Diesel Duck 382

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Under Cover

It's been a very busy 5 days!  Last weekend found us completing the sheathing of the end walls.  Additionally we added some heavy bracing to stiffen the arched end walls.  These braces connect from the ridge board to the top plate of the lower end wall.  The brace is made up of two 2x4's with 3 pieces of "2 by" blocking in between.  The blocking allows the "2 by" stock to slip around the ridge board where it was fastened with three inch screws.  It connects to the end wall with a 45 degree notch cut into the brace.  I predrilled and countersunk the screw holes so the wood would not split.  Six #10 2 1/2" screws hold the brace to the end wall.  The bracing worked great and completely stiffened the wall.  I have no concerns with wind loading, she ain't goin no place!

The last big job was getting the roof on.  This took a fair amount of planning and cooperation from the weather.  I originally planned to use boat shrink wrap to cover the shed, however I changed my mind, for the moment at least.  I wanted a practice run with an $80 piece of plastic before I tried with a $400 piece of shrink wrap.  So I order a roll of solid white opaque, 6mil visqueen (20' by 100') from amazon along with some U/V protected sheathing tape and 1" plastic cap washers.  I also ordered 6 small cap vents that attach to the plastic (used in the shrink-wrap industry to provide ventilation for boats) and two 12"x 12" ridge vents.  Total cost was under $185 dollars.
The next hurdle was turning the 20' by 100' roll of plastic into a 50' by 40' rectangle.  This required a large area to work.  Conceivably you could do it in the yard, but I think that is the hard way.  Not only would it have required me to work on top of 6" of new fallen snow but having to also contend with the wind.  Even if you had a beautiful spring day I would be reluctant to walk at all on the plastic, as you would be required to do, when making up the seam.  the ground is inherently uneven with plenty of hidden sharp stuff (sticks, rocks, etc).  I started to brainstorm where I could find a huge open area, preferably with a soft floor.  I thought maybe I could use the local school after hours if I got permission but then I had a better idea.  I work in our headquarters building which is perpetually under construction.  Most of the building has been renovated but, the old Rochester Fire Chief's office is still vacant and un-renovated.  It has a huge carpeted room, decent lighting and a completely unoccupied space to work.
Time capsule! Most of the floor is remains the same as it was 10 years ago.

I rolled my plastic out and learned 100' is not really 100', more like 98'.  slightly disappointed, but still confident it was enough to do the job.

I used my 300' surveyors tape measure, and cut the 98' roll at 49' feet, quality scissors work well and cut the plastic easily.  I then laid the two strips parallel to each other in preparation for seaming. I learned you don't need to unfold the entire piece to access the edges.  If you find yourself doing something similar, take a moment to understand how the plastic is folded at the factory so you can find the edges to seam.  Once I had my edges, I overlapped them by about a foot and ensured that the overlap was maintained the length of the seam so the finished product would be as close to square as possible.  I removed my shoes, grabbed my sheathing tape and began to seam the two sheets together.  This process goes quickly and was easy to do.  I then flipped the assembly over and seemed the other loose edge with more sheathing tape.

I used white tape that matched the plastic perfectly so unless you really look, it is difficult to spot the seam.  I then tried to fold the plastic back up along the factory fold lines as best I could and rolled it up into a buddle. I then began to watch the weather, in hopes of a calm day.

That day came on thanksgiving eve when my "windy" app called for virtually no wind for the entire day.  I gathered up my father and son and began to prep for the roof install.  The best way we came up with was to unroll and unfold the entire plastic assembly in the yard adjacent to the boat shed.  We then rolled up two battens (we used 1" furring strips for the battens) a couple of turns into the plastic and used a staple gun to secure them.  If I had to do it again I would have used screws and cap washers, while the staples held, they did so just barely.  I then pre-drilled for a couple small threaded hooks and installed one in each batten.  We then tied 50' of clothesline rope to the threaded hooks and fished the rope over the purlins and the ridge board.  we positioned the scaffold  about a 1/3 of the way from the west end of the shed and we set up the ladder 1/3 of the way from the east end.  My son took the west side and I took the east.  We pulled in unison as my father worked the ground in the spaces between us with a long painters pole with a soft broom head attached.

I wish I could have taken some photo's but all our hands were occupied!  We slowly worked the plastic up and over the ridge and then my son and I repositioned ourselves outside and continued to pull the plastic over the roof.  My father continued to use the painters pole to move the plastic up and over the purlins and the ridge. 

The plastic itself is around 70lbs.  Now you add the surface friction of nearly 2000 square feet of material dragging across the ground and over the wooden arches and it takes quite a bit of effort to move that plastic roof.  It took about 15 minutes to get it up and over but eventually we accomplished our mission.  The roof was on!

This was only half the job because now the roof had to be secured to the structure.  We used furring strips again for battens.  We rolled the battens up a couple of rolls in the edge of the plastic and then screwed through the layers of plastic and the wooden batten into the knee wall with coated deck screws.  2" screws would be ideal, but I used 1 5/8" because that is what I had.  Each cap washer has to be predrilled or else the deck screw would split it.  Do not over torque the screw as you can easily blow through the plastic cap washer.

Originally I was concerned the 1" cap washers would not be large enough to provide a wide enough point of contact with the plastic sheathing but they worked fine.  There are larger style cap washers available that are normally used for installing rigid insulation, but after having done it with the 1" cap washers I believe they are more than adequate for this application.

For the arched end walls we again used battens cut into shorter lengths.  We rolled them up in the plastic and screwed them  in with cap washers.  It is almost like wrapping a large present on the end walls where you roll up a small section in a batten then fold over the pleat that is created and apply some sheathing tape.  We then rolled up the next short batten, repeated the process and worked our way up.  We stretched the plastic as tight as we could get it because it was a very cold day.  The plastic will expand in the summer sun and I don't want it loosening up.  If it is to loose the plastic will rub and wear through prematurely. 

I then added approximately 30 more screws with cap washers around the perimeter of the roof where I believed additional reinforcement was required.  I just screwed through the layers of rolled up plastic into the sheathing, no battens were used.  I then taped a few more seams and pleats that I thought looked like they may catch the wind to complete the roof install.

Next up is the installation of the battens to the arched end walls for the board and batten look.  We'll then finish priming and painting all the exposed plywood and build a door to keep the weather out.  Things are progressing well and we could be lumber shopping for the keel within a week or so!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Seeing the light

All the arches are in place!  This building is huge.  I knew the dimensions but its hard to understand the scope until you see it.  Everything went well and after placing arch 32 into position, 45 feet from arch 1 I found my measurements to be off by less than a 1/4".  I can certainly live with that.  I set up the time lapse again to document our progress.

After a few arches were installed we really got in a groove and the work progressed quickly and all the joints fit very well.  We found that attaching the arches at the ridge first worked best to ensure the ideal fit.

This past weekend we began framing the west end wall and sheathing with plywood.  Originally the end walls were to be visqueen or shrink-wrap.  Then I decided I wanted something more durable for the wind conditions I expect at this location of my property and planned to use T-111.  Well I needed 20 sheets and at $30 a sheet it was just to expensive.  So I compromised on board and batten using 3/8" CDX plywood and 1" furring strips. 

I wanted more ventilation options and we had a vinyl replacement window that we removed from our cottage that was just sitting around.  Why was this relatively new window removed and just sitting around?  Funny story.  A few years back we needed to replace a window in the cottage bathroom.  So good old dad went out and bought a new window and we installed it.  We had nothing but problems with it.  It leaked, the opening portion of the widow was not fitting tightly and flopped all around inside the frame.  Additionally when it rained the window bottom would fill with water and would not drain. 

So after 2 seasons of that my father and I were outside looking at the window discussing what the problem was.  Had we nailed it to tightly not allowing for expansion and contraction or was the window defective.  As we talked I mentioned how I had watched a home show discussing the installation of replacement windows.  It had talked about the anatomy of a window and the different features, including weep holes to drain water.  It was at that moment we both noticed the drain holes on the widow we had installed were on the side of the window not the bottom.  We had installed a horizontal sliding window vertically!  We both missed it when we installed it and had never noticed in 2 years of looking at it. Once we installed the proper style window the problem was resolved.  However that left a perfectly good window without a home. 

Well we found a new home for it and it will work perfect in this application.

We also installed diagonal bracing to stiffen the entire structure.  These run diagonally from the peek to the sill plate.  I used 1" furring strips, predrilled and screwed into place. I applied two of these systems on each side and I may add 2 more on each side going in the opposite direction. They made a huge difference in the structures rigidity.

It's really getting to be crunch time and we need to finish the sheathing and get the visqueen roof on.  The first snow storm of the year is expected this weekend and I want to get this thing weather tight before that happens.

Monday, November 7, 2016


We had a very good weekend!  A little windy but otherwise a beautiful weekend with mild temperatures.  Perfect building weather.  I was very pleased with how things all came together.  We did not encounter any surprises and all the arches fit it to place easily.  None required any fine tuning. 

Our system of supporting the ridge board worked much better than our last attempt.  I built two support structures with" two by" stock and some scrap plywood to hold the ridge beam in place while we set in the arches.  I notched one of ridge supports so the ridge could sit in the notch and stabilize it, preventing it from falling over as we attached the arches.

I set up my Ipad in time lapse mode to document our progress on Saturday.

My new favorite tool was a palm nailer.  This little guy was a big help with the galvanized nails that attached the joist hangers at the ridge.  You could certainly hammer them in but this makes the process so much easier.  The nail is held in place with a magnet so you can drive them with one hand supporting the work piece and the other hand driving the nail in place.  Best of all it was only $30, well worth it in my book. 

The arches were then attached to each other with plywood collar ties attached with glue and crown staples.  I kept the ties short and high as I need as much head room as possible to fit the boat.

We attached the purlins as we went to stiffen up the structure. It was quite windy and without the purlins the arches were just not stiff enough without the additional support. We used 2x4's a quarter of the way up from the sill and a quarter of the way down from the ridge.  The 2x4's slid right through the gaps in the blocking and were then screwed to the arches.  The purlins were butted together end to end as we progressed.  I used plywood gussets attached with glue and crown staples on each side of the 2x4 to make them act as one continuous beam.

The ridge beam is made up of 10' sections of 2x6's.  We attached them end to end with gussets as well.  This method seemed to work very well and it is simple to do.

I modified from the plans a bit with the method of attaching the arches to the sill plate.  I got the idea from another build I saw on the wooden boat forum.  We simply used 2x4 blocking in between each arch.  Once the arch was in place, snug to the blocking, we screwed the arch to the blocking.  Cutting each block to 34 1/2" insured that each arch remained 36" on center.  We then attached hurricane straps in accordance with the building plans.  Half of the strap was screwed to each arch and then the other half was attached to the knee wall.  She's not going anywhere!

Sunday was another busy day that saw us get the front wall framed up.  I'm going to sheath both ends of the structure with T-111.  I think this will hold up better against the significant wind I receive on this part of my property.  The fact that it will add significant structural strength is a bonus.  Prior to framing up the front wall we used a couple of temporary supports to insure that the structure was plum.

We framed the walls up using my framing nailer.  In hindsight I should have used screws.  I made the door opening 6' wide by 8' tall, but in the event I need a bigger opening in the future it's going to be a pain to take them apart.  If I would have used screws it would have made it considerably easier.  Live and learn, I plan to use screws on the back wall so if some giant piece of equipment needs to get in, it will just have to go through the back. 

In planning for the eventual completion of the boat all the arches were attached with screws except at the ridge joist hangers.  When the time comes I will be able to remove the screws from the arches that are attached to the sill and they will be able to be removed as one assembly.  This will provide a wide open space for the crane to strap up the boat and lift it.

We hope to have the 20 remaining arches installed next weekend.  I'm very pleased with the progress and how things look.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All hands

There is certainly no doubt I under estimated the scale of this boat shed build.  It has taken significantly longer than I expected.  Nothing to complicated or overwhelming, just the volume of work that goes into a building this size is quite large.  I've really enjoyed the process and part of me is a little sad to see it coming to end.

The arched truss building is a simple yet time consuming and labor intensive project.  It was just not going fast enough, even when putting full 8 and 10 hour days on the weekend.  Everyone in the family was pulled into service in a final attempt to get the job done.  Each arch required approximately 45 minutes to build so if someone in the house had a few hours of availability they were pressed in to service in the shop to assist me with the building.

I took a long weekend last week and along with my wife, son and father all 32 arches were completed.  Some stats regarding the amount of materials that went into all 32 arches:

1.5 - Gallons of glue
256 - 2 1/2"exterior screws
2240 - 2 3/8"galvanized, ring shank nails
4160 - 1 1/4" 18 gauge crown staples
64 - 10' 2x4's
18 - 8' 2x4's
16 - 8' 2x6's

Pneumatic nailers are essential to the process and I would not recommend attempting this project without one. 

The next step was raising the arches into place.  It seems like a relatively simple process until you start to factor in the height of the building.  The first attempt did not go well!  My initial plan was to attach 4 arches to the ridge beam on the ground then raise them in to place while temporarily supporting them with a brace.  Once supported I planned to attach the opposite side arches, holding them in their final position.  Everything was going fine until we realized my home made 12' step ladder would not be tall enough for me to reach the bottom of the ridge (15' 4") and we could not reach the opposite side of the ridge to nail those arches in place. 

Even going higher on my home made 12' step ladder than I felt comfortable with I was still unable to reach the ridge.  My father is a retired Firefighter and I spent quite a few years as a volunteer firefighter so we certainly don't have a fear of heights.  However to go any higher on the ladder was just to risky.  An extension ladder would not work because there was nothing to lean it against.  While we contemplated what to do to solve the problem, a strong gust of wing toppled our temporarily supported arches.  The arches suffered minor damage but weren't really affected, I was not so lucky.  I took a 2x4 to the face which gave a fairly decent cut on my upper lip.  My pride was hurt more than my body, but I knew we needed a new plan.  What we needed was scaffolding.

Once again frugal ingenuity came to the rescue.  I constructed a scaffold out of 2x4's. I used 3/4" black pipe along with the appropriate fittings for a sturdy railing.  While this still leaves us about 5 inches short of my ability to reach the ridge, a small yet sturdy step will be added to get me the height that I need.

Hopefully this weekend, 3 generations of manpower will be able to get the arches up and secured into position.