Bending Wood

OK – big day in the boat shop today. I got the bottom covers on and the inside sides. The covers had to be bent over the curve formed by the different sized bulkheads – back to front. This wasn’t too difficult, as the covers are long and narrow. Then I wired up the inside sides of the pontoons. These are much larger and less willing to bend around the bulkheads. Start at the back of the boat and work your way forward – lots of tension on the copper wire ties holding everything in place. I found myself wishing I was using steel wire, as the copper broke a few times.

The shape of the boat that you see is being created and sustained by wire ties twisted tightly. They will be removed and replaced with thickened epoxy and fiberglass tape over all the joints. The entire surface will eventually be covered with epoxy resin, sanded, primed, and painted to protect the wood.

I have also ordered a new, good-looking 75 square foot sail – should really dress up the boat!
Thanks for reading – pics below. The boat is upside-down in these photos, BTW.


I didn’t get a lot done today, but it is all progress toward the goal. I cut out the two top decks and temporarily wired them in place. This will help make the boat frame more rigid and help hold the four bulkheads in place when we flip the boat again.

Here is a quick pic:

More to follow………….

PuddleCat Goes 3D!

Today, Sunday, March 25, 2012 – the PuddleCat sailboat went 3D. Casey & I began stitching together the boat. This job is much easier with help, so I appreciated his assistance. We got the four bulkheads stitched to both sides, and the boat turned right-side up. Next I will keep adding plywood pieces – the front & rear decks, inside sides, and the side bottoms. This will really make the boat much more rigid and secure. The copper wire stitches will hold everything tightly in place until I get into the epoxy and fiberglass tape.

Enjoy the photos – the bottom one is our complete progress for the day.

As always, the PuddleCat can be seen here
Mine is the 8/9 foot model.

PuddleCat Day One

Actually started working on the sailboat today. If you remember from an earlier post, I am branching out into building two sailboats. The first one is a quick & dirty little catamaran. I started laminating up the 10-foot mast today. It will be made up of three boards laminated together and shaped into a round 2.25-inch mast. Gluing began, as shown below:

I also lofted the drawings for the four bulkheads onto a sheet of plywood, followed by measurements and drawing of one of the exterior hull sections. The photo shows small nails driven into the measurement points and a flexible batten clamped to the nails, allowing an accurate and fair line across the board.

A few days ago, I laminated up the rudder stock from 3 thicknesses of 1/4-inch exterior plywood. Some work on the disk sander and this will be ready to support the lead-weighted rudder.

All in all, a good afternoon’s beginning! The PuddleCat can be seen here

On The River

March 17, 2012 – Today was my first day on the river this year, and it was wonderful. Kyle & I had a great float this afternoon. It was warm, breezy, and enjoyable.
We put in on the Maquoketa River in Manchester, behind Fareway. The flow on the gauge was around 300. We did scrape bottom a few times, and had about a 50 yard portage downstream from the step dam. Lots of fishermen out today, enjoying the river.

This is Kyle, shortly after we put in, with his Perception Swifty 9.5.

This is a view forward from my Perception Pescador – 12-foot SOT. Don’t look at my feet!

This is the small dam on the Maquoketa River, just below Pin Oak Park. The water was moving pretty well today. We portaged around this, although we often run it.

Here’s a look at my kayak and Kyle, as we decide the best spot to get back aboard below the dam. The bank is about 3 feet above the water, so no little sandbar for our convenience.

We finally made it to the take-out at Bailey’s Ford Park, south of Manchester. The park is not open to drive in yet, so we had a long ‘portage’ back up to the parking lot and the trailer. Thanks for riding along!

There Be Wood Here!

Just another note to say that the wood-buying trip for the PuddleCat project was a success, and we have plywood for the hull and 10-footers to laminate for the mast. No real work done today, as household chores devoured the entire day – did get a bigger tool shelf put up in the boat shop.

The weekend promises kayaking and family fun. First time out this year, so am looking forward to that – AND — may just splash the SOF 12-foot kayak tomorrow. Read about its creation in our earlier posts.


One More Day!

Just a quick note here to update everyone on the Puddlecat project. Today I took yet another 300 pounds of assorted junk to its final resting place. The previous 400 pounds combined with this load means my Boat Shop is ready for plywood! I even cut out the three 1/4-inch ply laminations for my rudder stock and got them glued up with Titebond III. After a good long cure, I can sand the stock to shape, drill its pivot hole for the rudder, and set that part aside.

The sailboat wind vane arrived today, too. This is a functioning 30-inch black vane with a neat sailboat on top. It will grace the peak of the roof above the shop. Talk about a landmark!

TOMORROW – I am bringing home the plywood for the ‘Cat, lumber to laminate up a mast, and most of the other assorted wood I need for this first sailboat. Onward!

The Boat Shop

Thanks to the incredible spring weather, I have been working a few hours each day in my new boat shop, formerly known as our 1.5 stall garage. My little pickup truck hides in there in the winter and stuff gets put all around it, just to get it inside somewhere. Now that I have committed to building 2 sailboats, I have had to get serious about cleaning and discarding all that stuff that should have been dealt with years ago.

Progress is being made, though, and I am ready to buy wood, loft plans, and cut wood! One more trip to the landfill and the coast will be clear. The SOF kayak is now finished and resting comfortably, awaiting its first float.

I have included some pics – the table in the middle of the room will be used to do my lofting. I have extended supports on each end of it so that the plywood sheets can lie flat. These will be removed once that procedure is finished. I have assembled two sturdy sawhorses, so that I can do most of the work without having to be on the floor. If you know how this garage normally looks, you will enjoy the attached photos! Onward!

SOF on the rack

The lofting table

Floor space!

View from the doorway


Well, I hope so! We are enjoying warm temperatures here in Iowa – highs in the 60s and 70s. We do have to take the wind with the warmth, but that’s OK- and it helps to dry things up.
Anyway – putting the final touches on the SOF kayak – carrying straps, seat back, and rub strips. Soon enough, we will float it for the first time.

NOW – big announcement. The boat shop will be busy this season with – of all things – sailboats! I am planning to build a quick little 2-person craft, known as the PuddleCat. As the name suggests, it is a catamaran. It is kind of a quick and dirty little boat. You can find all the info here:

The main thrust is an Argie 15, a 15-foot sloop-rigged dinghy from Dix Designs. This will hold up to 5 people, and should be a great family boat. It has a mainsail and a jib. Information here:

So STAY TUNED – many pics and blog entries to follow. Yesterday, March 9, 2012, I began cleaning out the garage, hereinafter known as the boat shop. Welcome Spring!