Monday, April 30, 2007

The Keel

This weekend I cut the Keel. It's basically a 12'x4"x5/4" board. 5/4" being the thickness that when planned will end up 1" net thickness.

One thing that I did along the way was to put a fresh set of blades in the planer/thicknesser. Big difference, huge. Oak really is hard on steel power tool blades.

Now I need to put a 7 degree bevel either side of the center, and to cut out the slot for the centerboard. The slot will be interesting. I see some test cuts first in a peice of scrap. Actually I see a lot of test cuts in a lot of peices of scrap.

It seems like a milestone. I still have one frame peice to cut, then I start trying to assemble things. I can imagine having to recut some of the frame peices, but it should be easier now that I have learned a few things along the way.

I can see me recutting the transom frames. It was a bad plan to start cutting them first. What was I thinking. Cut the bevelled frames first. I also cut them with a jigsaw. Fine for the curves, but the long straight edges to be cut at a bevel really do cry out for a tablesaw.

People keep asking when it will be done. Work has deadline, my maths degree has deadlines. I need another deadline like I need and itchy rash. It'll be done when it's done or shortly thereafter.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lisnavagh Timber Project

I went down to Lisnavagh yesterday to get some Oak boards, and picked out a few boards with the help of William Burnbury. They have a system to track every board, so they can show you where it came from. They even print you off a photo of the tree. They are very much into sustainable use of the resources. William was kind enough to email me the picture of the tree for my blog. From the history that William provided this fell itself so I don't even need to feel guilty about it being chopped down.

Now all I need is some good weather to turn this old tree into a boat.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More general progress

Yesterday I made a cross cut sled for the table saw. This rocks. Table saws should all come with with a cross cut sled. Only then saws would cost more and you can make them yourself. There's so many pages showing how to make one, this is just off the top of google. It makes cross cutting and angles soooo much easier.

I also started cutting the peices for the frame that I will use to build the boat on. That feels like a big step. I know I have a bit more to do before I start setting it up, but it's all progress in the right direction.

Since I had no good oak, I made use of some bad oak. I took some long thin strips that I had ripped for test peices and made up a test bed by simply screwing some scraps into a scrap plywood board. Then I bent and glued two strips around a bend that one one single strip twice as thick would not have bent around. The glue up went fine.

This is how I intend to deal with curves. Forget steaming, rip and laminate. Now that I've tried it, I will feel more confident about doing it for real on the boat. A test scarf on a batten and on a scrap plywood board are next.

Oh yes, any more toys, a bosch power planer. Much and all as I love hand planes, beveling a 12' oak keel will be difficult on my PT85, so a power hand planer it is. And as a bonus, the guide for my bosch belt sander, which makes bench sander out of it will fit the planer and acts as a parallel guide so that I can plane rebates. (for all the rebates I make 8-)

Monday, April 09, 2007

General Update

I put a decent blade in my table saw, a Freud LP30M. Cuts straighter, and quieter.

I also got one of these Digital Angle Gauges. Put it on the saw table, zero it, put it on the blade, it's magnetic, and you can set the angle of the blade to 0.1 degrees

I started cutting the last frame peice only to discover that I had board made up entirely of sapwood. See my earlier post on sapwood.

This put an end to the boat work for the day, so I planed a peice of scrap to the thickess of the mitre slots and ripped 8 battens for use as runners when making various table saw jigs.

One thing that I found very useful was a cheap grout float. The sort that you use for grouting tiles. It's basically a handle on a small metal board with a rubber surface. It give you great control as you feed the wood, with the advantage that if anything slips and makes contact with the saw blade you stand a really good chance of ruining a €10 float rather than your hand.
(It's since been pointed out that the metal in the grout float would catch in the blade rather than simply being cut by it - this could be a really bad thing)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Wet stones and good blades

I had thought that shaving the back of your arm with a plane blade was an urban myth, perpetuated by the Old Woodworkers to make us new guys feel perpetually inadequate.

However, in search of sharpness, I bought some high carbon plane blades from Hock Tools and a set of Ice Bear Waterstones from Axminster. (Nice fast delivery on both counts)

So I spent the time flattening the back of the blade, then honing the front till I found the burr, then removing the burr.

And there you go. It lifted a few hairs from the back of my arm, not quite up to Gillette's standard, but sharper than anything I've managed previously.

I am converted. My old wet and dry paper collection will now be reserved for flattening the wetstones. I've already ordered a course 220 grit wetstone to do the back of the cheaper blades, which have far move visible machine marks.


They say that to mark a curve, use a batten. They don't say you need 15 hands.

With a batten held in a curve by a peice of twine, you must shorten the twine until it curves the batten to the correct length. This proves difficult. How do you shorten the twine and tie it off at exactly the right length.

I used course twine and twisted a pen into it. Now I can set the curve by simply pulling the twine further up the pen. I can slide the loop of twine up the pen away from the batten, and this curves the batten a little more.

It gives me very fine control over the curve in the batten.

If the pen is in the middle of the batten, then the curve will be symmetric. If I need the curve to be asymmetric, then I move the pen nearer one end than the other. The curve will be more pronounced at the end where the pen is.

Then I just clamp it in place and draw the line.

All with just two hands.