30 July 11 It takes a lot of effort to go out to the SRF on a day like today. 100 degrees. It's just plain hot . . . anyway you want to describe it. Recently, there have been no visions in my head of sailing in the clear sun bathed waters of the tropics . . . instead I'm sailing north through a green sea, reaching along the coast of Ireland. "It's was crisp and cool this morning. We ran the refleks heater to take the chill out of the cabin. Breakfast was oatmeal, toast with marmalade, fruit, and a steaming cup of coffee. But the sun is up now, bright in all his glory." Whatever it takes to keep going.
To escape the heat I decided to spend the day working on the bowsprit in the coolness of the air-conditioned wood shop. The overall shaping and tapering of the mock-up bow-sprit was pretty straight forward when I did it last fall. Click here for more info on tapering the spar itself. However, this was my first attempt at shaping the end of the spar to fit a predetermined taper--in this case the taper on the inside of the kranze iron.
Practice on the mock-up bow sprit.
When I shaped the mockup bowsprit last fall I drew the taper out and the "step-down" shoulder for the kranze iron (I didn't have a kranze iron at the time, so I made a "SWAG." I used a band-saw to make those cuts and then used a 7-10-7 gauge to lay out the lines for shaping it to 8 then 16 sided. Then, I spent some time sanding to make it round. I used the sprit to get the dimensions for the gammon iron that I made a pattern for and then had cast in bronze. Click here for more info on the gammon iron.
What I wanted to accomplish today was to practice how to taper the end of the sprit to accommodate the taper on the inside of the kranze iron. The opening is 2 1/2" wide at the aft end and tapers down to 2" wide over the 4 3/4" length of the kranze iron. I used my calipers to determine the diameter of the sprit where the aft end of the kranze iron would ride on the sprit and did the same for where the front end would ride. I used a compass to make a circle on the front of the sprit to serve as a reference point as I shaped the forward 8" of the sprit. Next, I clamped a wood straight edge to my back-saw to control the depth of the saw cut. Next, I made two cuts: one for where the back of the kranze iron (wider diameter) and one for where the front end (narrower diameter) would sit. From where the front edge of where the kranze sits to the end of the sprit I made a series of vertical cuts all the way around the spar with the depth controlled by the wood straight edge on the back saw.
Next, I used a chisel and mallet to remove this excess wood, thinning down the sprit forward of the Kranze iron. I then used a rasp and file to smooth the initial shaping cuts on the forward most part of the sprit. I just kept working it till I could slide the kranze iron over the tip. I put the kranze iron on backward to help me determine when I had removed just the right amount of wood to that part of the spar with the front edge of the kranze iron would lay on the sprit. Then, I carefully began to rasp from this smaller diameter back to the step-down, or shoulder, where the aft end of the kranze iron would sit. The best tools seem to be a carpenter's rasp and a 10" file. I ordered a "pattern makers rasp" from Lee Valley tools earlier in the week but it had not arrived so I went with what I had on hand even though the rasp was much more aggressive than I would have liked. I used a small straight edge to make sure I was getting a straight even bevel over the length of the taper.
It was not very pretty work but it was a good opportunity to learn the basics of the required techniques. It's a little rough in some places and the knots in the #2 yellow pine I used for the mock-up caused some difficulties. But the fit seems to be pretty good. I used a mallet to drive it on. The real sprit will be Douglass Fir and will of course be completely clear of knots. Plus, the pattern makers rasp will be less aggressive than the carpenter's rasp I used today and of course I will be more patient for the final product, with more sanding, etc. I think I could also wax up the inside of the kranze iron and slater some thickened epoxy on the area where the kranze iron will go and then drive the kranze iron on to made sure I get a good fit. This would make sure there are no voids or uneven spots. It's something to consider. In the meantime, it's time to get back into the boat, 100 degree heat or not.
29 July 11 I pulled the tape off the staving today as well as the paper drop cloths. I think the staving looks pretty good (see pictures below). Afterwards, I spent some time sketching out some options for how the cleating will work for the settee front panels. It's not just a simple box with dividers. Well, maybe it is and I am just making it harder. The seat top will be divided into three independent sections for each settee. The cushion will be "rolled" style and attached to the seat bottom. The seat bottom will have wood cleats fastened to the underside and then slide fore-and-aft-on cleats attached to the inside of the top of the front and back of the settee. There needs to be some dividers. There are some clearance issues to be worked out as well. After making some drawings I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the wood shop which was in desperate need of some attention.
28 July 11 Today I applied the third coat of varnish to the most recently installed mahogany staving. The grain of the wood is not completely filled. Two to three more coats should do it but I won't apply them till the rest of the interior is installed.
I have continued to use Epifanes Gloss Varnish. I thinned the third coat about 10 percent. I applied the varnish with a 2" badger hair brush. It's the same brush I have used for 15 years. I have gone the route of suspending our brushes in one of those specially made plastic containers (way over priced by the way). I originally stored them in mineral spirits but I have since switched over to kerosene. So far it works fine . . . and the kerosene is much less expensive. Before I use the brush I spin it down in a brush spinner inside a plastic bucket I keep just for that reason. It's a little inconvenient but I am working out a routine that gets simpler and quicker each time. I didn't want to pull the tape off or pull the paper up while the varnish is still wet because it would put a bunch of dust in the air.
Third coat of varnish--starboard settee.
27 July 11 Work on the Far Reach stopped for about a week while I was in Kentucky. After returning, I picked back up where I left off--varnishing the new interior. Monday, I sanded the first coat of varnish with 220. Tuesday, I applied the second coat of varnish thinned about 25 percent with mineral spirits . . . which in Epifanes speak is 2:1 ratio. I still haven't figured that out, but no matter. It looked nice . . . a little more gloss as the grain gets filled. Today, I sanded the second coat and vacuumed. It took about three hours. I was ready to apply the third coat when the kids made it known they wanted to go swimming at the local pool. Well, there was no denying them especially in this heat. Varnishing will have to wait till tomorrow. So off we go in about 15 minutes. To the right is a picture of the second coat of varnish lightly sanded with 220 grit paper. After the third coat, I will go back to installing more furniture and the final round of staving. The next two to three coats of varnish will go on when all the interior is installed.
I spent some time on the phone today with Myles Thurlow, a remarkable young man, who is the lead rigger for Gannon and Benjamin Railway. He has been coaching me a little about spar making and wire splicing. He talked me through some techniques about final tapering over the end of the sprit so the kranze iron will fit properly. All good stuff to know. I'll probably work on that, on the side, while I work on the interior. I had a good time in Kentucky, my home state, but it is good to be back to work on the Far Reach.
Second coat sanded and ready for the third coat of varnish.
15 July 11 Today I applied the first coat of varnish to the second installment of African Mahogany vertical staving. As you can see in the photo it is a little lighter colored then the older staving. This is due to several reasons. First, it's a heavily thinned coat and as it dries it turns flat with little gloss. Second, recent sanding removed the darker surfaces of the just installed staving, and third, the older wood has darkened due to air and UV exposure. In time, the new staving will match the older staving.
Regarding the thinning of varnish--I had an interesting conversation with Epifanes today. I had poured 8oz of varnish into a cup . . . and thinned it with mineral spirits 50 percent. To me, that means add 4oz of mineral spirits. But, it did not seem as thin as I recalled from previous first coats I have applied. I shrugged it off and happily applied it to the staving over the nav station . . . but, it was definitely thicker than I thought it should be. So, I called the Epifanes tech line. Sure enough, the tech rep told me that 50 percent means 1:1. Call me silly but in my world that would be 100 percent. But, no matter as they there was no harm. I thinned the remainder of the varnish down and finished up the first coat with a total of about 16 oz of high gloss varnish (not including thinner) applied. I doubt I will get to the second coat for a few days due to some personal business I have to take care of. Nonetheless, it's a fine thing to see some visible progress being made.
First coat of varnish applied for 2nd round of staving.
13 July 11 Have I mentioned that it has been hot here? 100.8 degrees inside the boat and about 90 percent humidity. I spent most of the day soaked. Even my shorts were wet. It was a lot fun. Anyway, as we used to say in the grunts, "nothing but a thing." I spent a total of about 6 hours sanding. First, I went over the staving with a finish sander and 120 grit making sure I was sanding with the grain. Then, I sanded the V grooves with 120 wrapped around a 1"x1" block of wood about 4 1/2" long. Next I power sanded with 220 and sanded the V grooves with 220 as well using the wood block. Then, I used a little custom rubber sanding block I made out of hard rubber about 1 7/8" wide and 4 1/2" long with 220 grit sanding each piece of staving by hand . . . just up and down a few times real quick to make sure the entire piece of staving was sanded. I finished up with a quick vacuum. It was too late and too hot to do any more. Tomorrow I will move any remaining tools off the boat, vacuum the interior, and finish by wiping the staving down with denatured alcohol. I'll varnish Friday.
100.8 degrees inside the boat.
The staving after sanding with 120 and 220 grit abravsives.
12 July 11 Wood plugs . . . a very slow laborious process. I finished installing about 800 two days ago. I spend all day yesterday trimming them with a chisel. Tomorrow, I will start sanding the staving. With luck, I will finish the sanding tomorrow. Then, I will perform a thorough vacuuming job and apply the first coat of varnish on Thursday or Friday.
I'll add some photos tomorrow of the trimmed plugs and sanded staving. I'll add them to the below photo album.
8 July 11 Two days ago I decided to replace the two dividers under the forward double berth with a single divider. For "the why" scroll down to the 6 July entry. After removing the two dividers with a saws-all and then grinding out the tabbing I built a template for the new single divider. I picked up a piece of 1/2" Okume from Atlantic Veneer in Beaufort, NC . . . which is just up the road from me.
Before: Two dividers.
After: One divider.
When I got back, I traced the template out on the ply and then cut it out with a jigsaw. I cut one side with a 36 degree bevel to match the face of the forward berth and the other side with a 15 degree bevel to match the angle of the hull. I test fit it. Then I scribed a 3/8" deep line with a compass and cut it off to allow for the thickness of the closed cell foam wedge spacer. I power-planed a 2" wide strip on both sides of the divider so the biaxial tape would lie flush with the surface of the plywood divider. I clamped a temporary brace to the top horizontal edge of the divider and then clamped the brace to two strong backs that would ensure it was level with the top of the other berth supports. Next, I glued and screwed a cleat to one side and applied two coats of West Epoxy to the edge grain of the divider that would be closest to the hull and let it sit overnight.
Today, I attached the foam wedge to the divider with contact cement (this just holds it in place so it can't slide around) and reclamped it into position, screwed the cleat to the vertical panel of the double berth (through the staving and ply backing with #10 1 1/2" ss screws) then performed a thorough acetone wipe-down. I wet out the two inch wide strip on the inside of the hull on both sides of the divider as well as the divider where the tape would lay. I wet out the biaxial tape and applied it the hull and the divider. I left it clamped for 8 hours.
Next, I spent about two hours sharpening all eight chisels and four planes. I spent a little extra time on the bull-nose plane lapping the back of the blade and putting a micro bevel on the edge. I really need to spend some more time tuning the bottom surface of the Stanley smoothing and low-angle block planes. I spent some time last year lapping the irons and regrinding the bevels. They work pretty good but tuning the bottom would make a big difference I think. However, I will save it for another time.
After sharpening the chisels and planes I went to work on cutting wood plugs for the staving. I needed at least 800. I didn't count, but I filled up a quart container so that ought to get me close. I used a 3/8" tapered plug cutter in the Delta bench top drill press. I set the drill for about 1000 RPM which is the second to the last slowest speed. Drilling the plugs is pretty simple work though boringly repetitive. I don't do very good with boring repetitive work but sometime you have to do what you have to do if you want the prize. I tied the end of the four inch intake line for the dust collector to the bench top drill to suck up the saw-dust and went to work. After drilling the plugs I ran the stock over the table saw with the fence set just enough off the blade to cut the very ends of the plugs from the wood stock. The plugs just fall out in a big pile. Easy peasy. I am now set to start plugging the counter sinks tomorrow.
6 July 11 Today was "counter-sink" day. I drilled over 800--into the settees, the head and wash basin compartment, and the galley and nav station area. About 400 were into staving backed by 3/4" ply and the other half were into staving backed by 1/2" ply. I installed 3/4" #8 SS screws into the countersink holes into the staving backed by 3/4" ply, just . . . . because. I couldn't really install screws into the staving backed by the 1/2" ply because the screws are too long to leave room for a plug and anything smaller would be a waste. None of the staving requires it since they are laminated to the bulkhead with System Three T88 epoxy. But that is how I did it for the staving I installed last winter to the main bulkheads so I wanted to keep the same system in place. I have learned a couple of things about countersinks now that I have drilled over 2000. First, do not drill the holes on high speed. The slower the better . . . maybe 100-150 RPM. Don't push on the drill, let the cutting edge of the countersink do the work. It will cut a much cleaner hole. Second, the counter sink can be sharpened with a small triangular file. I stopped a couple of times to sharpen and it made a big difference.
While I was installing the countersinks it occurred to me that it was time to fish-or-cut-bait regarding the forward berth design. I spend a lot of time in the early spring deciding how it should be built and after a lot of thought I decided to install two partitions so I could have pull out drawers in the face of the berth vertical panel. But after looking at it for months I slowly came to the realization that I did not like those two panels. First, they added a lot of unnecessary weight to the front end of the boat. Second, they made the storage compartment too small. Third, they would not do a good job of providing even support for the bunk boards . . . I would have to add more supports. And last, the cushions (which will be divided) would not be evenly split up.
I did not like the two dividers.
So, I cut them out and will replace the two with one divider that is perpindcular to the centerline of the boat.
So, tonight I took the saws-all and cut them out. Then I ground out all the excess with a high speed grinder and a flapper wheel. On the bad side it made a hell of a mess. On the good side it validated my reasons for not gluing everything together. The cleats were glued to the vertical panel and screwed to the dividers (if I had been thinking I would have done it the other way). I simply unscrewed them and cut the bulkhead away. I'll leave the cleats in place as stiffeners for the vertical panel. In place of the two panels I will install a single divider that will be perpendicular to the axis of the boat. Instead of pull out drawers, I'll install shelves with cabinet doors that drop open.
5 July 11 I started off this morning picking up a new longer flush cut router bit from Lowes. The one I had was not long enough to span over the 3/8" staving, across 3/4" ply and have the bearing ride on the staving on the other side of the ply that I previously cut level. I intended to use the staving I installed earlier, and already trimmed leve, as the guide bar for trimming level the new staving. With the 1/2" X 1 1/2" bit, and Gayle holding the vacuum hose from the shop vac, we made pretty quick work of trimming back the staving that I let run wild when I installed it. What a difference it makes just cleaning up the edges.
The staving has a much "crisper" look after the initial trimming with a flush cut router bit.
I think the double berth came out pretty nice.
I had been a little concerned about trimming the center divider between the two drawers in the face of the forward double berth but it went fine. I think it looks pretty good. The edges will need a little more finese work to make them suitible for installing the walnut trim but I'll take care of that soon enough. The slightly rounded inside corners to the drawer boxes as well as the other inside corners on the staving will need to get a square cut using chisels, etc.
There are a few places on the staving that the router could not reach due to the base being blocked by furniture or other obstructions. I have wanted to buy a good bull-nose or shoulder plane for the last year but kept putting it off due to budget considerations. I looked for used ones without any luck and reviewed a wide variety of new ones. But, in the end I settled for a Veritas Bull-nose plane with a O-1 steel blade. Not as hard as the A-2 but eaiser to sharpern. I have a Veritas spoke-shave and love it. So, I new I would be happy though it was a little more money than I had hoped to spend.
Anyway, I ordered it last week and it arrived today. So, I put it straight into use this afternoon while cleaning up some of staving that the router could not reach. Though it will work better when I tune it up on my water stones -- lapping the iron and putting a micro bevel on the blade -- it was pretty nice right out of the box. The nice thing is the nose can be removed and it works like a chisel plane. Very useful. I am no professional but I was pleased with my efforts to clean up the edges. There are some pictures below.
4 Jul 11 I have finished installing all the staving I can without varnishing . . . and I only have enough staving left to build the lower half (the front) of the settees. I'll have to mill a little more to finish off the nav station/quarter-berth, the ex engine compartment, the inboard fore-and-aft bulkhead that supports one side of the stove, and a little trim here and there.
This latested batch of staving installed pretty smoothly. My technique is smoother and more refined. I decided not to install staving in areas that I not only know will be covered with cabinetry but that I know how will be covered with cabinetry . . . areas that are completely hidden and for which I have already made a good design. This will staving some expense, some weight, and a lot of time. For example, under the head sink basin area and behind the upper cabinet over the head sink, behind the forward face and under the top lid of the icebox/chart table, behind the galley sink, etc. I also can't install the lower settee panel until I varnish the staving that is already in place. I will glue the cleats on the back side (inside) of the ply panel (the staving will go on the outside face). But, I will not glue the cleats to the bulkheads that support the panel. I want to be able to remove the settee if needed without destroying the furniture. I have tried to do this wherever possible. So, once I get a couple of coats of varnish on the settees backs and sides, I'll install the front parts.
The current plan is to trim all the edges of the staving that I let run wild, countersink the holes, install wood plugs, sand, and get a couple of coats of varnish on to protect the wood. I also need to think about cutting some mahogany to cover some of the exposed hull near the cabin sole that won't be covered by cabinetry or other furniture. I have the mahogany on hand for that so it should not be too difficult.
I need to order a little more System Three T-88 epoxy for the remaining staving.