And then it rained, and rained, and rained . . . . I have never see rain like we have had here in eastern North Carolina this week. It has more or less poured non-stop for 3 1/2 days. As of tonight, since Sunday we have had 19" of rain! It is supposed to stop raining tonight with sunshine forecasted for tomorrow afternoon.
I got a little side-tracked today. The vapor liner has been sagging in the SRF for awhile. I installed last winter as a temporary solution to condensation forming on the inside of the single plastic cover (cold outside temps but warm air on the inside of the SRF). I constructed the vapor liner by draping cheap 4mm plastic sheeting over a plastic coated cable that runs the length of the shed just below the ridge-pole. The sides of the liner were held up by 1/4" strips of pine ripped from 2x4s with foam wrapped around the ends to protect the plastic sheeting. It worked fine last winter and spring but started sagging during the early summer and had finally become a droopy bag.
I did not want to spend a bunch of time or money to correct something that could be improved with a simple fix. I looked around to see what I had on hand. I ended up ripping about a dozen 3/8" thick X 1 1/2" wide strips from some 12' pine cut offs. I stapled and screwed them to the existing strips that were holding the vapor liner up. Now, instead of two independent pieces of wood supporting just the sides of the vapor liner I have bows that run all the way across the liner from one side of the SRF to the other. I should have done something like this last winter. But it's a slippery slope when you stop to work on a temporary requirement. Sometimes, perfect is the enemy of good enough. The liner is 100 percent improved.
So, I spent some time today, in between other projects, measuring and drawing different designs based on the Type 66MK heater. The smaller footprint certainly helps with the space restrictions. Of course, these are just crude drawings and test the limits of my artistic skills but it helps me visualize what it ought to look like. More research will continue over the next few days. It may be that I will buy the heater and have it on hand to make sure I build the space match the specific dimensions of the heater.
Though I have not made any entries for a few days I have been working on the boat. To the right are a few very rough sketches of some ideas I have for the starboard settee area. To the far right in the drawings is the stand up chart table. The essential consideration for the starboard side is the heater. I have looked at a lot of heaters over the last few years. Propane uses a lot of fuel for the heat that you get. I like solid fuel but I don't want to have to carry a bunch of wood or charcoal. So that leave kerosene or diesel. The Refleks stove has been getting a lot of good press for heat output and reliability. So, I have been looking at the different models. The Type 62 seems about the right size but I need make sure I allow enough room for it. In fact, after going over the manual today and making some sketches it may be that I'll have to order one to make sure of the space requirements before I can frame the starboard settee. Installing the heater forward, near the front of the saloon, is not the perfect location but its the most workable one I could come up with. I'd like to mount it low to get the heat layer lower in the boat. I will have to add the fore-and-aft bulkhead separating the heater from the foot of the pilot berth to prevent bedding from coming off the starboard settee and on to the heater . . . that would not be good. I may match this design a cabinet/end table on the port side that can be used for books and other small items.
This layout makes the settees about 5 feet long. Not long enough to sleep on but that is what the 6'4" pilot berths are for. Before I install the interior I'll make some mockups with doorskin, 1/4" ply, and the hot glue gun.
After I cut the plywood from the pattern I needed to cut the bevel to match the slope of the hull. I used a bevel gauge and a torpedo level to determine the slope. Then I put the same angle on my Bosch jig saw, stood the template on edge, and cut the bevel. I smoothed it out and fine tuned it with a smoothing plane.
The plywood under the companionway is just temporary. I wanted to see just how the space looks and how much storage room I will have without the engine. I also needed a flat place to work. The notch cut out to the right of the landing for the companionway ladder will have a fore and aft bulkhead that will separate the storage space from the galley. The handle sticking up goes to a Model 117 bronze Edson gallon-a-stroke bilge pump. The pump intake will take water from the bilge sump, of course, but it will also evacuate a grey water tank that the icebox and sitz tub will drain into.
After completing the storage area under the cockpit I began work on the bottom of the settee lockers. Before I could put in the locker bottoms I need to build a support for the aft end of the starboard locker. I scribed the hull shape on small piece of 1/4" ply. Then I cut it out and test fit it to make sure it was accurate. Next I laid the pattern on a scrap piece of 2" thick white oak that was just big enough and cut it out with the jigsaw. Once I was satisfied with the fit, I mixed up some cabosil thickened epoxy and smeared it on the bottom and aft side of the knee. Then I clamped it to the existing floor beam using a strong back laid across the top to the other floor beams to make sure the top edge was even with the other beams. Then I made a fillet and once it was partially cured I laid a two layers of biaxial against it. Once that task was completed I moved on to the settee locker bottoms.
I made the templates for locker bottoms the same way that I did for the storage area under the companionway ladder. I had to allow 7/8" for the vertical face of the settee to fit between the locker bottom and the where the hardwood cabin sole sill ultimately lay. The vertical face will be comprised of 1/2" ply and 3/8" African mahogany "v-groove" that I will mill in my shop and glued to the ply. I built a test panel of this wood and posted it on 16 July 10.
In the photos you can see spacer blocks between the locker bottom and the temporary cabin sole in the center of the boat. The ply for the locker bottom is 3/4" Okume BS 1088. Right now they are just laying against the hull and on the knees. Eventually, they will be glassed into the hull along the outside edge and tabbed underneath to the knees as well. Once they are glassed in, I'll insert a full length spacer block between the locker bottom and the temporary sole to keep tools and other things from falling into the bilge.
Tomorrow I'll work making blocks to secure the water tanks in place.
I spent the day sanding the bulkheads. The previous owner had covered the teak bulkheads with some kind of oil finish . . . perhaps teak oil. There is a time and place for everything, sure. But, in my opinion, varnish, either satin or rubbed effect, gives a luster that oil never will. Even with a dark interior, a quality varnish job will brighten up the interior because it reflects light around the cabin. And once you apply varnish on the interior, it's easy to maintain.
The color on the bulkheads was kind of a dull red-brown and they were nasty. Of course, to be fair, sitting in a shed all these years would have tested the durability of any finish. Regardless, since the bulkheads will be covered with mahogany hardwood, or paint in some cases, there was no sense in babying with a finish sander. I used 80 and 120 grit on a RO sander. I used the dust collector to keep the dust under control. It took a long time but it was not difficult. What a difference it made to the way the boat looks and feels. It even smells better.
What a long day. I started out wondering how I was going to remove the contact cement residue left behind on the bulkheads after I removed the laminate. I called CP Adhesives and asked them for a recommendation and they suggested MEK. I tested it yesterday and it was OK but not great. I removed the blade from my scraper and sharpened it. I taped some newspaper along the bottom of the bulkheads. Then I put on my respirator, dumped some MEK in a small metal tray, and applied it to a small part of one of the bulkheads with a 2" wide chip brush. CP Adhesives recommended I let it sit on the wood for a while to work. What I found out is it works best when you apply it and immediately scrape it off. I was making good progress when I ran out of MEK. I remembered I have two gallons of Interlux 202 solvent wash. I called the Interlux tech line and they said it is similar to MEK (has a lot of the same stuff in it as MEK) but more powerful. I decided to try it on a small test area. Bingo. The contact cement came off in big ribbons of rubber. Overall, I spent maybe three hours in a respirator. By the time I was finished I had a big vulcanized rubber ball.
Once I had removed as much contact cement as possible, I sanded the bulkheads with 80 grit and a RO sander. They look pretty good (see pictures below). There is some tear out where the laminated pulled some of he veneer away but I am not concerned. The bulkheads will be eventually be refaced with v-groove African Mahogany. I have been using my vacuum attachment lately so the sanding did not make much of a mess. Afterwards, however, I noticed the boat is pretty grimy inside from all the grinding that has taken place since last winter. Even though I have swept up and vacuumed as I worked, the boat has not had a good inside scrubbing and wash down. So, in the next couple of days, I'll probably take a bucket of soapy water and some brushes, sponges, and rags to the inside of the hull. But, not until I am pretty confident the majority of sanding to anything fiberglass is completed. I finished off the day by wiping down the teak bulkheads with water and a very soft brush to get the grime out of the grain of the wood. Tomorrow I will sand them.
I was pretty tired at the end of the day but my son has been wanting to go out for a night sail. So, this evening we pushed the Sweet Pea on her dolly down to the neighborhood ramp and left in the fading light of the setting sun and a rare rising harvest moon. We beat down the White Oak on the flood tide bathed in the beautiful light of a silver moonbeam. Thirty some tacks later we reached the turn-around point at the Highway 24 bridge and gybed around for the run home. The moon was up, the stars were out, and the breeze was a perfect 10 knots. It was a relaxing way to close out a long day.
A productive day. I decided it was time to remove the bright white laminate from the bulkheads. I never liked the laminate even though many folks view it as very practical. It made the inside of the boat look like a Clorox bottle and is counterproductive to what I am trying to achieve. I removed all the galley furniture that had the same white laminate a long time ago. But today's effort was to remove the laminate from bulkheads that form the head, the port bulkhead that separates the galley from the saloon, and the face of the bridge deck support bulkhead. Some have suggested I could leave the laminate on the face of the bridge-deck support and the galley bulkhead since they will be covered up with furniture. But, better I think it is better just to eliminate all of it from the boat.
To remove it I used a heat gun and a "multi-tool" metal putty knife/scraper. It took about four hours. It wasn't unpleasant . . . but then again I am just happy to not be grinding. The boat looks better already. It's always nice to see the changes taking place on the Far Reach. Tomorrow I'll have to figure out how to remove the contact cement residue which has proven to be pretty stubborn.
It's been an interesting couple of day. This afternoon I worked on the partial bulkhead in the forward cabin. There used to be two of them but I removed the one on the port side last year. The port side one did not seem to provide any real strengthening that I could see. It was a foot forward of the full bulkhead that separates the head from the forward cabin. That bulkhead purpose was was to make a very small and, in my opinion, useless hanging locker. I needed to remove it to convert the forward cabin from a V-berth to a portside mounted double berth. The one on the starboard side used to served as the forward side of a bureau. With the design for the double berth angling across the forward cabin from left to right, this partial bulkhead was in the way. By moving the inboard edge of the bulkhead over, the double berth can be a full 48" wide and there will be room for a seat between the berth and this bulkhead and cabinets that will be installed on the starboard side of the hull in the forward cabin. At it's longest point the double berth will be about 7' long.
To cut down the bulkhead I used a long straight-edge clamped in place at the top and held in place at the bottom by a single screw. I used a circle saw to make the cut from the top to about 4" from the bottom as that was as far as the saw could cut. I finished the cut off with a saws-all. I then ground the remaining lip of the glass tabbing down with a 4 1/2" high speed grinder. I was loath to use the grinder on fiberglass because it makes a world class mess. But there was no other way to clean the edge up. However, I lessened the mess by having the hose on my shop vac, with the wide mouth attachment on it, pushed right up to the grinder and basically sucking the dust right in as the grinding was taking place. The mess was very small and quite reasonable. It was a pretty simple event compared to my vivid recollections of the "dark days" last year grinding down much of the interior, soaked to the bone with sweat, grinding away hour after hour in a paper suit and full face respirator. There were a few times back then I thought maybe I had lost my mind.
I will install another bureau/cabinet in the same location as the original and there will still be about the same amount of storage space. How is that you ask? Because the drawers that were installed in this space were only about 10" deep and there was a ton of room behind them.
In the top photo I placed my windlass on the sprit and took a 6x6 scrap (which is much bigger than the actual sampson post will be) and set it at the heel of the bowsprit just to get and idea how everything would fit together. It looks right to my eye. Once 4" tall bulwark is installed, the stays fitted, the anchor is installed, and other hardware is in place it will blend right in.
This morning I emailed some photos of the sprit and a drawing depicting my thoughts for a gammon iron design to Port Townsend Foundry in Washington State. I then called and spent some time talking with Pete Langford about the design and he described the process for casting a custom gammon iron. He was very helpful and encouraging. He said he would send me some photos of various patterns depicting what I will need to do if I want to make the pattern myself. Pete said it is somewhat complex but he would walk me through it if I wanted to attempt to make the pattern. Otherwise, I would make a series of templates and they would make the pattern. In the meantime, I will contine to work on the interior.
Today I spent a couple of hours shaping the bowsprit from 8 sided to a smooth tapered spar. I started by planing each of the eight corners flat to give the spar 16 sides. Then I moved the spar out of the wood shop and laid it across a couple of saw horses in the garage. I took an old 3x21, 40 grit, belt for a belt sander and cut it in the middle to make a long belt. Then I sanded the bowsprit "shoe-shine" style working the length of the spar and constantly turning it. To be sure 40 grit is way to heavy an abrasive for anything that is going to get varnish but this is only a mock-up and the 40 grit belt is what I had on hand. I boogered up the spar a little by using a block plane in a "corkscrew" fashion as suggested in a book I read on spar making. But, I learned pretty quickly that the strokes need to be very gentle and shallow angled corkscrews vice steep and highly angled. This is the main reason why I spent the time going further than I needed to with a mock-up so I can make these kind of mistakes now. The "shoe-shine" method worked pretty well though and I worked the spar over afterwards with some 100 grit backed by a closed cell foam pad. The spar looks straight and there is only a little unevenness. The real bowsprit will require more time and patience to get it right.
Once I was satisfied with the sanding and overall shaping of the sprit I took it up to the boat to see how it looked. The photos make it little bigger than it is. It's hard to take a photo close to the spar and not have it look out of proportion due to the "foreshortening" effect caused by the angle and distance of the camera from the spar. Due to the boat being in the shed I can't get further back to see how it looks. When you look at it with your eye though it looks good. It will also look less obvious when the bulwarks are added along the gunwale. In the one photo you can see the taper cut under the aft end of the sprit to allow the back in to drop down and lift the nose so it will follow the sheer. I will not build the final bowsprit till the shed comes down. That way I can make sure the taper is right and the sprit sits on the boat properly. In the meantime, I'll spend a few more days looking at this mock-up to see if the 5"x5" diameter of the square part of the sprit is the right size for the boat. Once I decide on the size I can begin working on making the pattern for the gammon iron.
I spent most of the day making the bowsprit 8 sided in preparation for rounding the tapered part of the spar that projects forward of the gammon iron. I wanted to do this with only my jack plane and smaller block plane to improve my skills. I also used some chisels since I don't have a spoke-shave, though I have one on order. Though it takes longer to do this with hand planes I have more control plus the shaving go on the floor instead of all over the shop like they do when using a power planer.
I started off by working on the nose of the sprit. You can see the progression of work in the photos below. The hand planes will only go up the loom of the spar to about 2 inches or so from the lip. I have to use chisels for the last three inches of the main sprit and the nose part. This is where the spoke-shave would help. The idea is to plane flat the corners between the lines, made with the 7-10-7 gauge. I checked to make sure I was planing flat by laying a ruler across the area being planed. In the photo you can see the gap under the lower portion of the straight edge. That means the upper part has to be taking down further. After I worked the nose I moved to the main part of the sprit to be smoothed. It took about 40 minutes per side. With more practice I am sure I could do it in half the time. I reaped the benefits of having spent a few hours during the summer "tuning" the bottom surface of the planes as well as the irons on Japanese water stones. They were cutting very nicely today. I used a coping saw to cut some "scallops" to refine the edge at the juncture of the tapered part of the sprit and the square part that will be positioned in the gammon iron. When I finished with the rough work I took the bowsprit up to the boat to see how it looked. This particular sprit is 39" long from the stem of the boat to the location of the cranse iron. That is 21 inches further forward than the original 18" on the Cape Dory 36. I have discussed how I came to this number in other posts now located in the "bowsprit" project. I should have made more progress today but I had to take time out to go to the store to buy more coping saw blades after the only one I had broke while cutting the "scallops." I was amazed at the amount of shavings produced. The planing was not difficult and was in fact very enjoyable, though my shoulder is sore tonight.
Tomorrow, I will 16 side the sprit then start sanding it round. I will not spend a lot of time sanding since that is not the purpose of this task. This is just a mock-up to see if this is the design I want. I need to get the basic dimension right so I can build the pattern for the gammon iron to be cast in bronze.
This morning I took the bowsprit to the woodshop on base and cut the pattern out with a bandsaw. I decided to make the widest part 5"X5" (where it passes through the gammon iron). I also made it a few inches longer just to experiment though I think 36" forward of the stem will be about right. Anyway, it is much bigger than the old bow sprit though it is only one inch wider on each side. Take the cross section of the widest dimension of the first sprit I made for example: 4x4=16 sq inches of surface area. Take the second one I made: 5"x5"=25 sq inches. That's a difference of more than 9 square inches which makes the second one more than 50 percent bigger than the first one. That means it can handle much more compression, all things considered equal. But, it is also heavier. The first sprit weighs 23.5 lbs, while the second sprit weighs 35.5 lbs.
The next thing I did was to make a larger "spar-makers" 7-10-7 gauge. I described this tool in an earlier post when I made a round handle for my carpenters tool box. But a quick recap is that the 7-10-7 stands for ratios that essentially use the formula for a Pythagorean triangle to allow a square sided spar to be marked, then shaped, into an eight sided spar. From there it is simple to shape to a 16 sided spar and ultimately sanded round. One angles or cocks the gauge until both outside pins are against the spar. Then you pull the gauge along the spar leaving two pencil marks the length of the spar. You make these marks on all four sides. If you build the gauge correctly all the lines are an equal seven "units" of distance from the edges of the spar. Then you use a bock plane or power plane and take the corners down level to the adjacent lines. At that point the spar is eight sided. After making the gauge, I ended the day by marking the spar for shaping tomorrow.
This morning I unclamped the bowsprit. I'll put it on the bandsaw tomorrow to cut the shape. Next, I went to work on the deckplate that covers the rudderpost that comes up through the back of the cockpit floor and to which the tiller-head is attached.
I made the tube that is part of the deck plate assembly last fall when I wrapped many turns of epoxy saturated 17.7ox biaxial tape around a heavily waxed rudder post. I cut the deckplate out of G10 in the early summer and then set it aside as I worked on different projects. I had previously built a couple of mock-ups of the deck plate and rudder post tube assembly last spring, so this was pretty simple work today. The first thing was to confirm the angle the rudder post exits the cockpit sole. Next, I made some reference lines with a marking pen so I would know exactly where to cut the hole. Then, I spent some time setting up the drill press to accommodate the 45 degree angle I would need to cut the hole properly. I had to create some space between the G10 plate and the "iron bench," which is part of the drill press, so the hole-saw would be able to cut all the way through the G10 without bottoming out on the bench first. After clamping the deck plate in place and confirming the alignment of the hole-saw it was a simple matter to cut the hole for the tube.
Once the hole was cut I took the plate and epoxy tube up and test fit them over the rudder post head and checked the fit. Then, I sanded the G10 surfaces with a finish sander and 100 grit paper. Next, I routed a 3/16" "cove" in the bottom of the deck plate. This groove helps to make the plate more water tight than just laying caulk between two flat surfaces. I also routed a 1/4" radius on the upper edge of the plate to give it a more finished look.
The final task was to mix up some West Epoxy with 406 colloidal silica and some 404 high density filler. I took the plate, the tube, and the epoxy up to the boat. I positioned the deck-plate and tube over the rudder post then used a West System's plastic stir-stick, which has a chisel like flat surface on one end and a rounded popsicle shape on the other end, to push epoxy between the tube and the deck plate. I made a fillet by using a two inch long wood popsicle stick to smooth the thickened epoxy all the way around the tube. Once it is fully cured I will remove the deckplate and apply some biaxial cloth to the joint line to further strengthen it.
"This is like deja vu all over again." After deciding that the first bowsprit was a little light in design I glued up another one today. This one will be 5" square at the widest point where the sprit passes through the gammon iron. Everything else will remain the same. I glued this one up pretty much the same as the last one. Wednesday I'll take it to the base hobby woodshop, run it over their jointer and through the planer. Then I'll draw the pattern on the blank and cut it out using the big bandsaw. I need to get the design nailed down now so Port Townsend Foundry has time to cast the gammon iron.
After gluing up the bowsprit, I spent some time working a little more on the tiller. After looking at it last night the radius seemed a little tight so today I used a 1/2" radius router bit to soften the edge more. Then, I spent some time with various sanding blocks and 150 grit paper working on the last part of the handle. It is not quite round but the last 8"-10" of the handle are more comfortable to hold. I like it much better. I was also premature in my last entry declaring the tiller conversion complete. I forgot the deck plate that the rudder post passes through in the cockpit floor is just a mock-up--you can see it in the last entry photos. I have the epoxy tube stuck in a plywood template. I have the G10 plate cut out but have not drilled the 2" hole in it or epoxied the tube and the G10 plate together. I might tackle that tomorrow.
I spent the morning running errands but this afternoon was spent shaping and sanding the tiller. I started by sanding off the minor roughness on the sides of the tiller left from cutting the tapers with the band-saw. Then, I used a router with a 3/8" round-over bit to radius the end of the tiller to get a good fit into the tiller head. Next , I used 1/4" round-over bit to lightly radius the edges of the tiller just to see how it would look . . . it needed a bigger radius. The handle was also a little too thick. I wanted the end to be about 1 1/4" on each side since that is what is generally regarded as a comfortable size to hold. The tiller was about 1 1/2" so I had some work to do shaping it with a jack plane and a belt sander. I drew lines from the handle end back about 14-18" using a pencil and a flexible straight edge and kept sanding down to the line all the while feeling it to make sure I didn't cross that dangerous line where you don't want to go--too small. It took a while but I finally got it to where it needed to be.
Next, I used a 3/8" round-over bit to put a bigger radius on the edges. That really improved the appearance and feel of the tiller. I sanded for a while with 100 grit on a rubber block and with a piece of sand paper on a 1/2" thick piece of flexible foam as a sanding block. The flexible block lets me more easily follow the shape along the edge of the tiller. Rounding the end of the handle completed the days work. Then I took the tiller up the Far Reach and installed it with a shim to hold it in place so I could see how it looked.
I am very pleased with the shape and design as well as with my first effort at laminating a curved piece of hardwood. I am also pleased to have installed something I have been thinking about for many years. Other than many coats of varnish and some bronze round head screws, this essentially completes the wheel steering to tiller conversion--long may it live.
This morning I unclamped the blank for the bowsprit. I knocked off excess hardened glue then did the best I could running it over my 6" jointer. I don't have a lot of in-feed and out-feed tables so this was a tricky undertaking with such a big heavy piece of wood. I got it close as close I as could then loaded it in the truck and headed over to base wood shop.
First, I ran the tiller through a 20" band saw they have (a very nice machine) and tapered the sides. Next, I sanded it with a horizontal bench belt sander. Then I set it aside to finish up in my shop tomorrow and turned to the bowsprit. I ran it across a 12" jointer and then through a 24" planer taking it down to 3 7/8" X 3 7/8". I left it 10' long for the time being.
Next, I drew out the design of the bow sprit on the blank. Because the sprit only projects forward of the stem 3 1/2' I want to make sure the proportion is right to the eye. If I make it 5" X 5" it will look huge and out of proportion for it's length especially given the somewhat slender line of the Far Reach. But, it has to be strong enough for the job. I have done some reading regarding column compression loads for different species of wood to better understand the engineering requirements. Based on my research, combined with what I have sketched out, I think the right dimensions will be around four inches on each side (at the gammon iron). This size will keep the bowsprit below the bulwark which will improve the profile of the boat. An added benefit is my windless will straddle the bowsprit without the need for adapter plates.
Because I want the sprit to follow the sheer of the topside, vice be parallel to the water, I first I cut a 2" taper on the bottom of the sprit between the butt and where the gammon iron will be located. A parallel sprit looks good on some boat styles but I think it would look odd on the Far Reach. Because the deck is arched up, the center of the deck gets progressively higher relative to the sheer as one moves aft of the stem. In fact, at 4' 4" aft of the stem the centerline of the deck is 2" higher than the adjacent sheerline. So, I either must elevate the front of the bowsprit or lower the back end for the bowsprit to follow on the same line as the sheer . . . thus, the tapered cut on the bottom side of the sprit. The max dimensions of the bowsprit occur right at the stem, where it passes through the gammon iron. Starting just forward of the stem I cut four tapers and carried them forward 36". From that point forward, about 12", I cut a straight four sided 2 1/2" square projection--this will eventually be rounded to serve as the sleeve the cranse iron to slide over. For this design I plan to leave the bowsprit square between the gammon iron and butt but will round the taper from the gammon iron forward, to include the sleeve for the cranse iron.
In the picture to the right I let the aft end of the sprit run wild. If this were to be the bowsprit design, it would be cut about a foot shorter. To support this bowsprit, a large (5X5?) sampson post would extend down through the deck and be bolted to the forward side of the bulkhead that separates the anchor locker from the forward cabin. The sampson post would have a mortise cut into it and a tenon would be cut into the aft end of the sprit. The sprit would "float" in the gammon iron and the crase iron would "slip" over the forward part of the sprit resting on shoulders cut into the taper. The advantage of this style of sprit is it sits about 1/4" above the deck so air gets under it. The only holes in the sprit are for the anchor rollers, so it is less prone to rot. Because there are no bolts securing the sprit to the deck it can be easily removed for yearly maintenance which reduces the likelihood that rot will go unnoticed. It remains to be seen if this is the right design for the Far Reach.
So far I am pleased with the design. It may be that after I round the taper that it will look to small. But that will provide me information I did not have before.
Today I worked on two projects. I spent some time measuring the tiller and looking at some options for shaping. I temporarily mounted it on the tiller-head and took it up to the boat to see how it fit. Looks great. I am pleased with the general shape of the curve. I am not sure how long to make it but I will start with 4' 10." I decided I will take it to the base hobby wood shop tomorrow and use their band saw to rough cut the side tapers.
Once I had decided on how to cut the tapers on the tiller it was time to work on the bowsprit. Other than removing the engine and filling in the propeller aperture, changing the bowsprit design is the most radical change to the boat. My plan is to incorporate a more traditional bowsprit--square on deck between the sampson post and the gammoning iron then round and tapering to and slightly beyond the kranze iron. The new bowsprit will put the tack two feet further forward than the original 18" platform style bowsprit, which I never liked. I thought the original was ugly and looked like it was an after thought. The new design, which I worked on last spring, will add about 45 sqft of sail area. It will move the center of effort one percent further forward of the center of lateral plan. The percent of CE forward of CLP is referred to as "lead." My references for undertaking this somewhat frightening task is Skene's Elements of Yacht Designs and Chapelle's Yacht Designing and Planning. As I have mentioned before, the advantages of moving the tack of the headsail forward will be to reduce weather helm; add sail area improving light air sailing performance; and reduce the sheeting angle of the headsail.
The next step is to build a mock up bowsprit to see how it will look and to see if I have the skills to build one I will be satisfied with. A few days ago I bought four 10' long 2X8s at Lowes. The straightest, least expensive, wood I could find, and it was all pitiful, was #2 Southern Yellow Pine . . . lots of knots. Anyway, after working on the tiller this morning I jointed one edge of each of the 2X8s and ran them through the planner to mill them down to about 1 1/8" thick. Next, I ripped them to 4 3/4" wide on the table saw. Next, I laid them out so the grain would be running in opposite direction to even out the tension of what will be a four plank laminated "post" that will serve as the blank for the bowsprit. To save time and money I used regular Tightbond yellow glue. Nothing fancy . . . this is a through away after all. Finally, I glued them up across a couple of saw horses and threw on an assortment of clamps.
I ended the day with a call to the Port Townsend Foundry and talked to them about kranze and gammoning iron options. They walked me through what I will need to do to help them get the castings right.
Yesterday I took the tiller out the jig. I was a little anxious about it. There was some glue squeeze out on the back side (bottom) of the jig) that I could not get to after I had clamped it in place. So I used my Porter Cable DA Right Angle Sander with some 40 grit to made quick work of the hardened glue. After I removed the dried glue I set the tiller aside and spent the rest of the day with my family.
This morning I ran the tiller through the planer, on each side, and took it down to a hair over two inches wide. It just fits the bronze tiller head. Though the tiller is tapered top to bottom, as you can see in the photos, it is the same width down the length. I will need to taper this part as well. I wanted to see what some other tillers look like so I took some time today to drive up to West Marine in Morehead City and looked at some of the production ones they sell. With that in mind I came back home and developed a couple of options for tapering the sides of the tiller. I will draw the line on the tiller that will represent the taper tomorrow. Then I'll decide how I want to tackle it. I might take it over to the base wood-shop on Wednesday and cut the taper with a big band saw they have--then plane it smooth and sand--or I might do it here with a skill saw and a belt sander.
I am very pleased with how the tiller looks so far. The glue line is very tight and almost invisible. The tiller looks and feels strong. Despite the obvious tension the wood was under in the jig there was only about 1/4" of spring back at the end of the handle when I removed it from the jig. Though it looks industrial in the photos to the right, it will obviously be more elegant and leaner when I finish shaping and sanding it. I want it to be strong but not blocky looking. When climbing aboard the Far Reach the eye should not be drawn to the tiller because the proportion is wrong--it should fit seamlessly into the rest of the boat. My plan is not to stain it. It will be protected with varnish only. The lighter white-oak color will contrast nicely with the mahogany comings and exterior teak.
Today I laminated up the tiller. But it wasn't quite that simple. Yesterday, as I went through the steps of how I would actually perform the laminating it occurred to me that the laminating jig design I had build would not prevent the glued up strips of wood from sliding around during the clamping process. I was thinking how I would address it when Tim Lackey send me an email offering the same observation but with a couple of options on how to address it. Here is a link to how he laminates. I think his technique is brilliantly simply, much easier to build, and simpler to modify than mine. He was right that "vertical jigs" kind of set you up for difficulty because they don't prevent the strips from sliding around. He suggested making mine horizontal, which I did. The wood strips needed to be 2 3/8" wide and my jig is 1 1/2" wide so I would need to off set the jig to keep it centered in the middle of the wood strips.
To mill the strips I had jointed and planed an 8/4 piece of white oak. I ripped it into two pieces 1 7/8" thick X 2 3/8" wide X 66" long. The tiller would need to be at least 2" wide where it fits into the tiller head so I would have to rip the strips by standing the wood on edge. This would work better anyway since it is easer to bend the wood with the grain vice against it. To cut tapered strips I would need a tapering jig. I have always wanted to build a nice one so I would always have it on hand but I never think of it till I need it and then I am too focused on the project at hand to take the time to make one. This project was no different. So, I pulled together some scrap plywood and put together a simple jig. Since it was not "adjustable", i.e. with knobs, etc, I would have to move the tapering fence each time by unscrewing the platform (one sits on top of the other) and move the tapering fence over. It sounds complicated but by using a couple of precut spacer blocks (one for the 1/4" handle end and another for the 1/2" butt end) it was pretty simple. The actually cutting took about 30 minutes. The only complication was that I had to spend a lot of time sorting out why I was burning the oak. After the first cut (when I started the milling process yesterday) I spend several hours sorting out the "why" of that. I checked to make sure the saw, blade, and fence were all tuned. They were. So, it came down to a somewhat worn out thin kerf 24 tooth ripping blade that I have used hard for the last 18 months. It was dirty as well, so I took it off the saw and spent some time cleaning it. Much better, though not perfect. The edge of the lams are burned, from the original cut, but the flat parts that are glued together are all clean. The burned edge will not matter because after I pull the tiller fro the jig it will be run through the planner to smooth the sides in preparation for final tapering, shaping, and sanding. Once the strips were cut it was time to laminate them.
I covered an old piece of 3/4" ply (the original saloon plywood sub-floor in fact) with some 4mm plastic as well as laminating edge of the jig. Then I screwed some 1/2" spacer blocks down and then screwed the jig down on top of that with some 2 1/2" deck screws. Now the bottom of the jig was set 1/2" above the sheet of plywood. I clamped the whole thing to the top of my table saw and outfeed table so it would not move during the clamping process. I performed a complete dry run with the oak strips and all the pipe-clamps I would use to make sure I had the sequence right and that everything would fit.
Then I mixed up some Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue. I just followed the directions: 5 parts powder to 2 parts water (water to be above 68 degrees). I poured the water into the powder and stirred it up into a thin paste. The color was a soft brown, like cinnamon. With the laminations laid out flat on the plastic I brushed the glue on one side of each of the laminations (the directions said it was only necessary to apply to one side). I spread the glue out with a notched epoxy spreader. Then I stacked the five laminations, laid them on their sides, and clamped them in sequence from the butt end to the handle end. By having the jig horizontal on top of a plastic covered plywood back all the laminations where even and there was no sliding around. I'll leave them clamped for 24 hours. The temperature needs to remain above 70 degrees F.
Some folks have asked about Hurricane Earl. It turned out to be nothing where I live. The surf was big over at the beach but the wind never got above about 20 knots. We had spent a couple of hours yesterday moving deck furniture, plants and the like into the SRF. It's what you have to do cause you never really know for sure what these storms are gong to do. My friends in New England will very likely experience worse weather from Earl than we did. Now if we can only get past Gastone.
Today I built the jig for the tiller. It was a very simple and straight forward project.
This morning I made a fourth tiller mock-up that finally satisfied me. Then, I went to Lowes and bought a 8' long 2X8. I also bought four 2X6s for my test bow-sprit I'll glue up after the tiller project is complete. When I got home I placed the 2X8 on my assembly table. Then I laid the tiller mock up (cut from 1/4" plywood) on top of the 2X8. I traced the mockup top edge of the tiller mockup onto the 2X8 and then used my Bosch Jig Saw to cut along the line separating the 2X8 into two sections. I took the excess part (concave section) and flipped it over and screwed it to the "bottom edge" of the jig portion (convex section)(see photo). The beauty of this is there is now a lower curve (concave) on the jig parallel to the upper curve (convex) which will allow the top and bottom pads of the clamps to be in alignment. (I got this idea from the Pardey's book "The Cost Conscious Cruiser"). Then I took my block plane and smoothed the curved surface as smooth as possible. After that I used some scrap wood to make a stand to raise the jig up high enough for the knobs on my pipe clamps to clear the table the jig will be sitting on when I glue up the tiller.
Afterwards I brought a rough cut 8/4 X 10" X 10' long plank of white oak into the shop which I will mill tomorrow to build the tiller. The rest of the white oak will be used for the bow-sprit sampson post or bitts (I haven't decided which yet) and cleats for the interior furniture.
Today was the first real work day on the boat since the early August break. More on today's work in a minute. Yesterday, I spent a fair amount of time researching adhesives as well as the heater I plan on installing in the Far Reach. I need to determine the adhesive I plan to use to glue up the tiller and a test bow sprit--and the heater because I need to set aside the right space for it as I build the interior.
After talking with some adhesive tech reps and getting advice from some folks I trust I ordered Weldwood UF glue. I will use it to laminate my tiller and a test bowsprit. That way I will get some experience with it and get to practice making the bowsprit before I build the real one.
I also talked with Daryl Leach at Hamilton Marine discussing the Refleks Heater. The Refleks is supposed to be a superb boat heater. It normally runs on diesel but can be ordered with the components necessary to run on kerosene. It has good heat output, requires no electricity, vents via a chimney, can be set up to draw air from outside the boat or from inside the boat, and is very resistant to back-drafting. It is used by many fishing boat in the North Sea and in the cold waters off Alaska. I am told this heater is frequently run 24/7 all winter long with little to no trouble. John and Phyllis Harries (Morgan's Cloud) give it high marks as well. I plan to go with the Model 62 in copper. Daryl Leach said Hamilton Marine can supply everything I need. He also gave Refleks high praise for their customer service.
Today I also worked on building several templates/mock-ups for the tiller. I used some 1/4" plywood to build the mock-ups to get a feel for the shape and length. The picture to the right is one of three mock-ups. The tillers are all about 4'6" long. It seems a little long but better to have to cut it back then make it too short. I also needed to determine the correct height of the end of the tiller above the cockpit floor. The best height seems to be about 27-28". When I decide on the right shape, I will laminate the tiller out of tapered hardwood . . . probably white oak. The butt-end will be about 2" square and the end of the handle about 1 1/4" round. I'll glue it up with the Weldwood and go from there.
Mock up of the tillerAditionally, I milled some quartersawn Iroko as I search for the right hardwood to use for the cabin sole. If money where no object I would use quartersawn teak . . . but it is, so I have been researching alternatives. I am leaning towards black walnut (has lots of great qualities and is locally grown) but wanted to take a look at Iroko. Iroko is reported to have many of the same qualities as teak, but a little less stable than teak and a little harder to work. I took an 8/4 X 5 1/4" piece 42" long and jointed two sides. Then I resawed it to about 15/16" thick and ran both pieces through the planner so they ended up a hair under 7/8" thick. The first thing I noticed was that the sawdust was irritating. I put on a half mask respirator. The wood worked easily. The color and grain were very teak like on the outside of the wood, even after I planned it. But, in the center, where I resawed it, it was much lighter colored, to include parts that were pale yellow. I read that the lighter colors will turn brown when exposed to air and light. Hmmmmm. More to follow. Right now, we have our eye on Hurricane Earl. We will check the weather report in the morning and take whatever action we need to take. We are about 1 1/2 miles from the Atlantic. We live on a river but we are about 30 feet above sea-level. The bigger worry is the wind. My main concern is the plastic covering the SRF. Depending on the WX report in the morning, I may spend much of tomorrow making sure we are as prepared as we can be for high winds.
Well, the break from boat work has about come to an end. The kids are headed back to school and I am headed back to the SRF--sailboat restoration facility.
As stated in a previous post we needed some family time and specifically a little one-on-one time with our twins. What did we do? My wife took our daughter to my sister's farm in Virginia and then on to NYC for a long weekend of sight-seeing in the Big Apple. Eric and I took a three week car-camping trip from NC to Nova Scotia, via Maine, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Though the girls had a great time I think we got the better deal.
We drove the truck onto the ferry, crossed the Northumberland Strait, and landed on Nova Scotia were we spent about five days at Grave's Island Provincial Park, a very nice campground right in the middle of Mahone Bay and half way between Halifax and Lunenberg. We visited the Atlantic Maritime Museum in Halifax and the Atlantic Fisheries Museum in Lunenberg. Both were first class. We learned a lot. One of the highlights of our trip though was meeting Bill and Rose Primeau while camping in Camden. We learned they were/are sailors pretty quickly so we hit it off right away. They happened to be from the Halifax area and said when we got to Nova Scotia to call them. We did and Bill treated Eric and me to a wonderful sail on his pristine C&C 30, 100 Proof. We sailed out on the Atlantic on a perfect day and had a great asymmetric spinnaker run back into Halifax Harbor before we ended the day on the Northwest Arm at his yacht Club, Armdale Yacht Club, the oldest Yacht Club in North America. Bill gave us a great tour of the club and pointed out that the club grounds served as a prisoner of war compound for various conflicts, one of which was the War of 1812. In fact, thousands of Americans were held there during the war and some in one of the buildings that still stands on the grounds. Many of the prisoners from the USS Chesapeake, a sistership to the USS Constitution, which was defeated by the HMS Shannon, were held on the yacht club grounds. If you don't know much about the naval war of 1812 it's worth reading about. The American frigates wrecked havoc on the British Navy throughout the war and the defeat of the Chesapeake was big news and is still the centerpiece of the local history. A short distance across the water from the club is "Dead Man's Island" which holds the remains of about 250 Americans that died in captivity during the War of 1812. Some of the dead were sailors and Marines aboard the Chesapeake. After we finished our sail and bid farewell to Bill, we walked the path down to Dead Man's Island and visited the memorial to the American that are buried there in unmarked graves. Inscribed on the memorial are the names, ranks, and the ships and units of these brave Americans that made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the very liberty we continue to enjoy today. For me it was a solemn occasion I will always remember.
We spent the next three day driving home making it back just a few days ago. Needless to say we had a great time and though I was not working on the boat we managed to keep sailing and boats a part of our adventure . . . naturally! Eric was a superstar on the trip and his only disapointment is we did not press on to Newfoundland.
Tomorrow the kids start school and I'll go out to the SRF and prep for the next phase which will include making the bowsprit and tiller and beginning work on interior installation.
I occasionally get asked how I plan to modify the interior of the Far Reach. I have a pretty solid picture in my head what the various parts of the interior will look like. But as I get closer to building the interior I have begun to sketch it out. To the right is my feeble attempt to capture the basic plan I have for the saloon area. The dashed lines in the foreground represent the bulkheads that separate the galley/navigation area from the main saloon. Off in the background is the forward cabin. Vertical staving will be African Mahogany. The main bulkheads may be painted white or may also be vertical staving. The cabin sole will be either quartersawn Iroko or Black Walnut. The wood for trim is undecided. I'll write more in the future about the exact composition of the interior but based on my measurements everything should fit. Before we build anything permanent I plan to make a full mock up of the interior using inexpensive 1/4" plywood to validate our drawings. My normal procedure for furniture building is to detail sketch all the parts of each project to include all the joints so I know how everything will fit together. It will require a lot of work but at least there will be very little need for a grinder:).
In the mean time, work will slow dramatically during the next month as we take some time to spend together as a family. There are also a few projects that need to be completed around the house as well. It's too hot to be in the SRF (sailboat restoration facility) anyway. Although I have enjoyed all the work on the boat recently, this is a good time for a break. I have a temporary sole in the boat, finally, and a temporary companionway ladder as well. The exterior work is largely completed. I have the African Mahogany on wood racks in the shop ready to mill.
So, come back and join us in late August or early September as we go to work on the interior. No pronouncements, since I am in uncharted territory, but we expect to make major progress this coming year.
When I got back to North Carolina the heat was just oppressive. It was too hot to work on the boat . . . too hot to do much of anything outside. So, I spent some time continuing to gather information about the refit and mods and doing a few chores around the house. One way to escape the heat and still sail is to do it at night. So, last night I went out for a great sail on the Sweet Pea, our 9' Fatty Knees dinghy. The air temp was still over 80 degrees. I left about 2115 and started the beat against tide and wind. The wind was out of the southeast and pretty light at about 8 knots. When I left there was the faintest bit of blue remaining high overhead in the western sky. I could see two jet contrails stretching out from north to south and behind them in an upright position was the big dipper. Cassiopeia was opposite but lower in the north east. Moon rise was about 2200 so for the first 45 minutes it was quite dark. I tacked down river and as I closed on Jones Island we softly touched bottom. Raising the dagger board about six inches and a quick tack to port put me back in deeper water. It was so dark I couldn't see the marks till they were about 20' away but I know the water pretty well so I confidently tacked back and forth continuing to work my way down river. Once I made it to the dogleg about 2/3 of the way past Jones Island, I could pretty much lay the west end of the Highway 24 bridge in Swansboro on port tack. I sat back in my little ship with the moon rising over my shoulder and the lights of Swansboro and Cedar Point lighting the way out ahead. The Sweat Pea bravely sailed through the darkness healing about 15 degrees. At one point we sailed into some mirror flat water but the wind was still steady and instead of the burbling sound of water along the hull I began to hear a "whoosh" coming off the bow wave. It was magic . . . like we were being pulled along on an underwater rail. The current accelerates as it gets compressed through the constricted water under the bridge and soon we began to get strongly set to leeward. It took about a half-dozen tacks to find the right line between getting too far out into the current and keeping enough wind on our sail, due to the disruptions to the wind flow, caused by the bridge, to make it to my turn-around point about 25 meters off the Bicentennial Park. Once I made it to the turn-around, a quick jibe sent us speeding along down wind and down current back towards home. During the run back I was able to get a better view of all my old friends: the Big Dipper and Mizar, the Little Dipper and Polaris, Draco, Cygnus her light orange star Deneb, Vega, and Cassiopeia as well. Way down in the south I could clearly see Scorpio with the very red Antares, and to the east the teapot of Sagittarius. By the time I was heading home the light of the nearly full moon obscured some of the other constellations I always enjoy seeing, like Delphinus, and Sagitia, Aquilla and her bright star Altair. It was a beautiful night for sailing on the quiet waters of the White Oak River. I luffed up to our neighborhood dock about 2315 surprising a young couple enjoying more than just the star filled night . . . ah, the pleasurable discoveries of youth. Alas, my sail was over. After loading the Sweet Pea on the dolly I pushed her up the gentle hill to the main road and thence about 100 yards to our home. It may be too hot to work on the Far Reach but sailing is never far from my mind.
Today I started a second page for the daily log. The single daily log page had become so large with pictures, etc, that it was taking too long to load. I probably should have acted sooner but since this is my first website and it's a learn-as-you-go endeavor I didn't appreciate the ramifications of a single page getting too big. Not only that, I am finding that there is a real art to how pages and projects are organized. Since I often find myself working multiple projects at the same time I find I have to think about how entries are organized. Do I keep "installing floor beams" with the water tank section or move them into the "rebuilding the interior page" . . . or do I give them their own page? Moving them around is very time consuming so thinking about organization of the site is best done early on and not later. Sometimes it makes sense to write the daily log entry in two parts so I can more easily push separate projects to their associated pages after they are posted on the daily log. It's a little like boat building . . . if you are not careful you can just chase your tail and suddenly the website becomes the focus of your effort vice family and boat building/sailing, etc. It's all about competition for time . . . . how do I make best use of my time?
Anyway, this seemed to be a good place for a page break. I am also moving some of the older daily log entries over to their respective areas on the projects page. It would be easier in the long run if I moved these over as soon as I finished the daily log entry . . . but at the end of the day I get a little lax about it. More to follow . . . .