Saturday, May 25, 2013


I'm surprised at how much it looks like my old Shearwater.
I pushed myself hard to complete it by today. Weather forecast was not good. Turned out to be 50 degrees, light rain, but we went for it anyway.

Getting rained on

Obligatory "trophy" photo:

I had spent a lot of time & energy fretting about the seat, cockpit foot pegs, etc, but I felt immediately comfortable in it. It seems more nimble than I had expected it to be. I think that reducing the length while keeping the design  rocker measurements the same had the effect of "more rocker"-it seemed to turn more easily than Jay's. Its also fast, but in a different way than the Shearwater. It has a less-fine bow entry, and longer waterline length. It seems to "glide" further.

Friday, May 24, 2013


"The first 90% of the task takes the first 90% of the time. The last 10% of the task takes the next 90% of the time." That's how it went-when I thought I was close enough to the "home stretch", I started making blunders, like screwing up the holes for the foot braces.
 Those Old Ironsides toggles
The hatches don't seal quite as tightly as the last build's, because I used 1/4" ply instead  of 4mm.

The deck rigging was easy.

I decided to try these fancy-shmancy foot braces. I hope I like them, since they weigh a whopping 1 lb each.

 I shaved my old foam seat down a little, to fit the bottom of the cockpit, and actually managed to cover it in Spandex. Same old Rapid Pulse back band as the last build.

Monday, May 20, 2013


After the usual tedious job of cleaning the basement, I decided not to try anything new at this phase, and fall back on ways that worked in the past. I wet-sanded down to #400, and used Schooner Gold.
I'm starting to like it again.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Stupa in Saybrook

One of the things I love about Geocaching is the way it show me nearby places I never knew about. 
This a nifty place. The sign says that it is preserved jointly through The Saybrook Land Trust, State of Connecticut, and Town of Old Saybrook. It appears to be an old farm, and still is, sort-of.
This thing stores "Farm Market" signs, near the small parking area. While we were applying anti-tick measures, a guy in a truck stopped by & was friendly. We think he is the "farmer.
A stroll down the road at the right showed interesting gardens. Most of the fencing, etc, appeared to be recycled materials, such as plumbing pipe. It had a friendly, funky feeling.
Hand-painted signs with friendly messages:

Further down the road, it gets really interesting. This is a building built of hay bales. It appears to be stuccoed-over. We pondered the building technique..
 The place had kind of an interesting take on private/public. It seemed that we could wander around what would "normally" be "off limits" freely, yet a few places were fenced. 
This was great. It  is an outhouse, but it took me a while to figure out the meaning of the sign. We figured that it meant that "guys", as in literally "men" should pee in the woods, and save the outhouse for Seated Use. :D
On through the woods to the cache. Very nice, well-cleared trails, and interesting trees.

The cache was nicely placed, overlooking a small, pretty lake that I never knew existed. We checked out the Stupa:
I couldn't seem to find a way to take a good photo of this. The field is foot-tall grass, dotted with buttercups and lilies, with a few paths mowed. It looks like a great place for something : Music Festival? Craft Show? 
Prayer flags:

Across the field, more evidence of Old Farm Homestead:
Neat Day!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Carrying Toggles Of Ancient Wood

My friend Bonnie and her husband once owned a woodworking factory in New Hampshire, which provided wood for one of the U.S.S. Constitution refits. In my previous build, I also made carrying toggles of wood which Bonnie claimed was "from the Constitution". It was Indian rosewood, which made me think that it was probably a scrap from a modern replacement part, rather than original wood. However, while cleaning out her house prior to moving, she found this venerable-looking timber and kindly gave it to me:
It definitely looks old. The hole on the top looks like it was drilled for a peg. There is a remnant of a copper nail. I started to get excited, thinking that it might have "monetary value", and did research. Some Dipstick On EBay had a similar piece, for which he was asking $10,000.
I took photos and sent a letter to the curator of The Constitution  Museum. He answered that it was:
1. Old
2. Oak
3. Very probably from a ship
4. Impossible to prove that it was from The Constitution, without Documentation, and
5. Of very little monetary value, even if it was.
I since learned that Constitution Wood, from the many refits, is not particularly rare. Guys used to have walking sticks made from it. The doors of the Customs House, here in new London, are made from it. Smaller scraps are sold in the Museum Gift Shop for $5.
In any case, I thought it would be a nifty piece to use. I made a turning blank:


Strange. This wood emitted an aroma when cut. I can only describe it as "oldness". I wonder if they treated it with something?
I like the way these came out!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


This went fairly routinely. I had the pages from the manual copied at the recommended sizes. I found that the sill size gave a rather small lip for the gasket, and I like to use a full 3/4" piece of weatherstrip, so I made the sills wider.

Cutting The holes went fairly easily. 
CLC advocates laying up the spacers and sill all at once, making a gooey mess that will have to be chiseled & sanded. Instead, I glued the spacer on first, then the sill. 

This was much easier to clean up.

The last job of woodworking was the thigh braces. That too, went easily. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cockpit Coaming & Riser

I had a feeling that I'd make myself a lot of work by raising the foredeck, and I sure did.
On my previous builds, I raised the coaming by stacking up rings of plywood. after raising the foredeck 1", there was nearly a 2" difference in height between the front & back, when a straightedge is placed across the opening. I posted on the message board, and of course got plenty of suggestions. I decided to go for the Lots Of Tiny Pieces method.
I put coves & beads on some leftover pine strips. Somehow, this was easier than the last time I tried it. It must have been the router table setup.
I glued the pieces together with hot-melt glue. I'm kind of working backwards here: most make a very neat cockpit opening, then build the riser around it. I made a very neat lip ring, and I'm building the riser around it.
Second row, glued to the first. Already scrounging for clamps.
I thought the setup might look ugly, so I made a strip of white oak to go around the outside. Tried steam-bending it (disaster), but managed to laminate it on with the heat gun & epoxy.
Coping the bottom to fit the deck was very tedious. I discovered that one side of the opening was higher than the other, and had to use major clamp pressure to get it level. I made a fillet of dookie around the outside.
Showing the height difference. I couldn't see building it up with 8 plywood rings, or 20 layers of fiberglass cloth!
Fiberglassed, by the usual technique, and the usual sanding. Very pleased that my old spray skirt fits.