May 01, 2005

away from epoxy and back to wood

For now. Well, what did I do saturday... I spent almost all day working on the boat. I got a folding card table at Fred Meyer and covered the top with some cardboard (plywood would be better). Now I have a better working surface.

I attached the finished inner stems (bow & stern) to their corresponding forms, which are now attached to the end risers. I screwed them to the forms. (pilot holes rock!)

I spent a terrible, large amount of unproductive time getting pissed off trying to understand how my block plane works and how it is put together.

I used one of my full-length (19') strips as a fairing batten to check the alignment of all the stations and forms. I found that the horizontal alignment mark on one of the stations had been mis-labeled. I corrected that. Spent a little time befuddled over the following discrepancy: cross-section blueprints show 16 stations. The title on the blueprints, though, says "plans for stations 1-17 and bow and stern forms". My kit came with 15 stations and a bow and a stern form. The (very scant, next to useless) instructions that came with the kit (which I have supplemented with 2 cedar-strip kayak construction books) shows plans for mounting 15 stations, but in pictures later in the instructions, shows 15 stations and then "shaping/guiding fins" attached to the bow and stern forms. I can only shrug my shoulders and assume that the fins are not really needed.

Next, what has to happen is (this won't make ANY sense unless you can see the 3-D object; I read the relevant chapters in my books over and over again to understand what is meant by this) I have to shape the inner stems so that as I strip the hull, the ends of the strips will lay flat over the stem. (ok, maybe that IS intelligible, and I'm just a moron to not understand it at first.) The strips will be glued to each other and stapled along the length of the kayak to each of the stations (shaping forms). they will be cut off just proud of the outer edge of the inner stem. (this nomenclature also befuddled me until I thought about what "just shy of" means.) The inner stems have to have a rolling bevel so that as the hull changes shape, each new strip will lie flat in its place. This is particularly tricky in the rocker area (where the keel curves up toward the deck). The strips meeting these areas will be transitioning from vertical (kayak hull walls) to horizontal (bottom of the boat), so the way they lie against the stems will be changing fast. In some boats these curves are sharp; the Return is pretty mild as far as what I have seen. The stern has a sharper transition than the bow does, which makes sense.

So the idea is to start shaping this stem bevel for a few inches (removing the screws holding on the stems to the forms as you go), lay a few strips, and then keep shaping the stem a couple inches ahead. This helps you visualize and check the bevel you have to create more easily.

So far I have done about 3 inches of shaping on both sides of the bow and stern stems. I can lay a couple strips, then keep shaping ahead. The first strips to be laid will be on the sheer line (interface of deck and hull; sheer side is opposite from keel side). These will not be in the water. A couple strips up from sheer, and they will start hitting the waterline. Then fairness and symmetry will be a lot more important.

I finally got my block plane put together and shaving a decent curly strip off of wood (DON'T try this on WET WOOD!!! the first few times I tried out the plane after I thought I had it put together, I was using a piece of scrap wood I got from steve that he had been "storing" ;-) outside. it was wet. this totally gummed up the throat of the block plane and caused me to have to disassemble it again.) A popular mech. article on block planes that Dad sent helped a lot. Steve came over later and took it apart again and managed to get it back together again. We think we have it assembled correctly. It will be much more useful if (when) I can rig up a vice to mount on my table to hold these long, bendy pieces of wood.

Nevertheless, for all the stem shaping I did so far I used the 1" chisel (and a nice expendable pair of gloves!!) (those gloves have saved me from a billion splinters already). I got pretty good with it by the end, but at first (of course) I was a little.... incompetent. ;-) It is easy to get a "crowned" bevel, where you shave off the edges much more quickly than you do the middle part. In the process of smoothing it out it is easy to go too far. I went a little too deep (maybe a lot? dunno, the bow end might not be completely fair when I'm done. Fortunately this shouldn't impact the in-water performace of the boat, it'll just look a little weird.) on the sheer end of one side of the bow stem.

I will be using the block plane a lot more later, when the hull is finished and I am planing and sanding down steps and rough edges before the glassing process begins.

It helps a lot to have a good roadmap of the total process in my head; knowing what I'll have to do later helps me make intelligent decisions about how to do stuff in the earlier stages. Those books helped a lot. (Schade,Moores)

stay tuned,

Posted by mel at May 1, 2005 01:53 PM
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