Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A VW Westfalia Wedding.

We had the honor of attending a very special wedding with two wonderful people.  My father-in-law and his lovely new wife.

The minister read from How to Keep Your Volkswagon Alive. The 'passages' read from that book were surprisingly applicable to one's marriage.  It was a beautiful ceremony.

These two lovebirds met at this very same VW Westfalia meet-up two years ago.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate one's love.

Router Jig for a Centerboard - Success!

We're in business with the router jig for the centerboard!

This is what I have learned in the process (some of this is a repeat):

1.  Build the jig with flat pieces that will accept clamps. 
2.  Build it out of a material that will not flex too much while you're using the router.
3.  Width of the jig is important, having it too wide can cause the router to slip, and potentially gouge too much wood.
4.  The bottom of the jig can be any shape, but make sure it is tall enough and wide enough to allow the centerboard to clear the jig.
5.  Be conscious of the height of the router bit- you may need a router template guide (thanks, Joel, for the suggestion!) so you're not eating away at your jig.
 6.  Don't route all the way across, you'll need the edges of the centerboard to be square so you can clamp them together when you epoxy the two halves of your board together.

So, with that said, let me show you a preview of what the cross section of the centerboard will look like.

I traced the shape and compared it with the boat plans, and it's very, very close.  I think this will work just fine!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pork, meet Flanders. Flanders, Pork.

I introduced our cardigan welsh corgi pup to pork.
I think he liked it!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Garden Update

Things are a little hectic this week, so there's not really a whole lot to report on the boat front.  While I've been slacking off, my plants have been busy.

Here's what I'm growing this year in my 4'x16' bed:

We had a lot of rain at the beginning of the week, and as the forecast called for wind and heavy rain, I wanted to do what I could to salvage my freshly planted tomato seedlings.

So I put together a little hoop house:

And everything survived beautifully.  I think I would have probably been just fine without the cover, but I was so impressed by how toasty it kept my little seedlings,  I may just have to make a little hoop greenhouse in the backyard to extend my growing season. 

My potato plants are growing like weeds.  What you see here, from left to right:
Bintje potatoes, Ozette potatoes, and some random potato from an Amazon Fresh grocery order. I had particularly enjoyed its siblings, so I thought it was worth attempting to grow.  I think it's an early type, as it isn't getting the lankiness of its late season companions.

My little 3'x3' herb garden is also flourishing.  The empty space in front will be used for a petite, round basil plant known as Finissimo Verde a Palla
I've also had a lot of success with the winter sown seeds I planted.  Every type of plant I planted has had at least a 50% germination rate, and the seedlings look strong.  I transplanted cucumber, eggplant, two types of pumpkins and zucchini today from my winter sown containers.  I'm very excited to see how they progress.   If they do well, I doubt I'll ever start seedlings inside again.

In other news, yesterday marked the one year anniversary of buying our house.  I can't believe it has been a year already!  Happy anniversary, Casa Crustante!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Curious to know what planning to build a boat feels like?


Progress-  Accessories to my future crime have arrived.  1.5 gallons of epoxy is sitting on my kitchen counter, along with proper goggles (it doesn't take long to realize that sawdust in one's eyes can be more than an annoyance) and a respiratory mask for some of the stinkier parts of the build.  Other than that, I have nothing to show for my efforts.

Word is traveling around the neighborhood.  Have had more than three neighbors to date come up to me and ask some form of "So, you're building a boat..?" 

And it's not in the "...wow, you're nuts" vein (at least I don't think it is) but more of the "wow, why haven't I done that?"  So far, most everyone has been complimentary.  My family has been completely unfazed.  I think they're just surprised that it's taken me this long. 

That said, I'm not going to trick myself into thinking that this little beast will be anything more than an abomination (sorry, John Welsford, for my future destruction of your lovely design).  However, as long as it's a floating abomination, I'll consider this adventure a success.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Router Woes.

Today didn't exactly go as planned.  We had hoped to end up at the Pocket Yacht Palooza to practice our photonerding skills and to see Joel's Navigator Ellie (his build blog is here, check it out- Ellie is a gorgeous boat) and to view a SCAMP in person.  Needless to say, it didn't happen.

Not all was lost, however.  I did make some serious headway in creating a router jig. 

So, the centerboard is has a foil shape, not unlike an aircraft wing.  It's important to get the board as symmetrical as possible, and that's where the jig comes in.  It's basically a little track to keep the router from doing its own thing, and to keep me from taking too much out of the wrong spot.

The one in the very front is the first one I attempted.  I used some scrap plywood but grossly underestimate how flexible a slim piece of plywood can be.   The second one was cut out of a 2x4, and may actually end up being the one I'll use, with a few modifications.

First, I'd make sure that the center pieces are flat.  You'll need a flat, smooth surface to clamp them down on.

And second, I'd be sure that the router bit doesn't touch the inside of your track. I didn't think to consider that.  Live and learn.

Productive, if a bit frustrating day.  At least I'm one step closer.

Building a sailboat and need more information about router jigs for shaping a centerboard? Here you go! 
Duckworths' Another Approach to Shaping Foils
Small Craft Advisor's Forum 'Scratch Built Foils'

Friday, May 18, 2012

The house is a mess..

..And I'm really doing everything I can to destroy our walls.

But the boat must go on.  Bulkhead #4 has been lofted!

What's been done since Monday:

Seat Longitudinal patterns have been cut out.
Drafted the stem & bulkhead #4.
Obtained a router. 
Ordered 8 sheets of 9mm Okoume Plywood.
Purchased 1.5 gallons of epoxy.

What's left to do to meet my weekly goal:

Build router jig. 
Cut out stem and bulkhead #4 patterns. 

... And that's it!  I'm so close to hitting my goal for the week.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hello 300mm/f4!

There's a new camera lens in the family in celebration of an impending birthday (hubs turns 27 on Tuesday!).

I think he's happy with it! 

So I stole it from him while he was at work and gave it a go on my camera. 

(I so wish this one was in focus- hover puppy!)

It's a LOT of fun to shoot with.  I did end up getting a little nauseous from using it though, as it's almost like shooting through a telescope.  I can't wait to start shooting more interesting subjects with it (i.e. boats and birds!).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Building Blues - UPDATED

The first blood of this project has been drawn.  I managed to cut myself on the tape measure.  Talented, right?

 I'm at a weird stage of this boat building thing.  I have too many little things to focus on, and I'm really having a hard time keeping it down to bite sized bits.    If I can manage to give myself a daily schedule, I might end up being more productive. 

 For example, I've been itching to order more plywood.  But that seems like a waste of time at the moment, because I still have about 4 more bulkhead patterns to measure and cut out.  I could also cut out the rudder.  OR, I could cut out the foil cross sections to use to build my router jig.  I am also fretting about "shape to suit" instructions that are in the plans.  This is the current object of my fretting: 

This is the stem.  Apparently I can 'shape to suit' a curve on the inside of it.  It should be a simple thing- it's just a simple curve, right?  My brain just won't let go of it, and I worry that somehow MY shape-to-suit will be inappropriate and unshapely, and somehow cause my vessel to fail at an inopportune time.  I CAN'T HANDLE THE PRESSURE!

I've gorged on a large quantity of chocolate to try and relieve some of this crazy boat fixation.  It hasn't worked yet.

So I stumbled upon a blog of another lady boat builder (now I can't find the link to her blog.  When I hunt it down I'll be sure to add it here - UPDATED -  I found it!  "Building Luna" ), who is actually in the middle of her build, and not just drawing stems on paper.  Her plan is to sail the world and to live on her sailboat (STOP STEALING MY DREAMS (no, seriously, that's a great idea, I wish I had the cojones to do just that)) and I couldn't help but be charmed by a quote she posted:
The desire to build a boat is one of those that cannot be resisted. It begins as a little cloud on a serene horizon. It ends by covering the whole sky, so that you can think of nothing else. You must build to regain your freedom.
-Arthur Ransome, 1923
 Yup.  That sums it up.


Sometimes, no matter how conflicted your brain is, you just have to move forward.   So that's what I did.  I drew a 'shape to suit,'  it looks right, actually it looks lovely, and I'm sticking to it.

Also, I have a new toy.

Something I Didn't Know About Dahlias.

Something ate my dahlia tubers!

And it looks suspiciously like rabbit tracks. Or it could be the naughty squirrels that are in the neighborhood.  Regardless, it's a bit of a tragedy. 

Being curious as to why only my dahlia tubers were touched, I did some digging around and discovered that not only are dahlias edible, some of them are actually tasty. 

As someone who is keen on stuffing my garden with as many edibles as possible, this comes as a delightful surprise. Apparently, the heirloom varieties tend to be the tastiest. So I threw in some Bishop's Children dahlia seeds I had left over from Seed Saver's Exchange from my garden last year.  Let's hope they grow! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Centerboard Foils

The centerboard pieces have been cut out of 3/4 Okoume plywood, as of 10am this morning.

Next woodworking step, creating the foil shape. 

There's a variety of techniques for getting a great foil shape.   I'll be opting for using a router jig to carve out the shape, as featured on Ducksworks website here, and I'll be following in the footsteps of Kenjamin on the Small Craft Advisor's forum (photos of his centerboard build here).     If you read my previous post, you'll know that this stage has been haunting me a bit.   It makes it a little less daunting seeing someone else tackle it.

Part of the reason why I chose SCAMP is because of the Small Craft Advisor's forum.  It has already been tremendously helpful to have a forum to discuss any issues or questions that crop up.  Also, there's a build manual that they offer for the SCAMP, so it's like having a seasoned old salt right there next to you holding your hand while you're building this thing. 

My goals for this week:

Create jig for centerboard foils.
Buy a router. 
Loft 3 pieces.
Cut out plywood patterns for said pieces.

So I've noticed that I've had more people stopping by than usual- hello fellow boat lovers!  I'll put a separate tab up for you so you won't have to sift through my day-to-day rambles about failed frosting flowers and such.  

For those of you who are going to be bored to tears regarding boat building, I'll be sure to throw in photos of my majestic bearded chickens. Or something. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I DO indeed have a mother (imagine that!), and I did indeed lavish upon her cheesy (yet heartfelt) sentiments of my adoration today. Perhaps unfortunately, I did also attempt to give her tangible trinkets of my affection.

I made her cupcakes (there's a fantastic cupcake recipe here) with frosting flowers.  My mother is a bit of a master of the baking arts.  And I really thought that, perhaps, just maybe, it could be genetic. 
They were tasty, so I did that right.  Visually they left a bit to be desired. 

Check out all of these botched flowers- turns out cake decorating isn't passed along in the mitochondrial dna.  I'm pretty sure that I can scratch 'Cake decorator' off of my career path options.

I made her a gift card carrying elephant to go along with the cupcakes as well.  

Here's wishing all of you mothers a wonderful day!   And may you always be appreciated year round!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's Official.

The boat has been started.

I have sawdust in my eye.

But I don't mind.  Sawdust is the stuff that my dreams are made of.

I was hesitant that my method of plotting out the pieces then adhering them to pattern wood to cut out would be too tedious.  So far it has been a breeze (knocks on wood).  I guess we'll see how it works out when I put everything together. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Woodn't you know...

...that on my very first order with Edensaw I ended up picking out the wrong type of wood? (see those lovely, thick sheets on the top?  Turns out I want something that's a great deal uglier, and a great deal cheaper). 

But, because Edensaw Lumber is amazing, the next time they stop by to deliver my next shipment of  Okoume plywood, they'll pick up my erroneous sheets and refund me 100%.

Wow. I love Edensaw.  Truly, I do. 

So there's the first awkward mistake so far on this project, thankfully it's an easy fix.  I'm sure there will be about a thousand more. 

Also, you'll notice some changes on this blog.  I had experimented with doing a separate boat building blog (I wasn't being sneaky, just was trying to figure out if I truly wanted two separate blogs) and I've decided that There Can Only Be One.  So I merged the two and now you'll see some of the other posts that were on the other blog before I killed it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Just ordered my first shipment of plywood, scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.  OH MY GOODNESS THIS IS ACTUALLY REAL AND STARTING TO HAPPEN!

Big day!

B.O.A.T. (break out another thousand)

Just thought it'd be good to inform you that the boat is moving full steam ahead.  I have a goal of actually starting to build it by June.  I want to spend my 31st birthday (June 6) doing nothing but working on my boat.  I really can't think of a better way to spend it.

What I've done so far:

I'd say that I have 40% of the pieces lofted.  By 'lofted', I mean that I have them drawn up to full scale.  I am drawing the pieces onto graph paper, then I'll be adhering the graph paper to inexpensive plywood, cutting it, and then using the plywood piece as a permanent pattern.  I think that will be the best way to get perfectly symmetrical pieces for the bulkheads.   And, if God forbid, I end up loving this procedure, I will have a stash of premade patterns to start with, saving me a lot of time.

Drawing out the pieces has been tremendously helpful so far, as it forces me to contemplate how everything goes together before I touch a single piece of lumber.    Marine plywood, at least the good stuff, is pricey,  so I want to be absolutely positive that I know what I'm doing before I even touch the jigsaw.

Tools have been acquired.  I may need a table saw, but so far it sounds like Edensaw Lumber will be able to give me all the cuts I'll require.  Free delivery, too, so I can't beat that!

Pictured is my new favorite batten (a blind my cat shredded at one point) and 18#s of lead sheet (which will be a weight for my centerboard). 


**********Edited to Add**********
 I called Edensaw Lumber today and ordered my first round of plywood!  19 sheets; Okoume for the centerboard and rudder, 12 sheets of Meranti plywood (my practice + pattern piece boards) and 5 sheets of 3/4" particle board, which will be my building jig.   It's arriving tomorrow!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Garden Update!

Garden update time!

We have three types of strawberries in bloom.  Let me introduce to you the lipstick strawberry, an ornamental ground cover that produces tiny but absolutely delicious berries.

We have a June-bearing strawberry, the good ol' Tillamook.  Yup, there's more to Tillamook than the cheese.
 The ever lovely everbearing strawberry, the Quinalt. 

My two chives are on the brink of bloom.  I let them bloom as I love the little purple spheres- I think they're really lovely.
And our rhubarb, a deeply discounted plant we bought at the end of last year's season, is really starting to grow.  Speaking of rhubarb, our neighbor GAVE us FOUR POUNDS of rhubarb!  Rhubarb muffins just came out of the oven.  The house smells incredible.

As if our little garden wasn't productive enough, I traded our Japanese Laceleaf maple for something that might someday provide for us;  a dwarf red sunset nectarine tree.
It isn't much to look at right now, but I had the joy of seeing a nectarine in full bloom a few weeks back and I was completely struck by its beauty.  Plus, it lives right next to my blue orchard bees, so I'm sure next year they'll be perfect neighbors.
Send good thoughts towards this little tree- grow, tree, grow!
And this little beast continues to do just that- grow.  9.5lbs on Friday.  Thirteen weeks old now!  (More puppy photos here, courtesy of the hubs!)

BTW, my winter sown seeds are starting to spring up- last I checked I had half a dozen baby tomato plants.

Double Yolk!

One of these isn't like the others.

So I weighed it.
70g versus 46g!  Wait.... could it be?
So yeah, there you go.