Saturday, May 19, 2012

Build A Boat Part Three

All right, now that New Year's had come and gone we were able to put the living room back into use doing what God had intended for people to do in their living rooms.  Build boats.  So here we go, once again.

This picture shows the front of the boat being installed.  We were not able to get as much of a curve as we wanted.  There will be no gradual arch, coming to a point at the front of the boat, giving it a sleek and sexy look.  I was afraid we would start hearing terrible cracking and splintering noises if we attempted to bend the wood that much.  If you're building a boat out of wood and you begin hearing terrible cracking and splintering noises, this is not good.

So, our little john boat is going to be blunt nosed. Kinda sad, but what can you do?

Now it is time to put on the sides.  There is one screw at the rear and one screw at the front holding it temporarily in place. Then you simply crawl under the table and mark were you desire to cut the sideboards.

Here they are, glued, screwed and clamped into place.  The clamps will remain for a day or so, until the glue dries completely. 

We installed a one by two along the top of the two by eight that makes up the front end of the boat.  We had to do this in order to bring the front of the boat up even with the sides, more or less.  I guess we didn't measure correctly or something.  No big deal.

Now it is time to put on the transom.  There is a two by two running along the bottom and a piece of two by eight going up the inside of each side of the boat.  The plywood transom will be heavily glued, and I mean heavily, then screwed onto them.  This should give us a very solid and stable transom.  At least I hope so.  Did I mention that we used a lot of glue on this part?  This is the last place you want your boat to start leaking.

And one thing I forgot to add, all of these screws that we have been installing on the boat, they were all pre drilled.  I don't know if this is totally necessary but we sure didn't want to get halfway finished with our project and then have some of the major framework start splitting from having too many screws installed into it.

Things were going along smoothly.  So smoothly in fact that I decided to complicate things.  Why build just a plain little boat, a floating box?  Why not make it more practical and a little more useful?  What if you're out on the water and it rains, wouldn't it be neat to have somewhere to put valuables to keep them from getting wet?  I decided that we needed a storage compartment.  And while we're at it, why not just make two of them?  Two is better than one.  Isn't that one of the commandments or something?

Here is part of the framework for the front storage compartment.

And here is the other side of it.

This photo was taken from the front, looking toward the rear of the boat.  You can see the framework for the seats.

Here is a top view of the framework for the middle seat.

And this is for the rear seat.  It will be of the quick release variety.

And here it is in its first full size mock up.  It is beginning to look a little boatish, don't you think?

And here is another view.

OK, what's next?  O, I know.  Let's install some runners along the bottom to keep the plywood from being scraped on the rocks.  OK, let's.  These also are one by twos, soaked in the pond for a couple of days, then one end of them was placed up high and a bucket of water set on top of them to give them a nice bend.  Glue, screw, clamp.

And here it is outside.  We found a few little spots that we thought might need a little bit more glue.  So we added more glue.

Then we screwed up.  And it wasn't just a little screw up.  It was a fairly major one.  We put a coat of Thompson's Water Seal on the entire outside of the boat.

What?  Thompson's Water Seal?  What is wrong with that?  Won't that prevent the wood from coming apart and rotting?

Well, that's what I had thought.  I thought that we would put a coat of that on first and then paint over it.  We were not using marine plywood so a good coat of paint is essential to keep the plywood from

I had been reading and asking questions at a boat building discussion forum.  This one right here-

There are guys here that know everything about boat building.  And they willingly share their knowledge if you only ask nicely.  And when I told them what I had done, they could only shake their head in disbelief.  It turns out that Thompson's Water Seal is wax based or something like that and paint will not stick to a surface treated with it.

Now what?  They informed me that I could either sand down through the outside layer of wood and then paint to my heart's content.  Or, since it must be applied once a year or so for maximum effectiveness, I could simply wait a few months for the water seal to evaporate or whatever it does.  Screw that.  I wanted to finish this.  I looked on the Thompson's Water Seal website and I believe it said to wait 14 days before painting.  Then I emailed them and one of their people responded that I should wait a month or two, then try painting the surface.

Hmmmmmmm.  Seemed like the only thing I could do now was to wait.

And I suppose this is just as good a time as any to tell about my other major screw up.  We used screws in the building of this boat.  It seems that most of the guys that build wooden boats do not use screws, or they use as few as possible.  Instead, they rely on a method called stitch and glue.  I'm not going to go into the detail of it, but when you use that method, glue is pretty much the only thing holding your boat together.  I would hate to get out in the middle of the lake and have the glue start coming undone and your boat disintegrate.  I just don't trust glue that much, even if it is super duper high-tech epoxy stuff.  That's why we used screws.  And we used lots of them.

In the meantime, the top of the front end was ground and sanded down evenly with the sides of the boat.  More or less.

Then at last the day came.  I could wait no longer.  It had been a month, probably a few days more so we got busy with the paintbrushes.  And we did it inside.

Yes, that is correct.  We painted the sucker inside the house.  In the living room.  Because it was still cold outside.  That's why.

First we put down a layer of vizqueen on top of the carpet.  Then we put down another layer of it, just in case the top layer got a hole in it.  Better to be safe than sorry.  We disassembled all the framework on the inside of the boat, gave all of it two coats of paint and then reassembled it.  Next we painted the outside
of the boat.  Then we painted it again.  And there were spots that received even another coat.

Well, in the end, this is what it came out looking like.  And the paint seems to have stuck fairly well.  At least it hasn't started flaking off or anything.  The two wooden seats were left natural color and also the wooden perimeter on top of the front storage compartment.  All of them received a coat of Thompson's Water Seal.

Why is there a wooden perimeter around the edge of the front hatch?

So that you can put your ammunition, your fishing lures, your beer or your wife up there and it will not roll off into the water, dummy.  Duh!  That would be a terrible waste of good ammunition.  Your wife, maybe not so much.  Or maybe it would be a terrible waste.  I don't know.  She's your wife.  Only you can be the judge.

Here is another view.  It ended up being a blunt nosed, dorky looking, heavy little rascal but, kinda like your ugliest child, you just Gotta love it.

And here for your enjoyment is yet another view.

The middle seat is hinged and lifts up to reveal a storage compartment.  This is a good place to stash the merchandise when conducting late night, cross-border drug running operations.

The front hatch is hinged also.  I'm sure there are some out there that will not be able to resist the thought of putting a couple of bottles of Moscatto into this compartment and paddle off into the swamp in search of adventure and excitement.

Remember when I said the rear seat is quick release?  If you want to sit on the middle seat and turn around to fish and desire more leg room, then you simply lift it up and put it somewhere out of the way.  Or you can toss it on shore before you leave. Can't get any more quick release than that.

All right.  That's that.  We were finished.  Done.  Complete.  Let's call it a wrap. 

Hang on.  Just wait a minute.  Perhaps not quite.  There was something still not quite right about it.  It  seemed like there might be something missing.  It still needed something.  But what?

  Some added little touch.  Some little detail to personalize it.  Something to give it a little bit of flash.  Something to give it character, to distinguish it from the rest of the fleet, something to make it really stand out.

The question was, what was it?  What might there be that would really make this thing cool?  What could be done to it to really make it pop?  What could we add to it to make it the envy of all boaters on the planet?

We put our heads together and thunk about it.  Then we thunk some more.  Then we went into the closet, rummaged around for a little bit and then at last we located it.  The perfect accessory to highlight our vessel.

Feast your eyes.  But try not to get too jealous.

Only one question remains.  The very thing that David Letterman used to wonder.

                                                          Will it float?


  1. hehehehe ...i'm glad i'm not the only one who 'lives' in their lounge ... although i've not built a boat in mine (yet)

  2. No worries. You've still got time to do so.