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!
Welcome to the Sea Dreamer Project! This is the story of a complete boat building novice and his family with no previous nautical experience constructing a 41 foot Diesel Duck in the backyard of an Upstate New York home. This George Buehler designed trawler yacht is a blue water cruiser designed to cross oceans. Built mostly of home center lumber, epoxy and galvanized hardware, this boat is within the reach of an average person. It's the internet boat project for the rest of us!
Friday, October 21, 2016
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