Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I was expecting a brass band or maybe even a bagpipe to celebrate the big launch day... alas, the only folks to go with me were my good friends Jeff the cabinetmaker and Eric the financial manager... Jeff was the guy who allowed me to erect the tent on his property and Eric is an experienced boater who built a Devlin designed boat as well... Eric brought the camera.
We jumped in the boat and off we went. I assumed we'd go around the little harbor, but we left the harbor and kept going. We eventually landed on an island about 4 miles away and as you can see by the pics, there was a lot of ice around. Keep in mind, this is all salt water so ice on the ocean means very very cold.
Jeff was miserably cold, Eric had a blast driving the boat and I was a nervous wreck hoping to God that the boat would hold together because humans last only about 15 minutes in ice cold water and believe me we were the only ones on the water that day.
Note, the boat only draws about 6-7 inches and is bouyant. I've poled into small streams and shallow marshes with ease. It's a versatile design. It has utilitarian looks and for good reason, it's utilitarian ; ).
Everything turned out well and the boat exceeded my expectations in terms of handling and speed. It turns in it's own length and pops right out of the water and steps up on plane nicely... We had a great time.
Next... a new paint job, a more civilianized version + the addition of a helm with wheel...
Here are a few pics... the first reveals the motor, a 40 hp 4 stroke Honda... I ordered the tiller as I wanted maximum room in the cockpit for duck hunting. It's a great motor - quiet, smoke-free and terrific gas mileage.
The second pic shows the stainless steel plate a friend of mine made for me. The rubber piece on the trailer stop started to sand away at the fiberglass covered wood, ergo the plate. Salt would dry and the rubber piece would act as sandpaper... The plate worked.
The final pic shows the gas shelf complete. Note the anchor fits snuggly underneath. After 5 years of motoring I have never heard the anchor noise typical of small boats in big waves...
Friday, August 15, 2008
Fortunately my brother in law, the factory owner, felt sorry for me as my cheap tent was giving up the ghost after months of rain and wind. I bought a boat trailer and moved the boat to a factory near Hartford, CT... and for a month, I drove to the factory almost every night to finish the boat. The factory was an hour and a half away - a true labor of love... but I had to get this boat finished. I'm impatient by nature, which is boat building's greatest enemy I discovered. There is no room for impatience in this activity...
In these pics you'll see the boat after decking and initial painting. Electrical system was installed, the battery was mounted on the battery platform, the gas tank was ready for the "gas shelf" and my butt was ready for the "ass shelf" - all finished at this stage... I invented all of these mods, as they were not in the plans and after 5 years of running the boat, they proved successful (if I do say so myself ; )... but that's half the fun of building a boat - you can explore and if it stinks, rip it out and start over.
A nice piece of meranti was added to the top of the unfinished floatation chamber... I didn't want the decking to oil-can, plus, I wanted a good grounding area for the eventual cleats.
A farmer friend of mine gave me a 100 + year old Scythe handle to be used as a poor man's center console... Thankfully the boat is extremely well balanced in our wavy bay here in Rhode Island, i.e. the pilot stands at the pivot point. Nonetheless, the scythe adds a strong sense of security as I drive the boat standing up.
Next to last pic is of the hull-throughs and finally the whole boat prior to decking.
The coaming was added at this stage... worked with a knot-free doug fir, a blast to cut and shape... bent beautifully... and strong. Built a "gas shelf" (for the gas tank) and "battery platform"... for ah... the battery ...
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Hull is "faired" and painted, boat is flipped for the last time... and brought back to the cradle...
What is "fairing" ?, it's a system of filling holes, imperfections and divots and sanding, filling the same imperfections again, then sanding, and then filling the same imperfections again, and so on. I don't know why they call it "fairing", it's actually quite unfair ; ). I made a decision at this point to spend the time necessary to make a boat that I am proud of. I wanted it to look like it popped out of a mold. Which is perverse. Make a wooden boat that looks -- well -- plastic... what a world. My wife informed me at this stage that she is burying me in the stupid thing, so I may as well have something I'm proud of for all eternity.
After the boat is turned, it's time to fair the inside. The red stuff you see is an extremely light powdery substance called "microballoons" which is mixed with epoxy. It's tough stuff, but at the same time, it's easy to sand. Up to this point I used a maple wood flour (the brown stuff) mixed with epoxy. It's extremely hard to sand. Only a random orbital sander is effective against maple wood flour. All other sanding techniques (vibrating, by-hand) are much, much harder.