Sunday, October 31, 2010


I know. I need more pictures. It's late, so maybe tomorrow. To the point. The hull has been flipped, frames and seams are filleted. Now I just need to order some fiberglass tape so I can finish up building the hull and move on to all the fun stuff.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Last Monday I was able to get everything puttied and the bow shaped. Now I just need to smooth over the rest of the seams, and fiberglass them tomorrow. Fun stuff!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Parts to hull.

Today was the day! I started going from parts to a real boat with my bolger cartopper. So time for pics...

Now I have to attach frame a and fit the bilge panels.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rapid Cartopper progress

The last time I posted about my progress on the cartopper all I had was some of the pieces drawn out and plywood together. Today was very very productive. I manages to cut out all the frames, the transom, bottom, 1-rudder cheek, 1 half of the rudder, the bilge and side panels. Everything looks like it will go together pretty well. Not too tight or too loose. Tomorrow I hope to get the transom and stem together. Then maybe I can build a framework to support everything so my dad and I can start the assembly process when they come to visit my wife and I next weekend.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cartopper Progress

It hasn't been long since I decided to build a bolger cartopper before continuing on the minuet. Well, it looks like this is going to be a pretty quick build. Thus far I have the bits of plywood joined together, The bottom panel, rudder,  and frames marked and ready to be cut out. Which took all of 10 hours to do, including lunch and waiting for resin to dry. So I have a total of maybe 4-5 hours into the project. Honestly, If I were to choose a design again it would definitely be a boat that includes measurements for every piece like the cartopper does. Tracing the plans makes it really easy to make small errors that just keep getting magnified as the build continues. I have a lot of hours to work this week again(50-60). So, I doubt 'll do anything else with the boat for the rest of the week. I will try for progress pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Intermediary project.

So. I bought a book. Instant boatbuilding with dynamite payson. Then I read the whole thing and in the process realized I would like a boat that I can row, sail, and power. I also realized I wanted something really cheap that I could also car-top. So, The cartopper fit the bill perfectly. It should only take a few weekends to get most of it built then paint, oars, sail, and fitting out should take another day. Work kind of has me pressed for time, and I want something to sail or go up rivers with right now.

So the basic materials list:

4 sheets of 1/4" ply
10 yards of glass
3inch fiberglass take
2 gallons of resin
a little bit of lumber for gunwales, mast, transom, and seat
wood flour
and finished

I already have the plywood, and nails. I need fiber resin and tape next.
Then we can really get started on this little build.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quick update

Nothing really happening right now. All the frame members are made. This week I'll try to get started on the transom. It's been busy. Hoping to have the hull flipped by January. So I can start making it look like a sailboat.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More Stuff is here!

Well, today I got about 1,000 nails, and 500ish screws. Should keep me busy for a while.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time to assemble the pieces.

It's taken quite a bit of time, but my enthusiasm isn't waning. I've made quite a few pieces so far, okay so 20. I do have an excuse though because it takes a lot of time to laminate wood and I only get maybe a few hours per week to work on the sailboat. I had to order the screws and nails yesterday, and next week or the week after I'm looking forward to getting the frames put together and hopefully the breasthook, stem, and maybe getting started on the transom or centerboard trunk.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New look, New Stuff!!

In my never ending quest to learn more about boat building and pass it on to the three people that might be reading this I've added a "store" to the blog. It's a widget at the bottom left that links to amazon and gives me a very small kickback on the stuff i suggest buying. The real reason I'm doing it is as an easy way to tell you what I'm using to build this boat, and give suggestions on the types of tools you may want to consider using to build your own boat. If you choose to buy through the store I set up or not is up to you. It's just to help everyone out by showing them what i think works well. I don't have everything in it yet. For example, the power plane is the next tool I would like to get, but i actually found the same one is a bit cheaper including tax at Home Depot. Oh, I also made the site look better. woo! Goodnight

Huge Mistake!

Okay not really a mistake, but definitely a waste of money. I thought one place i might be able to get of cheap is clamps. Well, i was wrong. Don't get the cheap plastic clamps from harbor freight. Spend the 8 bucks for decent ones. the won't fall fall apart like most of mine just did or are in the process of. Pipe clamps work great!

Let's talk about marine adhesives and glues.

First and foremost I'm not an expert. Now, on to the discussion. In boating you have adhesives and you have sealants. The real question is...What's the difference?

From the dictionary

Sealant- any of various liquids, paints, chemicals, or soft substances that may be applied to a surface or circulated through a system of pipes or the like, drying to form a hard, watertight coating.
Physics . of or pertaining to the molecular force that exists in the area of contact between unlike bodies and that acts to unite them.
–noun - a substance that causes something to adhere.
So when building a boat there need to be a clear understanding of what needs to be sealed and what needs to be adhered.
For example- Decking should be applied with a marine sealant because it is a non-permanent bond. You can rib it up and out. Additionally nearly everything after the main structure is completed should use a marine sealant.
Lets move on to adhesives. Adhesives provide a permanent bond. The sheer clamp, frames, and anything structural that you never ever want to come apart should  use an adhesive.
This is simple terms, and I still don't quite know exactly what needs what, but I'll figure it out along the way. If in doubt, ask a professional. They like giving advice, but always get a second opinion as well. With that it's time for breakfast. I'm out. Have a good day, and get building away! 


With cutting out pieces of the frames!!! I still have a little bit of tweaking to do. Making each piece just right but they are all done, finally. It's been like a 8 weeks or so. With them finished we are on to the next parts. Putting them together, making the centerboard trunk and transom. I'm just that much closer to my minuet sailboat!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Favorite task

I was doing some more stuff tonight on the sailboat.  Hopefully one of these days the ever growing pile of parts will turn into the glen-l minuet.

I realized something. I'm not really crazy about mixing epoxy, but the one thing that I look forward to doing is getting out my bench plane and smoothing out the laminated boards. It's almost relaxing, and very rewarding. Once I got the rhythm down it became my favorite part of boat building and woodworking.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pile of parts.

The sailboat has a slowly growing pile of parts.

Monday, August 2, 2010

getting more bits finished and a different technique.

Today I decided to give a different technique a try for cutting out bits of the framing.

Use tracing paper to copy the full size templates.
 It is much easier than trying to handle the huge sheets of full size plans.

Transfer the tracings to large sheets of glossy construction paper with carbon tranfer paper. (i got mine from publix)
   -Cut them out
   -spray glue to lauan
   -cut out to use as template.
   -screw templates to wood
   -cut closely with jigsaw
   -pull out the router
   -do a final trimming with a flush cut router bit (the ones with bearings). *See tip before trying this
   - do a quick finish sanding.

After moving to this technique. I can cut out and finish sand a frame member in about five minutes. And I average about 10-12 minutes per piece if I include the entire process start to finish.

now for some links:
Craftsman Flush trim Router bit
Craftsman 30 piece bit set

The first bit is not exactly what i got. The specs are the same but mine was a few dollars more, about $17. The second link is to what i want for my birthday (if anyone is reading this), wink, wink wifey.

* Tip
  -If you choose to use this method be careful as you move the router to always cut with the grain(or down the grain). I ripped a chunk out by not paying attention. It is possible to cut across the grain at various angles.  I'll use a crude picture as an example. Imagine that the black lines are the grain direction and the arrow is the direction the router is moving. The router is moving down the grain. If the motion was reversed it becomes difficult to control and will tear the piece apart.

Friday, July 16, 2010

smells like white vineger.

So you're like me? Too cheap to keep buying graduated measuring cups. Then use white vineger to clean them out, and blast them with water after to get rid of the last bits of epoxy.

Finally some pictures!

Yes, I've finally proved it. I am making parts for a sailboat! these are part of frames 2,3, and 4. The lamination is going to become frame members 5. I should be able to get frame member 1 laminated this weekend too. This kind of puts it into perspective. I've made 10 whole parts. Parts is parts, and eventually i'll need to put them together to make a boat.

What have i been doing?

I haven't posted in a while. Honestly, I haven't made much progress in a week and a half. I've been procrastinating doing a couple large laminations. Tonight I'm going to do them and finally post some pictures of my limited progress. In the meantime here is a breakdown of what I am planning on doing over the next 2 months.

over the next week
Frame members 1, 5, and side frame members 4.
Building up all frame members

two weeks out

three weeks

four weeks

 6 weeks
centerboard trunk
then finally the building jig.

7 weeks.
start putting the pieces together.

Monday, July 5, 2010

tip #1

Roll up the full size sheets. They come folded to save on postage, but that makes them a pita to work with. So roll em up. While you're waiting for the creases to become less apparent read everything that came with the plans.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Slow sailing.

But that's the point. Slowing down. Building a sailboat is a slow process. And tonight i just hit my favorite part. I'm out of materials. I'm also out of things to do with the materials i have. So, i get to buy more stuff!!! Yippeeee.. With this being my 30th post and finally running out of stuff I thought it would be a good idea to let everyone know where my first $50 in lumber got me and about 5 dollars of t88 structural epoxy. To date i have ripped, re-oriented, laminated, planed, traced, cut out, sanded, and matched:

side and bottom frame members 2 & 3
bottom frame members 4

I have frames 1, 5, and the transom to go.

To date I have about 10 hours in so far. Much of that is ripping, laminating, and planing. My recommendation
is if you can find vertical grain wood. use it. It would have saved me at least 6 hours. Now that i have a system in place it won't take nearly as long.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

every minute counts, and jigsaw blades have different jobs.

I've been spending a lot of time just sanding the pieces to the line because i couldn't cut really close without the worry of the jigsaw blade going off at an angle. Well, i was using the wrong blades. It seems that some are for crossgrain cuts and others are for cutting with the grain. Armed with that info I'm turning a two hour job into a one hour job, and with that I'm nearly out of wood to cut. Just two more side frame members. It seems today I'm a little closer to The Minuet Sailboat

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Minuet Sailboat blog

I googled my blog today and it has a number one search term. "Minuet Sailboat Blog". So that was exciting. That said there hasn't been any progress yet this week, but I will have quite a bit done by monday.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

First Part!

Just a little update. I've finished my very first part. The bottom member of frame #4. It turned out to be about as perfect as anyone could expect from a first time boat builder. So needless to say it looks like there will be a Glen-l Minuet in our future! Hopefully this weekend we will be able to build some more.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our first project!

This is Sarah, I'm Adam's wife. I haven't done a whole lot with the boat, but I gotta tell you. I don't think Adam has ever been SO excited to do something! Despite the dust, which is being kept out of my house ;) this is a fun project. And like he has been telling you, farely inexpensive. It makes sense, we live 15 minutes from the ICW. I just thought I would chime in my thoughts about this wonderful project. By the way, I'm the wonderful photographer. :) Doing a project like this is good therapy. Even though I just stand here and watch, it's something Adam and I can do together. It's not his thing, or my's our thing. And when we finish it, it will be OUR boat, that we built TOGETHER. It's a nice feeling. And we don't ever have to worry about whether or not we will have something to do on our day off or not. I will suggest to invest in a fan or window A/C because it gets HOT in the workshop!! But, at least the dust is staying out of my house! lol.

Monday, June 7, 2010

gooey sticky progress.

When it comes to laminations, less is more. In terms of epoxy that is. It's one of those learn as you go things. On the first lamination of the frames I used more than twice as much epoxy then on subsequent lamination's. I started using 1 ounce, and only laminated one frame. Way too much. So I stepped down to 20ml on a single frame member. Still too much. The problem was that is the smallest amount i can measure and mix properly. So I bought more clamps(I'm up to 10 now) and started laminating two at a time. Perfection reached. Not too much, and not too little. So I'm one step closer to a sailboat.With that here's a pic that my beautiful wife took.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

no more complaining.

My t-88 is finally here. I think I'll have to order from places closer to home from now on.

I went ahead and did a lamination of one of the smaller pieces. Bottom Frame #3. I've never seen anything hold this well. Honestly, the t-88 is definitely overkill. But I'm completely amazed at how little is needed. Tomorrow I'll step through the process of actually doing the laminations. Good night

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stand Still.

Everything's ready. Except the glue. It seems that it is drop shipped from system three, and they will gladly take their sweet ass time shipping it out. So, it looks like the project it starting to slow down for know. ugh...At least shipping is the only thing that is slowing down the project. 

Monday, May 31, 2010

Cost so far.

As I said before building a boat isn't cheap. As far as boat building goes though. This one isn't very expensive. So it's time to start keeping a running tally of the cost. I'm going to include every nut, bolt, nail, screw, and tool I had to buy to build the Glen-l minuet sailboat.

$112 - Plans including shipping

$42.50 - 5pc 1x6 6ft long Douglas-Fir

Composite materials
$54.00 - 1 quart T-88 structural adhesive including shipping with graduated cups

$4.99 - 5 12oz graduated cups
$1.99 - 12 latex gloves
$1.49 - plastic drop cloth
$4.25 - 5 small brushes
$119 - Small table saw
$49  - Jigsaw
$24.50 - Clamps On sale from harbor freight
$7.42 - 2 sanding belts
372.14 total

Remember I'm also acquiring tools that I don't already have. So about half of the cost is for those.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Making vertical grain

Another decision has been made. No one in the area can get vertical grain wood or very very rarely does. So what is a boat builder to do? This boat builder has made the decision to make his own by slicing down horizontal grain Douglas-Fir into strips turning them 90 degrees and laminating them back together.

Now that is a perfectly fine idea, but it does add a problem. Glue. What kind and where should it come from. T-88 structural epoxy came to the rescue. It's FAA approved on a case-by-case basis for repairs to certified aircraft, and is used a lot in wood experimental airplanes. The epoxy is also waterproof, resist oil/gasoline, can fill 1/4" gaps, and dries a nice color that can be varnished. If it's good enough for an airplane it's good enough for a boat. Now I just have to wait for it to get here. There is a little surprise coming up too....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sailboat templates.

I'm about 1.5hrs into the Glen-l Minuet Sailboat build. So far I have most of the frame templates built. The way i did it was pretty simple. I just used a jigsaw to cut close to the line i made when tracing the plans. Then I used the belt sander to smooth everything out and get right up to the line. then i verified them against the plans. Simple enough. One small task done.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let's build a Sailboat! Step 1.

I'm using Lauan(Gasp!!). For templates of course.  Now this isn't intended to be 'how too' blog. It's more of a "how I" blog. So, step one is making some templates. we're going to need a pen, a straight edge, some weight(phonebooks), a few pieces of lauan, and carbon tranfer paper(it's like magic).

This process is simple, the carbon paper goes between the lauan and the plans black side down. Then the plans are weighted, tacked or taped down. After the plans are secured the outlines for the frames are traced, and labeled. Then we'll move on to cutting them out.

and yes, I am covered in paint.

Lumber selection

After making some calls I was able to find douglas-fir. Problem is I need vertical grain, and no-one has it. So after spending literally all day searching through piles and piles of douglas fir, southern yellow pine(all crap!!), spruce, spf(by mistake), and mahogany I went to home depot!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh! I know. Not in a boat right? Well guess what, 14% moisture content. Almost as good as it gets for a boat. Problen is they only had 2 pieces of vertical grain. One with a ton of knots, okay so one large knot. So, I bought it and some lauan(for templates).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The internet to the rescue!!!

Well I finally found a place that carries all the lumber i need, East Coast Lumber. Douglas fir, sitka spruce, and southern yellow pine. At least I think they do. Now I hope it is in the right sizes. Because at the moment I need 1"x8" and I can't find them at all in yellow pine. I also don't want to pay to have them re-sawn. In all honesty, this blog is an easy way for me to save a link, and remember why.

Lumber woes

As I said building a boat isn't going to be easy. So the first hiccup in the road. Mahogany, Fir, and Sitka Spruce are either not available, horrible quality, or prohibitively exspensive. Right now the most cost effective alternative is southern yellow pine. It's also what is available locally.

Bump in the road.

Or whitecap in the ocean? Building a plywood on frame sailboat in florida seems to have some drawbacks. Mainly finding the right lumber. However, just because the lumberyards don't list their stock online doesn't mean they don't carry it. After some searching and digging I've come to the conclusion that I'll be using douglass fir lumber for the frames. Now I just have to find some locally.

Friday, May 14, 2010

No room!!

So, I just realized I won't have enough room to layout the full size sheets after i make the building jig. So it looks like i'll be making the frames first.

Sailboat plans are here!

Today was interesting. I watched the shuttle launch from spaceview park, and a little after i got home the glen-l minuet sailboat plans came in. To say the least, I'm impressed. 6 very detailed sheets. 2 full size drawings, a minuet building manual, and a general manual for building plywood boats. After reading the manual, the obvious first step is to make the building form. so I'm going to need 1-16 foot 2x4, 4-8ft 2x4's, and 2-12ft 2x4's. So now for the comparison shopping. Home depot or lowes? So lowes wins since it's cheaper.

Today's the day!

I just checked UPS and the plans are out for delivery. So hopefully when i get back from watching the shuttle launch they will be here. Only 2 launches after today. If you haven't guessed already I live on the space coast. In palm bay, florida. I know It's a little of topic, but I'll post up some pictures of the launch later today.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Glen-l 15 Minuet Specs

Length overall (on deck) 15'-0"
Length overall (with bowsprit) 16'-8"
Length waterline 13'-0"
Beam 6'-6"
Depth amidships 3'-6"
Draft (board up) 12"
Draft (board down) 2'-11"
Height (board up to cabin top) 4'-3"
Displacement (at D.W.L.) 1124 lbs.
Hull weight (approx.) 400 lbs.
Centerboard weight (1/2" steel) 120 lbs.
Cabin headroom 37" max.
Cockpit size 6'-5" x 5'-0"
Average passengers 2-4
Sleeping capacity 2


Minuet Sailboat plans have shipped. Oh the excitement!!

Pocket Cruiser Plans Arrive.

The pocket cruiser plans have arrived. So lets give it a review. Put simply, the plans are very very good for a beginner.  They come on two large sheets printed front and back then folded into a book. With plenty of instructions that make them into a type of builders manual. There is some lofting required, but that isn't very difficult. From what I'm  seeing I have no doubt that anyone that has ever used a circular saw, or jig saw to some degree of success will be able to build this boat, but it won't be me.

The plans call it a pocket motor/sailer. If i wanted it just for motoring then I wouldn't have a problem building it without sails. I want a sailboat though, and since it lacks ballast, a self bailing cockpit, and a centerboard it just won't do for me. My reasoning is I just feel like it will be a real struggle going windward. I'm also worried about the lack of ability to recover from a knockdown with no ballast or flotation.

To summarize, I can recommend the plans and the motored version of the pocket cruiser, but I can't recommend the pocket cruiser in its sailing configuration. So, as I said in previous posts, I'm going with the Glen-l minuet.

Decisions, Decisions.

At some point I have to face the fact that building a boat isn't going to be cheap. So today is that day. I had seriously considered using exterior grade wood for the boat. Then, I ask myself the question "Would I buy a boat made with plywood from home depot". Answer, "no". Also over the entire project it will only save about 300 bucks. 300 bucks spread over at least a year of construction. So I'm going with marine grade maranti  bs1088. Why, you ask. The outer layers are 1.5mm as opposed to 1mm for 6566, and it is loyds certified. Now why meranti instead of okume. Well okume would have added about $800 over the exterior grade. that amount of money can get me brand new sails, and dinner for two at our favorite restaurant . Now with some luck the Glen-l Minuet plans will ship today or tomorrow.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


The great thing about Glen-L marine is the ability to get everything you need for the boat except wood right from them. So for the plywood I'm going with Bateau out of Vero beach, Florida. They are less than half an hour away from me and carry the meranti 1088 and 6566 that i plan on using, in addition to fiberglass, epoxy, and a ton of other stuff. They also have some very nice designs. It actually came down to choosing their 16 foot boat or the minuet.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reconsidering the Pocket Cruiser.

I still haven't received the plans which isn't a big deal for only being a couple of days, but I also haven't recieved anything indicating that they know I've paid or have made an attempt at shipping. So I've started to look at other designs and the 15 foot Glen-l Minuet really stood out to me. I will feel much more comfortable sailing her than the stevenson pocket cruiser, and think the boat will be a  bit more capable weekender. So, after 12 hours of thought and searching the Minuet turned out to be the best compromise, and I purchased the plans. Now I wait some more.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 2. waiting and plywood consideration.

I barely slept last night after the excited of graduating and ordering the sailboat plans. The materials list specifies ACX plywood. Exterior grade, it's very cheap compared to marine grade, but it is lower quality, will check more easily, and lowers the value of the boat when completed. This boat is meant to be a pocket cruiser to learn sailing on. The ultimate goal is a princess sharpie 26. If I want to sell it easily the obvious answer would be to use marine grade, but if I want to donate it to the boy scouts where it will probably be abused anyway. Then I can save quite a bit going with exterior grade and knock out most of the boat over the summer.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 1. Buy Sailboat plans and Graduate!

Let's start from the beginning. This sailboat project is starting at a turning point in our lives. Over the last 8 months my wife's and my own life has been turned upside down and finally for the better. We moved to a town in Florida just a couple miles from the ICW, bought our first house, got new jobs, got married,  and today have both finally graduated with our Associate in Arts Degrees. We also finally settled on a sailboat to build and bought the plans. Since we didn't have enough time to go on a honeymoon, our first long trip on it will be the honeymoon.

The major criteria for the sailboat was shoal draft(trailer-able), a wide beam, and a decent amount of cabin space to sleep two overnight comfortably in a marina with bathrooms and showers. We also had to remember it needed to be easy to build and relatively low cost. So, we had a lot of choices, and I've agonized over them for several weeks before finally settling on the Pocket Cruiser from Stevenson Projects. It's a Flat bottom Cat Boat with a Gaff rig that meets all the requirements. Now we wait for the plans to arrive....