Sunday, August 24, 2014

Visible Progress!!

A friend of mine was building an airplane in his garage a few years back.   His son brought his friend over to see the construction.  The plane was very early in the build.  The kid's friend was not impressed and said, "it does not look much like a plane to me"...ouch.

Well with the progress I have made over the last couple of days will allow me to bring people into my shop and without even telling them what I am doing, they will be able tell that I am building a boat.  This is a huge milestone!  It also has forced me into rearranging my shop for at least third time in the last month.  This little boat has a much bigger footprint than I really expected...time to move the tablesaw, again.  I do have the room, but my organizational skills are a bit lacking so I am still stepping over stuff.

This is the view of the Pocketship as a visitor enters the Pocketship Yard.

I did a lot of reading of Pocketship blogs in anticipation of receiving my receiving my kit.  There are a bunch of not only great builders out there, but great builders that are tremendous writers.  The most informative blogs are the ones written by guys who don't mind admitting their mistakes or where they had difficulties.  There have been a few places in the build that I have dreaded after reading blog horror stories.  One of these in particular has been the closing of the gap between the bilge panel and the upper panel towards the bow and the bending of the plywood at the bow of the bilge panels.
I have to admit it really was not bad in my case due to all the warnings and solutions that the blogs have given me.  I also picked up a trick on wood bending from a woodworker friend.  He insisted that it is heat that bends the wood more so than moister.  He show me a piece of solid oak he bend with nothing more than a heat gun he was using for a chair back.

Here is how I attacked the bilge panels:

Stitch the two panels to this point.  This is where the tension starts to really kick in.  I used my heat gun to heat the plywood on the outside (underneath in this position).  Keeping the gun moving over a two or three foot area from the bow point(s) back.  It does not take long and to be careful of scorching I kept the gun moving.  After a couple of minutes I was able to squeeze the the bow tips together with my fingers and stitch them together.

After that came the dreaded side panels.  The problem that seems to be most blogged about is the gap that is hard to close towards the bow.

This gap!

Before I got to this point I was prepared for battle.  You can see in the above picture I have a couple of blocks screwed on the opposite sides of the gap and a clamp squashing the bejeebers out of it.  I pre made all the blocks and alignment tools in advance, set up a chair, laid out all the stews and tools I needed and got after it.

Batched out the blocks.
I had all the blocks predrilled and ready for action.

The hole in the thicker block is large enough for the screw to "spin".  the thinner block is
 used to back up the screw on the inside of the hull.

The net result is that it really was not that hard.  It is a lot of work,  but work that is not frustrating.

Pulled together without much fuss.

 And here she is!  As almost every blog I read when the builder gets to this point says, "looking like a boat!"
iPhones have pretty good cameras!

The next worrisome step that I anticipate from the blog warnings is the climbing in and out of the hull  before the epoxy "welds" are in to work on the bulkheads.  We will see how that goes tomorrow.

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