October 13, 2014 Hours spent building to date: 206
Using a plane to fair plywood makes a sound a lot like scraping your fingernails over an old-fashioned blackboard. No sweet-smelling shavings, just a sandy, gluey dust. A sander takes off the excess wood, but tends to round over the edges, which need to be as sharp as possible where they meet the planking. And when the sander makes the glue hot, the shop smells like horse urine (sorry).
As a result, on this boat I have been trying to reduce fairing (taking out all the high spots and low spots on the frame) as much as possible. So I have been measuring, fitting and fussing trying to get everything square and even and flat. I moved three frames back and forth anywhere from a quarter inch to three-eighths, and two more up and down maybe a quarter. I chopped an inch off the stem to bet it to its marks and fiddled with the transom to get it square. Eight hours gone.
It sounds silly, but given all the angles and connections in a boat, sometimes when you make a small adjustment, a whole lot of pieces fall into place. The stem looked way off, but when I cut it to exactly the right height, all the lines fell right to the proper marks. The portside planking looked like a teeter-totter, but two moves and it’s almost flat enough to glue down. The fairing blocks worked great — kind of like having little sleds underneath the frame.
We did have one “what in the hell was I thinking?” moment. I went over to the lumberyard and got 40 feet of clear,vertical grain fir for the inner keel ($92!) Glued in all up, looked great, and I thought, “Well, in the morning I’ll just square up the edges to size on the tablesaw — and onto the boat.” Then I took a picture for you sports fans, and looking through the lens, I realized that there was no way to get a twenty-foot chunk of wood that weighs about 40 pounds onto and through a table saw that now has about 6 feet of clearance each side. A long, tiring session with the big Festool saw awaits, which could have been avoided by trimming up the boards first. I am really going to have to adjust to the scale of Tardis versus the little canoes and rowboats I’ve been building.