Monday, May 23, 2005

The Frame is Finished

Yesterday Greg and I put the finishing touches on the frame -- unless he decides to re-tweak, which he often does. We shimmed all of the areas where there were loose joints on the temporary frame. We're now ready to lay the hull. Next week, we will be in Northeastern Wisconsin, for our annual canoe/whitewater kayak trip, so there won't be any working on the boat. Instead, we'll be playing in the canoes we made last year and paddling our kayaks.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Another reader question

Here's another question/comment from Squid.

---Begin Original Comment---
Looking good guys, did you order the pre cut kit for this boat? Do yo think it saved you a bunch of time? I don't think I could afford to get the kit for one of these big boats I would probably get enough wood at a time to do the hull and then buy more for the rest. keep up the great work guys you inspire me. can't wait till I build my next boat. It will either be this one or the HB-20, possibly stretched to a 22 (feet). You can strech by 10 percent.
---End Original Comment

Yessir, we did order the precut kit, and there's no doubt in my mind that it's saved us a boatload of time. (I hope you'll forgive the irresistable pun.) It saved us the hassle of measuring the dimensions of each piece -- and remeasuring, because we're picky. It saved us the time of cutting each piece by hand, because they pre-routed everything, leaving us just small tabs to cut, and the kit may have even saved Greg some money, because he likely would have wasted more wood than the makers of the kit did. Okay, it didn't save any money, but it definitely saved us a lot of time. The big benefit of buying the kit is saving time. The biggest benefit of cutting the pieces yourself, as you alluded to, is that you can spread the cost out over a longer period of time by buying stuff as you need it.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

It's starting to look like a boat

Originally uploaded by OzzyC.
This week, we set the rest of the sacrificial frame pieces in place, using the same process described in last week's entry. This photo shows the full skeleton of the boat, and based on the shape of the skeleton, you should now be able to mentally picture the shape of the hull.

At this point, the stringers and sacrificial frame pieces are not precisely set in their final position, but they're pretty close. Some of the notches are too wide, too deep (or too shallow), or some combination thereof. But again, it's pretty close.

Next week we will do more precise adjustments of the frame by cutting the too-shallow notches a little deeper, and shimming the areas where there's too much slop. That process will likely take a couple of sessions, because we're picky on precision.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Question/Comment from a reader

The following is a comment from Squid, a member of the forum at

The picture Squid's referring to is shown earlier in the blog, but you can click here for a direct link to the picture.

---Begin original comment---
[S]hure looks like a flat bottomed boat at the transome end. How do you think it will handle in the chop and wind. I know they have wind in Iowa. I am interested in building this boat but will wait till you have yours done and can tell me how it handles. Squid.
---End original comment---

This is a valid point, and one that I honestly hadn't considered. But even if I had, this boat actually belongs to my friend Greg, so I didn't have much input on which plans were actually purchased. I'm just the first mate. (Call me Gilligan.) Now that the point is brought up though, here's my take.

You're absolutely correct, this is a flat-bottomed boat. The result is that it will probably rock-n-roll a little more in choppy water, but I wouldn't worry about that a whole lot. It's going to be a big, heavy boat, so I suspect that it'll take quite a bit to make the boat roll excessively. As far as the wind goes, I don't think it'll be a huge factor. The rear transom isn't much different from your standard power boat, so I suspect the amount of surface area that the wind could catch is probably comparable to a standard displacement hull. The front transom is relatively small, so I don't see wind as a factor here either, and the same goes for the sides. Besides, it's not like we're rowing this big-ass boat. Greg's going to put in a couple of big motors to do the work for us.

In short, the only way I see wind being a factor is when the wind causes waves on the water, in which case the boat will probably rock a bit more than a displacement hulled boat.

Mounting Frame Pieces

Mounting Frame Pieces
Originally uploaded by OzzyC.
We've begun to mount the horizontal (port-to-starboard) frame pieces. There are six in all, and yesterday we mounted three.

We started by temporarily removing the stringers. This was Greg's idea, and I saw no need to keep them mounted, so they were pulled down. Next we measured the distances for all of the frame pieces, relative to the rear transom, and marked these distances on the building frame.

Next, we used the laser level to find the horizontal mounting point. We lined up the laser level with the reference point on the rear transom that we created a few weeks back. Next, we ran a piece of string down the bow-to-stern center line. This way we have the horizontal and vertical points of reference on each frame piece accurately measured. (You may remember that we drew these reference points on the frame pieces when we constructed them.)

Next we screwed 2x4 jigs into the building frame, in preparation for mounting the frame pieces to these same 2x4 jigs.

Next, we set the frame pieces on a floor jack, and lifted the jack to the correct height and center. This allowed us to make fine adjustments and get the frame pieces accurately placed. Once we lined up the horizontal points of reference with the laser level, and the vertical point of reference with the string, we screwed the frame pieces to the 2x4 jigs. This process went very quickly.

NOTE: Once we got the second frame piece mounted, we reset the stringers in place, knowing that it would be difficult to place them later.

Click here to see the video summary of what we did.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Front Transom Gap
Originally uploaded by OzzyC.

After we got the front transom mounted to the jig, we set the middle stringers in place. Lo and behold, it turned out that we mounted the front transom too far forward. This required us to unmount the front transom from the jig frame and move the whole thing back a few inches. This time though, we were a little smarter. We temporarily set the stringers in place using sawhorses, and redid the whole front transom process mentioned in the previous entry. Now we're good to go on the length of the boat.

Click here to see the video summary of what we did.

Mounting the Front Transom

Mounting the Front Transom
Originally uploaded by OzzyC.
We hit another milestone by getting the front transom mounted to the jig.

This process needed to be even more precise than the process of mounting the rear transom. With the rear transom, we needed to make sure that we were correct on two axes... think X,Y axis from geometry class. When we mounted the rear transom, we had to make sure our measurements were consistent on both the X and Y axes, or the whole boat would be off.

When we mounted the front transom, we had to make sure that we had correct measurements on all three axes... think X,Y and Z axis from trig classes.

This accomplishment took a lot of thought and planning. We had to make sure the transom was at the correct angle. If the angle was too small, the boat would have a flat front, and woldn't plane correctly. If the angle was too big, the bow of the boat would be too low, potentially allowing water to come over the bow. In order to accomplish this, we cut pieces of 2x6 to the correct angle, and screwed these pieces into the transom. We then screwed sections of 2x4 onto these 2x6s. The 2x4s would be then screwed into the jig frame on the floor.

In the accompanying picture, you will also see that we screwed a second 2x4-and-2x2 section onto the back of the 2x6 angle pieces, and the 2x2s stick up a little more than 6 inches from the center of the bottom of the front transom. This is because the reference line is 6 inches below the point of the transom. (Remember, we're building this upside-down for the moment, so that's why the 2x2s are pointing up.) We used two pieces of 2x2, set in equal positions relative to the center point of the transom, so that we have two points of measurement, to ensure maximum accuracy.

Next, we rough-set the transom onto the jig frame, and clamped it to the jig, so that we could tweak our settings, setting the transom in place permanently with screws. After clamping the transom to the jig frame, we used a level and a tape measure to ensure we had things absolutely accurate. We checked the height using the laser level, making sure the reference points (marked on the 2x2s) were accurate relative to the reference points on the rear transom. We checked the distance from the rear transom by measuring the distance from the front to back on both the left and right sides. We made sure the transoms were centered correctly by measuring from front-left to rear right, and by front-right to rear-left. We knew we were good to go when we verified that these measurements were the same distance.

Laser Leveling the Rear Transom

Laser Leveling the Rear Transom
Originally uploaded by OzzyC.
In preparation of mounting the front transom, we used a laser level to make sure the rear transom was mounted correctly. The mounting of the front transom started immediately following this verification.