Tools

I thought that instead of scattering thoughts on useful tools and other products here and there it may be helpful/useful to others to list the tools and materials used in this project.

Handplanes – I have a collection of 5 old handplanes that I either inherited from my Dad or got from a friend that was going to throw them out. about 10 years ago I bought a Japanese combination 1000/4000 grit waterstone and a honing guide. I spent a ton of time lapping the backs of the blades until they were like mirrors and then a ton more time honing the bevel until it also had a mirror finish. These blades were so sharp I could shave with them. Luckily, once you have them like that you can get them sharp again without very much work.

If you don’t have a handplane I would recommend getting a couple..a block plane and something larger like a jackplane or something somewhat smaller. I used these tools a lot and don’t know what I would have done without them. They are great for working at things until they fit, taking off just a bit at a time. I also used them to fair the edges of the epoxied seams on the outside of the hull.

Chisels – I have an old set of Marples blue handled chisels that also received the waterstone treatment years ago. Chisels are also very useful for all kinds of things.

Router – I have a big 3 1/4 horsepower Porter-Cable 7539 plunge router. It is big, heavy and powerful. It was indispensable. I used a top bearing edge trimming bit, bottom bearing edge trimming bit and a 1/4″ roundover bit with the guide bearing on the bottom. I used this to make exact copies of the side and bilge panels after I had made one and used the handplanes and sanding block to get it to where I wanted it. I also routed the scarfs on the gunwale pieces. I used a template I made out of 1/4″ plywood to route the rounded parts of the leeboard and rudder. It was much easier to get a thin piece of plywood cut and shaped and use it as a guide than it was to shape a laminated piece of plywood that was 1″ thick. I also routed the slot in the leeboard guide and many other pieces.

Japanese handsaws – I bought 2 Japanese handsaws from Lee Valley tools. One Dozuki and one for cutting plywood. They are great tools and I used them for all kinds of cutting jobs.

Scrapers – I used a Richards steel bladed paint scraper until I discovered a carbide bladed scraper for $10.50 at Lee Valley. Buy a carbide blade scraper…another indispensable tool for removing excess epoxy and other smoothing jobs. The edge stays sharp for a LONG time.

Table Saw – I have a 10 year old Delta Contractor saw with a 36″ Unifence on it. For ripping lumber, cutting bevels, cutting angled pieces of plywood with the miter guide it is another must have tool. I added several upgrade items to make it safer and I always used a holddown clamped to the fence when ripping lumber. I have the utmost respect for the danger of a table saw. I always plan each cut and go through how I am going to do it safely before doing it for real. The following items were the things I added to make using the table saw safer:

  • Zero Clearance Insert – these prevent thin pieces of wood from dropping into the slot and jamming the blade and replace the stock insert except when making angled cuts where the saw blade is tilted.
  • Splitter – This is mounted on the zero-clearance insert and serves to keep the cut pieces of wood from pinching the sawblade which can result in a kickback.
  • Finger Board – These keep the wood being cut pressed against the fence. Used in combination with a holddown (I always used pieces of 2×4 clamped tot he fence) you can rip wood without getting your fingers anywhere near the blade.
  • Push sticks/Paddles – Use these to push wood between the blade and the fence and keep your fingers out of harm’s way.

Electric Drill – I have a 12 year old Dewalt 14.4v cordless drill. It is another tool you just must have when building a boat.

Electric Drill Jig – I bought this a long time ago to help me drill perpendicular holes. It has a stop so that you can set the depth….handy for making sure you don’t drill through pieces and also for recessing screw heads a uniform amount by using a larger drill bit. For really critical vertical holes I drove over to my friend with a drill press and used that to do the job. Not a necessity but I sure used it more than I ever thought I would and it cvame in very handy.

Jigsaw – I bought a Bosch barrel handle jigsaw to use on this project. The meranti plywood I used is very splintery and a fine blade is a necessity. I didn’t get one until I had done a lot of cutting and it resulted in my cutting far outside cut lines and spending a lot of time with the handplanes and sanding block. I’m not sold on the barrel handle. I think I would prefer a regular handle.

Belt Sander – I have an old belt sander, a very cheap one, that I bought many years ago. Put a coarse belt on it and it will remove material very quickly. Let it dig in for a second when you are close to being finished and you may ruin your piece. I used this for the leeboard and rudder for the gross shaping and material removal but used a sanding block to finish the job. Just like with a router, you can ruin a piece of wood in a hurry with one of these things but they are very useful tools.

Drill Press – Not a necessity except in a few parts where alignment is critical. Drilling the holes in the mast partner was one of those tasks. Do like I did and find a buddy with one.

Grinder – Once again, I used my friend’s to clean up bolt ends after tapping them or cutting them and making sure that the nuts would go on easily. This is important with stainless bolts as they mess up easily if there is any small bit of loose metal on the threads or in the nut.

Tap and Die Set – My friend’s tap and die set was very useful as I had to cut a couple of bolts down and thread the unthreaded portion. It was also used to clean up bolts that I had gotten paint and epoxy in the threads.

Metal Cutting Bandsaw – Used my friend’s for cutting down bolts. Way better than using a hacksaw.

Electric Planer – I bought a Makita electric plane to taper my mast. I spoke to several people about doing it for me but nobody wanted to take it on for various reasons. I entertained using my router and the large edge trimming bit with a 1 1/2 inch depth but decided against that approach because one slip could have wrecked my mast material which was brought home 1,000 miles on the roof of our van from B.C. I figured that with a plane the biggest single mistake I could make would be about 1/16th of an inch in depth. This thing did the trick wonderfully. In 2 1/2 hours I was finished tapering the mast to the point of sanding.

Clamps – You can hardly have too many clamps. I’ll have to recount the clamps that I bought in addition to the ones I already owned but I think I bought 16 C-clamps and 12 bar clamps. I used them all to laminate the mast and put the decking on the bow. The most useful individual ones I own are the wooden jawed carpenter clamps….the ones with the two threaded rods. I used these things in so many ways. In combination with a couple of sawhorses they were my workbench, they also held holddowns on the table saw fence to make ripping safer, as well as the usual clamping duties that they filled admirably.

I think that I’d prefer to have the wooden jawed clamps and the bar clamps if forced to choose. They are much more expensive but they don’t leave marks on your work. I bought really cheap bar clamps that aren’t capable of exerting a lot of pressure. They were barely up to the task of squeezing the mast laminations together.

Sawhorses – I used these as warmups to use the table saw and get started. Make yourself a couple of good strong ones to get started. There are tons of ideas on the internet. All three of the sawhorses I built are different. I don’t know how I would have finished this job without the three sawhorses I made. I’m going to make a few more with the extra pieces of lumber I have laying around and give them to my friend Terry to thank him for his help.

Plumb Bob – One of those little things I couldn’t figure out how to improvise and wound up buying one. To line up the leeboard slot and leeboard support….you gotta have one. Try and borrow one if you can.

Material

Meranti Marine Plywood – I bought the BS1088 Meranti plywood because it was less expensive than Okoume of the same grade. I have since learned that Meranti is heavier than Okoume but stronger. I think it is a good choice unless weight is a consideration. My boat is going to be on a trailer all the time so weight isn’t that much of a consideration.

Douglas Fir – I used Douglas Fir for the tiller, mast, bulkhead framing and deck/hatch framing. It is great wood if you can find it. I wound up looking for my mast pieces while on a vacation in B.C. and brought them home strapped to the roof rack on our van, all padded and plastic wrapped.

Mahogany – I bought finished mahogany from Windsor Plywood. I managed to find pieces as long as 14′. I used mahogany for the gunwales, seat supports and keel strip. It works very nicely and looks fabulous when left bright and varnished….well I think my gunwales look wonderful varnished. Everybody that looks at the boat loves the varnished mahogany.

I used a number of epoxy products:

  • Marinepoxy – This epoxy I bought from DuckworksBBS. a 4.5 US Gallon kit. 3 gallons of resin and 1.5 gallons of medium speed hardener. I used it all up and didn’t use this epoxy with wood flour to make my fillets. I did glass the bottom completely but this amount didn’t go as far as I expected it would. I likely wasted far more than necessary but I am still surprised that I had to buy more epoxy to finish the boat.
  • Mas Epoxy – I bought some MAS Epoxy to finish off the boat. Medium speed hardener. It worked just fine.
  • System Three Quikfair – I bought a 1.5 quart kit of this stuff to fair the boat. It sands nicely and is great to use to cover up the imperfections of your finish job.
  • System Three EZ_Fillet – I bought two 1.5 quart kits of EZ-Fillet. It is a great product. It certainly saves time compared to mixing up your own fillets with wood flour and epoxy. Consistent every time. Dark brown colour which worked nicely with the mahogany.
  • System Three Yacht Primer – I bought this after using the Ameron primer which I hated for reasons explained below. This stuff mixed up nicely, covered well, had a good pot life and was easy to maintain a wet edge with, resulting in smooth uniform coats. It also cleans up with water which was a total treat. Expensive….but worth it in my opinion.
  • Ameron 383 Epoxy Primer – I bought this from General Paint on the recommendation of their Industrial Coating specialist. The main beef I have with this stuff is that it was impossible to maintain a wet edge which resulted in thicker areas, difficulty is applying and a lot more sanding. It is very hard and I have no doubt will stand up well but it was a bear to sand. I am taking the leftovers to a local recycling place as I don’t want to use it again.

Benjamin Moore Metal and Wood alkyd paint – This was recommended by a dwforum member and the local Benjamin Moore dealer. I found out later that one of the local sailing clubs uses it on their boats so I am hoping that it will stand up pretty well. It was easy to maintain a wet edge with and smoothed out very nicely with the brush. It resisted runs and flowed out very nicely. I am very happy with the job it did. My autobody shop owning neighbour was quite impressed and he is a picky guy when it comes to paint jobs. Hopefully it will stand up as good as it looks.

Stainless Steel screws, bolts and fittings – Needless to say, rust proof fastenings are a necessity. What I was surprised by was how easily stainless screws snap off. I tried removing them from the gunwales and bulkheads after epoxying things together and I’d say nearly half of them snapped when trying to remove them so I have a lot of buried screws. Finding the sizes of bolts I needed was difficult. Maybe someone in a larger centre would have better success but it was frustrating for me. I bought nearly all of my fittings from duckworksbbs.com. Chuck was good enough to go out and look at everything he had used on his Ladybug, make up a package of everything I needed and then send me an email telling me what everything was used for.

Nitrile Gloves – 298 to be exact. I have 2 left from 3 boxes of 100. I hated using these at forst but got used to them and now will always have some around to put on whenever doing something with paint, epoxy or solvents/cleaners. I bought some cotton liners from Lee Valley to wear under them but only used them a couple of times. After a while you just get used to your hands being soaking wet inside these gloves.

Tongue depressors – I used hundreds of these as well. Buy big boxes of them.

Plastic Mixing Cups – I used a lot of these that I bought from Noah’s Marine. Sometimes you just can’t get the epoxy out or they break when you are flexing the cup trying to break the epoxy loose. I went through about 10-12 of them and have a couple left.

Spreaders – I bought some from Chuck and later bought some West System ones from Pride Marine. The ones from Chuck are more flexible and easily tooled into shapes for filleting, etc. I liked the others for smoothing the fiberglass on the bottom.

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