05 February 2011

Lofting Board

Now that I've cut out the two pieces of my lofting board, it's time to assemble it into one 3/4" x 4' x 13' surface. I also want to white-wash it.

The boat building books (BBBs) discuss lots of ways to assemble the lofting board. Probably the best way is to screw the various panels down on the floor. I didn't want to do this because I didn't want to drill holes in my floor, and also I wanted to be able to move the board if needed, or even lean it up against the wall to get it out of the way.

So I ended up using metal straps to hold the two sheets of plywood together. I could probably use a third in the middle, but it would be in the way a bit, so I'll leave it off unless I decide I really need it.

The two sheets of plywood are held together
by two strong metal straps.  Here's one of them after painting.
photo jalmberg

I also painted the lofting board with a quick coat of white acrylic paint. I didn't do this when lofting Cabin Boy and I regretted it. Pencil lines stand out better against the white background, but more importantly, so do the battens. I think having dark battens against a white background will make it easier to see if the line is fair or not.

Anyway, it only took a few minutes to roll on a quick coat, so it's definitely worth the effort.

13' lofting board, with it's own space, but out of
the way of the main build area.
photo jalmberg
Now that I'm looking at my basement wall in the photo, I'm thinking I should have slapped some paint on it, too!

Finally, I decided to set up a simple bookkeeping system to track the amount of time and money I spend on the build. I’ve broken it down into several categories, such as time spent building the jig, tools, and the boat itself. Also time spent shopping, building, blogging, etc.

Same with the money. I’ll track how much I spend building the jig, and the boat, buying tools, etc.

This isn't a business, but I think it will be interesting to see how much time and money I spend on this project.

Tomorrow, I want to see if I can cut some good battens. Battens are very important boat building tools that help  you turn a small number of points on your lofting board into long smooth curves.

They were a real problem with Cabin Boy. I never really had battens I was satisfied with. This time, I'm going to make myself some good ones.

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  1. It looks like you have your sheet connection problem solved. For future reference, Pocket Screws and a Kreg jig work great to butt join two of anything. Boards or sheet goods. Easy to put in and easy and simple to take out. I use them when I build Kitchen Counter tops and don't have a cross member right below the seam.

  2. John,
    Good for you on solving your problem. Since you are now a member of the Hardwater Amateur Boatbuilding and Drinking Society, you will ikely be building another boat. Therefore you will be reusing your lofting board. Speaking from experience, I cut my board into 4' x7' sheets and joind them together with a piano hinge.

  3. My suggestion was to use biscuits to join the 13' lofting board.

    And then something like the Mending Plates (metal straps)to hold the two halves of the lifting board in vertical alignment.

  4. Tom: Huh... I will have to look those two things up. I never heard of them (not surprisingly!) Thanks for the tip.

  5. Why 4x7? So you have a 14' lofting board that folds in the middle? I like the hinge idea.

  6. 'Biscuits'... another thing I must look up :-)


  7. Ah, I see... sort of like small splines. I'm going to try that, since my two sheets don't meet smoothly in the middle. One is a 1/8" higher than the other, which makes it difficult to draw lines from one board to the other.

    I don't want to buy a special tool for it, though, so will try to figure out how to make the joint with a small chisel.

    Thanks for the tip.

  8. Pocket Screws and a Kreg jig: ah! Also a good idea. They work in plywood? It's almost like screwing into end grain, but not quite.

  9. John, the available workspace limited me to a 14' length.

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