Saturday, December 3, 2011

how to build a boat in 7 days !!!!

Here, I tell the tale of building my boat.  I now know that you too can build a boat.  Since everything takes 3 times longer and 3 times more money than you predicted, make it 3 weeks to be realistic, but, for me, it was a week.  But, they were 12 hour days, and alot of slop. You, of course, won't have that.

first, soak your plywood pieces in a homemade bathtub that you make with a tarp and 2x8's.  A borax solution, like boracare, or anything like that.  The theory is if, if, anything gets past the epoxy layer, then the soaking in borax while inhibit, or kill any wood rot then.
make your ribs from 1x4's

this part , as far as those angles, is where the art is at. But, I say, rough it out, and plunge in ! Plywood can be bent, or mouldeded to the ribs. We had to manhandle my plywood sides, but now it is both screwed and glued.

getting these wired together was a good feeling.

see that purple.  That is the resin, the hardener,and the purple mix in. Apparently, the purple mucilage type mix in is the strongest.  As is, for shaped pieced you would use glass beads as your mix in, but it isn't strong. This stuff is strong. Plus, I have stainless steel screws from the plywood into the the ribs.

having middle aged buddies really helps.

getting ready to seam 2 sections

2 sections done, one to go

finishing the final section

screwing in the bottom. Also note the use of white. That is the glass beads as filler.  Probably, "hence fillet" So, fillet is some kind of boat building terminology about filing in places with fillet.

next time, build the sides , the lay a piece of plywood on the top, and then cut.  Here I made the bottom of the boat at the same time as the sides, but undercut it on one piece and then overcut it on another. Oh well, that must be what glass beads are for.

Felt good right about now.

wet test.

Epoxy putty does not spread well, and is not the product for here.

please note the wood outriggers.  Braced to the bottom it is a tough set of outriggers.

By now everybody knows that rounded hull shapes give better performance, better water pressure resistance, and more payload than slab sided, flat bottom boats.  Occasionally the thought creeps up that if one builds just such a slab sided, hard chine, under performing boat, you can save time and money.

see those rails.  Sliding seats built out of rollerblades, plastic and plywood.

Speakers on your rowboat

My Boat is a 21 ft, 2 man homemade river boat. Wood outriggers, sliding seats. Flat bottom, so I can stand up in it.  It is stable as hell.  I don't think that , with the oars out, and you pulling , you can turn this boat over.  Regular plywood, and 2x4's cut down for the oars.  and a set of computer speakers.  Indoor kind, you know, the ones with the nice subwoofer, left, right, center and 2 rears.  Spread around the boat. Rowing to music, where both rowers are listening to the same thing, at the same time, pulling at the same time to the same beat.  Sounds alot like the proverbial roman slave ship, with a pounding drum, instead of your favorite song .  I recommend putting a harbor Freight 12 volt inverter,and a set of computer speakers on your boat, for your next best row.

Row Camping

Look how much stuff you can get on a rowboat, especially when you have decent length
Room enough for the new puppy
Notice that we even brought firewood

I would like to start my blog with a tale of a 40 mile row camping trip.  Here in Florida, we are blessed with many waterways, including the great Suwannee River.  As in the great old Stephen Foster song, "way down upon the suwannee river" fame.  The state owns great tracts of land along the river, and only recently have they set up official "river camps" that are only accesible by water.  So, since you can only get to these places by boat, and since most people who would destroy these camps are lazy, the up and up is that these camps are pristine. Absolutely perfect.  Each camp has 5 raised platform buildings with screened sides, metal roof, electricity, ceiling fans, your own picnic table and fire ring.  In addition, there are men's and ladies rooms with super clean, multiple toilets, as well as showers with hot and cold water.

as you can see, there is a permanent council fire area with permanent seats.  Really well done, nice acid stained concrete, and a seperate cook building with a whole lot of picnic tables.  The place looks perfect for a boy scout troop to have a great gathering.

That dark spot is the remains of the civil war ship

In addition to River Camps located every 10 miles, there are springs located all along the river.   The kayak/canoe rental places tell me that a paddler can do about 2 miles an hour, so that would be 5 hours of paddling, plus frequent stops for spring swimming.  But, we all know that rowers can go faster than paddlers, so.....   By the way, in Troy springs, pictured above with black floaty things that block boat access to the spring, has the remains of a civil war ship that the southerners blew up with black powder during the civil war.  The river level changes with the season, but the ribs of the ship are generally in about waste deep water.  I remember when my son was younger, years ago, he got a hand made nail out of one of the ribs.

Most of the springs have some kind of underwater challenge, provided by nature, such a archway that you must swim thru.  Must, as in, MAN test!!! You swim down about 8 feet, look thru the arch, see light on the other side and then swim thru. Watch your head coming up.  Great fun.

This is the Cobb cooker.  Use approx 8 charcoal briquettes in the well below where the chicken is, put the lid on, don't look for an hour, will roast the chicken above, potatoes below, and the sides don't get hot

This is a rocket stove. It just burns the ends of the sticks, using a chimney effect, burns very hot.  Will boil 5 gallons of water in 20 minutes.  Popping jiffy pop popcorn here

above is the Adams tract River Camp. You can see our raised platform and the chicken we cooked on our Cobb cooker, as well as the jiffy pop popcorn.  The next morning we set up our picnic table and boiled water for our morning coffee for the french press.  The fine guide who we hired to meet us at the starting point and take our vehicle to the pull out point was just the best guy. His name is Eugene Allen, American Canoe Adventures 386-294-1319 www. He also met us somewhere on the river each day and brought us ice.  A real lifesaver.  Due to a blowout on my truck and having to go into Lake City to buy new tires, we didn't make it to the put in point, Dowling Park, until 5 pm.  We had 10 miles to row until the first camp, that meant rowing for about 3.5 hours in the dark.  And let me tell you, it is really dark on the suwannee river when it gets dark.  There was no moon, and we were both rowing.  Near the banks of the river, where the trees are, it was really, really dark. So, we stayed in the middle where it was less dark. We knew that our camp was at the Lafayette Blue Springs, but how to find it.  In my hurry to pack, I had forgotten my GPS and all the Gps numbers for the camps.  So, about 10 pm, I pulled out my trusty Android phone, with it's built in google maps, and fired that up.  It showed that in about 3 more bends in the river was the Lafayette Blue Springs conservation area, and then sure enough, in the dark, on the port side, we could here the trickling of the springs spilling into the river.  We pulled in and sure enough, we were there.  Rowing in the dark; awesome.  It will keep you interested thats for sure.  It turns out that we were really lucky.  The suwannee river is fed from the Okefenokee Swamp on the border of Florida/Georgia, and when we went in September, it hadn't been raining up there, so the river was/is at record low levels. On the next three days we ran into multiple rapids during the day, rapids that probably would have tipped us if we had encountered them at night during that first night.  As it happened, that first night was perfect.  I brought a handle of cuervo Gold tequilla and plenty of mixer, in this case a number of Dole premixed juice blends, and I poured my first one as soon as we got into the boat at 5:30pm.  Poor Eugene problably thought we were rowing to our doom, starting at 5:30pm. with 10 miles to go before camp.

I will sum this up by saying that it was a really wonderfull trip.  School was back in, and we went during the week, so we absolutely saw no one.  We had the river camps to ourselves and all the springs were empty.  It was just about the best 4 days of my life. Rowing, tequila , cigars, food, and my wonderful wife.  Thanks babe