Thistle 1040 - Finished bow tank

Thistle bow tankI now have the bow tank painted and finished. I'm happy with how it turned out. It's stiff and light and it's about as big a tank as you can get in a Thistle. It does have less volume due to being crowned so that the sides are about an inch lower than the center of the tank. This promoted drainage and the curved deck is stronger than a flat deck.

I now have several coats of urethane on the gratings and am making the mast stanchion. Once that's done, all I have to do is the seat supports, seats and thwart. Those should go quickly as I have them all made. I just have to install them. Once the interior is done, the boat will be ready to flip and then I'll start on the outside which will be faired, glassed and painted. 

Sea Knight - First Mistake

Last weekend i finished up the sanding and planing of all the frames pieces, stems, etc.  I then drew up the full size frame patterns onto a sheet of plywood.  This will ensure all my frames are correctly aligned and assembled squarely and properly.  Once I was done I quickly grabbed all the pieces for frame #1 and laid them out on the plywood to make sure my cuts were good and that everything will line up properly prior to actually glueing and fastening them together.

I soon discovered that I messed up the bottom frame member on frames 1, 2, 3 and the transom.  How could that be they all came from full size plans, its not like I even had to measure something.

When drawing out the frame pieces I assumed that the set up level line on the plans were perfectly level, or at 90 degrees from the centerline so I made sure I used the top edge of my lumber pieces.  This would save me cutting a perfect line at least on a few pieces.  It turns out it isn't perfectly straight but a very shallow V so instead of my bottom frames pieces having a nice upward wing to each side they have a downward wing and do not fit within my plan lines.

Moving Outside

transomWith the floor planed and its bevel roughed out, I'm ready to move the boat parts to the carport and begin setting up to hang the planks.  I made a pair of sturdy sawhorses out of two by fours, and when I had the bottom laying across them, I saw right away that they were too short for the stem.  How did I possibly fail to account for the length of the stem when I was making sawhorses for this very specific purpose?  I've found that when I build and fabricate, the most frequent challenge is correcting after the fact for one important point or other that I missed in the planning stage.

Thistle 1040 - Bow tank sandwich top

bow tank topI made the sandwiched bow tank top today. The photo at left shows it as the top layer is glued on and pulled down using "buttons" -- small blocks of wood with screws that assure the two halves are pulled tight together. The tank top is crowned so that the sides drop about one inch from the center line. This makes it easier to make the sandwiched top as the top layer presses against the bottom layer as the two pieces are glued into place.

The other way to make this kind of top would be to build an external jig and vacuum bag the deck-sandwich construction and then glue it in place on the boat.

Sea Knight - Cutting out the frames

Went out to the local wood yard for hardwood lumber to see what kind of wood I could find to make the frames of the boat.  The plans reccomend Oak, Mahogony or Spruce and my original intention was to use Oak but I couldn't get it in the widths I required so I ended up settling on Mahogony for the frames.  I might end up using the Oak for the keel, chines, sheers and battens though but we will see.

Bottom Member of Frame 2So here is my first plan laid out on my first piece of Mahogony.  Note that in this picture I have put the tacks around the lines of the plan I am going to transfer onto the wood.  In the future I put the tacks onto each corner of the plan frame member that I am transfering onto the wood so that I knew exactly where the corners were.  This next picture (if you can imagine the lines) shows how I started to place my tacks on the plan to mark the corners.Back side of Frame 2 Bottom Member

Time to start a new project, the Sea Knight

I have been rather quiet for the last couple of years, but I ended up really enjoying my canoes.  I built two more canoes after the one I blogged about here, one for my wife and one for my brother.  I also converted the canoe building form into a cat play/scratching tower that they absolutely love.

During the last couple of years of enjoying my canoes and all the new places I could go and do with them I continued to ponder what my next project would be.  Building the canoes was really enjoyable and rewarding (still is everytime I go out in one of them), and it really wet my appetite (excuse the pun, more to come)to do something more, something bigger.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and there is so much to see here by boat.  So I started to scour the intenet, my Wooden Boat magazines and the boat shows to see what was out there.

I ended up waffling between two designs, one a sailboat and one a power boat.  They are both trailerable and both are built out of sheet plywood and most importantly can be built by an amature.

Thistle 1040 - Bow tank bulkhead

bow tank bulkheadI installed the bulkhead for the forward bow tank today. All fiberglass Thistles have an air tank in the bow to help with floatation. Most wooden Thistles have giant foam blocks that are not as effective. To be self-rescuing, Thistles need as much floatation as possible. My #1 reason for installing the bow tank is to give the boat as much floatation as allowed by class rules to make the boat safer.

Below I'll post a photo of the tank I installed in Thistle 1014. This one will be similar. The class rules say that all parts of the tank must be 14" below the height of the sheer. The tank must also be forward of the stanchions. These limits determine the maximum size of the tank.

Thistle 1040 - Plugging away...

rail plugsI now have both rails on, plugged and sanded. The outer rail came from long piece of purple heart that was salvaged from another boat project and was going to be discarded. It was too nice a bit of wood to not use. The only problem it had was that the screw holes had been pre-drilled by a drunken novice (not me... really...) and at least one hole on each side was so far from the center line of the wood that they were unusable. Making old usless things new and beautiful though is what this project is all about and I manged to salvage the nice purple rail and it looks great. 

This photo shows a rail that has just been plugged after being belt-sanded flat. This was a salvaged piece of wood remember so that's why you see some of the top edge already rounded. After the plugs dry and are sanded smooth, I used a 3/8" round-over bit in my router to round off the edge. I'll post a photo later of the finished rails as they're looking great!

Some tips on plugging screw holes:

Thistle 1040 - One rail on...

Today I installed the port side rail. It's made up of three pieces of mahogany laminated to create the inner rail and one piece of purple heart for the outer rail. In this photo, you can see how the rails are leveled by clamping to a crossmember while gluing. Both rails are installed about 1/16" proud so they can be belt sanded flat to the top of the hull skin.

The inner rail is fitted first to match the tumblehome of the Thistle hull sides. Then the outter rail is fitted and they are ready to glue up togehter. Some people wait to attach the outer rail until the outside of the boat is glassed but I like to bond the rail directly to the hull skin and glue them up together at the same time. The inner rail is held in place with a few screws from the outside of the hull and then longer screws are used through the outer rail to pull everything tight.

Thistle 1040 - Interior sanded - Rails fitted

Thistle railI have both sides of the boat interior sanded. The first layer of epoxy and 3.7oz cloth is now smooth and ready for one more coat of Low-V epoxy but we'll have to wait until it's warm enough for the Low-V to flow out and level before it can be applied. That means it's time to start working on the rest of the new woodwork.

Best Marine Epoxy

My favorite epoxy? Progressive Basic No-Blush Epoxy

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