28 June 2013

Building strongback made. I'm feeling quite professional

I have made a strong back for the canoe build, using the technique set out in the book "Ultra Light Boatbuilding". "All" you have to do is bolt together two 1x6 Boards, force them apart in the middle with a spreader board, and job done. Ha. Forcing two strong boards apart when they are bolted together at the ends is a hell of a job. The recommendation is that it should be spread to 6" less than the width of the canoe. I couldn't get anywhere near that. It should be 22", I have got to about 16" and can't see getting any further. It involved a lot of hammering and swearing and the boards suddenly springing back together and trapping me. But I think this will work. It is quite stable. I placed two winding rods across it and they are absolutely parallel, which was a huge relief, because I didn't know what I would do if they weren't. I will probably make a pare of dedicated saw horses to support it at some stage.

27 June 2013

All canoe moulds cut

All of the moulds are cut and routed in profile. I still need to cut the clamping slots in most of them. These are needed to allow use of spring clamps to hold the strips tight to the moulds as the glue sets. That's the theory anyway. I am going to have to build a strong back soon to hold these, which will represent a point of commitment.

I like this ghost-boat stage where you can see the shape of the future boat. The stems aren't in place here, so nothing seen here will be in the final canoe.

I've used one bearing guided router bit to finish 12 of the moulds, and I think that is the limit. It was getting very hot and very slow with finishing the last cut. I don't know how realistic it is to try and resharpen them.

I've bought myself a 10" band saw and it is wonderful. I've cut three 2mm strips from the edge of an old mahogany table top, and they will be perfect for laminating the external stems. I think I will need five laminations for each, but I should be just about able to get all of those out of the same piece. I have made good use of that table top on several boats, and still have half left.

25 June 2013

Canoe cross sections

Placing all of the mould templates on a nail gives a good feeling of the shape. I am not sure I am quite happy with them. They are sized according to the offsets, but the depth decreases and then increases as you move away from the centre mould, before sweeping down to the stems. That doesn't seem right, but maybe the twists in the planks correct for that. As always, we shall see.

23 June 2013

Bits more of a Wee Lassie 2

The weather is rotten, so no sailing this weekend (will there be any this summer?) Still making bits of a Wee Lassie 2 canoe. I have made cardboard templates of all station moulds and copied several of them to a sheet of MDF. This was then used with a router to cut out pairs of moulds in 12mm chipboard. I have slotted the two bow/stern moulds and screwed them to the stem moulds. That took a bit of shimming with bits of sandpaper to ensure everything was at right angles. I can now mark out the length of the canoe between the two stems. I have bevelled the stems by trial and error. Very hard to judge what angle planking will come onto them at, but it looks OK.
 MDF template, which was used to guide a router to cut the two moulds
The work so far. The fore and aft moulds are identical, but in the stern half they are an inch closer that in the forward half. This means that the maximum beam will be slightly behind the mid point. So not quite symmetrical fore and aft.
The bevelled stem. I have put short nails into each mould and stem at the shear line, to give something to fit a plank against.

21 June 2013

Second stem gluing up

I have laminated the second stem and it is now curing. I gently bent each lamination around the former without any heat and they curved nicely without any cracking.

I also discovered the pleasure of having solid saw horses which are the same height as the bench. I finally have solid support for large sheets of mdf and plywood.

20 June 2013

Laminated inner stem

The stem is firmly set by the morning. It springs off the mould slightly, but that is to be expected. It is always interesting how strong a curved laminated piece feels. The thin laminations are so flimsy by themselves. I used masking tape over the mould, which is not so stick proof as parcel tape, so I need to get a few rolls of that. The whole process is much easier than using epoxy.  The glue I have used is Collano Semparoc. Just squeeze it out of a bottle.

19 June 2013

So much for waiting a few days

I added another layer to the stem lamination and it all seemed to be holding a reasonable shape, so I decided to glue it up. I am using a polyurethane glue, can't remember the name. It is just a squirt it on and clamp one, unlike epoxy. Still very strong, and if I ever do build the canoe, it will all be sheathed and epoxy coated.

I'm not building anything. Really

I bought some thin strips of pine and bent them round a stem former. Used the hot air gun technique to bend it in place, which worked fine and it means the strips are dry, so no need to wait before gluing. I'll leave them on the former for a day or so. They may be a bit narrow. If this all works, these will be part of the finished boat, the inner stem.

First saw horse

I have built the first saw horse. Not a work of art, but very solid. The parts are all cut for the second, so should get that done tomorrow. Paul Fisher's book on strip planning arrived within 24 hours of ordering, and it is excellent. Very impressed by the quality and speed of service. I haven't dealt with Selway Fisher before, but I might do so more now.

Both saw horses done

I finished off the second saw horse this morning. Very crude, but the feeling of solidity is fantastic. I may make a couple more at some stage specifically for sawing at a lower level

18 June 2013

Boat building bug nibbling away

I am fretting with no boat being built, so I have started looking around for another project. I have always liked the Wee Lassie strip built canoe described in the book "Featherweight Boatbuilding" by Mac McCarthy. The larger sized Wee Lassie 2 would probably suit me better. I have never tackled strip building at all and find it a bit intimidating. The "Featherweight Boatbuilding" book is very good and I have just ordered the Manual of strip building from Selway Fisher. 

As I had a large piece of cardboard and a spare piece of MDF, I had a go at lofting and cutting out the two stem moulds (or molds as they insist on spelling it over there). Quite pleased with the outcome and that I noted two of the offsets are not quite right. This is actually noted on the Feather Weight Canoes website, but I only found out later.

The first mould was cut with a jigsaw and carefully smoothed with a block plane. The second mould was roughly cut with a jigsaw and then the two clamped together  and I ran a router round the pair to match the second to the first. I drilled through for the clamp holes with both moulds clamped together. First with a 1" flat bit, which got very hot, and then with a 1" hole saw, which worked very well, and also got very hot. I am now building a couple of saw horses to hold everything up. Haven't decided yet that I am building anything, but these things tend to develop...

10 June 2013

Weekend sail with some sunshine 32.5nm (annual total 121.2nm)

Down to Poole in the evening after work on Friday. With the traffic I was barely on the water before 7:00. Just motored and sailed to the south side of Brownsea Island to get out of the cold north wind. Lots of boats out, first time this year. The anchorage should have been peaceful, but the peacocks and oyster catchers on the shore made a hell of a din until the sun was well and truly gone.

Next morning I was up at 5:00am hoping to sail to Yarmouth. I had to catch the tide through Hurst Narrows before 11:00. All went well, but out in Poole Harbour I found the cockpit floor kept flooding, which it has never done before. Then I realised that on a port tack, which I was on all the time, this water was pouring into the cockpit locker through the fuel pipe hole. The locker was awash and the fuel tank floating upside down. The engine was on at the time and was running fine, which was surprising. I hove to and bailed out the locker. Couldn't think what was wrong, and the wind had built up to F6, which was nasty and cold, and it had moved into the east. I would have to motor all the way and thought I would probably miss the tidal gate anyway. So I turned for home.

View Non voyage to Yarmouth in a larger map

Then a thought struck me. Was the self drainer in the port sump by the outboard well open? No, it wasn't. I pushed it open, and within a few minutes the water was gone and flooding stopped. I hadn't realised how important they were. But the fuel pipe inlet is too vulnerable. I will have to think of a way of improving it at some stage.

Back in Poole I went back on my mooring and cycled into Poole for lunch and a drink in the RNLI bar. Then I sailed over to Bramblebush Bay, anchored and went for a walk looking for the Little Sea, which is a beautiful lake on Studland peninsula. Beautiful sun, and out of the wind, so it was summery at last. Back at the boat the wind was still cold and strong so I sailed back to Brownsea for another sheltered night.

View from the RNLI. Makes it even more worth being a member
In the morning had a very slow breakfast, rowed ashore and walked over to the National Trust Cafe for a cream tea whilst watching all the ships coming and going.

Daisy Grace at anchor off Brownsea Island
Then just "went for a sail" right round the perimeter of the Harbour, from Sandbanks down to the Wareham channel, where I anchored off the Arne peninsula. This is a beautiful spot, about the only place in the harbour where you can anchor in near the shore. Only downside is it is just by the water skiing area, so a bit bouncy at times. The wind finally slowed down and the sun came out strongly, so it was clearly time to go home. The best weekend so far this year, but I hope there are more, without the cold east wind.

View Sailing round the Harbour, Brownsea to Arne in a larger map

2 June 2013

Canoe launched

Took my canoe down to the river and had a short paddle. She floats and moves easily. Hard to steer against the river current, but I've had a total of about two hours paddling practise in my life, so there is a lot to learn. The fabric oozes a bit in places, but I get far more in by splashing my paddle, so I don't think it is a problem. I have put an extra coat of varnish on her, which will fill a few pin pricks.

Not easy to paddle and steer against quite a strong current. Much practice needed, but I'm pleased with the boat