Starboard Bulwarks!

There comes a day when all the prep work is done and you finally get to put up planks. The big moment where all your planning, hunting, and gathering pays off in visual progress.

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We went into planking the bulwarks thinking we were going to do six runs of planking. Each run consisting of two to three planks. Our first one, being the important trend setter for the rest of the runs, had to be out of two pieces so we only have one butt to mess with. Attempting to make that butt joint seamless. We thought we’d have to use two 20 footers but to our delight a 20 and a 16 did it.

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We wanted a little room between the bulwark planking and the deck for water drainage so we used some off cuts of port orford cedar to gauge that space at the base of every stanchion.

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Once pleased with how everything looked Garrett drove the fasteners home. On every stanchion each plank was fastened in two places with an 8 gauge stainless steel inch and 5/8th’s screw. The planks bent easy and were held temporarily in place with at least two clamps. Back to that tingling soreness in Garrett’s hands where even after the sun has set the pulse of the day continues to beat.

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Much like the hull planking and the sheathing, when you put up a plank, no matter how long or tall, you have to stand back and admire how the boat is transforming. It’s much nicer this time that this can be done from the dinghy! In the WATER.

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Day one of putting planks to stanchions finished with run two. The day was glorious. We definitely took our time to appreciate every board and the fact we were finally completing the bulwarks the way Garrett wanted. If you can remember far enough back we’ve already done the bulwarks once before but they turned out to be more decorative than anything. Short little stubby things not tied into the structure of the boat. The original dream for building Rediviva was to keep her as traditional as possible. This includes “ship bulwarks,” ones that make you feel safe and secure on deck. When a ruff sea hits you certainly won’t feel fear going forward to change sails!

We staggered the butts at least a stanchion away from each other. The starboard side’s first four runs we were able to alternate 20 than a 16, then a 16 then a 20, and so on. Like every human we are not perfectly symmetrical neither is Rediviva. The port side took a couple different lengths to stagger the butts and keep longer length planks in use for they were the easiest to bend into shape.

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Day two started out with cloudy weather perfect for coffee and as the day progressed those clouds parted and the sun signaled it was time for a beer while we gazed upon completing run number three.

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 Run number three was cutting it close trying to use a 20 footer and still make a solid landing on the first stanchion as well as the stanchion at midship where it ended.

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Finishing that run was easier than starting it. Moving on! Run four, like the rest, started with Garrett inspecting which plank is best; curve, grain, and dryness. We are using green lumber and thanks to a follower that bought the moisture meter from the Amazon wishlist we were able to test each board and see how it’s drying. After cutting our raw boards down to the 1in x 3in plank they were beginning to dry nicely. We started with a meter reading in the teens to low twenties of percentage of moisture and by the time we were ready to plank some boards were as low as 10%.

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After run four this was when we questioned whether or not 6 runs is too many. Four was looking pretty tall… Making the final decision after we completed the fifth run; in deed six was too many and five was enough.

Our long clamps have taken a beating from the original planking. We may have pushed them to their limits twisting and bending old growth vertical grain 2in by 3 or 5in wide douglas fir topside planks into place. We dug them back out to serve once again finishing the starboard side bulwark planking which towered above MY head.

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Being in the full swing of things day two finished the starboard side. Completing the starboard side in two days felt incredible. Full days of work with the beautiful sun shining above us. So two days of putting planks up then another two full days sanding, leveling, and bunging that whole side.

Once we got to souping the bulwarks we were excited to be back to putting planks up on the port side. Sanding wasn’t nearly as fun as planking under the burning ball of fire in the sky. We needed the weekend to recover and regain strength!

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Perfect timing for the sky to leak. We needed a day to relax but still feeling guilty about not working on the boat the universe helped us out and gave us a rainy day. Sure makes it easier to just chill on a blustery day than if it was beautiful working weather. After we get the port side even to starboard we’ll figure out the cap rail and transom bulwark planks. The stanchions are left long for now until we decide whether the cap rail will be level or follow the crown of the deck like the bulwarks do leaning slightly outboard.

We are so pleased with these bulwarks. The height is perfect and the foredeck space for working the main mast with the added security of the bulwarks is insane. So happy! The bulwarks are awesome!!!

Adding Stanchions

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Rediviva is about to look really different. We’ve been ripping lumber for days for her bulwark planking and finished last week.

We had our new safety goggles and Swab had his new squeaky squirrel. We did another run to Home Depot to see if we could find any more long pieces knowing they’d be easier to bend around the stanchions and take the shape of the boat. We certainly scored and ended up with more material than we needed. “Needed,” Garrett corrects me that we do NEED them…for other things

Before we could start planking we had to install four more stanchions. Two in the bow and two in the stern. The bow additions will be on either side of the bowsprit and are a little closer in distance to the other stanchions and at a slightly different angle. The stern stanchions are further apart and the transom planks will also tie into these posts. We’re still deciding exactly how we want to plank the transom so there will be eventually two more posts in the stern later. Their placement depends on how we want the tiller to come through; under, over, or through.

 It’s always weird cutting holes in the boat but we’ve gotten pretty used to it by now. Garrett loves it because it means more parts are being added that make her a real sailboat.

The day was absolutely gorgeous! Even Swab, who usually likes to stay up by the house, was happy on deck. He typically needs encouragement to come down to the boat, I don’t think he likes the crown in the deck which soon won’t give you vertigo anymore with the bulwarks planked, but he galloped down the gangway still sporting his bandana from milling our planking stock (he had to match us 😉

Same routine as when we did the other stanchions; Garrett down below fastening and me on deck aligning.

I realized I never gave you a good photo of the stanchions after sanding and re-souping so here they are! I spruced up our companion way hatch too:

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We just can’t wait until the whole deck looks like this! It feels amazing to be working on deck. So nice to get out of the boat. We just have to be careful that we don’t get carried away and forget to finish hooking up the engine. What’s all this beautiful wood just sitting at the dock for ??? got to get the boat mobile!

To finish installing the additional stanchions Garrett dug out his irons and mallet once again. With a more extreme angle on these guys he had to use a few different irons to hammer in the cotton properly. Like a painter and his brushes.

Our little ship is about to get some serious bulwarks. The plan is to also have lifelines atop the cap rail of the bulwarks to really make you feel secure on deck. Working her gaff sails and making fast her lines to the pin rail while bracing your feet against the sturdy bulwarks is a dream.

I taped and Garrett applied the sikaflex compound making Rediviva watertight once again. After a day waiting for it to dry we were ready to begin planking.

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With our arsenal of stainless steel screws and a bunch of clamps we picked our first pieces for run number one.

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The first run is the most important as it sets the line for every other plank thereafter. The planks bent easy and in two days we had the starboard side completely planked but more on that next post 😉

Making Dead Eyes!

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Charlie has helped with our parrel beads and now the dead eyes. Next project will be belaying pins. He has an awesome wood lathe perfect for the job.

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The dead eyes are for the standing rigging. We will have 10 sets for our rig; 3 for the main and 2 for the mizzen. Dead eyes are traditional and today most boats use turnbuckles to tension their rig.

 

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The top eye will have a rounded groove around the outside to receive the wire stay and the lower eye will have a 90 degree flat groove for the bracket that attaches it to the chainplates. A line is looped through the holes, called a lanyard, and knotted at the start then tensioned at the other end either fastened up to the stay or back on itself once the rig is tightened. To the right is just a demonstration. Our dead eyes will be about 3 3/4” round with 1/2” holes. Three strand line is what we’ll use for the line to stay traditional. Most likely our stays are looking like we’ll make out of 3/8in galvy wire.

 

First step was getting ruff blocks out of our 2×6 stock of black locust then using the template Charlie made in accordance with the grain pattern we want we marked the top and hammered a pin in the three places we wanted the holes.

 Charlie also made a template for his lathe to cut the dead eyes round. Securing two bolts, locked the dead eye to the lathe and after a few passes we got down to the width we wanted.

Charlie taught me how to mark the ruff blocks so he could start drilling the holes while Garrett finished cutting the blocks.

We danced around Charlie’s shop in unison. Garrett took over drilling holes and Charlie switched to the bandsaw to get our ruff circular shape before moving onto the lathe.

Are you starting to see it?

Then to the coolest machine. The lathe. Rounding the dead eyes took a couple passes.

It was a great day! Charlie is a monster of efficiency. Garrett continued cutting the ruff shape with the bandsaw then passing them onto Charlie.

It wasn’t before long that we had a whole tray of deadeyes. We didn’t totally finish the job this day but we got pretty far!

 The final step we got to that day was as Charlie finished rounding on the lathe he passed them back to Garrett to take them to the router to smooth the edges.

Here’s the before edge rounding and after:

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Next time we’ll cut the grooves on the top and bottom eyes and also add the soft groove where the lanyard passes through the holes of the dead eye. Garrett wanted to do a little more research for the appropriate size bracket for our bottom eye where it’d attach to the chainplate before we cut the groove. It was really nice doing a project for the boat but away from the boat. We’ve still been having off and on rainy days so this helped keep the sanity cup full 😉

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All 10 sets are rounded into shape with 5 extra eyes to spare in case we break any down the line. One step closer to raising the masts therefore closer to sailing!!!!

Thank you Charlie!

Rip It Up!

We’ve been waiting for this day. We were rained out the previous day and eager to get to some real work on the next project; the bulwark planking. Every Home Depot run was also a scouting mission to find pieces of lumber for the task. Four maybe five trips, spread out over weeks, we found all we needed in the construction grade lumber pile. It may be green but nearly all pieces are clear and will dry quick with the change in weather. A little help will come from the wood being a bit green anyway; making them easier to bend and take the curve of the dramatic sheer Rediviva has.

When we got to my parent’s house there was a lovely package waiting on the porch. A brand new circular saw to replace the very tired one we have. Our old saw is patched in two places on the cord, doesn’t allow you to adjust depth anymore, and the base no longer stays level… It was time. Thanks to Sean!!! Garrett is looking more professional everyday. He’s got the haircut now he just needs the tools. Sean is also the main drive behind starting the Amazon Wishlist which has blown our minds! It has been far more successful than we ever imagined. With giant smiles on our faces and gratitude in our hearts we are going to kick some boatbuilding butt!

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From the last two t-shirt sales on Bonfire we bought ourselves a brand new 10” table saw. We’ve been working off the same saw since Washington and we’re convinced it’s cursed. Probably from its previous owner’s wife who hated him spending more time in the yard than with her. It was supposed to be top brand, JET, but it never could keep up with us. Those days are now in the past!

Our pile was high and the goal is to get 3”x1” planks to cover the bulwarks. To best describe bulwarks I say it’s a lot like our “fence” around our home but on a boat. To reach the goal we have three cuts to make. #1 Get a clean edge. Looking at each board individually then deciding the best edge to remove taking into consideration any knots or odd bends, curves, or wonky bits in the board and how best to get as many 3” planks per board. Any thicker off-cuts will be used for deck planking if possible. #2 Rip each board into the number of 3” planks we can get. We had 2×4’s, 2×6’s, 2×8’s, 2×10’s, and 2×12’s so all but the 4bys and 6bys we could get multiple planks. #3 Rip every plank on edge to bring them to an inch of thickness. We didn’t get this far…

Towards the end of the day the new tablesaw’s fence began to slip. We went to rip a board set at the same width it had been and nothing was removed… Got the measuring tape and ah-ha we are not ripping at precisely 3” any more… So… how many do we now have to re-rip??? Turns out just 6 planks were off but the fence continued to slip so we had to check each board before and after and the distance on the saw. Needless to say this sucked the rest of the daylight time we had.

 We cut 41 planks. We need 36. This leaves a couple extra if any break while trying to take the bend. We have a whole mix of lengths. Starting at the bow, where the bend is more extreme, we want the longest pieces. In total, each side (port and starboard,) will have 6 runs consisting of 2-4 planks. On the right side of the notebook (above) is a ruff plan of how we’ll lay out the runs. Run one is closest to the deck then we’ll work our way up. This is also the most important because it sets the line for the rest of the runs. There will be a little gap between the deck and the start of the bulwark planks for water shedding. For this beginning run we’ll do it out of two 20 foot pieces. The longer the board the easier it is to bend them into place and because two 20’s will do the length of the boat this also means only one butt joint (where the two pieces meet up on a stantion) which is good for the eyes, one straight line.

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Garrett and I are so anxious to get outside! The engine is still coming together and that’s what we work on when it’s raining but our real motivation is in the next projects that get us outside. “We are solar powered,” Garrett says and it’s so true. The energy we get from sunny days and fresh air is paramount. It was nice too to be doing a boat project separate from the boat. Garrett’s been cooped up inside for far too long. The slight tinge of sunburn on our shoulders is invigorating.

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To top off and make this great day even better we had some more presents on the stoop.

Thank YOU:

Joanna

Frans

Dennis

Yup…

Garrett was stoked!

 

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Headway

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We’ve had over a week of straight beautiful spring weather and we’ve been hard at work. Feeling back in the game.

Task 1 was installing the thrust bearing thus completing the entire driveline assembly. First Garrett made a block that span the length between floor timbers out of this great piece of fir that my brother handed to us from a construction job. Then he had to take his time making measurements to shape the next piece. Out of a mahogany chunk a follower donated he formed the mount with the precise angle for the thrust bearing to sit upon.

 With a nice gooey batch of peanut butter epoxy he smeared the stuff on the bottom to secure it to the fir block sitting snug against the thrust bearing.

The thrust bearing, as I’ve mentioned before, is crucial in the driveline assembly. This will take the load of the forward and aft thrust from the motor on the prop shaft.

DONE!

Greased and oiled ready to give us some momentum!

While Garrett was hard at work with that he put me on some routine boat maintenance! Can you believe it!!! The boat is far from being complete but it felt incredible to be doing bright work on the water. The locust bulwark stantions have gotten a little weathered. It was time to clean up the bases with an old tooth brush and repaint the compound where they go through the deck. Still today we have NO leaks down below. The hull has swelled tight and the deck doesn’t leak a drop.

The next step of this task was to sand the posts just to remove dirt and then soup ’em up. Garrett altered his mix a bit by adding some more varnish which really helped all the bright work dry to the touch. I don’t have a finished picture but I got all 32 posts sanded and coated before the rain came again the following day. The altered mix also proved itself after this little rain in the beautiful water droplets left behind just sitting on the surface.

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Garrett’s moved right into the next engine project which is rebuilding the exhaust elbow. It was a huge pain getting the old one un-seized from the engine fitting. A blow torch, a monster wrench, a 2by4, and a strapping young man finally broke it free. Last thing still to do with the exhaust elbow besides the hoses is to wrap it for heat shielding. The little outlet you see is for the raw water exit. The to-do list for the engine has a few check marks now. Next major steps are the fuel tank and the gear/shifter box that will be on deck. Then there’s all the little stuff fuel lines, raw water stainer, cables, and hoses.

 

 

To properly measure for the hoses and lines Garrett’s decided to put in the two quarter bunks which the lines will be lead under. So first he put in the real top for the counter. Still just plywood for now without any major framing for storage but this allowed him to get the measurements for the half bulkhead that will separate the galley from the single starboard quarter bunk. Then the final bulkhead, also a half, that separates the dinette from the double port quarter bunk which the exhaust hose will be lead under out to the transom of the boat.

It was a gorgeous day to be outside ripping plywood. Judy, our host, has to be the most wonderful person. She’s always so happy to see us getting work done on the boat. A friend called her a unicorn, people like her just don’t exist right?, I’d say that’s pretty accurate. Almost a week and a half of continuous work on the boat. It feels great! Some more rain has moved in just in time for me to get to work on the next episode 😉

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Also, if you haven’t heard we have our new t-shirt design up and going on Bonfire. We’ve sold over 80 shirts so far which is really giving us the upper hand on the materials we need to keep this boat building. We’re getting our vary own brand new planner that will prep our stock for the decking and many other projects to come. Next clear day Garrett will be on the table saw cutting the planks for the bulwarks. He can’t wait to get outside since he’s been stuck inside fiddling with the engine. All good things though. Thank you all who have read all the way down to the bottom of this! Headway is the word of the day.

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https://www.bonfire.com/saltandtar2019/