Sunday 21 December 2014


Wire the keel together.


And connect chines.

B&B's butterfly technique results in a sweet bow profile. Life's too short for ugly boats!

And now it looks like a boat!

Thursday 18 December 2014


It has been a good week.  Since Alice was born in July, this is my first extended period without the crew around.  I am a little shocked at my inability to sit still, I used to be an excellent loafer.  But I have made progress on the boat.  It's twelve years since I built the canoe, and my skills are more than a little rusty.  I am enjoying myself though, especially since I've started putting things together, not just cutting them out.

On Wednesday I cracked the seal on the epoxy.  I put together one nesting bulkhead, and made the fibreglass reinforced butt joints on the four hull panels.

I saved the bricks when I took the non-fireplace out of the basement, I knew they would be useful one day.

This went more easily than I expected, and today I found we had a good result.  The joints seem really strong, and don't appear to be so stiff that they affect the overall bend of the plywood panels.

I got a router for my birthday this year , and today I discovered the wonder tool that is the flush cutting bit.  Even though I cut out and planed these panels while they were screwed together, they did not match up perfectly.  Flush cutting router bit fixed that.  I already have plenty of applications for this tool in mind.

Today I added the stiffener pieces to the transom, and put together the hull panels for the butterfly process.  A short section at the bow is joined using the same fibreglass reinforced butt joint that is used to join the panels.  In a couple of days this should enable the "butterfly" unfolding process that is one of the key innovations used in several of B&B's boat designs.  

When I looked at the plans, and saw that I should be able to put two panels together, drawn and cut seperately, and they should form a smooth unbroken curve, I was dubious.  I didn't really expect that to work out.  But I put the pieces down, and I think it looks pretty good.

 So I joined them up the same way I did for the panels.

Supposedly, hopefully, this will fold up into a boat.

Tomorrow, I'll get this ready to fold, and try to rip strips to make the gunwales while I have help here. 

Monday 15 December 2014

Silly Gosling

A while ago I was getting pretty antsy to start this project.  I had an hour during nap time, so I stole a cereal box and made a cardboard boat.

My son really likes this one, he's pretty excited about the sail boat, but I'm not convinced he really understands.  The little boat helped me understand how the panels go together, and it was fun to see how the plywood pieces will suddenly look like a boat.

Started in Earnest!

This morning my family decamped for Thunder Bay.  In order to cope with my loneliness I have thrown myself into building this boat.  This evening I laid out the long panels, and got them mostly cut out.

The keel and side pieces run over a sheet and half of plywood.  You can join the pieces and then cut the panels out, but I decided to cut and then join.  

After laying out the points, and checking them, finding a mistake and laying them out again, I used a 12' length of rectangular PVC to loft the curves.  I have no idea what that piece of PVC is meant to be used for, but it worked really well for this.  At first I tried to find a long, uniform wooden batten to use for this, but I couldn't find anything without bumps and knots.  This piece of extruded PVC is very uniform and was easy to make fair curves with.

These shapes look odd, but I think they make a boat in 3D. 

I cut the pieces out with a jigsaw, I stayed outside the lines and then planed off the excess to get right on the lines.  I was a sissy with the jigsaw so I left myself lots of planing.  I tried with the belt sander first, but the good old jack plane worked best.  

Tomorrow I will try to finish trimming these pieces and then join them lengthwise.

Sunday 7 December 2014

It Has Finally Begun

At some point this spring I decided to build a small sailboat. I wanted a boat to fish and camp with, and just to sail.  I spent the summer choosing plans and then accumulating materials.  And now I'm just about ready to start.  Twelve years ago I wanted a canoe, so I built one. Back then I had the time. Now I have a job and a young family and not so much time.  But the kids are going to Nannie's for Christmas so I will have some time to make hay. 

A guy at work has some property and a bandsaw mill.  He gave me a bunch of really nice Douglas fir that I will use throughout the boat. This morning I got started by ripping some pieces that I will laminate to build the rudder and dagger board.

This will become the rudder. 

This will be the dagger board. 

I have no heat in the workshop right now, so I can't laminate until that is fixed, hopefully this week.