Boat Building Class 6

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Mantown boat building went very well last night.  I got about as much time as I expected, but like a vacation in Disney World, it went by too fast and left me yearning for more.  I got a handful of tasks done on the Bobcat but ran out of time before I could do any work on the Wood Duck Kayak.  All in all a very productive night although I may have to rebuild the stem.

I got home and raced around to get some work done before I devoted my time to the basement.  I had some emails to answer from work, clean the house a bit, laundry, and pack for Florida.  It is amazing how much faster I move when there is boat building time at stake.  I ended up getting down to the basement around 9pm.

I started with the transom.  I ended up going with 1/2″ white oak for the transom and I mounted 3/4″ x 1″ Douglas Fir cleats.  It is quite the beefy transom.  I glued and nailed the bottom and side panels to it which went off without a hitch.  I need to say that my Hitachi Pin Nailer is one of those tools that I don’t know how I lived without.  I plan on removing the pins, but if for some reason I can’t get some out, they are stainless steel so there is no problem just clipping them flush with a good pair of flush cutters.  You can see my full review of the pin nailer here.  I just leave it close to me while I am working and use it to tack things in place when I need a 3rd or 4th hand.  Truly a godsend tool.

Unfortunately, the progress came to a screeching halt when I started pulling in the side panels at the bow.  Nothing seems to fit the stem properly.  I would get the side panels in place, but that would make the bottom panel arch in the wrong direction.  Then I would get the bottom panel right, but the stem was no where near the side panels.  I moved things around and confirmed some measurements, but to no avail.  Slowly I came to admitting that the stem was just not right.  Unfortunately, it is not right in the too short kind of not right which is always worse than the too-long type of wrong that just requires some additional cutting.  It’s probably time to make a new stem.

So I did the stem with my daughter.  The plans call for laminating 5 pieces of 1/2 ply to get 2 1/2″.  I didn’t have any 1/2 ply, so I laminated 10 pieces of 1/4″.  It was a pain, but that wasn’t the cause of the problem.  The cause of the problem was that when I wrapped them in wax paper and clamped them together, the whole stack slid sideway a bit.  I had drilled some holes in them and put some pegs in to keep them straight, but I guess the pegs weren’t strong enough and it slid sideways collectively about 1/2″.  I was hoping it wouldn’t be a problem when I sanded it down into shape, but I am thinking it was and that I took a little too much off….everywhere.

I was too tired to continue last night, but I have a plan.  I purchased some 3/8″ ply for the centerboard and I am hoping I will have enough material there to make a new stem.  My plan it to simply measure and draw one out to compare to the one I have.  If it is way off, I will rebuild.  If it isn’t, I will be very confused and it will be back to the drawing board on why things don’t seem to be coming together at the bow.  Above all, I am looking forward to springing on the bilge panels.  From what I see and what I’ve read, it is very tricky getting those in place.  Have I mentioned that I enjoy this stuff?

Thank you for reading.


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