June 27th, 2016
I launch Fish Taco yesterday at Hagg Lake in Gaston Oregon. Fish Taco is not finished but finished enough to launch. I still need to work on the bridge and anchor deck, install the inwale, finish the thwarts and paint the insides. The Suzuki 15HP outboard worked well and I am very happy with it. The power tilt and electric start are very nice. I did some test runs with 1, 2 and 3 people aboard and she is a little more tender than I would like. I need to do some more testing to simulate fishing and I might add some water ballast. I estimated that Fish Taco only weighs about 175lbs and I hope to weight her this week to find out the actual weight.
Launching Fish Taco off the trailer was very easy; I just gave her a push and she rolled/slid off. Retrieving was a little more difficult as we got one of the bilge keels on the wrong side of the bunk. We had to lower her back in the lake and bring her up again. I do have a problem with the trailer; even though I bought a wide trailer it is narrow and I can’t see it when backing up. I think I will add some trailer guides.
June 20th, 2016
I started painting Fish Taco’s hull. The paint is Systems Three WR-LPU water-based polyurethane. The color is Whitby White which is a cream/ivory color. The very nice thing about this paint is that it can be re-coated in 2 hours depending on the weather/temperature and up to 24 hours without sanding between coats. It is a little tricky to put on and by the third coat I had improved the process. Being water-based cleanup is easy as long as you don’t wait too long. I settled on using a 4 inch wienie roller used for door and cabinets. I then tipped out the bubbles and streaks using a 3 inch foam brush. While the final paint job is not perfect, there are dust, streaks and runs in the paint, I am happy overall all. I decided not to put the blue stripe on now so I will have to sand before I do.
June 14th, 2016
I accomplished two more milestones. I ordered the trailer for Fish Taco; an EZ Loader EZWB-12-14 1200. This is a bunk trailer and I will add keel rollers and a tongue jack. The standard 12-14 ft trailer has a width of 44 inches between the fenders which might have been OK but I was concerned so I ordered the wide trailer which is 54 inches between the fenders. The trailer is 64 inches wide over all and Fish Taco’s beam is 59 inches. This trailer is only 17 feet long which is better than my old trailer which was 19 feet long. The trailer has 12 inch tires instead of the much preferred 13’s but with such a light boat there should not be a problem.
The second milestone was the cutting of the transom to mount the motor. The plan was to make a router pattern that I would use to do the final trim of the cutout. I would rough cut the opening with my VersaCut 3-3/8 inch circular saw and then use the router to clean up to the final dimensions. I made a measuring mistake and the two sides were not symmetrical; strike one. I decide to use only one side of the pattern and route half the opening and then flip the pattern over to route the second. I was cleaning up the good side and I took a little too much off and it looked funny when I cleaned it up; strike two. I still had the other half of the pattern that was mis-measured so I cut the formally good side off the pattern leaving just over 2/3 of the pattern. This time when I cleaned up the pattern without mistakes. I used the pattern to mark off where I would be trimming to and then used my VersaCut and cut wide of the line except one spot where I touched the line. OK, I can fixed this; I moved the pattern out by 1/4 inch on both sides. Using my big router and a pattern cutting bit I trimmed the cutout to the final shape. It looked very good except for a couple of spots were I started or stop. A quick sanding cleaned every thing up and it looks very good.
June 5th, 2016
In this second installment of my favorite boat building tools, I have brought out some power tools.
The first is the Dewalt Corded TrackSaw (PN:DWS520K, $475.19, http://www.amazon.com) In the August 2016 issue of Fine Woodworking, (http://www.finewoodworking), Mark Edmudson reviewed several track saws. The track saws from Festool and Mafell were rated the best and the one from Makita as best value. I have not used any track saw but the Dewalt and I have very happy with it. I always brush dust off the track and the work piece before a cut and never had the track slip while cutting. To avoid cutting the table or concrete I have two 4′ x 8′ sheets of 1-1/2 inch rigid foam insulation from Home Depot that I put the work piece on. I use the track saw for any straight cut on sheet goods and long boards. The saw was an unbeliever time saver when I was cutting out the molds, bulkhead and transom for my Candlefish 13. I marked all the cut lines in red (so as not to cut a centerline or water line by mistake) on sheets of plywood and then cut all the parts out. The pull the trigger then push down and forward to start the cut was not natural at first but now I don’t even think about it.
The second is the Rockwell Versacut (PN RK3440K, $99, http://www.homedepot.com) The Versacut is a 3-3/8 inch circular saw and don’t let the name fool you; this is not a tool make by Rockwell of years ago. This Rockwell Tools is Positec Tool Corporation in China, a supplier of OEM and second tier tools. I originally bought this saw to remove particle board as part of installing hardwood floors. I would use the bi-metal blade and cut the particle board into 1′ x 4′ pieces and then pry them out. The small blade allowed me to steer around (most of) the nails holding the particle board down. Now I use the Versacut with a carbide blade for cutting curves in plywood. I used it to cut all the panels for my Candlefish 13. The V notch in the saw base is not exactly where the blade cuts but a few practice cuts solves that problem.
Lastly there is my baby router, a Dewalt Compact Router (PN:DWP611, $122.99, http://www.amazon.com) I mostly use the round over or a 45° chamfer bit. The routers small size allows me to easily route a round over on canoe gunnels. I used the 45° chamfer bit on the plywood panels before stitching the panels. The router has 1-1/4 hp and comes with a 1/4 inch collet. This router is more than a panel router but not a full size router; I would stick with small bits and leave the canoe bit to a full size router.
June 5th, 2016
When I am building boats or other projects, there are always some tools that I always reach for first and use them more than others.
The number one tool I reach for and cannot live without is my folding rule from Lee Valley (PN: 24N06.50, $6.95, http://www.leevalley.com). At 1 meter long with metric on one side and inches on the other; I find more useful than any of my tape measures or steel rules. It folds down to about 5 inches and extends out to a meter (just over 39 inches). I also use it to double check the fence on my table saw so I get just the right thickness from a cut.
Number two is my Dozuki, Japanese pull saw from Woodcraft (PN:12F27, $50.50, http://www.woodcraft.com). Dozuki’s are also available at Rockler and other woodworking stores. A Dozuki is called a dovetail saw but I find that the 9-1/2 inch blade is just too big for dovetailing but excels at cutting trim and tenons. For dovetail work, the 6-1/2 inch blade and shorter handle is just right. The metal back keeps the blade stiff and I will often guide the blade by holding my thumb near the back for right angle cuts. No one who has ever used a Japanese pull say can say they have never cut themselves; watch out the teeth are sharp.
Number three is a new tool that I just purchased this year and is not really a tool but safety equipment. It is an Elipse P100 half mask respirator. (PN: SPR451, $28.00, http://www.amazon.com) The respirator comes in two sizes, Small/Medium and Medium/Large. The Small/Medium fits 80% of the users and is the one that I have. I was using the 3M particulate filters with a valve but I found they continually fogged up my glasses especially when working in my cold garage. The P110 fits perfectly without any problems with my beard and the only time it fogs up my glasses is when I don’t have it on right.
June 3rd, 2016
I have decided Fish Taco will be launched on June 26th. This is also RiversWest Hagg Lake Messabout so it was a convenient target.
I made templates for the Bridge Deck and the Anchor Deck. The Anchor Deck has been cut out and I have put the second fairing coat on the inside of the hull. I have a little more sanding to do then I can prime, sand, prime, sand, prime, sand, paint, paint and paint. Yes the boat gets three coats of primer and three coats of paint although except for the outside of the hull it might not have all the coats of paint for launch day. Before I install the Anchor Deck and Bridge Deck I need to have painted that part of the hull so I won’t have to crawl through the hatch to paint. A little more gets done each day.
June 2nd, 2016
I was in Sitka Alaska last week fishing for Salmon, Halibut and rock fish. There was a couple of firsts: first time fishing for Halibut and the first time I caught a Lingcod. I went with my uncle Chester and we each brought back about 100lbs of fish. The Salmon fishing was very similar to what I have done at Sekiu WA; use the down riggers to get the bait or lure to the right depth and wait for a hit. The Halibut fishing was out in the ocean in 300 to 400 ft of water. We lower the bait to just off the bottom and then wait for the Halibut to show up. It takes a while to bring anything up from 350 feet. My uncle caught an octopus which was exciting as the octopus did not want to give up the bait and was attached itself to the boat.
The rock fish and Lingcod were caught near the shore off some rocks. We used spoons and jigged near the bottom for the Lingcod and up and down the entire water column for rock fish.
We did an all inclusive trip with Kingfisher Charters & Lodge in Sitka which is first class outfit. The food was excellent even if they put red bell peppers in the colesaw.
May 20th, 2016
In engineering we talk a lot about the Minimum Viable Product, MVP. The MVP is the smallest set of features that will allow a product to sell in the market place with the shortest development time. We often list the features and give them a thumbs up or thumbs down on whether the feature is needed. When we are done marketing or sales throws out our list and gives up theirs. Sometimes they are right; sometimes they are wrong. In either case it is a valuable exercise.
So the time has come to define the Minimal Viable Boat, MVB, so I can do what is important to get the boat in the water and wait on less important items. The bulkheads have been installed and I am working on the interior sheer clamp, knees, thwarts, bridge deck and anchor deck. So what do I need to finish to launch Fish Taco?
- Cut the Transom. I need to cut a notch in the transom for mounting the motor.
- Purchase and install the battery. Can’t start the motor without the battery.
- Paint the bottom. The bottom has been primed so I will need at least one coat, preferably three coats of paint.
- Knees. The stern knees and forward knees need to be install to stiffen the boat.
- Breasthook. Like the knees, the breasthook is needed to stiffen the boat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjihLVAMCzg
- Thwarts. The two stern thwarts need to be made and installed. I could build temporary thwarts and replace them later.
- Bow Eye. I will need a way to retrieve Fish Taco onto the trailer so I will need to install the bow eye. I don’t need to install the transom tie downs since I can put a strap over the entire stern.
- Trailer. Fish Taco is too big to fit in the back of the truck so I need a trailer. Two friends have offered the use of their trailers so I can borrow one until I get Fish Taco a trailer of her very own.
Now I get to the list of items that would be nice to finish but are not part of the MVB.
- Drain tube for mid storage. I have cut a piece of 1 inch PVC pipe in half lengthwise and it is epoxied into place and covered with fiberglass. This won’t take a lot of time so I may do it while I am doing other tasks.
- Anchorwell Deck. A piece of 12mm plywood that covers the forward storage area. Not hard to make but a lot of fitting to match the shape of the hull.
- Bridge Deck. The plans call for 9mm plywood but I am thinking of epoxying two layers of 4 or 6 mm plywood to set the curve of the bridge deck. Again not hard to do but a lot of fitting and cutting out the hatch can be tricky.
- Interior sheer clamp. Not part of the plans but I want them because they give you a place to grab if needed. I have scarfed the two interior sheer clamps and are ready to be planned down to size. A whole lot of work is involved so this task may fall off the list for now.
Here is the list of items that I dreading because it includes the sanding. I have to fair, prime and top coat the mid storage and forward storage before I put the decks on so I will do this in sections.
- Sand the inside of hull. Ugh.
- Put QuikFair on inside of hull.
- Sand the QuikFair.
- Prime the inside of the hull.
- Sand the primer
- Top coat the inside of the hull.
There is the Minimal Viable Boat which does not include lights, electronics, down rigger mounts and much more.
May 10th, 2016
Another milestone today, I installed the bulkheads. I used hot glue to attach braces to the hull to keep the bulkheads aligned when I epoxy them in place . For bulkheads #2 and #3 I added a lip which will become a hand hold when someone is sitting on the bridge deck and it will help hold the bridge deck in place when I am epoxying it. Bulkhead #1 has the cut out for access to the anchor storage and you can see the support for the anchor deck. I have not decided if I am going to put a door on the opening. Bulkhead #4 has been replaced with a frame and two seat supports. The frame is 1-1/2 inches tall and should be less of a trip hazard compared to the original design. Next I need to finish the filleting of the bulkhead and start making the frames.
April 18th, 2016
Lake Oswego has been having a heat wave; we had a high of 82°F yesterday, 80°F today and an expected 85°F tomorrow. For most of the boat build the temperature in the boat shop has been in the 50’s. At those temperatures I use a fast hardener designed to cure between 40°F and 60°F. As the temperature started to climb I switched to a slow hardener designed to cure at 60°F and above. Yesterday I used all of my extra slow hardener designed to cure above 70°F. I have very little need for the extra slow hardener since I don’t do much boat building during the summer so I had just enough to primed the inside of the hull. I was able to finish fiber-glassing the inside of the hull by saturating the fiberglass cloth using the slow hardener.
So far on the build I have used about 3 gallons of epoxy and hardener; I expect to use at most 1 more gallon. I have gone through 22 yards of 6oz, 50 inch wide fiberglass cloth and I should use a another yard to a yard and a half. For peel ply I have gone through 16 yard and I might go through 1 more but I have 4 spare yards just in case. I purchased different epoxy fillers per the designers recommendation and I will have enough left over for two more boats. It is better to have a little left over than to run out and waste time and money getting a little more to finish the job; actually the time cost from running out exceeds any savings by buying just what is needed.
The thwarts, bridge deck and anchor deck don’t have any anti-skid coating so I am thinking of using Dynel fabric which has a texture similar to coarse cotton duck. By not filling the weave all the way I will be left with a very abrasive resistant non-skid surface.