Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Broken Chine Log

Wood Steamer Step-up with PVC pipe and a turkey heater.

It was time to bend wood. I was fortunate enough to borrow fellow Zip builder Greg Mazurek's steamer to bend my "Chine". I researched this and thought I had a good grasp on how to do this because so many builders before me have had a problem making this bend.Well, I did it......Welcome to the club... I snapped the "chine log" into two pieces. This is a 16 foot piece of Mahogany that is 2" x 3/4". I put the piece of wood in the steamer for about 2 hours and proceeded to fit it to the frame. After building an airplane, kayak and hot air balloon all I could do is smile, giggle and say to myself, welcome back to homebuilding. In a funny way, I proved to myself that I still have the patience for building.

I understand why others want to give up when they have such a setback. I just look at it as a challenge to solve and that is what interests me.

I keep saying, "remember the journey" and move on. If your good at hide n seek (looking for a tool you know that you just had in your hand a few minutes ago), you stay organized, follow through and keep moving forward, do something everyday (even if it is just reading or research), have patience, then you are a builder and will complete your goal.
So I am still feeling good about practicing what I preach.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Starting to look like a boat with holes

One big step today. My brother came over tonight and we ripped all of the ten foot battens on my table saw. Then we completed installing the keel to the stem. Now all of the battens and keel are glued and screwed into position with epoxy.
I am very happy to see how nice all the joints are fitting together.

Boat Form is Built

I made a lot of progress over the last week. My brothers have been a great help. Brother Joey came over last Wednesday and Brother Gary has been with me every step of the way. Gary and I went to the nautical area in Home Depot and bought the lumber to build the boat form. The boat is built upside down on this form (jig). I would have had a difficult time this week without their help. Also, my very best friends Terry Kohler and Dave Pohl stopped by to see this project (we all built airplanes together). While they were here, I put them to work holding the stringers on the form so Gary and I could get everything straight, level and square. Having my laser light from my airplane build was a great help.
I was able to get my keel cut and fitted. We started out with a twelve foot piece and trying to rip that piece of lumber on my table saw in my basement without help would have been a real challenge. No worries, simple deal with the right tool and great help.
My Shopsmith, was a perfect tool to do the horizontal boring in the "Knee".
Other big accomplishments were getting the "Knee" mounted to the "Transom" and the "Keel". It is all epoxy (glued) and screwed in place.
The next step will be to mount the keel to the "Stem" (front of the boat, bow) and the Frames". Gary and I are planning on doing this tonight. Then boat building will come to a halt for a few weeks. I am going to Guanajauto, Mexico to fly my Hot Air Balloon and then I will be taking a weekend trip to Chicago to visit my daughter and son-in-law in their new home.

Friday, November 13, 2009

First Really Big Mistake

I have made several mistakes in this build but I have been able to overcome them without too much problem. When I talk to airplane builders, I always tell them the difference between good craftsmanship and poor is how well you can recover from your mistakes. Well I needed to take my own advice.

I was in a rush to build my transom, which I did by planning for a "short shaft motor". A short shaft motor transom is 15 inches high. Well, last week I bought an outboard motor for my Zip project and it is a "long shaft motor". Well, a long shaft motor transom is 20 inches high. No recovery from this one. I needed to build a new transom and with the price of 3/4 " marine plywood, that was hard to take.
Off to Public Lumber I went and returned with another sheet of Mahogany Plywood. Gary came back over last night and in one evening we built another transom. The first transom was good but the second one is really nice..... We are getting good at cutting angles.

Notice the center of each transom. The new transom has a taller motor board mount.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Starting Glueing with Epoxy

I began gluing up the Stem of the boat with expoxy. If you look close in the photo you can also see that frame number 5 1/2 is mounted into a block clamp on the table and I also epoxied up the corner gussets......

Epoxy, Fiberglass...makes me feel like I am building another airplane.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Found a Motor

Gary and I have been searching the Internet for a 40hp outboard motor for a while and last night Gary called and said, "I think we have a motor, lets go take a look". Located in Novi, Mi. the trip was about 45 min. away.
It was on an old broken down boat in a guys back yard. We hooked the battery up to it and turned right over. We disassembled everything and brought her home.
Of course I had to make a boat motor stand for it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Making the Transom

Well, making the transom has been a real learning experience. My brother Gary has been coming over several nights a week and giving me a hand. We have had some challenges through out this build. We needed to wrap our brains around how we would cut the 12-degree angle along the bottom and the 10-degree cuts on both sides of the transom. We figured out 3 different ways do this but finally decided on building a jig. I drew the angle for the floor (bottom of the boat/transom) on the transom. Then I placed the Mahogany frame on this line. I then screwed another straight board on this floor line (the white board). The white board is the angled cut for the floor line. I then set up the temporary fence with the saw blade set at 12 degrees and touching the wood fence bottom. We pushed the transom thru the blade, a perfect cut we had for that side. We then flipped everything over and cut the other side. Same, plan was done for both sides of the transom.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Getting the Marine Plywood

It was time to get some more wood if I was going to build a boat. I purchased all my hardwood from Armstrong’s Mill but I needed to go to Detroit to buy the Plywood. I found Public Lumber very good to deal with and they had all the material I needed. Art Atkinson who is also building a "Squirt" need to get his plywood so we a trip of it after work. My brother Joey loaned me his Hot Air Balloon trailer and we were able to get everything in one trip. I picked up 6 sheets of 1/4 inch and 1 sheet of 3/4 inch. Ouch...the bill was about $700. I keep telling myself, measure twice and cut once.........Right.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Very Big Day at the Wood Mill

The last couple of days I have been spending my evenings down in the basement wood shop transferring the plans onto a witness board and making wood templates. I did not have any of the my wood so I was making the best of my time.

Well, today was a very big day at the wood mill. Art Atkinson (pictured on the ladder) and I went out to Armstrong Mill Works in Highland, Michigan. The Mill is about 1 hour away so we headed out to select all of our Mahogany for the Frames, Chine, Shear and Keel. We will get our plywood from another lumber yard. If you don't remember, Art Atkinson is a good friend who is also building a boat. His will be a Glen-L "Squirt", which is a 10' runabout that he will extend to 11 feet. We both took advantage of each others help and made one trip to the mill.

Now we have no excuse. Each of us are building a boat. We have the wood, plans...and it's time to get started.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Bengal Cat & The Workshop

Last night while I began to look over the boat plans and attempted to make templates from the drawings, I became a little distracted by our cat. As you can see from the photo, my workshop is small. I am guessing it is about 14' square and full of things like a table saw, band saw, lathe, chop saw, shop vac, dust collection, shop smith, router table, planer, jointer and other misc. hand tools. Even with the small space, it seems to work out because everything is on wheels and I just move stuff around to make it work.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Return Trip to California

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog post, I first saw Warren Percell building a sailboat called a "Weekender" when I was on vacation two years ago in California. Well, I am in California again and today I stopped by to see Warren. His sailboat is finished and he told me he is having a ball sailing it and even took it to Mexico for a couple of weeks. He showed me a video of him sailing and does it really move through the water. Since then, he has been building a houseboat that is all wood and encapsulated in epoxy. He even built the wood ladder. I was very impressed. He's accomplished all this while running his sign company (and I thought that I get a lot done)! Warren also put me on to a guy who sells outboard motors. He has powered his house boat with a 55 hp. Bearcat. The Bearcat is an American four stroke outboard, produced from 1967-1972.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A first Look a finished Zip

I was searching the Boat Builders Forum and found a guy, Howard Katzman, who lives less than 3 miles from me who completed a beautiful Zip Runabout. I sent him an email and he invited me over to take a look. What a wonderful job he's done! He is a true craftsmen. I only hope I can do as good a job as he has! Howard was very kind with his time and offered me all kinds of suggestions. I am really looking forward to the day when I can show him my completed boat.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Boat Plans Arrive

After many years trying to make up my mind about which boat to build, I finally decided to build the "Glen-L Zip". Two years ago, I was on vacation in Petaluma, California when I came across a guy, Warren Percell, who was building a "Weekender" sailboat and I was hooked. I really did not want a sailboat because I just did not think that I would get that much use from it. Well, after researching the web and talking to a lot of people, I made up my mind and ordered the plans from Glen-L boats. Along with the plans, I ordered the fasteners and a book called, "Building with Plywood", which I am told is the bible for frame, plank and plywood boat building.

The hardest thing for me was to pull the trigger (make the jump or decision) to get started. All I needed was a little push because I have been thinking about this for years. Well, that push came when a good friend and co-worker, Art Atkinson, came into my office one day and said to me that he was visiting a friend in Northern Michigan on Torch Lake who had built a boat which convinced my friend Art to build a boat. Art brought home some plans and ideas and we both kicked the idea around for weeks. Art changed his mind on the type of boat he was going to build and finally ordered his plans for the "Glen-L Squirt." In the weeks and months to come, I will try my best to keep you updated on my progress. I am really looking forward to this even though I know this is a very long project and a lot of hard work. Everyone tells me, "if you can build an airplane, you will have no trouble building a boat." Time will tell.