Errors we’ve made

It is very humane to mess up sometimes and receive pain, to cut wrong and gasp in despair. The good thing is that all that pain and a thousand times more has already been given out and received by someone before you. That is why we share our pain here, so you could avoid it. You could call this page our “thinkpad,” since thinking is the first measure in avoiding epic failures.

0. Have patience and trust yourself, your goals and your mates.

  1. We cut out the plywood base plate out of two sheets of wood. We measured very precisely, even sat down and thought after we had measured. Then we cut the plates and epoxied them to the keel. Two months later, when erecting bulkheads, I decide to measure the plate just for the hell of it. Okay, it is 18 cm shorter than in the plans. WHAT!? I sat down and shut up for an hour. Then I regained confidence and said to myself, to hell with it. This does not mean we will stop building. Point being, t-h-i-n-k before cutting. Thinking is one of the hardest and most well paid and rewarding thing you can do in this life. Most epic fail yet.
  2. The base plate again. We cut it out of two pieces and glued them together with a simple butt joint. Duh.. What we actually wanted to do was to lap joint the two, we realized this a bit late, after the epoxy had dried. But jointed plates that receive a lot of stress will snap like twigs in the joint. We will route out a channel in the joint and apply a “cork” to the channel, laminating the joint. Then we will add two layers of thick glass to both sides. This will hold, but it would have been much better to do it forehand. T-h-i-n-k.
  3. Use as little butt jointed parts as possible. Always go for a lapping kind of joint when connecting two or more pieces of wood. We lap everything now. One of the butt joints actually failed on our bulkheads, proof of concept.
  4. If you are hungry and feeling dizzy after having slept too little, then caution yourself and put the 1kW jigsaw (should I say jackhammer?) down before you kill the boat and severe a limb on yourself. We have had several moments by now where we think – why did I cut that? Why? Fortunately wood is a forgiving material in the sense that you can pretty much always add material, but again, via hard work and more pain. Always avoid cutting, if it is not in your way, if it does not have to be cut immediately, then don’t do it.  This is a very epic lesson, but for some reason it seems to remind itself aperiodically.
  5. Put the windows on AFTER finishing the whole hull, after painting it. All of our windows have nasties on them due to a way-too-excited work schedule.
  6. Paint, sand, fiberglass and do as much as you can before things get complicated! Working in tight corners or upside down is definitely more difficult and frustrating, plus you wont fit tools in there anymore. Believe us, this will save HOURS, days even.

1 Response to Errors we’ve made

  1. tim ferrell says:

    Hi guys. I really like your boat and your approach. Keep going! I have not had failures of butt jointed plywood, so have to ask, are you talking about butt jointed plywood or, lumber? Absolutely lumber should be scarfed, but plywood can be quite strong with a butt joint, yes?

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