Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend Update with Captain Dave

Workspace is at a premium again. Just enough room to lay out the topsides for gluing the scarf joint and then for fiberglassing once they are cut out. The pattern is partly rolled out for the tedious process of poking pinholes through the pattern on to the plywood. Then the pattern is removed and pins are pushed into the holes so that a batten (in my case a flexible metal meter stick) can be used to draw the long curves of the topsides. The entire transferring process took at least an hour.

The forward decking is now glued in place. I didn't realize until after it was glued in place that it was oversized and was flush with the hull sides. It needs to be a 1/4 inch smaller on each edge to allow for the thickness of the topsides. An hour of router trimming and chisel work and it is now okay.

I was stitching the seatback frames in place and couldn't resist putting the seatback and cabin rear wall in place. I think the photo gives you some idea of how spacious the cockpit is on this "big" little 15 foot mini-cruiser.

Our fifth and final sailing lesson is tomorrow and I am crossing my fingers that we do not have the 21 knots gusting to 35 knot winds we have today. In those conditions I am fairly certain they wouldn't send us out in the little 2 man 420's that we have been learning on. Two capsizes and my first mate being knocked out of the boat by the boom is plenty enough for these two landlubbers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Construction update

It has been 8 days since my last post but only 3 days of boat construction because of hosting the 8th Annual Shaftesbury High School Men's Gourmet Dinner and being at the cottage for the weekend. I was also hampered yesterday and today by my fingertip meeting the wrong edge of a utility knife while cutting up some styrofoam sheets to fit in the car at the local big box home store. I don't think the sale clerk was impressed with the blood dripping on to the sales receipt. The following photos detail progress in the last 3 days.
Two coats of primer and 3 coats of finish paint in cabin.

Put the teak decking back in.

Oops , almost forgot to put a line through under the floorboards for future wiring. Second oops, you can see the extra wide gap between the center floorboards. No idea how that happened; but my story now is that it was intentional for the wiring.

I primed and painted the footwell sides and sole before installing them.

These are what I am calling the lazarette decking. 

These are the additional cleats I installed for the lazarette decking. There is also a new cleat on the footwell sides.

Stuff in as much flotation foam as possible below the lazarette decking. The lazarette decking divides the watertight compartment into two watertight compartments and now gear stowed in the lazarettes does not chew up the flotation foam.

The cabin gets protected with cardboard and newspaper in case of epoxy drips from the next stages of construction. The footwell sides and sole are now glued into place. The red hose is for a cheap pneumatic brad nailer I bought. Much quicker and neater than using temporary screws to fasten the decking etc. The brads are stainless steel so I can just fiberglass right over top of them.

Up next: Gluing the forward, lazarette, and cockpit  decking into place.

Below are some photos from the Shaftesbury High School 8th Annual Men's Dinner:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nothing profound...

Two primer coats and one finish coat and the inside of the cabin is looking good. Only I know where the little flaws are and I'm not about to point them out. Only one more finish coat is maybe necessary.  I used a good quality Benjamin Moore alkyd house paint that cost close to $60 a gallon as I figured this was one not of those places be too concerned about saving 20 bucks using a generic brand paint.
 The photos show a practice fit of the cockpit decking and footwell. The cockpit looks overly wide because the seatbacks are not installed yet.  The last photo shows how much storage is available inside the cabin underneath the cockpit decking. I took this picture from the front of the storage compartment at the bow. Once the forward decking is in place it will be almost impossible to take a photo similar to this. 

Official Boat Building Tip #3 - It really is true that paint will not adhere to unsanded epoxy/fiberglass. I had some drips of paint in the unsanded transom compartment and you can flip them off with a fingernail.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

As Good As It Gets

Finally, after an eternity of sanding ( okay 15-20 hours) the inner hull received its coat of primer. I worked extra diligently on the parts of the cabin that will visible ( the As Good As It Gets part) but as for the parts that will be hidden under the cabin decking lets just say they are sanded and  leave it at that. I am not painting the watertight compartment in front of bulkhead 1 at the bow or the compartment at the transom. I have lots of primer left so I am going to do a second coat of primer before applying the 3 coats of finish paint. 

There is an "oopsie" in the Pocketship manual at this stage of construction. The manual forgets to mention to put in flotation foam in the watertight transom compartment before sealing it up forever with the cockpit decking. The designer of Pocketship is adding this omission to the next revision of the manual. The manual is still probably the most comprehensive instructions you are going to see for a project this large. As a novice boat builder I would be lost without it. The designer is also fantastic at answering emails pertaining to any questions I have had about the construction process. 
This transom watertight compartment is also the lazarette storage so I have made a modification and added some some extra cleats you can see in the photos to install decking above the foam so that stuff stored in the lazarettes does not get lost in or chew up the flotation foam. The extra cleats are on the bottom of the transom, the bottom of bulkhead 8 and the bottom of the footwell sides (not shown in the photos). A few more coats of paint ( and more SANDING after the second primer coat) and it will be on to installing the cabin decking, cockpit decking , and upper hull assembly. 

I couldn't resist a photo of what the teak cabin decking looks like against the white cabin hull.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Deck the cabin with heartwood teak, Fa la la la la la...

Step 1: Cut off all the tongue and grooves from the heartwood teak hardwood flooring. After some consultation I decided to go with the original plan and install the teak as in the Pocketship manual with 1/8" gaps in between. Installing with the tongue and grooves would require glueing the edges and finishing with epoxy which kind of defeats the purpose of using the pre-finished teak.
Step 2: Assemble the puzzle of pieces in the hull and see if I have enough teak. The teak pieces are 5 different lengths from 1 foot to 5 feet so I had to shift things around a lot to make sure each piece would span the floorboard cleats properly.

Step 3: Still playing the puzzle game.

Step 4: Cut and screw the pieces in place and cross my fingers that I'm not missing a piece of the puzzle. The close-up shows the old deck construction trick of using a common nail for creating the 1/8"  spacing.

Step 5: Trying to lay down a fair curve for the edge of the decking.

Step 6: Label all the pieces carefully and remove them in preparation for the third and final epoxy coat on the inner hull. Then it is time to sand everything and paint the inside of the hull. I think the teak is going to contrast very nicely with the white interior of the cabin.

I have just passed 300 man hours of construction. I have now completed approximately 120 pages of the 280 pages in the Pocketship manual. I am still optimistic that I can have the boat in the water by the September long weekend.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Boat building kharma

After having encountered a few minor problems in my boat construction I was pleased to find out that there is some balance in the boat building universe. I finished the inner hull fiberglassing and was starting the numerous cleats needed for attaching the cockpit decking and footwell. The cleats are suppose to be 1  by 3/4 inch which means I was going to have to mill  a lot of 1 by 2's to size. By coincidence the scrap I had saved from milling the mast was exactly 1 by 3/4 and even had a rounded edge on one side so I didn't need to get the router out. I saved a few hours and partly recouped some of the time spent fixing the bad epoxy coat on the side panels.

Looking aft

Looking forward

The photos show most of the cleats glued in place and reinforce the you cannot have too many clamps adage. Official boat building tip #2 is always predrill a pilot hole for screws going into small dimensioned timber like the cleats or they WILL split. The last photo shows the lower breasthook  glued in place and the thin strips (1 inch by only 3/8) to attach the anchor well deck to.

Only a few more cleats to glue and screw in place on the transom and it will be time to cut the teak flooring. I have asked the experts at Chesapeake Light Craft if I can install the teak flooring as a standard tongue and groove installation as opposed to ripping off the tongues and grooves and installing as planks with an 1/8" gap between as instructed in the Pocketship manual. I would instead leave an expansion gap where the flooring touches the sides of the hull. This would mean I wouldn't need to use screws through the prefinished surface on the teak flooring.