Monday, March 30, 2009

Carbon Masts

Picked up my epoxy this morning at MAS. I had a great, but way to short, talk about carbon fiber masts and how to make them. I have been experimenting with using old glass fluorescent tubes as the mandrel. I've always wondered how to make a tapered tube. So it turnout that log splitters and sailing rigs do have something in common.

From MIB

Boats don't really make sense... except...
A sailor "has been set apart from his fellows. Like it or not, a seaman has met a greater reality than a landsman. Life will always be different for him. He can never, really, give up the sea."

My abstraction of an article by Dan 28Messing About in Boats, vol 26#10 Feb '09.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I ripped a fir 2 x 12 into 3/4 inch pieces for the boat. This turned out to be the cheapest way to get straight, clear stock 16 feet long. I needed a few longer ones so I scarfed those. In the next image I am using the camera to check joints I can't see; at the seaport museum I would use a mirror, but I didn't have one handy here. Yup, this inwale is seated.

I put the inwales in tonight. Used all the clamps I had, plus some screws. Had to scarf the last two feet in. Actually made it easier to fit because of the double bevels fore and aft.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I have gathered the following thickeners and fillers to experiment with. Cabosil, fumed silica, wood flour, a new cellulose one from MAS, phenolic microballoons, flyash, lint, chopped glass, polyester waste, line tow and I think that's it
I want to run tests for sag, water absorption and fillet strength. Keep tuned.

I'd like to know if the colored Kevlar is more UV resistant than the plain yellow and if you paint it over or cover it with carbon fiber is that enough protection to keep it from degrading. Newt told me some great stories about kevlar sails blowing out during ocean races.

It's a Boat!

It is a boat. only two and a half hours from flat to form. I had the best help in the world. 3 Men with good stories as well as willing hands. The morning flew by as holes were drilled, wires fed through and twisted. (Ron suggested Twisted Sister as a name.) The hull panels came together well. We had the same difficulty at the stern as Carl did. The stern kicks up a bit at the last, tends to spread the keel stitching and the angle of the transom is a bit deeper than the stern bulkhead. But both station wagons in the parking lot held line and web straps for pulling it in tight. Nothing like having sailors for friends.
I had the glories of working in a very large, cavernous, well lit space. As we put the two halves on the cradle, I had rigged wires from the ceiling to support the "wings" (actually the sides) they worked so well, they ended up supporting the whole boat as she came together.
This day has highlighted one of the aspects of sustainability that I feel is very important. It is the person to person sense of responsibility and sharing that exist in community. I was able to help on a friend's boat assembly, learning valuable stuff along the way from another friend that had already had the fun of folding his boat.

Friday, March 27, 2009


It is the night before the boat opens. The core sound construction has you tack the bottoms and sides together at the front and then coax all three seams together using copper wire and then epoxy.
I had a very nice tour of MAS epoxies this afternoon. It is a nice tight family group of folks producing quality products. I got to sample a new filler material made from cellulose (paper pulp) which is much more friendly than the fly away colloidal silica. Also they have a new biodegradable wash for paint brushes. I'll let you know how this one works.
I also tried to fabricate a sprit from a non-functioning trash picked 8' glass fluorescent tube and some carbon fiber.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I finished the cradle tonight. I put wheels on so we can move it around the warehouse now and then use it at the waterfront as a dolly. I am hoping to get help for folding the boat on Sat.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


white horses on town cove

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sail Rigs

Possibilities. I sail a lug rig now and am partial to it. The spars are shorter, and lighter, There is no boom or sprit to knock your head in a tack. The look is pleasant.


I have found a number of ways to recycle items which have gotten another use or two, saving me from having to purchase them. First the packing case was dismantled and all the screws saved. I have used the screws to devise a clamping method for the scarfs.

The nice thing about step scarfs is that they are very easy to align as well as being strong. With the first method I used to join panels of plywood, I had to plane 8:1 bevels and then screw one board to an under board, then carefully align the second one atop the slippery surface. Wet epoxy acts like grease and makes everything slide. The step scarfs don't allow sliding in one plane , which really helps the builder to maintain the designers intent. Back to the recycling, I used the screws from the shipping container to sandwich the glued panels between two pieces of plywood- also recycled from panels headed to the dumpster.

Another recycled item has rained down from above. The wiring in the ceiling of the warehouse is being replaced where necessary. I have been collecting the short bits and trimmings from the floor. After stripping off the cable cover, I get three copper wire ties from each piece to use to "stitch" the hull together. Copper is good for this use for two reasons; it is ductile and mailable, yet stiffens with twisting to keep the joint together and it transfers heat readily allowing stuck joints to be released. After use these wire bits can still be recycled for cash at our local metals reclamation center. This will save me having to purchase copper wires.

I am also recycling the acid brush I use to mix epoxy with by cleaning it after each use with white vinegar. White vinegar is inexpensive and denatures uncured epoxy resin and hardener mix.The vinegar is a substitute for acetone, with obvious health benefits. Tuna cans are saved for use as mixing containers as are the lids from other containers that can't be recycled in our


Monday nite Pete & I took the screws out of the the stringers in hopes of "sewing the hull together on Tuesday. The day began well, but quickly filled up with the stuff of life and the NJ Regional Science fair which I am a co-director in. I had to meet my obligations and so had to only think about progress. In the meantime I received emails from my other friends build the same boat which helped with the cradle I am building.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Friday, I spent cleaning out my new workspace at the warehouse. I glued up the two sides. Today am planning to glue up the bottom boards and make the joint between sides and bottom, as well as making the cradle. Started shaping the rudder hydrodynamics. Went to hear Chris Smither play at the Tin Angel for a break in routine.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Today, I glued up the rudder blanks.
Yesterday, I built the middle temporary bulkhead for the Core Sound. Spartina is the name of the boat.

It is a marsh grass that grows along the water, peat, and muck boundaries at the Cape. It is a beautiful color green. I have painted a few of my boats this color, so they blend in, rather than detract from the view when they are left at the landings.

I also made a jig for gluing up the test panels for filler materials. I have collected chopped glass, silica, dryer lint, linen tow, polyester waste, phenolic microballoons, and fly ash. I am planning to compare weight and strength of these materials at an angle between the chine and keel angles. I am using 120 degrees as the test angle.


The centerboard for the sneakbox is made of four oak planks drifted together with bronze pins. There is no adhesive.

Charles & I made a new skeg today for the sneakbox.

Silent Maid has her plywood deck. Patterns were made for the tanks onboard.

Bulkheads were made and installed.

Charlie & Bobby were making plywood again.

The A-cat, Spyder, has a gleaming coat of paint. She's ready to move out.