Thursday, March 5, 2015

Where Did February Go?

Ooops, I skipped February!  No updates last month but at least the month was short.  Here are my sick (two weeks of no boat building), my daughter's basketball team went deep into the playoffs, snuck in a ski trip, general laziness, and when not dealing with all the aforementioned I have been working on the boat.

Before this weekend I was getting a little discouraged about making it to the Texas 200 with my new Pocketship.  It has been my goal to have this thing in the water at least 6 weeks before the start of the 200. It starts June 8, 2015.  I am typing this on March 4.  Holy smokes where does the time go?  The good news is the progress has rally taken off the last three days.  The companionway hatch woodwork has been done, the entire topside has been glassed and epoxy filled, sanding the topsides is about 50% done, work on the rudder has started, and the rub rails are halfway installed.  The boat should be ready to flip next week for the work on the underside of the hull.

One of the biggest obstacles to getting this beast done before the Texas 200 is all the electronics I have planed (and bought) to install.  Cool stuff like a stereo that will bluetooth to my phone, a depth finder, interior lights, exterior navigation lights, volt meter, master switch, Garmin GPS, well you get the idea a bunch of stuff.  Unfortunately electronics is not one of my fortes.  Then there are spars, a mast, boom gallows, find a trailer, rigging and a lot of painting.  Good thing is it is all fun!

I had a case of "cut it twice and still too short" in the building of the bow sprit.  Looking at the plans I thought the cross section dimensions were 2X3.  Turned out it was 2 1/2 X 3.  There are no really good sources in my town (that I have found) for sitka spruce.  The wood is great for boat builders, strong and light with long straight grain and no knots.  Works great for spars and masts. Turns out a trip to San Antonio for a girls basketball playoff game was also a location of a great wood store.  Told the guy what I wanted, and being the knowledgeable wood guy, he was asked if I was building a boat.

Building the hood for the companionway has been a nice departure from the "epoxy mud pies" and never ending sanding.  This woodworking is a bit different because like the entire boat, a 90 degree angle is rare.  This hood has compound angles on curved edges. It enough to make your head explode at times.  Somehow I got through it.  My high school geometry teacher Mr. Morrison would be proud.  We used to shorten his name to "Moe" because of his haircut looked like Moe from the three stooges, but I am getting a little off the subject.

Speaking of getting off the subject, this boat project is perfect for the attention deficit problems that I very frequently suffer from.  Lately I have been bouncing around with three or four projects going at once.  This is really necessary because as soon as I put epoxy on a part I really can't work on that part for the next few hours.  Currently I am working on the rudder, companionway cover, bow sprit, and rub rails. Works for me.

Another one of those acute or oblique angles...I can't remember which is which.

Router table makes a good workbench.  Every horizontal surface in the shop seems to be full.

Built that router table a long time ago and never used it much until now.  It gets a pretty good work out on this project.
Plug manufacturing for the hood screw holes.
Plugs inserted.

Had some left over bronze screws from the cabin sole floorboard.  I can find a lot of places to use the extras before this project is over.
Plugs flush cut.

Hood in place.
I did the sides in mahogany and plan to leave them with a bright (clear) finish.  I avoided screw holes in the tops by using clamps and glue during assembly. The plywood in the kit is oversized so alignment is easy.  Get it close and trim the overhang.

Found another horizontal surface in the shop not being used...the table saw another great workbench!
One of the roof supports.

I noticed a slight sag in the cabin roof when checking the fit of the companionway hood.  It was not much, maybe a 1/4".  I hated to epoxy and fiberglass with the sag.  Instead I added the temporary braces to straighten things out before glassing the top.

One of those measure 900 times, cut one moments.  These holes are for the storage hatches.

One of the things my dad did was never throw anything away.  Guess that happens when you grow up in the depression.  This asset/curse was handed down to me.  He didn't sell things very often either.  I am really grateful for this.  The 1940's Delta planer works like it did when it was new in his lumber yard he owned after getting back from WWII.  It sure is cheaper to buy rough lumber...
Dimensioning sitka spruce for attempt #2 on the bow sprit.
Quiet machine too!  I can have a conversation while it is in use.  Try that with one of those lunch box planers that are now in vogue.

It smells good too.
First strip of three pieces on the rub rail.
Second strip.

That pretty much catches up with the progress except for some rudder pictures.  Until next time!


  1. It is good to have a goal to work towards. In my case, having a goal suspense is what kicks my building into gear. Keep it up and I'll see you at the Tx200! :)

  2. Thanks Mike. I hope to see you there!

  3. Hi John, I really like your blog and thanks for the excellant video.
    Could you please let me know about your gudgeon and pintel set that you have used.