Monday, May 25, 2009

Farewell to Phil Bolger

Phil Bolger, who designed 680 boats, including the Suprise from Master and Commander and the boat I own, a Bobcat, died yesterday.

Thinking of my reading of Eisenstein, I want to say that Phil made the world a more beautiful place, which is the best any of us can do.

New centerboard (part 5)

We know a family with 2 homeschooled boys; the older was really interested in working on the boat with me, so we invited them over. I showed him the work and he started planing the bevel. He ended up doing the rest of the side I had started. Later I tried clamping the centerboard on to the work bench in the garage and found that I could plane better there than on sawhorses. I beveled unevenly on purpose. The low point on the centerboard is often the first thing to hit bottom, so I left it thick for strength. (Perhaps a little metal reinforcement would be good here?). I also left it thick around the hook. You can see this in the path of stripes.

When the centerboard is up, it is held in place with a fid.

For the fid there are 3 holes in the centerboard. One is in the full up position, for beaching, trailering, shoals, etc. I've never messed with centerboard positioning very much, but when I have an easy-to-move centerboard, I will have a chance to experiment. I need the holes to be big enough for a 1/2" fid, but I don't have a 9/16" bit. I do have a 5/8" bit (uggh, these fractions are confusing!), but that hole seemed way to big. I ended up drilling with my 1/2" bit, and then wiggling the bit around to make it a little larger. Then I got the advice to put a couple thick layers of epoxy on the centerboard before I paint it, so I figured I should make the holes bigger now, so the epoxy doesn't make them too small. I drilled to 5/8" afterwards. (Yes, the bit kept jamming; it sucked.)

I drilled a 1" hole to hold the stopper knot for the centerboard lanyard, and then a 5/16" hole from the edge to the 1" hole to put the lanyard through. I practiced doing this a couple times on a piece of scrap plywood, and I'm glad, because it's hard to do well. The drill wants to drop to a softer ply, would would make the hole off-center. An awl + a very tiny pilot hold did the trick. Even so, it's hard to drill through the edge of a board and keep it perfectly centered. I was a little off when I came out in to the 1" hole, but not by much. (And it's better than the original centerboard's lanyard hole, so I'm happy with that.) If I ever do this again, I will look in to a jig.

From Jay Bazuzi's personal blog

The plans call for a metal plate around the hook to reinforce it. It says to use 1/8" brass plates, at 3" x 5 1/2". I wasn't sure if I could pull off the old plates without damaging them. The plans say to screw them in place, but the old ones were just epoxied in. Turns out that made them really easy to remove: a prybar under one end and they popped right out. (The alternative was to buy new brass from Amazon; $25 for a 12" square sheet, free shipping with Amazon prime, but without a bandsaw it might be hard to cut.)
From Jay Bazuzi's personal blog

Using a 1/4" bit to provide a starting hole, I used my grandfather-in-law's J.C. Penny jigsaw to cut around the lead sink weight in the old centerboard. Now there's no going back! The lead is held in place with small nails or screws, but the jigsaw only hesitated at these. After cutting 2 1/2 sides, I was able to pry the rest of it out. Wow, it's heavy! Duh. 11 lbs. (The alternative was to buy lead on Amazon, which I was surprised to find.) Now the old centerboard is really light. I suspect the wood I'm using is denser than they old centerboard, so I may not need as much lead to sink it. Hmmm.
From Jay Bazuzi's personal blog

From Jay Bazuzi's personal blog

While cleaning up I spilled the big bin of legos right in the sawdust pile. I don't really want glue, wood, and and metal shavings on the toys that my kids like to put in their mouths, so I hauled the legos inside for a washing. There are piles and bins of drying legos all over the kitchent.
The brass plates are supposed to be set in the plywood. Not flush, but not on top, either. Without that, the brass would scrape the inside of the centerboard trunk. Cut flush would take 1/4" out of the 3/4" plywood (which is really more like 5/8" thick) and leave it weak at the point where strenght matters most.

I bought some chisels and a small mallet, and experimented with cutting a 1/16"-ish deep hole in my scrap plywood. I think it will be fine. However, these chisels aren't as sharp as they could be, so I'll spend some time on the sharpening plates before I cut the holes.
I think I will use both screws and some Gorilla Glue to hold the brass reinforcement plates in place. Belt-and-suspenders, I know. But better to make it easy to remove in the future + more secure now. I brought some #10 3/4" brass screws (like metals, right?) and experimented with drilling a hole in the brass for them. I also beveled the edges of the brass a little, to make the transition to the plywood fairer.
I am worried that the screw heads sticking out would focus the force of the moving centerboard and gouge the centerboard trunk. I plan to countersink the screws, but again, if I sink them too deeply, I'll loose the strenght of the brass. My plan is to sink them 1/16" in, leaving 1/2 the thickness of the brass plate under the screw, and only a little bit of screw head sticking out. Another reason I'm planning to use Gorillage Glue - to alleviate the stress on the screw holes.

I plan to cut the slots for the brass plates to be a snug fit, which should also help.
The lead pouring plan is coming together. I decided not to go for an asbestos plate to back up the hold, instead using a piece of scrap plywood. I will do a test pour in a scrap piece, so I can develop my lead casting skills, and then do it for real. The only thing I'm missing right now is the propane tank, and a friend said he'll loan me his.

Updated TODO list:

- Clean up the cuts that went off the line
- Draw and cut the curve at the top
- Plane down the leading and trailing edges
- Cut a hole and pour in a lead sink weight (first time pouring lead!)
- Cut a gap for the pivot
- Prepare 1/8" sheet brass as pivot hole reinforcement (in progress)
- Drill 5 holes for fid and lanyard (ooh, the easy part)
- Epoxy and paint
- Install centerboard & lanyard
- Put boat back on trailer

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Eisenstein on school

Check out this short video of Eisenstein. It's part 2 of 3, but it stans well on its own.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

New centerboard (part 4)

Used a plane to smooth the curves around the centerboard, followed by some 80 grit orbital sanding.

One of the steps is to bevel the leading and trailing wet edges, to reduce friction and increase lift. I started to do that along the bottom edge (which is the leading edge when the board is down).

I then realized I needed to cut the hook in so I would know where to stop bevelling. I want to keep plenty of wood in place there, to keep it strong. I used a 5/8" drill bit to shape the main pivot point, and the circular saw to cut the rest of the slot. A 4-in-hand file/rasp to round the edges and smooth the transition between the hole and the straight cuts.

I also want to leave the lowest point a little thicker, since it gets beat up a lot when grounding, beaching, launching, or loading.

As you can see in the picture, the colors of the plys help to make the bevel even. I'm not trying to create a scarf joint, so perfection isn't required, but it's a good place to practice. Ideally the stripes are straight / parallel / equal width. There are 12 plies in this 3/4" sheet (although it's actually slightly less than 3/4"). The outer plies (the veneer) are thinner than the others. My plan is to bevel 4 plies worth, leaving the middle 4 plies intact (although maybe I will round the transition from the bevel to the middle section).

I've also been shopping for lead-pouring equipment. So far I have:
  • small cast-iron pan as crucible (thrift store)
  • long metal spoon to scoop impurities (thrift store)
  • weed burner / valve / hose / regulator to melt the lead (Marine Exchange)
  • lead (gonna pull it out of the old centerboard)
Still need:
  • asbestos tile
  • maybe a coffee can as an alternate crucible
  • heat-proof gloves
  • tongs
  • propane tank

Updated TODO list:

- Clean up the cuts that went off the line
- Draw and cut the curve at the top
- Plane down the leading and trailing edges (in progress)
- Cut a hole and pour in a lead sink weight (first time pouring lead)
- Cut a gap for the pivot
- Cut some 1/8" sheet metal to reinforce the pivot (will try to reuse the old one)
- Drill 5 holes (ooh, the easy part)
- Paint (no epoxy)
- Install centerboard
- Put boat back on trailer.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Ascent of Humanity

I'm reading another book by Charles Eisenstein, The Ascent of Humanity. It's very slow going. I read a section and have to take a break to chew the words. It's amazing. It has taken me 2 weeks to read 2 chapters.

I have some quotes to share:
Thanks to god Technology, we will leave behind all vestiges of mortality and enter a realm of without toil or travail and beyond death and pain.
This is a message we seem to hear a lot. Yesterday I heard it from the cashier at the cash register. She pointed to the way that most money is electronic today, and that this is an example of a trend to a virtual life (which, when complete, presumably mimics real life exactly?)

One thing I like about this quote a lot is that if you remove "Thanks to god Technology", it sounds like a message we're used to hearing from many religions. That suggests that science and technology is a religion for us today.

Next quote, when discussing the way that language is used to separate the words from the speaker:
The goal would seem to be to pretend that the words had no human author at all, existing purely as objective facts. Indeed, use of the first person is considered bad from in academic writing - a convention the author of the present work finds ridiculous!
How witty.

Bad sign on the bus

I was in Seattle taking the city bus to Adventuress. There was a sign that said:
  • Metro has provided 3 billion rides since beginning operation in 1973!
  • Thank you for helping Metro reduce traffic, congestion, improve air quality and save you money.
  • You're one in a billion 3 billion!
I know that the phrase "one in a million" generally means "you're more special than the rest of the members of a set of a million people", but here it means "you're lost in the crowd". Doh.

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