Diesel Duck 382

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

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Now that's a keel!

Finally!  The last of the major glue-ups are done.  We were able to get the last sub-assembly that makes up the aft part of the keel complete.  Once the clamps were removed, like all the other pieces, a little clean up with the belt sander and power planer were required.

With two clean sides we are then able to lay out our patterns that we created over this past winter when we lofted out much of the boat keel.  I found that on the larger patterns it was difficult to trace out the long straight lines without the pattern deflecting.  So I used the patterns to mark the ends of each piece along with the major intersections.  After that I used a chalk line to connect the marks with perfectly straight lines. 

Then it was just a mater of busting out our big timber saw to cut both sides to shape.  We follow the cuts with a little clean up with the angle grinder with an 80 grit flap disc and a few passes with the power planer.

Once that was complete I just couldn't wait any longer so I dry fit all the various pieces just to see what the keel looked like.

There is still quite a bit of fine tuning to complete.  We need to ensure all the pieces fit smoothly together and are plumb and level.  It was quite rewarding to see things in position.

We have to come up with a plan to softly lay the keel on it's side.  It will be much easier to cut the angle at the bow  in a horizontal position.  Additionally I want apply a preservative, like copper naphtha, to all sides.  Finally, I want to apply fiberglass and epoxy to the bottom of the keel.  I think doing it before we add any frames or floors will be considerably easier.

It was one thing to see pictures of the keel in George's book or online from other builds, but it was quite a difference to see it in real life.  It's just massive!  It really inspires confidence with regards to the durability of the vessel.

I have been dreading the task of cleaning up all of the glue squeeze out from the keel glue up.  Since we used resorcinol, a formaldehyde based adhesive, I knew that I would need take precautions so I didn't ingest any of the dust.  Add to that I would have to work in uncomfortable positions, I put off the job as long as I could.  I quickly found that the glue is so hard that when a power plane goes over the larger pieces it literally shatters the planer blades.  

So before it could be planed even and plumb, I had to sand the big chunks off first.  I donned a respirator, safety glasses, hearing protection, gloves and a long sleeve shirt in preparation for all the dust.  I turned to our angle grinder equipped with an 80 girt flap disk.  This made quick work of the job but the grinder eats batteries very quickly.  Luckily I have four 9amh batteries, so I had enough power for one side.  After the batteries were spent, I let them cool and then put them in the charger so they were ready for the next pass with the planer.

It took several hours to sand and plane each side, so I could only do one side a day. 

Once everything was cleaned up, I decided to do a little more layout.  This really is not required but I thought it was worth the effort.  We created patterns of all the stations and landmarks from our lofting this past winter.  However I wanted to have a way to double check my work from the lofting. 

Like George talks about in his book, with a CAD rendering of a vessel, you really don't need to loft.  The CAD rendering is very accurate and there is no need to double check the naval architects work.  You can pull all of your measurements, without lofting, right off the CAD rendering very easily and everything is very accurate.  However George doesn't recommend, and neither do I, that you skip the lofting phase.  I think its a great way to really understand the design and how things should fit together.  For novices like me, this was a very valuable step.  Plus, creating patterns ensures a very easy way to lay out all of the necessary info to build the boat.

Since I've never lofted a boat, I think its very possible that I might have made a mistake or two.  I figured a great way to double check for accuracy would be to lay out all the stations on the keel from the CAD drawing.  The first step in the process was to jack up the keel so that it was the appropriate height above the baseline.  Drawn out, the keel slopes upward as you move from the transom forward.  If you attempted to draw out each station with the keel laying flat on the cradle/strongback, all of your marks would be out of plumb once the boat got in the water!

I used a bottle jack and some cribbing to get the keel to the proper height.  I then laid out a surveyors tape measure on top of the keel.  With all of that set, it's just a matter of using the measuring tools included with the CAD reading software to get the measurements I needed.  I used a level to plumb the marks at each station and the work progressed very quickly.  I used my 6' level to lay out the angle at the bow between stations 8 and 2.  It's just a straight line so it's a simple matter of connecting the dots.

With everything laid out, all the marks were transferred to the opposite side and the process begins again.  Now I can have a fail safe when we go to assemble our keel to the final shape and begin adding our frames.  Like I said, this step is not mandatory, but I think it's worth the effort.  Not to mention it was fun to do and cool to see everything laid out.

It was hard weekend but we made good progress and I'm happy with where we are.  It's been about a year since we broke ground on the boat shed and there are not really any benchmarks to evaluate our  progress besides my desire to complete the project.  As I look at all the lumber in the boat shed I see all of the keel pieces ready for assembly and 19 frames ready for install.  The lumber for the floor timbers are ready to go as well as all of the white oak for the stringers, chine, deck beams and carlins. 

We certainly don't have a boat yet, but everyday we get closer and closer.  The response to our YouTube channel has been great.  We've had great support on our Facebook and Instagram pages and we've connected with people from all around the world.  Not to mention how much fun we've had this year working to make our dream come true.  We feel very blessed and I'm confident we'll have so much more to show in another year.

Thanks for your support and we are grateful you have chosen to check out our project.  We love to hear from our readers and viewers so drop us a quick note in the contact form above or email us at contact@seadreamerproject.com


  1. Please film when you lay the keel down. And when you stand it back up!