Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year, New Boat

The team at WoW started 2013, as planned, with the first steps in the construction of the second Beetle whaleboat replica.  Everyone agrees that there are real advantages in being able to build another one of the same design.  First of all, there are the obvious advantages:  the jigs, molds, and lofting is already done and on hand.  This saves many days of work.  Also, there is far less "hmmm-ing" over the plans attempting to figure out how this part is connected to that one.

Even more important are the lessons we learned from the construction of the first boat, including mistakes we made and had to correct, and techniques that could have made various processes simpler and quicker.  We started with the stems, both fore and aft, and improved techniques already helped make this step quicker and better.  In the first boat, we used a single 3" by 1 1/2" by 8' board, with a kerf nearly all the way through for stress reduction during bending.  Then, after bending, the rabbets into which the plank ends were recessed were cut. That was a lengthy and difficult process.  This time, we cut the stem fully into two lengths along the design kerf line, then planed the rabbet into the inner stem prior to bending.  Very fast, much more accurate, and way, way easier.
Planing chamfer, which will become half of rabbet, into inner stem

  We reused the bending jig that was constructed for the first whaleboat stems.  First, a stem set -- an inner and outer stem -- was steamed for two hours. 

Stem sections steaming in steam bag.  NB: That's water in the kero can!
 After steaming, the carefully orchestrated ballet (sans tutus) including Bruce, Jeff, Newt, John, and Bob, proceeded quickly to bend the two boards into the jig, clamp it in place, and leave it to cool.
Jeff and Bruce remove stem boards from steaming bag.
Inserting the hot boards into the jig.
Jeff begins to bend as Newt and Bob get the far end clamped into place.
Putting some weight into it.
Almost there.  Jeff works the bending lever while Bruce clamps.
Bob works some wedges in to hold stem boards against the jig.
All done.  A good job done well.
Even though the second boat has been started, there are still a few things to be finished up on the first one.  Newt and Bob fastened the very last thwart knee, so now the cedar seats can be made and fastened on the thwarts.  The knees are a bit uncomfortable, even for whalemen, to sit on.
Bob attempts to squeeze one more clamp into his knee assembly.
Newt and Bob are not at all sorry to have fastened the last knee.
Before the strongback and molds for whaleboat number two can be laid, we need to get the marsh cat finished and out of the whaleboat bay.  Bruce moved a big step closer to that by getting the first of two top coats of Petit Easypoxy onto the topsides.  This was accomplished after a final sanding by John and Christian, who came in to help out during his inter-semester break from college.
Christian and John work the sandpaper one more time.
Wow! Is that ever shiny!
On the rowing dory, yet another coat of epoxy was applied, and then sanded.  Once a good smooth surface is achieved, the plan is to apply varnish.
John sanding the rowing dory one more time.
One of the joys of a day at WoW is lunchtime, when everyone gets together to share opinions about nearly everything, jokes, insults, and random observations. 

Still in a festive holiday mood at lunchtime, Newt waves for the camera.
Someone must have been very proud of his lunch.

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