Monday, November 30, 2015


Whenever I undertake a woodworking, or other, project I seem to spend a lot of time just standing there, looking at the early phases of construction or the plans.  Thinking about what I eventually want to do or change with the design, or working out a difficult section. There is usually lots of doodling and sketching on yellow legal pads everywhere (note to self - I need a big white board).

The same goes for this dory build.  I've probably spent more time staring at the plans or the boat, trying to figure out how I want to attack the (insert transom, bow post, bulkheads, footwell, seats, whatever, here) than physically building.  Right now the decking and hatch frames & gutters are getting a lot of my attention. Especially b/c I've modified Andy's plans quite a bit.  First from just some simple slight variations in measurement & cutting,  which can grow over the course of a big boat. A quarter of an inch here, or a half there, can add up to a solid number over 16'9".  But more from conscious decisions to change the way I want my final boat to fit me - in the footwell dimensions, size of the seats and seat backs, altered hatch sizes, slope angle of the hatch lids toward center, size of bow and stern hatches, etc...).  This of course leads to dramatic changes in all of the decking dimensions.

That's fine, I made the choice and will live with it.  But it requires a new emphasis on accurate measurements and use of cheaper (cardboard) templates. Big pieces. So I've been dumpster diving the local furniture and appliance stores.

Then there's the hatch gutters.  There are easy and hard ways to do these.  The basic requirements are to securely close the hatch lids and try to get most (all) of the water off the lids & deck and down into the oarsman or passenger footwells, and then out via drains.  Typically this is done by gutters which sit below the level of the hatch lid, which is separated from the gutter and hopefully the majority of the water by some type of a weatherstrip seal.

Here's one cross-section option:

So for now, I'm going to go get some coffee, head up to the couch and maybe watch some football and take a nap.  Looking for some subconscious inspiration.

Road Kill

I've been looking at the transom a lot lately.  It's there no matter how much I try to avoid focusing on it, kind of like road kill on the side of the highway.

Every now and then, I'll dabble a bit with it, thinking about drawing the top arch and how to cut and build the removable piece for using a motor mount. Today, after this pic, I used my trusty Surfoam to smooth the edges b/w the side panels and back of transom, which are now pretty fair.

Plus,  I need to be spending some more time on what may be the most important feature of the boat.  I'm speaking, of course, about the all-important transom art.  Could there be anything more important than what type of design or drawing I'll be adding to the back of my boat?  Fashion certainly once again trumps function here.

Here's a wonderful montage of other's rears (boats that is) I found somewhere on a blog or web site (can't remember).  I'll be glad to attribute the photographer's name to this pic if someone knows whose it is:

But mostly I'm thinking about how much of a pain it will be if I screw up the arch cut, and how to do it (circular saw, recip, jig saw, Japanese hand saw? I'm pretty sure my table saw is out).  I'm holding off for now since I'd rather have the extra material on top to protect the transom, and side panel edges (or gunwales if I install them first), when I turn the dory over for hull prep, glassing, sanding and painting.

So the transom cut will have to hold off for a while.  But it's never far from my thoughts.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Footwell Installed, On to the Seats

I added some risers on the bottom of the footwell box, about 10" off the floor with a slope from back to front.

Then installed some side panels which will serve as the inside bulkhead support for the side hatches.

Then filleted and seam taped. Was a tough and messy job, as you can see on the boat floor before I cleaned up.

The front and rear seats and seat backs were then measured and cut. Since everything is just a little off from my plan dimensions by now, I used cardboard templates and compass dividers to scribe a final cut line on the Core Cell. My supply of big enough foam pieces is almost out, so I got one shot at getting each right.

Each seat has a 2 degree slope to drain water off the seats into the passenger footwells.  Two degrees equals a 0.4" rise over a 12" run, so approx 1/2" or a little more for my purposes.

After rough measurement and dry fitting, seats and backs are glassed.

Ruby was absolutely no help today.

Final thoughts for today - while I'm really looking forward to getting back to wood working (my decking and hatches will be 3/8" hydrotek and frames Port Orford cedar), I need to buff up my use of the compass and tick stick. With the Core Cell it's pretty easy to sneak up on a measurement, using a utility knife to shave and bevel an edge to the right fit. Not so with plywood, where the dimensions and bevel angle need to be pretty spot on.

For instance, the bow hatch where there will be nothing but compound angles and damn few straight lines for reference.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hello Dolly

Finished trimming and Surfoaming (I'm certain that is a word) the footwell panels.

Then I made a dolly, with a support on casters, so I can roll the boat in and out of the garage.  Both to enjoy any nice weather but also to get outside when I can for sanding etc.

I anticipate a lot of sanding in the near future.

Time for turkey, and then a good nap on the couch watching the Cowboys hopefully lose.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Home for the Holidays

Reinforcements have arrived! Mainly for turkey, dressing, and bing cherry salad (old family favorite), but surely also for a little filleting, sanding, and glassing?



Boatman's Footwell

Today I measured, cut and glassed the pieces which make up the boatman's footwell.

This required some assistance from Vivi, trying to get a feeling for how high to place the floor off the bottom hull.

The entire box, once assembled, will be a true rectangle so that the top panel edges will be parallel with the outside edges of the side hatch lids. But the footwell floor, b/w the risers below the floor panel and the side panels which rise up to meet the side hatches, will have a slope from stern to bow which will drain water into the drain tube.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bulkheads & Tomatoes

Another day, another chance to play with resin.  I'm really looking forward to working with the wood framing and decking coming up pretty soon.  

Today, I filleted and seam taped the bulkheads.  Yep, that's about it.

Amazingly, the boat still eyeballs pretty straight.  The carpenter's levels show the same too.

Friends coming over tonight for steaks.  We finally checked the paper bags where we put all of the "hopeless" green heirloom tomatoes we were unwilling to throw away, and, lo and behold...

Just beautiful Gold Medals, Yellow & Red Brandywines, and Goosecreek Blacks.  Woo hoo!!

Festina Lente

Making haste, but slowly. Some days, the work just melts away.  Others, it seems nothing gets done.

First Kevin & I measured the bulkhead marks on the side panels, using a folded piece of tape, marked with each bulkhead spot, attached to a screw in the bow post.

The goal was to keep them symmetric side to side, but also equidistant b/w port vs starboard marks marks along the chine.

This lead to some head scratching, several cups of coffee, and re-marking. Eventually I pretty much used the original lines.

4 simple words from the previous blog post, "tomorrow, Saturday, the bulkheads".

Man, what a pain.

The first two, BH's #2 and 3, the large central ones framing the oarsman footwell, were drawn from the plans, cut, and then fiddled with for what seemed like hours.

I added cam straps to try pulling in the side panels, and kept cutting the bottom and side edges for a better fit.

And then finally decided it was a mistake to make the boat fit the plans. There are just enough differences b/w my boat and spec to mean the bulkheads, and later the decking, need to individually measured and cut.  The shape is what the shape will be.  Besides I like the way it looks now.

So off to the side go v.1 of #2 & 3.  Not, however, to the ignominious fate of the first transom. I'll cut them down and use them for the smaller bulkheads. This time I measured directly from the boat.  This wasn't as simple as it sounds since there are angles everywhere, and the width at the top can only be determined after establishing the height, while inside the boat, since of course each side panel is sloping.  And at a variable angle depending on where in the centerline. This required several calls to able assistant Kevin to hold various things while measuring.

Ruby, the Dory Dog, was however absolutely no help.

A dry fitting of all 6 bulkheads looked pretty good. I did cut down the height of two of them a smidge to leave enough room on the top of the side panels for the gunwales.

On to more glassing. Each panel got covered on both sides

Oh yeah, I also faired the joint b/w the bow post and the side panels.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Back to Glassing

Heading home from Gunnison.

Back to work. 
Got back from my road trip and, after walking the Dory Dog, settled in for some more glassin'.  

It's occurred to me that I could almost use the same pic for showing the production of the last few days.  Sure doesn't look like much has changed.   But these are new ones, after adding the inside bottom biaxial layer, at Andy's advice.  I had skipped this step, worried about it leading to Mistake #5 while trying to do it by myself.

1708 Biax 25 oz. cloth with mat is thirsty stuff!  I nearly used 1/2 gallon of resin on just this single layer. Also, would have been much tougher without the metal laminating roller tool (looks like a stack of coins on a bar) to get the cloth wetted out and major bubbles out. Thanks for the tip Greg! Folowed by a LOT of squeegeeing. At least this removed a good part of the excess resin, and weight. 

I still have to use the 1708 biax for the outside bottom later.  Maybe by the time I get there I will have forgotten what a pain it was. 

I've worn several pairs of the Crocs Specialist Rx shoes for a while now.  Definitely on the low end for style but they make my turf toe and plantar fasciitis feel a lot better.  Looks like these ones are joining the jeans in the shop-only pile.

I may try some acetone (works great cleaning the metal rollers) and see what melts first, the dried resin or the shoe rubber.

Tomorrow, Saturday, the bulkheads.

Road Trip

Start of a week off and my motorcycle trip in New Mexico was cancelled due to a big snow storm. So I take a day and a half off from the resin and glass and drive to Dolores, CO to visit Andy Hutchinson's shop.

Here's Andy finding a piece of wood he uses for his hatch frames and gutters to show me how he does his. There are a lot of different ways to do this, some fairly straightforward, and some more intricate requiring many more cuts and pieces (and time and maintenance, maybe skill). You can see how Brad and Kelly do their's by looking at their blogs, linked on the right. 

I'm going to be doing my hatch lids and frames, and maybe my decking (depending on how the Core Cell supply holds out) in  3/8" marine ply and Port Orford Cedar. Mainly b/c I can't imaging making, glassing, and fitting all of the small parts in foam core. Plus there are some concerns of durability of various attachments into glassed foam, such as hinges, latches, and footman loops. I also recall from a private conversation with Mark, who built an all Core Cell boat, that if he were to do it over, he'd do the same. 

The goal is a waterproof hatch, although I'm told that no method is 100% and some water will get in. 

Lot's of cool thing and ideas to see in Andy's shop. Here's a quick release holder for the top spare oar. One pull on the tucked in block and the oar is ready to be pulled out from the front tie down and slammed into place. Looks like there's a little wear on those roller blocks Andy?  :)

Top pic of a gunwale on his Briggs boat. 

Maybe my favorite acccesory. Found this inside a hatch lid on his wife's Briggs. 

Discussed and looked at lots of other stuff.  Places to put holders for umbrellas, and ways to mount a center pole for my BD Mega Mid tent.

Nice seat cover from Flagstaff River Equipment (Wet Dreams).

Flip up oarsman seat, for back rest.

Leaving Andy's I took a different route home. 
First, the appetizer of a cruise up the upper Dolores valley. Looks like lots of fun 2's and maybe a few 3's, at higher water. Little does this water know that it is destined to a different fate farther downstream, perhaps doubtful to ever again float a dory, or maybe any boat, below McPhee dam, drying up what was once possibly my favorite trip ever in a kayak. Great float and camping, pretty much mellow with a little rise in the heart rate at Snaggletooth. It seems the water is now consigned for better things in some people's opinion, such as irrigation for winter wheat, alfalfa, hay and pinto beans in the River of Sorrows valley. Crops we pay farmers back east not to grow. 
I've considered naming my boat the Dolores, honoring the GCD tradition of recognizing ruined or lost places.  No better candidate than this one. But Andy tells me there are already at least 4 out there. No matter, it's still near the top of the list. 

Moving on to the main course. The trip over Lizard Head pass after a fresh snow on a sunny day has to be one of the best spots in Colorado, if not America. Yet another reminder of how lucky I am to live here.

But I'm still not seeing the "lizard head".

And then on to the dessert, after a dark trip down the San Miguel canyon through Norwood and memories of kayak runs here in days past. The views from the Dallas Divide, looking out over Ralph's Double RL ranch at the Sneffels wilderness rival those of Lizard Head. 

All in all a good day. A very good day.