The Strut, Shaft, and Shaft Log

Getting the engine in the proper position requires a lot of test fitting to establish location of engine beds and all the other items.

When you’re building an inboard boat, getting the engine and propeller shaft in perfect alignment is an interesting process.  It’s a logical process that involves aligning the engine and transmission, shaft, shaft log, and strut.  It starts with the strut (the piece that holds the shaft in place just forward of the propeller).  There is a tube the shaft passes through that gets glued into a hole bored through the keel.  Getting that tube, called the shaft log, glued in line with the shaft and engine is the aim of this process. Continue reading “The Strut, Shaft, and Shaft Log”

Back to the Palm Beach 22

Making a pattern for the irregular shape of the engine compartment platform.

It’s been a long time since I posted anything about the Palm Beach.  I haven’t forgotten it, and I haven’t stopped working on it.  But there have been some intervening projects like the Riva, shoulder surgery, a trip or two… Continue reading “Back to the Palm Beach 22”

Riva Iseo – Trimming to Patterns

The final pieces just about ready to glue to the boat.
The original patterns are made from cheap, pliable luan.

Remember long ago (by now it seems long ago to me) when I talked about the painstaking process of making patterns out of cheap 1/8″ luan?  My process was to use the 1/8″ luan to make my original patterns because it’s so pliable and easy to carve to shape.

But by now, you realize how much time and energy is invested in laying up the mahogany and holly blanks and laminating them to the backing board.  It’s too risky to use such a thin pattern to cut out those blanks.  One slip of the  router, and you’re starting over on those layups.   So I used the original patterns to first cut out new patterns of 1/2″ thick birch plywood.  The 1/2″ thick plywood, with no voids is much more secure for cutting the blanks. Continue reading “Riva Iseo – Trimming to Patterns”

Layup of the Riva Foredeck

 

Laying up the deck using packing tape, and checking alignment with the center panels.

Having settled on the option of hand laying the deck, it was time to start milling wood.  Take a look back at the first post in this series, Working on the Riva Foredeck.   Look closely at the picture of the overall deck.  See how the pinstripe holly lines are symmetrical about the centerline, and how they line up fore and aft from the outboard panels to the center panels?  That’s what is going to make this a beautiful deck. Continue reading “Layup of the Riva Foredeck”

Flipping the Boat

The boat is at rest in a sideways position. Notice the cradles under it ready to receive it.

I’ve done all I can to the hull from the outside.  So it’s time to flip the boat upright so I can start working from the inside.  To prepare for this, I’ve made 3 cradles to hold the boat in position once its upright.  I used the patterns for some of the frames with one placed directly under where the engine will be mounted.  Using the waterlines on the patterns, I was able to set up the cradles so the boat will sit level and plumb. Continue reading “Flipping the Boat”

Fiberglass Setback

Peeling fiberglass off wooden boat
Peeling 6 oz. fiberglass cloth off the boat with a heat gun

I have not failed.  I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.                 — Thomas Edison

Adding a layer of fiberglass cloth to any wooden boat will add an enormous amount of toughness to it.  And if you do it right, the fiberglass is invisible.  That’s right — invisible.  The problem is in the “doing it right” part.

Okay, let’s step back a bit. Continue reading “Fiberglass Setback”

Cutting the Flat

You can see the exposed end grain in this picture of the flat cut most of the way with a power plane.

Last time, I talked a little about cutting the flat along the keel so I could put a cap over it to keep from having exposed end grain there.  My friend Steve asks, “Well, exactly how did you do that?” (or words to that effect).  It did, in fact, take a little bit of doing.  So I decided to explain myself a little better in a follow-up post. Continue reading “Cutting the Flat”

Steaming the Bottom Plank Blanks

Here’s a good look at the steaming bag and the clamps I used to hold the blank in place while steaming and then cooling.

The twist in the bottom planks at the bow is pretty extreme.  When it becomes impractical to clamp enough twist or curve into a plank to fit it properly, it helps to be able to get it closer to the final shape before you pop a blood vessel in the struggle. Continue reading “Steaming the Bottom Plank Blanks”

Final Topsides Plank and a Patch

Topsides planking finished
The topsides planking is finished. Next will be the transom and then the bottom planks.

The final topsides plank is fit and glued in place.  Huzzah!  It took a long time to get here because I elected to vacuum bag each plank individually.  I wanted the tightest seams I could get.  And in order to do that, you need to know the plank you’re fitting against isn’t going to move, even slightly.  Without locator screws, which you can use in traditional boat building, you don’t know things will go back together exactly as they did during the dry fit.  The topsides gets a lot of scrutiny on any boat–perhaps not as much as the deck, but it’s what people notice first. Continue reading “Final Topsides Plank and a Patch”

Fitting the Next Planks Using the Router

Cutting plank edges
The Router Method makes cutting plank edges an efficient process.

Last month, I described in detail the process of scribing, cutting, and fitting the first strake of final planking on our Palm Beach 22 mahogany runabout.  If you missed it, I suggest you go back and take a look.  It’s a necessary precursor to the process I’m about to discuss.

Laying up each plank and fitting it is a time consuming, although satisfying process.  Refining your skill in creating light-tight seams between planks is a worthwhile pursuit.  The better you are at scribing the previous plank edge onto your new blank, the quicker it goes.  It’s a time-honored skill among boat builders.  But let’s take a look at a more efficient method. Continue reading “Fitting the Next Planks Using the Router”