Drunk in charge of a pencil !

Blog time : it’s the end of May 2021 and i’m just about at the end of the flat-pack phase of my build project – iv’e cut all of the frame parts and now the centerboard case as well , then, because i couldn’t start the centerboard itself i decided to make the long bottom panel of the boat instead. To do that i had to first mend and then adapt my outside workbench such that it would support 2 full plywood sheets ; that wasn’t a great problem once i’d finished the repair as all iv’e had to do is attach 4 long lengths of 2 x 4″ plain square edged timber (PSE). On top of that iv’e attached a sheet of exterior ply and that forms the main deck to work on….at each end i just packed the gap between the long rails and panels with some scrap ply.

I was a bit worried about my scarf joint between the 2 panels as it’s my first and only long scarf joint so far and it’s not one that i could practice first, rather it had to be a first time and once only as it’s the one and only plywood scarf joint, the rest being done with simple butt joints and butt-straps. When i did finally come to cut the panel for the bottom board and then get to have a look at the scarf joint a few inches in from the edge it seems a good one….i can see the line of the joint and that it looks well bonded. I wish i could say the same for the chine edges of the panel itself !

The bottom panel all cut out.

On the bench this week.

At the beginning of the week i pulled out the hardwood stock to make a start on cutting the lamells for the centerboard, realized that they are all too wide and had no reasonable way of reducing them so firstly i went and ordered a table saw which totally spanked the budget, then marked out and cut the sides for the board case and after that i was a bit lost in what to do next : so i decided to scarf the panels together for the bottom of the boat and then cut that out.  Obviously that’s the single largest piece of the whole boat and even to mark it out took several hours over a couple of sessions as there are some 72 measurement points including the centerline.    

On the bottom panel the shape is defined by XY points just like the frames except that the way it’s drawn is via a 250mm grid which i marked on both sides , joined each side with 18 lines, marked the board center with a tightly stretched cord and then proceeded to mark out the station points from the centerline. The first side working back from the bow seemed to go well and even at that stage the points looked as though they formed a fair…..which is handy.  My problems started with the other side ; in between doing the first and second side we’d had dinner with a glass of wine….we’re real lightweights here as even that one glass once a week makes both of us a bit tipsy…..anyway it was a nice evening so i decided to walk down to the village and back and then crack on and mark side 2.       Unlike the first side though i chose to work forward from the transom line as that was the first part that i came to ; as before i marked the stations on the cross grid except that when i got to the bow i was 2 stations short.  Realizing that i must have made a mistake i went back to the transom and started checking and of course my measurements were all wrong so i just made second marks – then when i got to the bow i was still a station short of a curve so i started once more but ‘cleverly’ working back from the bow which gave me another set of marks which didn’t match the first 2.   By then i was far too warm under the shelter as the sun was coming right in the end so i gave up at that point.

The morning after the night before i went out there again and the first thing i did was to quickly sand off all of the marks on side 2 and then started carefully marking from the bow – not only that but i marked each grid line with a number (1 – 18) and the distance from the centerline that the station mark would be.  After that i re-checked the first side and found that one mark was out so i re-checked the check, went in for coffee and came out and re-measured every mark again.  Only after that did i start the long (16 feet) hand cuts and i’m sorry to say that they are the worst cuts iv’e made on the project so far and are going to need a lot of tidying up : i think i can see several things that i did wrong or just differently to cutting the frames out….for example that i was trying to work from the side of the panel rather than being right over it.   Whatever, we have a bottom panel mostly done with a couple of hours careful fairing and tidying to do.

First side cut.

So remember children ; don’t drink and draw !


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