Archive for February, 2009

Still Resawing – The Big One

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

The garboard planks on most boats are the largest. They are the lowest planks, the ones that attach to the keel or bottom. For this little boat, they are relatively narrow at the middle of the boat, but rise up to be quite wide at the ends of the boat. Then, we add in curvature, making the boards have a banana shape. That needs a wide board to start with.

12 foot long bench with overhanging boardI’ve saved the “big board” until now. It’s a beauty that is a bit over 12 inches wide at one end and 10 and 1/2 at the other. 16 feet long. Working this board helps one appreciate having a long bench. It also proves the ole galoot’s complaint that no bench is ever long enough. Here’s where the English style joiner’s bench with the front apron is valuable. Look closely for the holdfasts that help secure the board. The reason it’s on the bench is for edge prep, knocking off the raw edges and scoring center lines as guides for cutting.

big boardMy sawbench needed modification to hold this board. There wasn’t enough room under the top for the width of the board. Space was found by adding additional cross braces below those already there, and then cutting  notches in the existing braces. That left me with a good way to hold the board, but a very short throw for the saw. So, you’ll see the sawbench sitting atop 2 by 4s to give a bit more throw; enough to do the job.

OK, I know. I know. You’re asking “Is this guy nuts? The lumber yard could have resawed all that lumber in about 15 minutes.” Yes, they could have, and would have almost doubled the cost of the lumber. Did I ever say I was a skinflint? I actually enjoy the work, especially since I can listen to Mark Levin or country music while working. Besides, while most galoots talk about their alcohol powered hand tools, mine are powered by Snickers bars.

Warmer Shop – Resawing

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

A February warm spell has warmed the shop the past few days.  The temperature is just about ideal for resawing lumber. My previous post about resawing was all about getting it figured out. Since then, I’ve replaced the blade in the frame saw with a blade cut from an old Disston rip saw. Along the way, I learned saw sharpening enough to make this particular blade a wicked sharp saw. It has now been tuned enough to make straight cutting easy and accurate.

I’m working my way through a stack of 4/4 live edge white cedar. The first full board was 8 inches wide 14 feet long. The current board is 10.5 inches wide and 16 feet long. With the current stack of lumber, it will be resaw, resaw, resaw, for quite  a while.

Rolling Along – Bottom Bevels

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

It was moderately warmer in the shop yesterday, making for a good day to work on the bottom bevels. We left off with a big bottom board attached to the stems, the mid-frame, and the bulkheads. It stands proud of all of those and needs to have its edges beveled so that the planks can fit neatly. The bottom bevel is a continuously “rolling” bevel. Near the stems it is very steep, something near 60 degrees. At the mid-frame, the bevel is very shallow, near 25 degrees. There are several simple challenges for making this bevel, each easily accomplished.

reach around marking gaugeFirst, we need to know the boundaries of the bevel. One part is easy, the existing top edge. The other a bit more difficult. Find the point where the straight line extension of a frame, bulkhead, or stem intersects the bottom surface. The overhanging board prevents the simple use of a straightedge. The trick is “Greg’s (pat. pending) Reach Around Marking Gauge.” Not only does the gauge reach around the edge, I reached around the gauge when making the picture, to make it easier for you to see how the gauge is used.

batten and lofting whalesConnecting only a few marks into a smooth curve is the next step. I have a number of flexible battens that curve easily. They are about 3/8 inch square and 15 feet long. Something is needed to hold the battens to the marks while marking the line. There are nifty tools for this task called drafting ducks, spline weights, or lofting whales. They are basically hunks of metal with a metal rod extended from one end. They are  traditionally shaped like ducks or whales, leading to the various names. Find a picture at the WoodenBoat Store. These little goodies are available for a mere $22 to $40 each, and a serious boat builder might need a couple dozen of the things. Being a stingy ole galoot, I found that 3 pound barbell plates with a piece of metal rod drilled and epoxied into them could be made for about $4 each. Not as pretty, but certainly functional. They held the battens still enough to make a fair line.

rolling bottom bevelWith the lines struck, the rest is simple. Use the ancient Stanley low-angle block plane to remove all the material between the board’s edge and the line, rolling the plane as the angle changes. Keeping the surface of the bevel flat is a bit of fussiness, not difficult, but essential to ensuring a good watertight join. Yes, it felt good to be shaping wood again!