Last installment, I think. Than we should be all caught up.
My older daughters came down in time to help me emplace the last bit of 1/4” paneling on the back of the cabin. They came down for Christmas but since I’m a bit of a scrooge, I like to say it’s to help on the boat.
We measured from the top of the plywood panels in the frame at the end of the cabin to the roof. Since I had one panel left we measured the width we needed as well and determined that we could do it out of one panel.
I ripped the panel down the middle to give us the width, however only the bottom was flat. The top of these panels that went against the roof were curved. We pondered a bit to determine how we could cut that curve accurately. My oldest daughter Samantha came up with a really brilliant idea. She said we could hold up the panel until it contacted the roof and trace out the curve directly onto the panel. We did just that and it worked beautifully, only having to plane or sand it to get a perfect fit. We than proceeded to use epoxy and construction adhesive as well as screws to permanently affix both panels.
It got mighty cold around here! I’m talking like in the teens during the day as a high!
This meant it was all heaters on deck inside the shop as well as time to man all heat lamps.
I was able to keep the epoxy and the work surfaces at 55 degrees which is the cut off temp for my epoxy. Verifying this was done with my infrared thermometer.
I figured I would start at the back and work forwards as it would take almost 2 full sheets to go across the cabin. Also starting at the back meant that the amount of faring to be done would be forward on the sheet that did not need to be as long. Thus it would make it easier to emplace the sheet, trace and trim and refit it to the shape of the forward part of the cabin. Using my Locktite construction adhesive, spread it along the cabin studs before screwing the sheet to the studs. I was able to get the big sheets on the studs and affixed permanently with only slight hassle. However there was a bit of a gap at the bottom of the sheets of plywood along the the entire length of the cabin. This is because the cabin walls were taller than 4’. The gap was about six inch’s at its tallest point in the back but tapered with the sheer towards the bow.
The solution I came up with was to use the left over scrap from the parts of ¼” ply used at the front of the cabin and cut them into strips about 6” wide. These 4’ long strips I would than scarph to the remaining length. The next day after it had hardened, I placed the much longer strips now against the cabin. They fit great at the stern, so cool. After securing them I went inside the boat to trace the line at on the strips that would give me the outline needed to trim them. With only minor inconvenience and difficulty, the strips were cut, planned, sanded fit and attached. Since they are going to be at the bottom of the cabin I decided to use epoxy.
Now the port and starboard sides were completely roughed in, next would be the back panels which would effectively rough in the cabin.
Once again I know I am playing catchup in getting the details of the progress out to you guys.
It seems like putting the raters up and trimming the studs happened eons ago. Much more progress has happened since then.
The next stop after the cabin was framed was installing the roof. For this I used four 4×8 sheets of ½” pressure treated plywood. I figured I could use the middle rafter as the point that the fore and after sheets met. Yet for the middle I was perplexed. I didn’t want a beam running fore to aft as that would maybe cut down on headroom. It would also add a lot of weight to the top of the boat and I did not like that prospect much at all. So I figured I would create a 6” scarph joint down the sides of the plywood. Thus getting out my trusty planers and belt sander I got to work. Once that was done I figured the next day I would be able to lift them onto the roof.
Wow, did I underestimate how much of a pain getting those plywood sheets on the roof was going to be. My wife was busy doing something and she said that she could not help me until later. Yet me being the ever impatient one (I like building this boat but I really want to use it.), I decided I could just muscle those plywood babies up there on my lonesome. I figured what I would do is just prop up the sheets on the transom of the boat, get in on the fantail and overhand-head heave those sheets up to the roof. What I did not expect was that the angle I needed to avoid the rafters of the shop was pretty drastic. I therefore had neck craned back to watch as I lifted. After several attempts of lift, set back down and lift again; I finally got it. Boy was I sure happy when that was done! My shoulders, back and arms killed me the next day.
The following day, my wife planned on coming out to the shop with me to help me affix the roof permanently with epoxy and glue. Before she came out however, I had to figure out how to “clamp” the scarphed edges together. I decided that I would screw a board on the underside of the exposed panel and screw a 2 ½” screw through the top panel. This would hold the panels together while the epoxy hardened. With a plan made, we got to work. First step was lifting up the panels off the rafters so we could apply glue to them. Once that was done and the panels were ready for their scarphs to be epoxied, I headed up to the roof. I had my very capable wife do the mixing of the epoxy and fillers and handing me up the can. I liberally applied the gooey stickum to the inside of the scarphs and began drilling the screws. The screws and board clamp seemed to work out well as we obtained a uniform thickness down the middle of the roof (more or less).
Since I have a lot to catch you up on. I will be doing this update in installments. What happens next is getting the walls up to complete the roughing in of the cabin.
I hope that everybody had a great Thanksgiving holiday! We were traveling for ours; which to be honest I never like to do. Yet everyone seemed to have a good time so that is what is important.
In the Yard, it was time to get those rafters installed and trim the cabin posts. So on Saturday, my best friend Tony came out to give me a hand aligning, cutting, screwing and gluing the rafters. We started by figuring out the center of each rafter as well as just how much to trim from each side so that the apex of the curve remained centerline. That took a lot of measure, cut, fit, re-measure, recut and refit. However it worked out rather well as we were able to get each and every unique spot on the cabin requiring a rafter fitted. After the myriad of cutting and fitting, it was time to mix up some epoxy and permanently attach these things. It worked out real well save one amidships on the port side. While screwing it, the front part of the bracket split. Requiring a repair of copious amounts of epoxy.
The next day it was just me on my lonesome for the most part as I scaled the side of the boat via ladder to cut all the cabin posts to their required height and shape. I figured I would start with those that actually had rafters and brackets on them. I think could use a batten (a shipwrights mainstay) and trace the outline of the roof curvature on the empty studs. This worked out brilliantly albeit extremely laborious and time consuming. The forward part of the cabin that actually juts out and holds the front door gave me a quandary. I ultimately decided since I had a spare rafter that I would cut a piece out of the middles at the correct size. I figured this out by measuring the overall distance of the rafter and dividing it by two; giving me a mid-point. I than went over to the posts between the door that were affixed to Frame C and measured the distance at between them at the frame. I than divided that measurement by two and on the rafter measured that half measurement from my mid-point mark port and starboard. It was cut and fit and checked to ensure that its roof curvature matched up with the one directly behind it. It did so we glued and screwed it into position. I had my wife come help me while we were fitting so one could hold while the other used levels, or clamps to ensure a correct fit.
Next up on the list is to figure out how to connect that forward door frame to the rest of the cabin studs. Once that is done (which I am sure will prove difficult), I will begin the process of laying the cabin roof. Although I may do the exterior walls first, I have not yet fully committed to either.
Well as I stated in my last post, work on the cabin has commenced.
Of course since I am new at this boat building thing, I started with making an error. I wanted to tie all the cabin studs together in an effort to get the rectangular shape of the cabin. I figured the best way to do this at first was to use small pieces of timber cut to the exact length between the studs along the sheer. Once they were cut I would glue and screw them in between the cabin studs so that the port and starboard sides of the cabin were for the most part plum. What a bloody nightmare and effort in futility that turned out to be! I found that it was like trying to stack jinga blocks while people were playing. None turned out exactly on their marks as to where they needed to be. I therefore thought to myself that there must be an easier way to do this that would also provide better results.
The idea that I came up with to solve this problem was to scarf scrap pieces of 2×4 that I had ripped to make the studs into long pieces that spanned the cabin length. Once those dried I went ahead and cut notches into each and every cabin stud at the top right under the overall cabin height marks. Using the timbers I had scarfed as a guide. I outlined the exact area of the notches on the frames as well as their corresponding spots of the scarfed timbers so I could match them up again. Using my handy sonic crafter oscillating tool, I cut the notches in each of the studs. While this required a bit of leaning, twisting and almost all the work was done overhead; the end product produced far better results. I still used the distance along the sheer between the studs to get my measurements; once emplaced the result was no doubt far superior. The timbers holding the cabin sides plum were glued and screwed in place in their notches.
The next day I decided that I would work on fixing the roof brackets to their areas on the pre-identified studs. The roof will be held up with 1×6’s on cut brackets at the forward, midships and aft portions of the cabin. These 1×6’s were shaped to the exact curvature of the roof using my saws and an electric planer before being sanded uniformly. Once the brackets are emplaced on their studs, I will cut the roof frames or rafters so that they fit. The brackets themselves are once again repurposed scrap pieces of the 1×6’s about 9 inches square that I cut at a 45 degree angle. Some planning needed to be done to them so that they would sit flush and plum on the studs.
My wife came out to help me mock up the brackets. This required her holding them on their marks while I pre-drilled and screwed them in place to ensure they sat the way we needed them too. Once that was done (and a bit of an ordeal it was), I mixed up a batch of thickened epoxy and we permanently attached them.
Since it is beginning to get a bit chilly, I used my heat lamps on three of them not near an immediate heat source to ensure the epoxy stayed at its required working temp.
Up next is to attach the roof frames or rafters to their brackets. Hopefully this will be a bit easier than the other work that has been done on the cabin so far. I somehow doubt it lol!
Well ahoy all and sorry for the extremely late update.
Things have been beyond busy lately, although I am well aware that is not a very good excuse.
To start with and I am not aware if I have told any of you yet. But I started a small woodworking business called Quarterdeck Woodworking LLC. If you are interested by all means look it up on Facebook. I won’t bore you guys to much with how that’s been going.
I was however able to get the rest of the gunnels laminated with the exact same process that I had described to you earlier. It was a bit of a long and slow road but it was accomplished all the same.
I then set about getting preparing for to install the cabin studs or posts. Essentially these will be like studs in a house that the inner and outer paneling for the cabin is affixed to. For these studs I decided to use pressure treated lumber that you can get at your local Lowes. The plans called for these posts to be 2×3 for the areas that hold the cabin windows and 2×2 or so for the rest of the space. Further the plans called for the posts to be attached to the sheer with Lag screws, so I procured several 3” lag screws.
I decided that attaching them would consist of notching the sheer to receive the posts so that they could stand straight up and down while also being attached to the chine. Yet this would also require me to shape the bottom of the post and cut notches so that it would receive the chine. Lastly I decided that I would only use thickened epoxy on the posts below the water line or right where they attach to the chine. This is because this area is the most likely to see the most amount of water or be more inclined to be wet. Where it attached to the sheer and along with the lag screws, I figured I would use some construction adhesive; deciding on Locktite PL landscaping adhesive.
Firstly I decided to go ahead and with the help of a buddy on a weekend get the forward parts of the cabin; or the part containing the large picture windows done. Wow what a chore that turned out to be. We cut, fitted, glued and screwed each post individually. That seemed to take forever and honestly the better part of that Saturday. Yet we eventually got the forward part of the cabin including the front door frame done.
During the weeks following I decided to see if I could somewhat speed up the process so that the next time my buddy Tony was in town it would go by faster and easier. I thus decided to utilize my wife and 8 year old daughter Paylah at different times to help me cut and fit the rest of the posts. For the most part they would hold the post level and move it until it was entirely plumb, or exposing where I needed to trim and do more fitting. During this process, I devised a way to keep track of where each stud went, by numbering the notch with a corresponding number to its post. Once that was done on each stud, I marked the spot where the lag screw was to be installed on each post. Since I wanted a flush front on my studs for the interior paneling, I counter sunk each lag screw with my drill press and a large spade bit. I would then take the post back to the boat and mock it up again, and drill a pilot hole for the lag screw so as to not split the chine. With all that done; I figured when Tony came back down we would have an easier time of it.
On the following weekend Tony came over to help me finish getting the rest of the posts stood up. I devised a process that would help us efficiently go about doing this. First since I was the chief shipwright (at least that is what I like to call myself lol!), I would stay inside the boat and do the majority of the permanent affixing. Tony would stand outside on my step stool and help hold the post and tell me when it was plumb with my level. He would also do the majority of the epoxy mixing once I gave him a quick tutorial on it with the first batch. It seemed to work out rather well as Tony would hand me the bottom of the post to epoxy before setting it on the chine, and would hold the post off the cut notch in the sheer so I could apply the Locktite to the sheer for the post. We than would set everything real good and move it as necessary to get a good plum fit. Once he told me were plum port and starboard as well as fore and aft, I screwed the lag screw in place.
Wow was that process much faster and exponentially more efficient. We did the aft posts in a quarter of the time it took the forward posts.
What an exciting event! The cabin studs are all emplaced and ready to receive the roof. Thus the next step is to create a jig for the roof and build it. If this keeps up I should have the majority of the cabin work done this winter; yet I am sure something will come along and foil those projections lol!
Well I was and am feeling much better after my bought with the plague. So this past Saturday I went ahead and decided to start laminating the starboard gunnel.
Since the notches were cut and ready along the starboard side of the sheer line, I gathered up some of my 1×2’s (two to be exact) and got them somewhat laying in place and prepped for epoxy. I also went ahead and staged my clamps along the side of the boat so I could easily use them after I spread some slightly thickened epoxy along the 1×2’s. To make matters better, I had a buddy of mine come out and help me laminate these timbers to the sheer clamp. It is always a whole lot easier when I can have some help doing this.
Thus with my buddy here to aide me, I began mixing and spreading epoxy along the 1×2’s while Trey manned the clamps. Moving along starting at the bow, I held and maneuvered the pieces into position while he applied the clamps. Unfortunately we ran out of clamps after the first two pieces were applied. I could likely use screws if I wanted to continue but I figured I would only use them if absolutely necessary to giving the maximum amount of space to the epoxy. I can always go back later and sink some screws if I think it is prudent.
Today on Sunday I simply repeated the process, this time only with myself as an aide. Once again I laminated only two pieces as I ran out of clamps again. I was able to make up some fairing epoxy though and fill some areas that needed some attention.
As you can probably guess, I have been extremely busy with this new job and the family. Yet I was able to get more timber. 1×6’s that were once again ripped down into 1×2’s with the scrap being utilized. With these new 1×2’s I was able to finish up laminating the port side. A few days later I was able to plane and sand the gunnel down to where it is now pretty level and looks a little more decent.
More day passed by and unfortunately I contracted some sickness that my daughter brought back with her from her pre-school. Yet I decided I could brave through a bit of work on the boat….well hopefully. Much like I did on the port side, I measured 2 inches down the frames on the starboard side. I cut a line there as well as marking a line on the forward and aft bulkheads of the cabin. Using the overall width of the port gunnel, I cut the same dimensions on the starboard side of the bulkheads.
My trusty sonic crafter oscillating tool made short work of those frames and bulkhead cutouts. Of course since I used screws to attach the sheer and plywood hull to the frames, I had to contend with those. So what I did was use my dremel to cut off the screws at the sheer.
This was all the progress I could make before my illness got the best of me. It was time to pack it in for the day and hopefully get better. This weekend and hopefully with some friends, I will be able to start laminating the starboard gunnel. We of course shall see!
Once again sorry for having to play catch up again.
The deck or gunnels as I call them have been planned and sanded down on the forward starboard side. I did this on the off chance I would be able to mitigate the butt load of sanding and fairing to be done when all the gunnels were up.
I also have been able to get inside the boat sanded. What that means is that all the gobs of epoxy from filling seams and reinforcing areas are now sanded smooth. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot more sanding to come. However I figured that much less to do later the better.
Well, I was told I should perhaps mention that I am building a canoe or small 8 foot boat for my wife. Much of this is from the scrap that construction on the big boat has created. I have already made the frames, keel and am now working on the sheer clamps. On a more interesting note, the frames I steam bent; which was an adventure in and of itself. It took me awhile to get the knack of steaming the frames without breaking them, but all has worked out. You are probably no doubt aware of this if you follow me on Instagram @sudzyboatbuilder. More will follow on both projects as the small boat for my wife is proving to create a lot of its own challenges that the big boat did not.
I figured I would let all of you know that I am starting a small wood working business that is based on facebook. Its a part time thing for now; mostly to help me fund the boat. But I hope to grow this so I can make it my full time job.
Anyways the business name is Quarterdeck Woodworking and you can find it on Facebook @QuarterdeckWoodworking or https://www.facebook.com/quarterdeckwoodworking/.