I bought the plans for the Baby Tender II in early May, and finally began actual work. I spent a lot of hours over the long weekend, and frankly, it doesn’t look like I did much. But that’s what happens when almost every step is something new… which is why I am trying to build this thing. Well, that and my “expecting” friends might like it too.
On with the work! The design comes as 2 sheets of 30×48 blueprints, from which I made many actual-size trace sketches. From “cuttable” sketches, I tried both a copy trace onto wood, as well as cutting directly with the Xacto knife. I think I prefer the latter, but it requires a steady hand.
To begin, I had to build a platform that would stay straight, and bandsaw the molds to support the backbone and planking, etc.
The platform is 5/8” cheap ply, sitting on top of 2 old wheelbarrow handles, which were jointed. Curiously, that wood was a gorgeous swirling red wood of unknown type. I may have to re-reuse it when this is done. The cross supports are jointed 2×3s, placed at locations designated by the plans. Everything is screwed together and jointed, in hopes of keeping this platform as straight as possible. The molds are 3/4” ply, bandsawn and chiseled were needed.
My plan was to use cedar for all of the planking, and ash for the structure and transom. Unfortunately, the cedar which I’d planed a few days before started cracking as it got thinner and thinner. It was donated to me, and poorly stored, so I wasn’t sure how well it would work. Guess I have my answer. In any case, the cradle will now be all ash, except for some of the trim, which I may do in walnut or whatever else I have around.
Unfortunately, my ash supplier only carries it in 13/16th width—nowhere close to a true 4/4. Luckily much of it was quarter sawn, so I have plenty of straight grain, but for templated pieces that required 1” thickness, I had to glue first. In fact, you can see 1 of the glueups in the background of the above picture.
Once the glueups were done, I thicknessed the pieces to their various sizes, and cut the keelson and stern to length (these were straight pieces). Then I traced and bandsawed the stem and the knees:
Note the Xs across the stem. Next up is a bevel cut on the bandsaw. If you were to look at the top of the stem, it should look just like home plate. If I had a spokeshave, I would just use that, but lacking such a tool, it’s the bandsaw + rasp + plane for me. Luckily it went fairly well:
After this was complete, it was assembly time for the backbone. It was surprisingly difficult to hold these little pieces together for glue-and-screw. Screws are needed here, particularly because the knees are semi-end grain, so the glue is likely to have limited effectiveness.
Once together and put into the mold, I’m done for the night:
Too bad I screwed up one of the stations on the platform:
Luckily, it was a predictable and easily corrected mistake. Just move the station 1.5 inches, and voila!
Done working for the weekend, and rambling for the moment.
Next up (wednesday, probably)... resawing more ash planks, and maybe the first round of plank installation.