Welcome 2017

Last year I made it a goal to get on the water at least once every month of the year. I’m happy to report I kept that New Year’s resolution and hope to hit it again this year. Between kayaking, rowing and sailing it should be an easy goal. I’ve already had the Skerry out this month. It was a beautiful sunny, day with winds blowing 10-15 knots. I had a great sail across Falls Lake, but as I was coming in to shore I let go the tiller stick in order to pull up the dagger board and it slipped over the side. My best guess is that it hit the bottom and the forward momentum of the boat translated that into an upward force and the rudder arm snapped right off. It was made from 2 layers of 1/4″ Okume plywood glued together and then epoxied around the rudder head. It snapped right at the epoxy seam. I’ve decided to replace it with a mortise and tenon solution. My buddy, Matt, gave me a good sized board of white oak 1.25″ thick. I used the old arm as a template and cut out the rough shape on the bandsaw.


By the way, I love the vise. It’s a WoodRiver universal vise. I bought it over a year ago and finally installed it today. I couldn’t have done what I did without it. It operates in either this position or laid over on it’s side. It swivels until you tighten the work piece and that locks it in place. It’s a great feature for re-positioning angles on the fly.

I’ve never really worked hardwoods like white oak before. I was a little worried about working such a hard wood. To get the bandsaw chatter marks out of the white oak I tried a couple of different tools, but ended up with my Shinto saw rasp from Duckworks. The rough side ate through the oak just fine, the smooth side cleaning up the marks before sanding. It worked great.

The vise did a great job holding the rudder while I cleaned up the broken wood and epoxy.


Then I took the rudder over to my old drill press and drilled a series of holes to make the mortise. Then back into the vise to clean up with chisels and files.


The oak arm will head to the table saw next to cut it down from 1.25 to 1″. Then to the bandsaw to taper it from 1″ down to 3/4″ at the end of the arm. Then I’ll probably round over the edges with a router before hand finishing.


I also did some work on the trailer this weekend. A neighbor loaned me his welder and I used it to reinforce the bolted on tongue extension I originally added. I also replace the flimsy punched steel winch stand with welded angle iron. It’s much sturdier now. I need the weather to clear up and dry out so I can paint it. Then I’ll add lights back and get the padding finished. It’ll be in fine shape and ready for a good trip down to the coast in the spring.


(Don’t look too closely at those welds. They are pretty ugly).


New trailer hitch


New hitch

One thing that has been a long standing problem in my sailing time is that the only hitch was on the wife’s car. Spontaneous trips to the lake were almost impossible. I purchased a hitch and light kit from etrailer.com this past week to rectify this situation. It probably took 30 mins to get the wiring kit hooked up and about 45 minutes to install the hitch. Most of that time was struggling to get the bolts threaded on the passenger side where the muffler mount was interfering with direct access. It certainly wasn’t the 4 minute video they showed on the website, but that’s okay. It’s done and we can roll to the lake at a moments notice.


I’ve never had any fancy wood working tools and don’t plan to purchase any in the near future, but I did finally get myself a nice japanese water stone for sharpening blades and a Veritas honing guide from Woodcraft. I spent about an hour tonight sharpening two old chisels and the blade on the block plane. The water stone is a 1000 grit/5000 grit combo stone. The Veritas guide was a huge help. It locks the blade at the perfect angle and you just roll back and forth. The final finish on the blade really does look like a mirror. In hind sight I would have bought two separate stones instead of the back to back combo because you can use two separate stones against each other to flatten them out again. After sharpening the chisels for a while the 1000 grit stone ended up with a bit of a wallow. It wasn’t strictly time on the boat, but I’ll count it against the total:

Total time: 15 hours
Total cost: $631

Birthday Shopping!

Mom and Dad sent me a check for my birthday (thanks, guys! love you) to go towards the boat. I took the day off today thinking I might go sailing, but with snow still on the ground I thought it would be more fun to work on boat building stuff. I put in a big order for all kinds of stuff to Duck Works. I bought $156 worth of rudder pintels & gudgeons, various cleats, fiberglass tape, ropes, etc. Should be some stuff left over for the next boat too. Then I also put in an order for some rubber stops for the rudders Р$14 and an order of bronze ring shank nails from Jamestown Distributors for $36.

Took the trailer up to Lowe’s and picked up a 10′ 2×8 to rip down into chine logs and stringers for the bottom of the boat. I also bought 4 sheets of 1/4″ BC plywood so we’re ready to build a boat! That should be it for spending money until the sail kit and paint.



Total time: 12 hours
Total cost: $631