Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Now Playing with a Full Deck

Installing the decking started with locating one of the forward pieces and tracing the support structure onto the underneath side. I decided to use silicon bronze nails to secure the decking as I had purchased the fastening kit from Glen-L which was all nails, but then decided to use screws for the hull. So I had 4 boxes of nails that might as well be put to use. Besides they look brass rivets. I laid out the holes every 2" per the fastening schedule. Then I applied two coats of epoxy to the underneath side. After cure, I predrilled all the holes in the decking using a 1/8" drill. All bonding surfaces were sanded and epoxy applied to decking and boat, then locating screws secured. Then I drilled 3/32" pilot holes and pounded in nails three at a time, working from the center outward. I used a small sledge as a backer where I could reach as the battens were a bit bouncy in the center of spans.
Second verse same as the first for the other front decking piece. The rear pieces were located and the butt joint cut to fit. An 8" long backer piece had been previously made to fit between the carling and shear to back up the butt joint. It was screwed and epoxied in place to the front piece of decking prior to installing the rear section.
I had a bit of a delay for installing the first rear section since I inadvertantly epoxied the top side rather than putting the second coat to the underneath side. Oops. After installing the front pieces with a few clamps along the outer edges, later I discovered the outer edges were not always tight to the shear and clamps were needed the whole distance to ensure that the plywood was in firm contact. So I rigged up a way to provide clamp pressure and put on clamps after all nailing was completed. At the back of the boat due to the slope of the deck, I used a couple of "third hand" pusher poles working from the ceiling down.

After all pieces were installed, I trimmed the outside edges with handsaw, plane and file to get them close to the sides. Trimming the inside edges will be another day. Top sides were sanded and a coat of epoxy applied to help reduce splintering when the inside edges get trimmed.

I was on the fence between appearance and weight. The lowest weight option is a plywood deck with a paint scheme to hide joints and mimic planking strips, but the best looking option is to plank over the plywood with solid wood about 1/4" thick and make it look like a big boy wood boat. The solid wood option I estimate to add about 20-25 lbs. After putting on a coat of epoxy I see that the rear half of the Okoume plywood decking is considerably darker in color than the front. The color difference was not apparent before finish, but with a coat of epoxy, the difference in color is quite noticeable on one side. So it looks like this decking will be the sub-deck and it will be time to go pick out some more african mohogany for the top side. BTW, my aesthetic director agrees that the solid wood deck is the way to go and if the boat's too heavy, she said I can lose 20 pounds.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Escape from the Basement - The Sequel

Here's the moving crew: my son Bill, fellow boatbuilder Ted, me, friend Rick (who stopped in for a visit from out of town and got roped into this) and my daughter's boyfriend Brett.

After numerous inquiries about whether I was sure this boat would be able to be taken out of the basement, I was no longer sure. After some discussions with my friend Ted, the only sure way to know was to take the boat out of the basement. Since I didn't want to move it to the garage yet and lose my garage for the winter, the plan was to bring it up and take it back down. At this stage of the build, the boat does not have decking and is easier to handle and at least 30 pounds lighter than it will be finished. The back of the boat weighs in at 120 lb. and the front 82 lb. for a total of 202 lbs. at this point. The problem area is at the top of the stairs where the kitchen starts about 4' from the door opening. You can see this angled cupboard that is protected by a movers blanket. My mock-up done before I started the boat construction made it out OK, so now it was time for the real thing.

Since I have a buddy in the tape business, I was able to procure a roll of tape used to protect painted surfaces. I covered the sides of the boat with the tape which afforded some protection without any bulk.

It was time to move the boat to the base of the stairwell. This went fairly easily, but it does take a bit of muscle power to get the boat on its side and ready for the launch up the stairwell.

Then it was up into the stairway keeping the transom low to avoid hitting the ceiling as the boat started the journey up.

The boat emerged out of the top of the stairs and made it into the kitchen! Just like I planned it....never a doubt.

Then just for more enjoyment, the moving crew reversed the process and put the boat back into the basement so it can be made heavier and more awkward for the final trip.

Now when someone asks "Will it make it out of the basement?" I can honestly state that it already did.

BTW, this trial also proved that I cannot build a larger boat in my basement - it is rather close to NOT making it out.

Inside Job

I finally got around to putting a clear finish on the inside of the boat to protect the epoxy from UV sunlight degradation. I sanded all the surfaces that would be exposed to sunlight and got them smooth. I used Top Secret Coatings Revolution 1000 in clear. They recommended a hardner and a different thinner than what was used for the paint. I mixed up a pint of the clear with about .7 oz. of hardner and and about 1.5 oz. of thinner. I applied the coating with foam brushes. I used 3 of them to get the first coat on since they turned to mush after awhile. (The white material seen in the top photo is a protective tape used to protect painted surfaces. I put it on after about a week of drying time so I could step into the boat without marring the surface.)

I covered the batch of finish and waited 2 hours for the first coat to dry to touch and then applied a second coat. The second coat went on heavier than the first probably due to some evaporation of the thinner. If I had to do it over again, I would add some more thinner for the second coat. I think the finish is acceptable for an inside job, but there are a few sags and some small rough surface "pips" which might be solvent pops or possibly from some residual sanding dust.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shall I Cut the Deck?

My plan is to get the boat out of the basement before putting on the deck plywood so it will be somewhat easier to handle and slightly lighter. But, there isn't any reason not to go ahead with doing the rough cutting and fitting. After a bit of sketching of how to cut the pieces, it seemed the only way to get the front deck pieces out of one sheet of plywood was to use the factory edge down the centerline of the boat starting about 18" in from the end. The opposite side piece would use the other side of the sheet but the sheet would be flipped over to fit the mirror image piece. I plan on having a natural wood finish on the deck using just the plywood but with a paint graphic band down the center to hind the seam. Luckily, the plywood has veneer that looks very similar in grain and color on both sides of the sheet. The first sheet of deck plywood is not supposed to stop at the dash or any frame, but continue as far as possible along the carling and sheer as not to create a weak spot. After positioning the full sheet down the centerline of the boat and clamping it in place, a line was traced on the underneath side to show where to cut it. A 1/4" thick scrap piece was used to offset the pencil mark to allow at least a 1/4" overhang at all edges. Then the sheet was taken off the boat and set up in my shop for cutting with a jig saw. I quit for the day at that point to sleep on it before cutting.

Some blue tape was put beside the cut line which minimized any tear out of the veneer and helped visualize the line to be cut. The firse piece went well as did the second. Putting them both on the boat confirmed that the color and grain look very similar between the two halves.

The next task was the back halves. The first one was marked and was left overnight just in case there was something I was overlooking. Nope, cut it and it fit. Tried it on the other side and it fit there too. So I used it as a pattern for the other side. I left overlaps between the front and back pieces to give me some adjustment when finally glued and attached.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Head Scratched - Protection Added

After some discussions with my fellow boat builder Ted, it would appear that the side wood strips at the rear of several boats like ours have been added not necessarily as splash rails but as protection against bumps. The shape of the side of our boats at the rear makes bottom edge of the boat prominent and susceptible to getting bumped and marred. A rubstrip along the shearline would be ineffective at the rear. However, since the boat side twists, getting something to fit takes a bit of head scratching.

I decided to build some stationary assists for fitting these bumper strips. I used the 2x6's from the forms and cut vertical pieces at the planned front and rear height and connected with a stringer at floor level. I then split them in half on the table saw so I could make one for each side of the boat. They were attached to the ping-pong table and then belt clamped underneath the boat to bring the verticals tight to the boat.

A 2" wide board was cut to rough length and placed up to the side of the boat. It was placed so it gapped about 3/8" at the front and a like amount at the rear. Then using a scrap piece of wood about 1/4" thick and 1 1/2" square, I sanded a chisel edge so it would ride up against the boat along the board. I drilled a small hole 3/8" in from the edge to allow a pencil point to project through. I laid this piece flat on the board and pushed it up against the boat side and traced a line on top of the board, and then repeated this on the underneath side.

I then took the board to the band saw and cut a line in from the edge every four inches and rotate it as needed to cut to the marked lines top and bottom. Then I set the band saw table to the initial angle needed and cut off four inches at a time and readjusted the table angle as I went along. This cut a spiral shaped surface along a curved line of sorts. Then a trial fit and some filing - some more filing - sanding - filing - and it got close to fitting - sort of.

Then duct tape was put on the side of the boat so epoxy would not adhere. Some scraps were put underneath with more duct tape to catch any epoxy drips. A batch of well thickened epoxy using the brown fairing filler was put on the board and clamped to the boat and allowed to cure. It took some mallet hits to get the board lose after cure but it appears to now have a surface that matches the boat. Filing of top and bottom sides of the board should clean up the excess epoxy.

This last picture shows the epoxied surface, which is now a curved line with a spiral twist - you can kind of see that in the photo.

I'll do the other side and then determine the final shape or line to cut the outside of the board. It will probably end up being a straight taper - narrow at the front and gradually getting wider toward the rear of the boat. I decided to reinforce the sides at each screw attachment point with another piece of 1/4" plywood. To keep it simple and light, a flycutter was used to cut some 1.5" diameter "washers" from 1/4" plywood. These were epoxied in place on the inside of the boat and held in place with a screw and a temporary duct taped block on the outside of the boat. I am not going to permanently attach these rails until the boat is out of the basement. Hate to add any unaccounted for width.

After a bit a trying different lines, a straight line did not work as it made the forward foot or so look like it bulged out due to the shape of the boat side. So I used a strip of plywood to create a curved line and cut it on the band saw and sanded out the bumps and saw lines it until I had a smooth surface.

I plan on putting a 1/2" or 2/4" wide stainless steel rubstrip along the outer edge.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm Floored.

After a bit of consulting with my aesthetic director, she decided the best looking flooring option was additional battens added between the existing ones. A piece of plywood added over the battens was not attractive and not adding battens made it unclear to anyone that would get in the boat whether to step on a batten or on the hull plywood.

The 6 additional battens were cut and edges routered on the top side. Then with some pencil mark-ups on fitting to the floor, a stationary belt sander made quick work of getting them to fit to the floor. The creative use of clamps as spreaders and some other contraptions allowed the battens to be pushed tight to the floor while the thickened epoxy cured. I could only do 2 or 3 at a time due to limited number of clamps that could be made into spreaders. The floor looks a bit like flattened organ foot pedals without the black keys.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Throttle/Shift Controller Arrives - Finally!

Back in early July after advertising on the Antique Outboard Motor Club website that I needed a controller, I got a response from a guy in New Jersey that he had a Green Quicksilver manual two lever controller with cables that would be the right length for a Squirt and the appropriate vintage for my motor. He actually had it on a Squirt some years back. We agreed on a price, I sent a check and started waiting for the package to arrive. I made some follow-up calls to him and he said he was trying to track down the package with the post office. After several weeks and a few interim calls, I called ready to ask for a refund and he said the post office never did find it in their system but over the weekend a soggy box with all the addresses blurred arrived back at his shop. It was my wayward controller. He repackaged it and sent it UPS this time and gave me the tracking number. I tracked it on the UPS website right to my door and it only took 3 days.

It's all there and the cables hook up to the engine as it's supposed to. After playing around with various potential locations, it seems that the best location is between the carling and the shear just aft of the dash. If mounted low on the side it has to be on the floor for the levers to clear and it's not a comfortable place while seated in the boat. Inboard of the carling, the cables are exposed and its right where my knee wants to be. This means the decking will need a cutout for the levers to protrude through. Other Squirt builders have mounted it there and now I see why.

The cables have the necessary connectors for hook-up to the motor and are about 9' long. They may be a bit long but it all seems to work. He included an extra set of cables that are about 11' long just in case.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hang on a Minute - I Gotta' Drain It

There comes a time when the pressure builds and you just gotta' do something that you have put off too putting drain plugs in a boat. The thought of drilling big holes in the transom scared the heck out of me, but I couldn't put it off any longer. After contemplating and procrastinating, I reviewed the cross-section of the transom to determine the lowest point in the transom I could drill a perpendicular hole and not breach the plywood bottom planking. I also looked at photo's on this blog to see where I had located screws to hold on the bottom planking near the keel as I did not want to drill into one.

I then decided to bore a guide hole in a 2x6 and clamp it to the inside of the transom and another scrap board to the outside to prevent break-out when I drilled through. The first hole when well, and then I moved to the other side of the keel and located the hole and drilled another pilot hole in the 2x6 in the right location. The pictures show the second hole about to be drilled.

I tried to insert the drain sleeve into the hole from the outside, but it was too snug. I used a rotary drum sander to open it up slightly until the sleeve would ease in. Then I marked the sleeve with a Sharpie to leave it about 1/8" long. I removed the sleeve and a tubing cutter was used to cut it off. The sleeves were filed slightly around the outside to provide some fine scratches to ensure a good bite. Epoxy was mixed and coated the inside of the holes. Then some high density #404 filler added to thicken it up and smeared into the holes. The sleeves were inserted fully from the outside and I rigged up a bolt with large washers in each one to make sure they were held firmly in the hole while the epoxy cured.

The next day, I used a small ball peen hammer and slowly peened the brass sleeve over to provide a flange on the inside of the boat. The drain plugs fit in nicely and it's all good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hatching a Plan

At a car and boat show in Franklin, MI there was a "Curley Craft" wood boat with the type of hatch I am building on my boat. Incidently, "Curley Craft" boats were produced at Northwestern Boat Co. on 10 Mile at Evergreen. The place is still there selling boats, outboards etc. and providing marine services, but they no longer build boats.
A three sided frame was built and added into the space to create the hatch surround. The rear beam was doubled up to provide enough surface for the plywood decking.

Then I traced the curvature of the rear beam and made a single hatch assembly that will later be cut into two hatches after the decking plywood is installed.

The hatch is mounted into position using some shims, duct tape on top to prevent drips of epoxy from gluing them in) to equally space it in the hole. The plan is that once the decking is in place, holes will be drilled up from the bottom at the corners to define the margins and then sawcut out the hatch. The side margins will be cut first and the hinges installed (while its perfectly aligned) and then the remainder cut out. Then the hinges can be removed and the hatch cut into two pieces and finished out. Stainless steel banding will cover all the margins.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Decking Structure

After flipping the boat, it was time to figure out what to do next. The carlings had to go in as they provide the structure for between the main deck beam and the transom. After planing some honduras mohogany down to 5/8" thick, it did not want to bend into position so I got out the soaking pipe and rigged it into the stairwell again and soaked the wood for a day. I rigged up some extensions so the carlings could be pulled into the proper curve above the boat, let dry, and then marked and trimmed to fit. It required some creeping up on compound angle cuts until the angles and length were slowly tuned in.
A mid-front deck beam was added per the plans and then I decided to create an auxiliary dash beam to support the deck strongback (longitudinal middle support) and deck battens so the dash could be made removable while designing and fitting in place. The dash is at a 20 degree angle and I'm using Teleflex steering "The Rack" mounted upside down so the cable routes inward and loops under the deck following Squirt builders Bill & Linda Whitney in Glen-L's WebLetter 65.
I did a lot of playing around with mocked up seat boards after getting the steering wheel in place to determine seat fore-aft location. Then after a lot of circular thinking and planning, eventually built the seat bottom and put in a couple of holes for holding drinks or whatever. With the seat bottom in place I can finalize the seat back angle and mid deck beam.

In order to use a scrap piece of 1/4" plywood for the seat, I rabbeted the seat bottom frames and deck beam to utilize an 8' long strip of plywood only 12 1/2" wide. I used a forstner bit to bore some half round drain holes at the junction of the seat bottom and seat back to allow any water that gets on the seat to drain through. I plan on having upholstered seat cushions at some point, but wanted a functional and structural seat in place without the cushions.

With the motor mounted I figured out where to place the rear most beam while allowing a 6 gallon gas tank to be loaded in between the beam and transom and slid into the corner. It's a bit tricky due to the transom knee, but can be done. I'm planning to build a two door hatch in the deck that opens from the center and hinges to each side. The thought is to allow the center of the boat to open up without the hatch lids being in the way and permit easier access to the outboard since it is a manual start. I also am planning the hatch to allow loading a 6 gallon tank as once all the remote connections to the outboard are mounted, I'm not sure if the back will still be easily accessed. I added the corner radius reinforcements to the opening and added short beam extensions to tie the rear beam and carling to the shear. With these bits in place, the improvement in rigidity of the structure is amazing. I'm working on the corner radius pieces at the dash and then it will be time to tackle the hatches.