Wednesday, December 30, 2015

proa gunwales

Down the road I saw a glassfibre sailing canoe parked on a lawn and inspired, have recommenced proa-gluing. Last year's problem that prevented Any Work Whatever was that a torsion box, deprived of one side, isn't a torsion box at all, and a hull therefore needs stiffening along the top of where the missing side isn't. (Actual reason: laziness.) Proper boatbuilders don't seem to worry much more about this floppy top-edge than calling it a gunwale so's to sound nautical and making it thicker; blessed without experience I have worried about the flimsiness of radiata pine which is the thickening wood available in the timberyard. My neighbour, who has sailed practically forever, opines that I should stop worrying about special woods and use what's to hand. It eventually occurred to me that strip-planked canoes are made of flimsy cedar and the covering of glass gives them adequate strength; reluctantly since it meant making a decision I Got On With It.

First I drew a line where the two ends join in the middle so the top-of-the-profile is straight instead of a shallow vee, which up till now it has been, the result of worrying about the bottom of the boat and not the top.

Then I glued bits inside the decked bulkheads. This took an afternoon.

Bits. Glued. Plus workshop boots reinforced with pair of old trousers stuck to outside to a) hold the foam on t'outside of them and b) further embarrass the children.

Then I glued bits inside the sort-of-tub thingy. This took another afternoon.

More bits. Glued.

Adding bits is a ghastly business fraught with worry. You have to mix epoxy and get a tight joint, and the epoxy acts as a lubricant so the glued bits slide about on one another and I haven't enough clamps. So everything gets screwed together and later I shall have to plug all the screw-holes with epoxy and paint so nobody apart from the Internet knows. Add usual carelessness and the reinforcements weren't where they should have been and this meant having to pretend I meant to use a router afterwards to align the central gussets.


And glue strips along the top of the gunwales to fill the gap that wouldn't have been there if I'd cut the sides along the top in the first place. Each operation whereof taking another morning and another afternoon. Still, the art of woodwork is that of concealing your mistakes. Besides, my neighbour reassuringly tells me boatbuilding isn't precision engineering and that the Pacific islanders manage it with a tree and an adze.

Centre gussets
Precision woodworking with drawknife and spokeshave

Skateboard with angled bits of wood attached for rolling increasingly heavy hull round workshop floor

Popsicle sticks glued into gaps so that nobody will know what a rubbish woodworker I am

Wisdom prevailed in the decision whether to attempt the last part in one go: best to glue all the separators to the outer-bit first. And this turned out to be a sound decision because
1. I didn't mix enough glue and
2. I didn't think out how I was going to attach the separators accurately and
3. glue/lubricant/slides all over the place (see above) and
4. not enough clamps (you already saw above) and
5. only two arms grow out of a person and you need four.

Screws were the solution once more. I got John to operate the screwdriver and it still took a solid morning.

Only two lots of glue-mixing this time - 30cc + 10cc first, and when that ran out 45cc + 15cc, and just as I was finishing using the second lot it went all exothermic and hardened rather abruptly, putting paid to my planned use of any excess to plug all the preceding screw-holes in the hull.

Glued and screwed. Screws to come out when glue is hardened.

Amazing how much you can't accomplish between 8.30 and 1.30.

Anyway all is now glued and stiffened but unfortunately that means I need to do the next bit, which requires another Making of a Decision, at which I'm not as good as I am at Procrastinating.

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