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Core Sound 15 #162 — Building the “Norma T”


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Roller Bunks, Revisited

In a short while after installing the new roller bunks onto my trailer, I decided that the wood I used (previous post) made things too high. So, I took things apart again and drilled holes into the steel brackets to make the roller bunks directly attached (without wood.)


I still wanted to make the steel channel iron that supports the rollers match the bottom curve of the boat rather than simply rely on a single roller to bear all the weight (the channel iron was straight.)  THAT took some doing, to bend the channel iron enough in a number of places to produce a curve and keep it when the pressure was released.  A few different approaches finally yield enough force to permanently bend the steel and I believe I accomplished (enough) of what I was trying to do.

An old clamp of mine didn’t make it. 


But, the roller bunks are at a better height now. AND, the boat just rolls off the trailer at the landing.



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A Few Additional Items

I’d been thinking about building a bed platform for the rear cockpit area (I brought up the issue in this thread.)  Finally, I had the time and inclination to begin. With some measuring, a few “bulkheads” were made from leftover pieces of okume plywood. Those would go across the cockpit, resting on the keel batten and much of the floor, and still allowing water (if there is any) to move along the keel and not pool up. 


The three bulkheads were screwed together to cut slots for the cross pieces. 




The first cross piece was cut from the kit’s temporary bulkhead that I had tossed into the attic (until there was some use for it.)



When cutting the center cross piece from this plywood, it occurred to me I should cut off a corner to help ease it into place. But, OOPS ?, I cut the wrong corner.  Ok, first, cut off the correct corner.  Then, I guess, it’s a little repair to make (the cut-off corner is screwed into place until I epoxy everything… then it will be glued.) ?





Onward. Three cross members were made, again from leftover wood. 


For setup, I’ll assemble the most aft piece first and then place the rest of the supports.  With this approach I won’t need to permanently install rails along the cockpit edge. 



Now to cut several rectangle shapes for the area between the seats, using leftover plywood pieces from my current boat build. The pieces are weird shapes ? but I got three of the four pieces this way. 






BUT, the fourth piece will need to be cut from a new full sheet.  (Trivia… I bought the wood for my current ski-boat build from B&B and to get the plywood fitting into my van for transport home I had Alan cut little squares that fit around my van seat’s mounting pylon… Alan hoped “I wouldn’t rue the day” with those notches, but things have worked out as I planned.)



So, I now have a bed platform available for Norma T.  


The disassembled pieces fit nicely into the smaller forward cockpit space nestled up to the centerboard trunk. 



I’ll add little lips to three of the platform pieces to make them fit together more securely and I’ll epoxy coat everything… later. Very little wood was left over from this project that was fashioned out of my boat-build scraps.  I love using up wood that I purchased. 


While being such a busy beaver, I did a couple other little jobs that I wanted to get at. First, I had picked up a strap-type boarding ladder that needed some way to attach securely to the transom.  Since I sometimes lean my back onto the transom when a lot of people are aboard, I didn’t wasn’t a metal hook or eye sticking out.  I ran some rope through a piece of 18 mm ply (the darker wood) and then bolted the wood to the transom. The ladder is easily stored away and can be quickly attached for sailing… in case it’s needed.  I’ll try it out… someday. 



My third little task was to create a one inch spacer to raise off the thwart my alternative mainsheet camcleats.  The riser makes it much easier to set the line into the cam cleat. I really like having these additional cleats for a passenger to use when managing the mainsail while sitting in the front cockpit… or when I am sailing solo and sitting right behind the mizzen thwart (that way, I don’t need to reach behind me to adjust the mainsheet in the original cleats along the inwales.)

A few more little building tasks are now done… well, except to epoxy the bed platform pieces.  Perhaps yet this year, I will try out the bed platform with an overnight on board. ?


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  • 5 months later...

I know… not part of the B&B stuff here… but, my son has taught himself to do some beautiful crafting with wood to support his boat interests.  To propel one of his 3 cedar strip canoes he made another paddle.  He said it started out as a “beater” paddle from scraps from another paddle build.  Then, it started to turn out nicely with his spokeshave work so he put on a nice oil finish… and then drilled holes for a cribbage board for the campsite. I wish I could “post” the soft, velvety smooth finish on the handle and shaft. ?. I know some of you folks would appreciate seeing this hand-made project. 


I gave him plans for a lapstrake sailboat (not B&B) that he’d like to build someday.  I’ll keep nudging him toward considering the new B&B Lapstrake kit.  ?. We’ll see. 





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The trick with that kind of ladder is to keep your feet under you.  It requires some strength and concentration but it can be done.  It's a different activity than climbing a ladder, more like balancing on a slack line.  Work your way higher until your waist is at the funnel, then flip foward into the boat.  

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  • 7 months later...

Still Off Topic… but anyway…

My son just finished this week building his fourth cedar strip canoe (the strips of the most previous two builds were cut from scrap cedar boards.)  He embarked yesterday with a young college graduate (long-time friend) on a ten-day trip to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, starting in Gunflint Lake.  I gotta say, his new 17 foot canoe and paddles are really gorgeous.  (He wove the seats.)






Relating to last September’s post above on making a sleeping platform:

Earlier this summer, both of my boys came with me to camp on my two Core Sounds on a nearby lake.  I had fashioned a platform for the Norma T on which I pitched a tent.  The two boys enjoyed staying in Avocet’s cabin (a whole lot easier to set up… they watched me get my CS15 set up with a tent and enjoyed the entertainment. 😂)

This is what I ended up with… I made a three piece platform top with duct tape “hinges” for the rear cockpit of Norma T:



These are some shots that I took in the morning while paddling around in my son’s third canoe build (15 foot.)







I brewed lots of morning coffee for us:


My phone created a short video of our little full-moon sailboat camp out:


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2 hours ago, PadrePoint said:

I will bring Avocet to the Messabout… then I will leave it at Don Silsbe’s house for winter stabling, care, feeding, and, of course, exercise. 

Good deal.  I'm hoping to make it to the messabout, but I got roped into something the evening of the 19th, grrr, so will have to leave then to start driving.  I'll use the spaghetti dinner as an incentive, assuming all works out...

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  • 2 weeks later...

New Countertops Project for Norma T’s “Galley”

In 2020 I built Norma T from a B& B kit in the garage space normally used for my wife’s car. That meant her car stood outside for the 3-4 month duration of the build.  

I then decided to build a second boat from plans the next year, a 15’ ski boat (I wanted to build it since high school.)  That project meant 6 months of 2021 in which my wife’s car had to endure the spring and summer elements… as do both my car and the van ALL YEAR!  

This year, I again filled the garage with hull construction and sanding dust while my wife’s car was outside during the spring and summer so I could complete the ski-boat project. In time, I got a cover for the ski boat and began its outdoor yard storage.  My wife’s car happily returned to its customary garage place. It even looks a little like it’s grinning. 


“Twin” boats… fraternal, not identical.  Both have the same colors, lengths, gunwales, trim, trailers, new Hondas, and are named after my parents: Joe and Norma T.


Now, a bit of background from last Christmas… my wife offered me a suggestion for another boat project when I finished my second boat build… since I’m so enjoying the wood-building projects (and, I s’pose, in light of her car’s sacrifice of garage space).  

“Don’t you think it would be really fun to put brand new wood countertops into the galley?”

“But Norma T is an open cockpit day-sailor and it doesn’t HAVE a galley.”


“Well… now follow me on this… when we take it sailing, especially with the family, we always have a meal on board that is prepared in the galley… well at least in the house kitchen.  So, you can clearly see that placing new countertops in the kitchen is REALLY a project that benefits Norma T.  And, Lowes now has butcher block countertop slabs that would be EASY for you to finish and install… Mr. Fancy Woodworker.”




So in early January I bought three of the unfinished 88” countertop slabs… beautiful hardwood, I must say… nicely made… and heavy.  Ya think a sheet of marine plywood costs something.  That’s nothing compared to the countertops. 

I kept them in the basement unopened until I gathered enough gumption and confidence to start the project a couple weeks ago.  I began by doing just the two small sections for either side of the stove, rounding the edges and applying many layers of epoxy and varnish.  I had NO idea how to actually install the newly finished countertops until I removed the old ones to see what was there. 


I figured it out, though I wasn’t quite satisfied with the final coats of varnish… still had some brush lines and little bumps from dust that appeared hours after that final coat was applied.  Gotta try something a bit different for the larger pieces.  But, I like how they look.  I’ll make backsplash pieces later (for the white space under the tiles that my wife had installed some years ago)… when I figure out what to make them with. That little overhang on the end will have a hinged lift-up section with a brace to provide more counter space when needed… and maybe a small grandkids “table” when the whole family sitting at our table for a meal.


OK, the first phase of the “boat-galley” project is done. Onward to the big sections, which includes the new sink, faucet, disposal, dishwasher, and bringing in a plumber for all the hookups and drains.




I’ve spent a LOT of time trying to figure out how I’ll do all this. Like in my boat-building work, I think and think… 🤔on how I’ll do something… but at some point I just have to start working with my hands… which is often when the best ideas form on HOW to do something.  

First, cut the pieces to size with the new fine-tooth blade I bought for my trusty old saw. 


The edges were rounded with the router I bought for the ski-boat… projects provide great reasons to buy tools.



I recently bought a biscuit cutter for the two countertop joints. (That idea was recent… I think it will be a handy tool to have.)  I cut matching slots and tried out the biscuits to see how a joint would come together. NEAT system. 




The pieces are ready for final sanding, epoxy and varnish. 

This all took about three hours on Sunday after which I got some beer and pizza for the Packers game.  They won… barely… with a field goal in the final second of overtime. Sheeze. 


Today, I donned the ol’ “poxy-pants” to start applying the coats to the underside first.  (Once I finish this final “boat” project a LOT of poxy-stained shirts and t-shirts, my poxy-pants, and shoes will get thrown out.)


I tried a different approach today, pouring epoxy onto the slab, spreading it thinly with a wide plaster knife, rolling a foam roller over all of it, and then carefully running a brush over it… like in roll-and-tip painting.  I think it is coming out much better than my method of just brushing on the epoxy.  We’ll see how things then go with varnish coats; I have some different things I will try. Feel free to offer ideas how to make final varnish coats as free as possible from residual brush lines.  (Note that my wife’s car is outside yet again 😁; she volunteered to move it out so I could have the garage space for finishing work.)


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  • 1 month later...

Norma T and Joe are getting a new “grand-canoe” made by my son and painted with the same red and white Interlux Brightsides that I used for both of my recent boat-builds. It was fun to supply him with some of the materials and paint for his build.  

My younger son started his 17’ plywood canoe last year, building it from plans. The epoxy he used is extra resin (and wood dust) I got from B&B for my ski-boat build and the glass material is from what I had left over from my high school build: an 11’ ski-boat that I built in 1968.  My dad (Joe) got a full roll of fiberglass from somewhere and I’ve held onto it since then, waiting to build the ski-boat that I finally completed this summer. I think of it as a “partner” to Norma T, my Core Sound 15 that is named for my mom. I then named the ski-boat for my dad: Joe.  (My kids and grand kids thus have a grandparent legacy and memory in these two boats.)


Last weekend, I gave my son the white paint I was going to use next spring on Norma T‘s interior (intending to put another layer on the seats and to cover some blemishes occurring for various reasons.). He just finished painting the inside of his canoe today. He’s been hand-caning the seats and will install them along with the thwarts. (I like the look; I’m rather partial to the colors, what can I say?)  Do you s’pose he’ll add a white stripe?


And just because I’m proud of the woodworking of both my sons, this is a shot from a couple weeks ago of the canoe my older son recently completed and this weekend the paddles that he has hand-carved.  Yep, that’s a cribbage board on one paddle 😁.  All this stuff went to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters in September. 




This is a shot my two sons the morning after camping overnight on the lake using both of the sailboats. 


I’m writing this post while watching the Green Bay Packers trail behind the Detroit Lions, 🫤 putting off the last part of my “third boat build”, new butcher block counters in the kitchen. (Sort of a trade to my wife for giving me her garage space to build my boats 😁.)


All I need to do is take the old sink and countertops out and put the new ones in place. Easy Peasy, right?  😬. Maybe I can think of another distraction when the game finishes. 😂




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Ok, the “third-boat-build” is done, except for a 3” wood backsplash under the tiles. My wife — who graciously put up with two messy boat builds done in her car’s garage space — just said to me from the kitchen, “I think the new counters and sink look nice; I really like them.”  


I think of the countertop project as a way to sort of balance the building attentions I’ve given to my boats since retiring three years ago… and it barely starts to make up for the mess of building.  I’ve been wondering in the last months what I might be doing once the third project is done.  I found the answer quite recently… I am going back to work full time on December 1 (It will likely back off to part time as we get into 2023.)  Today, to celebrate finishing these epoxy-related building projects, I threw away all my “epoxy clothes” (nearly all my short sleeve shirts fell into that category) and my old tennis shoes.  New shirts are now on the hangers. 
If you’ve guessed by my screen name, PadrePoint, I’m a Lutheran Pastor (ELCA, for those familiar with the Lutheran world) and I live in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.  The opportunity to re-enter active ministry caught me by surprise. Then again, retiring three years ago caught me by surprise… as has my hobby of boat building… and sailing.  My boats are now in winter storage. Next summer will be dedicated to messing-about with boats and playing in the water.  Sleep well Norma T, Joe, and Avocet.  You’ll be back in action soon.  



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