April and May 2015 – With the nice weather, I’m getting started on the new projects. Next is to build the sliding hatch, then the spars and on to the interior. I have just finished making the companionway entrance smaller, putting the cabin roof to fit up to the sides of the new entranceway and so on. A good deal of work getting it all faired out and smooth, both the roof and the hatchway. Then I put the runners for the sliding hatch on and sanded and painted the entire boat with Awlgrip 545 primer. I don’t have any photos of the details, but the companionway entrance ended up looking like this, after it was painted with two coats of Awlgrip 545.
I still wanted to use Fred Bingham’s fantastic double-coaming sliding hatch idea, so I built that.
I’ll put an image of it as finished next time I take some photos.
On to the spars. I did much agonizing and read many opinions on the best method for the masts. Hollow birdsmouth, hollow square or rectangular, solid… I ended up making the mizzen mast hollow square, using Douglas fir. I made the main boom 15’ 9” long, the gaff 7’ 8” long, the mizzen sprit boom 10’ 5” long, the bowsprit 68″ long and the boomkin 54″ long. All of these, I made using Douglas fir. I also made the boom jaws, laminating white oak for these, about ten layers of oak, each about an eighth in thickness with a layer of Xynole in between each piece. I’ll put a photo of this.
The nice thing about this mast is that I could make it by myself. It is about 20 feet long, tapered and will set a sprit sail.
Unfortunately, I used wood a bit too thick, and it isn’t very hollow. This is the small end, so I should be just able to get wires through the middle.
The details are a bit boring, but here is what I did to make the 30 foot main mast using the birdsmouth method.
It is methodical, but not difficult. Reuel gives the diameter of the mast at different points, step, deck, half way, gaff, and top. I used the Duckworks calculator to find the stave width (L) at each of these points. Reuel gives the thickness of the staves, (H), as 1.25 inches. However, at the top of the mast this thickness of 1.25 inches is too great, as Reuel specifies a diameter at the tip of a 2.5 inchs, so it won’t happen. I reduced the calc to H = 1.0 inch thick staves there, and that came out to almost an inch width (L) at the top end still leaving a small hole in the center.
I set up 6 saw horses in a row and set them so as to have the tops in a straight line, exactly. I used left-over wedges from scarfing process to adjust the heights.
First, I ran all 16 of the Douglas fir 2×4’s through my thickness planer, reducing the thickness to 1.25 inches from 1.5 inches. Then I ripped all of them down to 2.25 inches wide, a little larger than the maximum calculated width (L), deck level. Then ran them through the table saw twice each along one edge putting, a vee along that edge. I made this vee a tad too deep on purpose, ensuring complete removal at the inside notch or corner, perhaps 1/32 of an inch overlap.
Next I scarfed the sixteen pieces together, two each, to make eight pieces, after ripping to width. This was done with a cut-off saw, my old Milwaukee, using two boards set as guides set for a 1/12 cut on saw horses. This gave 8 staves of about 31.5 feet, and I’ll stagger then so as to not have all scarfs at the same point on the final mast of 29 feet eight inches.
Next, I marked and cut one stave and shaped it with a block plane and my 8 inch Makita disk sander, 40 grit, till it looked good, with the width (L) gradually changing, corresponding to the calculated results and giving a nice-looking parabolic taper.
So far so good. I used this one as a template to mark each of the rest and cut them one by one with the cut-off saw.
This is getting tiresome, but next, I lined them up with vee’s facing down, clamped together tightly, and sanded them with the Makita, where they weren’t identical, to a uniform decreasing width. That thing will gobble up some wood in a hurry.
Alright, to reduce the thickness at the top end of the mast, I needed to plane each one on the two “flat” sides (not the “vee” side and its opposite side) to a nice taper from near where the gaff will sit to the top end. The total to remove at the top was about 1/4 inch in thickness. From (H) = 1.25 to (H) = 1.0. This meant 1/4 inch total thickness reduction at the top, but starting from almost no reduction near the gaff point. So, I set the electric plane to 1/16 inch depth, and planed each stave on both sides; one pass from just above the gaff point to the tip, and two passes from the midpoint of the first pass to the tip or top. 4 x 1/16 = 1/4 total reduction.
Then, I lined them up, vee’s facing to one side, and had a look. When I clamped them lightly, the decreasing curve of the combined taper of the width, (L), looked off, too abrupt at one point, about a foot above the gaff. So, I clamped them all together, vee down, and reduced this “hump” causing this ugly curve with the 8 inch Makita sander again, 40 grit. It’s really like a sculpting tool.
Next, I put some 8 in wide ply stations vertically on each saw horse with U-shaped holes cut near the top, each U-shaped “hole” smaller toward the top end of the “mast”. Chalk line to get them straight side to side. Screwed to the saw horses.
Got some help from Floyd Hill, down the road, and dry fitted the staves. Raised and lowered the stations on each horse till middle stave in one side was straight, within 1/32 of an inch measured from the top of each saw horse. It looks good and straight.
I cut a piece of 5 mil plastic about a foot wide and 30 feet long, from the edge of my 60 foot greenhouse/workshop; extra lying on the ground. Will put this between the four bottom and four top staves when we glue it up, so I can separate the two halves and put in blocking, wires… and later glue two halves together.
Around September 15th, with the help of three “volunteers,” we glued the mast together. We actually had plenty of time to get it done before the epoxy started to harden.
I am much obliged to Chris Halstead, Robert Foster, and my brother Piers for making this happen. As it turned out, we had plenty of time to get everything painted up and glued together before the epoxy even began to set up. We used rope and Spanish windlass and also steel hose clamps to tighten the staves together. The hose clamps worked very well, you need one about every foot or two.
I’m not sure why the images are sideways, but I’ll fix them later
At this point, February 2016, I’m working on the cabinets, ice box and head in the cabin. It is mostly done, but it has been cold and we went to Peru and Bolivia for three weeks in January. I made the interior compartment of the ice box on Saturday.