The Final Chapter - What has happened in the year since the maiden voyage?


Lake Charlevoix is an absolutely beautiful lake in northern Lower Michigan. This is where my wife sailed with me for the first time. While our water outings were uneventful in a good way the trip produced some of the first “character” markings in Woodstock. I also lost the keys to the padlocks on the trailer hitch so the car and the boat trailer were inseparable until we got home. Stopping in Traverse City on our way home caused shoppers on Main Street to gather around Woodstock with admiring looks.

Mounting the motor on the transom during trailer transport on this trip apparently placed some strain on the rear seat where the transom knee is attached. In the picture below you see a close-up of the front end of the transom knee.

Some of the plies in the seat have been pulled apart slightly as evidenced by the “scales” which show up as lighter areas. This picture shows the seat about halfway through a repair process where I used a syringe to inject epoxy into 1/16" dia. holes drilled part way through the plywood seat.

This syringe is made for injecting glue into the looses joints of chairs and it worked quite nicely for this repair. The brass nozzle seals well against the hole opening and I observed that for several of the holes I was able to force silica-thickened epoxy into a given hole and have the epoxy come out of other holes or out through the "scales" produced by the delamination. In addition I feel reasonably certain the affected area have some additional saturation of epoxy into the wood fibers.

I Displayed Woodstock at a Wooden Boat Show in Pentwater -
This is a nice little event.  But I learned what passes for a winner in the Workmanship Award category. SMH (Shaking my head.)

I Sailed on Lake Michigan with Jerry! -
Very early in this blog I mentioned my dear friend Jerry whom my wife and I became acquainted with on a local bike path.  I invited him to sail with me on Lake Michigan on a particularly nice day.  I 'm quite certain he enjoyed it even more than I did.

I Returned to Reeds Lake -
One beautiful fall day there was a nice amount of wind so I set off to sail on nearby Reeds Lake. After completely rigging Woodstock I realized I forgot my centerboard at home. I had an elderly couple watch my boat while I went home to retrieve it. Back on the lake, during my second effort to come about, I was on the wrong side of the boat and my effort to move to the proper side only made the boat tip more. Over she went. The boat wasted no time in turning turtle completely. This was my first capsizing event but I quickly remembered that I should pull gradually on the centerboard using my weight to right the boat. But, just as I was reaching for the centerboard I watched it drop into the hull, out of sight. As I was trying to decide on a second plan of attack the boat must have settled into the water a bit more or something because the centerboard floated back up through the trunk, just a little bit. I grabbed it, pulled it out the bottom until it was seated, and slowly applied force to the end of the centerboard.

I righted the boat, lowered the sails, and tried to get back in. I successfully had the boat turn turtle once more on top of me forcing me to submerge myself to get outside the hull. I’ll admit I swallowed a bit of water and the resulting coughing made me wonder for a brief moment if this was really how it all could end. My attitude toward safety took a significant jump to the forefront of my thoughts from that point on.

Anyhow, I righted the boat again and tried to reboard both at the front transom and the rear. No luck. I couldn’t lift my body high enough to get over either transom. About that time a boat that was supervising a crew team came alongside and they lowered a rope ladder so I could board their boat and then transfer to mine. I thanked them and sat in my floating bathtub with nothing more than a centerboard to splash water out of the boat. I was drifting safely toward shore so the situation was not serious.

Then I heard this loud roar and I suspected what was up. Sure enough a resident on the lake had told the local constabulary that there was someone struggling with a sailboat and the authorities had dispatched an airboat rescue team that was flying across the lake toward me with lights flashing. Those guys pretty much took matters in their own hands. They lashed my boat to theirs and we proceeded back to the boat landing.

I lost my glasses, I lost my my hat (retrieved later via phone call from a kayaker who found it), and I lost a bit of body heat, but all ended well. The season ended with me thinking that I’m gonna have to give some thought to how I can successfully re-enter my boat in this kind of situation. Sunfish type sailboats have small cockpits that don't hold much water. My PMD only had about 4" of freeboard with all the water it had in it. I’m also gonna make sure that next time I have something to bail with (Duh!). Sure glad everything in the boat was tied to the boat!

I Did Some Research On Boat Ladders.
The solution I came up with looked like this -

This stirrup runs about $25. I backed up the cleat with stainless steel fender washers behind the rear seat bulkhead. I chose this mounting location so the ropes would be near the centerline of the boat and inside the "dip" in the transom so they would resist slipping off to the side.

I did a dry run with the boat in the garage and I think this should work. I can grab the rear seat and hoist my body up over the transom while stepping on the ladder.

Earlier This Summer I Tried Out Green Lake -
My first outing of the 2009 season! We had moved to a condominium early this spring so the best bet for a sailing lake was Green Lake. Since last fall found me capsizing and unable to get back in the boat I was a little gun shy but my overwhelming desire to get out in the boat found me choosing a day with some brisk and gusty winds.

Well, my lightning fast reflexes and catlike agility (was that a sarcasm detector I just heard go off?) kept the fabric aloft and the centerboard wet. Translation: fear had the adrenaline pumping and every wind shift and gust had me more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. But I was quite pleased that my fear had turned into some degree of forethought and fairly decent body placement. And leaving the jib in the car wasn’t a bad idea either.

I worked and worked to navigate upwind through the small portion of the lake which I have since learned local sailors avoid or get someone to tow them through. Finally I was in the larger portion of the lake and was clear to sail to the far end. I was preparing to come about when a gust became a prolonged blast, but no more than about 20 mph, and certainly no stronger than the gusts I had experienced earlier. As I was holding forth I felt a strange loss of power and I observed my sail going before me. As they say, the wind had gone out of my sails. But in this case the sail had gone out of the wind. The sight of my "modified" mast reminded me of a couple incidents I had read about on the Passagemaker Dinghy Builder’s blog.

I drifted to a dock where a couple of guys held the boat while I stowed the sails and rigging. I rowed back to the boat landing with serious doubts about whether this whole sailing thing was worth it. I found a local company where I obtained a new 10’ length of aluminum tubing ($60) which has a slightly thicker sidewall, .065" instead of the original .057".

The mast step also suffered some minor damage. I chose to use a hole saw large enough to eliminate the affected area and then put wood flour thickened epoxy in the hole. I made the mixture thin so it would pour and the wood flour basically just colored the epoxy. I used a short section of the old mast to maintain a hole for the mast.

The mast hole is displaced slightly aft of its original position. The black ring around the tubing near the dark brown epoxy is some electrical tape I used to increase the diameter of the hole for the mast so it wasn't such a close tolerance fit.

I Made Some Improvements -
I took this mast repair job as an opportunity to refine my rigging and the storage thereof. I will admit I created some “floating furniture” when I made my PMD and, as such, I don’t want to have unnecessary dings and scratches in my finish. The necessary dings and scratches are painful enough. However, even if some additions to the character of my boat weren’t a concern, transporting the boom, mast, yard, centerboard, and oars (at a minimum) and leaving room for something like say, my WIFE, was an issue.

Last year I had already made provisions for some racks for transporting the rigging in the boat. These pictures show my first efforts at securing things using ropes laced through the racks and around the items.

This was a good first effort but even with felt pads in what I thought were strategic locations the racks scarred the varnish on the seats. They were also not rigid gh so they curled upward when the ropes were pulled tight and threading the ropes was a pain. Half of the time I just wrapped up the rigging and stuffed it in the car (the other half the time my wife seemed to want a place to sit).

The pictures below show my most recent effort. These racks mount in the oarlocks and they use pivoting boards to retain the items to be transported. Wing nuts and bolts secure the pivoting boards. To attach the racks to the oarlocks I took long 1/2” dia. bolts, cut off the threaded portion, and drilled some holes for hitch pins.

I actually designed the racks using Google SketchUp which is a pretty cool 3D drawing program and there’s a version available for free download from Google.

As for the rigging itself I initially rigged the mast stays with cord as described in the construction instructions.

While that method was plenty strong and cheap it took repeated trials and much patience to get the lengths and tensions right. And as the cord stretched the attachment would have to be redone. In the course of getting things right, and under sail, I had the clips on the leeward side actually come unfastened when the stay went slack and, needless to say, the mast went down.

Since then I have obtained these stainless steel turnbuckles and the long D-shackle shown.

The little keeper rings for the turnbuckle pins are a challenge to a sailor's fine-motor skills but adjustment is much more straightforward and, short of structural failure, there is no way for the stays to come loose under sail.

A couple other refinements were the addition of a few washers behind the eye strap on the top of the mast for the jib pulley. Now it allows the jib sheet to run freely. And, while the instructions show having one cleat mounted on the fore of the mast, it really fouls up the jib lines while under way. I repositioned the cleat on the aft of the mast and all is well when I come about.

And Then,… There’s Lake Michigan Revisited-
As I said earlier I was beginning to wonder if this sailing idea was a romantic notion whose real nature consisted of repairs, always adjusting something, and “eventful” (and embarrassing) outings. But then I had the opportunity to sail Woodstock on Lake Michigan again. I had been on Lake Michigan once before, but the last time the lake was nearly asleep. There was a bit of breeze but the winds went nearly calm several times. This second time out there was a little energy in the wind. Don’t get me wrong, this was certainly not Lake Michigan unleashed. Lake Michigan is no place to be with an 11-foot boat if the lake expresses its enthusiasm. But this time I had to row into a headwind through the channel leading to the lake and the combination of the wind, the 3 foot waves, and the reflected waves off the pier made headway a challenge and, at the very least, gave me reason to consider caution.

But I discovered a few things. First, once you get into open water the confusion and treachery of the waves bouncing off the piers disappeared. Second, the unpredictable winds of small inland lakes are not as much of an issue on this expanse of water. Third, I am much more confident in my abilities. Fourth, the glitches in the rigging have pretty much been eliminated. And, finally, I discovered my boat is a fine little vessel. The steady wind, the longer swells of this Great Lake, and the fact that my boat floated on top of the swells instead of plowing through them like a heavier boat gave me confidence and made for a most enjoyable outing. An acquaintance who is an experienced local sailor confirmed my assessment when he said he was impressed by how my boat handled the lake. The sun, the blue sky, a brisk wind, and an 11 foot hole in the water called Woodstock sailing on a significant body of water. Words fail to convey the feeling you get from building a craft that is capable enough for a benevolent Lake Michigan and small enough that you can feel every message sent from the tiller, the main sheet, the hull, and from the sounds of the water and the rigging.

Was it all worth it?

Oh yeah!


Construction Complete!Woodstock takes to Flight!

Wednesday's anticipated launch was postponed due to a trip to the emergency room with my mother-in-law. Somehow she had dislocated her finger. By the time we arrived at the ER the finger had relocated itself but that didn't prevent the development of a fair amount of pain and swelling. At 89 years old she did a great job of taking it in stride but had no idea how it happened.

Thursday morning - final section of varnish is done. In the process I dropped a long piece of masking tape on the wet varnish in a effort to keep boat from appearing perfect. (Yeah, right.)

Thursday night - mounted cam cleats, fairleads, oarlock sockets, and applied lettering and registration all while being supervised by a "supportive" neighbor. The construction of Woodstock is DONE! Very pleased with the results.

Friday morning - saw ten deer (including four or five fawns) while on our daily bike ride, got to farmer's market before the place was packed, and dry rigged the boat again for photos.

Friday afternoon - short trip across town to Reed's Lake for Woodstock's maiden voyage. The trailer is pretty stiffly sprung for a boat this light and the jouncing caused a buckle on the tie downs to whack the yard pretty good - gives it character and gives me some touchup to do during the off-season.

At the conclusion of the dry rigging this morning I tried to do a minimum of breakdown of the rigging and I loosely wrapped everything in the hope of minimizing the time required to set it all back up when we launched. It sounded like such a good idea at the time. Not so much. The result was summarized in a comment from a bystander at the boat launch. He was admiring my boat and I mentioned that this was the maiden voyage and it was only my second time sailing with the last time being when I was 19. His comment was, "Oh, that explains the rigging in disaray." Disarray? What do you mean disarray? This is the carefully wrapped, finely tuned rigging I placed carefully in the boat so as to speed the process here at the boat launch where the wind is blowing, the waves are making the boat bob, my 230 lb body makes the boat change attitude by just thinking about shifting my weight, and these sheets and stays seem to have tangled themselves with out any encouragement whatsoever. Fortunately the bystander was kind and held his remaining thoughts to himself for the remainder of the time and another bystander volunteered to hold the boat steady since my wife's job was to snap pictures of the event.

Anyone who has experience with sailboats knows that if you have a choice you set the rigging with the boat on the trailer before backing down the ramp. I have essentially no experience sailing and all I could remember was pictures of a fellow PMD builder rigging his boat while it was in the water. Trying to raise the rigging while the boat is moving and bobbing isn't very much like doing it in your driveway. I spent a fair amount of time breaking down the rigging just to get it organized.

Ok, I've done this rigging a couple times before. No problem. This bowline knot should be just the thing for this line. But I didn't think bowlines were supposed to be slip knots (they aren't,... what did that diagram in the book look like again?). And now the wind has picked up, it seems to continually shift direction, and the boat has become a big weather vane.

D'oh, the line securing the top of the main sail isn't in that nifty little groove I made in the top of the gunter yard. Drop the whole dang thing, slip the line into the groove, and try to get out past these rocks (and those pesky little minnows that keep tickling my legs.)

OK, it's an hour later but the rigging is set. Put one foot in, push with other foot, shift my center of gravity over gunwale, hope body does not continue in motion over opposite gunwale. I'm in the boat! Cool, I only look like an idiot instead of a complete idiot.

Tiller, mainsheet, what do I do with the jib, push the centerboard down, drop the rudder, which direction is the wind coming from, tiller, mainsheet, the sail just went limp, but I'm moving, just keep moving, don't worry about returning,.. ever.
In the midst of the swirling wind near shore I am fortunate enough to partially fill the sail (finally on just one side of the sail) and I'm off. Now, just keep heading in a straight line until you remember what to do to bring her about. For now look like this is what you intended to do. Do not turn except to get a bit more air in the sails.

I should mention here that this small local lake is known for the high ratio of sailors in comparison to the general boating population. These folks (many not yet past puberty) know how to sail. And here is where I chose to make my debut as a sailor? What was I thinking? If nothing else I suppose I provided comic relief for the locals.

In the picture above you might note the direction of the wind and my (starboard) position in the boat. Now would be the time for a nice gust don't you think?

Ok, I've set a decent course, the jib is full, the mainsail is tugging eagerly, the hull is heeling over nicely, time to think about what to do when I decide to turn this puppy around. I think I'll let the jib loose so it can come across during the turn. Push the tiller, duck, oops, didn't duck far enough, hat in water, jib lines snag on cleat on the mast. Geeze this went better 35 years ago. (And in retrospect I remember why - No hat and no jib 35 years ago! Not to mention somebody was more nimble.)

I remember thinking that if I simply turn in a circle to retrive the hat I could get into trouble. I couldn't remember why I would get into trouble or what to do about it but at least the thought did cross my mind. Of course that didn't keep me from going a complete (thankfully)circle. I gotta believe the wind swirled in coordination with my turn because I remained upright, I grabbed my hat, and I was off on a far-fetched near reach, or close haul, or all out gallop with out tipping over. Whew!

How do I unsnag that darned jib sheet. Oh look, the wind flapped the jib just right and the jib sheet is free. (Am I gonna be able to do that again?)

Things improve, coordination gets better, whoa, that was a pretty good gust of wind, glad this boat is a little beamy so it resists just rolling on over. Avoid those other boats, work on tacking back, sensory overload, this is kinda cool, what am I doing.

Better start heading back toward my wife. The place where I left her appears much smaller than when I set sail.

I'm getting closer. Need to drop the sails so I can row to shore.

Now this danged boom and yard are in the way of the oars. Must untie the yard. (Worst knot on the whole boat to untie.) Oops! There goes an oar. It has set sail on its own. Those mis-sized leather buttons I mentioned in the last posting apparently allow the oars to escape the oarlocks far esasier than I thought.

(Note "escaped" oar visible in front of boat.)

Wow, that spruce floats really high in the watter! Paddle with remaining oar to retrieve lost oar. I'm far enough from shore that my situation is not that obvious to those on land. Retrieve oar, loosen yard, row to wife.

Honey I'm dry and I'm back!
Tear down rigging, stuff rigging into Focus hatchback with mast sticking out window, mount outboard on transom, putt around the lake varying the speed according to the break in procedure, relax,... and watch Old Faithful emerge from centerboard trunk every time we hit a wave. I've heard of self-bailing cockpits but this is the first time I've experienced a self-filling cockpit.

The outing was great. It wasn't pretty but I count it a success that I didn't turn turtle. A few times I even caught myself thinking, "This is MY boat. I built it." It handled the stress on the stays, it tolerated a not-yet-novice skipper, it responded to the wind, it dug a shoulder in when heeling (as my friend Jerry says), it held the promise of less chaotic outings as I get some practice, and it looked sweeeeet through it all.

On August 1, 2008 Maritime history survived my initiation into the ranks!


P.S. When I was a kid I had several small outboards. All of them were two-cycle and they all had two cylinders. That meant they had two power strokes per rotation so they ran quite smoothly and the sound they produced was indelibly etched into my audio memory. Boy does this 4-cycle one-cylinder sound different. One power stroke every other revolution makes it sound a little like the sound track of the old-time cars that you had to use a manual crank to start.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nearing the End

On December 22, 2006 I entered the following to introduce myself at the Passagemaker Dinghy Builder's Forum:

"Well, I have officially joined the ranks. I just ordered a PMD with the sail kit. I also ordered a trailer from Harbor Freight and a trailer hitch/wiring kit. I've read these postings over and over and over again and I have to build one of these. I'm a physics/math teacher with 30 years experience from Grand Rapids, MI. I love to work with my hands, I grew up with boats, and, when I saw the kind of results you could obtain with one of these kits by visiting a guy in Holland, MI, I just couldn't resist. Unfortunately I'm a little (OK, a LOT...) obsessive compulsive. While the motto at CLC is that aircraft tolerances are not required my motto is why should I settle for aircraft tolerances? Yeah, my dad was a tool and die maker. I may get over it or it may take me two years to build the boat, but I can't wait to get started. My daughter lives near Baltimore so I intend to visit CLC in Annapolis this spring. Whether there, in Michigan, or online I hope to meet up with some of you."

"it may take me two years to build the boat" - part of me was kidding and the other part of me was being honest. In one respect it has indeed been two years - at leasty it has involved two summers. On the other hand, the weather in Michigan doesn't provide temperatures and weather that are conducive to a long garage-based building season. On the other hand, (apparently I have three hands!) there are stretches when you just don't feel like using the three thousandth piece of sandpaper while breathing through a respirator and sweating profusely.

On Wednesday Woodstock will have her maiden voyage if weather permits. The inside still needs to be lightly sanded once more and the final coat of varnish needs to be applied. Then there's just a few fittings to be mounted, a name and registrations numbers to be applied, and a couple knots to be learned.

I had occasion to go back over this blog and I was profoundly struck by how much of a project this has been. Most of it was immensely enjoyable but fillets, varnish, and primer were NOT. The combination of geometry, physics, woodworking, design, procurement, and ingenuity involved in this project fit me to a tee. In these final days I have also been struck by how narrowly focused I have been with each task as it came along whereas now that the boat is nearing completion I have more of a realization just how cool this boat is and how close the finished product is to what I envisioned at the outset. Up until now it's been like the old saying where you can't see the forest for the trees. Well I'm starting to enjoy the view of the forest, I just need a lake to complete the picture.

The final cost is about $5600. I originally thought I would spend about $3600. It strikes me that my cost estimates were off by about the same amount as my time estimates.

Can't wait for Wednesday!

Friday, July 25, 2008

All Those Ropes (and tacks, and loops)

As the light at the end of the tunnel appears more likely to be daylight than the headlight of an oncoming train I get to engage in some of the final preparations for the boat.

Last Sunday I took on the task of installing the oar leathers. Not being well versed in classic boat outfitting I didn't become aware that some oar leathers are sewn rather than tacked until well after the tacked version had been delivered. The sewn version appeals to me visually and structurally but it's too late now. 122 little brass tacks later the result is decent.
I do have one issue with the oar leather kit from CLC in combination with the oarlocks and oars they sell. The thicked portion of the leathers, the button, is supposed to 'trap' the oarlock on the oar. After I had completely installed the oar leathers I discovered the oarlock could slide over the button. The oarlocks don't exactly fall off but not much effort is needed to get the oarlock over the button.

I had all of the ropes figured out last summer when I made the purchases but organizing them now into their proper place and cutting them to appropriate lengths requires a bit of review. I've only sailed once before so this doesn't come second nature. "Dry rigging" everything in the basement helped me sort it out.

I tried to anticipate the range of configurations for each line (like running with the main sail full out to determine the length of the main sheet) and I cut each piece a little extra long just in case.

After I finished cutting thge ropes in the basement I actually rigged the sails on the boat in my driveway (Sorry, no pictures.) Those who have built their own boat will probably understand my reaction. It was a beautiful blue-sky day with a bit of a breeze and seeing the two sails fully hoisted was just way cool.

The reason I rigged the sails on the boat was to properly rig the stays. The instructions suggest that instead of using turnbuckles on the stays you can use about eight loops of 250# synthetic line. It's stronger and cheaper the instructions say. Perhaps I'm not familiar enough with the various lines available and perhaps the line described in the instructions is more common on the ocean shores, but here in the center of Michigan the best I could do was some 200# neon colored yellow/green line used to tow lures in sportfishing. I gotta tell you, trying to hold a mast in postion while adjusting ten loops of line makes turnbuckles look pretty attractive. And, since the line is about 1/16th inch in diameter, wrapping the 5" length of loops takes some patience. (And I wonder why it took me two years to build this thing!)

When I placed the motor on the transom I discovered the transom doesn't provide sufficient thickness for the motor clamps. The motor clamps wouldn't tighten down enough to grip the transom. I wanted to protect the transom from having the motor clamps dig into the finished wood anyway so I took the opportunity to make some larger diameter oak pads that were thick enough to fill in the gap. The pads have rubber backing.

Here's the nylon washer I used in the mast step - an arrangement I mentioned very early in my blog. I embedded it in epoxy so it would stay put. Now that I look at it I suppose I could have just poured some extra epoxy in the hole and just forgotten about the washer!

In any event the end is near!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And Then There's the Motor

The other day my wife fessed up that actually sailing in the Passagemaker was a hurdle she might have to overcome. Rowing - fine. Sailing - maybe not so fine. So she wondered if I had considered a small outboard. Considered? No. (I thought I was pushing the boat 'budget' pretty hard already.) But now that you mention it, I'll do a little digging. Whoosh! Check ebay, check local newspaper, visit motor dealers in the area, 2-cycle vs. 4-cycle, air-cooled (Honda) vs. water cooled (everybody else except Briggs and Stratton), compare specifications, recheck those 'Watched items on ebay'.

You'd think I was researching a 35' cabin cruiser with twin I/O's. But I didn't find that all elusive great motor AND great price. Then, the thing I have to work on - don't be afraid to ask questions. I'm in Gander Mountain and I notice they have some small Mercury outboards (no mention of this on their website). But they didn't have anything under 4 hp on the display floor except for electric trolling motors. So, expecting a deadend (and fighting against my natural tendency not to ask questions) I ask, "Do you have any outboards smaller than 4 hp?" I fully expected them to say no, and if they did have the motor in stock I expected the price to be the on north side of MSRP. Now by this time I had done my background work and scoped out the small outboard market pretty well so imagine my surprise when they said they had a 2.5 hp in stock. "And what's the price?" Ah,..it's $699. Whoa! Mercury, Nissan, and Tohatsu are all the same engine and the prices ranged from $800 to $850.

"So, is that a 2008 or a 2007?" That's a 2007. What the heck do I care what year it is, it's a brand new engine for cryin' out loud and it's at least $100 less than anything else I saw. But as a savvy customer (wink, wink) I had to resist the temptation to appear SOLD!, ABSOLUTELY SOLD! and the question about the model year was just a veiled attempt to appear as though I was doing a thorough investigation. I finished with a question as to whether the 'other' Gander Mountain in our area had any in stock and the salesperson said they had two.

There was a little discussion at home and we decided the two of us would spend more time in the boat together if another means of propulsion was available. So we decided to buy the motor for my wife.

We walked into the other Gander Mountain and I asked if they had any 2.5 hp Mecury outboards in stock. They said NO. Isn't that typical? You zero in on a good deal and it vaporizes. But I persisted a bit indicating the other store had said this store had two - would you please check? Sure enough they had two in stock.

But, while we were waiting we saw an application for a GanderMountain MasterCard. 10% off your first purchase. Hmm? My wife and I have developed an automatic NO response in the dozens of other situations where the checkout clerk asks if we want to save 10% on your purchase today by opening a (fill-in-the-blank) charge card. But, now we're talkin' $70. Does that apply to an outboard motor? YUP! Besides that you get a $25 gift card.\

I absolutely love it when a good deal gets better!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Repurposed Trailer and The Beginning of the End

For some reason the boat didn’t ‘call’ to me this spring. Of course here in Michigan the weather and temperatures don’t really lend themselves to varnish and epoxy and sanding until May or so. And maybe I was still getting over my primer episode from last summer, but a different project caught my attention.

The boat trailer I had purchased had potential for more utility than just transporting a boat. There was, after all, that ‘finishing off the basement’ project I had started three years ago and never completed. But, in the meantime, the vehicle types in our garage had changed. Transporting sheets of drywall and sound deadening insulation wasn't a possiblity. Perhaps, for less than the cost of one delivery I could transform my trailer into something that would work for small projects that were bigger than my vehicles. I played around with some ideas and finally decided to incorporate the grid concept I had used in making the work platforms from earlier in the boat project and make a platform which could be secured to the trailer with the same four bolts as my customized bunks. Here’s the result -

The entire gridwork is made from 1/4" plywood (with a couple inserts of solid woods blocks to beef up the mounting locations) and everything is glued together. By the way, the second set of ‘cutouts’ allows me to reverse and/or flip the platform if I need fresh mounting locations on the platform.

And here’s a shot of just how useful the platform was -

After this diversion of my construction talents and some initial efforts to get my head around the basement project my wife and I decided I better get back to the boat.

As of this date I have three coats of varnish on the exterior 'bright' surfaces of the boat. In the pictures below you can see that I chose to make the rub strips and skeg bright. I really like the slenderizing visual effect this has on the boat profile.

I also found a method to suspend the ‘loose’ wood parts of the boat so I could varnish all sides at once.

On a different topic, rather than use the generic black block letters from Home Depot or Ace hardware for the registration numbers I wanted to use the same theme I had in mind for the lettering for the name of my boat. Here you can see the solution I came up with.

As I gathered quotes online and from local sign franchises some prices went over $150. Fortunately what you see here only cost $37 from the FastSign franchise. As with most lettering outfits these vinyl letters are mounted on a translucent positioning sheet which allows you to remove the protective layer from the sticky back side of the letters while they remain stuck to the translucent layer. The whole group can then be placed in position. Finally the translucent layer can be peeled off the top.

Next Phase - finish the fillets inside and varnish/sand, varnish/sand, varnish/sand.