Stevenson Projects Weekender Sailboat Build #3: I AM A BOAT BUILDER!!!

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Blog entry by Napaman posted 04-01-2010 04:22 AM 13176 reads 1 time favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Got Wood? Wood arrives... Part 3 of Stevenson Projects Weekender Sailboat Build series Part 4: I AM A SAILOR! »

NOTE—sorry photos are so big after spending all this time I didnt have time to go back and reduce…next blogs will try to reduce*

I AM A BOAT BUILDER…if that is all you read then you will know that I entered into a new phase—I started and made my first cuts on my Weekender Sail boat! I did not get as far as I hoped today but I think that is going to be a familiar theme in this process…but I did cut wood and as they say in the Stevenson video—-I got over “first cut fever”…

I will have a bunch of questions at the end so if you are a builder and can help out that would be appreciated!

First of all I spent the morning researching Epoxy Resins…DaveR suggested I check out which was really good…in addition to the product descriptions they also have a 9 page document going into more detail on their products but also epoxy in general. I also spent some time on West Marine which had good product descriptions of Mas epoxy and West Marine…the Mas was a bit cheaper…all good sources if you are thinking of building a boat.

I was researching epoxy because I actually had aspirations of cutting the stringers, lofting the keel, cutting the keel parts and gluing them up….HAHAHAHA…after my research and a trip to two hardware stores this goal was already way off keel-ter…(sorry).

At the store I found my circular saw edge guide…looked for epoxy , bought outdoor deck screws and looked for aluminum and brass nails with no luck…(questions to follow). Then finally I got home…and brought my stringer board outside…set up my saw horses and camera…My brother suggested that I station a camera in the same spot on the patio so that when this is all done I can do one of those super fast slide shows of the whole process which I think will be fun to see in the end.

So there in the background is my official camera position when outside…

Stringers—the stringers are the first cut even though I won’t need them right away in the build. The purpose is that once cut you have a long batten (since they are 16 feet) to loft the curves onto the keel, boat bottom and other parts…
While this should have been easy the first step took me a while to figure out—-I had to enlist the help of someone MUCH SMARTER (and cuter) than myself…I had to ask my favorite math teacher (and wife) to help me figure out the angles on the plans and apply them to my circular saw…although I had thought this would be no problem I struggled with figuring out the protractor…once Sarah was involved we discover that the way the plans are written up the angle is wrong!!! It is listed and written as a 23 degree angle but the picture show a 67 degree angle. Now the difference from 90 degrees down to 67 degrees is 23 degrees—-but my math teacher was really worried that the drawing is incorrectly written…we went back and watched the dvd 10 times to watch exactly how they did it and figure it out…
Now that I had a cute helper I asked sarah to help me with the cuts since the boards were so long…and it was a bit floppy—-and worse with each batten…BUT as you can see—-with the first BATTEN…I BECAME (WE) a BOAT BUILDER…and 5 more later…

There it is—-THE FIRST BOAT PART…and then all 6…

With threatening rain I decided I better suck up all the dust and bring all the tools in…not to mention the next step is to loft the keel and I can do that in my work shop. With all that done I cleared off my work tables and put the keel boards up one at a time…inspecting them closely. When I bought the wood this week they only had three 14-footers that were 1×12…they had lots of other wood but down to three for the keel…One is perfect…the other two have some knots…
The good news is that on one of the boards the imperfections will be missed in the cuts…so now I am down to one board and after counting out the station lines in the plans the two spots will only partially remain after cutting. At first I thought I would loft the perfect board…but since I don’t know about epoxy I thought I would ask all of you first the following:
Should I use the imperfect board on the outside of the lamination? At first I thought the inside would be better—-then I realized that I don’t want a void hidden in the middle…it would be better on the outside where I can patch it later, right? Of course in my research this morning I learned that epoxy resin glue is used to patch and fix a lot of things…so I could fill in the voids…which would mean that I should loft one of the “bad” boards (since you loft the outside board) and put the perfect in the middle?
Or patch the “bad board” and put in the middle??? LOL…What’s best? Or is my lack of knowledge on epoxy wrong and I need to get a new board? See the photos…

The first shows the biggest problem—-but most of it will be cut out according to the plans…and the other is a very thin void but it is deep…
Okay…once I know your thoughts I can loft the keel…tomorrow morning—-did I say that it’s cold and rainy here tonight?
Well…unless I loft the keel in the morning this will be my last blog for a while (thank goodness right?) We are heading out of town until Monday…thanks for reading this far!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

23 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14171 posts in 3951 days

#1 posted 04-01-2010 04:30 AM

looks like a challenge ! fun stuff Buddy !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View degoose's profile


7228 posts in 3323 days

#2 posted 04-01-2010 04:41 AM

Hope it is finished by the time I come over… so we can go sailing together..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4369 days

#3 posted 04-01-2010 04:47 AM

Matt I hope you are not asking me. All of your thoughts seem about right, but the best in the long run would probably be get a new board.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3641 days

#4 posted 04-01-2010 04:53 AM

Great progress.

View MattD's profile


150 posts in 3913 days

#5 posted 04-01-2010 06:34 AM

Great start Matt. That is a mean looking spike knot there, but it doesn’t look like it goes all the way through the board. Same with the pith void. I think you’re on the right track with a good epoxy filler, but there are some tried and true “traditional” methods for dealing with knots and repairs in hull planking that might apply here. Basically, the idea is to “repair wood with wood” using things like tapered plugs, inlays and patches. Based on these methods, I’d probably route out and patch those areas with a wood inlay matching the grain direction and use the same adhesive suggested for your lamination. This way, you could feel good about having nearly consistent solid wood throughout your keel.

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3546 days

#6 posted 04-01-2010 07:09 AM

Only thing I know about boats is not to build them were you can’t get them out of.
Enjoy Matt!

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4046 days

#7 posted 04-01-2010 04:00 PM

Ha ha Jim-so true…actually there was a guy on the Stevenson site that built one in his living room and then had to take out a brick wall when he was done!!! I will try to find the picture…

MattD…I could definitely cut out one of the pieces. The one pictured with the speed square will only have about 1/2 an inch of knot left…that could be an easy patch…the other thin one is further in the board and would be hard to deal with. It does not go through…so hoping the epoxy would work…

Again in my limited knowledge thus far—-but multiple sources saying the todays epoxy resin is stronger then the wood…so dont worry about using it…just want to get some back up thoughts…

Goose—-when you coming to the states…??? NAPA is beautiful…and the wine is good!!! If you come during (our) summer we could give you a tour of the valley…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3084 days

#8 posted 04-01-2010 06:06 PM

looks good so fare
just don´t rush
truogh it anywere
in the project boat
and I´m sure it will
come out right


View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3310 days

#9 posted 04-01-2010 06:41 PM

now you went and did it !

good for you .

one of the nicest things about a boat ,
is that it is still unregulated ,
( unless it is used for public use ,
then the coast guard is like OSHA ) .

’ i did it my way ’ is still possible ,
even with this boat ,
you saw many personalized additions .

you will find many passerby ’ experts ’ ,
( who have never even been on one ) ,
but will have lots of opinions on what you should do !

enjoy the build !

thanks for having us along .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View webwood's profile


626 posts in 3219 days

#10 posted 04-01-2010 07:11 PM

a friend of mine in high school and his father built a bi plane in their basement – virtually had to tear the house down to get it out – rich guys!!!

-- -erik & christy-

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4093 days

#11 posted 04-01-2010 08:13 PM

For strength my gut feel is that the void should be in the middle. I think it’s reasonable to fill it, although hopefully someone with a little more (any?) boat building expertise can pop in.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View zignman's profile


27 posts in 3075 days

#12 posted 04-01-2010 09:34 PM

Zignman says “FILL THE VOIDS” using epoxy and wood flour and you can use the board in the middle. Matt are you going to use epoxy or Weldwood plastic resin glue? The resin glue is called for in the plans and is far, far cheaper than epoxy. The resin glue does need pressure applied though such as screws, clamps or as I used ringnecked stainless steel nails on the keel, I used epoxy and fiberglass on the outside of the keel, bottom, sides and topsides but the rest was built with resin glue. My son and I built a 22’ sharpie cat-ketch 25 yrs ago and had no delamination at all! In fact after becoming a sand box for my grandkids they had a horrible time cutting it up.

-- life is a journey not a destination

View Woodwrecker's profile


4137 posts in 3544 days

#13 posted 04-02-2010 12:53 AM

Can’t offer any qualified advice brother.
Only thing I know about boats is how to row one to my fishing hole.
I’m just sitting in the rooting section cheering you on.

Betcha anything though, there are guys here who will dial you right in.

You have a good start going, so take your time & enjoy the project.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4046 days

#14 posted 04-02-2010 06:25 AM

Thanks all…I am out of town now…so all i got done before we left was to “loft” one keel board…put in the nails…and then had to go…it was fun to “see” the outline of the keel via the nail outline…

Will need to adjust some nails to make a more fair curve and then will draw and cut…

Warren…have not decided on the glue yet…since I need epoxy for the voids leaning that way…but would love to talk you on the glue…

When I got the plans there were “Update Sheets” and they talked a lot about epoxy as being the new way…but they did say that they specifically used the plastic resin glue for big glue ups like the keel, etc…

I hope to get home and just cut the keel parts on monday…and then i have time…the following weekend it will be my daughters 7th b-day party…so no need to decided for a couple weeks…If I have not figured it out by the time when I have a weekend to glue it up I can start lofting the hull bottom and cutting parts…

In chico now…more in a few days…


-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3681 days

#15 posted 04-05-2010 08:58 PM

Exciting blog Matt, great to see you started cutting. It is great having a math teacher for a wife, that they are cute just adds icing to the cake. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked Jenn to double check not just my arithmetic but my math logic on different problems.

Looking forward to the next installment.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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