Diesel Duck 382

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

Sweat shop

Arch building has commenced at full speed!  This is definitely a two man job and I have used both my father and my son to help.  You will need wood glue with the longest open time possible.  The best I have found so far, and the glue I have used for years, is Titebond III.  It's waterproof, stronger than the wood it adheres to and has an open time of around 10 minutes depending on temperature.  I'm shocked at how much I am using and would recommend you buy the glue in the gallon jug size.

For years at birthdays, Christmas or anyone other time a person is looking for gift ideas for me I always ask for clamps.  That system is paying off now!  Having enough clamps that are large enough, but not to large are critical to get these arches built.  F-style bar clamps will work but ideally you'll want 8" C-clamps with course threads and a large handle.  These provide excellent clamping power and are easy to get the right pressure applied.  Additionally they are small enough that they don't interfere when you're maneuvering around them applying the fasteners.  parallel clamps that are my favorite for case construction and board glue ups do not perform well in this application.  They are designed to hold and already good fitting joint together and have trouble pulling an assembly together, as is required in this situation, over a relatively large distance.  They continually loose their "bite" and need to be reset.  Harbor freight has the cheapest C-clamps I found for under $10.  You'll need about 18 depending on the size of the arch.

Each arch requires two 2x4's ripped into 3/4" wide strips.  Each 2x4 will give you 4 strips.  As I've said before you'll want the straightest, defect free stock you can find.  After doing a few arches I've learned that a few defects are not that big a deal.  As you bend the strips around the jig the strips with defects tend to break.  That is ok because you can usually use a smaller clamp to temporarily hold it in position or otherwise use one of the spacer blocks to reinforce the break.  Once it's all clamped you can use mechanical fasteners to hold the defects together.

We start each arch by laying out the strips according to the directions.  We start in the middle of the arch and apply glue and clamp it into position.  Then alternating each side of the first clamp we begin to bend the strips around the jig adding glue and spacer blocks as necessary.  You need to move quickly but not rush.  You only have about 10 minutes before the glue skins over and starts to set up and when that happens you are not getting the full adhesion  and strength of the glue.  The arch tends to "ride up" as you bend it around the form so a dead blow or rubber mallet will be needed to bang everything back down into place.

Once the last clamp is in place the clock stops and you can now move at your own pace.  The next step is to add the fasteners.  The directions recommend using a pneumatic stapler and framing nailer for holding everything together.  I concur with this recommendation and don't see how it would be possible to manually nail all the fasteners with a hammer.  If you don't have those tools you could certainly pre-drill and use woodscrews.  However that would be very time consuming so I would be an advocate for buying yourself some new pneumatic tools!

I had my father bring over his compressor so we could both begin the nailing process at the same time.  One guy applies 18 gauge, 1 1/2" crown staples every 3 inches or so around the entire length of the inside and outside of the arch.  The other guy uses the framing nailer to shoot 2 1/2" framing nails to the inside and outside of the arch at each spacer block and at the  ridge and sill plate blocks.  Use caution when applying the fasteners as you don't want to shoot at a down angle and have the fastener pass through it's target into the jig.  Ask me how I know!

Once the fasteners are in we utilized the cut lines on the jig that were developed from the jig layout that I did in my driveway with the 3-4-5 triangle.  Simply run a pencil line along the arch where it lines up with the jig.  That's it!  We removed the clamps, flipped the arch over and used a circular saw to cut the arches on the marks we just made.

Here is a close up of the finished product.

As you can see, you must do your best to ensure that the butt ends of the seams fall on the spacer blocks to reinforce the joint.  Below is a pair of arches laid out on the ground to give you a feel for the size, scale and open space this type of construction affords.

This has been a fun project so far and I am really enjoying it.  I have a lot more arches to build (32 in total) so we'll see if my enthusiasm holds up. 

In other boating news; I have been in frequent contact with the Diesel Duck designer George Buehler.  He continues to make progress on the design modifications he wanted to do and has kept me in the loop on the process with frequent emails.  He continues to impress me with his timely responses to my many questions and frequently provides solutions to issues I had not even thought of.  I could not be more pleased with his customer service and recommend him without reservation to anyone interested in building their own boat.

I have kept my eye out on eBay and craigslist for various boat components I know I'm going to need in the future.  Engines, tanks, propellers and a shaft are high on my list.  These are expensive parts and if I can find a high quality used one I'm going to jump on it.  I believe I caught my first break.  I found a stainless steel prop shaft that came out of a trawler near Seneca Lake.  It's 165" long and 2 inches in diameter.  After confirming the length I needed with Mr. Buehler with the aid of the CAD design I worked out a deal with the seller.  $400 for the shaft delivered to my door.  Bought new this shaft would be close to $3000.  I am so grateful that I found it.  I have high hopes this is just the beginning of my great second hand finds!

Friday, October 14, 2016

No regrets

Logically, I have no business building this boat.  It is, undoubtedly, a crazy endeavor.  I know all this and I have tried to talk myself out it, dismiss the notion that it is even possible.  I am purposely ignoring all the reasons not to.  As I cruise some of the various marine related forums, reading, learning and asking questions I have been told a number of times not to take this project on.  The reasons are many and if I'm honest with myself, truthful.  It's expensive, the resale value will be low, you probably will never finish it, It's cheaper to buy a used boat and on and on.  All legitimate and practical concerns.  I don't take offense to the naysayers, I know they are speaking the truth.  They are in fact trying to be helpful.  It doesn't anger me, I honestly do appreciate their opinions. 

Yet I still choose to ignore them. I chose to build rather than buy for many reasons.  I love creating things from wood.  I like big projects.  I enjoy working with my hands.  I treasure the feeling I get when in the morning I start with a pile of boards and at the end of the day I have something beautiful.  I have never owned a large boat or cruised the high seas.  I am the most dangerous kind of boat builder, I don't know what I don't know.  In order to address that I chose to build my own boat to understand every system and it's location.  To know how it goes together and how they all work with each other.  I am a voracious reader especially on topics that interest me, but some things you can't get from books.  I learn by doing, seeing and touching.  I am indeed a cautious person, measured in my decisions, continually aware of threats.  I need to address those threats, understand how a boat works before I embark on blue water cruises.  I will do that by building my own boat.  I know I could buy a used boat cheaper, that's not the point.  It would be a pile of components, a mystery.  I know things will fail or break on a boat.  It will be much easier for me personally to deal with my own mistakes and failures then someone else's.  Scratching my head not knowing where this wire goes or where that pipe leads.  My boat will be mine, for better or worse.  Boat building and boat owning is a series of compromises and trade offs.  You can have it this way but you have to give that up.  By building my own I will make my own compromises, not someone else's.  I will have things as close to as exactly as I want them on my boat.  Custom indeed.

 My kids call it a midlife crisis, they said that to when I bought a shiny red BMW a few years ago.  They tease me in good fun and we all laugh.  Maybe they are right, As I approach my mid 40's, I recognize that it's a distinct possibility.  In the last few years I have reflected on how the years have flown by.  I still feel the same inside as I did when I was 20, but the mirror tells a different story. I have boiled down the frustration of aging to one point.  When you are young, the world, your life, your future is all about what will be.  When you become a real grown up you realize that your life is what it is.  No more romantic notions of achieving all the great things that seemed possible when you were young.  I say that not to sound depressed or resentful, it's just a fact of life. In many respects I have achieved all those great things I wanted; A loving wife, a healthy family, a roof over my head and food on the table.  All that with a little left over every month to enjoy a comfortable life.  I am truly blessed, that fact is not lost on me.  It does not change the realities of aging however and I still want more, I still dream.

I presume its the same for everyone, but I don't know how many times I have asked either to myself or friends or family, "you know what would be cool?" Then going on to talk about some seemingly great idea.  Those ideas are bandied about as we all smile and agree on how great whatever that particularl thing might be.  Just as quickly it is dismissed as being unreasonable, to expensive or an otherwise frivolous notion, only capable of being had by someone else.  Someone else who is smarter, richer or in a better station in life.  Why is that?

I believe the answer is simple. Fear.  We fear the unknown.  We may resent or be disappointed about certain things in our life, but we know those disappointments, we are comfortable with those shortcomings.  Doing something  differently would require an even scarier option, change.  It would require us to try to change or to risk doing something new.  Treading into the unknown where we may suffer the ultimate adult failure: the inability to succeed.  As long as we don't try we can never fail.  It's infinitely easier to sit on the side lines and point out all the potential ways to fail and give up before even trying.  We comfort ourselves with the thought that we are doing the responsible thing, the sensible thing, but it's just an excuse.

 I am as guilty as anyone.  I am very good at pointing out all the holes in a persons plan.  I have spent nearly 20 years in the emergency services planning for the worst, looking for ways that things could fail and trying to prevent it.  Measuring risk, being cautious and staying the course.  Those are wonderful qualities in that world, they are poison for our dreams.  Killing them before they can even be born.  It's cliché to point out that the most successful people are the ones willing to risk it all to succeed, but it is the truth.

 After some personal failures, all of my own doing, in recent years it became clear to me that in some parts of my life I needed to start doing things differently.  I refuse to continually put off my dreams waiting for a better time.  I will not be embarrassed to admit that I have dreams.  I will get off my Ipad, turn off the TV and do something to make my dreams come true.

I dream of cruising the world's waterways and oceans, I'm going to try to achieve that dream.  The way I will achieve it is by building a boat, launching it and going on adventures with my wife.  I'm not exactly sure how I will get there but I'll be damned if I will lay on my death bed wondering what could have been. I may fail, the odds say it is likely I will fail.  No matter what though, I'll sleep soundly at night knowing I tried.  I hope to set an example to my children that if it's worth dreaming, it's worth doing.  To never be afraid to try.  It's easy to tell them that, and has been said to them all their lives.  Talk is cheap. I will show them, by my own example, that nothing is out of reach if we are willing to try.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Meat and potatoes!

The heart of this bow roof shed is the arched trusses.  I don't want to get into the exact details of how they are constructed since someone else went through all the work to design them and sells them as a part of his business.  So if you are interested just scroll down to a previous entry to find the link for shamrock aquaponics.  However I want to remove some of the mystery if you do in fact buy your own plans.  This is not rocket science and don't be afraid to make some changes to achieve the size building you need.

The stock plans are offered in 3 different size versions.  The length of the building is unimportant as you could theoretically make the building as long as you want, provided you took into account the curvature of the earth.  It's a simple concept.  Where the math comes into play is the width of the building.  The arches are really just segments of a circle, I forget my geometry but I believe it is called an arc.  Just a segment of the circumference of the circle. 

The layout for the jig to create the arcs which will become your arched trusses are made by fixing your tape measure at a specified distance away then swinging the other end through a segment of that arc, marking with a pencil as you go.  I ordered the 20 foot wide design and it called for an approximately 14' arch.  I wanted more height as the Diesel Duck will be close to 15 feet from the bottom of the keel to the top of the pilot house so I went with approximately 15 feet.  When installed on the 20" knee wall I should be close to 16 feet. The building of the jig will require at least 1 sheet of plywood, more likely 2. 

In my driveway I roughly marked out what a 15' arc would look like to know how much plywood I would need.  I found that the widest part of the arc would fit on a 2' wide by 8' long sheet of plywood.  So I bought my 1/2" plywood and ripped them in half resulting in 2 pieces of  2' by 8' strips of plywood.  The second sheet I cross cut for a 2' by 4' strip.  All together giving me 20' feet of space to construct my arch.  Working in my shop using a couple of work tables I affixed a nail in one table and at the second table, approximately 15' away I drew a few layout lines perfectly perpendicular to the imaginary line from the distant nail.  I then lined up a section of my ripped plywood carefully on the layout lines.  I hooked a tape measure on the nail and pulled the tape to the predetermined measurements calculated from the instructions and swung my arcs out on the plywood using a pencil carefully held at the appropriate measurement.  I repeated this process for all the required marks on the other two sheets of plywood and the layout was done. 

All that is left is to tie a string to the nail and pull it tight to each side of the strips of plywood to make your marks  for the appropriate angle to cut the plywood to.  This angle allows you to connect all sections forming the jig, which is the arc of a 15' circle.  I cut the appropriate angle, attached the sections together with gussets and glue on the underside of the jig and installed the clamping blocks.  All the specifics are in the shed construction plans.

For the next part it is helpful to have an assistant but It can be done alone as I did.  After the glue dried the next day I brought the jig out to the drive way.  Using some concrete nails and string I laid out a simple x/y grid.  It's crucial that this grid be a perfect 90 degree angle where x and y intersect.  I assured this by using the old Pythagorean theorem 3-4-5 triangle.

I laid the arch on the string line and adjusted it as necessary to get the most height out of the arch as I could.  Once satisfied I made marks on the jig where the string intersected the jig.  These marks would indicate the cut line that I will use to cut the proper angle for the arch at the sill plate and at the ridge board.  I'm sure there is a mathematical way to calculate all these angles, but the instructions utilized the methods indicated here.  While it's more labor intensive, it certainly simplifies the process without having to do a lot of complex mathematics.

I brought the jig back to the shop and cut the aforementioned angles on the jig.  It was now time to cut some 2x4's.  Ideally it would be great to be able to go to the lumber yard and carefully pick out all your stock.  I needed 72 10' 2x4's and I simply ordered them through my lumber supplier.  I was very happy with the 10' stock I received, but I learned it was not perfect.  For things to go exactly as planned you would need perfectly defect free stock.  I mean completely defect free!  No knots or twisted grain, perfect.  As you cut your 2 by stock into 3/4" strips any defect in the wood will create a weak spot that will simply break when you begin to wrap it around the jig.  I found this not to be a huge problem as the construction process requires using smaller pieces so butt joints are not an issue and will not weaken the structure.  I just did the best I could, generally yielding 2 or 3 complete 10 foot sections out of a 2x4.  I will still be able to use the smaller pieces that came from the ripping process.

I also ripped and cut to size all the 6 inch blocks required for each arch, nearly 400 in all.  Additionally I ripped and cut to size the 24 inch sill and ridge blocks that are required.  I used the jig and some tracing paper to transfer the portion of the arc that the 24" blocks would cover to the 24" blocks themselves.  I then cut those slightly curving marks on the band saw.  You could use a handheld jigsaw if you had to but the band saw greatly speeds the process up.

Once I had enough stock cut for a few arches I grew impatient and wanted to try it out.  This is definitely a 2 man job as you need to move quickly before the glue sets up so I brought in my father to help.  Using clamps, a rubber mallet, pneumatic stapler and nail gun we assembled a prototype arch.  It went surprisingly well with only a few surprises.  I learned a lot from this arch but was not satisfied with the final result so it will remain a prototype and will not be incorporated into the final structure.  If you take on a similar project I would not be to disappointed if the first arch is not 100%.  If you can use it great, if not no big deal, take what you learned and make the rest perfect.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Freaking Laser Beams!

I'm happy and relieved to be done with all the hole digging.  Every time I am required to do any digging on my property I swear to myself that I will never do it again.  The ground is comprised of what I can only describe as boulders.  Boulders glued to the earth between layers of hard packed clay and the beginnings of sedimentary rock.  Absolutely brutal.  However with enough time, breaker bars, sledgehammers and post hole diggers the job is done and all the posts are in place; plumb and square.

I am a strong proponent of the right tool for the job concept.  I am an amateur woodworker so tools have a special place in my heart. When necessary to do a job I think of tool purchases as an investment.  Not to say there are not limits of course.  I'm also a home show junkie so when a TV pro pulls out some computer controlled CNC machine to create a piece with the perfect fit I regularly cry foul.  The average amateur cannot afford a 3 or 4 thousand dollar piece of equipment limited to  very specific applications. 

So when it came time to cut all the posts to size, with all needing to be equal, I needed the right tool for the job.  I didn't say the ideal tool, just the right one.  Ideally a tripod mounted laser transit would have been the perfect choice.  $1000 tool with a very specific purpose that I may never use again, not going to happen.  So the right tool(s) ended up being a couple of vary basic and inexpensive laser levels; one used for hanging picture frames and a 12" torpedo level with laser capability.  I cannot say the word "laser" anymore without the Dr. Evil inflection. So know that every time you see that word here my pinky is firmly against the corner of my mouth as I strike my best Dr. Evil pose.

This is a two person job for sure and using the laser levels, a 6' standard level, a couple clamps and a piece of scrap plywood with a line drawn on it we were able to get the job done.  We worked off the lowest post making marks on each post with the aid of the laser dot. By clamping the scrap of plywood to a distant post we were able to "shoot" the laser to strike the leveled plywood on the line we marked on it.  With the laser dot on the line and with the line level we simply transferred a mark onto the post as an extension of the line on the plywood. Once we had our marks we snapped a chalk line and then transferred that line to the knee wall on the other side, again with the aid of the laser levels.  We repeated the process on the other knee wall and the job was done in under an hour.

My plan was to buy 8' 4x4's, cut them in half and bury 2 feet in the ground and have 2 feet above ground.  Then I would rip a sheet of plywood in half and have a perfect 2 foot knee wall on each side with zero waste.  I was naïve to believe things would go that perfectly.  While the site work was done very well by the bobcat and it was relatively leveled out which was confirmed by the contractors surveying equipment.  However relatively is not close enough once you get into construction where an inch here and there makes a big difference.  Now factor in the digging of the holes and having a hole here and there and inch or two deeper or shallower and all those measurements are for not.  Once completed the knee wall ended up being about 20" tall.  That is going to work fine with the only downside being my OCD will have to live with the small amount of plywood waste.  The height of the knee wall was only important to gaining additional height of the final structure to house the boat, I'll be fine losing those 4 inches.

The next step was to add the pressure treated 2x4's as the bottom rail and regular 2x4's as the top rail set at the marks we made with the laser.  The posts were then cut to size with a reciprocating saw and the 2x6 top plate was installed.  In the next few days I'll rip the plywood to size on the table saw and attach them to the knee walls.  Once that's completed arch assembly will commence at full speed!

Hopefully the picture is becoming clearer as to what I'm trying to accomplish.  the above pictures illustrate how the arches will be mounted to the top plate to span the open area between.  I swear I will eventually get to the arch assembly and jig pictures and explanations.  I just keep getting distracted by the other steps in the process.  It's coming soon, I promise!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Measure twice.....

When building any structure layout may be the most important part. Trying to take accurate measurements over long distances is not going to cut it with a 12' tape measure. A 100' surveyors tape measure and a quality 25' construction tape measure are essential.  I used non stretch masonary string lines and heavy rebar stakes to lay out the foot print of my build. I used a helper to take careful measurements and adjusted as necessary. Frequent diagonal measurements will confirm the lay out is square.  The goal is perfection but that is difficult to accomplish for the amateur without a laser setup. I was happy to be within 5/8" of square over the 45' length of the knee walls. 
I used spray paint to mark the ground below the string lines. This allowed me to remove the strings and allow my contractor with the bobcat to clear right up to the painted lines without interfering with his work. In my case it was more expensive to rent a bobcat and have it delivered then to hire someone. The added benefit of having a pro make quick work of it along with the appropriate surveying equipment to ensure a level site was money well spent. 
Here is a picture of what I'm trying for in my finished product. This build used grifolyn as the covering material. That's an industrial waterproof underlayment typicaly used in below grade construction projects. It's expensive but I'll consider it. 
Ok next time I'll actually get to the arch pictures. I had to do a quick post to check out my new blogger app!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Taking shape

After deciding that I was going to build a shelter for the boat, I decided early on that I was going to do a bow roof style.  I want to clarify that I did not know what that was prior to researching boat building sheds.  As I looked at how others were doing it I knew I would need a large structure with a wide clear span.  The truss style arches of a bow roof shed provided for that. 

Additionally since this is technically a "temporary structure" I did not want to go through the hassle of the permitting process.  I live in a rural, agricultural area with very few neighbors.  If I was in a more urban or suburban location I would definitely have looked into the permitting process.  Generally local governments don't go looking for trouble, but if somebody complains, like the fact that there is a giant arched structure in my neighbors backyard and it looks ugly and blocks my view, the officials would have to do something. 

Since this will not be a traditional "stick" build like a house and since the roof and sides will be either Visqueen, greenhouse plastic or shrink wrap I felt it would be easier to prove my position that it was a temporary structure if I ever was questioned.  If you have plans to do something similar, a building permit is an important consideration. 

Additionally, a traditionally stick built structure would require a real foundation or deep pilings, a lot more lumber, sheathing and roofing materials and all those associated costs. I could not justify the significant added expense.

As I said before I was frustrated by the lack of specifics I found online for a bow roof shed. Not just specifics on construction but associated costs as well.  Since one of my goals for this blog is to provide others considering a similar project with actual data points that will help in their decision making process, I will provide  as many specifics as possible.

The two best options that I found were the Stimson Marine bow-roof shed/greenhouse and the Shamrock Aquaponics Greenhouse.  Both were priced under 30 dollars and provided very detailed plans.  I had trouble reaching Stimson Marine by phone so I went with the design from Shamrock. I am glad I did, as they provide real architectural drawings you could use if you needed a building permit.  The downside for the Shamrock plans was that the directions were written by a person, who I would guess, was a gardener first and a builder second.  The instructions were a bit confusing and some things conflicted with the architectural drawings.  Additionally I found the author sometimes used nominal and actual dimensions interchangeably which can change material requirements significantly.  However, shamrock's customer service was excellent and the author quickly responded to my emails and provided me with the necessary clarifications.

After thoroughly reviewing the plans I made a materials list and began to shop around for a supplier.  I went with 84 lumber with mixed results.  The customer service is excellent and the staff is very knowledgeable.  On some things their prices were great and on some things they were not.  I was disappointed in the 8foot 2x4 stock I received.  for the price I paid I was disappointed to see that I had received #2 stock instead of select or #1's.  To add insult to injury it was bad #2 to boot!  lots of partial live edge's, gouges and knots.

I ordered double the amount of 2x4's than I actually needed.  Remember the part about using nominal and actual dimensions interchangeably?  Well I did not review my materials list thoroughly enough prior to ordering my material.  Luckily it worked out because those ugly #2's will work perfect for the floor timbers on the boat, so I will save them for later when I get to that point. 

If I had ordered perfectly, the cost for all the lumber to build the boat shed would have been around $1200.  A number I am very comfortable with for this size building, thousands cheaper than a traditionally stick built structure.  Additional costs included $200 for the site work.  The site work consisted of a bobcat clearing and leveling a grassy area on the back of my property.  I paid $300 for 15 tons of washed #1 stone delivered.  Those are excellent prices in this area and was largely because I'm lucky to have friends in a lot of different trades and I asked around.  My construction worker neighbor donated a large roll of commercial grade ground fabric to put under the stone he had laying around.  The only other expense will be the plastic I use to enclose the building.  Depending on what I use, those costs will be between $100 and $400.  So when it's all said and done I expect this building to cost around $2000.

I laid out the building foot print with string lines.  I carefully measured to get the dimensions that I needed and measured diagonals to ensure that the building was square.  The building will require 20 holes to be dug.  These holes will anchor the 4x4 posts in the ground that will make up the foundation of the structure that the arches will span across.  I will set the four corner posts in concrete but the rest will just be buried in earth and rocks.  To prevent up lifting from wind loads I drilled holes in the bottom of the 4x4's and drove 8 inch sections of rebar through the holes.  The corner posts have 2 pieces of rebar driven through perpendicular to each other. When either buried or encased in concrete they will be extremely rigid. 

I have enlisted the help of my 71 year old father and conscripted my 14 year old son to assist in the digging of the twenty holes in the ground.  That process is moving along slowly as the ground in my area is extremely rocky with hard packed clay. The picture below illustrates what we are dealing with in my soil conditions.

Next time I'll show you how the jig that forms the arches is built and show you a prototype arch.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A place to call home

I know full well that this project will take years to complete.  I also know that I don't want to have any excuses for not keeping at it.  Originally I planned a "blue sky" build, just building a boat out in the open with no shelter.  Living in Upstate NY, winter weather could take away several months of building time every year. Those months would add up quick and delay this project even further. No one wants to go out and work in the cold and blowing snow.

After discussing my plans with my wife, she strongly recommended building some sort of shelter to work on the boat.  I was apprehensive, primarily because of cost.  I don't care how basic or temporary a structure the size required for this build might be, there is no way around it costing a couple thousand dollars.  A couple thousand dollars that I thought would be better spent on the actual boat. 

However after thinking about it I knew she was right.  Not only would it give me a year round, any weather conditions place to work but it would keep all the untreated lumber dry and safe.  The added benefits of being able to keep all my tools and lumber close at hand instead of having to walk back and forth to the shop sealed the deal.  She was right!

Which brings me to another point.  You really need the support of your family if you intend to take on such a large scale, essentially frivolous project.  The amount of money that will be required affects the whole family.  The amount of time it takes away from your family goes without saying.  I am very fortunate to have a spouse who not only supports my passions but encourages them.  She makes my dreams her own, I couldn't ask for more.  Now it doesn't hurt that my girl was born in the ship building capital of the United States in Newport News, Virginia and was raised on the shores of the Chesapeake outside of Annapolis.  The Grand-daughter of a WWII Navy veteran, she spent many a day on the water and around boats.  Sometimes she is more excited about this build then I am!

So I did a lot of research on temporary structures and boat sheds.  I was a bit frustrated by the lack of specifics I found online.  There were many pictures of various boat sheds but not many details on how they were built.  Eventually I found a couple of plans that I liked and I settled on a design and ordered the plans.  I made some slight modifications to the foundation plan and began to analyze what materials I would need.  I'll talk about specifics of the design and materials in my next entry.

So here are some shots of the materials and the ground breaking.  The plan is for a 45' x 20' bow roof shed.  I'll use boat shrink wrap to make it weather tight. Lots of holes to dig in my terribly rocky soil, definitely not looking forward to that.


Monday, October 3, 2016

In the beginning.....

Welcome to what will surely be one of your favorite spots on the web!  Overly optimistic? Perhaps, but that is the whole point behind this entire project of building a George Buehler designed 41 foot Diesel Duck ocean cruising boat that will be documented on this blog.

I have lived in the Rochester NY area my entire life.  The entire history of Rochester is built on the power of the water, literally and figuratively. This City was founded in large part because of the power the Genesee River provided for area grain mills.  It grew as a distant outpost on the westward expansion with the building of the Erie Canal.  All this in addition to being located on the shores of Lake Ontario.  Not to mention the many "finger lakes" that surround the upstate NY region.  This area is steeped in nautical traditions.  Traditions I was blind to for 41 years, perhaps because I was to close to bring it into focus.

That all changed this year when my wife and I bought a new Waverunner for use at our small family owned cottage on nearby Canandaigua Lake.  A new world of fun on the water was opened to us and we wanted more. 

Over the course of a few months while checking out various marine and woodworking websites I stumbled on to home built wooden boats and an idea was born.  I got my feet wet with a small wooded mahogany runabout from Glen-L (still in progress). More reading and research led me to boat designer and author George Buehler.  Mr. Buehler is the designer and creator of the entire line of  Diesel Duck cruising boats.  He followed up the design by authoring the book "Backyard Boat Building", an in depth review of the home built blue water cruising boat process.  After reading that book, I was hooked! Combining my love of woodworking and the water, what could go wrong?

So now the adventure begins, constructing a 41 foot wooden blue water cruising boat in my backyard.  The process is filled with countless unknowns, the least of which is the fact that I have nearly zero knowledge of ocean cruising or boat building. 

I intend to document the entire process.  From building the structure to house the build in, through splashing her for the first time.  Every triumph and milestone along with the inevitable setbacks will be here.  I welcome everyone's input and advice, I know I will need it.  The "to do" list is very long and very expensive.  We are just a regular family on a budget so I know this project will take years.  Hopefully it'll all be worth it in the end when we are rocked to sleep underneath the tropical stars somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

It will be a long process balancing supplies, resources, time and money to get this project to completion.  Much like having children, their is never a perfect time to embark on an epic journey.  You do the best you can but sooner or later you just have to go for it. 

My time is now, I hope you enjoy following along.