Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Next Project

The next project

I know, the outrigger isn't done, yet. What the hell am I thinking about the next project for?

Anyway, my friend Brian and I are planning to build a couple of skin-on-frame kayaks this fall and winter. A couple of Dave Gentry's Chuckanut 12s (

I'm planning on doing most of the research first, myself. I picked the design we're doing and now I've got to read about putting these together so everything goes smoothly. So far, I've sketched all the station frames out in 1"=1' scale and I've cut them out and laid them on a 4x8 area to see how they'd nest on the plywood.

Really looking forward to this. I'd love to have a boat that takes five minutes to throw it on the car roof in the morning before work, to hit up a local lake or stream when the five o'clock bell tolls.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mother's Brewing Company

I've been really impressed with Springfield's newest brewery, Mother's Brewing Company. They only have a handful of beers available, so far. But I really like the ones sitting on the darker side of their selection. Looking forward to the barley wine I heard rumor of yesterday.
Where I was today.

Yesterday, I drug my neighbor Bob up to the tasting room with me. I took my father-in-law last week and we've also been to a couple of outdoor concert events there recently. Been doing my part to promote them, when possible. I like good beer.
Three Blind Mice Brown Ale from Mother's Brewery. Springfield's newest local brewing company.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Making Models

Building a scale model from plans or offsets is a great way to start gathering confidence for a full-size boat building project. Even if only building in paper or cardboard, you get to practice the art of taking a plan and applying it to build materials. It's also a good way to experiment with design, yourself. You can check to see if you can produce a fair looking craft well before you commit the big money to messing up your garage or basement for half a year or more.
finished the wa'apa model. not rigged exactly correct, but i've never seen a proa in person

The only things you really need to get started are the plan set, some stiff paper, a scale ruler, mechanical pencil, scotch tape and maybe a thin dowel to help you trace a fair curve. Other options are some form of instant glue, balsa or bass wood sheets (1/16 or 1/32 thickness is what I usually use, I think), X-Acto knife, tiny clothes pins for clamps, masking tape and a surface you can cut and glue on without ruining your dining room table and risking the wrath of The Mrs.
paper model - south haven dory

A couple of years ago, I started out my boat building hobby as a complete woodworking novice. The eight foot plywood pram dinghy sitting in my garage was the first thing I ever set out to build, beyond some hastily slapped together skateboard ramps back in my high school days. Luckily, through lots of reading, online searches and cutting up bits of paper and modeling wood, I managed to muster up the faith in myself to pull off the first craft and move onto a second, with plans in a folder for a third this coming fall/winter. Also, the first paper model I built told me that I didn't want to build my first design pick, the D4/D5 dinghy and that I wanted to move on to something else.
thinking big, building small

From there I moved on to building models of a couple dory plans, the Gloucester Light Dory and the South Haven Dory.
paper model - gloucester light dory

paper model - south haven dory

Once I'd gained enough confidence with the paper models and had built a small plywood dinghy in the garage, I moved on to building in balsa and bass wood. I still don't bother to finish the models to a high degree, but what I do is a good enough representation that I can glean a lot of info about how the full-size version might go together.

The start of a Gary Dierking Wa'apa Outrigger, shunting proa version, seen completed above. I'm currently building the full-size tacking outrigger version in my garage.
proa/outrigger canoe

An Ozarks Johnboat, built from a description, HERE.
model of an ozarks johnboat

P3 Proa, from these PLANS.
P3 - 3m/10' proa

Roughly my own design, but heavily based off stretching the P3 by a couple feet and making it a tacking rig.
finished "t-rigger" 12' tacking outrigger model

A sharpie that I cobbled together from sketches in Reuel Parker's "The Sharpie Book" and some plans on Duckworks Magazine's website for a sharpie by Howard Chapelle, HERE.
sharpie model

I also made a tiny free-sailing pond yacht and built a working half-scale model of a Marshallese toy outrigger called a RIWUIT. Made in a couple of hours from scraps laying around the garage and workshop.
turning loose the pond yacht  at nathaniel green park

my crappy two-hour riwuit

In a nutshell, model making is fun in it's own right. It helps you learn the processes and build confidence that you might need for building large. It also helps you make better decisions about what you might want in a design, to begin with. Better to sort that out early, instead of getting halfway through a large build and figuring out it's not really what you're looking for in a water craft.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Johnboat Building Demo

Saturday morning, I headed a couple hours south to Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas to check out a johnboat building demo going on down there. It's not very often that any boat building event happens anywhere near where I live, so I jumped at a chance to check out this one.


The drive down took about an hour longer than it should have. My GPS/iPhone took me on a fairly roundabout path to get there. I barely got out of town and down some farm roads when I hit a snag in the form of a bridge that was out and under repair in Linden, Missouri. Checking my iPhone Maps program, I winded my way over toward Ozark and over to Highway 14. Taking 14 toward Ava, about 4 miles outside of town, it happened all over again and I spent a while trying to get into town by way of dirt and gravel farm roads. Both detours were a pain, but I saw some nice scenery in the form of rustic barns, hayfields, cattle, mules and horses, and a cool old one-lane bridge over the Finley River, above stream a ways from where the old Riverside single-lane bridge was.

Single lane bridge over the Finley River between Linden and Ozark

Arriving at Bull Shoals Lake a little before noon, I hopped out of the car and headed up to the pavilion. Larry Dablemont, author, river guide and johnboat builder, along with a handful of other fellows, was building a 20-21' White River Johnboat, the old way. I'm guessing, 21' planks, 16" wide and 3/4" thick. I got there about the time they were fitting the ribs in.


Putting in the ribs

I have Mr. Dablemont's book, "The Authentic American Johnboat: How to Build It, How to Use It" and plan to use it as a guide to build my own johnboat someday. It's cool that there is a folk boat type that is indigenous to the Ozarks Region.

The Authentic American Johnboat - Larry Dablemont

Longboat Outfitters had their modern construction river john on hand. It's a modified Jim Michalak Ozarkian, based off the White River Boats that Owen's Outfitters used to run before the White River was dammed.

Long Boat Outfitters johnboat

Long Boat Outfitters johnboat

There was quite a bit of other float trip memorabilia there, as well.

paddles in various states of finish

Long Boat Outfitters johnboat

Long Boat Outfitters johnboat

At one point, Mr. Dablemont climbed in and explained proper johnboat paddling technique.

Larry Dablemont, explaining proper johnboat paddle technique

After checking out the demo, I drove across the dam to the Visitor Center

Bull Shoals Lake Visitor Center

Johnboat in the rafters of the Bull Shoals Visitor Center

Bull Shoals Dam

View from Bull Shoals Visitor Center of the White River

I had my little sailboat on the roof with hopes of getting a couple hours on the water, but the lake levels were high and the water was rougher than I was comfortable with. Erring on the side of caution, I headed back home a little early.

heading home UPDATE, 3-6-2012: Check out Longboat Outfitters on Youtube...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back to the Outrigger

main hull is glassed and the alternate ama/float is started

After nearly a couple months of no work on the outrigger, I have begun again. I was holding off to glass things in epoxy and fiberglass cloth, but every time I had the money to order the materials, some emergency would come up and I'd have to spend it on that instead (backed up house plumbing, veterinary visits for a 13yr yellow lab, etc.)

I said, "Screw it!" and covered the main hull sections with polyester and glass cloth over the weekend. It may not last as long as epoxy, but whatever. At least I might get the damn thing in the water this summer. I've also started an alternate ama construction. I plan to laminate and shape four 2x6s to fit the bill. Hollowing out the center two planks before putting them together. It doesn't have to be permanent, not too worried about rot. Especially since I hope to finish off the foam ama at a later date, replacing the solid wooden one.

The ama should be comparable to THIS, when completed.