Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, April 28, 2013

More Gluing of Frames

I could encapsulate all of the work this week in the title since that is basically all that is being done right now. I am looking forward to completing this phase so that I can do something different. Still, it is a necessary step and part of the "journey" which I stated that I was out to experience.

Frames 2 and 3 have been completed now and I've started on frame 1. Frame 0, the transom, will require a bit more thinking before starting so I am waiting on that to do separately instead of in tandem as I did the previous two frames. I have also started sanding down any glue squeeze out that occurred. I have been wiping the glue down as I go, but invariably, there is still some squeeze out which has to be attended to. I've finished three of the frames in this task.

I've been looking over some photos I have of other builds of this boat and frames 5 and 6 have portions that will be visible in the cabin. I knew this in the back of my mind but hadn't really thought about it much. Basically the upper frame members and the upper gussets will be visible. In order to make these presentable without having to resort to paint, I am considering veneering a thin layer of mahogany over the portion of the gusset that will be visible. Then, that and the visible frame members can be stained a nice color to compliment the other cabin woodwork.

I haven't ruled out painting the interior yet, but I like the look of woodwork so it's higher on my list of desirable outcomes. But in light of this uncertainty, I have decided to modify the encapsulation process which was to be the next phase of frame assembly.

You might remember that encapsulating the frames means coating them with several coats of epoxy resin as a way to waterproof them. This is a necessary step to insure that the boat will be protected from wood rot caused by water. However, coating the wood with epoxy means that I couldn't stain it later.

Since I am not sure at this point what color stain (if any) I want to use, I need to leave those visible portions uncoated . So, instead, I will be coating all the non-visible areas and leaving the remaining portions til later when the boat hull is complete and I am planning the interior. This way, I have flexibility on the final finish.

So that the reader has something besides my text to look at, I am including a picture of the frames completed so far. There are a few other pictures that are in my latest photos folder in the construction gallery. Frames 2 and 3 are the separate frames by the work bench. Frame 2 has the single piece horizontal bottom member while frame 3 has bottom members connected together by the floor timber and a gusset. The curved piece on the floor, is of course, the stem which hasn't been glued together yet. The other three frames against the wall have had all their glue lines cleaned up since this photo was taken.

So that's it for this week. It's rather difficult to come up with things to write about without resorting to the small details. So if there is a gap between this article and the next, it's for precisely that reason. Take care.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Frame Assembly Continues

This is a slow part of the process of building the boat. Each frame consists of multiple parts and all need to be glued together. The glue must cure for a minimum of 8 hours for structural strength. And because of the problems I had at the beginning with parts moving, I will not glue up two parts in the same area at the same time. Therefore, the process is glue up a part , add some weight to hold it down, and then wait until 8 hours has passed before doing the next. With the room I have, I can generally get two or three glue ups done in the same session.

So far, frames 4, 5, and 6 have been completely glued up. Frames 3, and 2 are in process with 3 being the furthest along. I have also cleaned up the glue lines on frame 4. I am using an air powered high speed sander to clean up the glue lines but it still takes a bit of time to accomplish this on one frame. Sanding down the glue lines on the frame 4 took a good 40 minutes.

Since I live in a neighborhood, and because my air compressor makes quite a racket, I am trying to avoid running it too long. So I will be spreading this task out over the next several weekends and do it during the day and in shorter sessions. Of course, all this means that it will take longer to get frame assembly done. Sigh!

The good news is that this extra time gives me time to save up funds for the next phases of the process which will be building the boat form I discussed a few weeks ago  and encapsulating the frame parts.

The frames have to be completely encapsulated in epoxy resin for waterproofing. Each frame assembly will get at least two coats. I could do this later when the hull is flipped, but I believe it will be easier to do this now while I have full access to the frames. Only the outer edges will remain uncovered for now since these will need to be shaped to match the boat contour before adding the plywood sheets that form the skin.

This first picture shows frame 3's first gusset installed and the boat nails sticking through. This was expected and these will be ground down flat before adding the gusset to this side.

The next picture, frame 4, is complete except for glue clean up (which has since been accomplished).

And here are frames 3 (in two pieces) and frame 2 (the larger frame) in process. Frames 3 and 4 were both assembled the same way with each half assembled first and then the center sections were joined afterwards. This is because my layout board has a slight hump down the center line and I wanted to make sure each half was flat before joining them together  The hump doesn't present a problem when joining the center, but could have potentially caused problems with the halves. Frames 0, 1,and 2 all have single piece bottom members so I will be doing a similar process except that one end will be loose while the other end is curing.

Finally, for those interested, I have approximately 130 hours into the construction. Quite a bit of that is the sanding of the parts earlier in the process. If I were to do this again, I believe I would use templates and a router to cut out the parts. But that's behind me now and I am not going to worry about how long it took me to accomplish this build.

I do have one other thing I wanted to point out. I was recently introduced to a website that provides training in maritime building skills.  I was quite impressed with this site and I have kept a bookmark so that I can start studying the techniques taught there. For anyone who might be interested in learning these skills, I have provided the link in my sidebar.

Take care and go build a boat!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Construction Photos Have Been Reorganized

I needed to do something about my construction photos because they were becoming harder to view with each additional photo added. After looking at a couple of different options I decided to simply separate them into several albums which will be increased as time goes on. The albums are all available via the link on the right.

I hope this will make it easier for people to find any photos they may be interested in. When the next batch of photos are added, I will start a new album called latest photos. These photos will periodically change over time so that the album will be relatively fresh.

Thanks for the patience while I made this transition.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Adding Floor Timbers

The last part to add to frames 5 and 6 are the plywood floor timbers. Other frames will also have these but I haven't completed assembling the other frames yet. Floor timbers are similar to gussets in that that they reinforce a joint on the frame assembly. But they also serve other functions as well.

First and foremost  they provide a mounting point on the building form for the frame when I start assembling the boat hull. They must be mounted on the frame at a precise location measured from the keel point (the bottom most portion of the frame). I had laid out these measurements on my layout board several months ago and they were used to make the parts in the first place.

These parts also serve eventually as the mounting location for the floor in the boat. And finally they provide a means of attaching the frames to the keel. They are made from thicker 3/4 inch plywood instead of the 3/8 inch plywood used for the gussets.

Now that I am assembling the frames, I needed some way to keep the frame and the floor timbers in position as I glued them together. Because of the gussets being glued to both sides of the frame, I could no longer use nails through the frame parts to hold the assembly in position.

The solution was actually quite simple. I first lined up the frame assembly with the chine and sheer points on the layout board and then used small nails at the outside edges to keep it from moving around. These nails were driven into the layout board but not into the frame parts. Then I nailed two small pieces of 2 by 4 lumber on the line where the floor timber must line up to. I could then simply butt the floor timber against these when I was ready to glue it down.

The floor timbers are attached using epoxy  and screws rather than boat nails. The screws are silicon bronze wood screws which I had previously acquired from Glen L Marine. After marking the floor timber with lines indicating where the underlying frame parts are, I laid out the locations for the screws. I wanted to insure that the screws had a good bite inside the pilot hole so I purchased a special tapered drill bit made especially for wood screws. They make these for different diameter wood screws but I found that I needed to use 2 sizes smaller in order to leave enough wood for the screw to bite into.

I had to search around for these drill bits because the local big box home stores don't carry them, nor did any of the other hardware stores. I finally found them at a local Woodcraft store here in Austin. Just a side note, if you're into woodworking, that store has a fine selection of quality woodworking tools as well as speciality woods.

Anyway, after applying the epoxy to both parts, I placed the floor timber into position and making sure to keep it in the correct position, drilled one pilot hole and installed one screw. I did this for one more screw, and then drilled all the remaining pilot holes and installed all the remaining screws.

Then I cleaned up the glue lines as best I could and covered the part with wax paper and several cinder blocks to hold it down.

Here is the floor timber for frame 5. One of the things I wanted to make sure I did was to keep the screws far enough away from the outer edge of the frame because that edge will eventually get quite a bit of material removed  when prepping for the skin. I wanted to make sure that I didn't end up having the screws too close to the final edge at that point. There will also be batten notches cut into the bottom edge and I wanted to leave room for them as well.

The next several weeks will be continuing the process of assembling the frames, gussets, and floor timbers for the remaining frames 0 through 4. The process is essentially the same as I've shown in the last several articles. It's a bit of a slow process because each glue up requires that I wait 8 hours before doing the next one. So I am only able to get a little done each day.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

I've Been Waiting To Do This For Months

The title kinda says it all. although I am still a ways from actually assembling the boat (still have four more frames to glue up), I couldn't resist taking frames 5 and 6 and placing them with the stem to see what the boat might look like.

I'm pretty jazzed at this point because I can now start seeing what has only been in my head for months. I completed the gussets on frame 5 and 6  a couple of days ago, then the weather went colder again forcing me to wait. I will need to install the floor timbers which will connect the open ends of the frames and provide a mounting point for the stem.

Here are the frames after the last gussets were added. I still have to clean up the glue lines and a bit of overhanging wood. Leaning against the workbench, you can sort of see how large these two parts are. Frames 3 and 4 are a little wider but also a little shorter. The floor timbers will be added to the open sections near the floor.

Here are a couple of close ups to show how the gussets add strength to the joints. You can see that they are fairly stout.

And here is what I am jazzed about. Keep in mind that the parts are upside down at this point since that is the way the boat will be built initially. You cab begin to see how the bow will look in these shots. This makes it real for me. Others may still just see some wood parts stuck together. That's okay because I will keep plugging along until they see what I see.

The stem is the curved piece and forms the shape of the bow. It will eventually be laminated together with epoxy glue and then reinforced with bronze wood screws. The sheer (not shown here) will be the horizontal part connecting the frame corners (at the floor) and it will run from the bow to the stern of the boat. The chine serves the same function except that it connects at the midpoint of the frames (where the center gussets are on frame 5).

One thing I've already realized is that when the boat is mounted on the building form it will be approximately 12 to 16 inches higher off the ground. When I was standing next to the assembly, I could see that I was going to have to get something to stand on when I begin working on the very bottom of the boat because that will be about as high as my neck is right now.

Well, from here, I have to continue with the other frames and then get started making the building form. It will probably be another month or two before I actually get to assembling the boat on the form. We'll see. I definitely not going to rush this because getting the frames correct is crucial to the overall construction of the boat.

So until next week,,,,,,,,,

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Continuing The Frame Assembly Process

This will be short since what I am currently doing is a lot of repetitive tasks. I have been continuing gluing up the frame assemblies. I am primarily limited by the amount of space I have for gluing up these assemblies.

The epoxy needs to cure a minimum of eight hours before I feel comfortable moving on to the next piece. It typically takes about 30 to 45 minutes to do each task, then waiting until I can do the next one. I also have to do this on days when the temperature is above 50 degrees. We had a few cold days over the last 10 days, so I was not able to do any gluing.

I haven't had any real issues with gluing up the assemblies since the first attempt, and I am getting comfortable with the process I am using. In between waiting for the epoxy to cure, I have been doing research into weight and balance calculations and designing some software to perform these calculations. I will cover this more in a later article.

This software design work was prompted by the recent redesign of the cabin that I wrote about. I want to make sure that this will not affect the balance of the boat. In addition, I know that at some point I will need to begin installing equipment into the boat. The software is being designed to aid in that process.

Here is the only new picture I have, pretty much like the last few that I have posted recently. By the time I post the next article, I will have some completed frame assemblies to show. The most noticeable thing about this shot is that frame 6 (in the center) has been flipped over and I am beginning to glue the other backside gussets into place.

Since this photo was taken I have completed frame 6 except for the floor timber and frame 5 has had all the gussets attached to one side. The floor timbers are attached with screws rather than boat nails and I need to buy a tapered drill bit for drilling the pilot holes for the screws. As soon as I get that drill bit, I will add the floor timbers to frame 6. Frame 5 has all the gussets on the backside remaining before I do the floor timber.

The only other frame with any work completed is frame 4 which has had the side members glued together and gusseted. I am waiting to get frames 5 and 6 completed since I need the layout board to continue on frame 4.

Anyway, that's about it for now.