Back to the Bolger Bobcat

shopvacAs we saw in one of my recent posts (My Shopvac Sucks), I did some significant cleaning down in the woodshop.  What better way to celebrate the cleanliness of an area than to completely trash it again.  Hoooraaay!

I was able to get back to work last night on the Bolger Bobcat.  My plan was to continue Boat Building Class with my daughter, Maggie, but that did not work out.  My mother came over last night and Maggie wanted to spend some time with her instead.  Fair enough.  I love working with the kids, but I obviously make a bit more progress without them.  My plan was to spring on the tricky bilge panel, but the boat had some other plans in store to try and derail me.  I guess she doesn’t know my stamina (read: stubborness)

Mistake #1:  I used copper wire brads to tack the sides to the frames.  The idea was that they would be easier to remove than a ring shank.  Well, I was right.  Too right.  Most of the copper brads had already started to back themselves out and while I wrestled with the stem and bilge panel, they backed out further.  At one point, one of the frames completely fell out of the boat and onto the floor.  That was when I decided that it was time to halt the current task and to go back through the frames and replace the wire brads with ring shank nails.  It took some time, but back to the bilge panel.

Mistake #2:  As I was bending on the bilge panel, I noticed that the floor was moving a bit.  I had used my Hitachi Pin Nailer to tack it down, but like the wire brads, it wasn’t enough to hold up to the pressure of springing the bilge panel.  I started tacking it down with some ring shank nails and thought to myself, “Don’t put a nail there because the centerboard hole will be cut……DAMMIT!  Forgot to cut the hole for the centerboard!”

Again, the bilge panel hung in the balance as I drilled holes and cutout the long rectangle with my DeWalt XRP Jigsaw (I use a metal cutting blade to give a smoother cut).  It was now 1130pm.  Most sane people would stop at this point, but I honestly didn’t care if the sun was coming up…I was getting that bilge panel on TONIGHT!

About an hour, a handful of cable ties, and some clamps later, the bilge panel was finally on the boat.  It fits very well and the line that the twist of the plywood creates at the bow is simply beautiful.  Somehow, the panel did come up short at the stem.the bottom part of the panel makes contact fine and there is plenty of room to fasten it there, but the top part of the panel just touched the bottom corner of the 45-degree angle.  At that point there is nothing behind the panel to fasten it to.  I am going to make a small adjustment to the stem to bring it a little closer, but I think it is going to take some creativity to secure that.  I am not concerned.  Puzzles are fun.

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Thank you for reading!


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