Monday, April 27, 2015

I designed my Navigator design quite a few years back now, originally designed as a race trainer which would teach late teen aged sailers the basics of handling the small high performance keel boats that form Yachting New Zealands core training fleet without having to spend megabucks to get their own boat, the design was chosen by a repeat customer to be a cruiser.
Some mods to the centerboard and rig later, a different cockpit layout and we had Navigator as we now know it.

There are around 700 sets of plans sold to date, a figure which makes me very proud, and there are Navigators sailing on waters I've never seen.
Some of those boats are beautifully built, lovely boats built with loving care and the best of materials.

I've been following Suzy J's blog and Wooden Boat forum thread for some time, and thought thatnow she has a pic posted of her ship outside in the sun it was time to bring this to the attention of my blog readers.

So check this out people,

and here is her own blog. Wonderful stuff, I wish she were closer so I could visit.
Thanks Suzy.

John Welsford

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Got the camera working so here's the post I missed on Monday

Its Monday That used to be the worst day of the week, but now I’m working piecemeal at several things or sometimes not at all? Well, the young ones are all back at school, the parents who took time away from work to be with their kids during school break (well done them!) are back at work, and it’s a nice autumn day here so it’s a better day than most.
I’m sitting on my thinking chair here in my workshop waiting for some epoxy to kick off so I can do the next part of assembling the rudder stock for SEI, and sipping on my mug of tea.

The rudder for SEI is a bit unusual, I’m trying some new thoughts here.  Being double ended hanging over the stern to get the rudder blade up and down is a bit fraught,  so I’ve built in channels for the lines that do that, and located the pivot a bit further aft than usual to give some leverage to do that.
In addition to this I’ve made the lower end of the rudder stock wider than normal, taken it about 125mm below the waterline and put an end plate on it so it will ( hopefully) be enough to steer the boat when the rudder blade is up and I’m creeping over the shallows.
That extra depth also means I’m able to put the rudder fittings a little further apart which makes things stronger.

On tools. My very elderly uncle has been a joiner, a professional worker of wood, all his life.  Among the things he’s created is a spiral staircase with no central pole and a cathedral rose window, he’s built a replica of an 1840s wooden lecturn for a university, and worked well into his 70s rather than sit idle.
He’s gradually giving me a lot of the tools from his home workshop.
Much of the gear is light, and cheap, his workplace had every piece of machinery you can imagine, and he had enough of a reputation there to be able to use the serious machinery at work for his own projects, so cheap, light and simple in his little shop was ok. Some items have been a very useful addition to my collection, some will be quietly farmed out to people who will find them adequate for the occasional light task.

Among the things that I have inherited is an unused, very recently purchased Ryobi combination linisher (fixed belt sander) and bench grinder. 370 watt.

 It does do a job, the light is handy when sharpening chisels or planes at night, the see through guard on its moveable arm works well, the water tray is way too small and if you have a machine of this general type you do need some suction on it to contain the dust from the sander. I bought a brand new Shop Vac the other day for $65 and its going under the bench and will have a switch installed under the bench top edge just below the Ryobis switch.

I am not Ryobi’s greatest fan, product that I’ve bought in the past has not been up to the use that I put it to and when I get them to repair I find that if its more than brushes or a duff switch its not worth bothering.
So how is this performing?
I use the grinder for planes and chisels, the wheel goes around ok, but you’d want to change the coarse grey wheel for a softer 80 grit wheel to reduce the burning of the blade that you are grinding. 
The toolrest is a frustrating thing for sharpening tools on.  I’m going to make a new one, the standard one is too short across, has a groove in it for sharpening drill bits ( totally useless) which makes the hand bump when sliding a plane blade back and forth across the wheel,  and the dresser that came with it flew to bits about the third time I used it.  (I have a “proper” one).

The linisher, that’s the sanding belt thing on the other end, works about well enough to show me that I’d benefit a lot from owning a decent one.
Its belt is small so tends to load up fairly quickly, but a belt cleaner block can take care of that.  Its top wheel is masked by a guard that comes up too high so you cant use the round to get inside a curve, its platen behind the belt does not go down far enough to support product that is on the tool rest, or the tool rest needs to be higher up the belt. Its also very short of power, taking very little to stall it. All that and the tracking adjustment is a joke.

So what do I think of it?
Well, its actually pretty useful for the price that they are, I use it a lot and it works. But if you are serious you’ll spend a few more bucks on a better one, you’ll forget the pain in the pocket far sooner than the repeated annoyance  of a machine that is almost but not quite up to the job.

Progress on SEI?  I promised a correspondent that I’d put some pics up today,  I’ve got the gunwale inners all rounded over, the oarlock blocks mounted and the  brace that takes the strain of the anchor cleat fitted to the underside of the bow breasthook,  I’ve fitted the braces for the forward extensions to the stern seat so that’s getting close to ready.
I’ve got the daggerboard ready to paint, the rudder stock all laminated up, and the rudder blade ready for fairing off.

She’s looking good, filleting proceeds slowly, that’s about my least favourite job.


 The daggerboard, three layers of 9mm plywood with a hardwood inserted leading edge.  The tricky little notch at the back of the handle is to take a shock cord hold down when its down, that runs from the holes you see in the frame "this side" of the daggerboard case and up over that notch.
When there is a need to hold the board part way up, that same shock cord loop goes around the after edge of the 'board above the top of the 'case.

View from aft.

View from forward.

By the way, I can pick either end up with one hand,  she could be a little under her design weight. Good, easier to drag up a beach or put on a trailer.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A new Sundowner

I've a nice long post all written out, pics taken, captions done, all that stuff but for some reason my lappy wont read the camera card. Grrr!

So it will wait for a little while, and just to show that I'm not asleep on the job here, I've pulled up one of my favorite threads on WoodenBoat forum.  Mal, otherwise known as "Quest" over there in Oz is building one of my  little "Sundowner" cruising yachts. He's kept at the job, posting pics regularly and telling readers of the forum what he's done each time, its looking good.
He's up to the stage where she is really looking like the little ship that she will become, quite a bit of the interior is in, the ballast has been cast and is bolted on, the decks and cabin are in the process of being fiberglassed and hatches are being worked on.

He's doing well,   go and have a look.  I'll see whats upsetting my 'puter and see why it wont talk to my camera.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happenings, progress and events to come.

Its been a week in which I did not achieve much, but felt as though I’d been working my butt off. Sick relative needs help, my mother at 90 needs a gentle watch kept on her, busy at my “ex’s “ house, some engineering work and two days downtime after the blood clinic. So, nothing done on the drawing board, I missed a posting, but am back on track again.

Catchup time, life seems to be mostly either catching up or trying to keep up. Shouldn’t complain, it could be a lot worse.

I got a message about my friend Stuart Reid, some of who’s plans feature in my catalogue.  He lost his wife Rose last year, and early this year had a fall that left him completely paralysed, he’s in a convalescent home where I can visit him now, and I’ll be making the effort to get down there to say hello.

As I write its bucketing down with rain outside, I’m snug in my bunk writing up bits and pieces. Once that’s done will be out in the shed working on SEI.
I need to get her out of the shed, or at least hung in the rafters so I can build the planking model for the Saturday Night Special prototype.  The proof of concept boat works pretty well, but there are some slight changes to incorporate before the volunteer builders start on building six for next years T200.
These will be used in much the same way as the “Duck” fleet in last years T200, proceeds to Cancer Research, and Small Craft Advisor Magazine are the main sponsors, movers and shakers for this project.
The “proof” boat has been out a few times now, and the reports are that she handles nicely, is reasonably quick, although it has not been sailed in the winds that its designed for ( 20 knots quartering tailwind, the usual Texas 200 conditions) there is no reason to think that its needing any change of shape.

I’d like to think too that there will be a SCAMP fleet there, will be trying to persuade my friend Jackie Monies to bring her SCAMP.  Not the famous red one, but her very own, a Gig Harbour Beige with Chocolate trim Fiberglass one that will be called “Cowboy Cookies”.  Now anyone who knows Jackie will know about cowboy cookies, and I think it’s a great name for her SCAMP.
She’ll be at the SCAMP Skills weekend at Port Townsend, has consented to be “Camp Mother” at SCAMP Camp in July and will be at the Pocket Yacht Palooza and the Red Lantern Rally .  Scroll down to find information “here”.

But back to Saturday Night Special, the length is to be adjusted to just under 14 ft so they wont have to be registered, the bottom needs stiffening, and there is to be a swing centreboard rather than a daggerboard in recognition of the many shallows on the course.
I’m working on making sure that the boat is bulletproof, no broken rudders or mast steps.

Josh Colvin, Editor in Chief and head honcho at Small Craft Advisor has recovered sufficiently from his last years trip up the Texas Coast in a “Duck” to partner me in one of the boats, so the SNS fleet will have the two of us along to entertain them. It will be a first for me, I’m looking forward to the event, 14 months away I think, lots to do between now and then.

Back in the boatshed here, the gunwale structures are in SEI, she is getting her oarlock blocks fitted today, I’ve cut them out of a lump of scrap Kwila which is damn difficult stuff to get a decent finish on.  Its got lots of curly and reverse grain, is oily and difficult to glue, I use some because I inherited a trailerload of short 3 x 7s a few years ago and being hard, durable and stable its handy for all sorts but I back the glue up with bolts or screws.
So today I have the blocks made up, have cut them to shape and even made an attempt to fit the curve of the sides. I’ve made the bungs that will cover the screw heads, and have a piece of brass strap that will make the top and bottom oarlock plates. 
A nice gentle job in the shed, radio on just loud enough to hear over the rain on the roof, just right for a day like this one.

Its light outside now, 6 30 am on the slide through autumn and into winter, so I’d best get up and get on with it.