06 January 2010

Chine Logs

I knew it might come down to this: Build or Blog? Build or Blog?

So, for the last two day's I've been building, with no time to blog. The cause for all this concentration is the hardest thing I've run into, yet: letting the chine log into the forms. Whoever said there are no straight lines, no right angles on a boat, sure was right!

Well, I started off by making a 'fid' for the chine log. A fid is basically a small piece of wood that it just about the same size as the piece you need to fit, only shorter.

In this case, instead of wrestling with an 8' piece of oak, I used a 3" piece.

This is important, because fitting these chines is largely a matter of trial and error, until the dang thing fits.

And 'dang' isn't the word that I've been using for the last two days, in case you were wondering.

Note how the top edge of the fid sticks up above the bottom. This is very important! It is the *inside* top edge of the fid that must line up with the top of the form.

The outside top edge of the chine log will be planed off, so it is even with the bottom. That way, the bottom planking will lie flat on the chinelog.

A Fid Makes Fitting Easier

Once I got the rough outline sketched out on the form, I carefully chiseled it out, repeatedly trying the fid in place, to see if I was getting it right. I imagine there is a more scientific way to do this... in fact, I'm almost afraid to read Greg Roselle's book right now, because I'm afraid to find a simple trick that could have saved me hours of work.

Better leave that till when I'm not holding a sharp instrument.

Slow and careful is the trick

The photo below show's something important... probably the most important thing on this page: it is the *inside* top edge of the fid that must line up with the top of the form, as mentioned above.

The Fid Fits

Then it was time to tackle the stem/keelson/chinelog joint. This was such a difficult job that I forgot to take photographs. I'll take more detailed pictures of this joint when I take it apart before bedding all the pieces with bedding compound.

Besides, if I tried to discuss it tonight, I'd probably have a break down. I'll just say that there isn't a single right angle in that joint... A whole bunch of odd angles that somehow come together if you have enough patience, and a nice sharp chisel.


A Most Complicated Joint!

Here's what the chine log looks like before being bent into the notches on the forms.

Chine log before bending

Helena and cat are occupying the Moaning Chair, to keep me working, I think!

Well, more pictures than scintillating prose today, but sometimes you get to blog, and sometimes you get to build.

And sometimes (not quite enough, lately) you get to sleep...

>>> Next Episode: Make Mistakes Slowly

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  1. you know its just agonizing to read your blog
    you take simple concepts and make them unbearable
    easy woodwork and make it difficult.

    i looked up your boat and its a flat bottomed boat
    i just built a flatty or sharpie as they are known

    her name is summerbreeze and she was built in 9 days out of plywood. the people who designed your boat also design plywood boats

    you could have made a boat just as nice as the one that you are building with one form in the middle and it would have been stronger than what you are building and cheaper to build and easier

    your comments about a real boat made out of wood
    dont "hold water"

    sorry but i think you are wrong
    shmuel brody

  2. Don't listen to Shmuel, he/she obviously doesn't understand anything about self discovery, or the joy in building something that isn't just clicking together something that has been manufactured by others.

    Shmuel, if he just wanted a boat, he could have just gone out and bought one, but its the process that he's interested in.

    Plywood boats are basically disposable, not stronger, and basically the boat equivalent of a snaptight model. I think John is looking for something more substantial... both in his boat, and his experience.

  3. Schmuel, why do you care what he does with his time? And why do you think he should care what you think?

    You have to come along and pee in his Cheerios?

    If you've got a constructive suggestion, great. But coming along just to drop a turd and then walk away is a pretty lousy way to go through life.

  4. Thanks for your comments, guys, including you, Schmuel.

    My main purpose is fun, and if you enjoy feeling 'agonized', I say, keep reading! Otherwise, don't!

    Just remember, it's only a boat. Have fun with it!

  5. By the way, don't forget that subscribers can always unsubscribe by sending me an email with the word 'Unsubscribe' in the subject.

    No hard feelings :-)

  6. Where are you John Almberg, I've been waiting for your next posting, I am anxious to see your progress.

  7. Sorry guys! Had to organize a bunch of stuff for my 'voyage' round Florida. Will be back to building tomorrow.

  8. This reminds me of a video I saw once of the Oxford Dangerous Sports Club. They were on the way to the top of Mt Kilamanjaro to fly off with hang gliders. None of them were glider pilots, they took a beginner's lesson just before the big leap. One of them said something to the effect that if we knew how to fly these things it wouldn't really be much of a challenge now would it.

    I think the blog you are posting while you learn by your mistakes is fascinating and would make a great book when you finish. There are plenty of people who have posted excellent articles on how to build a boat but your's tells a great story of what is like for someone who is learning while doing.

    Keep up the good work. As a skilled carpenter who has never built a boat I am having a great time reading your blog.

  9. That's a really nice compliment, thanks! I'm really enjoying this build, and hope a few people think "Hey, if that nitwit can do it, I can too!".

    And the truth is, you can!

    -- John

  10. This is an ancient post and this boat project is either in the water or its in the dump by now (I really hope its the water)..Shmuel (if that IS your REAL name) Im making a similar decision to the one you were talking about way back 8 years ago...Im interested in a plywood Sharpie build , but for different reasons than convenience and cost..Im "agonizing" over going that route or building a "traditional" design - a sort of pastiche to the old Chesapeake bay Buy-Boats..They make great yachts with long water lines , so plenty of length and ease of movement but with all the benefits of actually having enough room inside ..but for this, they are really, really REALLY heavy.Probably 4 times the weight of the plywood bent -around - 3 - bulkhead, Phillip Bolger, Box boat designs you are talking about... They are built the old way with layer on upon layer upon seemingly needless and redundant layer of wood plank and heavy timber.. I say,"seemingly" but that's only at first glance..The Buy-boats built that way in the 20's the 30's and the teen's are still out there churning up the sand and mud of the bay even though probably almost half their wood is rotten. After a 100 years or so, they are still stronger than most any plywood box launched yesterday .I have NOTHING against plywood boats and here where I live crabbers and oystermen have been building and using them for a long time.I grew up working on my dads self built fishing boats...And yet I still appreciate, as I did then, those great old heavy built masterpieces and I would fault no one for wanting to go that route ...I probably wont, I just don't see myself ever finishing a 50,000 lb wood boat so it will likely be plywood or sheet metal for me


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