Thursday, December 3, 2015

Salon Work

The Galley got the final coat of varnish last night but still catching up on the doors and various parts. A constant revolving door of parts to be varnished.

Fit all the doors in the salon. Need to be varnished...of course...

Yellow cedar ribs for hull ceiling. The cedar is glued to the hull with epoxy. They are 7/8" thick so there is room for the 3/4" insulation I fit between them.

Closed cell insulation and ash hull ceiling comes next. Finished installing that today.

My tool box. Everything I need in there.

Some little side notes I thought to share. This spring I made a Greenland style kayak paddle of yellow cedar with a thin strip of  W. Oak in the middle (would not bother with the oak again for the sake of weight). Here it is in comparison to a modern paddle. As an experiment that only took two evenings to make and very little cost, it was successful and easier on my shoulders than my old paddle.

I thought I would share one of my latest sewing projects. I usually make or modify (and repair) a lot of my  outdoors equipment and my industrial sewing machine I bought 20 years ago is one of the best things I ever got. I made this day rucksack to replace my old pack that the PU coating on the nylon Cordura had begun to deteriorate. I decided then to make this pack in a heavy duty cotton-polyester fabric and treated it with wax/paraffin that was soaked in with a heat gun. Sewn with 69 weight nylon thread. 5mm evasote closed cell foam for the shoulder straps and a removable 10mm evasote back pad. So far after almost a half a year in use it has proven itself.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I wanted to congratulate John Stone who launched his Cape Dory 36 this spring and is out sailing now. His website is a wealth of information and details the excellent work he has done completely rebuilding  his boat "Far Reach". A project this big takes a great effort and a lot of discipline. Check out his boat  here:


Been working on the galley lately. First job was to finished the ash hull ceiling. The top layers are fastened with bronze oval head screws to be able to access the bolts for the rub rail and bulwark etc. Once the hull ceiling was varnished I could put in the mahogany slat gable end for the cabinet. I used slats to promote air circulation.

Here is the yellow cedar sub counter before the stainless steel counter was glued down. I have used solid red or yellow cedar for most places one usually finds plywood.

Here the stainless steel counter is being glued down. The counter was perfectly made by Straight Metal in Sidney (here in BC a short drive away). It fit perfectly and the finish was second to none. I roughed the back side with a 40x ginder and wiped down with paint thinner in case of any oil residue. 3M5200 was troweled on and the whole counter was weighed down with 25lbs sacks of lead shot and clamps. The shelves behind the stove can be seen installed.

Next came the stove liner also made by Straight Metal. The piece the the photo below is a complete piece so no chance of leaks. It folds up about 3/4" underneath the piece that will go on the aft bulkhead. The same process was done to glue the liner in as with the counter.

 Making the galley counter trim in ash. Decided on ash as it is consistent with the rest of the boat but also a lot harder than mahogany in a place that will be a lot of wear. Here are the corner pieces. While I do a butt joint with the bulkhead trim with the counter fiddles I use a 45 degree angle at the joint to give a better glue joint. I prefer to do the straight butt joint on the bulkheads however due to appearance but when gluing them I make a series of very small holes in each piece and then glue with thickened epoxy. The theory being that the epoxy will key into the holes in the joint and make for a stronger joint.

Here is all the trim dry fitted. The bulkhead trims still need shaping. You can see the yellow cedar slat shelving in the lower cabinet. Behind the stove there will be a flip up ash lid that gives access to a generous bin for cooking pots.

Shaping the bulkhead trim.

Here I have made the flip up counter extension that will bridge between the Galley and the icebox. There is a simple bronze pin retainer that will keep it in place when down. The fiddles are tapered as can be seen in the photo. Waiting for the brass barrel bolts to arrive before I install it. Working on the varnish now and starting the salon hull ceiling. Will keep updating this post as the galley gets finished off....

Boot Stripe

This was a bit tricky as I had not done it before. I had the stripe taped on the boat for some weeks looking at it now and again to see if I was happy with it. I wanted the stripe to follow the sheer at the bow to reduce the visual free-board. My friend Rick who helped me with the spray-painting also spent a few hours with me looking at it and helping fairing the lines. He showed me a trick where you use the tape to lay down a strip above your line and then take away the one below and then relay a new strip and so on. Each strip of tape you can fair out the minor imperfections. I really like the 3M233+ tape as you can stretch it pretty tight when laying it down. Once I was satisfied with the strip on the port side I had to transfer it to the starboard side. To do that  measurements were taken every two feet and then transferred and marked and faired with the tape the same way. Anyways, finally posting photos of  the finished boot stripe and the real test of it's success will be when you can stand back 50ft and see the whole boat.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


The hull finally got painted last week. Took a lot of time to prep the boat and the spraying equipment and shop. Thursday Rick sprayed on the topcoat of Awlgrip Off -White. I was his hose slave and guided the two air hoses and gun hose over and around the staging and obstacles while he concentrated on spraying. We did four coats and by the last coat the lighting was getting to be a challenge being an overcast day and it was hard to see how we were doing. The result was great though and am very pleased with the results. The photos with my point and shoot camera are not very good and everything is so shiny the photos are full of reflections. But here it is anyways to get the idea.

Rick Spraying the 545 epoxy primer

The topcoat the next morning. Time to unwrap the boat.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Door Work

Some pictures of the cabinet door work since it is not that interesting to take photos of paint and varnish coat number this or that. Coat 6 looks pretty much like coat 8. Finished spraying the hull this week so will post photos of that as well.

For cabinet doors I really like using loose tenons for construction. It has a lot of advantages such as simple and quick to make, very strong, and measuring out the rails and stiles is simpler. Plus it still feels like honest woodworking and not cheating. I make up lengths of lose tenon stock out of what ever hardwood I have in the shorts bin.

Fitting hinges. Not my favorite job. The hinges are set into the frame bead. Normally I would let in the hinges 50/50 but here I want the hing pin to line up in the bead to I set them in enough to give me a nice door gap and surface mount them on the door frame.

A pile of doors. There is a total of 20 doors and 4 drawers on the boat. You would not think there would be so many but they add up. The regular cabinetry are solid frame and panel with a bead around the frame. When deciding on the aesthetics for the boat I got a lot of inspiration from an old Wooden Boat article on the re-building of a Sardine Carrier "GRAYLING" by Doug Hylan. The cabinet doors and hardware (catches by Phoenix Lock) and settee backs are mainly inspired by studying those photos ( Wooden Boat Issues; 141 & 142 Mar/April 98 & May/June 98 ). I like a quote written in the article that said something to the extent that the router should not be an arbiter of taste. Hand shaping bulwarkcaps, bulkhead caps, counter edges and fiddles to a more pleasing oval shape is much nicer than a simple machined round over. 

Details of  "GRAYLING" can be seen here:

 The sail locker doors I decided to build with slats to promote air circulation. 

Some bead details around the starboard settee book shelf locker.

Construction detail of the galley sliding door frame. The top bead is set into a rabbet in the frame. The frame is joined with a bridle joint. I used raised finger holes for the sliding doors.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

August Work

August has been a lot of this and that. I am waiting to get the hull sprayed and since I took apart my stairs up to the boat it is rather awkward getting up and down. So in the mean time I am making good use of the time by working mostly on the shop floor and painting and varnishing up on the boat.

 I took the hull painting as far as I could.  The hull is prepped and ready for spraying, the bulwarks have four coats and the transom 8 coats of varnish. A few more would not hurt if I have time. The boomkin is painted with three coats of white Brightside. I was very particular about the boomkin. Way back I spent quite some time trying to find a good piece of Douglas fir. I wanted a heavy piece with tight grain at 45 degrees so all sides would be edge grain. Where it lands on the deck was then glued onto 1" teak so it would not be fir sitting on the deck. It was coated with S1 penetrating epoxy and then two coats of primer and three coats of top coat. I epoxy coated all the bolt holes before bedding on the boomkin/anchor roller and to the deck. The holes in the deck got countersunk so there would be a "donut" of goop around the hole. A general practice I have done with every hole in the deck.

Removed all the portlights after marking out the length of the bolts. Also filed a bevel in the portlight opening so I can put a good bead of goop around the spigot before the trim ring goes on. Now getting coats of varnish on the cabin. It's a big cabin and coaming so it takes time to go around it. The varnish and painting on the scuttle is almost done. So trying to juggle painting and varnishing with making dust.

I have had to abandon the Epifanes varnish I have always used and like. I tried every way I could think of but it seemed to skin over as soon as I opened a can but the final straw was I could source the Interlux Schooner varnish for half the price of the Epifanes. So Interlux it is for now. However, I can tell by the noxious smell that the interlux is not natural and it is thinner than the Epifanes.

Once the last coat was on the bulwark and sheer strake I was able to finally install the 3/4" brass rubbing strip on the rub rail. The channel for the chainplates is proud so I had to bend the rubbing strip there. I was lucky as my friend is a high school metal work teacher and I went with him so I could use his oxy-acetylene torch to heat up the brass and bend it around a form I made. I should have tacked some sheet metal over the form as the radius of the form got a little bigger each time I bend the hot brass over it and it started to burn it's way into the wood. It was little enough that it really did not matter. Trying to bend it cold would result in the brass work hardening, becoming brittle and probably cracking.

Milled up a big pile of hull ceiling and bulkhead staving. Also made the dovetailed drawers. I decided I had to dovetail them as it would be disappointing to open them and see a drawer screwed together or made of plywood. I got some really beautiful Western White Pine. Totally clear tight vertical grain and wonderfully easy to dovetail. Used 6mm mahogany ply for the drawer bottoms as it seemed to make sense for the application. The drawers also have raised finger holes and will have a simple turn button to retain them. I find wedges frustrating and am never confident in them to keep the drawer closed. I also wanted to avoid the unsightly gap at the top of the drawer you need when you have a wedge you need to lift the drawer to clear.

Making all the doors right now but forgot to take photos. Here is the settee backs though. Simple enough and just a bead detail to keep with the theme and a raised finger hole.

Also got the patterns made for the chainplates and backing plates for chainplates and windlass. Still need to do some more castings but getting the chainplates done was a big priority for being able to finish off the interior. The patterns are a split pattern and were rammed up vertically. So a little bit of taper to grind but over such a small area it is not much at all. Everdur Silicon bronze like all the rest of the hardware and nicely cast by Achinback Foundry just 20 minutes away in Langford. Sure am lucky to have a good foundry so close by. It is such a cool process where you send in some wood patterns and get bronze pieces back.

I was trying to figure out what the boot strip and painted bulwark and sheer strake would look like. The whole idea was to make the boat look lower, keep with the work boat heritage and cover up the 'glass work I had to do at the deck hull joint. I got out some old school pencil crayons and did some colouring...

I had to finish a cabinet in Cherry and Douglas fir. It was to be a filing cabinet so that dictated the size of the drawers and how many. I do not like mechanical drawer slides but in this case it made sense. The cabinet it frame and panel and the drawer fronts are thick douglas fir bandsawn veneer over Baltic Birch ply. The pulls are hand carved Paduk.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bottom paint

Finished the barrier coats on the hull. After sanding the hull with 80 grit with 6" RO sanders we wiped down and rolled the layers of Interlux Inter-Protect 2000E . We rolled 4 inches above the waterline as the boot stripe will be 2 inches above the waterline so the InterProtect will over lap 2 inches into the boot stripe. We re-marked the waterline using flexible clear PVC  tubing and water  with blue dye. It was a quick process for one of us to be at the transom at the waterline mark and watch the dye and call up or down to the other until the dye was at the mark. Worked our way around the hull and took probably no more than 20min per side.

I had thought about using the Interlux two part Perfection paint for the free-board but I found out that it recently has been discontinued in Canada so that left Awlgrip. I had favoured the Protection as it was easily maintainable by the user and while Awlgrip is one tough paint it is not maintainable and very expensive. Well, once all the reducers and converters etc. are available in early August we can spray the free-board. In the mean time I un-masked the bulwark and am sanding it down to give it a third coat of Kingston Grey Brightside paint and then put on the half oval brass rubbing strip onto the rub rail. I will also get to work on the chain plate casting patterns and start milling up some more hull ceiling and bulkhead staving for the interior.

Masked off and Inter-Protect 2000E rolled on hull. With the metal stands and my old lumber boat stand gone one can really see the shape of the hull.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Back to Work on the Falmouth Cutter

Will the blog live doctor?...Yes, I think I hear a slight heart beat...there is hope...

Last time I posted here I had written there would be a long pause. Long indeed. This past week I finally got back to work on the Falmouth Cutter. A lot has happened since I was last working on the boat and it felt a bit strange and also good to be back on the boat. I spent over three years in Sweden and completed my Journeyman's (Gesäll) exam at the Carl Malmsten school on Öland and worked for a small cabinet shop on the same island. I learned a lot and spent the three years refining my skills in furniture and cabinet making. I have to say that building my Gesäll exam Cabinet was probably one of the hardest pieces of woodworking I have done. One of the nice things about woodworking is one never stops learning and there are always new challenges to test your skills. Some of the work I did can be seen at this link:

It was a bit of a culture shock to be back in Canada and that was best dealt with by going on a month and a half road trip with the trusty 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser camping and hiking and canoeing around British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. After that it was busy with settling into life here and cabinet work. I also had to re-new my teaching licence and spent a semester teaching woodwork at a high school.

My plan this summer and fall is to complete the woodworking on the boat. Most of the work is interior work but I also need to make casting patterns for the chainplates and other hardware. The first thing that needed to be done was to paint the hull. Bryan from Channel Cutter Yachts who builds the FC34 came down this week to help get the hull ready. I had cleaned up the boat shed and the years of accumulated stuff under the boat as well as torn down the high scaffolding which I do not need any more and would be in the way of painting. I built new lower scaffolding and we sanded down the hull with 6" random orbital sanders. Next week we will mark out the waterline and paint the barrier coats below the water line. My friend who did all the coating work when I worked at Waterline Yachts will spray the freeboard.

I did a complete cleaning of the boat before covering it all up in preparation for painting. It was the first time I had seen all the cardboard off the deck and the whole boat clean in a long time. I thought I would post a few pictures. Next posting will be the painted hull.

First time I could look at the hull with out the scaffolding in the way for many years

Bryan busy sanding under the waterline

Boat is masked off and sanded ready for painting