The Nautical World...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oktoberfest, Hardware Galore, Unpopular Poplar

What a beautiful Galveston weekend it was! On Saturday, Kelly and I attended the outstanding Oktoberfest downtown. Why was it so good? You tell me:

es gut, ja?

Did you see it? Don't be fooled by the pretty girl, my friends, look at the size of this beer! This is no optical illusion, this real. 32oz of pure, unadulterated, sweet-sweet, nectar of the German gods! My head exploded when I saw these, and exploded a second time when I learned that you get to keep the mug. How much did it cost? Who cares!? Giant Beeeeeeer!!!

What if I were to tell you it got even better? It did. Because then my head exploded a third a fourth time because we proceeded to eat sauerkraut, red cabbage, potato salad, pork, and a giant sausage on a bun with everything you can think of... needless to say, that day ended with me moaning in the fetal position while clutching my stomach.

And finally, the boat.

Wanna see what $90 looks like?

Dollar is for sizing, not an added bonus

Yea, that's it. Kinda depressing, huh? I have been waiting this whole time for hard ware (screws, boat nails, roves, etc.) and here it is. I put in an order about a week ago, and basically got a hundred of everything. So, I was expecting this large package, looming on the front porch when I got home. I imagined the FedEx guy, lugging this thing up there with a dolly. I get home and it's nicely placed in my mail box. Then, I open it up and I see this. I was looking for Ashton Kutcher, I felt Punk'd. Insert frowny face emoticon :(. Well, I don't blame anyone, just my overactive imagination, but a thanks to Jamestown Distributors-especially the guy who packaged this up for me, Mac. Thanks Mac!
 copper rosehead nail, copper rove, bronze boat nail, bronze screw

My frames are done, except for some final fairing, and now on to the stem and transom. The stem and stern of my boat are turning out to be the biggest pains in the butt I could ever imagine. They are supposed to be 2" thick oak, and in the case of the transom it also has to be 31" tall and then, at the widest point, 18" wide! How am I supposed to find oak like that without giving up my first-born? (You would have to go to a port city in the far-east to get it anyways, ha!! (That's a joke, Mom.))

Instead, I decided to laminate some boards. Laminating is when you glue a bunch of boards together. I went to Home Depot (how any good project starts) and went to go get some oak. They were $55 dollars a stick! But then I saw right next to them a wood called Poplar. Poplar is what you call, a soft-hardwood. Softwoods are coniferous trees, hardwoods are deciduous (coniferous=like pine, green all year, deciduous=like oak, loses leaves in fall). Poplar is deciduous, but much softer than a traditional hardwood. Hence soft-hardwood. 
3 3/4" boards laminated, oak frames in the background

Traditional boat builders may scoff at my use of laminated poplar in place of oak, but those fellas aren't paying my bills. 

So for awhile there was calm with nothing much to do, now there is about to be a storm. I now have to: screw in the cleats, screw in the frames, adjust and fair the frames, cut out the stem and attach, laminate more boards for the transom, apply the rocker to the bottom, cut 4" off my middle saw horse, cut out the transom and attach, plane off excess wood, put spalls on the frames, adjust and tune all frame structure, order side planking, make or buy clamps, get some more battens for fairing and spiling, etc.. My work it cut out for me, now add in all the future tests I have as well and you can see that my life is about to get hectic. But I'm still happy!

Next weekend, Galveston Greek Fest, the The Witches Ball brought to you by The Witchery, and many more yet to be determined things!

Fair Winds and OPA!!!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Texas Rangers on the Warpath!

Ok, I know this isn't boat related, but this is just a tribute to the Texas Rangers and their march towards the World Series. Also, I had to pay tribute to Nolan Ryan, former player now owner, of the Rangers. I remember this back in the day-guys with mullets don't mess around.

Go Rangers!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Scuba Adventure, Dory Build, and School Woes...

It has been over a week since my last post, and I do apologize, busy, busy, busy!

Congrats to my fair lady, Kelly, she is now NAUI open water certified! We had a great weekend at Mammoth Lake finishing up our cert. Actually, is was a bit of a debacle...

When we surfaced after our first dive on Sunday, I looked over to Kelly and I saw the most unsettling vision ever. Her mask was just completely filled with blood and snot. The best part was that she didn't know yet. So did I try to see what was wrong and make her feel better? Did I suggest that she not dive our final dive in order to look out for her safety? No way. I told her "babe, I think your nose is bleeding a little bit," and quickly whisked her away so the instructor wouldn't see. I didn't want the instructor to see because then the last dive would get canceled and we would have to go back out to that dirty, muck-water pond and fork over another 40 dollar entrance fee. "No babe, your nose isn't bleeding that bad, you'll be fine (hand firmly gripping wallet)." I know it sounds callous, but wait until you see the underwater pictures of this place. I felt like I was scuba diving in a bowl of miso soup.
Kelly was tough though, she knew what was at stake and she soldiered on. Nose full of snot and blood, she completed the final dive-Victory! Well, not exactly, still waiting on the results of our written test, but we should find out soon. In the mean time, check out Island Divers, Tom is a real cool dude and can help with all your diving needs.

Isn't this a blog about a boat? Yes, but patience grasshopper.

So busy this week, I took a test in American History of Seapower... it was ridiculous. I wrote 11 pages I think. My main essay was 6 pages. That is too much, but interesting stuff. Check out this guy Alfred Thayer Mahan. Pretty visionary, maybe we should listen to him... Then I just had a test in Environmental Ethics and Logic. Talk about a swift kick in the pants, this has been the week from hell.

Onto the Boat!

I'm on my way out the door right now to start on cutting the sides of the timbers (like frames, but this is a unique boat.) Check out these pictures:

Here I am cutting out the timbers and the cleats.

This is an important process and can be very tedious. It is important to measure twice so that you can cut once. I understand this concept, but sometimes am reluctant to apply it. 

I made some smaller saw horses about 3 feet off the ground. I'm gonna use those as the boats main resting place. From here I will finally cut out that bottom shape, and then apply the 4" rocker to it. The rocker is a slight curve to the bottom. This was usually done by bracing boards to the ceiling and applying pressure downward, giving it a convex shape (concave depending how you look at it.) But the ceiling in this building is 30 feet tall so that's a no-go. Instead I will be using a complex system called cinder-blocks. I'm just gonna pile a bunch on to make it sag in the right spots.

Small sawhorses, or sawponies
I really need to cut out the bottom, but I'm kinda having analysis paralysis on what hardware to buy. I mean, everyone uses silicone bronze ring nails, but they are expensive! I find it hard to believe that with all the technology we have that those are the only option. What about deck screws? Those withstand the elements, so you would think, but I don't want to take a chance before I know.

Anyways, off to Home Depot and then to the shop.

Tell a friend, tell an enemy, tell anyone.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Dory Has Started!!!

It has begun...

I guess this is like the sonogram?
My beautiful little dory zygote. Can you see the resemblance?

This wonderful day marks birth of my 12' Banks Dory. But is the true beginning when I started reading and planning? (conception?) How many more birth of a child allusions can I make about this? I'll stop, I'm starting to get nauseous, if you want to see why, check out this blog post of mine.

I have started the bottom. It is just three simple 1''x12" planks (2-12' and 1-16') laid edge to edge and clamped together for sealing and for joining (via 1''x2" oak cleats). Take notice of the pictures; this is my workspace at A&M Galveston. You can see I have some sawhorses set up, I have a 4'x8' sheet of plywood as a workbench type arrangement (also has the sheer plan lofted on it for easy reference), and on the floor I have my clamp set-up. 

I really got a lot of work done today. The hardest part of any project is the beginning. It has so many factors, it's like cooking. You gotta get the recipe, chop everything up, call your mom to ask her what she does to make it taste so good, chop up all the vegetables, find the right pan, etc.. So many things to do at the beginning-makes you wanna order a pizza. But, you know if you put this effort into it, you are gonna get something out of it that is way better. Also, you won't get fat (man, I'm on a roll with metaphors today). My point is, the prep work sucks, and maybe even the main effort work is bad too, but when it's all said and done, I will be happy I did it.

I mentioned my clamp system, here it is...

3 boards edge-joined
Wedge clamp (Gardner Inspired)

Pretty straight forward idea.

Right now I just have the boards sitting there, I really need the oak to finish it, but just not in dimensions that I am happy about. I really need 1''x2'' of oak, but in this day and age it is really hard to find it. I mean, it does say on it 1''x2'' but it is actually 3/4''x1 1/2''. That is not bueno for me. I am sacrificing on bottom size (3/4'' instead of 1'') but I don't want to do that for the structural cleat. Actually, I'm not so worried as much about doing that for the cleats, but the frames I feel if they are reduced in thickness, it will make them weaker. 

Wanna see 60 dollars?

Notice my diminished wallet size, cowering behind my sunglasses

That's what 60 bucks looks like. Three 8' red oak 1''x2''s, not that impressive eh? Ya, I feel ya on that one. These little oak boards are so presumptuous. They are wrapped in shrink wrap, super expensive, but nowhere near the size I really want, oh, the arrogance.

Enough about that, on to cooler things.

I would like to thank Skip Leveille for referring me to Jimmy Tarantino who referred me to Geno Mandello, a Master Dory Builder. These men are all part of International Dories. They have a program up in Gloucester (dory Mecca) where they build, race, and row dories. It's a real cool, grass-roots type of thing, check it out because the website can explain it better than me. Anyways, Geno answered a few dory questions for me regarding fasteners and sealants- my thanks to him. It's nice when you can talk to these guys who eat, sleep, and breathe boats, especially when they can lend some wisdom.

Until next time, tell your family, tell your friends, tell everyone...

Questions? Email Me

Please click on ads, this stuff is getting expensive,


Monday, October 4, 2010

Found Lumber!!

That's right, found lumber at Ideal Lumber in Galveston. It's beautiful too, and I have many choices. It threw me for a bit of a loop though, what I consider "finger-jointed" is not the same as what they consider it.

My limited knowledge about finger-jointed lumber is found in studs in pine on houses. The joint looks like a bunch of sharp V's or something, joining several 2 foot sections together. These finger jointed boards almost looked like a very fine type of particle board. It was like they had a bunch of 6 inch by 1 inch pieces and they combined them all together to create these massive 16 foot by 1 inch by 12 inch boards.

I looked them over carefully and they appear to be very good quality. I have also combed the internet for info on these boards and some people like them and some people hate them. After much deliberation, I think I am going with the just straight lumber and not going to risk the finger joint. This breaks my heart because the finger-joint stock was soooo cheap in comparison. It was about $30 whereas the straight stock was about $55. Thats a difference of about $15, multiply that by the estimated 10 boards I need and, you get the picture, that's just less money for beer, eek.

So in the morning, I am going there to make the purchase for the base and the oak for the frames and have it all shipped to Sea Aggie Island. Hopefully, this week I can get the bottom started and finished. I underestimated the number and difficulty of tests I would have this semester, so that is slowing down my schedule a lot, but I'll make do...

In other news, Kelly and I have been getting our scuba certification, we will dive at Mammoth lake this weekend to finish up our open water dives, and from there we will be able to find the shark that killed and ate our friend, we will fight it but we'll let it live. We are taking class from a cool guy named Tom at Island Divers, be sure to check him out. He has an awesome shop and a great selection of ScubaPro gear.

Ok, keeping this one short, I have to finish reading In the Heart of the Sea about the Essex whaling ship. I will never look at whales the same way again.

If you like what you saw, tell someone, click some ads, leave a comment, or email me

Was it a deliberate choice not to show the jaguar shark?