Sunday, September 18, 2011

Launch Day!

I'm skipping ahead in the blog posts, since I've been too busy building.  I'll post more about the last bits of construction when the sailing season is over. We successfully sailed in some light wind.  Didn't even get the wrinkles out of the sail, but was just enough wind to be great practice for the first time sailors like ourselves.  I should get more good sailing days in before it gets too cold and rainy.

The boat performed well, except ...  there was little too much weather helm I think.  I'm going to try to raise the CB slightly next time to cut down on that.  She floats a little lower than I anticipated.  Hopefully her scuppers won't be underwater with 4 people aboard.  (I'm going to test that next weekend.)  Also, the rudder vibrated at about 2Hz whenever we got up to speed.  I think it's because I didn't tighten the pivot bolt enough.  I tightened the pivot bolt and will see if that solved the problem next time out.  The rudder raising tackle needs some tweaking too.

I lost a bolt that attaches the boom vang, so I couldn't test that out.  I will next weekend though.

The neighbor snapped a pic of us driveway sailing on launch day.

Just arrived at the boat ramp.  The locals have a different philosophy regarding the size of a towing rig.
I felt the need to decorate the tow rig so it would appear more legit.

After the mast is stepped in the parking lot, the tow rig pulls around to the boat ramp.
Easing her into the water for the first time.

Bobbing up and down at the dock for the first time.

She floats high enough to not take water through her transom scuppers.  Whew!

Not enough wind to take the wrinkles out of the main sail.
The wife at the helm.

The wife tending the jib sheet.  She's on the leeward side since there isn't much wind.

Sailing by south waterfront of downtown Portland.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mast Hardware

I've been working on the boat a lot recently.  I'm rushing to get the boat in the water within a month so I can have some sailing time before winter.  Progress is slow.  I'm installing purchased hardware and fabricating some of my own.  I'm making my own hardware because some weren't available for purchase or were too expensive.  I bought a 1 ft X 2 ft sheet of 16 gauge stainless steel for numerous pieces of hardware.  I cut out the steel using an angle grinder with metal cutoff wheel.  To bend the steel, I clamped the steel to a piece of wood or to the side of the workbench and gave it some wacks with a mallet.  I didn't take any pics of this process, probably because I was in such a bad mood while doing it. 

Below are some pics of some of the hardware installed.  Later, when the boat is nearing completion, I'll describe how everything works in more detail.  (Well, maybe after the sailing season is over).  Until then, you'll have to figure it out based on my vague descriptions and close-up photos.

At the top of the mast is a sheave wheel (right above the mainsail slot) for the main halyard (the line that raises the main sail).  I made this piece.  This piece, like everything but the smallest of hardware, is through-bolted to secure it since the loads on it are large.  The block on the side is for the topping lift line that holds the boom horizontal when the mainsail isn't raised.

Homemade masthead fitting for wood mast
Slightly below the top of the mast is the jibhead fitting.  This is where all the shrouds (that keep the mast from falling over) are attached as well as the block for the jib halyard.
Homemade jibhead fitting for wood mast
I cut some aluminum pipe for the diamond stay spreaders.  The diamond stays stiffen and straighten the mast and keep it from buckling under the compressive forces of the shrouds.
Diamond stay
 Here is a pic of the end of the diamond stay.  The stainless steel wire has swagged ends.  I did this at home using an inexpensive swagging tool.  The wire is attached to a turnbuckle that is used to adjust the tension of the wire.

Typical stainless steel wire attachment.
 Hardware toward the bottom of the mast includes the gooseneck, which is a universal joint for the boom, as well as some cleats to tie the halyards off to.

I'm also working on the rudder hardware.  I purchased the gudgeons and pintles to attach the rudder to the transom.  I fabricated the u-shaped piece that secures the rudder out of some aluminum sheet I had laying around.  This is just the top half of the rudder.  A larger bottom half hinges on the bolt toward the bottom of the pic.
Rudder hardware dryfit.
 I made the tiller out of multiple laminations of douglas fir sandwiching a piece of marine plywood.  (This is how the plans showed to make it.)  The tiller extension is attached near the handle. (It's for controlling the rudder when your arms are too short.)
Laminated tiller
 I made a foredeck cleat out of a chuck of white oak.  It serves a dual purpose of supporting the mast while trailering.
Foredeck wooden cleat
 The shrouds attach on either side of the boat on a chain plate that is bolted through the hull.  The hull is reinforced inside with small pads of plywood.  I bought some shroud adjusters, which serve the same purpose as turnbuckles, only they are cheaper.

Chain plate and shroud adjuster

So I'm just slowly dry fitting hardware on the hull and spars.  When I'm all done, I have to take all the hardware off, coat the insides of all the holes with epoxy, paint the hull and spars, THEN reinstall all of the hardware with sealant underneath each piece of hardware.

But before I do all that, I couldn't resist raising the sails in the driveway.  Well, this was necessary to help me decide where to put some of the hardware and figure out how long the shrouds had to be.  Unfortunately, there wasn't even enough wind to get the wrinkles out of the sails.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coamings and Oarlocks

Sorry about the inconsistent blogging ... yes, I'm still making progress on the boat.  No, I haven't fallen off the (boat building) wagon.  I'm dedicated to finishing this little boat this summer.  Although, I've gotten a little distracted with gardening and also homebrewing beer, (because I figured I needed some homebrew to splash on the bow of my homebuilt boat on launch day!)

Here's my latest progress.  The hollow coamings are painted inside first before putting on the last piece of plywood.  Two coats of primer and two coats of topcoat.

Painting inside the coamings.
The plywood for the small backrest is cutout and prepared for gluing.  Small cutouts are made in it for access to the hollow of the coaming.  A good place to store peanuts or something maybe.

Preparing the coaming plywood for gluing.
 After that piece of plywood is glued and nailed on, the top of it is trimmed flush with the belt sander, then a 1/2" thick oak capping is glued and nailed.  If you look close, you can see some scarf joints, since the capping is made of multiple pieces of oak.  I only had a few short pieces of oak left and I decided to use this instead of buying a new long piece. 
The coaming plywood glued and nailed.  Also the oak capping pieces and oarlocks installed.
 The recess for the oarlock sockets are carefully drilled and chiseled out of the top of the coamings.  (I'm pretty handy with a chisel since I had some practice with it when installing some hardware on some interior doors of the house a few years back).

Here is a closer pic of the oarlock socket installed in the coaming.
The oarlock sockets mortised into the top of the coamings.
The oarlocks are positioned toward the outboard edge of the coamings so that the oars move freely without rubbing.  The oarlocks are positioned longitudinally (fore and aft) for a person sitting backwards on the centercase trunk to comfortably operate them.  I sat in the boat for quite some time pretending to row until I found a comfortable position for the oarlocks.  A person could also row facing forward sitting on the aft deck or standing up.

Here is a pic of the oars in the stowed position.  For convenience, I'm going to try to leave the oars in the oarlocks and just flip them back into this position while sailing.  Hopefully that will work, because I have no where else to stow these 8ft oars on this little boat!  In this position, they hang about 1ft off the stern.  I'll have to make some tie down straps or something to secure them.

The oars in their stowed positions.

 In other news, the sheriff came by the house to inspect the boat last weekend and I just received my title and registration in the mail.  So now there is nothing keeping me from launching the boat in local waters ... except that construction isn't quite done yet.  I was toying with the idea of taking her out for a row soon, but decided that the first launch will also be her first sail too.  I'm hoping to launch her in August, but we'll see.
The hull construction is now complete, besides some cosmetic sanding, filling and painting work.  There's still a lot of work to be done, but this is quite a milestone.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spar Making - Part 2

 I already cut out all the pieces necessary to glue up the mast.  Next comes nailing and gluing all the pieces together.  I pre-drilled all the nail holes to prevent wood splitting.  To make sure that there was enough time to glue and nail the mast together before the glue cured, I tapped all the nails in to start them.  Then I mixed the glue and nailed it all together.  Not a very complicated process, but it was a lot of work and did take me the majority of a Saturday.

That's a lot of bronze nails that will hold the mast together.
 Here is the mast after gluing, but before shaping and sanding.  The slot running down the length of the mast is for the bolt rope of the sail to slide along.

The aft side of the mast with the bolt rope groove, (before shaping and sanding).
The base of the mast, before shaping and sanding.

And here is the mast shaped and sanded.  Most of the work was done with a belt sander and hand sanding.  The mast is 18 feet long.  This is a good photo to give you an idea of how long it is.  The boom, (shown in the last blog post) is 9 feet long and also pretty much finished.  Both of them turned out pretty straight.  Since they are held together with nails, I didn't need to clamp them to a workbench with dozens of clamps like I have seen pictures of some people doing.  And the nails will prevent the glue seams from splitting like some people have complained about with this mast design.

Me and my mast.

Oar Making - Part 3, Finishing

   The 8 foot oars are now finished.  A 6" section of the oar is reinforced with 1/8" diameter rope which is wrapped around then epoxied in place. The size of the rope is selected so that the finished diameter fits nicely in the oarlock.  And the position of the reinforced area is carefully selected to match the beam of the boat. 
   Then the oar gets one coat of epoxy and 2 coats of spar varnish (including the epoxied rope), except for the handle, which only gets some lindseed oil.  (The varnish would hurt hands when rowing).  Some bungie cord is braided above the oarlock to make a "button".
   Also shown in the first photo is the 9 foot boom, which is also pretty much done.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Oar Making - Part 2, Shaping

Let’s see if I can shape an oar with my primitive wood working tools.  Reading the online directions for making oars is a little intimidating, since they specify using woodworking tools that I don’t own or have a desire to own.

After the oars are laminated, all of the subsequent steps involve one concept: removing everything that isn’t an oar.  First, I trim off excess material with a wood saw, then clean it up with a belt sander.  When first shaping the oar, I'm keeping all the cross-sections square for now.  I'll round it later.

Roughly trimming off excess from the blade.

The rough trimming is cleaned up with a belt sander

The handle is then cutout.  The excess material is hacked off with a saw.  The nice rounded transition area is done with the front roller of the belt sander.

The shape of the handle is drawn.
Excess material around the handle is carefully removed.
The handle with a square cross-section.

More material is removed from the handle to make it round.  You may notice that the handle is slightly tapered toward the loom (or shaft).  This is done on purpose and makes the handle more comfortable.

Next, a homemade spar gauge is used to mark out an octagonal shape. The cross-sections of the loom are made approximately octagonal using a plane.

Spar gauge.

The octagonal cross-sections are then sanded round with a belt sander and hand sanding.  Excess material is also taken out of the blade using the belt sander.

Blade of oar part way though shaping.
  Here's a good before and after shot after the first oar is shaped.
Oar after lamination (left) compared to finished oar (right)

Finished handle.
Finished oar
 The oars are balanced the same and weigh approximately the same so they will feel the same while rowing.  They won't win any beauty contests, but they will work!

Next up, I'm going to finish the coamings.  I'm laminating multiple layers of 3/4" lumber to form a boxed coaming ... but more about that next time.  Here are some pics of the first layer being glued on.

First layer of lamination for coaming.