finishing yard and boom

I still haven’t glued up the 8 piece mast yet. There’s been a lot of crazy happening both in work and personal life. Today I wanted to get some boat work accomplished so I decided it was time to fiberglass tape the ends of the yard and boom. I’m using the Duckworks DWX epoxy to coat the glass and since it has built in UV resistance you can use it as a finish, so I just painted it on both spars. It has a long pot life, so I mixed up 3 pumps each. I didn’t have quite enough to do all 4 sides, but I coated 3 sides each. It started to get a little gummy toward the end and I’m worried about drips and runs. I’ve gone back over it once to remove drips. I’ll check back in a while to see if there are more. At least there’s a little progress.



8 piece mast

Finally made some progress on the mast this weekend. I got the 8 strips cut down to size and notched the 45 degree angle into on side of them using the radial saw. The next trick was to taper them from 19/16ths down to 15/16ths over a 10′ span. I set the pieces up on some of the left over 2×12 on saw horses.


I marked out the first one and carefully cut down to the line with a block plane and a number 4 plane that I just got from my friend Shawn. It belonged to his grandfather and I’m honored to have it in my shop making boats. With the first one cut as a template I thought I’d get out the router with the flush cut bit and trim the next one to match the template. That didn’t go so well. Lots of noise, dust and a big gouge later:

router gouge

router gouge

For the next one I just used the No 4 plane, set the blade a bit deeper and knocked it out in no time. Should have just done that from the beginning. It’s so much nicer working with a plane than power tools. It came out just fine.


With a break in the middle for lunch and a swim with the in-laws, I got all 8 of them cut out and ready to assemble. I’m hoping to get the yard and boom epoxy coated this week and then get the mast assembled this weekend. I’ve decided to build the GIS with the mizzen mast, so that means one more spar to build before I get moving on this hull.


Breakthrough Day!

Tonight I finally finished ripping the strips for the birdsmouth mast out of these 2×12″ 16′ Southern Yellow Pine beasts. Workspace and technique have held me back for months. Getting the carport cleaned up enough to be able to lay out the boards on saw horses and leave them took a while. Moving all the big power tools out of the space took a while. Trying to push the boards through the radial saw and failing due to electrical power and horsepower took a while. Finally the simple answer prevailed. I took a 16″ long scrap of straight wood and clamped it to the skillsaw with a new ripping blade in it. Running that down the 16′ of 2×12 was much easier than trying to push heavy boards through a stationary saw. The whole thing seems so obvious in retrospect. Now I’m wondering if I need a better skillsaw that would allow easier clamping for future ripping. Yeah, I know they make various attachments for these types of things and maybe a good skillsaw would work well like that. I’m open to suggestions. In the mean time this step is complete. Next comes putting these things through the tablesaw to cut the 45 degree birdsmouth and then trimming them down to taper the whole mast from 3″ to 2″. Maybe in September I’ll finally go buy the plywood for this boat.


Just upgraded the bandsaw in the shop to a 14″ Grizzly. It’s definitely the best tool in the shop now. Tonight I used it cut out the boom. Both the yard and boom are rough cut now with some clean up work done. Need to finish cleaning them up with the block plane, round the corners, sand them down, drill some holes, fiberglass tape the ends and varnish them. Sheesh. Feels like I’ve made no progress at all… 😉

Putting the yard through the bandsaw

I recently inherited some tools from my father-in-law when they sold their house and downsized. One of those things was a bandsaw. I had never really used one much before today. The yard and the boom for the Goat Island Skiff taper from 40mm down to 28mm at one end. Originally I imagined I would shape them by hand the way I did for the PD Racer, but even with the nice Lie-Nielsen block plane there was just too much wood to remove. I decided to try running it through the bandsaw and it was fabulous. I made 3 passes through to taper the wood in 2 dimensions. Next I need to figure out how to get down to my lines and make it nice and smooth. Maybe now the block plane with do the trick. Tomorrow I’ll see if I can get the boom done. Then I’ll round over the corners, fiberglass tape the ends and give both spars a few light coats of the new DWX epoxy.


rough shaping spars through the bandsaw

rough shaping spars through the bandsaw

GIS Yard and Boom

Back in Feb I posted that I had bought some wood to start building the mast, yard & boom for the Goat Island Skiff. At some point I glued the 2 pieces of SYP together to form the yard and boom, but apparently never posted it here. They’ve been sitting around for a month or so and tonight I finally got to cutting them. The widest parts are supposed to be 40 mm, so I cut them down to roughly 44 mm to leave room for fine planing. Both ends are tapered as well. Might be a job for the new bandsaw.

rough cut boom

rough cut boom

Time to start making some real progress on this build. After the tapering of the yard and boom, I’ll round over the corners and get some varnish on them. Then it will be time for the birdsmouth mast.

Shipwreck on Falls Lake

Another beautiful February weekend with temps in the 50s and low 60s. I did some more painting on Fiona’s shark Toto.



It’s starting to look pretty good. I really like the way the red gunwale looks with the grey. I also got the back airbox primed and thought I could paint the entire gunwale, but when I flipped the boat upright I realized that I never sanded the gunwale down and rounded it over as I had planned. Couldn’t do that with wet paint around, so it’ll have to wait for later.

One of my goals is to get out on the water every month of the year. I made it out on a nice day in January and since Feb is nearly over (we did get an extra day this year), it was time to get out again. It would have been great sailing today. Wind was steady at 10-15 out of the south, but I only had time for a quick paddle with the first Toto. I launched out of Ledge Rock boat ramp and paddled north along the shore. It wasn’t long before I spotted something odd in the shallows.



As I got closer I realized it was the sunken hull of a small cuddy sailboat. I couldn’t determine the make, but it seemed to be pretty nice. It had an engine mount and navigation lights. Cushions were floating free. I wonder if someone tried to go sailing in the tornado weather we had last week. I was eyeing the cleats, fairleads and deck plates wondering if a little salvage was in order.

I ended up crossing the lake in a decent chop and paddling up wind for a while before circling back to the dock. It was a nice 2 mile loop.


I’m also very excited to report that I’ve purchased some wood for the next boat. I’ll be building a Michael Storer Goat Island Skiff. Matt helped me pick out some big 2×10 southern yellow pine boards that had some clean, knot-free sections in them. I’ll be slicing them into smaller strips to make a hollow birds mouth mast. I also bought a couple of 5/4×5″ syp boards to glue together to make into the solid yard and boom. $60 worth of local wood is a heck of a lot better than spending big bucks trying to get west coast doug fir and we didn’t have to drive all over the state looking for it. The remainders of the big 2x10s will also be turned into a long, skinny bench for gluing up the mast. I’m waiting on my order of Duckworks DWX epoxy (formerly Duckypoxy). It’s much less toxic than normal epoxy and also has UV inhibitors built in. Should be great for the spars and interior of the Goat.