Monday, October 31, 2011

Water Spots on the Coffee Table

Some people call my boat "The Coffee Table" as it has a bit of a furniture quality look to it. One of these people is Lisa Lirones, the wife of Bruce Lirones, who inspired me to build a boat, and the mother of Brett Lirones, my daughter's boyfriend. Lisa is a professional photographer. The Lirone's came for a visit during the Woodward Dream Cruise, so we went out on the lake and Lisa took a few million photos so I'll post a few of them. She captured a few water spots in the making.

The only person not pictured is Lisa, since she took all the photos.

The only problem with referring to my boat as a coffee table is that my wife Vicky might start decorating it with paperweights, family photos and knick-knacks.

But maybe next year I'll get some coasters so the beer cans don't leave rings.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Something Wheely Nice

My fellow boat builder, Ted, found a nice mahogany steering wheel at Speed and Custom Marine for his boat. It looks so good, I had had to get one too. Given the variation in mahogany coloration I did not know what I would get but it matches perfectly with my king plank and perimeter boards so it looks like I planned it that way. I had trouble getting the old black plastic wheel off the tapered steering shaft and ended up using some small C-clamps to clamp on a gear puller yoke. As I screwed down the center puller bolt it seemed like nothing was going to happen and then it finally popped free.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Name that Boat

The name of the boat was going to be "Miss Vicky" or if the transom were bigger "Lil' Miss Vicky D" since my wife Vicky was so patient and supportive of this whole project. However, Vicky came up with "Work of Art" and lobbied with everyone for that name. I was reluctant as it might seem a bit braggy. But with the boat turning out pretty sweet and all, I caved and told the graphic guy to change it. He also agreed with Vicky, so that ended the debate. I had the boat model, "Squirt" put on the sides and a 1/4" red pinstripe added to tie the side paint scheme together.

The "spun" prop issue became a bit of a goose chase to find a place that could check the prop. With help from a fellow AOMCI member, I went to R. H. Smith Co. in Algonac and one of their experts checked the prop and determined the prop was fine as far as he could test, but a full test would remove the hub and he didn't have replacement rubber parts to rebuild it. Another lead took me K & D Marine where a sympathetic AOMCI member dug into his personal stash of old parts and I was able to buy a used prop that fit my motor. This 3 blade prop worked better, but I still had what now was pretty clear to be cavitation or ventilation due to the transom height being a tad too high. So I routered down the transom to 16" which is what the Mark 25 owner's manual recommends. Back on the lake and problem solved, although the boat seemed slow. Further investigation found this Michigan AMC 507 prop is designed for heavy loads such as pulling water skiers and not speed. I just recently put the original prop back on and it performs fine and the boat is faster as was expected due to its higher pitch.

For the seat upholstery after I had three ideas sketched up, then my daughter Katy sketched up a design that incorporated the side paint arcs into the seat back. This was the best design and the upholsterer said she could do it. Vicky and I worked with her to find good matches on the colors and the seats she made look terrific.

We're out on the water now and enjoying the boat and the compliments from those who see it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Launch Day July 20, 2011

The launch day and time were set for 7/20/11 at 5:00 pm at Ted's house. Ted arranged for the Oakland Press to come with video and do a story on our boat we were committed. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had a Board meeting to conduct on the night before and an un-completed boat. I got home about 10:00 pm and Vicky helped me finish up the cleat mountings, hatch installation, fuel tank tie-downs, fire extinquisher mounting and by 12:30 am, it was ready...I hoped.

Ted and friends helped with the launch as I have very little experience in trailer backing etc. So they put me in the cockpit and backed me in the water. It floats...drain plugs were checked more than once! I hadn't run the motor since last summer, so with a fresh tank of fuel, a choke and a few pulls it fired up. So that potential embassment was avoided.

I was idling and waiting for Ted to launch his Zip. After he was in the water and running, I had Vicky climb aboard and we were off for our first boat ride!

I went out in lake and opened her up. It seemed a little reluctant to come up on plane so by standing up and leaning forward it sped up and we were flying. The lake was a bit rough but the boat handled it better than Vicky, and I was smiling. We'll have to get some pictures of the boat in motion another time, especially since after a couple of laps around the lake, the forward motion slowed and the motor sped up....not a good sign. I limped in to Ted's dock and put it on a small hoist he had put in for me to use if needed. After we all had pizza, Ted and I took off the prop and confirmed that everything looks OK but another quick drive of the boat confirmed that I have a "spun" prop. As the boat started to come up on plane, the slip returned. Apparently the bronze splined bearing inside the prop slips under torque load and needs to be repaired. At least I got a lot of comments from people about how much they liked my boat and the classic motor! So Ted found a place that I can get it repaired while we head up north for a planned weekend and go look at other wooden boats.

Here is a picture of Ted and his wife Lynn in their Glen-L Zip which he completed and launched along with me. With a recent motor change at the end of his build, Ted has a very beautiful and nice running boat.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A "Squirt" is Born

The arrangements were made to gather a bunch of dudes to get the boat out of the basement into the garage and on the trailer. When the prescribed time arrived our main dude, 6'6" Danny, former star member of the U of M rowing team, was still in transit from Ann Arbor. We decided to wait for his arrival. When "Big Danny" made the scene, we gathered in the birthing center in my basement and reviewed the plan to lift off the cradle, turn the baby on its side, then butt end it out of the room and over to the stairwell. Then it would bow first up the stairwell, go left around the cabinets at the top of the stairs then along side the kitchen island, back up to go around the island and then into the garage.

The paths had been cleared and the boat covered with bubble wrap and blue tape just in case there was a bump here or there. I had previously made a handle for the transom that mounted into the chrome handle locations. We needed something beefy for holding and lifting the boat while on its side and it worked perfectly.

We had Danny on the transom to the base of the stairs where the boat was rested for a moment and I put Danny on the bow. With only a bow eye and bow handle, grip places were precious on that end. We made the joggle at the top of the stairs with a few directions and rearrangements of bodies to get the boat angled right and out she squirted from the top of the stairs. Danny got pinned into the kitchen so we immediately shifted the transom end into the room and backed it up to get around the island. As we went through the door from the kitchen to the garage, bodies peeled away off the boat as only the boat would fit through. Then Big Danny yelled "I need some help - quick" as he was the lone person on the bow of the boat holding it in the air. Since I was free (I was mostly directing), I scurried out the back porch door and around into garage to give Danny a hand as he breathed a sigh of relief and the boat came into the garage and more bodies could get back onto the move. We rolled it back over and walked it over to the trailer and set her down. I personally delivered a beer to Danny and we all commented that it was definitely worth waiting a few minutes for his arrival. Beers and drinks were distributed, bubble wrap and tape removed and pictures taken. The new baby is a beauty.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Side Work

After 6 coats of varnish, I was tired of that operation and needed to get the sides done. The plan was to do some paint graphics to hide some fiberglass reinforcement tape at the plywood butt joints on the sides and at the side to transom junction. The tape at the bow seemed to fade away sufficiently to ignor it. I tried to get a graphic designer to work on a design with me, but he must be busy as he was not returning my recent calls. So my wife, Vicky said "Let's grab some paper, colored pencils and work out our own design"....and so we did." I added a beer to the operation to loosen up the creative juices. Then we went to an art supply store to get some 1/4" wide artist tape to do the masking in the curved areas.

After the curved areas were done another pass of wider tape was put down and then some masking paper over all the varnish areas to protect from the roller and splatter. I used 3/4" wide tape to define the boot stripe and then masked above and below it and then removed it. The butt end of a x-acto knife was used to burnish the edge of the tape to prevent paint bleed. (This worked well but I would recommend that the burnishing be done twice as I had a few areas where I got some bleeding where I must not have gotten the tape edge down tight).

After putting down a coat of primer and sanding, a coat of white was painted on just using a foam roller. The bubbles did not pop as the paint can said it would, so after sanding, the second coat was applied with a roller and tipped off with a foam brush - much better. Then the blue portion was masked off and painted. I decided that the blue areas will probably be finshed off with a border of 1/4" wide white vinyl tape as masking off a consistent narrow band seemed impossible. The blue dried overnight and a second coat applied. Next day it was mask removal time to see what was under the mess of paint, paper and tape. Looks pretty cool I think.

Later when I talked with the graphics guy, he showed me how to mask out a border band so I could paint it so I would have a perfect color match. He showed me how to mask using 1/4" vinyl tape that he gave me that bends easily without puckering. A couple of hours later I had another white strip outlining the blue areas.

Final side work was a 1/4" red-orange stripe put on by the graphics guy and the word "Squirt" done in a 50's retro script lettering.

Friday, June 17, 2011

(Varnish - Sand) x ?

After a 5 coats of clear epoxy it was time for varnish of the deck and sides. I have completed 4 coats of varnish and the amber tint has given a nice ivory color to the white stripes and toned them down a bit. Looks better I think. As stated on the varnish can (Epifanes), the first coat was thinned 50% with mineral spirits. I used a foam trim roller to put it on quickly and a wide foam brush to tip it off. The first couple of coats were sanded with 220, but I could see scratches, so I have now been using 320 and then 400 between coats. Thinning is about 25%. I have been rolling on half of the forward deck and then tipping off, then do the same on the other side. If there is any imperfection, I have learned to ignor it because there is no going back, it only makes an issue worse. I was hoping to be done after 4 coats, but there were a couple of dry/missed spots so I'm on for at least 5. I hope to be done before the boating season is over.