Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Irons in the fire
I like being busy. When you build a boat there is no shortage of things to do. What I struggle with is focusing on one particular thing. Every time I start working on one thing my mind wanders to 10 other things associated with the process that I am currently working on. I literally need to make a list to keep things straight and focus my attention. The amount of tasks can be overwhelming which sometimes paralyzes my ability to do anything. The only strategy is to simply pick some tool up and just do something. That usually gets the ball rolling for the day. It can be stressful, still fun, but there does sometimes seem to be more tasks to do than one person can possibly complete. I have to rely on the inner voice telling me that it's been done before and if they can do it, I can do it.
My step father gave me a lead on an estate sale in town with a large assortment of tools. I made trip over and picked up a few things that will be quite useful for very little money.
This past weekend was one of the aforementioned challenging weekends.
First, We roughly cut the bow stem to shape with the chainsaw. This is a massive lamination of white oak and must weigh a couple hundred pounds. I can barely move it.
As usual we double checked our measurements from the plans and then used our patterns from the lofting to give us the shape to cut. I continue to use a wide felt tip marker to trace the patterns. It seems to provide a relatively crisp line of the final shape of the piece with a built in over sized parallel line to ensure plenty of extra material for final fitting.
It was reassuring to see the tight clean glue lines from one of the cut off's from the bow stem. This is similar to a welder cutting through his welds to verify their integrity. If you see voids, bubbles or pockets, that glue line is most likely going to fail. You can see from the picture that we are in good shape. Add to the fact that the stem will also be through bolted, we know this thing will never fail.
We are truly getting close to floor timber installation so finishing the bolt fabrication is a high priority. Threading the 1/2" rod with my simple tap and die set is no problem. However the 5/8" rod is much more of a challenge. Not only is it time consuming but it takes considerable effort. I don't know where it came from but I found a very old Toledo #11 ratcheting pipe threader in my shop. The only problem is I don't have any dies for it. I searched locally and online but could not find a 5/8" die for it. I ended up buying a Ridgid version of the wrench and a 5/8" die for $70 on Ebay. As usual, having the right tool for the job makes it exponentially easier, money well spent.
I double checked all the real world measurements on the keel versus what the plans indicate and we are in very good shape. I made a list from those measurements and went to work cutting all the rod to the correct length. The angle grinder made quick work of the cuts and then it was on to threading.
The extra leverage of the longer handle on the Ridgid wrench makes the job quite easy.
The bad news was that the galvanizer I was planning to use in Buffalo no longer has the centrifuge required to clear the threads after being hot dipped. They referred me to a shop in Cleveland which is going to add cost with shipping charges. It's the right way to do it, so it will be done, but still kind of a bummer.
Our next task was continuing on with keel component glue ups. Since I'm gluing everything and not just using bedding compound I'm fitting my joints quite precisely. It only takes a little extra time and it ensures we get the full strength of the glue without having to span any gaps in a sloppy joint. The six foot level quickly identifies any high spots along the length of the joint. I use a 2 foot level to ensure we are level athwartships. I have found that using the power planer makes quick work of roughing out the high spots. I then fine tune things with a #5 hand plane. I finish it up with 80 grit sandpaper which provides some texture for the glue to "grab" on to.
For the remaining 3 glue ups I have chosen to use epoxy. Epoxy will work in lower temperatures and requires less clamping pressure. It's easy enough to get the boat shed up to 45 or so degrees and maintain that temperature while the epoxy cures. I don't think I can guarantee that I can hold 50 degrees for the rescorcinol to work. The fast set epoxy will cure down to 40 degrees. Additionally, these glue ups in the aft end are becoming quite thick. Not only is it difficult to get high clamping pressure on such a large assembly, but I only have a couple clamps long enough to do the job. So Epoxy really is the only choice. Of course we back up every glue joint with a bolt so we know things will never come apart on us. With the help of my son we mixed up a few batches of epoxy and coated each face with un-thickened epoxy. A final batch thickened with cabosil goes on next. This provides excellent gap filling for any sins that I missed and provides strength for the epoxy bond.
The colder temperatures mean a longer cure time so we left it in clamps for a few days just to be safe.
Like I said before, there is always a million things to do. So even when I'm not in the shop, my mind is not far from the project. Since building the gantry crane to lay our keel on it's side I've been thinking of a way to use it to help set the frames on the keel. The only problem is that the crane is very heavy and not easily moved. Additionally, it's not really tall enough to hold the frames in the correct position. I began to brainstorm ways to remedy both those issues.
A rolling gantry crane seemed to be a simple way to solve the movement issue. I would only need to add one more support to each side of the base and then mount some kind of wheel or caster to it. I stumbled onto V-groove wheels and V-track that are frequently used for sliding gates and fences. Since the frames are not very heavy I don't need much load capacity which means the necessary V-groove casters are quite affordable.
The height issue was more of a challenge. Since our boat shed is a bow roof style, the width narrows as you go higher in the building. In order to get the height I need to set the frames I could not modify the current configuration to fit around the keel to roll on the V-track.
I have heard of Sketchup but I have never used it. After watching a few tutorials I had the gist and began playing around with different ideas for our rolling gantry crane. I think I have a design I like that I can build with lumber I already have on hand.
I'll just need to source the wheels and track but that will not be difficult.
The in-laws will be in town this week for the holiday so I don't know how much time I'll have for boat building. I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday. As always, we appreciate you checking out our project and offering so much support. If you have questions, comments or suggestions don't hesitate to let us know at: Contact@seadreamerproject.com