Monday, September 14, 2015

The finished product

Well everyone, it's done. I know it's been all summer since my last post but a lot has happened between now and then and throughout that I haven't forgotten about this blog. The boat is completely done, we put foam that helps floating in the back seat and half of the front seat. The other half of the front seat is a nice compartment is a place for an anchor. The middle seat opens up fully and all of the seats have a nice wood trim that's a different color from itself. We then used faring compound on the fiberglassed joints on the outside of the boat which when painted over makes it impossible to tell that there was ever fiberglass cloth while still keeping the joints strong. After faring compound was applied and dried we had to sand it down. The sanding honestly took a long time and was very tedious. We then put primer on the outside which is the step prior to the painting. Sure enough after 3 coats of primer it was back to sanding. As soon as that was done we got to pick out the paint. We decided on an off-white for the bottom a yellow boot stripe and an amazing blue paint. We had to measure the line of the boot stripe by placing the boat on its skeg on the sawhorses and drawing a line parallel to the ground. We put on three coats of each paint. The blue paint was great, it was like a mirror, I could see reflections off of it, I was really happy with it. We then decided to put a gold half arrow along each side. This paint needed to be stirred constantly while painting it on because it was part metallic which would separate from the rest of the paint. It turned out to be a great touch. Once that was done we varnished the inside and rub rail. This really tied the whole boat together and gave it a very classic look. The varnish looked fantastic and made the wood really pop. The only thing left to do was put on the finishing touches like handles on the back and locks on the seat and an eye hook and oar locks. I then was able to launch the boat which was one of the  most rewarding things I've ever done. I was able to let my teacher who inspired the project on a ride and it was a great feeling to look at this boat in the water and remember the time when it was 4 pieces of plywood in my basement.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Reflection

I know I am getting close to being finished, and I could be talking about what color paint I am going to use, but for now that will be a surprise. This whole post is dedicated to a reflection of my project overall. Of the things that I have done, this boat is one of my greatest accomplishments ever, and I really have no regrets on any of the project, besides wearing a cool shirt the day I decided  to leave epoxy on the shelf and bump into it. This has been a phenomenal experience and nothing else has compared to it, but I gained a lot more than the knowledge of building a boat, I gained a great mentor. My grandpa helped with the boat throughout the process but he has done a lot to teach more than how to make things see-worthy. I have learned so much about him and what life was like in those times, and that the same issues that I deal with he did at one time too, but without Instagram and other technology of today. I learned so many great lessons and am so grateful for my Grandpa Bill helping me not only with the boat but everything. 

When I decided to build a boat as my project I was afraid that I may have bit off a lot more than I could chew, but I am so glad I went for it, and I would encourage everyone to bite off more than you can chew, because you WILL surprise yourself and it is amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it. Make goals that you never thought you could reach, and then pass them. That is how I was able to get this far in my building, and that is how everyone I know who has been successful has gotten to where they are.

Once again I can't tell you how great it has been to look back on this and see how far it has come, and how great it has been to spend time with my grandpa. We have shared many stories and have learned a lot. I can't thank him enough for the help he has been. He has been a great mentor and friend. The boat is almost done, and I can't wait until my next post to share with you the hopefully finished pictures or most likely pictures of the painting.


Monday, April 20, 2015

That's a Boat


Well, it's been a while since the last post, and a lot has gotten done. The rub rail is completely done, and besides putting a varnish on will not be changed. After the rub rails were put on (which was a three session process because it included three layers of extra plywood) and rounded, we epoxied it and the entire inside of the boat, so now the inside is completely done with the exception of the seat tops which are finished but just need to be attached. With the help of my dad and grandpa, I fliped the boat over, and got to sanding the outer seam which is necessary because the next step is to lay fiberglass on the outer seams. Overall it is looking fantastic and the job is in the home stretch now.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Seat Frames, Filets, and Fiberglass

It's official..... The boat is able to float! We set filets up in all of the inside joints, the filets are made up of epoxy and the peanut butter type glue. We then let it set a little bit and made frames for the seats to go onto. After a good half an hour of working on the seat frames and letting the filets set, we started to lay the fiberglass cloth. The weird thing about the fiberglass is that it starts out as something very similar to a fabric. To lay it into the joint right you have to measure the length of the of the region and then cut the cloth accordingly. You then need to make sure it lines up evenly in the joint and role it out to make sure it flattens. Once it looks even on both sides you use a paint brush to paint epoxy over it. This forms an extremely strong bond with the boat. Now that that is all done, technically, the boat would be able to float, but there is still a ways to go, we need to fiberglass the outside for added support and also make arrangements for the seat tops, and much more. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

It Looks Like A Boat

The step that we took in boat building this week was to epoxy and filet the frames into place so that we would no longer need screws to hold them into place.  It took multiple mixtures to finish with the frames which means that I had no idea how much epoxy and glue we would need to complete it.  I just decided that I just would be better off to make three small mixtures and take my time,than make one and have to rush. 
Lucky for me, it took just enough time for the epoxy to toughen up so I could get done working. The next step in the process is to put the fiberglass tape in the seams between the hull and sides of the boat, which will also require epoxy. This project has really come a long way, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Stitching The Hull

 This last week or so wasn't a huge step but it was very important. First we laid the boat on it's top and placed the bottom on. we then drilled holes in the areas that we felt would connect it well. We then used copper wires to connect and tighten the bottom against the rest of the boat. The last thing we did was use a planar tool to line up the sides of connecting parts such as the transom and the sides. The next thing to do will be to epoxy all of the parts together.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Boat Building Stitch and Glue Method

After the epoxy dried our next step was to put the boat together using zip ties and screws (which will be taken out) so that we can easily make sure we glue it right. the picture to the left was the first step in putting it together, we drilled holes in the front of the sides so we could put the zip ties in and form the bow. We then had to screw in the transom (back of the boat) so that we could start putting in the seat frames which will provide the curvature of the boat. The middle seat frames were the next step. We had to make sure that the edges of the seat frames lined up with the side butt blocks which were the small pieces of would that connected the whole side of the boat. We then screwed them into place which made the boat start to take form. The next step was to screw in both the bow seat and transom seat frames. The purpose of putting in screws is to roughly build the skeleton of the boat before epoxying it and making everything permanent. Another advantage to this was that we could make sure we could fit the boat through our basement and to our driveway. I wanted to make sure that my boat wasn't just a decoration in the basement, which luckily it fits up the stairs because otherwise I would have had to take it apart and wait for spring to put it together again. Next part of the building is to flip the boat over and put the bottom on and screw that into place before permanently gluing the boat together.



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Epoxy Application

After the cutting was done, it was time to get started on putting the boat together. To do this we had to purchase epoxy, get some saw dust, buy paint brushes, paint chippers, disposable measuring cups, and a plastic tarp. The picture on the left is of epoxy which is essentially the thing that will hold the boat together. The reason there are two separate containers is because once mixed together you have between 45 minutes and an hour to finish the job. The reason we needed saw dust is that once you paint a layer of epoxy onto each of the pieces you're going to put together you need to apply putty between the two. The putty is a mix of the epoxy and the saw dust which ends up looking like peanut butter. once that is in between the two pieces we needed to make sure to put weight on the site without pushing out the epoxy and putty because it needed to bond to the wood. As of now I have epoxied the sides(I needed to epoxy the sides because they were cut into two separate pieces), the transom, and the support to all of the seat tops. I still need to finish the bottom and the next part of the transom.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Boat Building Begins

Well, after almost a month without an update, there's going to be a lot of updates going on in this post. After the plans were received, me, my dad, and my grandpa went to by the wood. We found that the best price for the marine grade plywood was at a place in Detroit called Public Lumber. At first I was a little bit nervous, because this place was located on the corner of 7 mile and Cameron St, which, for those of you who aren't to familiar with the area, is kind of sketchy. Luckily the staff was great and they had exactly what we were looking for at a great price.


After the plywood was purchased and a few days went by, we started to draw out the plans onto the wood. One thing that I can honestly tell everybody after drawing out all of those plans is not to under estimate the amount of time it  will take to draw a boat and all of it's dimensions onto wood. It took two people nearly four hours of work. It wasn't too bad though, because we split it up into two different days.
 Once all the drawing was done, we were ready to start cutting the pieces out. I'm going to be honest, this was my first time using a circular saw, so I was somewhat nervous, but I did find and I definitely prefer it over a traditional handheld saw. We worked diligently for a good three days (these are pictures from day one only, it snowed so we were in the garage the other two days). The sawing at first was new and somewhat chalanging to get the hang of, but after a while, it got pretty easy.


Although these aren't the best pictures, this is the whole boat laid out on my basement floor. the next step in the process is simply to put all of these puzzle pieces together.