Thursday, June 14, 2007

Memory lane: second boat project (part 2/finito)

I finished attaching the rowboat hardware as of Tuesday evening. Here is a picture of the main seat, it is hinged in the middle to give access to the "storage compartment":

My name, "Bothell, WA", and the (very) approximate completion date ("12/2006"), are burned into the bottom of the seat as well, for posterity.

I'm proud of the hinge mortising you see there (sorry, it's not a very close-up shot). I traced the outline of the hinges onto the seats, then cut-out the hinge mortises free-hand with a router. A bit painstaking - I won't say it's perfect, but it looks pretty darn good to me. The seat opens quite easily too, considering I aligned the hinges by hand.

Here's the whole boat from a front-angle:

And from the back:

(The painter is a genuine halyard line, from Fisheries Supply. Nothing but the best for this baby!)

Even though everything was attached on Tuesday I wanted to give it one more day to cure just in case. What I mean is, every single screw hole was pre-screwed, then coated\washed out with raw epoxy before the fitting was attached for the final time. The brass handles on the transom also had their bolt holes epoxied, and the bolts themselves have a lock-washer, a flat-washer, and a small dab of Loctite. I am confident that my fittings won't be falling off anytime soon. The fittings themselves are mostly brass, but the screws\bolts are all silicon bronze.

When Wednesday evening rolled around, I was all excited to get this thing in the water. Turned out we had one small problem. The darn thing doesn't fit in the back of my wife's SUV! Arghh! (yep, in two years I never bothered to actually measure it.) And I wasn't in the mood to attempt tying it on top of the car. This kinda killed the excitement, and I ended up working on the F22 instead. Later that evening, my wife had the idea that we could rent a U-haul pickup to get the boat to the water (isn't she great?). I figured that would work and made plans to do it the next day.

Thursday rolls around, and we get a U-haul pickup. Can't beat the $20 per day rate. After driving it home, we load up the boat:

I did not feel like building my own oars, so instead I bought them from Shaw & Tenney - they are simple basic flat-blade oars, made from Spruce. I don't think my boat really needs such nicely made oars given how much I will probably be using the boat, but hey, you only live once!

Then we drove the boat over to Martha Lake. I was all into watching the other drivers, seeing if they were checking out my cool looking rowboat. Quite a few folks seemed interested. And finally, the moment I was waiting for: she floats!


I've never rowed before in my life, and it's definitely not a natural skill for me. But I had a lot of fun, rowing across the lake a couple of times; here I'm coming back from the second trip:

The boat seemed to row pretty good to me. Keeping it in a straight line seems to be dependent on having an equal strength pull from each arm which takes some careful concentration (though I bet it becomes second nature to folks who row a lot). The boat felt very stable out on the water. The boat did seem to hobby-horse up and down a bit on the long axis, this might be because of my (excess) weight unbalancing it. Here's the happy boat builder right before we took the boat out of the water:

Right after I got out, some waterfowl came by to visit as well:

Then we loaded the boat back into the truck and headed for home. To avoid the need for the U-haul in future, I think I will get a trailer hitch on my wife's car and a small trailer to go along with it. I'd need the hitch anyway eventually, for my F22.

I still haven't got a name for this boat. "Jay's Folly", perhaps? :-) One of my neighbors has been calling it the "Bonhomme Richard" almost since the first day I started the project (my apologies to John Paul Jones). Whatever its name is, this has been a fun project and I am glad I did it.

And to everyone who comes to this blog for F22 info: thanks for being patient while I finished off this little project. Perhaps this rowboat can be my yacht tender, when I build IanF's F-52 SuperSuperCruiser Catamaran in ten years?

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