It Has Been A While

Hello Again

It has been nearly a year since I last posted here.  I was right in the middle of finishing the Lazy Weekend Canoe when that project went off of the rails.  That set back was not only discouraging, but it also wrecked my summer plans for the Scouts.  Not only did I have to scrap the canoe, but it put me in a real time crunch as well as I scrambled to come up with alternative plans.

By the time I was done I was ready to step away from boats for a while.  I still have several nearly finished drafts about work that I had done on the Puddle Duck Racer, but I just didn’t feel like finishing them.

However, this is not a sad post about the past, but a happy post about the future.

You see, this past Saturday I made the first cut on another boat.  I have finally gotten around to starting my Deansbox build, and I am glad to say that the fire is definitely back.  Building and sailing boats is just way too much fun to give up for long.

On that front I also have plans for another mouse boat, and I still have dreams of a fleet of Lazy Weekend Canoes.  But more on that later.  Suffice it to say that with old content, and new plans I should be able to write regularly for some time.

Not that anyone is actually reading any of this.


Cutting out sails didn’t seem as real as actual woodwork.

I have actually been working on and off for some time on the sails for the new boat.  Jim Michalak actually suggests that in his book.  This boat is too big to build in my house, and sewing sails was something that I could do while it was still too cold to glue stuff together outside.  However, the last set of sails that I made out of polytarp I taped together in just a few hours.  It wasn’t until later that I reinforced the tape by sewing everything together.  So while I have been working on the sails for months, it mostly has felt like I have been spinning my wheels.

First Cut

I started the day on Saturday by cutting a very clean 12 foot 2×6 into 1 in strips.  Of course, the Harbor Freight blade that came with my Harbor Freight circular saw wasn’t up to the task.  I had dulled it cutting out the chine logs and gunwales on the Lazy Weekend Canoe.  Things went much better after I got a new blade.  While I was at Lowe’s getting a new blade I also picked up a relatively knot free 16 foot 2×8 for the main mast.

The Harbor Freight circular saw, with it’s cheap fence, does a much better job of ripping lumber than I have any right to expect. Once I got a new blade in the saw it even made remarkably straight cuts.

Next thing you know I had a pile of strips ready to be turned into spars.

First Glue Up

When it comes to gluing long strings of lumber together my favorite clamps are my C clamps.  They can apply a lot of pressure, guaranteeing that I get a good result.  Unfortunately, most of my C clamps are small 2 inch clamps.  For the most part that is fine.  It is amazing how much ground that covers when it comes to building boats.  For example, the boom and yard on the Deansbox are both 1.5 inches square, and the boom and gunter on the Puddle duck are 1.25 inches (or so).  The chines and gunwales on pretty much all of the boats that I have built so far were less than an inch, and so on.

Boom and main mast all glued up and ready for bed.

I started by gluing up the boom, as I knew that I would have plenty of clamps for that.  My original though was to get the boom glued up and then wait until it dried to do the main mast.

However, it soon became clear that I didn’t need any of my big clamps for the boom, and my small clamps were too small for the main mast.  So I decided I might as well glue it up as well.  As you can see in the picture I don’t really have enough clamps for the main mast, but I seemed to get plenty of glue squeeze out.  I think that the finished product will probably work.

When I raided my wife’s rags for glue cleanup duty I chose a Moana rag, and a Little Mermaid rag.  Not only were they pretty beat up, but they seemed an appropriate boat sacrifice.

Blessings from the most nautical of all of the Disney Princesses.

Lazy Weekend Canoe — Final Shaping and Preparation for Paint

I spent the last week at Scout Camp.  In fact, I probably should write about that, but what I really need to is finish this boat.  Part of the process, at least for me, is writing about what I have accomplished.  Especially since writing about the boat has been instrumental in helping me make decisions about how to build the boat.

Continue reading “Lazy Weekend Canoe — Final Shaping and Preparation for Paint”

Lazy Weekend Canoe — 3D at Last

This week Eliza and Abby are competing in the clogging national championships at Lagoon.  Brooklyn is competing next week, but she has classes that are competing this week.  This means that most of my family is out of town this weekend.

I assumed that I would spend most of the day just watching Sam, but he’s slept enough that I have made some progress.  In fact, the canoe has, at long last, gone 3D. Continue reading “Lazy Weekend Canoe — 3D at Last”

Dying To Get Wet

My first launch last year was in March, and I am really ready to get back out on the water.  Of course, part of the problem is that I haven’t had enough time to get my boat projects finished.  I still haven’t finished the Lazy Weekend Canoe and the leeboard to my PDR is in pieces.  Not to mention the fact that everything could use a bit of sanding and paint.

I was hoping to have a new, much larger sailboat ready for this season, but right now I would settle for one boat that was actually ready to get in the water.

Scarf Joints

I’ve been really worried about joining pieces of wood with the Lazy Weekend canoe. I have already written, not one, but two articles on joining plywood. I was even more concerned about joining long pieces of lumber.

Yes, I realize that seems unlikely, but it is still true.

I had hoped to get around needing scarf lumber for this build. After all, the longest piece that I needed was 16 feet, and my local Lowes has plenty of lumber that is as long as that. Unfortunately, one of my gunnels had a tight knot in it. It didn’t take hardly any pressure at all for the gunnel to break. Continue reading “Scarf Joints”

Butt Joints (in Plywood)

One of the major reasons that I built a Puddle Duck Racer, and then a Mouse Boat was that both of these boats are under 8 feet long. That meant that I could easily purchase lumber that was as long or longer than the length of the boat. I did this because I assumed that joining pieces of plywood or timber was difficult.

It certainly seemed difficult. Most books on boat building spend a significant amount of text on the subject, and the Internet is full of jigs and strategies for scarfing lumber and plywood. Pre-built kits get around the need for scarfing plywood with fancy cutouts that allow the pieces to fit together like puzzle pieces. A bit of fiberglass and resin over the top and the joint becomes the strongest part of the sheet. Of course, I knew right away that this sort of precision was right out for me. Not to mention the fact that I want to steer clear of epoxy so that I feel more comfortable getting kids involved. Continue reading “Butt Joints (in Plywood)”

Lazy Weekend Chine Logs

Another weekend, a bit more progress on the Lazy Weekend Canoe.

I didn’t have a lot of time, but I did manage to put together just enough time to put the chine logs on. Bending the chines did reveal that one of the pieces of lumber that I hoped to use as a chine log had a big knot it in near the end. I broke the piece testing it. There is no way that it would have bent to the shape that I needed. That means that I am going to need to scarf some lumber. I am currently drawing up a jig in Librecad that should allow me to easily cut the scarfs that I need. We will see how that goes. Continue reading “Lazy Weekend Chine Logs”