Ways to Give

Inside IYRS Blog

Learn what it’s like to spend a day in the life of a student.

Apr 2

Written by: Tom
4/2/2012 7:59 PM 

When you first walk into IYRS, you're likely to see a pile of boat parts that have been worked on in the lobby workspace. It's a fun little game to figure out what they are before going in and actually asking someone. Today's pile:

Mahogany, grooved for splines, chamfered on one face. Any guesses?

I'll be honest, I forgot to ask once I got into the shop. My guess is that these are the vertical bulkhead parts for the Watch Hill 15. Why? Beetle cat's don't have mahogany parts. The lobster yacht has workboat origins and tends to use plywood for thinks like bulkheads. The sailing dinghy doesn't have bulkheads. There's not a lot of wood in the pile, and the WH 15 only has 2 bulkhead areas. No one uses mahogany for sole members, and no one tongue and grooves their sole. Covering boards have a rabbet, not t&g. Decks could be t&g, but Jen has been making the decks for the WH 15 upstairs out of cedar, and I've never seen mahogany used for a deck.

So, bulkheads. We'll see what's installed next week!

Speaking of the Watch Hill, many of the deck beams are in, and it's time to work on the sole bearers.

This is one of the reasons that you level your boat and then lock it into place. If you neglect to do this, you don't have a nice reference like a level to use when setting up your sole bearers.

The sole bearers so exactly what their name says: they support the sole. With your boat level both athwartships and fore and aft, you can use a level to make sure that your sole bearers are correctly positioned in both directions.

This student is setting up a framework of supports for the forward bulkhead.

Again, with the boat properly set up, you can use a bubble level make sure that all your supports are exactly vertical.

Here's a better view of the forward bulkhead supports.

At the aft end of the boat, there is an oak support that helps to tie the transom to the sides of the boat.

It'll go here, and land on the top of the transom knee and sheer clamps.

Upstairs, Jen is just about done with deck prep.

You can see that one side of the decking has already been painted. It's much easier to do this now than when it's on the boat. Aside from it being cramped inside the boat, you can't get to the decking where the deck beams cross.

Back on the shop floor, the student on the right is working on the sole.

Once the sole bearers are installed, he can start fitting these.

Across the floor, this student was planing a ramp into some plywood.

What looks like stripes black lines are the layers of wood and glue that he's cutting through. This ramp is part of a scarf joint, and he'll glue this piece up onto another ramped section of plywood on the deck of the lobster yacht.

That boat has its first layer of plywood decking almost complete now.

You can see the ramp at the aft end of the decking where he will glue the part he's working on now.

Right now, the plywood is allowed to lap over the side of the boat.

This will be trimmed flush with the side later.

The deck of this boat will be made up of two layers of plywood, glued together. It should be extremely rigid and strong.

Speaking of the lobster boat, notice something different about the port side planking?

Yep, all planked!

By the way, the steam is there to keep the boat moist and minimize plank shrinking.

With the planks all on, the next step is fairing the hull.

The starboard side team is just about ready to get their shutter planks in as well.

Here they are fitting one of the plank sections.

Over on the sailing dinghy, the center thwart is done now.

In the center, there is a removable section with a lifting ring that gives access to the centerboard.

The forward seats are done, and the decorative support has been installed.

The center seat section has a hole for the mast.

The aft bench seat is finished now.

You can see that there are gaps in between the boards that make up the seats. This is one of the things that you have to be mindful of when dealing with wood in marine environments. You have to plan for the inevitable swelling that happens once the boat is either in or around water. If you don't plan for it, the swelling wood will push things apart, or bind in places when you need it to release (like lift-out panels).

The thwarts have supports (essentially knees) that tie them to the gunnel (also spelled gunwale).

By the way, the gunnel is essentially the same thing as the sheer clamp...

There was some discussion and head scratching about how to install these.

You could build them just like they were done on a boat in the collection at Mystic Seaport,

or you could fill in the gap between the hull and the inside of the support as was shown in the original builder's drawings.

Decisions decisions...

Meanwhile, in Beetle cat land, it's all about the deck beams.

Laying them out, cutting the notches...

Another part that's similar to a deck beam is the yoke.

The yoke is made of oak, and is thicker and stronger than a deck beam. It helps to support the mast partner, which supports the mast. Like the deck beams, it also gets notched into the sheer clamp.

You may recall those half beams that look like little cut-off deck beams?

Those are there to support a longitudinal part called the carlin. After the half beams are cut to length, the carlin is clamped up against them

and then screwed in place.

This is one of those places where it's really handy to have a brace with a 6" throw. This means that the handle describes a 6" diameter circle when you turn it. The smaller the throw, the tighter a space you can work in. The price you pay for small throw is less torque.

Some folks are starting the process of turning their square masts into round masts.

This student is battening out the lines he'll use to guide him as he turns the mast from a 4-sided thing to an 8 and then 16-sided thing. After that, he goes to 32 sides and finally round.

We'll see more of that soon.

Other students have started working on their gaff jaws.

These form the U-shaped part that attach to the end of the gaff and go around the mast.

And then, there's the figurehead.

Let's just say, it's not a standard Beetle cat feature.


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