Constructing the Patterns for the Rest of the Keel Pieces

Ruth here:

“We almost weren’t able to complete all the patterns in one day but we pushed on. Racing the sun and coming up with some alternative material we have the remaining 9 pieces in pattern. We used mostly 1/8” mahogany ply which is so beautiful and smells amazing when cut into. It was kind of a fun project. Like putting together a puzzle but you are also creating your pieces. These will be held up to our laminated sections and used to trace out the correct shape for the finished product.

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I attempted to take a panoramic picture of the keelson pattern but had no luck. Here’s the best out of the like 20 takes. It’s kind of neat still.


I worked on the stern segments while Garrett worked on the bow parts.

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This was really helpful for to me to further comprehend how the keel was going to come together. I can now better envision how these patterns will become 3 dimensional and become the mighty back-bone of our ship. Garrett’s had this boat in his head for a long time and is able to see it laid out and how the construction will  make it all come together. I’m learning a little bit more as we go rather than having fully understood what we were doing from when we started. I have more and more ah-ha moments of “Oh! this is how that goes,” it’s really exciting seeing everything unfold.

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We’ve set aside all 10 patterns awaiting wood.”


We have a keel!

Well at least a keelson… But still… It’s pretty rad. We have had some awesome weather and very productive days, and were able to knock out the keelson, keel patterns, buying all the rest of the lumber for the keel, and the half widths (i’ll explain later). We also got to check out the sexy black locust that our friends are milling up for us for frames.

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I actually really hate epoxy, and have been planing since the beginning to try to stay   as traditional as possible with this build. After weeks of searching we were unable to find a solid timber big enough for our keelson, so we reluctantly ordered 9 gallons of toxic sticky gooey nasty epoxy…..

DSCN4580 This is how I feel about epoxy.

DSCN4568 Ruth is much less bothered by sticky…

Homemade Clamps


“What to do while we wait out the cold…..? I know, we can make all 24 clamps we need to laminate!


Shopping list:

  • All-thread rod
  • 2×4’s
  • Wing-nuts and washers



The all-thread rod we found at two different hardware stores and cleared out their stock. We wanted 1/4 all-thread and took all they had and also rid them of their 5/16 and 10/24 stock as well. We are scrapers. We took all the wing-nuts they had and resorted to just regular old nuts for the rest. Collected whatever washers would work. Loaded up with 11 2×4’s, 7 for the job 4 more for good luck. And then back up the hill.

First, tried to cut the all-thread with a dull oscillating saw then remembered we have a badass angle grinder which cut in a second where as the oscillating saw did nothing, at all. But with the angle grinder were left with one messed up end which we could not thread a nut onto…. Grabbed the drill and locked in the all thread and held the nut as the rod spun to the appropriate end. While I did this Garrett drilled the holes needed in the wood pieces, securing the rods, and making sure this will all work for the task we need it to.


We ask ourselves if this was all worth it. To go through all this time to make the clamps versus just buying fabricated clamps we needed….. Yes. Cost of a single clamp large enough for the job=$45. We built 24 heavy duty clamps for about that same cost. It just took a hell of a lot more time….. but the experience ….. priceless”


The Keel

We have finally started to build a boat! We bought all the lumber for our keel yesterday. The keel is made up of 10 or so large timbers. The biggest of which is called the keelson. Our keelson is 10″x12″x30′ made up of 20 pieces of douglas fir laminated together with epoxy. I set up a laminating area on the lofting floor and dry fit all the pieces. We were all set to start gluing today, and make the most of Ruth’s three days off. Unfortunately the weather didn’t like that plan. It will be cold and rainy for the next couple days, and we need at least 60 degrees for the epoxy to set, so looks like we will be waiting until sunday.

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Back to work!

We got our modified plans in and set back to work. We didn’t know that George Buehler was going far beyond what we expected when we asked him modify the plans for us. We discussed changes in the rig, cabin, and deck. George continued until he basically re-engineered the entire boat! He simplified much of the construction details, gave her more sheer, longer waterline, and a deeper chine/rabbet. We are pretty stoked with the new plans, and feel we got quite a bang for our buck. However this also means we have to erase all our lofting, and start over….. Again….. O well third times the charm so they say.

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Passing time

We have about a week to wait for our modified plans to arrive. Which means I can’t do anything on the boat… I have been trying to keep busy with little projects around the property, But There never seems to be enough keep me busy. It makes it even harder with Ruth goin to work bringin in the bacon while I sit on my thumb… Fortunately we are very good at keeping each other upbeat, and on Ruth’s day off we took a totally random awesome trip up mt. Hood. It was a welcome break for both of us.

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Some people paint the lofting floor and draw directly on top. Other people lay down builders paper to draw on. The point behind the builders paper is that you can roll it up and keep it stashed away incase you need to look at the lofting once you get rid of your floor.I had always planed on painting and drawing directly on the floor, but it seems like everyone was using the paper so I figured I would give it a try


Well…. It worked great… At first…

We laid down the paper without a hitch, and started lofting. we were so excited to actually be working on the boat we got the whole boat drawn out in the first day. We sat back admiring  her sweet sheer, and massive scantlings before turning in for the night. The next day brought us very indecisive weather. Hot and sunny, cold and rainy, and everything in between. Within three or four hours the temperature changes wreaked havoc as we watched the paper streatch 3/4” out then slack up to a wrinkly mess. After trying to kid myself for an hour or so it was obvious this would not work for precise measurements. Reluctantly Ruth and I tore up all our work and set ourselves back to the starting point….. you live and you learn…

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