Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Other Workshop

This is my other workshop where I'll be making lots of the small parts for Element II, such as the crossbeams, tillers, gaff, and possibly the cockpit. This is at my girlfriend's house where I spend at least half my time, and it's just over an hour's drive from the building shed where I will be assembling the hulls. Splitting the work up like this will allow me to put the maximum amount of time into the project each week, as I can work on it at odd hours in whichever location. That's one of the advantages of building a multihull like a Wharram catamaran; there are so many individual components that can be built and even finished to the final paint stage before being needed as part of the complete boat.
This shop is in an enclosed garage and is well lighted. This is good for working in inclement weather and at night, but not so good for building a complete boat, even if it was big enough. I prefer to do assembly, fiberglassing and especially sanding in an open shed with a dirt floor. Excess epoxy and fillers are not a worry, and the sanding dust doesn't cover everything like it does in an enclosed shop. The shed I'll build the hulls in has two closed sides (on the northeast corner) and two open sides to let in natural light and air. Here in Mississippi there are not too many days that are too cold to work, but I'll use more fast hardener with the epoxy in winter months.
Having this garage shop is available is also good for storing finished parts and extra plywood that will be needed later. Yesterday I moved the remaining sheets from my first plywood purchase to the garage, and today I spent the afternoon organizing my workspace and preparing for the next step: laying out and cutting the bulkheads. I'll cut and coat them here, as well as install the bunk and deck bearers before taking them to the shed where the hull parts will be coated and assembled. I've split my first order epoxy order of 15 gallons in half, so I have epoxy and all the mixing and application tools and supplies in each location. Handheld power tools and hand tools travel with me in my truck as I bounce back and forth between locations. I'll also be doing carpentry work for paying customers near both locations, so I have to have a mobile setup.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another Day of Cutting Parts

I was back at it today, after taking off Friday to go sailing, see: http://tiki21element.blogspot.com/ Yesterday was a rain day, and I still have to put a new roof on my building shed before I can work on rainy days, so I left the stack of plywood covered with a tarp under the leaky roof until this morning, which dawned sunny, but cold. It's been too cold for several days to do any epoxy coating, so I've continued to lay out and cut parts, slowly reducing a stack of expensive marine plywood to multiple smaller stacks of Tiki 26 parts.
Today I finished the hull topside panels, all the 6mm doublers for the tops of the stems, skegs, and rudders, and finally, the beam and shroud lashing cleats (since they come out of the single sheet of 18mm ply the rudders, stems and skegs were cut from and I wanted to reduce the amount of leftover ply I have to store). I then spent the rest of the day laying out the bulkheads, but I'm not quite ready to cut those yet. I'm still contemplating some minor changes in the accomodations and I have to work out the details before cutting bulkheads.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

All Hull Panels Lofted and Cut

Laying out and cutting the hullsides is easier if you have a flat workbench at least 24 feet long....

Here are all the lower hull panels for both hulls....

I've been making sawdust again today. The weather was perfect for working outside in an open shed. I layed out the first three sheets of 6mm ply end to end on my workbench and measured and drew out the station lines that determine the hull panel curvature. Bulkhead positions were marked, everything was checked at least twice - both in feet and inches and in millimeters, just to be sure, then the first set of hull panels were cut. Each hull side requires three sheets of 6mm plywood, for a total of 12 sheets in all. This includes the straight one-foot wide sections that the topside panels are made from. After the first three panels were cut, I used them as templates to mark the remaining panels. All these panels will get two coats of epoxy on the inside surface before assembly. Since I'm planning to finish the inside of the boat bright, rather than painted, I'm taking care not to leave station lines and other marks on any panels where they will show, as once they are coated in epoxy they cannot be erased. The bulkhead lines won't matter, as they will be hidden by fillets and the bulkheads themselves.

The forecast is calling for another good day tomorrow, but I won't be boat building, instead I'll be sailing. I have to go to Biloxi early in the morning to estimate a teak deck job on a motoryacht, so while I'm there, of course I'll take Element out for a daysail. The wind is supposed to be 15-20 knots out of the east. Perfect.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Getting Started

Stems, Skegs, and Rudders

I'll call today the official beginning of the build, even though there are some steps I took in this direction quite a long time ago that I will explain in future posts.

This will certainly be an involved project and will take some time, particularly as I will have to work on it around my other jobs for paying customers in order to keep the materials flowing. I'll also be getting away from time to time to sail the first Element, my Tiki 21, which will surely be refreshing and rejuvenating at those times in this long journey when I might question why I'm building yet another boat.

Today the weather was not the best for boatbuilding, cold and windy, everything still wet from days of rain that prevented me from getting my plywood sooner. But I was ready to put blade to wood so I lofted up patterns for the stems, skegs and rudders for both hulls and proceeded to get them out from the 18mm sheet reserved for that purpose.

Tomorrow, I have another free day, so I hope to lay out the panels for the first hullside, cut them out, and use them for templates to mark the other three hullsides.

A Trip to New Orleans for Plywood

These are the plywood sheets required to build the hulls to sheer level, including bulkheads, bunks, stems, skegs and rudders.

This is the good stuff. No compromising on quality for Element II

Yesterday I drove to New Orleans to pick up the marine plywood for my project. Riverside Lumber Co. on Morrison Road is now a dealer for Joubert BS 1088 Okoume plywood, so rather than pay the high cost of shipping it was a simple matter to drive the 135 miles from my building site to pick it up.

I decided to use the Okoume rather than a less expensive Meranti ply because Okoume is 5 pounds per sheet (in 6mm thickness) lighter in weight than the Meranti. That comes to a weight difference of about 175 pounds for all the plywood required for the build, which is significant for a boat with a payload of about 1500 pounds. On a long passage, this weight difference could equate to a lot of extra drinking water, for one thing.

I'm starting out with enough ply to build the two hulls, including the topsides, bunks, and rudders. I'll go back for more 6mm and 9mm sheets to complete the cabin, decks, and cockpit when I get to that point. No use having it in the way until I need it.