Friday, April 18, 2008

Making Mistakes

The words below were not written by me, but by an amateur boatbuilder who is working at building a Goat Island Skiff designed by Michael Storer. His words ring eerily true to anyone who has done any woodworking at all, let alone boat-building. I would also like to re-itereate one very important point - If you're not making mistakes, you're not doing much.


"I started keeping a boat journal to send to my brother who is leaving for the big sandbox soon. I posted this in the bilge last week but thought you might appreciate it here also. I will use the line about BTUs not mistakes soon. Thanks in advance. (BTUs - mistakes becoming firewood)

Confession time: I am not a professional boat builder.

After this morning I have a pile of wood which would claim to be tortured by power tools if it could speak. I'm not so sure who was torturing who. Regardless, I now have a frame and transom in clamps and other bits cut out for a one sheet skiff. Its a warm up for the garage and I before starting the GIS. My most technical carpentry accomplishment in the last ten years would be repairs to the chicken coop. I have never had to rely on woodworking to pay bills. The coffee tables I built in college could have doubled as engine stands, with slightly lower esthetic standards.

Things we have learned today:

It takes twice as long to dress an edge that was cut without setting up a jig as it does to set up the jig.

Gorilla glue is slick for the amount of time it takes to set the clamps then it is sticky: this may seem obvious to you in your comfortable chair right now, but when you put the glue on and clamp, everything moves. The natural tendency of the neophyte is to stick a finger in there to square things away. As soon as it is touched it becomes sticky, transferring itself to clamps, clothes and working surfaces, kind of like a cold virus.

That whole measure twice cut once is for professionals only: I'm not going to explain this one, but I have plenty of kindling right now. And I'm short a 1" x 2" x 8'.

Either my chop saw cuts every angle correct except 20-degrees or Herb (boat designer) has been screwing with people. The other option is that I don’t know what I'm doing. (cant be, see above)

two by fours which were bought perfectly straight will warp horribly as soon as they come into contact with a flat concrete floor, possibly even the bed of the truck.

I've learned a lot more but I think you get the idea. Tomorrow morning I will probably be trying to figure out how to unglue my clamps from my boat bits in time to enter the chili contest at the local pub.

Feb 3, 2008

I was lucky and didn’t glue any boat bits to other items that should not be part of the boat. Cleaned shop. Wrestled with the two sides and the stem piece. They go together at a compound angle so there is no way to lay anything flat. The pieces won, next weekend we will have a rematch. I think I will have to use screws. Don’t make me fire up the chainsaw."

No comments: