Friday, April 7, 2017

Back in the Saddle Again

Thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, I am back.   I finished gluing up the bottom panels on the bow. You can see them here before I trimmed them off flush with the bow transom.

I moved on to the roof.  Here you see a piece glued and screwed to a butt  block underneath.  I will epoxy/tape the seams once both panels are installed. 

I thought I would experiment with beveling the edges this time to create that negative space for the fiberglass to fill so the whole thing finishes flush.  I decided to make a little jig for this by sawing a little sliver of polyethylene off the lid of a plastic drum.  I heated it with a propane torch and formed it around the heel of my hand plane.

The result fits nicely on the plane and just stays in place.

Here you can see the low angle it makes.  I just go at it until I get down to the bottom of that first veneer (provided the veneer is an even thickness, which it isn't always!) I know I need to glue up the handle of that plane, but it never seems like the right time.

Here I'm getting that first roof panel in position.   

My strategy was to screw and glue half of it, then lift up the other half from above while I spread glue under it.

  The quality of the plywood is a constant issue.  I find a void with almost every cut.  Where the edges will be exposed, I have been filling them with little wedge-shaped sticks of thin wood, coated in liquid polyurethane glue. Sometimes they go in six inches, sometimes they barely go in at all.  Sometimes one is enough, sometimes I have to jam a whole bunch of them into one void.

Next job was to scarf up a long board for the little coaming piece that reinforces the roof panel, keeps water out of the cabin, and provides a lip to attach the canvas cover to. 

I never did any scarfing, So it was all very new and fun.   I followed what I read in Jim Michalak's book, and made a plexiglass plate for the router and a tapering jig to run it over.  

You have to nibble away at a board little by little, moving the jig up the board a thousand times.  That got very tedious, so on the next board, I cut an approximation of the right angle with the hand saw, then put it on the jig. 

Here it is all tapered.

Ready to glue.

All clamped up. 

One thing I would like to ask for advice on is how to do the following bit of carpentry concerning these coamings.  The simplest seems to just screw the board up from below like this.

 I was going to use the oak boards you see here just because they are really stiff and strong.  However I could make them out of a 2x4 and cut a rabbet down the whole thing, something like this.

This kind of hides the edge of the plywood and it may be a little stronger. It gives you something to bump your head on, though.
 Please comment with any opinion. Thanks!


  1. Looking really good! I have no scarph joints on Autarkia so I'm really impressed. And I hate getting gonorrhea too...

    1. Thanks, Alan! Like I said, I don't know if I'll use these scarphed pieces as the coamings or something else, but we'll see how they hold up. Yeah, I know gonorrhea sucks, but hey, getting it was lots of fun and after just four hours of treatment, it's knocked out, right?