Diesel Duck 382

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

Friday, December 28, 2018

Episode 39 in our YouTube video series!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Decisions, decisions

We left off in our last post with 5 stations left to install.  If you've been keeping up with us on social media and YouTube, you know the last of the stations have been installed and we've moved on to the bilge stringers.

However, due to pure neglect and laziness, I have not kept up with all the other stuff we've been working on.  Let's get all caught up!

As we approached station 26 I began to strongly consider installing our engine.  This would have been the easiest time to get it in while everything was wide open.  Because of my inexperience I wanted to have the full bulkhead that the plans indicated for station 26 in place so I could get the most accurate measurements for the engine setup.

Before we started framing the bulkhead with gusto, we needed to ensure each previous frame was square to the keel.  In order to hold them square we would need some temporary bracing to hold them in position.  In order to hold that bracing firmly in position we needed the transom to be as stiff as possible.  That required the transom to get it's first layer of planking. As I've said before, boat building is systems built on systems.

Once again, the simple design of the Diesel Ducks makes transom planking very straight forward.  In order to make things a bit safer and easier to work on we attached a walking platform to the back wall of the boat shed.  Once that was done, we started by milling up our rough cut, white oak lumber.  The planks were machined to between 4 and 5 inches wide and 3/4" thick.  We used full length pieces that spanned the entire width of the transom and let them overhang each side.  Each plank was installed with #14, 1 1/2" galvanized, cut thread wood screws.  Additionally each plank was glued with epoxy below the waterline and Titebond III above the water line.

The only part of the planking that required any scribing, was the curved top portion.  This was just a matter of dry fitting a board to the frame and then tracing the curve onto the board.  We then made our cuts on the bandsaw and installed as normal.  Once all the transom boards were installed we used our circular saw to cut off the overhangs, flush with the sides of each frame.

With the planking complete on the transom, we moved on to squaring each frame.  This was accomplished with careful measurements from the chine on each side of the boat to the centerline of the keel.  Pine strapping was screwed to each frame to hold things in position.  We added strapping near the chine and the sheer.  This was a bit time consuming but it will have the added benefit of keeping things rock solid when we move on to planking the rest of the boat.  

Before we could start building the framing to support our bulkhead we needed to install the deck beam for station 26.  This required us to build our deck beams ahead of schedule.  The deck beams are curved to provide an adequate crown to the deck so water easily runs off.  Instead of cutting the crown from a single piece of a long, very wide board that would result in a lot of waste and would be difficult to replicate, exactly for each station, we decided to laminate our deck beams from 3/4" stock.

We started by building a bending jig that long strips of the 3/4" white oak could be bent around.  I felt fairly comfortable with this process, as it was nearly identical to the process we used to build the arches for our boat shed.  Using what I learned from that project, I built a very robust bending jig comprised of 2 layers of 3/4" OSB glued together coupled with large stop blocks epoxied and screwed to the OSB.  

The dimensions of the curve of each deck beam are indicated in the plans.  It was a simple matter of laying out the measurements, springing a batten around the curve and then tracing the batten.  Once that was established the stop blocks were attached along the line.

Laminated deck beam bending jig
We machined up all of the white oak we bought that was designated for the deck beams.  I figured while we were at it, we might as well build most of the deck beams right now.  This is definitely a two man job and once again, I called on my father to help out.  The process is pretty simple and 3/4" white oak bends quite easily without steaming or wetting.

Each deck beam consisted of 5 layers, glued with Titebond III.  We applied the glue to all the layers and then bent and stacked them up on the jig.  We used several clamps to pull the lamination into the stop blocks and then additional clamps along the arc to pull things together.  While still attached to the jig, several 3 1/2", #10 coated deck screws were driven through the entire assembly.  The clamps on the stop blocks were then removed, leaving the remaining clamps in place and the whole assembly was moved to another spot in the shop to cure.

After 48 hours I removed the remaining clamps and moved forward with installation at station 26.  I used our rolling gantry crane to hold the deck beam in position after it was cut to length.  The beam was installed on it's marks with 2 galvanized carriage bolts on each side after wood preservative and bedding compound were applied.

This is another one of the times where bolt building can be simultaneously fun and challenging.  There are no directions in the plans on how to build the bulkheads.  This requires each builder to come up with their own plan.  It took a few days of thinking while I worked on other things to come up with my plan.

Trying to think ahead to how this bulkhead, which divides the state room from the engine room, would act in the finished boat, I decided I needed to add some additional framing.  In order to bring the sides and bottom frames into co-planer with the deck beam, I added some beefy spacers to each location with epoxy and screws.  These pieces overlapped the joint between the sides and bottoms adding some additional strength.

Then we added some framing to the area between each side to support the 2 layers of 3/4" plywood that would span this area.  Since the space is around 12 feet,  a single piece of plywood could not span the full length.  Once we move on to installing the plywood we will overlap the seams to eliminate any weak spots.

The center framing was notched to fit against the floor timber and deck beam while also being co-planer with the spacers we added to bottom and side framing.  This allows for co-planer surfaces on both sides of the bulkhead for easy installation of insulation and wall material to keep things strong and tidy looking.

This is a difficult process for me to describe in words, It might be easier to check out our YouTube building series to see all the details.

Not that any of this was a waste of time, but after all was said and done, for various reasons, I decided not to install the engine at this point.  I continued on with frame setting as we discussed in the previous post.  

This brings us almost up to date with where we are in the build as of this writing.  In our next post we'll talk about the keel cheeks that needed to be installed before we could move on to the bilge stringers.

Thanks for checking out our project and we always love hearing from people, so don't hesitate to comments, send us a message or shoot us an email.  

I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday season.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Framing Up!

What a summer!

While I certainly miss my former co-workers, the additional time for boat building has allowed us to make progress that never would have been possible while working.  Additionally, being able to make my own schedule allowed us a great opportunity to help crew on a steel Diesel Duck.

In addition to all the great information the internet provides, It also put us in contact with a few Duck owners and builders.  One of them was an Australian couple who purchased a steel Diesel Duck quite literally in my own backyard.  This boat had been on the hard for 5 years about 30 miles Northwest of my home.  After corresponding via email for a few months the day arrived when we got our chance to tour the boat, hull #2 from Sea Horse Marine, a Diesel Duck 44.

It was a great experience to see a finished duck in person to get a real perspective on how ours will look.  A week or so later I helped our new friends move the Duck from it's home of 5 years to a working yard in Rochester, 30 or so miles east on Lake Ontario.  The boat performed absolutely perfectly with an extremely smooth and quiet ride.  Adjustments were needed for the hydraulic steering system but otherwise everything was great.

It was really motivating to see what was in store for us when our boat was finished.  However we were sad to learn our new friends decided the boat required to much cosmetic work to complete before their visa's expired so they sold the boat and returned home.  However we are grateful for the opportunity and learned a lot.

Back in the boat shed work progressed well.  We began setting frames with gusto.  The process is repetitive and time consuming but not that difficult.  The use of the gantry crane is an indispensable tool, particularly when working alone.  Even with help, the frames are so large and need to be placed so high above our heads that it would be very difficult to do without the crane.

With the use of the crane and a chain fall, each frame can be lowered carefully into rough position, adjusted and evaluated for fit.  Additionally, marks must be made on each floor timber for cutting and the drilling of bolt holes.

Part of the fitting process involves the use of string line down the center of the boat shed, perfectly in line with the keel.  It runs from the center of the stem to the center of the transom.  With the string in place a plumb bob can be hung from it to help determine one of the 3 conditions that must be met to ensure each frame is installed level.

Once the frame is lowered into position, the first condition of correct installation is that the bottom of each frame member is sitting on the bearding line.  The second condition is that a straight edge set on each side of the frame at the sheer line should be level.  The third and final condition is with the previous two conditions met, the plumb bob from the string line should strike the sheer line straight edge perfectly in the middle.

The process then repeats for each frame.  However it's important to note, and the designer concedes, it is unlikely each frame will be absolutely perfect.  Therefore I want to make it clear, particularly if you are attempting something similar, that while our frames are very close, they are not perfect.  The reason that is ok is because a fair amount of fairing will occur when we move on to chine and bilge stringer installation.  Being off an 1/8" here or 3/16" there will not be noticeable to the human eye, nor will it affect the boat's overall strength.

This is a very satisfying part of the build as dramatic changes happen each day.  I work mostly alone and I did not find the process to be overly taxing.

We also did some other work on the transom and framing for a structural bulkhead at station 26, but we'll get into that next time.  As of this writing we have 5 more stations to install before we can begin chine installation.  While frame installation is satisfying work, I'm ready for it to be over so we can move on to the next step.

Be sure to check out our YouTube series as well as our Facebook and Instagram pages for more content.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Better late than never

I'm so far behind here!

For the sake of brevity I'm going to break up this update into two parts.  I'm also going to try to be a bit more concise.  There is of course a more in depth explanation of all these phases on our YouTube channel.  So......

Before we could get in to setting frames at full steam, I really needed to set a string line down the center of the boat.  This string would allow us to hang a plumb bob off of to help ensure the keel was straight and when the time came, the frames were centered.  However in order to set the string, the bow stem had to be in place.

Setting the bow stem was another job I had been dreading.  Like many of the other times I felt the same way, this apprehension was un-warranted. 

First up was installing the stem knee.  We laminated these pieces up from dimensional Douglas Fir months ago.  Installation involved securing them with epoxy.  Once that cured 3, 5/8" galvanized bolts were installed.  We used our drill guide again to keep the holes straight.

I estimated the bow stem weighed a couple hundred pounds.  Unfortunately it's placement location put it out of reach of the gantry crane.  The solution was to hang an eye bolt from the ridge beam and attach the chain fall to that.  I built a temporary support table and attached it to the keel to help support the bow stem as the epoxy set.

With the help of my father we used the chain fall to hoist the stem into the air and maneuver it into position.  We carefully centered it on the stem knee and then used our 6' level to ensure she was plumb.  Things could not have gone better.  We used Totalboat high performance epoxy and clamped the assembly in place.  Once that was cured we went back and installed 3, 5/8" galvanized bolts just like the transom knee.

A little work with the chainsaw along with a sanding disk and turbo plane attached to our angle grinder made quick work of shaping the bow stem assembly into a fair curve.

I was really pleased to see how well the rabbet line aligned with between the keel and the stem.  You make up all these pieces separately and hope they come together in the end.  Luckily they did!\

We then moved on to frame setting, but we'll get into that in our next post.  Like everything, there is a learning curve, but after setting a few, it's easy to get into a groove.

We had our boat name medallion made up.  Penfield trophies did a great job with their laser engraver.

We also came into some beautiful salvaged lumber from our neighbors remodel of their 1800's farm house.  I believe it's Hemlock, not a great boat wood, but it's old growth with beautiful tight growth rings.  Great for rustic furniture.

I need to make more of an effort to update this site regularly!  Stay tuned for how we installed our frames.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What's in a name?

She's got a name!

We chose the name of our 41' Diesel Duck and couldn't be happier.  The Henry Red, named after the grandfathers of my wife and I.  Henry, My wife's grandfather was a World War II US Navy veteran and boater.  He lived much of his life around Annapolis, Maryland where he owned many boats, both power and sail.  He was a strong, moral and practical influence in the life of my wife and someone very special to her.  

My grandfather, Frank, affectionately known as "Red" for his red hair and proclivity to always carry "atomic fireball" candies in his pocket, is probably the reason I am the way I am.  He was a foreman at a local utility by trade, but he was a mister "fix-it" in life.  He was a carpenter, builder and welder.  He was a problem solver and hard worker who inspired my father to do the same.  My father and grandfather in turn inspired me to believe in the value of hard work.  Additionally he made me believe that given enough time and patience, there really wasn't anything I couldn't do.

So now we'll motor into the future memorializing the memory of two very special and inspirational people.  On to the build.

I apologize for the lack of content here and on YouTube recently.  In early May my son sprained his ankle playing tennis at school.  Following the X-ray which confirmed no fracture, the doctor noticed a "spot" as he called it, on his fibula. This "spot" is known in the medical community as a lytic lesion.  Something they call unknown bone tumors.  Obviously additional testing was required which involved a couple specialists and an MRI.  

Needless to say his mother and I were in a state of utter panic.  Even though in the real world of medical follow up's, having to wait 3 weeks to finally get an answer indicating whether the tumor was malignant or benign is a pretty quick turn around, it was a brutal month.  A parent can't help but fear the worst.  That fear is absolutely paralyzing.  It took everything I had to focus at work, let alone  attempt to go out and work on the boat.  However, we were so relieved to learn that the tumor was benign!

Additional follow up will be required along with potential treatment options, but nothing to really worry about.  While my immediate reaction was relief, I was quickly reminded of how paralyzing fear can be.  Whether that fear is for a loved one, fear of failing or fear of trying.  We dream of things and either put them off or dismiss them because we fear something on one level or another.  I saw how my fear for my son, completely unrelated to boat building, sapped every ounce of motivation from me to go out and work.  I have no advice to combat that paralysis other than to be aware of it.  Fight back against fear and do the things you dream of doing.  I would have been wise to listen to my own advice.

On to boat building!

With all of our holes drilled around the shaft log, installing the bolts was a breeze.  We drilled a countersink on the underside of the keel for the nut and washer to fit inside and then pounded the bolts in.  We also took the time to repair the blow out's we had when drilling for some drift bolts a few months ago.  This involved plugging the holes with some hardwood dowels of equivalent diameter.  We gave them a coating of glue and pounded them in.  Once in place we cut them flush with a hand saw.

Next up was the transom install.  The only issue with this part of the build was that the transom was just beyond the reach of our gantry crane.  This required  an eye bolt be installed through the ridge beam of our building.  Once that was in place we attached a block and tackle and used it to hoist the transom into position.  The install went surprisingly smoothly with the help of my son.  We pre-coated the transom knee and the center support of the transom with straight epoxy.  A thickened coat of epoxy was then applied and the transom was moved into place.  With the use of a level, the center support was carefully checked for plumb and then some temporary #14 wood screws were used to hold things in position until the epoxy cured.  Once the first layer of planking is in place we'll secure everything with 5/8" bolts.

The next day we got started on the first layer of planking.  If you recall this will be a composite planked hull.  That meaning our first layer will be 3/4" thick traditional planking, followed with two layers of 3/8" thick plywood.  The first piece of planking was the most challenging but really not all that difficult.  The edge of the plank had to be beveled to match the angle on the horn timber, a simple rip on the table saw.  With that dry fit in position the shape of the transom was traced on to the plank and then cut out on the bandsaw.  A little fine tuning and it was ready for install.  We again used the same epoxy procedure as previously stated and held things in position with some galvanized #12 wood screws.

Like everything in boat building, it's time consuming but rather enjoyable.  We only had time for the first couple layers, but the process will be the same all the way up.

Our next task was installing the floor timber for station 38.  We had previously prepped this piece so it was just a matter of a little fine tuning to get it installed.  We coated the contacting surfaces with copper napthenate  and then applied a coating of Dolfinite bedding compound on the keel where the floor was to be installed.  After making sure everything was still level and plumb, two drift bolts were pounded into position to secure the timber forever!

With the floor in place I got a little impatient and wanted to dry fit the frame for station 38.  With the help of my son we hoisted up station 38 with the gantry crane and then I was able to roll it into position by myself.  This is where the challenge of boat building really comes into play.  You build all these components, cut the rabbet and hope everything lines up and was built according to the design.  I was extremely happy to see the frame slide over the keel (following a little sanding) and sit on the rabbet just wear it should.  Things were level and plumb and all that was left was the application of more copper napthenate and then the application of bolts.

Things were just dry fit and held together with clamps to check the fit.  We really need to install the stem so we can install a string line down the center of the boat shed above the boat.  With that in place  we can drop some plumb bobs to ensure alignment all the way down. So before we bolt things up we'll get that done. However it was really cool to see things in position.

We picked up a few items from an ebay vendor in India.  The brass door signs and port lights came from some old ships that were broken up on the beaches of that country.  I wanted to do a smaller test purchase on these items before I considered making a larger purchase of more ship parts.  I was very pleased with the service and shipping time.

We received a wonderful care package from our friends at Jamestown Distributors and Totalboat epoxy.  These folks have been so generous with helping spread the word about our project as well as providing some pretty sweet gear.  We are so thankful for their support.  I asked for the banner just because I think they're cool, but Kristen over at Totalboat through in a few extra items in the shipment.  Awesome!

In hopes of sharpening my seamanship skills I picked up an overtime shift working on our 33' SAFE boat.  As a border county, we participated in a federally funded border security detail and I was happy to spend 8 hours out on the water with some real pro's.

Finally, A big thank you to all the readers and viewers who purchased Sea Dreamer challenge coins from Doug and Betsy over at SV Seeker.  Your generosity resulted in us receiving nearly $1000 last Friday from their sales.  An unbelievable blessing and we are so appreciative.  We don't talk much about money here.  There are ways for individuals to get involved financially at the top left of this screen if people are interested, but we feel weird asking people for money.  This challenge coin project makes things a little easier with people actually getting something in return for helping support the project.  To us, it's win-win all around and we are super excited about it's potential.

We also have to thank Doug and Betsy for this amazing act of kindness.  This was a huge project to organize and complete among several builders from all over the country without asking for anything in return.  If your interested in purchasing one for yourself you can follow this LINK.  You should know that Doug and Besty are only taking the portion of the sale price that covers their costs and sending all the profits to the various builders.  You would be hard pressed to find more generous or kind individuals.  I would of course encourage you to check out the items they have for sale supporting their project in the Junk Store.

Thanks for checking out our project and we hope you follow along with our YouTube series as well!