Monday, February 27, 2012

Black Pearl Project - Strip Planking the Hull

Well, it's been a full week since the last update on the Black Pearl Project (BPP) and I've managed to make some headway on the hull.

In my last upate I had just finished setting up the forms. The next thing to do was  cut and fit the internal stems. I went with Western Red Cedar becuase it's easy to work with and it's light. The latter being the most important as these stems may very well be staying in the boat when it's completed. The stems are not for strength but rather are used to help forms/shape the stems. It would be quite hard to get the correct shape without them. There is no pattern provided for the stems, so you are on your own. I went with a simple straight shape. This seems to be the "norm" for this design.

Internal stem - bow.
After fitting the stems, I moved onto the chine and sheers. With the execption of one small flat spot on the chine (which I fixed with a small shim of cardboard) everything faired out quiite nicely.

Stern showing internal stem, chine and sheer.

Looking aft - showing chine and sheer.

Port side - showing chine and sheer.

This meant that planking the hull was next on the list. There's a raging debate on about how one should join strips if you can't find full length boards. (To be honest, I 'm not even sure where one could find 19 foot boards that are clear of knots and other defects - certainly not around here, that's for sure!!)  Some people advocate, vehemently, the need to make strong scarphed joins in the strips. While others say that a simple butt join is sufficient.  The former is a more complicated process while the latter is quick and easy. I bandied the idea around in my head for a while and decided to go with a very simple scarph. At Princess Auto, I found a set of shears that will cut small wood stock. It cost be less than 7.00 (regular 15.00) but cuts like a charm, giving a very clean and accurate 45 degree angle. One snip and you've got a great cut!!

Shears cutting a 45 degree.

To support the join during the build, I've decided to put a backing plate on using a glue gun. Once I'm finished the planking, I can pry the backing plate off because the glue I'm using does not make a permanent bond.

Backing plates on joins (interior)
The 45 does not give a long scarph joint but I'm not that concerned. If you look at how the joins are in a stripped boat you will see that the join is greatly strenghtened by the strips both above and below. In order for the join to fail, both of these strips must break as well. It was a no-brainer, for me, then to go with the quick and easy joins!!

Join (exterior)

After the decision was made on what kind of join to use, it was off to the races. I started the sides on Friday night and spent an hour or so getting down the process.. Saturday AM and afternoon were spendt puttting up more moldings in ther house but by late afternnon I was back at the boat. Just after supper, I put in the final strips on the hull sides. Not too bad for a few hours work, I'd say!!

Looking aft - sides completed.

Port Bow.

Port Quarter #2
With the sides completed, I moved to the two strips that run either side of the centreline (keel). These took a lot more time/fooling around than I be aniticipated. I knew that fitting the strips at the bow and stern was going to a bit tricky but I didn't think they'd be that much of a pain in the rump. I'm thinking a lot of it was my fault in that I didn't think it through enough and just tried a number of different approaches before I came up with one that worked. Nonetheless, with a bit of shaping, cutting and swearing, I managed to finesse the strips into a reasonable fit. Sailing will be a little more smooth now that I've turned these corners - pun intended!!

Port bow - with planking started on the bottom.!

The pointy end - stem.

The other pointy end - stern

I'm looking forward to fitting the final strip on the hull so that I pull the staples and get a good idea of how it all looks. Then I can start shaping the stems and begin sanding the hull . Then the true shape of the boat will become clearer!!

Thanks for dropping by,


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Black Pearl Project - Strips and Forms

This was a good productive weekend for me - finally!!. Friday night was a bit slow - I made a few test cuts with the strips. I decided to go with the circular saw rather than using my radial arm saw or other stationary equipment. Preliminary testing was positive, so I decided to wait until Saturday so that I could move the operation outside - it was proving to be a VERY dusty endeavor!

Saturday AM was time for a short paddle from St. Philip's to Portugal Cove with Tobias and Dean. It was nice to get back on the water for a few hours!

Saturday afternoon was clear and relatively warm so I decided to give the strip cutting a whir! I set up a plank on the picnic table and proceeded to cut strips from the three pieces of 1x8x8 clear pine I picked up on Friday. It went so well that I decided to run out and pick up 2 pieces of 1x10x12. I started cutting at 1:20 and by 4:30 I had all the strips cuts. Of course included in this time was the trip to the lumber store. Not a bad patch of work if you ask me. I ripped about 66 strips at 8' and 56 at 12'.  Of all these, only one snapped because there was one small knot in the board.  Not too shabby if you ask me!

Making hay (dust) while the sun shone!!

Circular with long fence!

Oh, how many times I walked this walk that day!!

The end product.

Saturday night was spent relaxing and socializing over a few brews. Sunday, I promised Cheryl that we'd put up some moldings. So, after 13 years, we finally finished the cove moldings in the upstairs hall. It was mid-afternoon when we finished so I decided to go back at the boat. I finished leveling up the table. For the centre line I went with a copper wire stretched between two screws. I managed to tighten the wire by twisting the screw. It sounded like a big guitar when I cranked it up!!

Centre line cranked up nice and tight!

I made recesses in the bottom of each station so that it could fit over the wire. I used my Schedule 40 clamps to hold the forms while I did some cursory checks. As expected, the clamps worked like a charm!!

Schedule 40s to the rescue!

Checking the level-ness using the designed waterline as a reference.

Checking the vertical!

Checking for fairness - and sticking on a few strips just to see what it will look like.

With the forms in place, I just need to cut and fit the inner stems. I am not anticipating this to be a big job so I'm not that far off from the actually planking

Friday, February 17, 2012

Black Pearl Project - Forms and Such

The plans arrived for the Black Pearl last Thursday (February 9). It's funny but Cheryl phoned me at work to tell me they arrived and then, jokingly said , "I guess I won't see you for the next six months?!! I promised both myself and Cheryl that I'd not devote the same fanaticism to this build as I did to the Point Bennett this time last year. And  true to my word, I am proceeding with a more relaxed pace this time. Hence the lack of progress reports!!

Here's the first . . .

Plans for the Black Pearl are, what I would call, spartan. But then again, all the designer needs to provide is the actual information to build the hull shape. The rest is up to the builder. Besides, there's a plethora of materials out there on how to build strip boats, so why bother the redundancy of including it with a boat design plan??

The package (envelope) contained a scaled plan view, full size half-patterns, a sheet of instructions and an invoice.

Plan view on top, 1/2 form patterns below.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the beauty of this boat is that Bj√∂rn Thomasson will design it to fit you personally. In other words, there's no guesswork about whether the boat will be too big/small, not handle properly etc etc. I must admit, I'm glad I payed the extra dollars for this.  For those interested, I had to provide my height, weight, arm span, hip width and shoe size. Thomasson will build to your request as well. My boat will come in at around 18.5" but I know of one instance where Thomasson, at the request of the builder, stretched the boat to 19' 7" for more storage capacity. The plans came to a total of 145 Euros or 190.00 dollars delivered. In the big scheme of things, that's not a whole lot of coinage!!

Here's what you pay the big bucks for - to see that the plans are customized just for you!!

Rather than cut up the plans, I scanned them, then flipped the image digitally, printed both sides (normal and reversed) and taped them together up the centre line. This created a full-size set of patterns from the halfs that were provided.

I decided to go with 1/2 MDF for the actual forms. It has been suggested to use plywood or particle board but I really like how stable MDF is. With a sharp handsaw, you can cut incredibly straight lines as there's no "deviation" in the materials - unlike the voids/splinters in plywood or particle board.

Using a spray adhesive, I glued the patterns right onto the MDF. As there are no curves to be cut at this point (remember this is a chined boat), a sharp handsaw was ideal for cutting out the forms. I'm guessing that it took less than 1.5 hrs to cut and sand them

Forward form patterns glues and ready to cut. 

Aft forms on the left, fwd on the right.

Thomasson's form set-up procedure is very fifferent than that of, say Nick Schade. In the case of the BP, the baseline (see the "tops" of the forms above) is left square and this is fastened to the strongback (or building table, in my case) This will become clearer in the next update I provide but I just wanted to point out that the forms, at this point, do not accurately represent the shape of the deck. The hull, yes, but not the deck. If you look closely at the image above you can see the shape of the sheer and deck. The forms will be trimmed once the hull is finished and the boat flipped over for decking. 

Confused?  If so, stay tuned for the continuing saga of the Black Pearl . . .