Monday, September 30, 2013

Glen-L Gathering 2013

Leave my cares at the dock? Done.

There was an old Chris-Craft ad from the 1960’s I stumbled across online not long ago. I don’t remember which model it was advertising (an early fiberglass runabout, I believe), but I do remember the tagline: “Leave your cares at the dock.”

Leave my cares at the dock. That’s exactly what I’d been wanting, and needing to do for weeks. So I did just that — I left my cares at the dock. After all, Sept. 20 was G7 weekend, and the Glen-L boatbuilders were back in town. What better way to relax than riding in hand-made classic boats?

This is now the third Glen-L gathering I’ve attended. Each year brings a little something new. This year, for me, it was an eye-opening lesson in fuel consumption. I simply had no idea just how quickly an outboard motor will use up a full tank of fuel when it’s pushing a boat fully-laden with adults up & down the river for any distance. Wow! I tell you, it makes me all the more grateful to the kind people who took me out for rides in their boats.

This year I rode in a couple of beautifully-finished Zips. I got some ideas to possibly use on my own. I also rode in a very nice Monaco, and in Bob Brandenstein’s splendid Malahini. There was a tent sale this year, and after the gale-force winds Saturday morning (which I luckily missed), I bought a pair of cleats & a U.S. Yacht Ensign flag for the Utility. 

I also bought a bell. My daughter’s been asking me to put one on the boat since I first laid the keel. She saw the bell at the tent sale & just HAD to have it... so I bought it. 

For now I use it to wake her & her brother up for school.

Buddy's highly-modified Zip race boat.

There were several Zips at the Gathering this year.

Docking all these handmade wooden boats in Chattanooga.

1959 Mercury Mark 35A on Garfield's Zip.

I was really intrigued by Garfield's Zip, and all the unique, "out-of-the-box" thinking he put into it.

Paul brought his super-fast Hot Rod all the way down from Quebec

Bob's splendid Malahini.

Jeff Peters' newly-built Zip is adorned with original hardware off of a classic Century boat. I really like his distinctive mermaid fenders.

Monday, September 9, 2013

More fairing on the Utility. This time, the transom.

Warm greetings from Barnacle Mike’s crowded little boat shop. You know, one of the great things about the boatbuilding community is the fact that you meet some really cool people, both online and in person. The level of support and insight that you get from more experienced builders who kindly share their knowledge and give advice can truly help a newbie keep pushing his or her project forward. I’m very thankful for that.

An online boatbuilding friend, who has also been kind enough to follow my blog, sent me an e-mail the other day asking about the status of the Utility. It does seem like I’ve been paying a bit much attention to the Zip project lately. Truth is, I have still been slowly, slowly... s-l-o-w-l-y... fairing away at the Utility all the while. Still, his inquiry about its status gave me a little more motivation to get off my “transom” and put more elbow grease into getting the little boat past the fairing stage. (Thank you, Paul!)

So, that’s just what I did Saturday, fairing away at the transom sides until they were finished. The starboard side had a bit more excess material than the port side. So, I roughed it in with the belt sander, then worked it the rest of the way down with the mouse sander. Unfortunately, I did not follow the “best practice” of checking my work frequently with my test piece of plywood. (I thought the transom sides would be a no-brainer. I was wrong.) When I tested my “finished” work with the plywood, expecting to feel a broad smile cross my face as I witnessed my handiwork, I was disappointed to see several gaps appear. The culprit was an overly sharp bevel in a couple of spots. More gaps to fill with thickened epoxy. I’m getting pretty good at that, if I do say so myself.

Needless to say,  I was more cautious with the port side. I also went about it a little differently. This time, I started by carrying the line of the sheer and chine through the transom material first. Then, I “connected” the two spots by fairing the area in-between. This time I alternated between the mouse sander and a small block plane. I worked slowly and purposefully.

The results were much, much better.

I do still have a good bit more fairing to do, primarily in the mid-section of the boat. I also have to make a decision about the chines in that area, (more on that later). I could’ve worked on all this Sunday. However, yours truly decided he needed some time on the water. So, I spent the day canoeing. I’m sure you understand.

By the way, I met another boatbuilder out on the river. He was piloting a very nice-looking red drift boat upriver. It looked about 16’ long. The handsome-looking boat glided smoothly through the water, pushed by a silent electric trolling motor. He proudly said “yes” when I asked if he’d built it himself. He had some very nice things to say about Don Hill’s drift boat plans before we each went our separate ways. 

Yep. You’ve gotta love the boatbuilding community.

Starboard transom-chine joint after fairing.

Starboard transom-chine joint after fairing.
Starboard transom-chine joint after fairing

Starboard transom-sheer joint after fairing. As you can see, I've got a heck of a gap in that "Marine-Grade" plywood that I'm going to have to fill.

Port transom-chine joint before fairing.

Port transom-chine joint before fairing.
Port transom-chine joint after fairing.

Port transom-sheer joint before fairing. Notice all that epoxy thickened with #2 silica?

Port transom-sheer joint after fairing. I still have some thickened epoxy to file away.