Thursday, January 1, 2015

Back on the horse . Again...

        Well after nearly a year away from the project, I am about to begin anew.   It is amazing just how fast time flies with a family.   This week is devoted to cleaning the workspace and next week will mark a new beginning.   Needless to say, this project is taking much longer than originally anticipated, but you know what happens when you make plans...    /this fall/winter was amazing on the lake.   There were many outstanding nights with huge Walleye pulls.   Trolling in the heavy cold winds in December, I decided to go with a 115lb thrust bow mount trolling motor on the new boat.   The transom mount has plenty of power, but in a strong headwind, she wanted to do loop-de-loops and that it just not cool with 4 planer boards and 8 lines out.   Planning for that is key in the next year, as the bow will be formed up.   Stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chine logs faired

      The inner chine log is installed and faired.   Mostly I used the hand rasp and level to work my way all the way down from the bow to the stern.   There is so much fairing to do, it is quite overwhelming.   I yearn for the day when the fairing is complete and I can start to install the skin.   On an unrelated note I am starting to hunt for an engine and a smaller trolling motor.   It may take a couple years to find a really incredible deal, so I started looking about 6 months ago and have found a few great deals but none that I couldn't pass by.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Inner Chine Log Underway


   Last weekend marked a historic  milestone!   The inner Chine Log is perhaps the most difficult part of the framing to build.   The outer chine log wasn't too daunting, but the inner presents many more challenges.   To date half of the starboard inner chine log is epoxied and screwed into place.   The aft half will be installed next weekend and then the inner log will need to be faired.   After both logs are faired the chine can be made.   The actual chine may be far more difficult than the logs, but following the chine, I believe the building process will begin to take a somewhat downward trend.   Oh wait - then I need to do the inner chine log on the Port side followed by the chine.....   Come high water, this hull will be finished -  fiber-glassed and epoxied , painted and flipped by the fall.   One interesting problem I encountered last weekend was that as I attempted to notch out grooves for the inner chine log, I had no choice but to take note of the intense toughness of White Oak.   A 1/4" by 1/2" nodule of material gave me the hardest time as I was hammer and chiseling it out.  Hopefully  the next post will come in short order with the starboard side chine logs installed and faired.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Back on the Horse

      After a long break from the project we are back on track!   Today I was able to fair 3 frames worth of the Port side outer chine log and frames.   This is the place where the chine will be attached, and it is very important that the chine log and frames are notched and leveled just so.   With any luck the skeleton will be ready for inner chine log sometime in March.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Grind

We are in the process of sanding, filing, planing and grinding away unnecessary material to bring the hull into shape.   The fairing meter is holding steady at 15% completion.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Just Not Fair

I have begun the process of fairing.   Fairing is cutting, shaving and shaping the frames to make sure that the chines and battens will all align properly.   This will give the hull its smooth shape.   I allowed extra material on the frames for this and I am sure glad I did.   Here I have cut the chine and marked the frame for shaping.  
         Fairing is not fun.   Fairing is going to take me forever.   Fairing beats me like a sledgehammer once for every time I mis-measured by 1/8".   Apparently I mis-measured a lot.   I expected to have to adjust most of the frames here and there and that is exactly what I must do.   Most boat builders label this unrelenting process "the bugaboo of boatbuilding".   No kidding.   I'm salty.   And this is going to be primarily a fresh water vessel.   I'll post again once I get one of the frames faired.   Hopefully that will be before next year...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ok whos the joker?

        As I got home from work one night this week I discovered that a very artistic neighbor had deposited their work o fart for all to see.   Note the exquisite detail of one eye being normal and the other having no eye or patch.  It looks kind of like a deranged baby mr. potato head.     

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chines on

         The second chine bar is attached and the epoxy is setting up.   This weekend I will be able to take off the braces on the other side and begin to measure and mark the frames for fairing.   After the bottom of the hull frames are faired (may take forever) I will be ready to attach the bottom battens.   I am toying with different woods for the battens.   White Oak is certainly a strong contender, but so is Southern Long Leaf Yellow Pine.   While searching craigslist for reclaimed lumber from old barns or wherever, I have discovered that the sellers of such wood are either brilliant salesman or thieves!   How can old, bug-eaten, worm holed wood be more expensive than nice clean fresh wood?   I'll be festering over this for years to come.   I am all for recycling and certainly love the idea.   However, to pay more money for lesser quality makes no sense to me...  Any thoughts?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Capping it off

      A unique touch
I plan on creating is custom made rose-bronze screw caps.   These will cover all the exposed screw heads on the boat.   There shouldn't be many.   The idea started while trying to come up with custom screw caps for the steering wheel.   Here I started with a chunk of carving wax on the lathe and ended up with a nicely shaped disc.   Next I will use my less than adequate artistic skills to attempt carving an anchor in the face of it.   I have a betting pool going to see how many discs I have to lathe before I get one carved to my satisfaction.    

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

     Chine number 2 is attached at the stem and hopefully will be in place this weekend.   I also started to fair and smooth the stem, and have a coat of thickened epoxy on most of it.   It sure feels good to work on something semi-cosmetic.   The structural work takes its toll on the soul...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chine on you crazy diamond

After a neglecting the poor boat for a few weeks I was able to get the port side chine on today.   The Oak was pre-shaped fairly well and didn't take too much force to get it into shape.   After the thickened epoxy sets it should be super strong.   The nice part of chining is that I was then able to remove the braces that were holding the frames together.   Now there is much more room to maneuver between the frames while working on the underside of the hull.   The chine is scarfed and ready to go on the starboard side.   Following that ordeal, the arduous task of fairing will ensue.   Not looking forward to that in the least.   Basically fairing is shaving, sawing, trimming, sanding the frames so the hull will have a nice even shape to it.   As it sits now, there is quite a bit of fairing to do;  the frames don't quite allow for smooth lines yet.   Having the chines on will give a good idea of where to start, as the chine represents the smooth line that the hull needs to match.     After the fairing it should go a little quicker.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bent out of shape

We got the first outer chine log pre-bent into shape tonight.   I ended up scarfing two pieces of oak to come up with one 22 foot long chine bar.   As you can see here, bending the log into shape is no easy task!  It is held into shape with many clamps and after a couple days it will take on a new shape without all the stress.   At that time the frame notches will be faired so they mate well with the chine log.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rollin Rollin Rollin

   The stem is attached to the front 2 frames and the sorry looking carcass is now mobile!   Finally Ohio had a beautiful Saturday afternoon.   I have the chine notches cut on the port side and will cut them on the starboard side next weekend.   I scarfed one of the outer chine logs and will update on that tomorrow.   The pieces are cut for the skeg and are ready to be angled and shaped.   The goal is still for a fall flip but time is short these days.   The neighbors have started mumbling and pointing now.   Some peek through bushes while others walk down the sidewalk with borrowed dogs on leashes.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Stemmin' Fools

This weekend Jacob and I built the stem!   Instead of three layers of 3/4" ply we went with one solid 1-1/4" solid Oak center core, sandwiched with two layers of 3/4" ply.    This added about 3/4" overall to the width as well as the added strength of solid Oak.   We used a quart of epoxy and $15 worth of stainless steel screws.   Beefy.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Laminated Keel

The keel is now completed and laminated.   I am going to leave the clamps on for 2 days to make sure that the curing process is completed before releasing the pressure.   The thickness is over 2 inches and seems to be quite strong.   I will be sinking 6" #12 stainless screws through the keel into the frames for added security.   The next step is laminating the stem and attaching it to the keel and front frame.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gotta love good ole fashioned hand tools

My new Bastard file came today and WOW!   Generally I am a firm believer that power tools are the most efficient means with which to do any job, but I have discovered that sometimes the good old fashioned hand tools do the job even better.   I have been struggling with the best way to rough up the white oak and after testing many methods, I have decided that a super sharp Bastard file is the easiest and fastest way to get the job done.   Today I roughed up the second lamination of the keel and prepped both mating surfaces for epoxy.   This was way better than any sandpaper method I have tried.   Tomorrow I will epoxy and clamp the second layer of the keel.  So if Brunswick Noah uses big, nasty, machined files, what did the real Noah use?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stem template

 The stem template has been made and fitted to the bow frames.   Eventually it will be three of these plywood stems that are laminated together making it over 2" thick.   After making the prototype I have decided to beef up the stem by adding another inch or two in depth.   This week I will be ordering a sheet or two of 3/4" marine plywood and should get the stem cut, laminated and installed.   As soon as the stem is attached it will be time to run the chine logs.   Meanwhile, today I should be able to get the second layer of the keel cut and installed.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

The second layer of the keel is underway.   I have roughed up the Oak with a bastard file to aid the epoxy in bonding the layers.   The White Oak is so hard, that after I plane it, the surface is like glass.   Although epoxy will bond to that, it is infinitely stronger to give the glue a rough surface to grip.  After filing both sides of the bonding pieces I have the front section of keel attached to the first layer with a generous layer of thickened epoxy, and also screwed all the way through to the frames with 3"  #12  305 stainless screws.    

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Keeling Time

The first layer of the keel is epoxied and screwed on to the frames.   The strength seems amazing, and with one more solid piece of oak (doubling the keel thickness) it will be super strong.   The overall thickness will be over 2 inches before the planking and the skeg.   The next step is to install the second layer of the keel, and build the stem.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Keel installation

Today the keel started to go on.   I squared up the keel notches in the frames, and cut, planed and spliced the 17 foot long keel board.   Since Oak is such a hard wood, I roughed up the contact surfaces so they would hold the epoxy better.   The frames got roughed up with a rasp and the keel got roughed up with 60 grit sandpaper.   After that I painted on a thin layer of unthickened epoxy so it would soak into the pores a bit and take hold of the wood.   Following that I mixed a batch of thickened epoxy to actually do the gluing.   After the first layer of the keel was clamped into place I sank 2" #12  305 stainless steel wood screws, (super beastly and thick), cleaned up the squeezed out epoxy and then painted on another thin layer of non-thickened epoxy just to mix everything together nicely.   Tons of overkill here, but I won't have to worry about the keel coming off! The next step will be creating the stem.   This will be 3 layers of 3/4" marine plywood cut to shape and glued together.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Keel Notches

 The keel notches are underway with only a few left to do.  The best way I have found to cut the corners is to drill a 1/2" hole and then use the jigsaw to slice out the points.    

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Frames alligned and set

The frames are finally set in place and ready to be notched for the keel.   I had to do quite a bit of alligning, adjusting and shimming to get the hull shape the way I wanted it.   Somehow everything is level and straight.   The next step will be notching the centers of the frames for the keel.   The keel will be 4" wide, and 2" thick solid Oak and should stand up to hitting Lake Erie logs at 25mph.    The skeg will be fastened to the keel, and will provide an incredibly strong backbone for the boat.   The length so far is just over 16', and with the stem on and the motor transom it is looking more like 22' for an overall length.   I shortened the space between the frames and lost a little length, but it had to be done to fit the hull in the garage.   The stem will be built on the hull while in the garage, but the motor transom will have to be put on after the hull is flipped and out of the garage.   We are still aiming for a hull flip at or before fall of this year.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It Begins...


 Today Jacob and I finished up the building platform and as of now the first 4 frames are temporarily set in place.   Each frame is held together with temporary slats lightly air-nailed in.   So far all the frames are true and level.   I can already tell there will be a bit of fairing to do.   Even though the degree of error is very small, a sixteenth of an inch here and there seems to cause a bit of irregularity.   The frames will be set by the end of the weekend, and then they will be renailed on the inside, so the outside slats can be removed to facilitate installation of the keel, chine logs, sheer clamps and battens.   There DEFINITELY is NOT enough room to build this in the garage.   My carcass cannot squeeze by the one side and I have no idea how the sheeting is going to go on.   I havent put wheels on the building platform yet because I wanted a sturdy, stable skeleton to get the frames assembled on.   On a brighter note, I think the overall size will be just fine.   LOA should end up being around 24 feet.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Set up beams

The frames are now fitted with set up beams and ready to be placed on the building form.   The beams are simply 2x4's screwed to the frames exactly 2 feet above the waterline.    When The building form is constructed this week, the frames will be placed on it upside down.   At that point we should be able to see how the shape will look.   It may be necessary to fair the frames a bit to accomodate any small errors in frame construction.   Fairing involves hand planing and sanding away high spots that might cause an uneven shape in the keel, chines or battens.   If all goes well, the building form will be constructed Tuesday night.   The downside is that the garage has to be completely reorganized and the large power stations need to be relocated to accomodate the building of the hull.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013



Today Jacob and I finished up the last two frames!   This officially marks the end of stage two.   Stage one was one year of studying plans, reading books, taking notes, making phone calls, asking questions, researching wood, researching epoxy, and testing and comparing different glues and fasteners.   Now that the frames are completed, the real fun begins.   The next two weeks will be spent building a rolling structure for the hull to be assembled on.   The skeleton will actually be constructed upside down.   If anyone has spare 2x6's they dont need now is the time for a much appreciated donation!   Thanks to Andy for donating some 2x4's which will be used in hanging the frames.   The frames turned out better than expected.   They are much stronger than the plans call for, and will help in the overall structural integrity of the vessel.   The wood is quarter sawn 5/4 white oak heartwood, which is one of the strongest, most durable, stable woods available.   The framing is thicker and wider than necessary, adding over 50% more strength than the original specs.   When the building form is completed, the frames will be positioned upside down for allignment.   Finally, the project will begin to take shape.     

Saturday, March 9, 2013

In need of free lumber

         Frame 5 is finished and ready to be stacked with his brothers.   Why I have decided that the frame members are male, while the boat of course is female may be an unsolved mystery for some time.    How does that work?    With only a couple frames to go I am to the point of needing a mass quantity of 2x4's, 2x6's, 2x8's and any other 2x whatever widths and lengths I can come into.   I need to build a platfom for the hull to be built on and I need as much lumber as possible.    I would be most grateful for any free lumber anyone out there feels like donating.    I will come pick it up and be very grateful!     

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Small Milestone

I completed frame number 3 today.   To date I have frames 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8 completed.   This marks the "over half way" milestone in frame construction.   After the frames are finished the real fun begins as the hull will be assembled..   Motivation will surely double when the next phase starts.   Three frames to go and then the transom.   Woohoo!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hopeless Ambition

Once again I am behind on my frame construction.   I was scheduled to have the fifth frame completed this week and I came down with a stress fracture and am on crutches for weeks :(   I see my hopes of completing this vessel before I have to renew my captain's license vanishing before my eyes.   On a more hopeful note, I found a great dealer for epoxy and received a three gallon batch to try.   That should keep me stocked up for at least another month or two.   If anyone out there has time to kill I am offering homemade bread and beer for an extra hand in the next few weeks. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

To frame, or not to frame

      This is frame number 8.   I got bored of making frames that all look basically the same, so to spice things up a bit I decided to construct the last frame.   This will be the foremost member near the bow.   The plans call for 4" frames, so naturally I am making mine 5".   The boat hull should be able to withstand any of the giant tree logs I will most definitely crash into in the middle of Lake Erie.  

Having the last word is important in my house

     After some frustrating cuts, I had to align the saw blade and the fence.   The device is call a last word indicator, and it is very touchy.   We are now making cuts as accurate to one thousandth of an inch.   Of course once you make one cut with the blade, the calibration is no longer as accurate :(  

New ship's wheel

         After a couple weeks of patient whittling, here is the new wheel!

Building the new ship's wheel


Blackbeard's Helm

       I came into a wheel from a member of the Glen-L Boatbuilders website forum and he shipped me this ancient ship's wheel that dates back to the very early 1900's.   Originally I had planned on rebuilding it, but as I began disassembling the pieces, they fell apart - completely dry rotten...   So I took the best pieces, made templates, and fashioned a new wheel out of Maple and Black Walnut.  

Aaaahhhh progress...

         Frame one completed.   This frame is over 8 feet wide and 4 feet tall.   This frame will be the first member forward of the transom.   The goal is to have all frames completed by the end of winter 2013 so the hull can be assembled when Spring breaks.   If all goes according to the all to optomistic plan, I want to have the hull built, sheathed, epoxied, fiberglassed and painted by the fall so it can be flipped before winter.  

Gussets? We don' need no steenking gussets!

       The gussets are glued to the frames with marine epoxy, then joined with #10 stainless steel wood screws.   The screws alone will provide enough strength to hold the frame members together.   The epoxy is even stronger.   Combine the two joining methods and this joint is stronger than if the wood had been one solid piece.   The holes must be pre-drilled with a tapered bit, so as to not split the Oak, as well as not break the screw head off.   The White Oak is so strong, that even with a #10 screw (rather heavy duty), it is necessary to bore a path for the screw to sink into.  

Frame #1

          This is frame number 1 in the beginning stages.   The frame members are being planed and cut from Quartersawn 5/4 white Oak heartwood.   This wood is one of the best, if not the best choice for boat frames.   It is rediculously hard, stable, and rot resistant.   The frames will be impregnated and completely encapsulated in high grade marine epoxy, so water will never even find the pores of the wood.   These frame members will be joined with gussets, which are plates cut from 1/2" marine plywood. 


        As of February 18th, I have 4 frames completed.   There will be a total of 9 frames in the build so I am about half way.   I will get some pictures up soon to prove that the insanity has indeed begun.   If y'all want to see a magic trick, come watch me build this 25 foot boat in a 20 foot garage.   Not quite sure how that's gonna work out yet.   Maybe I should have thought that through first...  

Row well, and live

    Join Noah on his journey of building a high performance tug boat from scratch!    The plans arrived on March 2nd, 2012 and progress is underway.    This is going to be a wooden semi-planing hull type vessel built for the Great Lakes and Ocean fishing as well as a weekend party boat.    If I remember to renew my captain's license, this will be the next charter vessel.     Structurally, it will be a brick fortress of unparalleled dimensions.    Aesthetically, it will be a luxurious fisherman's paradise. The overall length will be around 25 feet with an 8'6" beam.    She will be badged "The Laura-Ann", in devotion to my beautiful wife who although has no understanding of why one must embark upon foolishness of such great magnitude, has allowed me to follow my dream.    Stop in and have a beer as raw lumber is transformed into a glorious work of art!
                         Why build a boat you ask?    My wife would like the answer to that question as well.    Someone on the Glen-L boat builder's forum said that building your own boat is "A hole in the water in which you throw your money into".   Another said that "Boat building is a series of mistakes interspersed with an occasional stroke of genius".   Then again, "There can be no miracle recoveries without first screwing up".   Also, there is a ceiling on the quality you can get from professional builders.   A "professional" is someone who gets paid for their work; it doesn't necessarily mean they are good at it.   Out of the 13 boats I have owned and operated, I have spent countless hours rebuilding and repairing every single one of them.   At the time I was cursing my many days of dismay and bloody knuckles.   Today however, I am elated with the knowledge I have of how NOT to build a boat.   Ultimately, there is no greater satisfaction than years of enjoyment from something you created by hand.   This project will envelope family and friends for many years to come, both in the construction and the enjoyment of using her when she is finished.   So, Brunswick Noah, Jacob, (and soon Christian!) have hereby set out upon a lengthy journey into the realm of custom boat construction.   The vessel will be stronger than any others on water today, and will be unsinkable, even if severed in half.   Every single square inch will be custom made and hand crafted.   The proposed completion date is tentatively set to somewhere in 2016.   The appraised value should be $80,000 - $100,000, and the total cost of the build will optimistically be under $20,000.
            Log on once in a while and check in on the progress.   Sometimes a motivational sentiment or insult of ridicule can boost a builder's spirits!   This will be a long journey and certainly an arduous task to say the least.   There will be a hull flipping party hopefully in the fall of 2013.   For those of you who attended the last hull flipping party, you know what to expect.   There will be a need for excessive brawn and lifting power.   Thanks for visiting! "Row well, and live!"