Planking reaches its inevitable conclusion.

1 Year, 5 Months and 22 Days.

(from the beginning of planking on Aug. 15 1999)


Some Winters are worse than others. This Winter has been mild, and quite a lot of fun!

It feels great to see this hull completed. I hesitate to say finished because it still needs sanding and fairing. Some of it has never been sanded at all. I got to thinking about how long it has taken and figured out that, had it been done start-to-finish, it would have taken three of us only fifteen 8-hour days. Of course, we've never worked more than six hours at a time. Lots of other things have been done concurrently. A good deal of the interior is already in place. Yep! I'm really pleased.

Recap of activities since November and recent crew additions.

Pete came by once again in December, we got some more planking done and discussed "boats to build". Somehow, the subject never gets boring. He's coming down again later this month.

Santa brought Gardner's "The Dory Book", Chapelle's "Yatch Designing and Planning", Buehler's "Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding", Calder's "Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual", another Patrick O'Brian novel, and several sci-fi's.

Mongo and I put in a session at the beginning of the new year. Cleaned up the entire shop. Who would have believed there could be four humongous bags of trash scattered about?

Mongo brought Michele along and we got back to planking. The usual, three or four sets per day. About mid-January I ran out of plywood! (Early last Summer I made an abortive attempt at building a plug for the keel weight. Abortive because after committing the wood I found out that I couldn't bend it to the desired shape. It wound up as scaffold planking.)
Brian enters the picture. Until I got back down to Harbor Sales, we busied ourselves sanding the inside of the hull.

Last week of January, I went to Harbor Sales for more wood. I needed one and a half sheets to finish. I bought three. Brian needed two sheets for his rudder, so I got those at the same time. I'm quite happy with plywood fo' po' folk, A/A Marine Fir. Brian got the Lloyd's Gold-Plated plywood, (12mm Okoume). I never realized that it came already gift wrapped. Just kidding, although maybe it should be considering the prices!
Just for giggles, I got two sheets of 4mm Okoume also. "Ya' never know when yur gonna' get the urge to knock out a not-so-cheap boat."
I had Harbor Sales rip my ¾" 'wood to 24" boards, to make them easier to handle.
One afternoon I ripped one and a half boards into strips, the next day I milled the strips. The other board and a half are going to become new flowerboxes for the house.

On 02/03/01, after M&M cancelled out, Brian and I installed four sets. The next day, Sunday, all four of us went at it with a vengence! Captain Blighdawg kept feeding the crew strips and glue. No coffee breaks. No lunch. We installed six-and-a-half sets of strips. Ten and a half sets in two days! An alltime record!
It brought the hull up to within two sets (+/-) of finishing. Time ran out, so we left it all to cure.
Tuesday I spent about six hours custom fitting the last strips. All in all, there were six slightly tapered strips and four honest-to-god "cheaters". These were mere slivers, about 3/4" at their fullest tapering to nothing at the ends. Oh Yeah! (There ARE the same number of courses on both sides.)

Michele Le Blanc, Mongo's buddy.
As stunning as she is, She's most certainly NOT a dumb blonde.
She's caught on to the planking and epoxying right away.
An explanation of the process, an example of how to mix epoxy, and she was off to the races!
Persistent too.
She was actually dressed appropriately for work.
I swear!
(Long sleeved shirt, even brought her own gloves.) I was impressed!
She just couldn't help hamming it up when Mongo brought out his camera to take the usual "boat to date" pics.

[010204a_brian.jpg]Brian Gregson got to The Graving Dock by way of an old "model trains" friend. He and a pal are rehab'ing a sailboat in Florida, and Brian solicited my expertise in building a new rudder for their boat.
Their design is still evolving, (dimensions are "moving at the speed of Email".)
He's been by three times so far, enjoys the work and has been very helpful. It's really a pleasure working with people who enjoy what they're doing.
Mongo calls this pic "Brian explaining the boat!".
This was taken at the end of the day and we were all standing around bullshiting about boats and boatbuilding, and who knows what.

Yesterday (02/07/01) I fired up the salamander (60000 BTU's) and brought the shop up to a balmy 94°. The advantage of working in a cold shop in winter is that the goop has more working time, besides "The heat is in the work." The disadvantage is that it takes much longer to cure fully. (Starbord-side) I removed screws, sanded, vacuumed the dust and spread on the first filler coat.

(02/08/01) Wrote a new webpage called Winter2000.

(02/09/01), Got a late start. (Port-side) I removed screws, sanded, vacuumed the dust and spread on the first filler coat.

So, What's next?

(I thought the list below was going to take quite a while. Sort of like a "to do" list that would fill the next few weeks. It's all done or mostly done.)
(02/10/01) M&M, Brian, "MD!" got to it at 8:30AM

  • Trimming the bow and stern after the goop all sets. [Done, "MD!"]
  • Sanding, filling and fairing in preparation for fiberglassing. [25% done, "MD!"]
  • Sanding the inside in preparation for filleting and taping the frames/bulkheads to the hull. [85% done, M&M, B]
  • Tearing down the scaffolding to expose the hull for 'glassing. [Done, M&M]
  • Building a counterweighted, rolling ladder to get at the upper parts of the hull when 'glassing. [Done, B&"MD!"]
I even got a chance to cut up the parts for the flowerboxes.

(02/11/01) No M&M so Brian and I started building his rudder.
[010211rudderblank.jpg]We cut and laminated three 16" boards. The boards were glued and clamped. We laid a straightedge down the length, shimmed for flatness, then put a level across the boards and shimmed for twist. Next step will be to it cut out and sand to the foil shape. I'll keep you posted as this "side job" progresses.

[010211ladder.jpg]The ladder was built on a dolly I'd already built to keep the lead I've been accumulating. A few screws, a few pop rivets, and Voila! A rolling ladder heavy enough to keep me from pitching into the boat as I lean over to work at the top.

[010211clearhull.jpg]  "Naked!"


(02/17/01) Brian's been helping me out for weeks now, planking, epoxying and sanding. Time to return the favor.

With his rudder plans and drawings in hand, we set to work laying out the lines and sawing out the rough shape. We left the lines about a 1/16th" proud to allow for sanding.

Since last week, Brian produced a cardboard template of the NACA foil he wanted the rudder to look like. We used that to make negative template out of 1/2" plywood. We then cut it at the high point of the leading curve, to check its fairness.[010217b_ruddershaped.jpg]
The bulk of the curve was sanded down with a beltsander then brought closer and closer to shape with a longboard. Sanding, checking, sanding, checking.
The trailing edge was roughed out with a power planer then sanded with the belt sander, then smoothed out with the Bosch RO sander. The nice thing about working with plywood is that the glue lines of the laminations act as guides. It's easy to see high or low spots because the lines should be straight for a flat curve. After one side was done and we worked on the other side, we'd flip the rudder over to see that the lines were at the same distances from the edges. This way we knew that the curves were the same.
Towards the end of the day we started getting finicky; but for the wrong reasons. We were just exhausted.
[010217e_happysailor.jpg]Not bad for a day's work.

I emailed Alicia the picture up top here, telling her about finishing the planking. She said, "The planking is finished, what ever will we do now? We won't have anything to work on... what a let down. Just kidding from the pictures on the website to boat looks beautiful. Congratulations."
(02/18/01) Brian, Alicia and "MD!". I didn't want to risk exposing Alicia to the epoxy, not even just in the same room. So we all sanded. Brian and Alicia sanded the insides and I sanded the outsides. Masks, glasses, earphones and a fan, the din was impressive. The inside is finished, and we got some cleanup done.
Postscript: I'd been worried that Alicia might react to the epoxy dust. Before she came over, we discussed the potential problem and she decided to give it a try anyway. I'm happy to report that she suffered no after effects from the sanding session.

(02/19-23/01) Short solo sessions all week, 4 or 5 hours. I ran the beltsander over the hull until I couldn't hold it up anymore. I got as far up as I could reach while standing on a milk crate. When I couldn't stand to even look at the beltsander anymore, I started fairing.

(02/24/01) M&M, "MD!", and Mickey. You remember Mickey, she hasn't been here in a long while. She was amazed. When she got over her initial reaction she declared the place a "Disaster Area" and promptly started cleaning up.
We've begun filleting the frames!!!
Michele mixed epoxy and wood flour and dolluped it into Ziplok® Baggies, Mongo painted straight epoxy on the frames ahead of me, and I pumped out the dough and smoothed out the fillets. We kicked ass! In five hours we got about 65% of the fillets done.

(02/26,27,28/01) Continuing the filleting. Sanded the upper parts of the outside of the hull. Laid on more of the first fairing coat on the hull.
Assembled the flowerboxes.

These pages are getting too long, so that's all for this one.

Easing into the next phase... [010211clearhull120x90.jpg]


Copyright © 2001 Alan "Maddog!" MacBride
Most recent revision 03/01/01