Monday, September 17, 2012

Ruffling my own feathers...

How is it that a project can take months longer than the weeks estimated to completion? It seems impossible to have been so optimistic about the amount of time I thought it was going to take to build the Duck Punt when it has taken so long to get to this point. I guess when you only have a few hours per week and you strive to do the best job you can it is bound to take a while but I had no idea how time consuming a boat build really is. Thank goodness I didn't take on building a tall ship!

A really exciting step happened this week and one I have been waiting a long time for. I was finally ready to mark out and cut the actual sheer line of the boat. The sheer is the curve which defines the side of the boat, and although the Duck Punt has a very subtle sheer, it is still so much nicer seeing that than seeing the ugly coffin box profile it had before. 
The process involved using that long, straight, thin piece of wood called a "batten." I measured up from the bottom of the boat at specific points along the sides, as dictated by the plans, and essentially connected the dots with the batten loosely clamped at the bow and stern. Then I scribed a line along the bottom of the batten marking out the sheer on the side of the boat. Then I grabbed my trusty Festool jigsaw, took a deep breath, and cut to the line!

Defining the sheer.

A long and stressful cut!

 Finally, a boat with an attractive profile!

 The view from the bow. This boat is starting to look fast! (It won't be.)

 The thickness of the sides with the additional sheer plank.

Next I needed to cut the hole for the mast in the mast thwart. Then a test fit of the mast thwart support, to be epoxied in after the mast step is installed. The mast step is the base that the mast sits on in the bottom of the boat. I still need to make the mast step but the thwart looks great! 

 Another small but necessary step was the construction and installation of the thole pin planks, as I call them. These will be drilled to accommodate the thole pin that the steering oar is braced against. As you remember if you read the last post, I had a crazy clamp-up for the ash laminations. A few passes over the belt sander cleaned up the glue squeeze-out, leaving a beautifully laminated square plank. 

 Unfortunately, the boat is NOT square which means I needed to taper the planks to match the curve of the hull. It was a simple matter of holding the plank up to the hull and tracing it's profile on the plank, then going back to the belt sander and grinding the plank to the line. Below you see there is still more work to do!

 But, after a while you have a profile which matches the curve of the hull perfectly. This of course takes many test fits to get it perfect, (or close enough.)

 Another big step which I wasn't at all sure how I was going to tackle was the feathering of the sheer planks. It turned out to be a lot easier than I thought! I just turned the boat on it's side and worked at the transition with a plane until I had the rough taper, and then finished feathering it in using a palm sander with an aggressive 80 grit paper. I uncovered an epoxy void, but this will all be fiber-glassed over so I am not at all worried about it. 

 A wicked looking bow! Of course I am going to have to soften the bow considerably, but for now I love seeing it looking all tough and mean.

 Another view...

That is all for now! I figure I am about 80% done. There is still a lot to do but when I look at how far I have come I am really happy. I still can hardly believe it but I think I might actually finish this thing! Duck Punt!!!

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