All I ask is a tall ship…

I must go down to the seas again
to the lonely sea and sky
And all I ask is a tall ship
and a star to steer her by
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song
and the white sail’s shaking
And a gray mist on the sea’s face,
and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again
for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call
That may not be denied
And all I ask is a windy day
with the white clouds flying
And the flung spray and the blown spume
and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again
to the vagrant gypsy life
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way
where the wind’s like a whetted knife
And all I ask is a merry yarn
from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
when the long trick’s over.

Sea Fever
By John Masefield

Mr. Masefield, I’m getting a bit squirrely myself. I think it’s in part because I’m getting so close to done. Today I finished the majority of the shaping of my mast, only to find the top 10-12″ of the beam had a split in the middle! After uttering a long string of words appropriate for a sailor, I glued and clamped it down. The hope is that it’ll hold strong. Worst case scenario: It splits, and I end up building a new one. (Or putting a hose clamp on it!)

Cleaned up a lot of the excess wood from the starboard airbox. It took a pass with the pull-saw to get the big stuff gone, then the block plane and surform tool. After being so productive, it seemed like a good time for ‘selfies’!

Dust mask? Check. Surform tool? Check. Sweet Vice City t-shirt? Check.  Yes, I rule.

Dust mask? Check. Surform tool? Check. Sweet Vice City t-shirt? Check.
Yes, I rule.

The block plane deserved recognition too…

Block plane and I totally getting photo-bombed by my mast hanging there.

Block plane and I totally getting photo-bombed by my mast hanging there.

A bunch of progress on the rudder! I liked this rudder Shorty had posted about here. It’s very similar to what my old Weekender 18′ had. Here’s a mock-up of the rudder and tiller.

It took a bit to find something to use as the bumper. After digging around the miscellaneous parts jars, the solution presented itself in the form of an old bicycle brake pad and a deadbolt latch plate. The plate was hammered into position, and screwed to the board. Then the brake was screwed to it. Moral of the story: Junk bins rule.

Using a piece of scrap as a tiller, it’s ready to be bolted on tomorrow (or Friday, whenever I get back to it), hooray!

Last but not least, the hull plate arrived. It seemed only right to support the Puddle Duck class. If buying a hull plate was a way to do that, I’d do it. I fired up the DYMO-MITE Tapewriter and made a fairly awesome hull plate.


Blades of Steel

Yesterday’s boat building adventures informed me that my circular saw blade was totally hosed. Rather than cutting through a 2×4, it was burning its way through… Not good.
That meant another trip to Home Depot. Of course, I can never just pick up exactly the one item I need and leave. It seems that the mental list gets longer while I’m at the store:

  • Circular saw blades
    • Framing
    • Plywood
  • Jigsaw blades (I didn’t trust the one that came with the jigsaw to be fine enough.)
  • More clamps!
  • A long thin strip of pine to mark the hull shape

This brings the total closer to $150, if we’re counting tool costs. Still fairly reasonable. I’ll be happy if it stays under $200, which gives me about $50 to spend on paint/finish.

Back to the building process; the station lines that give the shape of the hull had already been measured out. Since this design requires full length airboxes, I clamped two of the 1/4″ plywood pieces together, placed nails at the station marks and clamped the thin strip of pine to the nails and traced the curve. This method produces a nice rounded shape which was then jig-sawed out, producing 4 hull pieces. These are now ready to have the chines glued to them. The scrap from the middle of the boards will be used to make the top of each airbox.

This shows the shape of my hull. To the left of the pic is the bow, right is the stern.

This shows the shape of my hull. To the left of the pic is the bow, right is the stern.

Yesterday’s screw-up:
After deciding where to make the cuts for the airboxes, I had chalklined the planned cuts. Since it was an 8 foot long cut, I came up with the brilliant idea to take a strip of 1×2, clamp it to the sheet of plywood and use it as a guide. Pretty smart, eh? Only problem was I didn’t measure against the chalk line along the entire length. As it turned out after I made the cut, there was about a 1/4″ bow right in the middle. I didn’t even notice the curve until I set the piece on the ground and noticed it was rocking. Damn it.

Fortunately, there was plenty of scrap left. A couple of quick measurements, new chalk lines, and two cuts later, new and perfectly suitable airbox tops had been created. Hooray! Up next: gluing the chines to the hull pieces, and determining airbox size.

Nootropic Design Defusable Clock

Back in April, I went to the Minnefaire at The Hack Factory in Minneapolis. If you’re a local maker, this is an event you don’t want to miss when it rolls around next year. I got to meet Gordon Smuder of Transylvania TV fame. (Thanks for those puppet eyeballs, Gordon!) I also had a chance to speak with a couple makers whose work I’ve admired for a while now, Adam Wolf, one of the founders of Wayne & Layne, and Michael Krumpus of nootropic design.

While I love Wayne & Layne’s mission and think they have some cool kits to choose from, Michael is the designer of a fantastic clock kit that I have had my eye on for a LONG time… If you know me really well, you know I have a soft spot for clocks. My better half would say it borders on is an obsession. She’s probably right. I digress.

As I approached Michael’s vendor table, I saw the bright red 7 segment displays, crazy wires sticking every which way. Immediately recognizable as “the bomb clock” I’d seen around the web a year before. Somehow I wasn’t able to pull the trigger and buy one before, but here they were. Staring at me. It wasn’t long before I found my wallet in my hand.

It wasn’t even fair…

For around $30, you get a kit with all the fixings to make the guts of the clock. Which is nice, because half the fun of this thing is making it look scary. Sadly, I didn’t document the build, because I’m terrible at taking pictures as I go, that said, here are a couple taken tonight after finishing the rest of the “prop”.


What makes this such a fun and unique alarm clock is the mechanism to disarm it: To disable the alarm, you need to cut the correct wire before the counter gets to 0:00. (Or pull it from the terminal, if you leave the screws loosened.) There’s logic built into it that randomizes which wire it will be each time. Great design, Michael. Really neat ideas like this are the reason I’m going into engineering. I only hope that my projects are this much fun when my time comes.

My clock build:
Clock Kit
1″ Dowels
Brown packaging paper with dynamite labeling.
(I found the PDF label on his forums somewhere.)
Electrical tape to bind them together
Spare 9v adapter I had laying around