Sunday, June 28, 2009

The plans have arrived!

I have just returned from Scotland where I spent several days on the Isle of Skye. I highly recommend this beautiful corner of the world. Some shameless advertising: The Dun Flodigarry Hostel on Skye is awesome. Coincidently, Iain Oughtred lives on Skye, but I did not go looking for him. Maybe next time. My gasoline powered rental car got 45 mpg on the bad days, 55 mpg on the good days, and my friend's Citroen Belingo has more space and more utility than I could ever ask for, and got an easy 50mpg. Why we can't get this in the states is beyond me. "The American public doesn't want it" and "we don't have the technology" is nothing but lies, lies, lies.

I digress.

Upon arrival stateside, I found that my GIS plans were waiting for me. They are quite comprehensive. The pages are not numbered, but I would say about 95. I think I read that somewhere too. There are definitely some words I don't know, some I do, and some I need to double check on. Storer provides a list of all the tools I need, in addition to the lumber and supplies.

Everything construction related is measured in metric, with tight tolerances, right down to 1mm and so forth. The size of the needed lumber is also provided in English/Imperial sizes as well for ease of purchase. The panels of the boat are drawn out on 8' x 4' marine ply, in some cases there is very little room for error without wasting a piece of plywood or two. Something that concerns me is that for the for the pieces that take two panels joined together (such as the side panels), Storer assumes the 8x4 pieces are true. This is America, not Switzerland or any other myriad of precision minded countries, and I'm very doubtful I'm going to get two pieces of ply that are exactly true to size and true to each other. This is a two fold problem: I have to draw the pieces onto the plywood and cut them out. The drawing is determined by measurements gridded out on the actual plywood. (This is called lofting, I'm almost positive!) So if my plywood isn't uniform on all sides with true 90 deg. angles at each corner, the measurements will be off in reference to each other, and I'll have a crooked boat. Second, the side panels are so tightly squeezed, I'm afraid I might not be able to get them out true to size if the plywood itself is off. Maybe it will be easier once I get going.

So the big question on which further research is needed is how to make sure the 8x4 plywood panels are sized and true to each other.

More reading is in order, but overall I'm pleased with the quality and comprehensiveness of the plans.

Sweet boat!


UPDATE: The plans are 76 pages long, not including the drawings. My good friend Matt has advised me to bring a ruler and a square with me to purchase the plywood and ensure I get the best pieces most accurate pieces. Nice!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I have no idea what I'm doing! The Build Begins!

After much consideration, I have decided to build a Goat Island Skiff designed by Michael Storer. I chose this design for several reasons: It's supposedly simple to build, it's light, it has an unstayed one-masted rig, and it performs well. Also, there have been many built, some builds of which are recorded online in detail, either at the Wooden Boat forum, or in various blogs. Thus, finding suggestions or answers to peculiar questions shouldn't be too much of an issue with the wealth of information online. This is great, and I hope my contribution adds to the conversation and information available.

I was entranced by other open boats, notably Iain Oughtred's yawl designs and John Welsford's designs (especially the Houdini). They are beautiful boats, and though they are supposedly relatively easy to build (for the serious/dedicated amateur-- whatever that means), I know them to be more complicated than the GIS. This, coupled with the fact that I may be car-topping the boat by myself, sealed the deal. I will be living in NH with relatively easy access to Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Sunapee, with plans for Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River. Easy one-man off-water handling but with the space for my woman was therefor essential.

My woodworking skills are in the toilet, and for that reason, this blog. I am not stupid around wood, but I haven't really worked with it since Jr. High School. I took a lot of Tech. Ed. classes in 7th and 8th grade, but those went away in High School, and I haven't really touched a piece of wood working equipment since. I've built a rough and tumble worm bin (Google it) and I helped (kinda) build an ice shanty (brutally destroyed by the Adirondack winter) but that's about it. While I found some great information, blogs, and diaries online of GIS boatbuilding, no one explicitly came out and said, "I have no idea where to begin, or what I'm doing." So what does "simple" mean when there is no context? So that's what I'm doing now. I don't know what I'm doing. I have no tools, yet. I don't even know what I need. For those who are interested in building a wood boat, but feel a lack in skills, watch me screw up. I'll keep a tally of money, time, and joy/(frustration) spent on the project. The money will be only money spent on supplies needed to build the boat, minus the tools I have to buy.

Today, 6/18, the build officially begins because I ordered the plans from Duckworks Boat Builder Supply. It took me 5 min. to order them online, easy. I ordered the physical plans because I'm old fashioned, which added 30 bucks. Once they arrive, we can get really started on this boat. This was a relatively stress free experience. Onward! Fair Winds! Calm seas! Blah blah blah! Wish me luck. Really, I really want this to work out, so send good juju!