Sunday, November 06, 2005

Almost ready to start

Well it's taking me a heckuva long time, but I think I'm almost ready to begin building this boat. Over the last week I have ..... ummm, I don't know, but it sure took a long time to do it.

1) I have made up about 30 c-shaped jigs that will be used to hold the strips in place while the glue dries.

2) I have cut a bunch of wedges out of scrap that will be used together with the jigs mentioned above. I still need to make more of these.

3) I found a use for the crappy peg board hooks that I was told would fit my slot wall in the garage but didn't even though I kept trying to use them to hold stuff on the wall and they kept falling off but I would curse and valiantly try to put them back up where they would stay until bumped slightly. [My advice - get slot wall hooks for your slot wall, don't try to "make do". And don't buy the hooks at the hardware store either, go to a place that sells store fixtures and pick up a bunch of used ones for cheap.] Now, what was I talking about? Oh yeah ... I drilled holes into the external strongback that the pegs of these hooks would fit into and voila, instant strip holders. I bent the end of some of the pegboard hooks in order to keep the strips from falling off. As a result, I now have a handy place to keep a small pile of strips on either side of the boat.

4) I put a strip-gluing holder onto the external strongback so that it will hold 3 strips at a time, cove side up, while I add the glue in preparation for their being placed on the forms.

5) I put masking tape on the edge of all of the forms so that the strips will not end up glued permanently to the forms.

6) I knocked the internal stems off of the bow and stern end forms (they were hot glued on) and then taped the end forms & sparingly re-hot glued the stem pieces in place. The way I had originally done it, the glue joint would have been too strong and I would have run into troubles trying to remove the forms from the kayak. As it is now I am hoping that the glue is strong enough to keep the stems in place during stripping, but weak enough to separate easily when the time comes to pull the hull off of the forms.

7.1) I scarfed some 16' pieces of cedar together with short pieces to make 4 strips about 18 feet long. The first strips that go on the boat are aligned with the "sheer" line - the line that defines where the deck and hull meet. On the guillemot kayak the sheer starts at the tip of the bow and curves down along the toward the middle, then back up towards the tip of the stern. According to the book, it is best to use full-length strips for this first strip since it is the one to which all others are aligned. My first attempt at scarfing strips "across the thickness" did not go well despite the able assistance of my uncle-in-law Barry. The trouble was that I am trying to do the cuts (on a steep angle of 1:7 or thereabouts) using a handsaw. The aforementioned book describes a method using a belt sander, which I do not have. My method was to clamp all the pieces together in a stack (8 pieces - two for each strip), and cut them on an angle (no mitre box) all at the same time with a japanese pull saw. Theoretically, this should mean that the strips end up cut with the same angle and should mate together nicely. I was wrong. Without a jig to keep the saw straight, the angle cut was not precise. I glued together the strips but after the glue dried I was unsatisfied with the results and cut them apart and started over. Part of the problem was also that the strips seem to have shifted after being clamped, something that was bound to happen since the strips were clamped on the bench but extended well beyond the bench and may have been bumped by the door when it was opened or by me as I worked in the shop.

7.2) On my second attempt to cut a decent scarf, I chose to cut across the width which proved to be a bit more manageable. I also did not set them up to glue until the very end of my work night in the shop so that I could not inadvertently bump them while I worked. This second attempt was somewhat more successful and produced a satisfactory (not great but it'll be OK) scarf on 2 out of 4 strips. That should give me the material I need to put on those first 2 strips (one each side) along the sheer line. If I'm gonna have to do this again, I really should build some sort of mitre box.

8) I have started to plane the bead off of the 2 strips that will be the first ones to go along the sheer line. Once that's finished (a few minutes?) I'll have to bevel the edge so that it is parallel to the floor when installed. This allows the deck and hull to meet flush without any gaps (theoretically). Once that's done, I'll have to fix that sheer strip in place (hot glue, staples, clamps) and I will at that point have officially begun to strip the kayak. Finally.