Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday

I don't know if any of you recall (or will admit) to having watched Magnum PI during the '80's. In the series, the lead character; Thomas Magnum who was played by Tom Sellick, used the narrative gimmick of his "little voice". The "little voice" would warn him when something wasn't quite right.

Well, I have that little voice in my head and you probably do, too. Last night as I was trying to align frames, my little voice said, "You're working way too hard at this." I had installed the sheer stringers and the frames and was starting to install the chine stringers. Every time that I put one in place, the frames would shift, and I couldn't be assured that the frames hadn't moved axially, or if they were vertical or square to the centerline of the kayak. I started to feel that things weren't going well and rather than make an irretrievable mistake, I retreated to my thotful spot. I mulled things for a while and then decided to sleep on things.

When you are boatbuilding, it should be fun. If it's not fun, you should be thinking about working smarter, not harder. Think about a new method. Do some research. Ask questions of someone else who has experience doing what you're doing.

In my case, after mulling things over, the "duh" moment came to me. I was thinking about the mounting of forms 1 and 6. I needed something to hold the rest of the frames in position, but I didn't need something that permenant - as a matter of fact, I don't want something that permenant. My big concern was that I could keep the forms vertical, perpendicular to the centerline and in position axially. One problem was that whatever I came up with couldn't obstruct the keel stringer that would be along the centerline. I also will need to be able to extract the supports after assembling all the stringers.

Here's the solution. It's a simple plywood cross - made from 3/4" thick plywood that slots together (tightly). The center of the cross is offset to allow clearance for the keel stringer. The horizontal member fits between the sheer and chine stringers. At the bottom of the cross is a piece of 2x2 that will allow the plywood cross to be mounted to the strongback. Here's one of the 4 that I made this evening.

It's not square, because it doesn't need to be - I'm only concerned that the surface that meets the floor is a flat. Tomorrow we find out if I out-smarted myself.

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