Monday 27 April 2015

Catching some rays

We made the most of the ANZAC day long weekend and flipped Elena back the right way up, onto the cradle we made. This time we dispensed with the ropes. I lifted it off the sawhorses using a trolley jack at either end, and dropped it on some enormous (wimpy) camping mattresses. Then Perry and I grabbed a gunwale and lifted. Once it was balanced on it's side I nipped around the other side to lower it onto the cradle. Really quite easy.

Here she is sitting out in the sun while I tidy the garage, which was starting to look pretty sad.

I'm indebted to Peter Sibley from the wooden boat forum for the Penetrol tip. I'm really pleased with how the bottom paint has turned out. Boats look rather more proper the right way up.

Friday 24 April 2015

Building the mast slide

So this is where bits get big, and unwieldy. Bloody long sticks of wood, that have to be carefully processed and joined together accurately.

I prototyped a section of mast previously. The plan is to do a modified birdsmouth construction, from Jarrah and Tassie Oak (yes, these are my choice of timbers, both hard and dense), with comparatively thin walls, an integrated sail track, and slightly oval shape. Here's a piccie of my prototype, showing what I hope to achieve with the real thing:

The first step in construction is to create the sail track from Jarrah. This is made from two 30mm x 12mm staves, scarphed into a 6.1m length (plus a bit). I started by cutting half the sailtrack into each side with the router, and then cross drilling for 6mm dowels:

This took a little while - they're really, really long. Here are the two staves prepped and ready, in the hallway of my house as there's nowhere else with a long flat surface to do this:

Alas I didn't take a photo immediately after gluing, as I was distracted. I found applying thickened epoxy with a roller was the best way to get a consistent coat quickly, and I also found (again) that I don't have enough clamps. I made do, but there are some spots that I'll have to fill with thickened epoxy using a needle.

A piece of rag tied to a rope that was laid in the channel prior to clamping served quite nicely to clear excess squeezage.

In any case, here's the glued halves, with some slugs chucked into the track to ensure it works nicely:

My thought is that the dowels (every 30cm) will ensure the track doesn't split apart under the load from the sail.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Last coat on the bottom

So the recipe for the final coat. First wet sand with 320 grit emery, then roll and tip with about 15% penetrol added to the paint.


Here's the hull after wet sanding with 320 grit. I aimed for about 75% matting, deliberately not going all the way to the bottom of the valleys to avoid sanding through.

And here's the result of the final rolled and tipped coat.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Third coat

It turns out I wasn't the only one leaving finger prints in the paint.

I did the second coat (no photos) with a high density foam roller rather than the short nap mohair one. I found the high density foam roller conforms better to the shape of the hull, and allows me to get an even film of paint into the laps. It puts a thinner coat on, (no runs!) but no gloss.

I sanded between each coat with 240 grit emery. Dry after coat 1, wet after coat 2. Sanding wet is much, much better.

Here's the finish after the third coat. I rolled and tipped for this one, using the 100mm high density foam roller.

There's evidence of brush marks - I'm thinking I'll use a bit more thinners on the next coat to get the paint to flow better. If the next coat is good, I'll call it done at that point.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Sea mist

So here's the very first coat of Norglass Enamel, in "sea mist".

I like this stuff quite a lot. It takes a good long time to set up, and gives me plenty of opportunity to fuss with it. I started by rolling with a 5mm mohair roller then tipping with a brush, but ended up just rolling. I'll probably thin things out a tad for the final coat and roll/tip then. For the moment I'm waiting impatiently for this to harden fully before going at it with 240 grit wet and dry.

I bought 3 litres of this stuff, this coat used a little over half a litre.

There's a lot of floaties in this first coat - for subsequent coats I'm thinking of mopping the garage floor a couple of hours before I start to reduce the dust.

Sunday 12 April 2015

Ready for paint, cradle, and starting to make mast staves.

First some cat content. It's been noted that I've gone a couple of posts without including a photo of my cat. Here he is with one of his new favourite toys, a frayed piece of double braid rope:

With my skeg completed I've been patiently fairing my hull, in preparation for painting. I started with epoxy mixed with micro-ballon fairing powder on the really dodgy bits, then did a couple of coats of unthickened epoxy, then went at it with 180 grit sandpaper until most all the gloss is gone.

I've (rather controversially, it would seem, if the woodenboat forum is to be believed) decided to dispense with undercoat. My reasoning is that I've already gone to the effort of fairing and sanding out the epoxy to 180 grit. Undercoat is only there to provide an easy to sand substrate, so it adds nothing.

Money is reasonably tight for us at the moment. A trailer is many months away, regardless of whether I buy one or build one. At some point real soon though I'm going to want to flip the boat back over the right way so I can do decks etc. In order to enable this, I've knocked up a quick cradle, out of Jarrah and Tassie oak. It's got two shaped bunks for the hull, much like the bunks on a trailer. I'll put large caster wheels on it so I can move the boat around once it's back upright.

One of the hazards of boatbuilding is that suppliers are incredibly slow. I ordered paint a week ago but to the best of my knowledge it hasn't yet been sent. In the meantime, I figured I'd start making some of the staves for my mast. Here's what happens when I scarph three 2.4m long bits of Jarrah together. Firstly I have to open the back door of the garage and poke it through, and then of course it rains.

Next step is topcoat on the bottom of the hull. I've decided to go with Norglass "enamel" (polyurethane) in "sea mist", which should camouflage the boat perfectly when it's capsized a hundred nautical miles off Carnarvon.

Network Solutions are evil.

So if you're one of my stalkers, you'll have noted that my other blog,, has disappeared. If you're desperate to see the guff I wrote there on frame building, I highly recommend you learn how to use the wayback machine.

I set up the other blog a number of years ago, when I had a vague idea that I might end up building bicycle frames for profit, either as a part-time gig or else as a full-time semi-retirement thing. I do a pretty good bicycle frame, but the whole gig just isn't profitable, like with many hobby things. The reason my frames are pretty good is that I spend an absolutely incredible amount of time obsessing over them. If I was to charge for my time, nobody would (could!) buy one. If I cut corners so they didn't take as much time to build, they wouldn't be special. They'd be the same as what everyone else makes. Catch 22. Yes I will continue to build bicycle frames. No I won't sell you one. You're going to have to learn to live with that disappointment.

In any case, the name registration for was due to expire this year. It costs me money to keep the name registration going, so given that I've lost interest in that I decided not to renew. That's where the trouble started.

I had littlefishbicycles registered with Network Solutions. Back when I registered the URL, they had a complete monopoly on .com internet names, so you went with them or else you didn't get a name. So I registered with them, paid a small fortune for the privilege of them doing, well, not actually very much, and made use of my name.

A few years ago I faced a similar dilemma. I knew my domain was going to expire soon, and I was vacillating about whether or not to renew. Then a few months before expiry I got an email from Network solutions thanking me for my payment. I was surprised, as I was certain I hadn't authorised an auto-renew. I gave them the benefit of the doubt though and let it pass. I logged into my account, found the auto renew checkbox, and ensured it was turned off.

So you know where this is going, right. A few months ago, I got an email from Network Solutions, telling me DIRE THINGS were going to happen soon, because my URL was going to expire. I logged into my account and made sure the auto renew was turned off, and left it at that. Sure enough, a week or so later, I get an email from them saying that my bank had refused payment, and that I needed to update my credit card details. They'd had a go at charging me, but this time my card had expired so it didn't work.

I logged into my account with them to find a cancel button. Nope. Nothing. There isn't even an email address - just a US phone number. I can see now what would happen if I tried calling that. My business would be important to them, and I'd be reminded of that for half an hour whilst on hold. So I didn't bother. Frankly I figured they'd be stuffed because of the expired card.

So since then, I've been getting emails from them every couple of weeks, telling me that they'd tried (again) to bill my card, and that my bank had refused. Eventually I got an email from my bank asking if I'd authorised payment to this mob. I told them I haven't, and so they cancelled my card, and are reissuing me with a new one.

So now, thanks to these pricks, I have no access to my account for a week or so while the new card gets here. And when it does, I'll have to update my details with all and sundry. I did a web search on "network solutions unauthorised charge" and get a really amazing number of hits. Turns out it's their standard business practice. If you're an IT professional and you read this, please, please, don't do business with these bastards. If you know an IT professional, please warn them.

In the meantime, I've found my old card is just perfect for applying and smoothing epoxy to my boat.