Jump to content

Any interest in a Catspaw build? Also featuring rabbits.


Recommended Posts

Not very impressive compared to some of the big action on here, but I didn't see a Catspaw build thread so I thought maybe I'd start one in case it benefits other builders down the road.


I have a place on an island that's most easily reached with a dinghy from my mooring buoy in the bay there.  I have this little fibreglass flat-bottomed, round-chined sub-$100 craigslist tub that I've been using but the previous owner just knew nothing about boats, or wood, or glue, so thing deteriorated rapidly.  I mean who mounts an oarlock to a sixteen-inch scrap of trim held on to the hull with wood glue?  And of the people who do that...how many boast about their woodworking?  Anyway...


The point is I stopped wanting to fix it and started wanting to replace it.  I haven't built a boat in ages but I do like doing it; the first boat I ever owned was a sailing sharpie of my own design I built back in university.  And in the long run, I'd like to replace my main boat with something in the 25-28' range, although my relocation to somewhere with space keeps getting pushed back and every time I think I've cut a deal to move my work, something goes sideways.


Anyway, I live in a condo so no big builds for the time being, but a replacement dinghy?  Now that I can do.


Here's the only picture I think I have of the old beater (wife joke, rimshot):
Broken oarlocks, floats awkwardly, tracks terribly. 
Here is week 1 of the replacement project...
Plywood in the front hall:
Sheets clamped together in the living room to cut out the hull shapes:
Truing up the edges with a plane...both rabbits are very interested in this giant, gnawable toy.
There's more, but I don't think I've ever actually posted here so my permissions are pretty limited.  At any rate, this is the beginning.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm definitely lucky in that my wife just assumes whatever I'm doing must be either necessary or beneficial.


Not entirely sure how the boat is leaving this apartment once assembled.  Clearly not out the front door, anyway.
The bow and stern transoms apparently like a bit of rigidity so I chopped up a 1x6 and epoxied it to the upper to give them some meat.  You can see my disastrous spare room filled with the parts and pieces for a dozen projects and hobbies strewn everywhere:
I hacked together a temporary centre frame out of scrap.  The funnest part was planning out the angles; I happen to enjoy doing math (my wife calls it "the math bath") while relaxing in the sauna and cutting the scrap up and then assembling it on pure faith in my EXTREMELY rusty trigonometry was actually totally thrilling.  I realize how nerdy that sounds but it actually worked out fine.  Last Monday I started fitting pieces together, and the rest of the pictures are just different stages of the assembly process from this afternoon:
Sorry about the terrible photo quality; I wasn't really thinking about lighting or anything and this phone does horrible stabilization.
In the last pic I have just mocked up front and rear seat bulkheads and thrown in the second spreader, and was doing a half-assed job of test fitting the centre seat post/daggerboard column.
Tomorrow if I get a bit of time I will start tacking the hull together with epoxy and wood flour.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The build looks great!  I am impressed with your determination (due to spatial constraints) and your skill level.  


But you said “...my wife just assumes whatever I'm doing must be either necessary or beneficial.”  She’ll get over it (ask any of us), so enjoy the ride as long as you can!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Thrillsbe said:

The build looks great!  I am impressed with your determination (due to spatial constraints) and your skill level.  


But you said “...my wife just assumes whatever I'm doing must be either necessary or beneficial.”  She’ll get over it (ask any of us), so enjoy the ride as long as you can!


You know, people have been warning me that would happen for seventeen years now but like the guy who jumped off the top of the skyscraper shouted to the people on every floor he passed on the way down..."so far, so good!"

The condo build isn't ideal but I haven't built a boat in so long that I just snapped.  Last Sunday afternoon, there was just this brief discussion that went something like "hey, can you help me load plywood on the car and drag it up the stairs after?  Okay, get your shoes.  We're going to a wood store."  I think we got home with the wood around 4pm on Sunday and I just started measuring and marking.


11 hours ago, Ken_Potts said:

Looking good! Keep us posted.  And please remember that cutting a rabbet is an entirely different thing than cutting a rabbit - This isn't a cooking forum after all. :)


To avoid confusion, I've actually been forced to describe it as "rebating an edge" rather than "cutting a rabbet" because my wife is, essentially, a crazy rabbit lady.


11 hours ago, Steve W said:

That is awesome......are you a bachelor yet or just hoping to be? I need to show this to my wife. She would kill me. Ha!


At some point I'll probably end up posting a picture which shows her total lack of concern with the boat's presence but for the moment I'll just say that I've ridden motorcycles into most of the places we've lived and rebuilt engines on tarps in living rooms before.  As I explained when we met, "I'm not domestically inclined."


11 hours ago, Riggs said:

LOL and i get grief for using a butter knife to mix bondo :angry: This build should be a real hoot plus i get to keep it in reserve for when i get cought sculking of with one of the wife's appliances again.   Keep posting 

Well, bondo smells funny.  That'd bother anyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Turns out the boat was pretty true as-built.  Running a tape corner to corner as she sat, one diagonal was 3/8" longer than the other, so I popped a couple of screws in on the long corners and tied a string between them, making a cinch with a couple of loops on the string to snug it into shape.  It didn't take much.

In some ways this is the most satisfying picture so far: this is my scrap-and-math temporary frame.  I find the idea that you can do some math and come up with numbers and build a shape in the dark, and have it be so accurate that when you screw it into place under the boat without being able to see the centreline, tighten everything down around it, then turn it over and find the centreline perfectly aligned to be absolutely amazing.
I was also really happy about the fitment of the hull sides to the bottom.  I know this kind of precision isn't necessary in stitch-and-glue but it's really satisfying.  Can't get a knife blade between them the whole length down:
And now that the fillets are in place, I'll have to wait a bit.  So far my favourite tricks in the build is either smoothing the fillets by pressure with a gloved hand once it's half-kicked and fairly hard but slightly mouldable, or my portable epoxying table, which is a scrap of plywood I had lying around which was slightly smaller that a garbage bag.  Bag goes over the plywood, and presto...disposable non-adhering work surface.
I know that wire is often preferred for stitching but I had tons of those zip ties around and other than the 4 at the front corners, they're all sized to fit in 3/32" holes, plus they have the steel jaw so they grip well.  The whole thing was built pretty tightly so they don't intrude much into the fillet and I'll just leave them.  I'll be taping overtop of course so I'm not super worried about it.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, initially the plan was to just fillet between the stitches, pull the zap straps, and then come back and do full fillets after.
But I found that the mini zap straps hardly intruded into the fillets at all, and it looked like I had about 12 oz of epoxy left which I thought would be about enough to finish the filleting, so I just started mixing, packing, and scraping.
When I got home last night I snipped off the zap straps and took a plane to everything that stuck out.  There was planned overhang of the bottom and it was even on either side so I was pretty happy with that and trimmed it flat.  It'll have to get rounded over for the glass tape to adhere and to be honest I'm not looking forward to radiusing that edge.  Not because it'll be hard or anything, I just hate to see that clean joint get erased.
Anyway getting pretty boaty in here!
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

   You're making great progress. Keep up the good work.

   Be careful to stick with that plane as long as possible because the moment you switch to sandpaper your workshop is going to require frequent cleanings or maybe a sanding tent to match your epoxy table. ;)  Your epoxy table is more refined than mine because I just use a spare piece of ply and get rid of it when the build up gets too bad.  I might steal your idea the next time I mix up a batch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The poxy drips on the floor under the boat create a beautiful and functional non-skid pattern. I notice the chart of the human skeleton on the wall in the background. that's you when your wife finds the sanding dust permeating everything, and that nice poxy pattern.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'm really hoping that the switch from planing to sanding will coincide with a bit better weather.  If it's dry I can sand on the deck which is semi-enclosed; otherwise this is going to get pretty nasty.  I have been using the plane so far mainly because I enjoy it.  Sanding I don't enjoy, so I guess...peel ply and resignation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was at the dentist this morning, and while setting up, the hygienist asked me what I did.
"Oh," I said, "I operate a plane."
"You're a pilot?"
I did what I always do when I don't want to answer a question: I just asked another question.
"Do I not seem responsible enough to be a pilot?"
"Oh," she said, "you totally do.  Is it exciting?"
"Running a plane?"
"Well, anything gets repetitive after a while."
Chines rounded off for fibreglass taping; flat planed into centre to allow for keel.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


Supporting Members

Supporting Members can create Clubs, photo Galleries, don't see ads and make messing-about.com possible! Become a Supporting Member - only $12 for the next year. Pay by PayPal or credit card.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.