Monday, May 25, 2009

Yes, I'm Still Alive....

But despite the title, I'm making no apologies for not posting here for two months. I've been incredibly busy with other writing and computer projects, not to mention my other carpentry work besides working on my boat. This has been a period of many new ideas and opportunities that I have had to take action on. Work has continued on Element II, although at a more sporadic and slower pace. I'm not concerned about time frames however. Since the beginning I've known how I wanted to build this boat and the quality standards that I have to adhere to, so there is no particular rush to speed things up in time for some arbitrary launch date. When it's ready it will go in the water, and not before. That being said, a lot has been completed on this project and an awful lot remains to be done. The best way to build a boat is to enjoy the process, and that I have done from the beginning.

I don't have a lot of new photos to post today, as much of what I've been doing is tedious filling and sanding in the fairing process. A small project has been making and installing the crossbeam locating blocks on the decks, as you can see below.

I cut these out of some heavy teak boards David gave me on one of my trips to work for him in the Boatsmith shop. One still had the bark on one side. I made these beam blocks just a little thicker than on the plans, adding almost an inch to the height above the deck so that the top of the mast beam will be closer to the level of the raised fronts of the cabin tops. An added advantage is that extra bit of clearance this will provide for the cockpit over the water.

The blocks are squared off on the top now and matched to the contours of the deck where they are epoxied and screwed in place with large countersunk SS screws. When the boat is spread to assembly width and the beams are fitted, I can grind the top profiles of the blocks down to match the undersides of the beams. Meanwhile, the sides of the blocks and all the rest of the deck surfaces can now be primed and painted.

Last week, while working on a residential carpentry project, I scored a great find for my boat in the form of an abandoned aluminum tube that will be just right for making the stern net beam. The owner of the house gave it to me, as it was going to the dump if I didn't want it. It's 14 feet long, 3 1/2" in diameter, and has a wall thickness of 4mm. Cut down to length and capped off on the ends, it should be perfect for the net beam and will save me the labor of laminating one out of wood. I'll have to prep and prime it, of course, so that it can be painted, but at least its one more part I won't have to build from scratch.