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.
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