Friday, July 20, 2018

Mini Max hydroplane

Update on the virus warning in the comments:
I just received a mail from the administrator of the Muskoka seaflea page, and they were attacked heavily about a week ago. They have had it all cleared, so it should be safe now. 
Apparently a warning can "hang" in the system until you update your browser?
Quote: "some times the cache on a visitor's browser will hang onto the "warning" until their browsing cache is refreshed"

Thanks to a much better than normal summer (hottest in Denmark in 150 years or so), There might be a real chance of some time spent at the beach.

Gustav has long complained that we haven't got a boat. When I tried to tell him that we could probably get a rowing boat or a small sailing dingy, he looked at me the way only a frustrated teenager can do. The look that clearly tells you that in his opinion you must be living in the 20th century (which happens to be correct for my part)

Sitting out here without a definite woodworking project going on, I started surfing the web for some inspiration. I have always admired those small hydroplanes from the 60'ies. Those on the cover of Popular Mechanics etc. Nice looking cover articles from a time when the western world was pastel coloured - and smoking and drinking was recommended by your local doctor as a perfectly legal way to wind down after a long day at work.

There are a couple of places that has those old designs available as free pdf files for downloading.
I ended up at a place called Muskoka seaflea, they had just the right plan for me.

The incredible Mini Max Hydroplane.

It is made out of two sheets of 1/4" plywood, a bit of regular wood, a little bit of epoxy to seal the edges and that is about it. According to the article, you can build it in two days, or one day if you have some woodworking experience.

Back in the days this little boat could apparently be built for 20$. That figure doesn't quite get you there today, but I have made a loose budget, and I think that I can probably build it for something like 200$. The most expensive stuff being the epoxy and the paint.

We have an old 4 hp outboard engine, and that will have to make do for a start. If it is a success, I might have to look into finding a more powerful motor later on.

I have spent a bit of time figuring out the radius of the curves shown on page 2 of the instructions.
Those old plans can seem a bit vague compared to what is available nowadays, but since they are free you can't really complain. And if it was possible to build one 50 years ago based on those plans - I can't see why we can't do it today.

According to my calculations, the radius of the "fore center strut" is 85.4"
The lower radius of the "fore cross piece" is 86.2"
The upper radius of the "fore cross piece" is 102.1"
We'll have to see if I am correct once I start building the boat.

The plan is off course to get the boys involved. The individual pieces are not very heavy, and today with the possibility of using screws instead of nails, the buys can really play their part.
If all goes as planned, I will be back home Tuesday night, so Wednesday would be a logical starting point with a trip to the lumberyard for some plywood and possibly some screws.

In the free world, it is probably legitimate to let your children play in a speed boat. But guess which country that has regulations for that as well..
But being the less than enthusiastic citizen that I am, I looked at the official page from Søfartsstyrelsen (the Danish equivalent of US Coast Guard) to see if the rules were possible to work around.
The rules state that you have to be 16 and have a speed boat licence if the power of the boat is more than "the square of the length +3".
If the boat is of a planing type and it is shorter than 4 m (~13'), you need to be 16 and have a licence if the engine has more than 19 hp.

So by making a really short hydroplane I elegantly manage to circumvent the regulations, and can let my kids use the boat to their hearts desire. As long as I stay below 19 hp. But given that the design suggests a maximum of 15 hp that shouldn't be a problem.

Monday, July 16, 2018

I really ought to start working on something.

A good thing about growing up is that once in a while you can recognize a pattern if it has happened before. If you are sufficiently smart - you might even know how to deal with it based on last time you experienced the same thing.

If I don't do any sort of woodworking for a month or so out here, I inevitably end up fantasizing about projects whenever I have to stay put in the control room due to the ship being within the 500 m zone of an offshore installation.

Normally I tend to concentrate my thoughts on one type of project: Boats, Timber framing, workbenches etc.
But other times like this period, I have considered almost all of those regular projects. Plus a few other  ones.

It started out with hydroplane boats, (I will probably build one of those when I get home)
Then I sort of shifted into timber framing for a couple of days, and then suddenly I was considering doing a backsaw project.

After sketching and thinking about backsaws for a bit of time, the most natural course for my imagination was to work on how to make a saw tooth stamping machine.
The saw tooth stamping machine was strangely stopped by the logical part of my brain (a very small part) after convincing myself that I could most likely make a couple of saws before even finishing the machine, if it had to work all right.
On a side note, one of the ideas was to use the lathe, and have the blade revolving in a clamp-type structure. Then I could use the screw cutting pitch to make the teeth.

I have a couple of backsaws at home, and I doubt that I will ever wear them out, so while it is still fun to build one, I wouldn't know what to do with it. Except for putting it in the Sunday tool drawers together with the other tools that are so nice that I can't really get my self to use them on a daily basis.
(LN planes, my infill smoother, the dovetail saw from Two Lawyers Toolworks etc.)

I started looking at older entries on my blog, and somehow I ended up looking at the infill smoother I made last year. I haven't used it a single time! It took a long time to build, and there wasn't much wood involved. But somehow I managed to convince myself that it was actually a nice cosy manageable project to do again. But who needs two infill smothers?
I suppose that I could make a block plane sized infill, but I didn't really see the need for that.

Making an infill would also require me getting some brass and some decent wood for the project, but I could bring that with me for the next time out here. So those obstacles couldn't stop my brain from keeping on with that imaginary project.
So I started loosely sketching an infill chamfer plane. After some time I decided that it would probably never see any use due to my two Japanese chamfer planes that work brilliantly. So it would be a waste of time to build one.
But if I on the other hand made an infill moulding plane, then I would have something that would look fine, and maybe occasionally see a little use.

More sketching, and suddenly I had this small prospective infill that might be possible to build.
The only example I could find online of a similar plane was a guy in Finland who has made an infill with exchangeable irons. Kind of an infill combination plane. I on the other hand want mine to just be a small square ovolo shape.

I can't really think of a good explanation to why I should build an infill ovolo plane other than it would make a pretty little plane, and it would be fun to see if it was possible. I have tried to weigh the pros and cons regarding if it should be a sprung type plane or an unsprung type. So far it seems as though the sprung type will be a bit easier to make as an infill type. But that could easily just be my desktop dreams that fools me.

Another option is to stop inventing new strange projects, and just wait for the trip home, and then next time start a nice little box like project. That is definitely the most sensible thing to do based on my vast experience in this type of situations..

Design phase of infill ovolo moulding plane.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Daughter in the workshop

I realized after reading a comment on my last post, that I forgot to blog about when Laura was with me in the shop in December 2017. We helped each other make leather belts for two of her friends as Christmas presents.

One belt was made out of the super bright candy apple red artificial looking leather, because Laura knew that the one friend had a matching something (bag, shoes, coat etc). I can't remember what it was. I never took any pictures of the belt because I really don't think that the leather is pretty. But the friend was happy with the gift, so it was a success.

The other belt was a bit more interesting in my point of view.

The girl who was going to receive it is very active in horse riding. I think she has been accepted to the "Team Denmark" which means that she is downright good.
I have often thought that it could be interesting to make a belt that would look like a saddle girth. It would be a way of showing that you like horses, but in a subtle way, so only other people who know horse stuff would be able to recognize the design.

A saddle girth usually has got two or three buckles rather than one very wide buckle.
Kind of like a support belt for weight lifting.

Laura and I settled on a 2" wide belt, because that could still work as a regular belt in the loops of a set of pants. both ends were slit and buckles were mounted and holes were cut.

Laura helped in beveling the edges of the leather and in polishing the final belt with some leather grease.
She was afraid that she would miss the spot when peening the rivets, so I did that part.
Finally she burned MMXVII on the back of the belt.

One day Laura told me, that her friend had been asked by a relative, if she was wearing a saddle girth? So apparently the design worked as intended.

Using a compass to mark the ends of the belt.

Saddle girth belt.

Last hole is in use and I am holding my breath...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Are woodworkers generally a conservative bunch?

What prompted me to this blog post are the changes that has been done to the Popular Woodworking homepage.

If you like me has visited the page over that last couple of years (I think I have frequently visited it for something like 10 years) You will almost be able to describe for someone how it looked and how the page was built up without even opening the homepage.

The current staff this month of the magazine has decided to launch a new website.
As you can see from the comments most people don't seem very impressed with the change.

I don't mean to move that particular discussion over on this blog, because it is better that people actually raise their voices at popular woodworking, so the crew over there can get a much broader view on what the readership base thinks about it.

Back to the conservative issue:
If I look at ads in woodworking magazines or homepages, they generally tend to be created much the same way, brownish tinted dream scenarios with a bit of dust and plane shavings.
Flannel shirts and jeans and maybe a baseball cap.
I have yet to see a "woodwork of the future ad" with a silver clad astronaut lasercutting a piece of MDF in front of some rainbow coloured garage door in outer space.

I guess that the people who are designing the ads know their demographics well enough to now that it just won't sell anything.

I personally feel that woodworking for me is like a "safe haven" away from where I have to think about that the world is moving forward, and that I have to reluctantly follow along. And I guess that a lot of others feel similarly one way or another.
When Megan Fitzpatrick campaigned to get more women into woodworking, the general response seemed to be that:" We are here for the woodworking, leave out the politics."
Very few commented directly on if it was a good or a bad idea.

Still the website remained like it had always been. It was kind of like your old fashioned hardware shop (the one that doesn't exist anymore except in your dreams and in the movies). With a knowledgeable and friendly clerk, only quality products on the shelves. Suddenly this store carried a weird new product (female woodworkers).
Megan left and the female woodworkers were sort of not refilled into the shelves.

But now this fantasy hardware store has suddenly moved and at the same time turned into an orange coloured newly designed shop, probably with a "latte machine" somewhere on the show floor.
Gone is the familiar smell of the old dusty shelves and the ringing of the bell whenever the door is swung open. The floors are no longer the same and there is a new face behind the counter.

I am still considering whether or not to find "another hardware store", or try to give the newly rebuilt one a chance.