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Ben Miller

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Everything posted by Ben Miller

  1. Congrats on the new crew-member! I'm in the same boat, literally (well, almost) and figuratively, as of seven weeks ago. His arms are still too short to reach the oars, but I'm sure he'll be shuttling me around before too long.
  2. No update on the color scheme, sorry (the interior is still Pre-Kote white) but I've put Mo Bear to use a few times now and I'm very pleased with her performance. She looks good and rows even better!
  3. I like to think I'd be done with this by now, but cold spring weather and the arrival of a new baby have significantly slowed the process. Still, I've managed to make some progress on the final finishing. There's one coat of Pre-Kote on the interior and two coats on the exterior (the photo here is after the first coat was sanded down and before the second was applied). My plan is to finish off the hull (sand second primer coat smooth, 2-3 coats of Brightside) before I pick up on the interior again. I've been "longboarding" the exterior for looks, but I'm seriously leaning towards pulling out the random orbital sander for the interior, at least for dealing with the primer coats. I'm not (at all) going for a concours-level paint job on this, and with all the different corners and nooks and crannies the interior takes about 10x longer than the hull. Any reason for me NOT to do this? Oh, also I've got a paint scheme question. The hull will be white and the interior will be light blue. I've been thinking about where to end one and start the other, and I'm leaning towards bringing the white up over the top of the gunwales, knees, and transoms and then starting the light blue on the vertical surfaces of the sides and transoms. Any thoughts about that? This looks the best in my mind's eye, but it also means that I'm painting the top and bottom of the gunwales, which will add steps to my painting process.
  4. I still have painting to do, but "Mo-Bear" tasted water today:
  5. I've been waiting for it to warm up outside so that I don't have to do the messier/smellier jobs inside the house. That's finally happened, so I gave the hull its first really solid overall fairing a couple weeks ago and put the final coat of epoxy on it yesterday. The paint is in-house, so as soon as we get some nice warm days I can start that process. I've been doing a lot of metal-hunting online for my keel strip, and while options are plentiful, picking one is more complicated. The two factors I've uncovered are 1) 5/8" is an unusual width 2) I need 85", and anything that long or longer comes with exorbitant shipping costs. My current plan is to get aluminum bar from a local welding shop. Their price is high, but the specs are right and shipping is $0. I'll glue it down after painting with Sikaflex 291, as discussed above. I'll also add a screw at each end, just for good measure. Remind me to mark where there are already screws into the keel, so I don't try to go through one!
  6. Thanks, that sounds worth a shot! Adhesive sounds a lot easier to deal with if it doesn't stick permanently.
  7. Graham made a comment about the keel rub strip on a CS17 that got me thinking. For a lighter boat--say a dinghy like the Catspaw 8 I'm building--would it be possible to simply epoxy stainless hollow back to the keel, and forgo screws? I'm not planning on dragging my loaded dinghy up a rocky beach. The most stress it will likely come under is when I slide it, unloaded, onto the dinghy dock at the marina. If I can skip the screws, then I don't need to worry about how I bed those down and prevent them from rotting. If this is a terrible idea that would result in the rub strip popping off a month in, then what's a good technique for sealing off the screw holes?
  8. For what it's worth, I've been keeping a loose log of the time spent on my Catspaw build, and I'm up to about 110 hours. I still have fairing and painting and a few small details to go. This is working on it in bits and pieces here and there, which is not an efficient way to get the job done. Also, this is my first boat although I have some experience with wood-working. So unless you have some expertise, larger blocks of time, or are just faster than I am, I'd plan on spending something close to the higher end of your estimate.
  9. Good to know! I wasn't too worried about it, but I figured I should check on the weight and I'm glad it's coming out in this range. For the past few years I've been using an old (as in 1980-something) Achilles inflatable to get out to my mooring. It probably weighs somewhere in the 60-80 pound range, based on this awesome old Achilles catalog: https://achillesboats.com/pdf/files/1980achilles_catalog.pdf (I think my particular dinghy is an ST-4, and I use it without the seats or outboard mount.) It's not too hard to haul it off the dinghy rack at the marina, rest it on my shoulder, walk it 20 feet to the dinghy dock, and slide into the water, although it can get a little fun when there's a good breeze. I was hoping for the Catspaw to be no heavier than the inflatable, and ideally a little less, and it looks like I'm on track for that.
  10. I weighed my Catspaw yesterday: right now it's at 57 pounds. The exterior still needs some fairing and a couple coats of epoxy, plus paint over the whole boat and a metal rub strip on the keel, so the fat lady hasn't sung yet, but I'm very pleased with the results so far. Looks like I'll come in within the spec page's estimated 60-70 lbs weight for a Catspaw 8, and hopefully on the low end of that. One of my requirements for this boat was that it be light enough for me to pull off the dinghy rack and drop into the water on my own, and it looks like I'll be able to do that.
  11. Finished up shaping the mast step. This was a fun piece! So many angles going in all different directions.
  12. Thanks, Alan! That compliment means a lot. Can't wait to get it in the water this spring!
  13. Thanks Paul! I'd probably go with some different art for a permanent workshop, but in this case, what I have works fine. Speaking of (unintentional) art, I've been appreciating the interlocking of all the different parts and layers that make up the aft corners of my dinghy:
  14. Thanks for the input! Maybe I'm overthinking things, but I wanted to make completely sure that I aligned the center seat properly to the bottom of the boat before I gooped it up and glued it down. My solution was to drill a couple of small holes in the hull just to one side of the keel and then insert finishing nails into the holes. That way I could drop the centerboard trunk down over the top of the nails and register the side of the trunk against them. It's all glued down now, so hopefully it worked! I had some time over the holidays and I made some good progress on Mo (named after a "dinghy-shaped" cat my wife and I used to have). I'm using Gaco oarlocks, which required a little extra thought compared to a standard oarlock. These oarlocks get mounted into a 5/8" hole. After some thought, I wound up gluing a small reinforcement block on the outside of the hull directly under the oarlock and then drilled the holes. Having the knees glued in is really making the boat come together, and shaping them to match the curve of the transom and gunwale was very satisfying. My next task is to build the mast step and drill the hole in the upper mast support. I'll be reaching out to B&B for advice on making sure those bits are properly aligned with each other, since I imagine that would have a big impact on sailing performance.
  15. Ok, the frame is almost ready to go in, along with the central seat. Any tips for how I can align the seat properly with the keel? I’m thinking of epoxying it down first and then cutting the centerboard slot later, but I want to make sure everything winds up in the right spot. Second question: what’s a good way go about cutting out the limber holes that pass through the seat and frame? Do one first (probably the seat) and then trace onto the frame. That’s what’s making the most sense to me, at the moment.
  16. This is very true to my experience. Speaking of thinking, I decided (since there's no worry any more about trying to get the boat in the water this season) to beef up the central frame with some additional joinery, rather than relying entirely on gussets. I went with bridle joints at the ends and an odd-shaped half-lap in the middle: I'm going to add gussets to the side joints, but I'm planning (for now) on leaving the middle joint gusset-less, since it's also going to get epoxied to the centerboard trunk, which I figure will give it sufficient support.
  17. Progress over the summer was slow, but I'm picking up the pace again, and it's looking more and more like a boat. I've had a couple of setbacks, the most recent one was when I epoxied the side of the centerboard trunk on the wrong side of central spine of the seat. Had to cut it off, fill the scars, and rebuild it, but I'm almost back to where I was.
  18. Hey Mark, maybe you didn't notice, but you're adding your post to an existing post right here in this thread! So just do that in the thread you'd like to continue: From the main list of topics, click on the thread you'd like to continue. Scroll down to the bottom of the page Find the Reply box. Enter your post Done!
  19. Thanks ribs, that's good feedback. It seems to me that fillets wouldn't be any weaker than cleats, but I'm not a boat-building, and my experience with this stuff is very limited. Right now, installing cleats feels like more work than fillets.
  20. Still plugging away on my Catspaw, although my dreams of launching her this summer have…sailed. Right now I’m assembling the center seat and I’m wondering, is there any reason not to affix the pieces together with fillets rather than the 3/4 x 3/4 rails called for in the plans? I have it all tacked together with epoxy and at this point it seems easier to go the fillet route rather than fitting and shaping filler rails. Thoughts?
  21. I've got the inside taped up and coated in epoxy, so I'm ready to flip her over and start on the exterior. Looking ahead, I have a small question about the gunnel. The instructions say something about making sure the gunnel is applied 1/16" from the top the of the sides, but I'm unsure as to whether that means 1/16" above, or below the top of the sides. Above makes sense to me, since then I'd have a little meat on the gunnels and could bring that down to match the sides. Is that right? Oh, also, I'm not supposed to glass the outside of the center seam, right? The bedding of the keel gives enough strength for this joint?
  22. Thanks Alan. That helps. After a week working on the transom framing it's coming together into the shape of a boat. Yes, I can get it out of the room. ? I know that because we stitched it up outside and then carried it inside to do the tack-welds.
  23. Overthinking things again on a weekend morning...The plans don't call for sheathing the hull in glass. If the plans don't call for it, then I'm sure it's not necessary, but I see that some other people have chosen to do it anyways (one example). What are the pros/cons of doing it vs. not doing it? I'm going to be using this to row out to my boat on its mooring. It'll get stored on dry land, so there'll be a little bit of hauling it in and out of the water, but no really rough treatment.
  24. It took me a couple of reads to get it, but yeah, that does make sense. Thanks for the explanation and the illustrations. Boat geometry is hard! I'm glad you guys figured it out for me. ?
  25. I thought I was all set, but this line threw in a new complication. The specified angle for the stern stiffener matches up perfectly with the aft quarter knee, but the forward one does not. Which one should I follow?
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