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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!!!!


  1. Hi Damo,

    You are becoming the accomplished carpenter. One day, you may awake and have a bright idea: I can build a house! And perhaps you shall as it is but a small step from this boat, to the shed, to a house. :-)!

    Just a couple of thoughts:
    - Quality table saws are dirt cheap and worth every bit of their cost.
    - Have you considered using stainless steel screws? Glue is nice and all, but stainless steel screws are an additional form of insurance.

    Mind you, I am guilty of over engineering.

    The work on the boat so far is looking good.


  2. LOL, I just read that post for the first time. Pro-tip, proof read anything you write under the influence! ;-p

    Thank for your kind words - there is a long way to go though before I am accomplished at anything, but the process is enjoyable. I like your idea on the house - it is a lovely dream, but may need to be tempered by reality. I may further elucidate these thoughts on your blog later.

    I did nearly buy a table saw, and still got in trouble from Mrs Damo for 'nearly' buying it :-) You are right though, they are cheap even for a Japanese one and I think it might be a sensible future purchase...

    RE: the screws, even stainless won't hold up forever. I understand that copper nails are the thing to use, but by all accounts glue is great and with proper care will last a long time. At the end of the day, this boat is made using the cheapest of plywood and is purely a learning exercise. Anything beyond that is a bonus!