Monday, February 27, 2012

Building Our Boat by Henry and Dad

Building an Optimist Dinghy
Designed by: Clark Mills

January 27, 2012
Henry:  I learned the parts of the boat.   Read instructions.   Set up parts and supplies, tools.  Made a list of things we need.   1 ½ hours

Supply list – On Hand:
Anti- fouling paint
White bilge paint
Dark blue polyurethane
Green polyurethane
Cream yacht enamel
Clear wood sealer
Underwater seam compound
3M #101

To Get List
Polyurethane Premium Construction
 by HCA company in OH
Size 8 Stainless Flatheads
Drill, countersink, bits, belt sander, 60 80 grit
Sand paper and sanding bloc
3/16 drill
Bondo or Z Spar glazing putty
A Spar S-120 Sealer

Dad:  We are in Mark Strong’s huge garage working along side a Honda and 1955(?) MG Classic root beer brown convertible sports car.   Both are under wraps while Mark and his wife Gail sail their boat from Mazatlan to Costa Rica for the next 5 months. 
This couldn’t be a more ideal spot:  we are in a house surrounded by pines on ten acres of apple trees and woods.  Marks was a mechanical engineer and designed ski slopes and evidently an avid tinkerer -- he’s got every took and machine from saws, welders, drill press, lathe, table saws… half I’ve never laid eyes on before.  Drawers of screws and stacks of spare lumber, paints, caulking, tape.  It’s like setting up a work shop in Home Depot and having access to all the inventory.  Day 1 – just getting set up.

Monday, January 30th.
Henry:   I needed to make a jig.  So I wrote a note to my neighbor and asked him for some wood.  He is a builder.  I got some wood from him.  I saved a lot of money.  I stacked the wood up and came back.  Before stacking up (the wood) I took nails out.  My sister helped me.   Time 2 hours. 
Dad:   Next door, about a block away, our neighbor had a pile of lumber from a construction site – perfect for making the jig.  The jig is a frame like a stand that you build.  Then you build the boat up side down on top of the jig.  H & Chandler disappear in a mound of lumber and measure out the right lengths and sort through the 2x4s and 2x6’s and yank the nails out. 

Friday,  February 3, 2012    

Henry:  Today I measured wood.  And I cut wood.   I also organized wood.  I used a tape measurer, a skill saw, an angle, and (safety) glasses.   I followed the instructions.  We finished measuring, and now we are in for hammering.  This finishes the measuring and cutting of the wood.  Work time 2 hours.

Dad:  Henry found some door knobs in the lumber pile and lined them up like trophies; they’ll be his “snow boarding awards”.

Monday, February 6th
H:    Today I worked on the boat.  I got my pieces (of wood) in place.  I measured some weed.  I also drilled today.  I started the jig.  Dad and I got the jig almost done.  Just a few more parts.  We had to use a drill.  We checked the instructions all the time.  (H’s artwork of jig).

Dad:    It was warm enough to work outside.  Outside, there are a lot of distractions for a 10 year old.  Between instruction checks and measuring and marking, Henry climbed the clothes line – a jib sheet strung between two trees, and had me time him to climb an apple tree, scale out on a limb and drop 4 feet.   43 seconds.  What’s the hurry?

Wednesday   February 8, 2012.
H:   I did CL = Center Line.  I did division by two.   3.5/2 = 1.75.   I also learned that ½= .5.       Time 1.5 hours.

Dad: we are putting the bow, mid-section and transom (stern) pieces together.  They came already cut and glued, but we are figuring out how to line them up on the jig. 

Friday, February 10, 2012
H:  Today I measured.   I cut wood.  I looked at instructions.  We finished the jig.  The fun part was making the jig.  We drilled today.  We cut with an electric saw.  

Dad:  More laps for Henry up the tree and most tools have become make believe guns now.   This can get carried away.  “Henry, can you lend a hand to mark this center line?”
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Henry:  I did not look at the instructions.  We got screws from the store.  I got bolts and washers and put them on.  I put a washer on a long screw and it looked like a hoola hoop going down the screw.   Then, we played baseball and I won.    
Time 1.5 hours (plus baseball)

Dad:  Assembled the three arms on the jig.   These swing on long bolts and will support the bottom side of the boat at the bow, mid and transom sections.  
Still enough twilight, so we got out the ball and “bat”.   Chandler and Henry have taken up catch and baseball lately more than badminton.  We found a cedar branch the right length and not too meaty that a good connection would send a ball through a window.   A snow marker serves as first.  Trees are second and third bases.  Home is a mit, a cap, a spare ball.   Henry drove in the winning run on the bottom of the third with two outs and dark and temps dropping fast.   Patsy watched the last hit from her cabin window and came out to congratulate Henry.  Ann had hot enchiladas in the oven waiting for us. 

Monday, February 13, 2012
Henry:  I looked at instructions.  I got the bow and stern.  I followed steps in the snow and found Chandler.  I threw snow at the car.  I made a snow man.  I looked in the dictionary for two words:  Chine= the supporting boards for the bottom of the boat.  Gunwales = the rail on the sides.  Time 1 hour.

Dad:    Snow today.   Big morning entertainment:  tobogganed down hills and into trees.  Snow is also a big distraction to building a boat; no prob.  Dad had his hands full in figuring out the next steps to run the chines and gunwales from the transom to the bow.  We are aligning the chines and gunwales along the bow, mid and transom sections.    
While I bend over the plans, Henry saw Chandler disappear behind the chicken coup and snuck up on her tracks.  She’d transported her snow-girl and was dressing it in a scarf and “talking French to her”  according to Henry. 

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Henry:   I looked at instructions.  I measured today.  Measured and drilled.  I did cutting.  I filed.  I used some tools that look like lights (pistols with laser lights;  aka C clamps with long shafts).  And I scraped.   Time 1/1/2 hours.

Dad:  This is where the visual picture just doesn’t convey the whole story -- no step by step instructions.  So we filed smooth the bow, mid and transom sections, pilot drill the screw holes, caulk them, and sink the screws.   Per the plans, added a bottom brace to the section legs that should help us line these parts up on the jig so that finally we can add the chines and gunwales.