Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Setting up Shop

Things got rolling in December 2010 when I asked Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez, the ranch owners, if I might rent a space from them to build a boat. Mrs. Alvarez yelled out to Mr. Alvarez in the truck, "Daniel! Ms. Keenan wants to build a boat to take us on a cruise!" Mr. Alvarez came in and simply asked, "Do you think it'll float?" I said "yes" and that was that. I had a place. 

I returned to the ranch in early January 2011 with my brother after spending Christmas in Iowa and ordered lumber for the lofting floor and keel from a local building supply company. When it arrived I built a crude bench and tool cabinet. The bench and tool cabinet were really the first things I'd ever built (aside from Sputnik-- my weekend dinghy now infested with termites) and I had a hell of a time driving those screws. I also bought most of the tools I’d need from Harbor Freight (go ahead and cringe, wooden boat purists), and moved them into my workshop.

The ground in the shed was as hard as rock and not at all level, so I spent some time leveling a 10 ft. by 32 ft. section for the lofting floor and subsequent boat cradle. I built the lofting floor from 8 sheets of ¾” plywood subfloor screwed into 1 x 6's laid out on the ground every 2 feet. This produced a level, stable lofting floor from materials I’ll be re-using later in the building process. The 1x6's will be used again to brace the frames before they are installed and then probably as part of the cradle. I’ll use a couple of sheets of the subfloor for frame gussets. The faces of the subfloor aren’t pretty, but paneled with some beadboard they might make some acceptable bulkheads. The subfloor is made with exterior glue, but I’ll do a boil test on a sample just to be sure. 
I also read in George Buehler’s book that it might be okay to use subfloor as material for the house walls. I intend to fiberglass the house anyway, so if the subfloor holds up well in the boil test, I’ll have some inexpensive house walls. I cut into some of the sheets and didn’t see any voids. This stuff appears to be pretty okay.

Ground leveled and lofting floor complete.

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