Scenes from a boat-building, 12/22/2011
We are building a James Wharram designed Tiki 38, with additional engineering to meet US Coast Guard inspected passenger vessel specifications by John Marples of Searunner designs.
What that means is that right now we have a barn filled with just over 100 sheets of BS 1088 marine plywood, 500 board feet of vertical grain douglas fir, 120 gallons of epoxy, and a set of perhaps a dozen drawings specifying the exact size, shape and location of every bit of the above materials.
There are really two stages to building this boat, both are relatively easy, but they have to be understood for what they are so they can be approached with the right mindset.
One step is assembling the components. This is not much different from assembling one of those Revell model airplane kits you may have put together as a child. Each pre-shaped, pre-finished shape gets glued in its place, and what place that is, is relatively obvious because it fits neatly against the neighboring component. Once that’s done, we’ll have a completed boat, ready to paint.
Unfortunately, this is the second stage.
The first stage is making the components. And that’s what stage we’re in now.
For the last week and for the next couple of weeks, every part is getting drawn out onto a piece of plywood of appropriate thickness (specified in the plans.)
Then each sheet of plywood is getting pre-finished with 3 coats of epoxy on each side.
After every (nearly) every piece is drawn, and every surface is coated and made ready to be glued in place, assembly will begin.
The work is tedious, monotonous, or meditative; depending on your temperament. I’m pretty good at visualizing 3D shapes, so I can see the boat coming together as we draw and coat.
Today I said to Joe, as we finished another side of another batch of panels, “You know what Joe? This is really cool!”
“I know,” he replied, “and we haven’t even gotten to the fun part yet!”