Sunday, November 18, 2012

Getting ready for the chine

      My little brother came in yesterday, and he, Ramon, and I spent the afternoon at the boat shop ripping 8"x2" rough-sawn oak into 8"x1" halves with my cheap little Harbor Freight table saw. I'll be using these for the chine lamination after running them through the thickness planer. 
      Lots of time on this build has been spent trying to morph the wood I have into the wood I want. First, for the keel I bought construction-grade Southern yellow pine which promptly warped. Ramon and I used all manner of clamp configurations to get that stuff to laminate up into semi-straight pieces. Then, I milled the frame lumber from rough sawn white oak. Ripping the full oak pieces thickness-wise has been our toughest challenge yet. My table saw doesn't quite cut through half of the 8" width so we today we ran the pieces through on each side three times so we wouldn't blow a fuse (though we did manage switch the breaker multiple times anyway) and then ran a Sawzall down the middle to finally split the thing. Overall, though, we had a great day and worked off the beer and sushi from last night.

Boatbuilding in Hindsight:
1. Pay the little bit extra to have the wood milled.
2. Get a bandsaw.
3. I'd really like to have some nicer power tools for the next build, but I certainly don't regret going with the cheap stuff the first time around (particularly because my shop is so exposed to the elements).

Here the frames are squared and braced from the outside. I'll add bracing on the inside before laminating the chine, then remove the exterior bracing to install the stringers.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A bit of inspiration

Yesterday, a fellow boat builder at the university pointed me toward this build. Rather than writing final papers and preparing for the end of the semester, I've been spending hours watching their YouTube videos and reading their wonderfully written essays on everything from choosing to live in the "ghetto" to smuggling livestock vaccines across the Mexican border. Their website also chronicles their TWO submarine builds. I can only hope to live my life as creatively and resourcefully as these folks!

They are building a 74 ft. junk with a cargo hold and capacity for a small metal-working shop.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Leaving Purgatory

Trailer update: I am pleased to announce that I have left corroded screw purgatory and am now in renovation heaven. The trailer, on the other hand, looks like she's been to hell and back:
Don't trust your children to me.

She's very close to getting a coat of fresh white paint!

The Launch Timeline

     I have a recurring dream where I finally make it out to the boat shop after weeks of neglect only to find the place blanketed in Texas dust and the keel looking like Swiss cheese due to termite damage. A few of the frames are but piles of sawdust. Rather than feeling horrified, I feel relieved. I walk back to the house and order plans for a smaller boat and start packing my things.
     Lately, I've felt defeated by the size of this project. Previously, I tried not to set a time frame for this project because I felt like I had no realistic idea of how long this thing would take me-- and I didn't want to stress about it. But now, for my own sanity, I need a timeline to launch. Ramon and I sat down last night and hatched our plan:

January: Stringers, chine, and cheeks installed
February: Frames, stringers, chine faired; chamfer on bow and stern
March: Deck beams installed, footwell framed, hatch framed
April: cabin trunk "cutout"? framed
June: Planking complete, deck laid, hull glassed
July: Install bulwarks, start working on interior
August: Hatches complete, cabin trunk completed and glassed, paint

Beginning of September, 2013: The launch!  
Also-- our last days here!

We plan to live near Port Isabel and finish Luna's interior at the marina while I finish up my masters program. 

Depending on how long funds last, and how long it takes to outfit her, we hope to set sail by the end of 2013. That's only a little over a year away, making it a pretty ambitious (foolhardy?) goal, but it feels good to have something to work toward.

Also-- today I finished squaring up the frames! The next step will be  installing the chine.