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....