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September 21, 2013

Throwing Your Hat Over the Fence... Building a Boat or Whatever...

Teal three pics 420.jpg

Before I even get started, I want to say one thing -- just because this post (and others to follow) will be about boat construction, that doesn't mean that it's all about boat building. Far from it... In the past I've built bird houses, a trellis, a feeding tray etc. (you can Google on those...) But the focus never was specifically about just one construction project. Nope... As I document the creation of different 'things' (like this boat), I'm really just guilting you to get off your duff and build something for yourself. If I can build a boat, you can built a birdhouse. You get the idea.

Alrighty then... What have we got above? It's a Teal I built years ago. It's not a big deal really. I plan on spending 40 hours and about $100 - $200 dollars on her. As boats go, IMHO the Teal is the ideal first craft... The plans are available from the link above as is a book "Instant Boats" with a chapter that describes the build. The Teal is a superb calm-water boat, great for rowing and relaxed sailing... I'm using two sheets of 1/4" AC ply along with the usual lumberyard stock. More about the materials as construction continues.

Next time I post on this, I probably will have ripped one of the sheets of AC into three equal-sized strips of 16" (minus saw kerf) for the sides. I'll occasionally keep you updated from there...

But for now, I've ordered my plywood and in doing so have tossed my hat over the fence. Now I have to climb the fence. So what's your fence?

Busy as always,

CapeCodAlan


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June 27, 2012

Boating Safety...

Hi,

Well, tis Summer, and tis time to hit the waves... Being a twice-tried drowning expert, I thought I might throw out a quick bit of advice concerning boating safety... (Besides we get this kind of weather with little warning...)

resized storm_IMG_4339.JPG

First, go to the United States Coast Gard Boating Safety Resource Center and read! Having memorized that site, the rest should be gravy, but here goes...

  • First, know yourself... No one is as good on the water as he thinks he is. That's why there are so many dead seasoned sailors and fishermen.
  • Next, know your boat... No one's boat is as dependable as he thinks it is, especially in surprise conditions like this...
  • Buy the best PFDs available. Buy the ones that you and your guests want to wear. Price is absolutely no object. Buy a PFD that you'll look forward to wearing and wear it from sand to sand -- that is, wear it from terra firma to terra firma. And always wear a PFD when on docks!
  • Don't drink and boat. Duh!!!
  • Always file a float plan with several sources and follow through.
  • Never be without communication and location. (Another "Duh!!!)
  • Be polite... There are a ton of people out there who are beginners.
  • The air temp on water will probably differ from that on land -- pack an extra set of sweats and a knit cap, as well as dressing in zippered clothing. Be ready to be cold or hot depending on the Gods. Also, uncle Charlie's straw hat might just come in handy...
  • Water and snacks are critical...
  • Did you forget your medication?
  • Suppose you have to go to the bathroom or get seasick?
  • Do you have rope and know how to use it?
  • A carry flashlight and sharp knife are musts!
  • Camera?
  • Are you keeping dry stuff dry? Really?
  • Do keys float?
  • Sunblock?
Just use your head and BE SAFE!

By the dock and the feeder...

CapeCodAlan


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July 28, 2011

Let's Build a Birdhouse, a Boat, or Something!

Hi,

Well, 'tis the time to start thinking about building birdhouses, roosts, etc. As I already have my hands full in that department, I thought I'd just throw in some basic woodworking math that will come in handy regardless of the endeavor...

Might as well cut to the chase -- how to handle that age old dilemma of, "What's the cheapest purchase of wood for a given need? (Do I buy a 12' 1X6 or a 6' 1X12? What happens when I start ripping lumber/sheet goods? How do I calculate the effect of the blade kerf etc.?") Alrighty then... Here's your answer short and sweet:

  1. Draw out what you want. In the pic below, I'm anticipating ripping a sheet of 4X8 plywood into three equal widths ("X") for the sides of a boat...
  2. 48 inches cut into thirds.jpg

    Since the total usage will be three "X" and two saw kerfs, the fence setting on the saw needs to reflect this equation: 3X plus two kerf (or blade widths) equals to 48"

  3. Next, I measure the blade thickness (with the saw unplugged) to give me the kerf. In my case, that equates to 1/8" or .125"
  4. So... 3X plus .250" is going to have to total 48"... Or 3X = 47.75"... Or our mystery width "X" is 47.75" divided by three... That is "X" is 15.91667". Wonderful... How do I measure .91667" and set the rip fence accordingly??? Check the table below...
  5. 128ths_resized full screen.jpg

    (Click on the above to see full screen...)

    It turns out that 15.91667" is pretty close to 15 & 29/32". Set your fence to that, and you'll be well nigh to spot on... When you're done, just re-set the fence to the narrowest slice, and a couple clean-up passes will make all equal with only a smidgen of sawdust to tell the tale....

And that's it... I use this sort of calculation on virtually every project ... from crow trays to water craft.... Hope this make sense...

I'll be by the feeders making sawdust...

CapeCodAlan

P.S. If you really want to have fun, pick up a digital caliper from one of the woodworking outlets to measure the kerf... Yee haw!

P.P.S. Don't tell Mrs. CCA, but I've started building another boat... As long as we keep this on the 'hush hush', I don't think she'll notice a 16' sailboat taking shape in the garage...


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March 24, 2011

Another Loss... Harold "Dynamite" Payson

Not too long ago, I wrote of the passing of pioneering boat designer Phil Bolger... A couple days ago, we in the boating community (and the larger, "Ah hell, I can build it myself" community) lost another, professionally-related "keeper" - Harold H. 'Dynamite' Payson...

Dory cover new_400.JPG

It's tough to describe Dynamite to those whose instinct is to crack the phone book and check book whenever a boat or a bookshelf or a bird feeder is called for. His approach was, "Just do it!"

Let me back up a bit... As a boat builder, Payson's professional relationship with marine architect Bolger was compelling to say the least - Phil would design a small, easily assembled boat and then send the plans to Dynamite. He in turn would build the prototype, make notes on what he thought were appropriate improvements to the plans, and then send them back to Bolger... And so the process was repeated until both men were happy with the final design. Dynamite eventually immortalized those simple but wonderful boats as "Instant" (no need for lofting, frames, or molds) in umpteen books. (He wrote a total of ten books and hundreds of articles.) Suffice it to say that he and Phil made for a historic team. Between the two of them, they designed/built over 1,200 boats (though the collaborative "Instants" numbers around 30). If you want to build a boat, see the book list below.

But that's only the beginning... Harold Payson was a master boat modeler - just search the Web. There isn't much to say here - he simply was a master.

Finally, IMHO, he was one of the finest American writers I've ever encountered. If you aspire to learn (or be intimated by) the written word, buy "Instant Boats", "Build the New Instant Boats", and/or "Instant Boatbuilding with Dynamite Payson". This man's writing was as sharp and tight as his wit was dry - brilliance. (No doubt Dynamite would kick my backside if he could read this stumbling rant...)

And that's about it... No, that's not about it! Over the years (I bought his first book in '80 and have been the moderator of his forum for the last four...) I exchanged umpteen letters and phone calls with him. It's not like we were best buddies, but I'd call him a friend and a mentor on several levels. Damn I'm going to miss him!

Misty eyed by the feeders...

CapeCodAlan

P.S. Coming up... Two more book reviews... "The Crossley ID Guide" and "Hawks from Every Angle"!


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