Friday, March 2, 2018

The Slow Saga of Zip Frame #4 — part 10 (the end)

Today I reached a small but important milestone in the Zip project. 

With the dash beam now permanently attached to Frame #4, all structural work is finished on all of the frames.

I used System Three Silvertip epoxy, thickened with mahogany wood dust that I salvaged from sanding. Gussets are attached with 4 #8 3/4" bronze screws on each side. The solid stock is attached with 3 #10 1-3/4" bronze screws, countersunk into the vertical members of the frame.

The 3/8" bungs were cut from scrap mahogany cut off of the keel.

I trimmed the bungs with a big ol' traditional hand saw. Can you tell?

Sanding the bungs... It's starting to look better.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Keel: Truth and Theory

I cleaned up the edges of the keel, sanding & chiseling away the excess epoxy, to get a better look at the fitting of the laminated pieces. It'll work. There are some things I need to fix. There are some things I wish I'd done differently:

I wish I had cut ALL sides of each board with the table saw. Never assume the lumberyard edge is straight. There were some parts that were narrower than the rest of the board. Now, those places have caused uneven sides in the laminated section, and those spots need to be filled.

I wish I had planed the boards more. I needed the thickness of my laminated keel to be one inch. I also wanted to leave myself a little room for error. That's why I started getting nervous when the planed boards got as thin as 5/8". Unfortunately, leaving them at that thickness also meant that the surfaces didn't get planed as flat as they could have been. It turns out that, at 5/8" there was still plenty of thickness for me to plane them just a little more so that the surfaces would have been at least somewhat better. After lamination, the combined thickness is 1-1/2 inches. I was shooting for 1-1/4. So, I could have taken another 1/16" off each board, easily. The surface irregularities, though seemingly minor to the naked eye, left noticeable gaps when the pieces were combined. I knew that would happen, anyway.... but it could have been better.

For the very same reasons mentioned above, I wish I had taken the time to sand the surfaces of the boards after I'd planed them. I don't have a thickness planer. I have a general-purpose planer/jointer. It "gets the job done," but it's a lot to ask for one guy to get a nearly 10-foot board planed perfectly flat with one of these things. Just a little surface sanding would have knocked down some high spots, and improved the fitting.

Those are some lessons learned.

In most places, the fitting is fairly decent.

In some places, the fitting is better than in others.

This area on the starboard aft is definitely getting shimmed.

In some places, the fitting is not pretty. This gap in the seam will get filled with some more thickened epoxy. I'm also going to shim the gap seen at the bottom part of the photo.

This little gap on the side will get a shim, also. Is that a hairline crack I see?

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Slow Saga of Zip Frame #4 — part nine

I wanted to make all of the major cutouts in the dash beam long before the hull is built and flipped. It seems to me that it would be easier to do this work now, when I can lay the beam flat on a work bench, than when it's a vertical fixture in the hull.

And, since my dash has the 10 degree angle "built in" to the frame, I felt it would be easier to make these cutouts before attaching the dash beam to the rest of the frame.

Now, all those cutouts have been made.

3-1/4" cutout for the helm, plus marking the placement for a rocker switch.

I made the initial cuts for the rocker switch hole with a drill and a coping saw.

I enlarged the hole with my jig saw, and finished it with a wood file.

After some tedious and meticulous work with the file, the switch fits. I'll file it just a little more to accommodate a layer or two of epoxy.

The next steps for Frame #4 will be to sand away my placement markings and attach the dash beam to the rest of the frame.

Happy Monday to you! (Yes, it's a Monday, but we can make it a good one if we choose to.)

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
— Psalm 118:24

Sunday, February 18, 2018

3/4 of a keel

Lamination work on the keel has begun.

I started with the big 4" wide chunk of mahogany, mentioned in the last post. It was 4" wide, 2" thick, and 9' 10" long.

The plan was to re-saw this board into 3 smaller boards, each approximately 1/2" thick. I would then (a) cut a short 3' section off of one of these boards, and butt-join it to one of the longer ones. I'd then (b) take the longer leftover cut, and use it to back the butt joint.

This would leave me 3/4 of a keel, with the thicker section on the aft portion. Since the forward section would temporarily be thinner, it should (c) be easier to bend, as needed, into the keel notch of the breasthook when attaching the keel to the frames.

Once this is accomplished, I would (d) laminate the remaining needed thickness onto the forward section of the keel.

My re-saw job on that big chunk of mahogany was less than perfect. I set my rip fence to cut a 3/4" wide strip. I knew I'd have to plane some surface irregularities from there, and I did. Two of the finished pieces were 5/8" thick when I deemed them "usable." In retrospect, I wish I'd planed them down a little further in an attempt at better fitting.

The remaining, "leftover" board is closer to 1/2" thick... or maybe even a little less. 

Due to some width irregularities, I shortened the 9' 10" length down to 9 feet. The Zip plans call for a 4" wide x 1" thick x 12' long keel.

So, where are we now? As you might have guessed from the title, we're at the point of having 3/4 of a keel. Let's take a look:

Sometimes, you just don't have enough clamps.

Somewhere in the middle of all that is the butt joint.

Butt joint and backing plate.
I used System Three Silvertip epoxy, thickened heavily with mahogany wood dust. I knew the fitting between the laminations would be less than perfect, so I wanted a good thick mixture to fill in any gaps. 

After the epoxy cured and I pulled the clamps off, I saw that some of those gaps had been bigger than I thought. Since the thickness of the laminated keel is now at almost 1-1/2" inches, I realize now that I could have safely planed away more surface irregularities and still made my goal of 1" combined thickness.

At the time, I stopped planing at "usable" because I feared the wood was getting too thin. 

Live and learn.

Ah well, epoxy-filled gaps or not, this is the keel, and I'm moving forward with it.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Christmas in February

With a hectic work schedule this time of year, there was virtually zero progress on the Zip during January. February and March don't look to be much better, but there is good news.

Cupid, who has otherwise proven himself useless over the last few years, has delivered quite a few gifts to my little boat shop.

There was the massive 2" thick x 8" wide, and roughly 9' 6" long board of mahogany. This is destined to be the keel and a few other parts.

There's the NFB rotary helm and bezel, as well as a Faria Euro Beige fuel gauge, to add to the dash hardware.

And, in order to make something of that huge mahogany board, there's the new table saw.

Faria Euro Beige fuel gauge, NFB Safe-T II rotary helm, and 90° bezel.

Look at this mess. Seriously... I just bought this yesterday. Yes, I DID use the proper blade guards. Here, they are removed in preparation for re-sawing the 4" wide keel.

The big chunk on the left is the current state of the keel... still a full 2" thick. The 2 stacked pieces on the right are 2-1/4" x 1" floor battens. The leftover piece in the middle is waiting to serve a purpose.

So far, I have ripped the 8" wide board into 2 4" wide sections. One of these sections will become the keel. The Zip requires a 12' long x 1" thick keel, and this board is only 9' 6" long. My plan is to re-saw it into 3 strips, and butt-join & laminate pieces cut from that in order to obtain the full 12 feet.

The second 4" wide section had some problem areas along one edge, so I ripped that again into a 2-1/4" wide section + the leftover side. Then I re-sawed the 2-1/4" wide x 2" thick section into two 1" thick strips. These will be 2 of the 6 planned floor battens.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve 2017

And so, we have come to the end of another year.

Glancing back at 2017, it's neat to think that a year ago today I was drilling holes in the transom of Perseverance in order to bolt the motor on.

By the end of 2016, I had been working on Frame #4 for just over a month... and I'm still working on it. In fact, I was working on it earlier today. More on that in a moment.

I started out 2017 doing some basic upgrades to my old trailer. As the weather warmed up, I spent more time at the lake, now that I finally have a boat of my own to enjoy. Before the end of summer, however, the old trailer was in need of a new axle and wheels. When the weather cooled off again, and I put the boat away for the year, I resumed work on the Zip frames.

So, here we are.

Today, I finished work on the cherry inlay that will be the backdrop for the Zip's gauges...

Here, I have clamped the cherry inlay into the dashboard, and placed the two gauges I have and the switch knob. I wanted to get an idea for how it was all going to look, as well as arrange placement of the pull switches.

Holes for the switches drilled, and parts temporarily fastened into position.

Overhead view of the inlay, showing both the front and back sections of the gauges and switches.

I temporarily assembled the parts in order to get an idea for what I'll be in for when it comes to wiring.

The gauge mounting hardware needed the inlay to be a bit thinner than its 7/8" thickness. The rabbeting bit I bought a few days ago handled this job nicely.

Friday, December 29, 2017

How have I survived this long in life, without a router?

Some things are just obvious.

Like the first time I used a kitchen scale for mixing epoxy... I couldn't believe that I hadn't been using one all along.

This router is amazing.

After just a few passes, practicing on an old 2x4 scrap & learning how to use the depth adjustment, I was ready to work on my mahogany dashboard.

First time around, with a Bosch 3/8" round-over bit. I couldn't believe it was that easy.

The next day, I bought a 3/8" rabbeting bit (also Bosch). Again, just a few minutes practicing on a 2x4 scrap, and I cut this recess in the back of my dash beam. This is where the inlay for the instrument cluster will fit.
With the router being so easy to use, I made progress much faster than I expected. So, I started working on a plywood template for my instrument inlay.

Once again, I printed out my design template and transferred it onto the plywood.

After a little sanding, the plywood template fit into the rabbet beautifully.
Once I had drilled out the hole centers with a 1" spade bit, I was ready to cut the 3-3/8" hole for the tachometer. 
The Faria instructions say to cut a 3-3/8" hole for the tachometer. I drew the circle slightly undersized, using a cheap compass from the grocery store. For the cutout, I used a Rockwell BladeRunner... which is basically like a jigsaw set up as a table saw. After the cutout was done, I sanded the inner diameter of the hole with my Dremel until the tachometer fit.