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.


Too much stuff

I’ve been really struggling with the shop the past few months. My neighbor gave me a 10″ radial arm saw. I’ve moved all the other big shop tools out of the carport. I was hoping the radial arm saw would do everything I need. I tried to cut through these big 16′ 2×12″ Southern Yellow Pine boards to make strips for the birds mouth mast. That’s when I realized the 15amp GFCI circuit i thought was dedicated to the car port and exterior outlets actually runs the living room TV and computer networking too. I think I’m giving up on the idea of trying to push these huge 16 footers through a tablesaw or the radial saw and I’m just going to jig my skillsaw. Heck of a lot easier to run a skillsaw down a board than to push the board through a stationary saw. In the mean time my wife also bought a motorcycle which moved into the carport along with her half taken apart scooter. I’ve spent so much more time moving stuff around than doing actual work. It’s really frustrating. We need a shed.

At least I got a nice kayaking trip in with the Carolina Kayaking Club




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… 😉


Today was my 30th sail in the Terror of the Sea. I met Matt out on Falls Lake with some pretty light winds. We meandered around the lake at an easy pace, sipping on some soda waters and snacking on some pretzels. I got a few good pictures of Matt’s Melonseed before he had to head back to the dock.




I kept wandering around the lake and the predicted wind finally started to fill in. We got moving pretty well and I decided to head toward a couple of buoys on the North side of the lake that mark a shoal area. I zipped over the top and didn’t see any shallows and then decided to jibe. I was being pretty lazy and didn’t center myself in the boat. I pulled in the sail so it didn’t go flying over to the other side, but with my weight on the wrong side of the boat it was enough to send us tipping toward the drink. There was no stopping it and Rocket started getting nervous as the spare life jacket, flotation cushions, dry bag, chips bag, oars and cooler all started sliding to one side of the boat. In a flash we were over and swimming. I pulled Rocket around with me to the far side of the boat and started trying to climb on the leeboard. It took a couple of tries, but I finally got the boat righted. I got Rocket back into the boat which had a good 6″ of water in it and saw that a boat cushion, a paddle and the bag of chips were floating away. I almost started to swim after them and then realized the boat would sail off without me. I got into the boat and with one oar and sail managed to come about and pick up the other oar and boat cushion. There was too much water in the boat to sail, so I dropped the sail and started to bail. The biggest bailing bucket was the cooler, so I dumped all the contents into the boat, dumped the ice overboard and started bailing. It probably took 10 mins to get the water out of the boat. I totally forgot about the collapsible bucket I had in my dry bag. Need to keep that more readily available. With the majority of the water removed we got the sail back up and headed after that rogue bag of chips. We caught it a short time later with no further jibes and started heading back across the lake. The wind really picked up and we had a good fight into the wind and waves to make it back to Rolling View. It was a great adventure, but I learned that I really need to tie things down better and make sure the dry bag is more tightly closed.

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.

To the lake!

All the spring chores are done. I varnished all the spars and re-laced the sail to the yard and boom. I’m playing around with a loose-footed sail this time. I’ve got the two kayaks on the car and all the camping gear packed. We’re heading to Staunton River State Park in VA. The girls and I will spend the next 5 days boating, fishing and playing at the lake.

boats ready

boats ready