Power tools are much like governmental bureaus, in one respect: Once you've got the power, it's fatally easy to add another; but you'll never do away with one. When I built my first big boat, I had one small circular saw, driven by a Vs-horsepower motor. This was a great luxury, after years of building skiffs entirely with hand tools. Two years later, having decided that I was about ready to revolutionize the boatbuilding industry, I acquired a good Stanley Winch drill, and a very small bandsaw. (I hat drill is still working very well, after 37 years of hard service; I wish I could say as much for myself.) I discovered at the same time that. I could get big keel timbers from a sawmill, instead of cutting a tree down and hewing it square by hand. (As I have mentioned previously, I never was much of an axeman.) I built more big boats...and I bought a 3-foot bandsaw for $20.00, and a big tablesaw for S10.00.1 got a surface planer, a drill with a Vi-inch chuck, and—mixed in with the building of more big boats—power sanders, portable electric saws, a drill press, router, more drills, power screwdrivers, a table saw with tilting arbor and dado-cutters, and even a power-operated hand plane, which is a lovely tool indeed. And now I couldn't do without a single one of these. The government would collapse.
What's the point of all this? I'm not sure, but
I think it indicates that (1) you can do a lot of boatbuilding without being fully mechanized; (2) I am not in a secure position to tell you exactly what power tools you need; and (S) having cut the shanks off all those augers, you'd better get yourself a pair of electric drills, and not the cheapest ones, either. Get a saw arbor, and build a wooden table around it. Get the biggest handsaw you can manage. Look into the possibilities of renting tools by the day, or the weekend. You can cut the keel, the stern post, and most of the stem to shape, in a day, with a big portable circular saw, which would be of very limited use to you afterward. A good saber-saw will save you some labor in fitting plywood bulkheads, but don't believe the man who tells vou that it will handle everv cut vou'll ever have i / V
to make. You can live without a jointer, a radial saw, or a spindle shaper; I can count my fingers and thumbs, all the way to 10, and suggest that you may even live longer and more happily. You can buy a lot of bronze, oak, and good red mahogany for the price of these elaborate machines, and not one of them is smart enough to build a boat.
You'll need clamps. Even working alone, you can easily (and profitably) tie up 30 C-clamps at one moment when planking; and if someone is helping you bend frames, you'll use 50. They need not be the best clamps in the world, and most of them can be small, with 5-inch and 6-inch openings. You should have two 8-inch clamps, two 10-inch clamps, one 12-inch clamp, and three or four sets of the fittings that go on Winch pipe or wooden bars to make up any length you need. You can cut that figure of 50 down to 20, and still manage, but there'll be moments of frustration. Seek them in secondhand shops and junkyards, and even buy new ones if all else fails. Oil the threads, and learn to spin them open and shut. Get the simple solid clamps, rather than the sliding-bar type (these let go when you jar them with a close hammer blow). Finally, get a half-dozen tiny "quilting frame" clamps, to use on the skeleton patterns you'll need to make for bulkheads, floor timbers, and such.
Scout around and acquire two 10-ton jacks, one of them hydraulic (see Figure A-5), and the other with a low lifting toe. Cut 3-inch steel pipe to 4-foot lengths (four of them) for moving the ballast casting ar ound.
fitting a ballast keel to an already built hull
Suppose you are like most of the young folks nowadays, and just couldn't wait, but set up housekeeping before you could afford Baby. That is to say, you have the boat all built, and now* the casting has finally been made to—you hope—the right size and shape to fit the hull. Now it's lime to face up to things, and act as if you'd meant to do it this way right from the beginning. This manner of building a boat mav seem somewhat confused, but I'll tell vou d * J
what to do next. I've been through this rigama-role many a time—the matter of the late, late casting that is unavoidably delayed because I couldn't afford the time, or the money, or both, to get it done at the start of the job. So the problem is not, Will it fit? but rather, How can I locate and bore the holes in the keel, to get the best possible compromise?
Elementary. Instead of clamping the wood keel to the recumbent casting and marking directly, you clamp it onto a board that is big enough to cover the whole area, mark the out line on it, and bore all the bolt holes through it, right up the cores. All but the aftermost of these holes are square to the top of the casting, and therefore the top surface of the board gives a true pattern of the relative keelbolt locations— except for that aftermost one, which is the meanest of the lot, anyway. The safest treatment for that one is to bore for it after the casting is in place—which requires that you dig a pit under the stempost deep enough to take the long auger and the big drill. (I)o the job when you are ready to slide the rudder stock up through its port in the tail feather, and thereby get double value for your efforts with the shovel.) And oh, my friend, when you bore that hole—start it with a twist drill, just enough to center the barefoot auger—think clean thoughts as your finger trembles on the trigger, and clean those chips ever and anon, for if you get this one stuck, or Fate leads it astray, you have trouble.
We seem to be ranging far into the future. Let's get partway back, and consider the problem of the board with the holes.
figure A- la
Original keel blocking
(as was required to level the hull during construction without the ballast keel)
Chain preventer (set tight)
Jacking just commenced weages atop original stern blocking
Space to expand width of stern blocking
Back-up cribwork supplemented with wedges
The boat is sitting on three sets of blocking, as shown in Figure A- la, all of them interfering with the pattern board and the casting that will follow it. She's got to be raised higher, and suspended with the bottom of the keel com pletely exposed, except at the extreme forward end. This will take some careful doing, for if she falls over in the process, you might be underneath, and you would make an awful mess on the shop floor. You want one helper, who is scared but calm. (Shoo the eager ones away.) Have at hand plenty of 6-inch by 8-inch
Molded end of casting figure A-1b
Rounded pine pad
Oak 6x6 hooked through upper part of propeller aperture
Forward blocking bears against timber keel where filler block will be applied later.
Hull jacked high enough to admit keelbolts beneath the ballast keel
Preventer-chain retained through lower part of propeller aperture by 4-foot blocking, and a dozen big wedges. Brace the forwardmost keel block strongly, and run a chain from its top, aft and through the propeller aperture (see Figure A-lb), and back on the other side. Set it up with a load binder. Set shores on each side, exactly abreast of the pivot point of the keel on this forward block. (Note that if these shores are forward of the pivot point, they will tighten intolerably as the stern is raised; and if they are aft of it, the hull will lift away from them, and be unsupported.) Set another pair, just for my sake, above or below the others, in the same vertical line. Now go down, aft, and prepare a foundation for your hydraulic jack under the keel. Make it wide, firm, and absolutely level athwartships and fore and aft. Install your helper just forward of the jack. His job is to keep a firm cob of blocking and wredges rising as the keel rises, so that she can't drop more than V2 inch, no matter what, happens. Start jacking. You'll go up about 7 inches at a lick, and will of course keep what you gain each time (and while building-up your jack foundation for the next try) by wedging tightly from both sides, on top of your helper's cob pile. Keep going until the keel is high enough. Imagine the casting as it will be when in place under the keel, and the room you'll need to start the long bolts up through it.
And now for a skvhook. If vou have been so j *
foolish as to install a propeller shaft and stuffing box, remove them. Place a heavy 55-gal-lon steel drum on each side, abreast of the propeller aperture 2 feet out from the center. Block up from these to support a mean, tough 6- by 6-inch oak limber 6 feet long, through the aperture, with a nicely rounded soft pine pad on its top where the sternpost rests. Take the load on the jack, tighten the crosstimber upward with twin wedges on each block pile, remove 2 inches from your safety blocking ahead of the jack, and lower away. Push it, shake it, bounce it, sight for sag, make sure it's resting easy, with plenty in reserve. Fit another pair of shores under the bilges, from the floor. Go forward now, jack clear, and block up to the keel, ahead of the spot where the casting will terminate. And there she is. Remove the loose blocking from underneath, and replace it with a pair of horses built up to leave just enough space for sliding your pattern board under the keel.
Saw the pattern right to the line, and slide it under the keel, remembering that the marked face is the one you should be looking at from where vou lie on vour back under the boat.
Center it exactly, get the after end (top surface) precisely Vie inch forward of the line of the forward edge of rudderport, and tack it firmly in place. Let us hope, pray, and even assume that the pattern at this point appears to represent a casting that was intended for this boat— with the proper amount of plumb-sided wood keel overlapping each edge, and the port overlap showing at least a family resemblance to the starboard.
figure A-2 Perimeter of the casting
0 marked on the pattern board
Angled holes should be drilled when the casting is on the hull.
Bolt holes bored through the pattern board figure A-3
Shores (or horses} for setting the pattern board tight to the keel
Right-angle sight vanes for starting the auger normal to the pattern board figure A-4
Boring the holes
Sharpen your double-spur auger and bore the bolt holes through the keel, using every means you can think of to guide them square to the surface, both fore and aft and athwartships. (See Figures A-2 and A-3.) Remove the pattern, and gird yourself for the next operation.
Many years ago, in the days of housejacks, we used to stand the casting upright, out in the open, and build a fine cradle under it. This was pretty work. A 12-foot timber, chained to the side and lifted by tackle, provided the power to raise it in one smooth motion. (Because of the length of the lever arm, the casting had small desire to slide sideways. Figure that one out, by moments and forces, and you'll be equipped to smack down the patient expert who smiles gently and tells you that length of tiller arm can have no possible effect on the rudderhead and its supporting bearing.) On its cradle, the casting rolled easily into position, and was pushed up the last inch with screw jacks. Then we acquired a toe-jack and a hydraulic jack (known as Sears and Little Joe, respectively) and decided to try the Easter Island technique of standing the thing up, right where it belongs.
That's the way to do it. No cradle—jus troll it in on its side, defenseless. Start it up with Sears; block it.; wedge it; and finally roll it against braced stakes on the far side. Get room for the hydraulic, and the battle's won. But operate everything at arm's length, with your feet behind you.
So there it stands, on two wide blocks, its top 6 inches below the keel, centered about right aft but 3 inches off to one side at the forward end, and a bit too far aft. Now, here's where vou demonstrate vour finesse and con-
found the onlookers. Build a firm foundation under the forwardmost bolt cavity, to take the hydraulic jack. Set it crosswise with its head in the hole, but tipped at a crazy angle (see Figure A-5) as if to push the casting yet farther off center. (Note, however, in a sly way, that the top of the jack is still well to your side of a plumb line from the far edge of its base.) Look at the athwartships bracing at the pivot point on the after support, move the forward bracing well clear, and start to pump. The casting will stir, tremble, and then move majestically toward you as the jack picks it up and proceeds to stand erect. This is all you need to know. Repeat as necessary. If it needs moving forward, remember, Atlas, that you can move the Earth if you have something to butt a hydraulic jack against—but be sure the blocking cannot teeter and undo vour efforts when vou relax the
pressure. Also, read the directions on the jack: there's only one position in which the valves will work when it's horizontal.
As the casting rises, vertically, one end at a time, choose and smear on whatever magic bedding compound and preservative you think best. If the top of the casting is very rough indeed, I would give it a mushy fairing coat of Portland cement and fine sand, and apply black, asbestos-filled, roof-patching cement to the underside of the keel. Get the casting up there, and the bolts in place, while the filler is soft; wedge up the casting to take all the weight of the hull above it. Set up the nuts on big washers, with oakum grommets and sticky stuff underneath. Oh, I got so excited back there that I forgot to warn you to ream the holes in the wood keel to a moderately easv drive fit
for the bolts—which you should have coated, thoroughly, with the grease used for moth-balling machinery in idle steamships. And don't try a canvas or felt gasket between wood and iron. You'll have trouble enough if you do it the easy way. Fill the bolt-head sockets flush with a thick Portland cement mixture, rich. Hold it in place while it's drying with little wooden pads, propped with sticks from the ground.
Tip of piston set into countersunk keelbolt hole
Weight-bearing side of the jack's base plate must be outboard of the tip of the piston if the jack is to straighten up under load.
To move a mountain toward Mohammed by means of a hydraulic jack—
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.