Diesel Duck 382

Diesel Duck 382
Diesel Duck 382 with the "get home" steadying sails up.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Thread life: Making keel bolts and other stuff

Work smarter not harder!  Maybe I'm getting soft in my modestly old age but working in 90 degree + conditions kicks my butt!  So we added air conditioning to the wood shop.  Pretty simple install that involved popping out a window and replacing it with some OSB.  72 and sunny year round, I love it!


Not much I can do about the 112 degrees it was in the boat shed this past Saturday.  As I've said, if I get out early enough, open the doors and get the fan going, it's tolerable.  However, I had to work early on Saturday so I didn't get out to the shop until mid afternoon.  By that time it's to late so I began work on the keel bolts.

I ordered hot rolled steel rod, pre-cut in 48" and 36" lengths from an online steel supplier.  Delivery charges were under $28 dollars and the total ended up being around $175 for approximately 25 pieces of steel in 5/8" and 1/2" sizes.



The keel is through bolted at each station through the floor timbers and the entire thickness of the keel.  Since each one is a unique length and some are almost 4' long, these aren't bolts that you can buy off the shelf.  Each will need to be custom made, cut to length, threaded and then galvanized.

I've never threaded steel rod before but online it looks really easy!  I remember threading galvanized pipe at our cottage for a new water service when I was a kid and it was quite straight forward.  I still have my grandfathers pipe vice, which is at least 80 years old.  It's very heavy duty and worked well holding the rod securely.  However the threading of 5/8" rod is not quite as easy as I thought.



The directions indicated to use a file to chamfer the edge of the rod to help with getting the threads started.  However you really need an aggressive bevel for this to be effective and a file was not cutting it.  I turned to the bench grinder to get an approximately 1/2" bevel machined to the end of the rod.  Once I figured that part out, the process went much easier.  I used a light weight oil designed for threading and tapping but it still required quite a bit of muscle to cut the threads.  I threaded one end of 5 pieces before I called it a day.  The threads on the other end will have to wait until the rods are cut to their final length once the keel is complete.  My plan is to take advantage of random times when I have a few minutes and thread 1 end of each piece of rod.  Once you understand the process it's actually quite fun to see the threads develop as you cut the steel away.



Work continues on the keel glue up as well.  We are down to one remaining glue up before the main keel assembly is complete.



I noticed that their was a twist developing in the lower keel assembly.  No matter how hard you try, wood moves and there is no way around it.  I stole an idea from Doug Jackson over at SV Seeker and used some bottle jacks to pull the entire assembly flat against the building cradle during one of the glue ups.  Since I know the building cradle is dead flat, I figured that holding the keel tightly to that would help straighten things out.  The idea worked great and eliminated nearly all of the twist giving me a nice flat and plumb keel.







The only down side is I made these super clamps out of wood and they were designed for a fixed dimension, which I could not adjust.  I wanted to do the same thing for the next two glue ups so I did a little more research.  I found an item at home depot that fit the bill perfectly, punched steel plate. These steel plates are about an inch wide and come in lengths of 48 and 36 inches.  Each one has regularly spaced holes along it's entire length.  This allowed me to come up with a fully adjustable super clamp.


Even though I had taken the twist out of the first assembly I didn't want to give it a chance to twist again, so on the next glue up I applied 4 upgraded super clamps along the length of the keel to keep it nice and flat.  Worked perfectly!


So now we have only 1 more glue up and it should be the easiest one yet.  One glue line, two sub assemblies and then we can start adding the other keel components.


I've been neglecting the frames as we pushed to get the keel done.  My job has not been boat building friendly and we've only had a few hours here and there.  However work will continue and we are down to just four more frames to build!

Thanks for checking out are project and keep an eye out for our next video installment of the Sea Dreamer Project on YouTube.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Vacation boat building

The fourth of July week brought our family together at the family cottage for a few days of vacation. I like to relax, have a beer and do nothing as much as the next guy but only for so long.  I haven't talked about it much here but I have another build going on in addition to this project.  It's actually what started this obsession.  I bought the plans for a 14.5 foot runabout from Glen-L called the Zip last summer and have been working on both projects as time allows.  

I decided to free up some much needed space in the shop that the Zip takes up and move the little build to the cottage.  It's the perfect project for the Lake as it doesn't take up much space and will give me something to putter around with when I'm at the lake.


Once the Zip was out of the shop I was free to return everything back to normal.  I had to make quite a few changes to accommodate this build around my tools.  I took the opportunity to make some improvements in machine location and dust collection.



I wanted to take advantage of the 6" main trunk lines that run off my dust collector for my planer.  I picked up a few fittings and some PVC cement and made quick work of it.



Setting up a real dust collection system in the shop was one of the best things I ever did.  Not having to move around machines or deal with dust collection hoses all over the floor makes working in the shop a real pleasure.  I know they say you are not supposed to use PVC pipe for dust collection for fear of a static explosion.  However, for the one man shop, those fears are unwarranted.

Once the shop was back in business I took the last few days of vacation to get back at frame building.  It was a beautiful week to be outside.  Around 80 degrees and sunny, perfect for outdoor activities.  It was a little warm in the shop, but I've found if I get up early and open everything up and get the fan going, the temperatures remain manageable.  

Outside temperature

Boat shed temperature
Things went really well and I am now quite proficient at frame building.  I didn't make any errors (that I know about) and things went smoothly.  I was able to get 5 frames complete leaving us only 4 more to go!


While very repetitive I am enjoying the process more now that I am familiar with what is required.  I have become a Jedi with my circular saw after having made so many miter cuts.





The process remains the same. Loft, blocking, measure for pieces, mill the parts, lay out and cut the miters and assemble.  As you can see from the pictures below, the new batch of Larch is beautiful stuff.  I was very pleased with this new mill.  Vertical grain, no bark or sap wood and cut oversize for free.  I'll definitely be going back for the planking.





The sub assemblies for the lower keel are ready for final gluing.  I have found some warping in the sub assemblies which I expected from big box dimensional lumber.  I'm not to concerned as I have left everything over sized for final fairing. However, I want to keep that to a minimum.  

So I came up with an idea for some "super clamps" that I will use to attempt to straighten things out as much as I can.  These clamps will attach to the building sled as well as the keel.  Since I know the sled is dead flat and parallel, I'm hoping these clamps will force the sub assemblies as flat as possible. Additionally I wanted some more powerful clamps just to pull these 4.5 inch thick sub-assemblies together tight enough to allow the resorcinol to be effective.

Super clamp!
Work continues, I hope to have the lower keel in clamps this weekend so work can begin on the upper keel and it's associated components.  I want to make the most of the warm temperatures for these big glue jobs.  Once Fall arrives temperatures will regularly be to cold for the adhesives to work in the boat shed.  I'll be able to work the smaller components in the temperature controlled shop.

The framing table needs a final coat of white paint so I can loft out the remaining four stations along with the transom.  Watching the pile of frames grow provides excellent motivation to get that job done.

Thanks for checking out our project and be sure to "like" us on Facebook and follow along on our YouTube channel.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Marine multi-tasking

Well if you build a boat you'll never be able to say, "there's nothing to do".  We've been carving out more time for boat building in spite of the high temperatures inside the boat shed.  This building design is actually for a green house and I can now vouch for it's effectiveness.  Our industrial strength warehouse fan helps keep it manageable but on those sunny summer days we are working in 90-100 degree temperatures.


We are bouncing back and forth between frame building and keel lamination's.  As I have said, I'm doing the keel in sub-assemblies to keep the clamping pressure manageable.  The sub assemblies are about 4 1/2" thick and approximately 34' long.  They are not that heavy and the block and tackle I have mounted to the ridge beam of the boat shed is able lift them with no problem.



All of the sub-assemblies for the lower keel are now complete or in clamps.  The next glue up will make them one, 12" thick beam that will act as the lower keel assembly.


We ripped a straight edge on one side of each plank and then those straight edges are all stacked together with the edges flush.  This gives us a good reference to insure that the keel is as straight as possible.  Once the entire keel is glued up and bolted we'll even everything out with a power planer.

As we alternate between gluing up the various keel components we continue to build frames. Nothing that special that has not already been covered, except for the fact that stations 22 and 24 have their gussets cut flush to the frames.  


Stations 22 and 24 are nearly perfectly amidships and frame in our engine room.  This is also the location of our two 325 gallon diesel tanks.  The gussets are cut flush to the frames to maximize the available space for the tanks.  I did it just as the plans indicate but it just doesn't look that strong.  I may add some intermediate frames in the engine room to beef up the support in that area.




Cutting the flush gussets is the same as the other regular size gussets.  I use some scrap cardboard to create a template and then trace the outline out on to the 3/4" BCX plywood.  My new Milwaukee M18 Fuel circular saw makes quick work of the cutting.


Then it's just a matter of cutting the angles for the side and bottom pieces, laying them on the lofting with the appropriate setbacks and bolting and gluing them together.  Once assembled the temporary bracing is attached and it's on to the next one.







Once again, I know I am blessed with a great support system for this build.  My crafty mother built a beautiful miniature lighthouse to dress up the landscaping in front of the house as a fathers day gift for me.  The light on top even works!  You can see from it's name that the whole family is on board with building our Diesel Duck dream!



We are going to take a few days off for the 4th of July holiday and head to the lake.  This is my summer vacation week. I'll definitely be coming home early so I can get a few quality days of boat building in.

Check out the Sea Dreamer Project Facebook page if you would like to follow along with our build in real time.  We also include lots of links for all things nautical, excellent eye candy if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Safety first - critical incidents for woodworkers

Well if you are only interested in boat building, this isn't going to be for you.  However, I imagine that most people checking out our project are DIY'ers themselves.  We are all pretty confident working around machinery and sharp tools and probably often take safety for granted.  However home shop accidents are one of the leading causes of home personal injury.  We surround ourselves with lots of sharp metal objects spinning one way or another at very high rates of speed.  Accidents are going to happen.

I'm no safety expert.  I can tell you I try to always wear eye protection and gloves.  I try not to wear loose clothing or have any hanging jewelry on.  Safety is every ones own responsibility and I would recommend you completely understand how to operate your machines and tools safely.  My only advice would be that if something feels wrong or unsafe, it probably is.  STOP! think of another way to do it safer.

I'm writing this not because I had an accident in the shop, but last night my son suffered a fairly serious cut on his leg.  Again, I'm no medical expert, but nearly 30 years in public service, I do have some basic first aid skills.  You don't need to have fancy training or expensive accessories to provide some basic first aid that may save you or someone else's life.  

The whitest kid in the world trying to be funny with made up gang symbols.


I'm proud of how my wife and son responded last night when blood was pouring from his inner thigh. My fear was that he had struck the femoral artery, which I know can cause someone to bleed out in under a minute.  Fortunately that was not the case and we were able to control the bleeding and transport him to the hospital.  

As proud as I was, I'm not sure either one of them really knew what to do.  I'm sure natural instincts would certainly kick in. That is of course, to cover the wound with something and push hard, which is exactly the right thing to do.  That got me thinking about DIY'ers like us.  Would we all know what to do if we stabbed our self with a chisel or became impaled by a flying piece of wood?

So I just wanted to provide some basic advice and urge everyone to get a little first aid training.  That training does not necessarily have to come from a formal class.  There's lots of information online that you can review that can get you up to speed.  Again it's nothing that complicated, but knowing what to do before it happens is critical.  Having knowledge provides confidence to keep you calm with the ability to handle the situation.

Regarding what specifically happened to my son; he accidentally stabbed himself with a hunting knife.  Now, whether he was fooling around, which is what I believe, or he was moving it when it slipped out of his hand (his explanation) is not really important when blood is pouring out of a wound.  The knife had an approximately 8 inch blade and judging from the location of the blood line on the knife tip, it penetrated his leg to a depth of about and inch and a half.

notice the dark red blood trail on the floor.

These pictures aren't that great because I was rushing.  I wanted the doctors to have a picture of what caused the injury so they were better able to treat it.  That is a great strategy we can all employ. Baring a life threatening injury, take the time to photograph what caused your injury with your phone. When doctors understand the mechanism of injury it gives them a better idea of what they are dealing with and what treatment methods would be most effective.

The most common injury in our shop's is going to be a serious cut.  If the blood is bright red and spurting out you have a serious situation.  If the blood is dark and pouring out, it's still serious, but you have a more time to make decisions.  Your first step should be to call for help.  After that cover the wound, preferably with something clean, like a towel.  If you truly dont have anything your hand will work. Provide firm steady pressure and don't remove whats covering it to see "how it's doing"  If the blood soaks through, add more on top of it.  If you can, elevate the wound above your heart.  If you still cannot control the bleeding the application of a tourniquet may be an option.

Back in the old days they use to teach us that tourniquets were the absolute last option because you risked losing the limb it was applied to.  Several wars and lots of research have proved that to be completely FALSE.  A tourniquet is an extremely effective way to control bleeding on an extremity.  



That is the tactic I used with my son.  I had an emergency med kit on my tactical vest that was in my car.  While my wife maintained pressure, I retrieved the tourniquet from it, and put it on him.  It quickly stopped the bleeding when pressure alone was not.  We then applied a pressure dressing, which is fancy way of saying we wrapped the towel covering the wound with an ACE bandage really tight, and moved him to the car and then transported him to the hospital.



You can buy a tourniquet on amazon and keep it in your tool belt.  They are small, light, cheap and very easy to use.  With a couple practice runs you'll easily be able to apply it to yourself with one hand.  I highly recommend you get one as just a regular part of your tool kit.  Take the time to learn when and how to use it!

The next most common and potentially life threatening injury is a puncture or impailment.  If it's just a puncture the same rules for controlling bleeding above apply here.  If it's an impailment, and by that I mean there is something sticking out of you, then a different strategy is needed.  Don't pull it out! leave it right where it is.  If the impailement has you stuck to a piece of equipment, do not pull yourself off of it.  Call for help immediately.  If you are not trapped against another object and can move, you want to stabilize the impaled item.  Don't go crazy, don't manipulate the object to try to get something around it to stabilize it.  Using your hands to keep it from moving is perfectly acceptable.  Get yourself immediate medical attention and remain calm!

If you suffer a puncture wound to the chest there are a few considerations.  If you are having extreme difficulty breathing or see or hear air escaping from your chest or being drawn in, you have most likely punctured your lung.  This is called a sucking chest wound.  the pressure difference inside and outside your body is actually drawing outside air in to the chest cavity.  This is further compressing your lung which is causing the difficulty breathing.  If left untreated, it is life threatening.  Call for help immediately! Ideally you need to cover this wound with an air proof dressing.  There are commercially available bandages for this injury called occlusive dressings, that have a one way valve that let air out of the chest cavity but do not let air back in.  however, you could use a piece of plastic, wax paper or even foil to cover the wound.  you can then manually "burp" the dressing to let the air out to improve lung function.  Controlling bleeding is still important so used direct pressure along with the air proof dressing.

Of course there are countless other injuries that can occur and we could spend hours what-if'ing things all day. I'm no doctor so I can't speak to how to treat all medical emergencies.  The things I have written here are meant as tips and not medical advice.  However, I think it's important that we all have some basic strategies to deal with the inevitable injuries that occur in our hobby.  Most will be minor that require the wound being cleaned and smeared with an antibiotic ointment and covered with a band-aid and then you can get back to work.  Sometimes though, and hopefully that day will never come for you, something more serious may occur.  Calling for help, remaining calm and providing some immediate care are critical to survival.  Educate yourself, work safely and be prepared to handle an emergency.

I'm going out to work on my boat.




Friday, June 9, 2017

Laying the keel: A laminated Diesel Duck Keel

So far things are going to plan.  We continue to assemble frames on our framing table while enough room is still left around the cradle to begin the keel glue up.  I started out with pen and paper to come up with a plan for the layout of the first three layers of the keel.  I didn't want any seams between layers to be closer then two feet between each layer.  I had the plan before I purchased the 2x8's so I knew how many of each size to get.  I ended up purchasing 2x8's in various quantities of 8', 10', 12' and 16'. The keel is made up of 14 layers of 2x8's.  I plan to do the glue up's for the keel in sub-assemblies of 3 boards thick.  Experience has taught me that it is impossible to apply enough force to the clamps to face glue more than 5 or 6 boards together.  Since rescorniol requires high clamping pressure I opted for a very manageable 3 board thick sub-assembly.  I haven't fully decided on the final keel glue up, but we'll probably glue the sub-assemblies together as we go.



Once the boards were in the boat shop I ripped a straight edge on each piece.  I chose my lumber as carefully as I could but there is no such thing as a perfect board.  You'll never be able to find one perfectly straight and flat so I just combed through the pile for the best ones I could find.  I left the boards oversize so I'll have some room to fit everything nice and smooth and straight.  My power planer will make quick work of that once we get to that point.


I've been a woodworker for 17 years or so and I have assembled a decent collection of clamps. However I still did not have enough for this glue up.  The assembly was over 34 feet long and because I was using Resorcinol I wanted two clamps on each side every 12 to 16 inches to ensure continuous high pressure once clamped up.  I ended up making 15 homemade clamping cawls.  They consisted of two pieces of 3/8" threaded rod and scrap white oak clamping blocks.  I machined one edge of the clamping block for each piece so it was tapered towards the center.  This resulted in a narrow high spot in the center of each block.  I drilled out holes at each end for the threaded rod to pass through.  I added nuts and washers and once the nuts are tightened down on the edges the center becomes extremely tight, which is exactly what we were after.


We worked in steps, applying the glue and closing up the joints in stages. The temperature in the boat shed was around 65 degrees which is perfect for the glue to not set up too fast.  However, closing the joint quickly, so it is not exposed to air but not yet under clamp pressure is important as well.  That part of the plan worked well, but I did not take into account how long it would to take to fasten the nut on the clamping cawls down a 36" piece of threaded rod.  After rolling nuts down by hand for what seemed like forever we quickly realized we needed a better plan.  We ended up chucking the rod into a cordless drill/driver and spinning them down that way.  It was very effective and helped keep us moving along at an appropriate pace.  

The boards were laid out in position beforehand and ready for glue. We rolled out the glue using what turned out to be not a chemically resistant foam roller. It required frequent changing after it started disintegrating.  We applied glue to all three layers at once, making sure to apply glue on each face. We then flipped the middle layer on to the first layer and applied glue to the opposite face.  We then applied the third layer and attached a few clamps.  On and on this went applying glue to only the boards we were ready to flip until the whole assembly was complete.  We used a large hammer to help align the straight edge that was ripped on each board.  I was not obsessive about making sure everything was perfectly flush.  As I said, once the keel is fully assembled I'll take my power planer to it to bring it down to it's finial dimension.


It took about 3/4 of a gallon of resorcinol to complete the job.  We had nice even glue squeeze out along all the joints.  As the instructions indicate, that is a good sign the joint is filled and has not set up.  We had everything in clamps and under full pressure within 2 hours.  We placed wax paper on the bottoms of each of the clamping cawls to keep the glue squeeze out from adhering to the keel.  


I let the glue set up a bit for about an hour before going back and scraping off the squeeze out with a dry wall mud knife.  All that was left was for the glue to harden and hopefully that glue up will be permanent!  

Using epoxy is definitely easier.  The metered pumps make it fool proof and finding all different kinds of epoxy is a breeze.  However, Epoxy is not fully waterproof and Lloyds of London does not accept it as a structural adhesive.  Now, I'm not concerned about getting insurance from Lloyds, but I do want to do things right.  Since the keel will be through bolted and drift bolted together, I probably could have gotten away with using epoxy.  But for only a little more effort and careful measuring, I saved a few bucks and have a completely waterproof adhesive.  I'm using Aerodux 185 which is not your grandfathers rescorcinol.  It cures down to 50 degrees, has some gap filling properties and can be thickened with fillers.  It still requires careful mixing by weight, but a simple postal scale and a calculator make quick work of getting the proportions right.  I'm not advocating either way, as each boat builder has to make his/her own decisions, but don't be afraid of this glue just because of the difficulties associated with the old formulations.


In other news, I attended the Homeland Security Conference this week in Buffalo NY.  Part of the conference offered a tour and boat ride on the Edward M. Cotter fire boat (Engine 20).  The Cotter is the oldest operating fire boat in the United States.  It is captained and engineered by active duty Buffalo FD personnel but the rest of the crew are volunteer.  They survive on a small budget from the fire department but rely heavily on donations to continue operating.




It is an exquisite piece of engineering, lovingly maintained by some dedicated men. She is powered by two, 1940's era Caterpillar diesels which hum like clock work.  When maintenance is required the parts are often fabricated from scratch.  Representatives from Caterpillar have been out to the boat and marvel at how these engines continue to perform.



It was a glorious day on Lake Erie, with blue sky's and 70 degree temperatures.  We cruised for about an hour with the boat putting on a small display of it's firefighting capabilities.


It was a fine day and probably my favorite part of the conference.  If you are ever in the Buffalo, NY area I strongly encourage you to stop by and check it out.  As much as I would love to have our readers become sponsors for the Sea Dreamer Project the Cotter is certainly more deserving.  I hope you check them out and buy a shirt or a cap.

As for us, we'll continue to work on our project as much as time will allow.  I'm not going to feel bad about enjoying the summer or spending time with the family so I think progress is going to slow a bit for a while.  However I will continue to keep everyone updated and I hope you take on a dream project of your own.  

Thanks for following along and keep your eye out for the next episode of the Sea Dreamer Project on YouTube.