Sunday 30 November 2008

Time Lines and Deadlines.

Chris Perkins' Oughtred designed MacGreagor Canoe drifting in the glassy waters of Beal Park lake having just lifted first prize in the Watercraft amateur boat building competition.

When I was building "Caitlin" my Oughtred Whilly Tern, people were always asking when she would be finished, when was I planning to launch her etc. I tried to explain that I had enough deadlines to meet at work and that putting myself under needless pressure over what was supposed to be a hobby was counterproductive. Instead of being a relaxing pastime to de stress it was likely to wind me up if i was a week behind an arbitrary mile stone on an imagined project plan. Now I can budget, resource manage, and monitor progress against milestones on a gant chart the size of a small country but I prefer to leave such things in the office. So why is it that since I started this build I've been putting myself under pressure to get it done?
I know its partly because I feel I'm "cheating" using one of Alec Jordan's Kits for the planks and therefore expect to get it done much quicker, and also because I'm keen to see it on the water. Last weeks frustration over the keelson only made matters worse so its time to start listening to my own advice. It'll be done when its done.

Today dawned wet cold and windy, excellent! A fine day to be in the garage The Keelson is now firmly glued in place and i've spent a happy time with my block plane in hand chasing bevels from Transom to Stem. Much happier!

Saturday 29 November 2008

John Strictly Speaking I'm Only Dancing

Its been a bit frustrating down at Port-na-Storm this week, with associated levels of bad language and despondency but thankfully we're over that particular stage and can look forward to the next one.

I spent a few days cutting out the moulds and setting them up on the strong back, which was fairly straight forward. Of course when I say days I really mean hours as I only manage about an hour and a half in the evenings if i get out there at all. Even at weekends I try to work around everything else so manage to grab the odd hour here and there. Thank God for Strictly Come Dancing at least then I know there are a couple of hours when I can sneak out and not be missed. Anyway its not been the same since John Sargeant hung up his pumps.

Anyway, next step was to make the Keelson, a fairly straightforward task getting the 1" stock down to 3/4" tapering the end and then routing out the centreboard slot. I was cooking on gas now getting excited that pretty soon I would be laying those planks and turning her over, oh yea?

Offering the keelson up to the moulds everything went smoothly, slotting into place where it should and importantly all ligning up nice and square. The problem came trying to bend the aft end of the keelson down into the transom. Could I get the thing to bend? Writing this now, with the usual 20:20 hindsight it seems so bloody obvious, but at the time of course being so close to the problem meant I couldn't see the obvious when it was sitting on my shoulder and laughing in my ear.

I checked and double checked all my measurements to ensure the moulds were all in the proper place. I sent an emergency e-mail to Alec asking for advice. He proffered suggestions like steaming and spliting the recalcitrant stick down the middle, however the problem was finally solved when, as suggested by Alec I fitted the keelson into the transom FIRST then bent the keelson forward over the moulds. Basic school boy principles of leverage, Doh!

So as I write this the keelson is in place and the epoxy is cureing very slowly in the cold garage. All is well in the world again and look at the time, soon be time for "strictly", where did I put my pumps?

This weeks listening pleasure, Gram Parsons, Grevious Angel

Monday 17 November 2008

Groovin' On a Sunday afternoon.

There hasn't been much time for postings recently but this sequence of photos should pretty much explain where we are up to. Making a transom is a new experience for me after a canoe and a double ender, so the learning curve is vertical.
The transom is made up from three boards to get sufficient width, and in order to get a strong enough bond these have to be biscuit jointed. So I cut a 6mm groove in each face with the router and then used 6mm ply for the biscuits.
I cut the planks close to their final shape before gluing, and then laid them flat and wedged them together while the glue went off.

The thing I was dreading the most was routing out the name plate. Convinced that the router would
take on the persona of a whirling dervish and go skating off across the grain leaving a spiral of disaster behind it. I'm glad to report that after a few practice runs which didn't exactly boost my confidence, it all went fairly well in the end.

This week, setting up the moulds. More soon...........