Disclaimer.. My spelling can suck so bear with me!
The Story of the Boat. I started with a pile of aluminum on Jan 1st 2003. I bought a new cheapo skil saw, and lots of aluminum wire (80lbs so far) and plenty of Argon.
The boat design is by Ken Hankinson, its called the True Grit. www.boatdesigns.com/ Its 25 feet long and 8.5feet wide.
I wanted a large cabin to get out of the weather, and to lock up the goodies. It would be nice to have more room for the fishing and working , but the size of the boat, for easy trailering and having the warm cabin wins over this time. Taking on a project like this is a serious job. There are lots of hours of noisy, hot, and sometimes painful work. It gives me some sort of pleasure or satisfaction when you look back and see what you have created. Not to mention the dent in the check book. The problem of not being able to work full time on it can be frustrating. I have had to work at some other jobs to pay for the boat, and just living. This really cuts into the finished product. Every one wants to know when are you going to put it in the water.. Well pretty soon. Hows that..
1-2-2005 Starting the year off with some snow. The world is having its problems with bad weather, earthquakes, tsunami waves and lots of poor dead people that were just having a good time one minute and the next swimming for their lives. This is enough to make a guy work faster or just say the hell with it and go drink beer. Well i don't like beer so its time to cut and fit some more Black Walnut. I am doing the interior of the boat with Walnut.. I like it and there is some rules you have to abide by Rule number one is Use what you have (got). I happen to have plenty of walnut logs. Not enough for sure but its the wood i have the most of, and its the prettiest wood. I bought some logs years ago and cut them into 2 inch cants. The widest were 13 inches, some where shaped like a banjo. Some had nails in them, there is nothing like a 16 penny nail in the way of your $22 bandsaw blade. I have a small bandsaw mill that i put together. I have always wanted one and all it takes is cash, time, welders or a metal shop. Its just a start, because after you cut the rough wood you have to dry it, then mill it again to a usefull size. It warps, cracks and gets hard. I let the walnut dry for 3 years, stickered in the compressor room of the boat shop. The metal pole building is called the boat shop because i have built a few boats in it. If you were working on your truck i guess it would be the shop. I hate it most of the time, since there are flying mice or BATS in there. You can't seem to kill them, they make a mess out of everything. You have to cover up your tools and metal and wood. Its a bit of a hassel. But if you want to work out of the weather its the greatest place.. I am going to move my metal or welding shop into a new one after i build it. I want it warmer and BAT free. I have discovered that i like it comfortable when i work. Some work you can do when your cold or hot. But when you have to think and then work its nice to be in the comfort zone. Then there is the part of the equation of tools. I love tools and that brings up the list of rules again.. Rule number 2 is "The Time Between Wanting and Having is Wasted" This can be rule number one also. But this rule to live by takes lots of money if your the average creative worker. I mean in my case. I am interested in every thing. My biggest problem is that i have so many interests that i can't walk across the shop without bumping into a unfinished project and stop and do something with it. Then i say what am i doing i am looking for some tool or part, and get back to work on the original project. This happens more than i want to admit. If i am working on a antenna, or the boat, or maybe some wood project, I have to make sure i stick with it and get it done. The other thing that gets in the way is cleaning the shop up. It seems like some one comes in and makes a mess every day.. I think they come at night when i am sleeping. There are 3 guard cats but they must help out the mess makers. They bring in pets to play with. I have a sign on the cat door that says NO PETS. But they don't pay any attention to it. I find mice, rat, lizzards, birds in different stages of completion. Some alive. But mostly dead and in pieces. So they may be the mess makers. But they don't use the power tools, and make sawdust, metal shavings, and leave a dirty floor. So there is a waste of time always cleaning up.
I guess i better make a new paragraph. I am rambling along with a purpose, I don't want to get into some specific topic right off the bat. damn bats. But the walnut was on my mind when i started. Ok I neede it and last winter about this time I started cutting it on the mill again. I wanted to make 3/8" pannels for the walls in the boat. I cut them way bigger than 3/8 like 1/2 inch thick. and then Ran them thru the planner to get them down to the finished size.. Then straight lined them on the table saw. Since i didn't have to make them any size, i wanted them to fit the best for the grain patterns first. This means i need a tongue and groove set up.. ie two router tables and two routers all set up just for this project. So build another table and go any buy a nice Bosh router, variable speed. What a nice tool. Quiet too. This is all fine till you want to round over the edges of some wood. THis means tear down one of the tables set up. Or make another table and new router. This can go on for 4 or 5 i think.. I only have 3 so far. But need one more. There must be a rule here. Its like band saws. I have 3 of them this is the 14 inch vertical saws. You have to have this tool. I cut alum and wood on them every day. Plastic too. I keep two different blades going, Or one saw is down for maint (fixing). The other one is down at the boat shop. Oh i didn't mention i moved the boat up to my good shop, where its nice and warm like a house. Oh it is my house. No bats here. just cats. I put the boat on the trailer i built and moved it on Xmass a year ago. So now i can go out and work on it any time. Well when the mood strikes. So that means the boat shop is now the welding shop, well the rough welding. I do clean work up here TIG. There is alot of burnable stuff in this shop. So thats why i have to make a new welding shop where the carport is. OK the wood work.
I first had to fit some 1.5" wood around all the windows and the top and bottom of the walls. I fit everything up using popolar, fir or alder would be good too. Then took it apart and bought some spray cans of some chromate paint and primed the area where the wood would be touching. Then bolted in the wood framing. I then fit the walnut boards in and pinned them with small stainless welding rod, its about 1/16" diameter. i cut them like little nails. Then i can pull them out and put screws in their place or just leave the holes. Well after a week of fitting and putting the puzzle together. I took it all apart and drilled some holes for wires. Then bought some 1 inch foam board with alum on it.. I bought everything i could find and gave them the burn test. This one burned the slowest, I fit each bay with the insulation. This went pretty fast. I use a sanding board for everything, and with some careful measuring you get pretty fast at cutting and fitting the foam. Then put the walnut back up and drill the holes for the small stainless screws that hold the walnut in place. You don't want the pannels to be tight becasue when they get out in the real world ( wet) they will expand and the walls will buckle up. Then I had to Oil it and see how it would look. Boy i just love the Watco Oil Natural.. I also had a gallon can of it.. Rule #1. So the next thing to do is the wireing. then the rest of the cabinets. But what about the controls, you have to shift, throttle. Steering is important too.
The wires and cables have to be in a PVC conduit. to protect them. So i ran some 2 inch sched 40. one for cables and hydrolic steering hoses. and the other one for the wires. Then you have to put some duits in for each frame bay for pumps and what ever.. Bilge water alarms.. I have a story about the sinking of the Tug Boat. Later for that one. Back to the wires. Planning is kind of important. You have to make sure you have enough wires to do all the stuff you want while its easy to pull the wire. Like lights and pumps, blowers. the electonics is a different deal. You have to give them power, and they usually have a transducer wire, or some sort of control. So you need to have room for them.. Proper size, shrink tube, solder is all in the plan of the day. Nice neat runs with tie wraps and labels so you know who goes where. I build my own breaker pannels but you can buy them if you have the bucks. Rule number 3 i guess is" if you don't have the bucks and you have the time, You have to make it yourself." I drilled them out on the mill, and powder painted them. Its some alum scraps from the boat 1/8 inch thick. I liked the Blue sea breakers. But they are all the same size. So its what you can get and price. I think i have 36 breakers so far. The wire part is my favorite i guess. I like the hooking up of stuff. Radios, pumps.. I used to be a marine engineer , thats a guy who fixes stuff and builds things on boats. I worked on tugs and barges. Things are bigger is all this little yachty stuff is cute. One of my bosses would say thats too yachty, meaning too wimpy and will not last..
The steering i used the Hyd helm unit with a cylinder on the outdrive. Its the most expensive way to go but you can hook up a auto pilot later on real easy, Plus you could even put another steering station some where.
The next time i will ramble on about the framing of the boat and putting it together.
1-30-05 Here we go again. Its been 13 years since the tug sank and i am busy building another boat. Well here it is the ramble about the framing. I got full size patterns with the plans. I like to loft the boats out but Ken said why bother. Well the front end or bow is not even necessary to worry about where the frames are supposed to touch the plate. They are not even close. The points to worry about are the keel, chine, or anywhere that ties into the actual boat. The skin will not lay in like the designer thinks it will. You have to drape the skin over and then put the longs in afterwords. Now this is in the forward 1/3 of the boat. everything aft of this will work perfect. So you set up some plywood as level as you can so you can lay out the frames of the boat. Remember you are going to tack weld the frames on this so be prepared for some scorched wood. You need to cut the frames out of what ever you are using like flat bar, or angle. get the places where your going to weld prepared with the proper bevels. I clamp things down and tack weld everything up. Then get the welds in. I like to weld from the outside to the center, so if you weld half of the frame width you cancel out the stress. You have to flip the frame over and weld the other side too. But its also time to put some sort of horizontal brace that falls on the same place the length of the hull. Like the Jig level or a waterline that is common on as many frames as possible. This way you can level the frames up when you assemble the frames on the strongback or keel. The true grit is built on a jig. so you have to build a wood jig. The problem is when your pulling the metal around it will move the jig some. I shot the jig into the slab to help hold it down. Nothing like a .25 cal nail gun. The frames go up nice and easy on the jig. I had notched the frames for a half inch keel. That means it time to layout and cut the keel. !/2" alum plate cuts a little slow compared with 3/16 and 1/4 inch. So be ready for lots of noise and hot chips. I used a skill saw. ear plugs and cotten gloves, and eye glasses a must. Now that the keel is cut out you need to put it inplace and tack it in. I then layed out the chine bars. bent and tacked them where they looked good. You have to keep the frames perpendicular with the keel line. Then lay out the longitutidunals and cut the notches for them. This is a noisy job and you have to get above the area you are cutting. You can see what you are doing this way. Ok this is enough for tonight.