Thursday, September 6, 2012

10 Simple Steps to a Boat Frame

When I read other boat building blogs, I'm always a little embarrassed for myself. Other builders' shops are so clean, their joints so perfect, the tools shiny and brand-name. You won't find much of that over here on Building Luna. As mentioned earlier, I have a rather down home (see Urban Dictionary) boat building style. I still feel pretty unsophisticated in the world of boat builders.

On the bright side, I guess I don't allow myself to feel intimidated by all the builders doing stuff the "proper way." This isn't rocket science. Take, for example, the frame I built on Monday (the last one!!):
Step 1: This here is the frame building table-- just plywood underlay screwed to an IKEA platform bed frame that my mattress used to be on. The mattress has been on my bedroom floor for the duration of frame construction-- the likely cause of my many intimate encounters with insects over the past 6 months (see Giant Millipede Incident of 2012)

Step 2: Draw in the frames using measurements from the table of  offsets. Note roof tar, sawdust, and regular dirt dust. 
Step 3: Screw some blocks to the table at your frame lines to butt the frames up against. Most plans are drawn to the outside of the planking.  These blocks are the width of my planking so I don't have to worry about that detail while assembling the frame. 

Step 4: Get frame lumber. I milled the 2 x 4s needed for the frames out of this gorgeous 8/4 rough rift sawn white oak that I snagged for cheap in Austin. 

Step 5: Cut the frame lumber. The angles at the butts are easily taken from the lines drawn on the table. Note from the picture in Step 2 that the bevels on the frames are sawed before assembly. I took these angles from the lines plan. While they are probably "shallower" than what I'll need, it'll make beveling the standing frames less of a pain.

Step 6: Soak the joints that will not be glued with copper napthanate.

Step 7:  While I do make some effort to get the joints to fit nicely, It's not important to me to get them perfect where no one will see them. I smear them with roof tar.

The poor boat builder's dolphinite. $27 for a 5 gallon bucket.
Step 8: Smoosh the butt joints together and liberally apply a waterproof adhesive where the gusset will go.
Step 9: Temporarily screw on the gussets while the glue dries (the screws will later be replaced with bolts).
Step 10: Screw on some temporary cross-braces to make sure the frame maintains its  shape until the planking goes on. Done!

Actually, this probably wasn't the best frame to document here on the blog. Its construction was a bit atypical. Normally, gussets go on front and back side of the frame . Initially, they get clamped on and holes are drilled through the whole thing for bolts. Then everything gets diassembled, and glue is applied to the gussets. Finally, the whole thing is bolted together and cinched tight. Still pretty easy peasy.

The frame shown above is different from the norm because the floor at this particular station is high enough that it will serve as the gussett on the back side of the frame. I temporarily screwed on the front-side gusset until the frame gets clamped to the floor, then I'll drill for bolts when I know exactly where the floor will hit the frame.

Can't wait to add it to Luna's growing body!

After I finished building the last frame, I marked all of the frame gussets where the chine notches need to be cut with a handsaw.
I'm hoping to convince Ramon to make this job part of his daily workout.

It's nice to know that even the professionals sometimes make do with what they have.

No comments:

Post a Comment