Thursday, August 1, 2019

DIY roof cargo box

Wait, you mean I dont have to buy a Thule or Yakima box? You mean I can use basic stitch and glue boat building techniques to build a cargo box? Well, we will see.

Part of my need to build my own box is because I have a need to transport something very large, and the commercial boxes on the market will not cut it. While some of them are quite big, they will not fit a Sig Kadet Sr model airplane with a 6.5' wingspan. The cargo box will also do double duty for hauling all the family stuff when we do road trips, so its a win-win.

When I started doing my research on DIY cargo boxes, I was surprised to find that basically no one has done this.  I did find one company selling plans for a DIY cargo box, and their examples were gorgeous.  Alas, they would not fit my needs.  In all this internet hunting though, I found lots of plans for canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, sailboats, skiffs, trawlers, etc.  This got me thinking, "If all these boats exist, and are strong enough for motors and/or the ocean, why not use some of these techniques for a roof box?"  I also remembered that my brother had built a camper top for his truck out of foam board and fiberglass, and when I asked him about it, and whether foam board was good enough, or if plywood would be better, he thought plywood was the route to go.  This got me back onto the stitch and glue track.  It also got me interested in doing this project as a primer for the next project, which will be a paddle board to replace my broken windsurfer board. 

When I found the plans for the Ta'al Touring paddle board, I saw the shape of the board and read the description and instantly though, "Wow, this guy knew what he was doing." In his description of his board, for which he uses 3mm plywood, he references Moth dingies.  These are some of the first hydrofoil monohulls in the sailing world, and most were home built from 3mm or thinner wood. These boats also take a lot of abuse because they are flying above the water, and sometimes unceremoniously plunged into the water at speed.  This is a lot of force and stress on all of the hull, but these boats continue to chug along. 

With this in mind, I wanted to build my box as lightly as possible.  Yes, I could have built it all out of 3/4 inch plywood, and it would have been fine.  It would have weighed like 100+ pounds, so it would have been a struggle to get it on the roof, would have killed MPG's, and would have left little weight capacity for planes, bags, or other freight.  Also, with material that thick, it is difficult at best to get curves that even approach aerodynamic. 

So with a basic plan in mind, and making it up as I go, I am off to the races to build my one of a kind box.  My 3 feet by 7 feet box will likely be the biggest out there, but its got big cargo to haul. To try to reinforce the 1/8th inch plywood I am using, I made a perimeter frame from ripped down 2x4, so its about 1.5 inches square. This will also allow me to mount robust hardware to the two halves of the clamshell, as its going to see highway speeds, and needs to be able to cope appropriately.  Also I would like to be able to lock the box for road trips, and I have a few ideas, but we will have to see how it plays out when I get to that stage of the build.

Stay tuned for more build updates, progress reports, and general kerfluffles.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Thanks to all of you who have hung in there with me. I know there was a fair amount of excitement about this project for a while, and I am sorry to disappoint with the long hiatus. I hope to get back to the project soon, but family life and not having the boat at my own home has really gotten in the way.  Thus the boat has been sitting for quite a few years, and the bow shed needed recovering. I got an offer from my brother to help me in exchange for storing some wood in the shed for a project he is working on. I jumped at the chance since hes a rock climber and arborist, so he is used to being up high. We were able to piece together enough covering material from old tarp pieces and leftover greenhouse plastic to cover the holes (well, mostly...... dammed mice). Here are a few pics after we were all finished.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The first step to getting help.... admitting that you have a problem.  Yes, I admit, I have a problem, an addiction if you will.  Instead of spending time, money and effort to finish the boat I already have, I instead found a good deal on another boat, and have started sailing that one instead, while the C26 still sits in her shed awaiting my time.

 For those of you with a discerning eye, yes, this is a Clipper Marine 21.  And yes, I am aware that there are a lot of people out there who HATE this boat and the brand.  Yes, I did my research on typical problems with this boat and knew the risks.  I bought it anyway because it was essentially ready to sail, and at half the purchase price of the Columbia C26, with a good trailer, I couldn't pass it up.
 Yes, this boat has been somewhat poorly taken care of, but I don't care if the interior needs to be redone.  I don't care that the previous owner had used hardware from the hardware store to make new shrouds.  I don't care that the boat is missing companionway boards.  I want something I can tow to the lake/ocean, pop the rig up, and go sail for the day with my son.  I want something that I don't really care if it gets beat up by the kids, because its already kind of beat up.  I want something that is cheap, and doesn't need a fortune to keep it on the water.  This boat fits all those criteria.  It also happens to sail reasonably well too.  I would also like to add that I am feeling quite lucky since I decided to pull the Mercury Sailpower (5ish HP) motor from the C26 that has had no maintenance, attention, or run time in the last several years, to use for the new boat.  Adding new gas was all it took to get the thing fired up and running.  I guess sometimes it is nice to have old tech, since it just works.

Clipper Marine 21
On the maiden voyage today, I noticed that with the swing keel down, the boat is immensely stable.  Walking the side decks (what little there are for side decks) does little to heel the boat, which is impressive since I am not a small man.  I expected a much more tender boat without sails up, but should not be surprised since it was designed by Bill Crealock, a well renowned offshore sailboat designer.  One of the complaints of this boat is that it was built to a price point, and yes, it shows, but on the same token, for having been built to a price point, it sails like a more expensive boat.  We had 5 mph or less of wind, and the boat was happy to glide along under a full main and working jib.  A genoa would have been preferable today, but for a relaxed first outing to see what her personality might be, a working jib was enough.  Also, we commented that for a family boat, this one was in no danger of being easily over powered.  On another day, the spinnaker from the C26 might make its way up the mast for a blast down wind, but that will likely be a solo sail.......  

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lobster boat in Action!

In case you have been wondering what we've been up to, we've been at the Lake, the pool, and the ocean playing in the wonder summer weather that has finally come.

With a coat of epoxy over the paint, I though we were going to be all set with this boat.  Unfortunately, the water seems to be penetrating through the back/inside of the boat and peeling the paint/epoxy finish.  Lesson learned for the next one.....

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

....because every Maine boy needs a Lobster boat!!!

Last year for Christmas I "gave" my son this:

Yes, it was 2 pieces of paper with plans for a lobster boat on it.  To be fair, he was 4 months old, and probably does not remember me giving this to him.  In the last year, when I have had some free time and not been working on house projects or chasing the rascal around, I have been working on this project.  The goal was to have it built by Christmas 2015, and (SPOILER ALERT) I have done just that!  Mine deviates from the plans a bit, but I went simple since it is going to a toddler, not someone who will take care of a model boat.  And, if I am honest, I want him to play with the boat and enjoy it, not just have it sit on a shelf and collect dust.

If you were wondering why it took me almost a year to build this 20 inch long boat, other than I have a toddler to look after, this is why:  This is not a kit, this is not a simple slap together 6 pieces and done kinda thing.  I had to cut every individual piece and glue it together.  Luckily I had a bunch of spruce kicking around, so the boat was made mostly from spruce, with the exception of the frames, which were modeler's plywood, and the deck house, which was left over 1/4 inch  plywood scraps.  

This was also a plank on frame construction, which is labor intensive, but accurate to how actual boats are/were built.  To the left are the first two planks in the first layer of planking.  Since I didn't do much research into how to actually do this, I struggled a lot with it.  Part of my problem was using planks that were much too wide to match the sharp radius of the frames.  I was initially thinking that the wider the planks, the faster it would go, but I was wrong.  I ended up wasting a lot of time trying to trim down the extra wide planks to make the radius.  The other issue I ran into once I had the first layer of planking on was how to clamp the second row of planking.  I had a bunch of standard clamps, and as I got to the bottom of the boat, the clamps no longer reached because of the first layer of planking.  I had to get creative with weights and hoping that 2 clamps would cut it.  Finally, though, I finished the hull planking, and could move on to putting the deck on, followed by the deck house and cockpit floor.  Once those were on, it was a matter of paint to seal everything up, and cover up the wood filler that was used for a lot of the gaps and cracks left by my hope and pray method of planking.  That brings us to the mostly finished project.

 As you can see, there is a fair amount of detail missing from this model that is on the plans.  I would have added them, and I might in the future, but more importantly I don't want those little pieces coming off and my son choking on them, so they have been left off of the model.  You might also notice that there are windows missing on the port (left) side of the deck house.  Again, this is because I was going for strength, not for accuracy or style points.
 In this photo, the frames are still showing in the cockpit area, which could be fake, but let me assure you, they are not.  This is most certainly a plank on frame model.  While the planks do not show up very well in the photos, they are there.  Also, I think it looks really cool to have the frames showing somewhere on the model.
One of the other issues I ran into with building this model was that I was building it on a smaller scale than was originally intended.  That meant that some of the planking had to make extreme bends to conform to the frames.  Those would have been less extreme if I had taken time to really sand, fair, and shape the frames to accept the planks.  I learned a lot here, and I am looking forward to my next project, which is to be revealed later.  In the mean time, there is still the fiberglass hull to be finished, as well as epoxy coating the lobster boat so that it will stand up to plenty of play time in the lake/ocean/tub!

Monday, August 24, 2015

For those of you that miss my writing!

Yes, I realize that I have not been around and writing much lately.  That is because I bought a home, have a kid and wife, and therefore no longer have time for dreams of sailing the 7 seas on an $800 boat.  So while I may pick away at the boat process slowly, in the mean time, I have a METRIC-SHIT-TON of other projects keeping me busy.

So for those of you that are interested, please check out a new blog devoted to land-based projects, Landlubber Projects!  Enjoy!