Boarding ladder

>>> Boarding ladder

An interesting home built boarding ladder by Rob Rohde-Szudy… looks like a very practical design for an important part of a homebuilt boat (and much cheaper than some of the commercial offerings)… please make sure you can get back on board if you need to.

He recently mentioned (copied below) another interpretation with some solutions:

A fellow named Renzo in Italy took the time to email me with an improvement on the boarding ladder I put forth in an earlier article.

Renzo figured out the hinge arrangement that confounded me – the upper step attaches to the lower with hinges, and the lower step attaches to the hull with SEPARATE hinges! I still don’t know if this is how Kilburn Adams did the (brilliant) original form, but it looks like Renzo’s will be an improvement over my version. In particular, he won’t have to bother lashing it down to keep the bottom from dragging below the hull. Furthermore, it seems to me that it will be an advantage to have the upper step a bit lower, as Renzo’s version does. That step out of the water isn’t quite as big. It is still too cold for him to test this creation, and I would guess we’ll hear from him in May or June. If not, I will certainly try Renzo’s version myself this summer on the new/old AF4 Breve.

Thanks Renzo! –Rob Rohde-Szudy

Origamy Dinghy Fossil

Yeah, progress! Dane and I had the chance to get a bunch of the rest of the wood cutting done… that steps along much faster with the new saw 🙂 (can you tell I like my saw :-)). Why fossil you ask? Well, it looks like the "bones" of a boat, and my able assistant is dinosaur crazy, so its a popular topic. The pictures have most all the pieces laid out in approximate position… its just lacking the skin (see, its a fossil!).

This is a bigger boat than I envisioned, but I think the folding design will hold it in good stead. Yes, to the purists, this is mostly "throw away" materials… its a trial run if nothing else. I’ve learned just from doing this, and its cheap and readily available.

The "near side" is laying down, since I only have one assistant to hold things up. The pieces sitting at about 45 degrees at the stern (propped up with the transom) are actually boards that will reinforce the "skegs" at the rear corners and will be at the outside position. About time to order some fabric, so that its here when I’m ready to put it on. There’s a handful of small "pieces" to cut, but I think most of them are going to need to wait until I have things "together" a little more… there’s a couple I just don’t really envision and need to see how they are going to fit. Total time about 4 hours today.

Table saw and woodworking

After the arrival of the new saw, I did a little surfing to read a few articles and get some ideas in brushing up on table saw use. I haven’t used that caliber equipment in years. Set the saw up (checking square, checking the fence, etc.) today. Did a few cuts while building a mount on the stand to put wheels on it for easily moving it around the shop. Cuts great, and its SO nice to plop a board down and cut it off, without the "swap a cord around, move sawhorses, etc., etc." routine of a skil saw. Did find that its a little "light" in actual weight. This is nice to move it around, but when it tries to slide on the floor while you’re cutting, this can be an issue. May have to put a weight in the bottom. I am planning to close in the bottom of the stand as a "sawdust catcher"… boy it can spit out some sawdust 🙂 For your reading pleasure, here’s a few links I ran across that I found interesting in the table saw and woodworking world:

  • Woodworker’s Workshop
    • this page is related to free project plans for table saw accessories. Other pages have many other resources.
  • Waterfront Woods – a Rick Christopherson’s web site with some interesting articles and designs, including push sticks, table saw taper jigs, tables, etc.
  • The Woodshop – check out the Projects & Plans and Tool Reviews links.

There are thousands… no probably ten’s of thousands of woodworking links on the web. These I found of interest, but there are many, many more. Its a much larger field than boatbuilding (people build things besides boats???)… if you are interested, search away, I’m going to try to stick to the boat world, at least close 🙂

Composite panels for hull/cabin?

Boatbuilding is one of those fields of art and science. There is such a wide range of everything in boatbuilding.

Boats range in:

  • size – small, large, johnboat, aircraft carrier
  • displacement – related to size, but not always directly
  • hull design – full displacement, partial displacement, planing boats, hovercraft
  • construction material – metal (steel, aluminum, etc.), wood, fiberglass, leading edge composites, etc.
  • construction method – stitch and glue, traditional layup, epoxy coated plywood, pre-cut CNC parts, welded, riveted
  • coatings – resin, epoxy, tar, you name it, with a whole different but overlapping set for metal
  • viewpoint – everybody has their own opinion… and they are all probably right, at one time or another 🙂

This has really come to light to me in doing some research and having some discussions with various builders concerning composite panel construction.

Many builders use composites and various foam core type layups in hull and superstructure building. Others are more traditionalists, either just because they like it, because it may be cheaper (in their area), it may be what they know, whatever. Personally, although I find the traditional boats beautiful and I wish I could have those skills, I think some of the newer composites hold a lot of promise as a material that would be fitting for me.

The ability to work with wood tools and many woodworking skills, but having a material that doesn’t require coatings, sealings, etc. and that is pretty much impermeable to water. Of course this sounds like fiberglass before the days of osmotic blisters, doesn’t it 🙂

I found the Hoverclub of America forum had a very interesting thread concerning Coosa board. The product has been mentioned several times on the forums, but nearly always as a non-structural panel. The Hoverclub thread is discussing more structural use. If these types of panels are anywhere similar in strength/weight to plywood, and as the costs become more comparable, they look to me to be an interesting alternative to explore. They may weigh somewhat more, although I would want to examine closely the difference in a good plywood sheet after its been epoxy encapsulated and fiberglassed. The cost differences are also offset somewhat by epoxy/glass and labor costs.

The flip side of using a "non-traditional" material with the inherent risks involved is significant.

Another product that Kurt Peterson of Atlas Hovercraft, Inc. mentions to me is "Space Board" produced by Space Age Synthetics. Anybody have interesting thoughts or opinions?