Sunday, July 1, 2018

It's not fair

So what's there to do with the Zip while I wait on more mahogany? You guessed it... start fairing.

This is how I started fairing the keel at Frame #2. The 1/4 inch plywood guide reflected the angle of the bottom of the frame. Then I used my belt sander to continue that line through the keel. Still a long, long way to go... but it's a start.
Initial fairing of the keel with a belt sander.

Finally sanded the front of the keel down to match the curvature of the stem.
Front of the keel ...
... back of the keel.

Slowly but surely fairing the bottom of the transom and the floor battens.

A few Utility updates

Over the weekend, I finally had some time to make it back out to the lake. I left before sunrise to get on the water early & avoid the searing mid-day heat. While the early morning sun was still fairly low, I was also hoping to find a little shade.

On this trip, I also wanted to see how well my electric trolling motor would do with the Utility.

And here's my jammed-together mess. There is not much space on the transom where I can clamp the trolling motor. I knew handling the boat with this arrangement might prove awkward. It was.

Found a shady spot and tried out my new "anchor-in-a-bag."

While running the trolling motor, I locked the Nissan in its raised position to reduce drag.
I was actually surprised at how well the trolling motor moved the boat around. It won't plane, of course, but the near-silent operation is great and the highest speed setting will propel the boat comfortably. The limitation is short battery life. In a fairly short cruise, my battery power went from 95% to 35%.

All the while I was on the water, I kept thinking about several changes I want to make with the Utility. There are several. I got around to some of them on Sunday.

This is the plywood "half-cover" I made to go underneath the boat cover I bought. Its purpose is to prevent the fabric cover from pooling up with water & sagging down into the hull. The 3/8 plywood was starting to sag a little bit, so I added some 3-foot wood strips to give it more rigidity. I had a bunch of nylon webbing laying around, so I used some to make basic handles for lifting the piece & moving it around.

I also had a bunch of 1-inch wide velcro laying around. I used the "loop" part of it on the inside edges to reduce the scratching of the paint on the gunwale.
Here's the half-cover in place on the boat. There is a cutout in the front for the cover's "tent pole." 

I finally put a quick-clip connector on the nylon strap that holds the battery box in place. This is MUCH easier to use than the cheap / awkward / confusing / infuriating buckle that came with it originally.

There are still several more updates & changes I want to make on the Utility, including some transom modifications so I can more easily use the trolling motor (which I enjoyed) and some improvements to the floor. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

First 2 floor battens attached

The time finally came to un-screw frames 2 and 4 from the construction form.

The frames had been attached to the construction form in order to prevent them from moving and thus causing misalignment problems. That's all fine and good. However, the way I attached them to the construction form created a bit of a dilemma concerning the floor battens.

Middle batten attached, clamped to levels in order to keep it flat.
So, my plan was to first attach the middle floor batten, because it is outside the attachment point / problem area. Then, I would unscrew the frames & remove the blocking. I figured that with the keel and one floor batten attached, the frames would be held in position securely.

After that, I'd attach the inner floor batten.

This photo shows how frame #2 is attached to the form: blocking is screwed to the spreader, and the frame is screwed to the blocking.

Same thing with frame #4.

This photo shows the dilemma. If I don't remove the blocking, I'll likely glue both the frame and the floor batten to it permanently.
Blocking removed; lines drawn on the batten showing where to apply epoxy.

Here, the inner batten is clamped to levels in order to keep it straight. The middle batten is already attached. Notches have not yet been cut for the outer batten.

Shim to improve fitting at the transom notch.

Inner batten attached. It's clamped into position as the epoxy cures.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Cutting notches for the floor battens

As you may have noticed from the photos up to this point, I did not pre-cut notches for the floor battens into the frames. That's because I planned to use the optional arrangement of 3 battens per side, rather than the standard 2 battens as drawn on the plans.

I wanted to wait until I could actually lay the battens on the frames, and place them as I wanted. What I've decided to do is to use 2-1/8" battens spaced 7 inches centerline-to-centerline from the keel, then 6 inches centerline-to-centerline from one another.

Here's how I went about cutting the notches for the floor battens:

The inner battens are on 7" centers from the keel.

The floor battens are on 6-inch centers from one another.
The battens, (or at least the two I have at the moment), are about the same thickness as my ruler. So, I will use the ruler as a guide to mark some reference lines.

At the aft end, I make sure to hold the ruler even with the underside of the batten, not flush against the 12° rake of the transom.

Using the underside of the ruler as a guide, I draw a line with a pencil to show how deeply to cut the notch. 

Then, I clamped the batten into place and made some initial cuts, using the sides of the batten as a guide.

I used a block of wood with a 12° rake as a guide, so that the horizontal cut would be level, not angled like the transom. This block of wood is actually the former tail-end of the keel.

Here, you can see that I goofed one of the vertical cuts. Fortunately, it didn't get very deep before I noticed my mistake. I'll fill this in later, but hopefully most of it will get faired away when I get to that phase.

Using this block as a guide, I held the multi-tool blade against it as I made the horizontal cut.

Here's the cut through the transom.

And the fitting of the batten into the notch. Not bad.
That completes the notch cut into the transom. Now let's move forward to Frame #2.

As before, I used my ruler as a guide to mark the depth of the cut, since it's about the same thickness as the batten. The ruler is aligned with the edge of the frame, so that the mark for the cut will be at the same angle. (Remember that the boat is upside-down on the form, so what's showing is actually the bottom edge of the frame.)

Ruler aligned with the bottom edge of Frame #2.

I'll mark the line with the scribe that is built-in to my sliding square.

Line marked for the horizontal cut.

Cutting guide and batten clamped into position.

The vertical cuts were made by aligning the side of the multi tool's cutting blade with the side of the batten.

The horizontal cut was made by aligning the bottom of the multi tool's cutting blade with the top of the cutting guide. I made minuscule finishing cuts with a coping saw.

The batten drops right into place.

Now, to repeat for Frame #4.

Cutting guides clamped into position.

Notch is cut.

That line next to the notch isn't a cut. It's the end of a shim I laminated onto the frame earlier.

Batten drops right in.
Now, for the Limbers. These are openings in the frame, alongside the floor battens, to allow any water in the bilge to flow to the back of the boat for removal.

I used this roll of Duck Tape as a guide to scribe the curved line. Seriously... it's called "Duck Tape."

Curved line scribed onto the frame.

Making the rough cut with a coping saw.

The rough cut is easily finished out with a Dremel tool fitted with a sanding drum.

et VoilĂ 

Working backward, repeat for Frame #2.
So there you have it. That's the procedure, or at least my version of it. Four more floor battens to go... but for the moment, I'm out of mahogany.