a little bit more magic goes into the next boat. Like sourdough starter.

I found the perfect bowline for this mighty ship.

Is it the whiskey or does this boat look the teensiest bit crooked?

*** And here is a graphic response to my brother's smart-ass comment below. The website won't let me post an image down there:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Decking her

By last night we had a majority of the deck framing in and the seats cut out.  Looking boater every day. And looking especially broad in the panorama shots, which accentuate it quite a bit. She's not really that tubby.

Janek got pretty good at spiling today, cutting out the bow and stern decking--spot on.

Meanwhile I made an ungodly mess cutting in the gutters. It's really starting to look like I am working here.

It doesn't look all that different tonight. Bit it is quite a bit further along.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Perfectly straight curvy lines

This are moving at a slightly less frenetic pace over the holidays. I've had to take a bit of time off to start making my season pass at the ski hill pay off. Not that I want to do this, but I must. The view from the top is just amazing--just below the far horizon you can see the top thousand feet of Grand Canyon.

And riding up the chair is pretty all right too.

Okay, okay, back to work. We've had to take a bit of time to project the lines of the deck out onto the sloped, curvy sides of the boat so we can install supports. It's a little more complicated than it sounds, but is, in the end, perfectly logical.  Define the plane of the decking with a couple straight-edges; hold another straight-edge up against them, and draw where it hits the wall. My lovely solid-lead ducks come in handy once again to hold things steady.

Even though the deck is a perfectly flat plane, the sloped, curvy walls of the boat contact that plane in a very bizarre fashion. Top pencil line is the sheer line (gunwale) of the boat. The curved line is where the bow hatch will hit the side-wall. The straight line immediately below that shows how much the supports have to deflect from straight in order to meet the deck properly.

It never looks right. Even when it is.

Now it's time to define the hatch lid boundaries, lay in the guttered framing for them, and then make all the decking. Which means we get to spile. Which is really fun.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Day eight of the build. Today is bottom day. Janek is using a real hand tool today, planing down the inner chines to accept the bottom.

Trying the bottom on for size. Last night's bizarre measuring and scarfing worked.

Quiz: if fourteen inches of railroad rail weighs fifty-seven pounds, what do the combined railroad rails of America weigh? And why haven't we wobbled off our axis yet? Well, maybe some of us have...

Holding down the bow.

We marked all the contacts and computed all the screw placements, so it's time to drill a few hundred holes in the floor and saw up a few hundred dollars' worth of Meranti marine plywood. Fingers crossed we got it right.

Miracles never cease. It came out right. We have screwed the back on exactly in place and are now putting the pookey (caulk) on the seams of the forward end of the bottom.

That worked. Next, unscrew the stern and pookey the rear seams.

Several years ago when I was planning to replicate Buzz Holmstrom's 1937 Julius F, I was talking to Buzz's younger brother Rolf, who had helped build the original boat. Rolf was able to provide a tremendous amount of insight into how Buzz built the boat and what sort of work and materials went into the process. As I was leaving he said, "Wait a minute." He walked into the back of the house, came back and handed me an old Yankee screwdriver. "You'll need this," he said. "This was Buzz's. He screwed the boat together with this." I've used Buzz's screwdriver to put in at least some of the screws in every boat I've built. since. Janek has taken every opportunity to use the magic.

And it's a wrap. Time for the perfunctory boat bottom dance.

Cricket is going on holiday starting tomorrow and  will miss a lot of the  remaining boat-build. I promised we'd roll the boat up before she left. We put the gunwales in the steam bender this evening,  cooked them for an hour, then clamped them on. Up she goes. Sweep out a landing.

 And up on her side. Holy mackerel, she'd a big one. The boat, not Cricket.

And tall.

And wide.

And beautimous.

Kinda like the model.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Closing in

This morning we reinvented a big scarfing clamp to make eight-foot joints. We are making aq five-foot by seventeen-foot sheet from whence to make the floor.

With that curing we put in the inner chines.

And then the long-awaited moment came of freeing her from the strongback.

Dang she's cute. Very Briggsy.

We killed enough time that we could  unclamp the widened pieces of floor and lengthen them for tomorrow's flooring project.