The GIS Build Begins

Building the Goat Island Skiff.gis_sailing

I’m retired, so I could spend most of my time on the build if I want, but I’m going to try and pace myself. I was going to keep track of hours, but I’m pretty slow and might be embarrassed by how long I spend.  I am keeping most of my receipts so will have a pretty good idea how much I spent when it’s all over. I might even share it.

September 14 2016. After deciding on the GIS, I purchased the downloadable plans from Duckworks and was able to download right away. Instant gratification.

September 15-17. Printed and went over the plans, ordered a metric tape measure from Amazon after trying to find something in the house or at Home Depot that is marked in metric. The table saw fence has metric as well as ‘Imperial’, but that scale is firmly attached to my table saw. I also began sourcing materials and supplies. MAS Epoxy from, because I’ve used it before with good results, and it doesn’t usually develop ‘amine blush’. (A waxy film that has to be carefully washed off before overcoating.) Some sheets of Okuome plywood from son Bruno’s stock in my storage shed. These are a little beat up and water stained, but mostly usable. (Thanks Brun.) After searching online for more Okuome marine ply, which not many yards carry, I called my regular hardwood supplier Hughes Hardwoods in Rancho Cordova, and (Yea!) they had tons of it in stock. Cheaper than the online places too. I bought 4 sheets of 6 mm. Using this stuff isn’t going to get me any badges for using local products. The wood is grown in Africa, shipped to France where it’s manufactured into plywood and BS-1088 certified, then shipped over seas. But it’s the best product to use for this kind of boat. There really isn’t any competition. At least the cedar and fir that I mention later are Left Coast native.

During this time I also used up the 12 mm Okuome plywood sheet that I was storing for Bruno, to laminate up for the dagger board and rudder. He might not miss it right away. I laminated it to 24 mm thick blanks with the rest of Bruno’s West Marine epoxy . (Shhh.)  I was a little concerned that the epoxy wouldn’t work because it’s 4 or 5 years old so I did a little test glue up first to see if it would set. Harder than advanced calculus.20161001_111954

In order to build the boat, I needed space. My lovely and understanding wife Katie let me use her parking spot in our garage, the rest of which is conveniently already my shop.20160927_111910

Some people do this part in their living room. Katie isn’t quite that understanding.

Sept. 19-23. Beach Time.20160920_080834-1

Sept. 26-Oct. 3.

Started cutting out panels from the plywood. With this boat, no lofting or mold making is required. Instead the plan gives sizes for the panels which will then define the shape of the boat.20161001_103355

Each panel is only 6mm (1/4 inch), so they are each backed by some solid wood (framing). The designer recommends clear (knot free) Western Red Cedar for most of the framing to keep the boat light, and Douglas Fir or similar for a few places that will take more knocks. I spent some time looking for the right framing material at our local yards and home Depot. Finally, I went back to Hughes Hardwoods, and low and be hold they had a nice stock of clear, straight grained Western Red Cedar and some really nice vertical grain Doug Fir. They should change their name to Not Just Hardwoods. I’ll be going back for more Doug Fir later when I build spars and oars. Probably bought too much Cedar. But it smelled nice.20160927_111837

Interesting Note: The Australian designer, and apparently many boat builders around the world use Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir when they can get it. He calls the Fir “Oregon”. But hey, it comes from California, Washington, and British Columbia too.

Most of the rest of this week I will finish marking out and cutting panels, glueing on framing, beveling, fixing mistakes, and all those very shipwright kind of things. By the end of the week I hope to start assembling things into what looks like a hull. Maybe I’ll see you then.


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