Cruisette: Builders' Diary

Ron & Devy Porter

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Every project worth doing is an adventure. I don't know how you define adventure, but I take my definition from the observation that all through history, the adventurers were the ones blazing new trails, and overcoming obstacles along the way. This is a list of all the things that turned building a boat from proven plans provided by some of the best in the business into an adventure. I'm going to start off like every adventurer, hoping for the best put preparing for the worst. I'll 'hope' that my list of goofs and problems is short enough to fit all on one page, but I'm 'prepared' to use one of my multi-page templates should that prove necessary. 

  1. The first thing that hit me was the length of the boat. The plans call for 15 ft, but specify that an increase of 10% to 16.5 is possible by respacing frames accordingly. Somewhere along the way I took that to mean that all frames were to be respaced when the actual wording makes it quite clear that the respaced frames are all aft of the stem. Anyway, we were working from a frame kit where things like the stem are pre-cut, so I thought my original plan to increase length was going to be curtailed somewhat by not being able to respace the frames in contact with the stem. No problem, I thought, I'll just respace the ones aft of the stem and carry on. Yes, I know that is exactly what I was supposed to be doing, but I thought that I was actually imposing a design change. As a result, I got cold feet and readjusted the jig to the original specifications. I was informed of the error of my ways in plenty of time to go back and reset the jig again, but I had already found a great load lifted from my shoulders. One of the things that continually nagged at me, rightly or wrongly, was how to make sure I didn't screw up the lengthening of the boat given that all provided dimensions were based on a 15-footer. Once I made my way back to the original 15-footer, I was so much more relaxed and confident that I figured I should just leave well-enough alone.
  2. When setting up the frame at station 2, I discovered that there was nothing for the frame's floor timber to rest on. Based on the jig plans, I was expecting the floor timber to bridge a 25-inch gap between setup members. The floor timber was actually only 24 inches, so I had to add a new spreader between the setup members so that the floor timber had a place to rest. Well, that's one for me and one for Glen-L. Presumably, any other goofs will be mine!
  3. An entire week-end turnded out less than stellar. Bad enough, in fact, that we actually lose two week-ends, not just one. Devy was right--she said very early on that we should just have stayed in bed. I, on the other hand, just could not leave well enough alone. I missed a step in the manual, I misread the instructions and bill of materials, I didn't get things lined up or cut right, I didn't get my filler mixed right. Anyway, if you really need more details, go take a look at Days 25 and 26.
  4. Getting the boat to the lake was truly an adventure. A seemingly simple flat, with the relatively minor complication of having left the spare sitting at the lake, turned into quite the challenge.