Wednesday, 28 February 2018

That's not a knife

In this weeks exciting edition of 'excuses for why I haven't done much with the boat', our hero travels to Nelson, has some lunch and is given a knife!

Ex-Cyclone Gita closed the coast road, so I was forced to take the inland route
These enterprising folk bough some land on a popular tourist road and opened a 'permanent' food van. The council closed them down a couple of years back, now they are open again in mysterious circumstances
One day my boat will look as good as this... (cough)
Is it a saw? A knife? What should I cut with it? So many questions...
Exciting news, I have started on the side pieces for boat number two! That's right, one boat is clearly not taking enough time, so I have upped the stakes!
Finally, I have some exciting news. A short story I completed a few weeks back has been accepted into an anthology of stories set in the solar system of yesteryear. Think jungles on Venus, dusty taverns on Mars and strange cloud like beings on Neptune. For more information and a full list of authors check out the Solar System Heritage website.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

A windy diversion

As it turns out, boats are traditionally built in winter. Seeing how busy things have being this summer I understand why! Last week I visited Wellington, the capital of New Zealand and one of the worlds windiest cities with an average wind speed of 22kph. Wellington is crammed in between steep mountains and sits on an active fault line. Twisting narrow roads, overpasses and tunnels turn, overlap and zig zag across the city.

A rare piece of flat ground
Every house is built on incredibly steep ground. Many have some sort of electric cable car system to carry their occupants from the car-port to their home.

A typical Wellington car park 


In between visiting Wellington, making pickles and plum wine, some progress on the boat has happened. Three out of four side pieces (remember this is a twin-box boat) now have their pine chines bent and glued onto the plywood. One more to go!


And, failing that, it will be winter soon and progress will be sure to speed up!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Pick A Side

A long time ago, a simpler time, a better time, I had visions of completing a modest boat to sail on the bay whilst the warm rays of summer still shone. Today, the harsh light of reality has illuminated my folly. Yet, the build progresses and I know, sometime soon, I will sail the bay for all to see. The shed beckons, yet living here there are plenty of distractions. On a clear afternoon we drive up the crater rim and fly gliders along the ridge.


Surrounded by a crater rim. there are plenty of ridges to fly gliders in any wind direction


The shed beckons. In between work, travel and other commitments, the boat progresses. After cutting the shape of my boat from plywood, I needed to process the pine lumber into thin strips, or chines, which will be glued to the plywood to add strength and rigidity.

Pieces of pine lumber from Bunnings need processing...

I made things hard for myself, creating a custom jig for cutting...

The initial results are mediocre at best...

Why did I not just buy pre-cut lumber?

After modest success with making my own jig for cutting the pine boards I struck upon a revelation. My circular saw, bless the Japanese, came with a cutting attachment. There was no need for me to mark and cut preset sizes - I just had to attach this jig and could cut with consistency and accuracy every time!



Flush with success, I cut pieces for each end, then proceeded to attach the top and bottom chines.

Attaching the top chine is relatively easy

Checking the screw size. Fun fact, the glue will actually hold the boat together. In a few months these screws will be columns of rust....

Bending the bottom chine is the tricky part, it took all my considerable strength to get things in one place.

This is a two person job....


Eventually, the top and bottom chines are attached, excess glue weeping in all directions.


Now, it was time to add the front and back chines. Due to a deficiency in my brain, I decided that chiseling the curved bottom chine was the best way forward.... 

Looks easy enough..
Turns out, trying to chisel a piece of wood to your preconceived notions is pretty tricky....I ended up making compromises. Next time I will do cut the end pieces rather than the long chines.

Getting my end pieces to fit the long chines was surprisingly involved..

The stern piece was easier, but I will be doing the next three sides differently..
Eventually, I got everything glued together. Gaps in my work seemed a little risky, being a boat and all. So I jammed sawdust and extra glue in areas that were lacking. Eventually, I got a full side of the boat complete. 

Hmmm, For some reason I felt it was easier to fit the end piece and cut the long chine. Spoiler alert, cut the end piece!!!

Excess glue is your friend, expect to lose at least 50% of the glue...

Screws are better than clamps, but in a year or two they will be rusting...

Two drills are better than one, whilst the glue is curing I can quickly pre-drill a pilot hole than insert the screw...

One side of the boat down, three more to go.....

The journey continues, and a garden overflowing with courgettes beckons. Never fear, this boat will sail!!!!