Building Mejor que Nada
Building Log 1
30-May-95: Well I finally got started on my Bolger Windsprint this weekend. So far its been going easily, with only a few glitches here and there.
4 sheets AC fir, 7 2x4x16' no. 1 yellow pine - $140
1 gal epoxy - $75
1 lb filler - $5
Fiberglass tape - $4
Plastic spreaders - $1.50
box 1.25" Aluminum nails - $6.00
Box of disposable vinyl gloves - $12.00
Total to date - $243.50
Day 1. Laid out and cut the dagger board, rudder halves, temporary molds. Laminated daggerboard and rudder halves together with thickened epoxy. 2.5 hours.
Day 2. Cut out rest of boat, except for bottom. butted the side panels together with epoxy and 4" plywood straps, nailed to hold during cure. The nails did'nt seem to be up to the task, so I clamped the butt straps with c-clamps. Allowed epoxy to cure overnight. 5 hours.
Day 3. Decided that I didn't want to keep the nails in the buttstraps, bent over. Pulled all the nails with pliers, seems to be plenty strong. had a minor disaster moving the almost 17' side panels around, the ply cracked in the center of one of the panels. Bad wood in a bad spot seems to be the culprit. Damn! Next time I'll buy better wood... Repaired the crack by laying two layers of 4 oz. glass cloth over the affected area, and laminating w/ epoxy. After curing, it seems to have repaired the problem. At the same time, I glassed tape on all the outer seams of the butt joints in the side panels. Allowed to cure. Attepmted to cut the stem and stern pieces from yellow pine by fitting a homemade rip fence to my circular saw. This was an abysmal failure. Plan to take the wood over to my brother's later this week where i can properly mill them on his table saw. Began faring the daggerboard with a block plane and surform file. Tedious work, I think I'll get a beltsander with really coarse paper or a power planer to finish this job. Total time 4.5 hours.
Overall, this has been pretty easy. The biggest hurdle was just getting started! Already, I've decided that next time I'll use less expensive, easier to use Weldwood glue instead of epoxy for everything except for butting panels together. For laminating big pieces of ply like the daggerboard and rudder, epoxy just isn't worth the hassle. I've also decided that I need more clamps, I've twelve C and Bar clamps, I could use about twenty. 12" bar clamps seem to be the most useful and versatile, as well as the quickest to use one handed.
05-Jun-95: This past week I took the lumber to my brother's house where we spent an hour setting up and cutting the stem and stern posts on his tablesaw (gotta get me one o'those!).
The Windsprint (See "Build the New Instant Boats", by H. H. 'Dynamite' Payson) is formed around three temporary molds, each made from ¼ ply. to stiffen the molds up and to give me something to nail to, Dyanmite has us nail some scrap lumber around the edges. On the forward and after molds, the lumber needs to be beveled to 17 and 24 degrees, respectively. While at my brother I scammed some scrap 1X2's left over from a recent deck building project of his to cut the bevels on my mold stock. Total time 1 hour, plus the cost of a six pack for a tip for my Bro' (who is a little amazed at my actually attempting this thing).
I had hoped to get the hull formed ou this week, but other duties precluded that. But I did glue up the mast by laminating 2 16' 2x4 yellow pine boards together with thickened epoxy. Being a little short of clamps, a few well places wood screws were needed to adequately pull it together. A little putty will fill the holes after they are removed. After allowing the stick to cure, I put it away for the week in the garage-BOY! Is it ever HEAVY! Forty pounds, roughly! I'm hoping after I cut the taper and round it off it will get a little lighter. Looking at the drawings I figure the taper will remove about half of the material if not more. I hope so, because if this stick doesn't get signifcantly lighter, I'll have to go find some wood less dense than yellow pine and throw this one away. Total time 1.5 hours.
Next week, chores permitting I want to get the hull formed out and the chine logs installed. Barring that, I'll take my leaden mast over to my brother's where we will attempt to cut the taper on his bandsaw. Either way, I'm makeing progress. It's still fun, too. Especially when neighbors come bay and see what I'm doing (they're a little blown away, so it's a little ego boost, too <g>)...
12-Jun-95:It's a boat! (or it at least looks like one now...)
I spent about six hours on Saturday taking what had been a pile of plywood and turning it into something that at least has the shape of a boat. I started by screwing beveled 1x2's to the three forms to stiffen them up and give me something to nail to. I also spent about an hour setting up, ripping, and beveling two 5/8" x 1 ½" chine logs out of a 16' 2x4 with a skilsaw. This is very hard on the skilsaw! THe blade I was using gave up the ghost about halfway through the second cut, which in turn nearly burned up the saw's motor. A new carbide tipped blade will be bought prior to next weekend.
The sides were laid out on the floor of my garage, with the location of the three forms marked. I then nailed the sides to the center form. Since these forms are not part of the completed boat, the nails were not driven fully in to facilitate their later removal. This caused problems immediately since the sides weren't held tigthly at the forms. Time get get out the screwgun... (I've always preferred screws to nails anyhow, ther're easier to use and easier remove if you make make a mistake) The forward form was then attached to the sides with screws. Following Payson's recommendation, I then nailed two legs to the center form to raise it about 8" off the floor. So now when I put the aft form in and the boat's sheerline was being bent I wasn't struggling to pick the whole boat up off the floor.
The stems I cut over at my brother's house last week were coated with thickened epoxy and screwed in at both bow and stern. This was a pretty tricky process - if you don't get the two sides lined up just right at the stem and stern you will biuld a twist into the hull. I thought I had them perfect when I screwed it all together, but I'm afraid it wasn't becuase there appears to be a ¼" twist over about a twelve foot span. Oh well, I hope it doesn't hurt too much becuase it is too late to fix it now. Maybe when the bottom goes on, I'll be able to get most of it out, but I do not know if it's possible.
I used a block plane to knock off the high outside edges of the bottom of the plywood sides, checking for the correct bevel with a peice of scrap wood laid across the bottom to the opposite side.
I was able to screw and glue the port side chine log on the boat before I ran out of energy (It was 95 F and humid out there all day). I'm not real happy with the other chine log I had prepared, so it will have to be recut next weekend when I get the saw fixed.
Before quitting I trimmed the stem an stern posts flush with a handsaw, trying to cut my finger off in the process <ouch!> . I then turned the whole thing over, right side up, to admire what now looked like a real boat. My previously skeptical wife came home after being out all day to see that the pile of wood in the garage really was a boat and "it doesn't look too bad". <g> I had a few pleasuarable moments sitting inside the still incomplete shell imagining it on the water... My dreams Saturday night were filled with more of the same.
When I first started looking for a boat to build I had settled on either the Windsprint or another Bolger design, the 12' Teal. I chose the Windsprint for two reasons, the biggest being it's large sail area (for power in our normally light conditions) and the next reason being that 12' seemed awful small. When I was cutting out the forms for this boat, I was afraid 16' was going to be too small for two. Now I've got it together, I see was I ever wrong! THis thing is a heck of a lot bigger than I realized, and I don't know where I'm going to put it when it's done. It looks like two will be very comfortable and three isn't out of the question depending on conditions. Maybe I should have built the Teal instead. We'll probably have to sell off some canoes and kayaks to make room for this one.
Next weekend I should get the other chine log fastened, the bottom cut out and attached and hopefully get started on laminating the three layer gunwales.
I had made a blank for the mast out of yellow pine, but now I'm thinking it's too heavy. I've located a source for spruce locally and will be paying them a visit later in the week to see what they've got (and if it's in my budget).
26-Jun-95 Last time I updated you I had gotten the sides bent around the forms, attached the stem and stern posts, and one chine log installed. Ripping 16' 2x4's into 5/8 strips for chine logs and gunwales burned up my circular saw which forced me to buy a new one.
Shopping for a circular saw turned out to be an eye opener, either they are pretty cheap ($50) or pretty expensive ($130+). Being the cheap sort I bought 2.5 HP model from Sears for $70, I'm debating on whether to add that amount to my ledger for this boat...
Anyway, I was on the road all last week, so Saturday and part of Sunday were taken up with the mundane yard and housework. But I did manage to put in two and a half hours on the boat. Most of the time was spent hauling everything out, finding all the tools and cleaning up afterwards. (This working in fits and starts adds lots of time to the build, I'm afraid).
Armed with my new saw, I ripped all the strip lumber I need to finish, including the starboard chine log (1 strip) and the gunwales (6 strips). It was raining sporadically, so I set up and did this in the garage (just off our kitchen). Big mistake! My wife came out and saw me standing in the 1" deep layer of sawdust and gave me the worst frown. Next time I'll do this out in the yard to keep the mess down and out of the house.
The satrboard chine log was epoxyed and screwed in place. Rather than cut the required 15 degree bevel on the bottom before installation (as I had done on the other one and ruined another trying), I waited until it was on the boat before applying the bevel with a block plane. It took a little longer, but since I don't have a tablesaw it was easier and less prone to error than doing it on my circular saw. Besides, hand planing wood is very satisfying and pleasurable work!
It was getting close to dinner time, so I had to clean up and put it all away until next weekend. I'd like to get the bottom installed next time.
I still need to work on the mast to figure out if I my yellow pine pine will be too heavy.
8-Jul-95: It's been a while since I last reported my progress but other things have been intruding on my boat building time. Last weekend however, I was able to make a little headway.
When we last left off, I had the sides sprung around the forms and attached to the stems, and the chine logs installed and beveled.
I started this weekend by laying out the bottom onto one whole sheet of 4x8 1/4" ply and some scraps left over from the rest of the boat. Each piece was laid out, paying careful attention to the centerlines marked on the center off each of the three molds and a centerline marked on the uncut ply. After tracing the outline of the bottom onto the ply, each was rough cut about 1/4 to 1/2" outside the lines with a saber saw. With some of the leftover ply, I also cut two 4" wide strips to be used as buttstraps to join the three pieces that comprise the bottom.
I placed the center section back on the inverted boat, lined it up carefully, and temporarily tacked it down at the center. Using the center section as my guide, slid the buttstraps to their proper locations and crawled underneath the boat to mark them for cutting.
The three bottom pieces were then removed from the hull and joined using the buttstraps, some epoxy, and a handful of drywall screws. (Drywall screws are great for temporarily joining pieces of wood).
After allowing the epoxy to set overnight, got everything ready to glue and nail the bottom onto the chine logs. I had been a little concerned about nailing -- I wasn't sure how I 'd be positive I was nailing into the center of the chine log since the bottom was oversized an inconsistent 1/4 to 1/2" over the outsides of the chine log. Fortunately, this month's WoodenBoat article "Building the Six-hour Canoe" gave me the solution. (The 'Six-hour' (ha!) canoe is very similar construction to my Windsprint). The article showed a marking jig that would precisely locate the nailing line in the center of the chine log no matter how roughly the bottom was cut. I built a similar jig out of scrap lumber which proved very satisfactory. No nails missed their marks!
The chine logs were generously slathered with thickened epoxy and the bottom was nailed tight on six inch centers.
I spent about six hours total on the above.
FWIW, working with WEST epoxy and the 205 hardener is pretty tricky in the 95-100 F heat we've been experiencing. SInce my wife was out for the day <g>, I put all the supplies in the fridge for an hour or two before mixing. Much improved pot life that way!
Next time, I should get the bottom trimmed flush to the chines and two external 1.5"x .625" stiffening stringers installed and get started installing the triple laminated gunwales.
24-Jul-95: This was a very busy weekend, and in spite of it all I actually got some work done on the boat.
Friday afternoon I inverted the hull on saw horses and trimmed the bottom as closely to the chine logs as I could with my router fitted with a 1/2" flush trimming bit ($17.00 to be added to my ledger). Because of the angle of the chine logs in relationship to the bottom, the router left the bottom about 1/16" strong. The finish trimming and beveling was accomplished with an 8" block plane (with one pause to sharpen the blade - blobs of thickened epoxy can be tough!)
Later that evening I found myself awake at 10:00 pm and full of energy. ...I mopped the kitchen... At 10:30, still full of energy, I decided working on the boat was a higher purpose than vacuuming the living room, so I went out and scarfed together two 17' strips for gunwales.
The gunwales (sheer clamps(?) damifno their 'nautical' name) are strips 5/8" x 1 1/2" yellow pine laminated three thick port and starboard. This might seem like overkill, but I think Bolger's desire here was to obviate the need for any internal framing (as seen in a similar design, the 'Teal') by making a very stiff and strong gunwale. This lack of framing gives a very open and uncluttered interior which was one of the things that attracted me to her.
The problem is that each strip needs to be 17' long and all I had was 16' lumber. By scarfing a 16" length to my 16' strip I was able to make the requisite 17'er. The 8:1 scarfs were cut by hand with a block plane and glued with thickened epoxy. Overall I'm pretty proud of how nicely they turned out. Even though the plans show all six strips as 17'ers, scarfing two was enough work for me. Exercising a little builder's prerogative, I'm making the two outer layers of the lamination 16' long and tapered at the ends. I don't think Phil would disapprove too much...
It looked like gluing all three layers of the lamination at one time would be too difficult for someone working alone, so I chose instead to glue them on one layer at a time, one side at a time, alternating sides. After dry fitting one side and drilling pilot holes from the inside for screws every 8" or so, I mixed up a batch of epoxy and layed a thick layer on the hull. The gunwale went on first with clamps followed by a handful of (temporary) drywall screws. If I had enough clamps, I 'd dispense with the screws altogether, but for now the screws are much cheaper.
It got to hot (and I got too busy with the 'honey do' list <g>) to get anything else accomplished this weekend, but I'm satisfied that I'm making steady progress.
13-Nov-95: After a long hiatus, I got a chance to spend one afternoon this weekend working on my 16' Bolger Windsprint.
So far, the worst job has been making the gunwales (sheer clamps?) - they are made from three strips of 5/8" x 1 1/2" x 17' pine per side, glued and screwed to the outside of the sheer line. Frustrated with the slow pace of gluing and clamping each course, I finally took Dynamite's advice to heart and used nails.
With the hull inverted on sawhorses, I would first paint each mating surface with unthickened epoxy, followed by a coat of thickened epoxy on one side (WEST 403 microfibers, for gap filling). The piece to be glued was set in place temporarily with four or five C-clamps, then set permanently with nails driven in on 8" centers. Once the nails were in place I could remove the clamps, clean up the drips and get started on the next course. (I had three of the total six courses on when I started Saturday morning.) Working this way I got the remaining strips on on about three hours.
Using a nail set, I sunk the exposed nail heads into the gunwales, then puttied over them with epoxy and WEST 407. (The gunwales are not going to be bright finished, going with a workboat-like painted finish). All exposed plywood edges got a first coat of epoxy to seal them at this time as well.
I started roughing out the mast partners and stern thwart from some scrap pine two by fours laying around from other projects.
With the holidays approaching, this will probably be the last time this year I get to work on her. :-(
The next step is to build the daggerboard trunk and begin sanding in earnest. (Hopefully Santa will put a nice belt sander in my stocking this year!) With that, the hull will be complete and I can then turn my attention to the rig.
02-Jan-96: It's been a long time since my last installment in the this series. I've been unable to get any work done on my boat for several months due to a heavy travel schedule. That part of my life has changed for the better now -- no more five days a week on the road. I took a much needed vacation over the Holidays an spent several days working on the boat.
My fear of mast making has been overcome, I'm proud to say. Back during the summer I had glued up two 2x4x16' yellow pine board into a 4x4 post that was to become my mast. Upon picking it up and realizing what a leaden hunk of wood it was, I was afraid it would not be suitable for the mast. After much debate on whether to junk this one and go with aluminum or a hollow spruce box section, I decided instead to try to make the most of what I already had.
I began the mast tapering process by marking the center of the 4x4 with a chalk line. The section widths were laid out and marked by driving small finishing nails into the spars. By laying a batten of thin wood against the nails, I could easily mark the curve of the taper.
The easy way to cut the taper would be to use a big band saw, but since I don't have one of those, I used my circular saw instead. This method could, with practice, produce a pretty fair cut. In my case, there were a few weird places that would have to be dealt with later with the hand plane. (oh well...)
Once I got the rough taper cut on all four sides with the circular saw, I went back and faired it all up as best as I could with a low angle block plane. Once it was all reasonably fair on all four sides, I eight sided the spar by knocking off the corners with the plane. Only once did I have to stop to go to the Emergency Room to have the large, toothpick sized splinter surgically removed from my little finger... I can't decide whether to add the $160 cost to my little tally sheet for the total cost of the boat. <g>
After creating a huge pile of wood shavings, I had a reasonably straight, tapered mast fifteen and a half feet long that only weighs 22 lbs. (before sanding and varnishing). Not bad at all. Glad I did it.
For the boom and and yard, I'm thinking of using douglas fir closet poles, 1 5/8" diameter. I've spoken with another Windsprint builder who claims to have gone that route without any regrets. We'll see.
I removed the molds and replaced them with temporary thwarts. There are three permanent thwarts to be installed, and I've got two finished. It is time consuming work carving out the rabbets (?) with a hammer and chisel to get them to fit snugly over the sheer clamps. It was so boring that I decided that doing one thwart per work session was enough for any man and and turned my attention to the daggerboard case.
After much consulting with the plan and a bunch of measuring and remeasuring I layed out the location of the daggerboard slot.
The daggerboard case is mounted hard up against the port chine, against the side of the hull. (Technically, I suppose it could be called a bilgeboard, though there is only one.) I cut the the head blocks out of 3/4" x 8" wide fir stock and temporarily fastened them to sides with screws. The top of the case is formed with two 1x2 across the top of the head blocks and the bottom is formed by a single 1x2. The hull forms one side of the case, and the other is sided with 1/4" plywood screwed and glued to the headblocks and the 1x2's.
Finally, I removed the temporary screws and cut the the daggerboard slot on the bottom of the hull with a saber saw. It was a little scary, but it turned out ok.
It has been to cold to glue anything lately, so the completed daggerboard case will have to wait for some warmer weather to be epoxied into place. When I do, it will probably be held to the hull with thick epoxy fillets and a some glass cloth, and no metal fasteners.
Before closing shop for the week, I took a coarse sanding disk to some of the more egregious glue blobs in preparation for the final sanding.
Remaining tasks: sanding, paint, the rest of the thwarts, mast step, rudder and hardware, tiller, boom and yard. Not too much to get finished before the water warms up.
Until next time....
Taken from correspondence with other Windsprint Builders
Date: 28-Feb-96 07:13:14
Subj: Stuff to finish my boat (My later comments in italics)
1. Seal inaccessible areas under mast step and inside daggerboard trunk
with epoxy. (done 2/26/96)
2. Install daggerboard trunk. (done 2/27/96)
3. Install mast step. (done 5/96)
4. Attach skids to bottom of hull. (done 5/96)
5. Attach cheek blocks to mast partner. (done 5/96)
6. Round over edges of thwarts. (not going to do this )
7. Glue thwarts to gunwale. (Done 7/96)
8. Rough sand exterior and interior, paying particular attention to drips,
sags, epoxy blobs, and fiberglass edges. (done May 96)
9. Fill and fair all knotholes. (in progress 7/96)
10. Fill and fair all nail and screw holes, and countersinks. (Mostly done 5/96, with West 207 L-D fairing compound)
11. Sand interior and exterior with medium then fine papers. (In progress 7/96)
12. Coat hull with unthickened epoxy resin. Allow to cure at least 1 full
week. (done 7/5/96)
13. Remove amine blush with water and Scotchbright pad. Sand until smooth. (done 7/10-11/96)
14. Prime hull with an epoxy compatible primer.
15. Strike waterline and sheer stripe on hull.
16. Paint hull inside and out with an epoxy compatible paint.(Using Interlux Brightsides one part polyureathane)
17. Laminate rudder. (done 6/96)
18. Feather leading and trailing edges of rudder. (done 6/96)
19. Attach _" x 3 «" x 12" block to top rudder half. (done 6/96)
20. Attach _" x 1 «" cleat to top of daggerboard. (done 6/96)
21. Sand and varnish rudder and daggerboard. (Actually I have chosen to seal the mast, boom, gaff, rudder, and daggerboard with Interlux 2016 sealer, followed by varnish with Z-spar Captain's Varnish)
22. Attach gudgeons and pintles to sternpost and rudder. Attach sheet bullseye to top of rudder. (Built Payson eyes instead see below)
23. Build tiller out of 1" x 3 " stock. Sand and varnish. (done 6/96)
24. Sand mast. Attach cleat to keep foot off bottom of hull. Varnish, at least 5 coats. (Maybe!)
25. Build gaff and boom from 1 5/8" diameter Douglas fir closet poles. Sand and varnish. (Laminated 1x2's instead)
26. Install oarlocks. Build rowing seat. (May skip this part )
27. Install floatation bags fore and aft.
28. Rig, and go sailing...
Date: 01-Jul-96 23:51:10
At long last I'm beginning to see the end of the tunnel. My wife has grudgingly agreed to allow me to take over the garage, her parking space, for the next two weeks while I put the finishing touches on "Mejor que Nada".
I spent the past weekend going through a huge stack of sandpaper on the next-to-final sanding prior to paint. <Cough>. There are a few dings and gouges to be filled in and they will be taken care of at the final sanding later this week.
The rudder is all together now and it seems like it works pretty well. I debated whether or not to purchase real gudgeons and pintles or to go with "Payson Eyes" as shown in the plans. I chose the latter and could not be more pleased with my decision as they cost me a less than US$7.00 (5 bucks for a 1/4" brass rod and a buck fifty for four 1/4" x 1 5/8" screw eyes). On dry land at least, the whole system works great. The plans were not specific on how to retain the pintle rod, so I was forced to come up with my own solution, which is pretty elegant if I do say so myself. I started by bending the top 3" of the rod 90 degrees. The top half of the rudder has a 19" length of 3/4" x 3" stock that holds the two rudder-side screw eyes. I added a short length of the same sized stock above this one, leaving a 1/2" gap in between. The bent-over part of the pintle rod fits in this gap and is retained by a wooden turn-down tab screwed to the upper piece of stock. It works very nicely. The upper piece of stock also serves to hold the tiller up off the aft thwart, too.
I bought some 10' lengths of doug fir 1x2's this afternoon and spent the evening hand scarfing and epoxying them to length for the boom and the yard. Tomorrow I hope to get them laminated to the 1.5" square material shown in the plans. The completion of the boom and the yard marks the last thing I need to build to finish the boat. All that remains is painting and varnishing. I'm not a fan of painting, so this will likely be a "workboat" finish.
I've pretty much decided on Petit Easypoxy based on many people's recommendations/experience. I hope it's worth the extra $$. Does anybody have feel for how much paint I'll actually need??
Also, all this talk about lug sails has me thinking about mine. I promised myself not to actually worry about the sail until I could realistically see the end of the project. Well, it's time to order. Anybody have recommendations for a sail maker with balanced lug wisdom?