Monday, August 31, 2015

As Seen on Instagram & Ryobi Tool Love

Ryobi Tools posted this earlier today on Instagram:


Speaking of Ryobi, Val 3.0 & I went shopping about a month ago for a gift for my father-in-law and we ended up at Home Depot in the Ryobi section.

I figured it's never too early to start learning the value of the right tool for the job, even at 6 weeks. I have two Ryobi drills and an impact driver that are seriously my best shop buddies. I love them!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The child is asleep, QUICK, TO THE INTERNET MACHINE!

Hello World, how have you been?!

Quick post here in an attempt to establish a habit of posting, and also, I desperately need sleep. But, I got a new laptop that has ALL its keys, and doesn't randomly turn off. So I am emboldened by the potential for future blogging endeavors.

About the Child: 
Our kid is growing crazy fast. I can't believe that he's already over two months old. He's smiling now, and cooing, and basically the CUTEST LITTLE THING EVER and I will spend hours, HOURS, staring at his face and telling him so.

I did hear that the years raising a child are the longest days of your life but the shortest years and holy mackerel, do I believe it now.  I'm afraid that one of these mornings I'll be sleeping in and he'll be packing up the car and heading to college.

About the Weather: 
This summer has been brutal. Last weekend we were choking on smoke from wildfires (my heart goes out to the people affected by them), and this summer on a whole has been record-breaking for the Pacific Northwest. We actually have rain in the forecast for this weekend, though. It should be the most significant rainfall since March and everyone (including myself) is excited about it. I live in an area that usually gets 68" of rainfall a year, and it's been rough. We had to actually buy ourselves air conditioning units. THAT IS NOT NORMAL WHEN DID WE MOVE TO THE SURFACE OF THE SUN

Despite the rain in the forecast, we are determined to venture out to the dahlia festival in Canby, OR this weekend. Hoping to get some nice photos and a list of dahlias-to-grow for 2016. I'm not trying to rush this year or anything, but I've already got my garden for next year plotted out.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Valere Joseph III
LOA: 20"
Date launched: June 20, 2015

Sure, my boat is taking forever to build. But I've been building my own crew. 

High risk pregnancy and an emergency c-section. Photo was 17 hours after the crazy event. What a ride.

In general, this year and a half has been a bit of a whirlwind. Let's summarize 2014 & 2015 thus far, shall we? 

1. Bought a house 150 miles south. 
2. Moved and sold our house in Seattle.
3. Miscarriages 1 & 2. Dark days. Felt pretty low.
4. Crushed fingers in a door. Important because the damn things took months to heal. Frustration due to limited usefulness added to grim outlook on life.
5. Llamas were acquired. Their previous owner couldn't care for them so we got free lawn mowers.
6. Val & I celebrated our 10th anniversary. 
7. My 'shop' (aka the garage) now has an Intergalactic Spaceboat of Light and Wonder hogging it (Translation: we bought a Tesla). 
8. Sold the Seattle area condo, now we only have ONE property to focus on (hurray!)
9. Added a family member to the household. 
10. Started the renovation of our current house.

Rio, as you can imagine, has been on the back burner. My guilt levels are through the roof. But, reminding myself that she's just a hunk of plywood and not a sentient being helps. 

So here's what's going to happen.

This blog will no longer be JUST about boat building. It'll be about general sawdust revelry, garden-gnoming,  house renovation, and probably whining about miscellany. I can't keep up with more than one blog, but I miss writing desperately and I'm eager to find my voice again. Blogging is my favorite way to journal. And you, my lucky, lucky reader, will be subjected to all the slings and arrows of outrageous whatever that occur in my life.

(and since I paid for this domain, I have to do something with it, right?)

Will the blog title ever truly make sense? I hope so. I'd love nothing more than to teach our sweet little son how to sail on a sailboat his mother built. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Issues with Plank #1 - Wood Butchery and TGFE

I had a comment regarding whether or not I had experienced any issues with attaching the first plank. Since I've done a rather poor job at narrating my progress, I thought I'd go back in time a bit and address what happened.

(steps into a TARDIS)

Now, as you all know, I'm not a professional anything and I don't have enough sense to keep my fingers out of door jambs. If you have a similar problem and fix it the way I've fixed it, and for whatever reason it doesn't work or if it offends your long dead Great Aunt Pearl, well.. sorry. Just do your research, okay?

(For the record, this is MY long dead Great Aunt Pearl and she was a spitfire and a woodworker. I miss her everyday.)

(and if you would have handled this situation differently, let me know. I don't think Rio will be my last boat..)

I don't remember all the specifics of planking up Rio. I do remember that the first (the bottom plank) was a bit rough to attach. For some reason, one side went on easier than the other, but both had a slight gap where the planks met the stem. On the port side, there ended up being a gap of nearly 1" on the bow.

The gap existed during the dry fit. It seemed worse when I went to attach the plank permanently.

Several things could have caused this gap.

1. I lofted the plank wrong. (probably not, the other side fit better)
2. Something wasn't square or plumb. (possible, although I was being extra careful about this)
3. I cut the plank wrong. (quite possible)
4. I didn't put the plank on right. There was an overage on one spot and a gap on the other, which leads me to believe that if I had shifted the plank slightly, it may have been a better fit.
5. All of the above.
6. _______________.

I remember panicking, saying a few rather unsavory words, and once I realized I didn't have enough plywood lying around to scarf and cut out a new plank, I decided to move on with my life and grabbed my epoxy and wood flour.

And I stuffed the gap full of the miraculous mixture, smoothed it out with a popsicle stick, and called it a day. After rooting around my old photos, turns out that I also used some packing tape to get a smooth finish on said 'fix.'

TGFE. Thank God For Epoxy, amirite?

Enough talk. You want to see shameful photos of wood butchery, don't you?

Let's start with the worst photo of the bunch, shall we?

Said overage, what I'm seeing there probably indicates that I should have spent more time properly aligning the plank. Hindsight.

Side profile that shows the magnitude of said gap.

So there you have it. I figured that epoxy and wood flour is stronger than wood itself, so the fix should be decent enough. I'll probably fiberglass it to be sure, though.

I've lured in-laws over tonight under the guise of beef potpie and Belgian beer. I will stuff them full then demand tribute in the form of boat moving. Can you imagine? She might end up in a proper work space for the first time in her life.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Give me a break.

19 days ago, I decided to order some mulch for the garden.

It was a hot day. The windows and doors were wide open. My husband was working diligently in the room next door. I removed the door stop and closed the door so he wouldn't be bothered by my intense discussion of the pros and cons of various mulch options.

$97 for 3 yards of mulch delivered the next day! Thrilled by the cost and the ease of ordering, I leaned into Val's office to tell him the good news, with my fingers in the door frame.

Remember that door stop that I had removed, oh, 3 minutes earlier?


The wind picks up something fierce on our property, especially when it's warm out. This time, the wind had caught the door. My fingers were slammed just inches below the hinge.

I screamed. There was blood everywhere. The floor, the door, splattered on the wall. The insides of my middle finger were squished out, my ring finger was starting to swell and the nails were already black.

There's even an indent on the inside of the door and along the frame.

An emergency room visit, some x-rays to confirm a fracture, some good, healthy screaming, crying, generally acting like a stentorian 2 year old ensued. I vaguely remember attempting to sing the 'Peter Dinklage' version of the Game of Thrones theme song to stop from wailing when they decided the busted middle finger needed to be cleaned out BEFORE pain medication.

Peter Dinklage is the answer to almost everything, although he was absolute crap at taking my mind off of what happened next.

I had been bitching profusely about not having much of a summer. It's been a long list of projects/expenditures/contractors and moving. I wanted a break. And I nearly got one. Literally. The tip of my finger was nearly snapped clean- the bone was just barely still attached.

I am grateful it wasn't worse. It wasn't my strong hand, and I still have all my fingers. Not thrilled that it's taking so long to heal, though.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Moving a SCAMP without a Trailer

What happens when you run out of time to buy a trailer and don't want to leave your precious, half-built sailboat alone with crazy suburbanites armed with truckloads of fireworks during the 4th of July festivities?

You rent a 17' U-Haul. 

For the record, a 17' U-Haul is just about perfect for hauling a nearly completed SCAMP.

We tossed two 2x4s (cut to fit- the width of the U-Haul is about 7'6" wide) underneath her, and with four people, lifted her up onto the cardboard-covered deck of the U-Haul, then slid her into position.

We then stuffed that U-Haul full, flanked Rio with our mattress and box spring, and hit the road at 9:30pm. We didn't roll into our new home until 1:30am, but what a reception. We arrived last night to a sky so devoid of light pollution that we could see the Milky Way blazing across the sky (I think we'll adapt).

When I opened up the truck to check on her this morning, all was well, at least as far as I can tell. 

(Missing from photo- two plastic garbage bins and a cold frame greenhouse, that managed to stuff the truck completely full to the edge- No wiggling around for Rio!)

Now we just have to get her out of the damn thing.

So here we are. 150 miles south of Seattle. Fresh air. Clean water. More room. Less traffic. Oh, and a garage.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Another Birthday = New Tools!

I've survived another rotation around the sun.  As a result, I have a few more toys in my possession that will be adorning my new shop soon:

Better than jewelry. Shinier, too: 

It's a Lie Nielsen low angle block plane. I spent about 30 minutes hyperventilating and proclaiming my unworthiness. It's too lovely. It's sitting next to me as I'm typing this, I might end up sleeping with it under my pillow- I'm so afraid to let it out of my sight.

I try to take good care of my planes, but I'm nervous that I don't know what I don't know. I store mine on the side or draw up the blade, and I sharpen them regularly. But this tool is a whole new level of nice and I want to be sure that I'm treating it properly- if you have a link, video, or book that has helped you maintain your tools, please leave the name or link in the comments! I'll add them to this post for others to see.

Another lovely birthday present- the Jawhorse.

Nope, not a torture device. Super nifty clamping sawhorse- it can clamp a whole sheet of plywood! Here's a video if you're curious to see it in action: 

Getting really excited about our move now and my future shop!

In other news, I found out the Center of Wooden Boats is having a fundraiser to help repair one of their Blanchard Junior Knockabouts. The fundraiser campaign is full of sweet prizes and goes to a great cause.

I figure that since my money is currently NOT going to any boat building (...sigh), the least I can do is help others get something done this summer. I'll be the one wearing this shirt at the next Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend. See you there!