Jul 29, 2009

The Tweedle-Dum

Tonight I went to Menards -- and then Home Depot -- and picked up the first materials for my boat. It's a variant on the stitch and glue style of a simple dinghy. A portuguese dinghy, actually.

Backing up..

I couple years ago I stumbled across a web site of a guy from Finland. He makes boats. For fun. He makes charts, analyzes displacement, spends hours and days and weeks thinking about boats. Little boats. And he has all sorts of plans for them online. One of them struck me as particularly beautiful. The portuguese dinghy. So I decided I needed to make one. (Soon after someone got featured on Instructables.com for building the very same boats -- although I'm not grooving on his paint job)

Side note..

Another idea I had revolves around walking across Lake Calhoun or Harriet. In the winter, of course. But every year I keep forgetting or postponing and never get around to doing it. (We did cross Bear Lake this year though, which was cool!)

But to convey myself across a lake in a boat of my own making? How cool is that? It both fulfills the "cross a whole lake" and involves buying things, noodling with tools, and dealing with dead trees. Perfect fit.

Ok, so for years (literally) co-workers and family and friends alike all got sick of hearing "this summer I'm going to build my boat" or "this winter would be a good time to do it and this time I totally will!" I asked for quarter inch marine-grade plywood for Christmas and my birthday. I hit Hannu's site so many times I'm probably a quarter of his traffic. For the longest time I held out for the $80 a sheet marine grade plywood, but talking to a friend on the TNR and reading up a bit more I decided screwing up a $15 sheet of plywood is better than screwing up an $80 sheet. Cost for two sheets and some screws and more titebond-3 and fiberglass fabric? $60. Woot!

Happily, tonight I'm on my way.

I'm naming it the "Tweedle-Dum" and the next one (oh yeah!) is the same style, shorter dimensions -- it's on the same plan as the 'dum, and it'll be the "Tweedle-Dee." Bonus points if you know where I got those names. No, it's not from Alice in Wonderland.

And then I'd love to build an Escargot. Or a teardrop camper for our trailer. Or maybe a little house for Lake George. Oh the places I'll go.. Or dream about. After I propel myself across a lake I want to sleep in a structure of my own making. Yeah, I'm odd.


Jeff said...

Hey Robert,
Long time no see. It's Jeff from the old marketwatch days. Don't know if you started building yet, but I'd highly recommend holding off for the marine grade ply. Even if you're glassing the outside, it's not just about water proof glues that marine grade uses. Marine grade ply has solid plys in all the layers. The regular variety will have gaps - sometimes big ones, and in a stich and glue boat, the ply is the structural part. The outer glass is just for abrasion resistance and water proofing. It's not unlikely that you'll have a really bad failure after the boat is done. Considering the amount of time you'll put into building the boat, think about spending the extra bit of money.

Here's the latest on my boat building endeavors:

robert said...

Yeah I fretted over the Marine vs crappy for some time. But these are learning (how to build) boats and will likely hit the water a few times a year. And if they fail they fail and we have a big bonfire full of chemical exhaust. :)

It's not like your boat, which is a HUGE undertaking and really quite awesome! By the time I'm done with my obsession I'm sure I'll have moved on to building bamboo book binding presses from the 17th century or something equally silly.

Jeff said...

makes sense. Can't wait to see the progress. I'll meet you out on the lake. I need a reason to take my dory out more frequently.

robert said...

Heh, we can race - although I think your sail will beat my oars any day.

Oh I forgot to mention if I ever build anything ridiculous like the Escargot, I'll be using all top-line products.