Saturday, March 28, 2009

The first sea trials are over!

I finished up the dinghy, well not totally finished but good enough to take the boat for a test sail.

The day was rainy with not much wind. The boat was solid as a rock but a little tippy getting in and out, but once your in it your fine. The wind was poor so I really didn't get to sail.

I didn't rig the sail until we were on site, so first I had to cut lines for everything and setup all the rigging for the first time. I think I did pretty good but I didn't have the holes drilled into the mast, sprit, and boom like I needed to but I made things work with a little duct tape! Although it wasn't perfect it looked nice.

The boom was to low, the sail wasn't tight, the tiller was to long, the oars weren't finished, and the daggerboard trunk had a leak. No real major problems other than the leak but that can be fixed. I am just a little concerned if the leak allowed the plywood to get wet. I am thinking that it probably didn't because everything was coated with epoxy pretty well. Just my putty work around the daggerboard trunk wasn't exactly good looking.

It was really a great experience though, to be floating in a boat that I built myself, it was very rewarding. I even had a freind video tape some of it, check it out!

Also, I haven't mentioned it but, I have been recording the entire construction process and posting it on the internet. Here is the first video, follow THIS LINK to check out the rest of them!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nearing Completion!!!!

The dinghy is coming along nicely!

As you can see, I have the seat tops cut out and installed! Now the boat is really coming together and it doesn't look like just a bunch of plywood.

In order to install the seat tops I had to glue some cleats along the hull that would serve as supports for the seat tops. This was pretty easy, just had to make the marks, cut the blocks the mix some putty and stick them where they needed to go. I am really glad that the putty was sticky enough to hold the blocks in place so that I didn't have to worry about holding each one up while they dried. After they dried, I gave them all a good coat of epoxy.

I knew that cutting out the seat tops would be difficult because of the odd angles and the weird curves. So I went to Walmart and bought a few peices of posterboard to use as patterns. It didn't take me long to get the correct shape and cut out the seat tops. Once they were cut out I gave the underside of each seat two coats of epoxy so that I wouldn't have to coat the underside when they were installed on the boat.

Then I mixed up some more putty and just glued the tops in place, no big deal. I did have to put some heavy weights on top of the boards to hold them in place while the epoxy set up. (a vice and large chain work well for this)

I left a spot in the rear seat for a lid so that I could use that compartment for storage. I built the lid out of some scrap antique heart pine I had laying around from some of my furniture projects. It worked well and should look beautiful on the boat.

I also installed the mast step, it was no big deal....

The thing sure is coming along! I plan on being finished some time next week.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Built the sail today!

I have been gone for a week, but it was on a cruise so I am not complaining! I needed some warm weather......

(I will post about the cruise later)

Anyways, I am hoping to have the dinghy finished before next weekend so that we can take it to the beach with us, I am so ready. Since my sewing skills are not very good, my mother and I stitched up a homemade sail today. It didn't take us very long, I would say 2 hours maybe a little longer.

The material is a painter's canvas dropcloth that I bought from Lowe's for pretty cheap, under $20 bucks. It's a light tan color so it looks traditional. The only thing I am worried about is that it isn't water proof or water resistant but it's the first sail and a "trail" one before I make one out of a better quality and more expensive material.

It was no problem cutting it out, then we ironed the folds along the edges before we sewed them with my mother's sewing machine. Once this was done I just put a few gromets where I believe they should go (I looked at photos of other sails on the internet) and it was done. No big deal at all!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Slow Progress- Oars and Tiller work

I managed to get in about a day of work on the dinghy this past week. I was working on the tiller, the oars, and the cleats that the seats mount too.

For the tiller, I laminated three strips of 3/4 inch pine together to form a square post. The plans show a slot that you leave out of one end of the tiller for the rudder to stick through. It was pretty easy to laminate it together, I used waterproof wood glue instead of epoxy (epoxy isn't cheap) and I think it should work fine because I am going to cover the entire thing with epoxy.

After the glue dried I used a hand plane to taper the tiller into a handle. This wasn't very difficult and didn't take to long either, I enjoy using a hand plane. After I planed it down good enough I sanded it smooth and rounded the edges and it really looks good. I didn't get a photo of the final piece but I will once I put a coat of epoxy on it (hopefully this week).

I also worked on the oars a good bit. I finished planing one down but I still need to do some finishing cutting with my band saw and some sanding to give it a nice smoothe and fluid look. They really are looking pretty good!

Looks like I may not get to much work in on the dinghy this week because I will be working in my mother's roof truss manufacturing plant. I work here from time to time whenever they get busy (which isn't often enough in this economy) and now a lot of work has come in at one time.