...to making the mast step.
I will jump right in because it has been a few weeks and I need to get cracking or this thing won't be done before winter!
The mast step is in fact the next step, as it were. This is the reinforced block that the bottom of the mast sits in to hold it in place, and prevent it from punching through the bottom of the boat (which is considered a bad thing.) I used 3 thicknesses of plywood to build the step, as you can see below. The centerline is marked out and the upper and lower dimensions are marked out to give it a bit of taper.
Then I use the belt sander to grind it down to the lines. After that I cut through two of the layers of ply to make the cup the mast will sit in.
It is easier to see what I am talking about in this pic. This is just a test fit.
Then back to the belt sander to round over the edges.
And finally the stack of ply is epoxied together. Dowels epoxied in will replace the screws. Final fitting will involve checking the mast height at the thwart and adding epoxy into the bottom of the step to make a strong, hard surface for the mast to actually sit on that will not wear out from the mast pivoting on it.
As you remember if you saw the last post, I had just made the thole pin planks (or oarlocks as I see some people call them who sail duck punts) and they needed to be installed. This was a messy, clampy, rushed process so I will just show you the results!
Gunwales! I had been agonizing about how to procure some hardwood for gunwales in the correct dimension since I had no power tools that could accomplish the job from rough lumber. I found some oak door trim at the local box store so I grabbed it because the idea of trying to mill lumber at this point was unthinkable. Still, it needed to be scarfed up to be long enough but that was not a problem with my now impressive scarfing skills! This job was made a lot easier by the addition of a belt sander to my tool list.
Once the gunwales were scarfed up it was time to attach them. It turns out they are much stiffer than my battens and as a result they revealed some issues in my sheer line. This became an opportunity to exercise the most important skill I have learned in this entire boat building process. The skill of letting go. In a situation where something has happened and there is nothing you can do about it, you have two options- Stop, or Go. Boats are never perfect anyway, so... Let's keep going!
It took every clamp I had and could borrow but I attached the gunwales.
A tricky bit is figuring out how to clamp onto a slippery triangle. The answer is attach another triangle! Sandpaper keeps it from sliding and scrap wood provides a surface to clamp to. It is a good thing I keep most of my scraps!
The first gunwale is on and the second one is clamped up and the glue is curing.
While I had the epoxy out I decided to install the mast thwart support arch. This was another area I made a mistake on waaaay back but I figured out a way to make it work. That thwart is now solid as a rock!
And both gunwales are now on!
We are getting pretty darn close to finishing this thing, or so it seems. But then I am foolish enough to look at the "to do" list and it just never seems to get any shorter. Still to come is epoxy and fiber-glassing the bottom of the boat, flushing up the stern and the bow, planing the sheer to its final shape, and then sanding, and sanding, and sanding, and sanding, and sanding, and sanding, and sanding, and sanding, and sanding...and then painting, and etc. *sigh*