My Backyard Boats:

The Piccup Squared: single file

    This page presents the Piccup Squared building log in a single file; the log entries are stacked chronologically. For an index of the individual log entries, click here.


Piccup and start over again

    04 May 03: Yesterday I was wet and disappointed because the Quark that I built dumped me in the Erie Canal when I launched it. Today? Today I started another boat, one I've been planning to build since sending away for the plans a few weeks ago.

    This new boat project is the Piccup Squared, another design by Jim Michalak. I chose this design over Jim's Piccup design, which is a multichine version that is assembled with the stitch-and-glue method, which I am not interested in for aesthetic reasons and also for pocketbook reasons. Rather than use even more epoxy, I'm moving toward using more Elmer's waterproof glue. The multichine version of the Piccup is said to be better in rough conditions; I want a boat that I can throw around by myself; it needs to be of a size to stand on end for storage in my ever-shrinking garage. I'll use this boat in sheltered waters, such as behind the breakwaters on the Buffalo waterfront on Lake Erie or the various breakwaters on Lake Ontario. My next sailboat will be a multichine project, but it will be a while, and I may put a strip-built canoe or kayak ahead of that project. Love this stuff!

    Today to start the new project I cut a pine 1x4 to 4 feet in length and used it as a batten to join an 8-foot piece of 1/4-inch bc pine to another piece just over 3 feet long. The Piccup Squared is 11 feet long and four feet wide, with pram bow and flotation lockers in bow and stern. I think it's a pretty boat, and Jim sez it's a Bolger Box, which means that the bottom curve and the side curves are the same. Bolger examples include the Micro and the Old Shoe, both of which I have the plans for and like a lot. So now I have a mondo sheet of plywood. The next step is to draw the side on this sheet and cut them out. The center piece that will be left over includes a temporary form that uses the pine 1x4 as its centerline and batten. Clever. I haven't encountered a Michalak design that takes this time-saving approach to batten use.

    Time spent so far: 2 hours to go to the home store for wood and to make the mondo sheet of plywood.

    Cost so far: Four sheets of bc pine, 1/2 inch, at $46.44; $3.49 for a 1x4x8-foot piece of pine; and the half gallon of epoxy left over from the Quark project, at $28; and $6 for a pint of Elmer's glue, for a total so far of $83.93.

The pine 1x4 I got was a beauty -- No. 2 but with few and tight knots and no warp. Beats paying for Select stock. Pine shows centerline for the two pieces of plywood to butt together on. The better side of the plywood will be on the inside of the boat, for ease of filling and sanding the exterior of the hull. As it turns out, I got two sheet of bc pine that were almost perfect on both sides.

Mondo sheet of plywood finished at 11 feet, 1 and 5/16 inches long. The single batten makes cutting out the sides and other pieces a snap. Instead of making separate battens for each side, one batten does all the work.


Lofty work comes first

    06 May 03: I did all the lofting onto the mondo piece of plywood I pieced together the other day. By using a 4- by 8-foot frame that I had left over from the Harmonica project, placed atop my workbench, I was able to spare my back on what proved to be a long day of good work.

    First came the sides, which the plans divide into 12-inch stations. I put a nail at each station point and used spring clamps to clamp a batten to the nails. After cutting out the first side, the plans called for laying out the bulkheads on the remaining plywood while there was still a straight edge to use in the lofting.

    To cut out the bulkheads and the sides, I used a power saw set just over the 1/4-inch thickness of the plywood. This is my first time for that; before I have used a hand jig saw, which is not nearly as accurate, as it turns out, which accords with the advice of many people in print.

    The pieces are warped and floppy, but the cuts are accurate, though I did have some trouble with the bulkheads and a jig I made from a piece of poplar to use as a saw guide. My cuts were right on top of the lines, but the problem is uniform, and amounts to 1/16 to 1/8 inch, so I'm going to live with it. The fairing process will even up the differences, and I usually have tended to cut on the line instead of beside it anyway, so I'm still doing things the same way, but with a new tool choice -- power saw instead of jig saw.

    Time spent so far: Add 8 hours for today's lofting and cutting out work, for a total so far of 10 hours.

    Cost so far: Holding at $83.93.

In the beginning, a 4- by 11-foot sheet of 1/4-inch bc pine plywood. The blue object is the plans.
Closeup of the plans shows the boat and its sail in profile, with the spars drawn to the right.
Spring clamps hold batten to the curve of the sides of the hull.
After drawing the arc of the bottom on the side piece, I cut it out with a power saw set to a light depth of cut.

At the end of the day the mondo sheet of plywood had yielded the sides and bulkheads and bow transom.


Bevels -- sticking to the plan

    18 May 03: I had expected to breeze through the putting of 1x1 1/2 pine boards with bevels around the edges of the transoms and bulkheads. Four days and 16 hours later, I was finally done with this part of the project.

    The bevel thing gives me fits sometimes, because Jim's plans say to allow for extra for the bevels, but I never really felt certain of how much to leave. His new book, however, has a section on bevels that clears up all this confusion for me. I could see that my old way of cutting the bevels threw off the lines by 1/16 of an inch, more or less. What I did this time was to cut the bevel with my chop saw, which is dead-accurate and has a degree scale that I trust. I took the pine scrap with the bevel to the 10-inch table saw, which has a degree scale that I don't trust. The pine scrap, butted against the raised saw blade set the proper bevel. Then I cut a bevel piece of pine such that the face one sees was 1 1/2 inches wide (making the glue face a bit wider or narrower, depending on the bevel being cut. The pix show all this clearly.

    I took my time and did the best job I could, and I was pleased with the result. I had no errors beyond 1/16 of an inch. That's acceptable for me.

    A few days ago, I bought a 1x12x12-foot Select pine board and cut all the chines, gunwales, and skids -- eight pieces in all. I got a good deal on what seems a lot like New Zealand radiata pine, for about half the price I paid the last time I bought radiata pine. It smells wonderful and cut well, too.

    Tomorrow I plan to put the hull together after trimming the bevel sticks on the transoms and bulkheads. The weather has finally cleared after about a week of rain and cold.

    Time spent so far: Add 16 hours for cutting bevel sticks for the transoms and bulkheads, for a total so far of 26 hours.

    Cost so far: Add $3.49 for a 1x4x8-foot pine board and $39.96 for a 1x12x12-foot pine board, for a total so far of $127.38.

You can check a bevel by placing a cut board directly on the plans. This one is perfect. Now I can use this angle to set the table saw angle to rip a beveled stick of 1x1 1/2 pine.
Sticks in place on the stern transom.
Sliding bevel gauge helps you check the angle on a cut piece of plywood to see how accurate you were. And you can pick up an angle to take to the saw that makes the bevel cuts. You also can cut the bevels with a hand plane if you wish. I've done that before. The sliding bevel gauge will tell you how accurate that sort of cut is, too. Just slide alone the cut edge and look for flaws.
The annual rings in wood can be placed to minimize problems with shrinking and swelling with changes in moisture level in the wood. I would flip this piece and glue so that the annual rings won't pull the board away from the plywood on the edges. This is a good trick to keep in mind no matter what the wood project.
Chop saw has a dead-accurate degree gauge. The sliding bevel is used to set the angle picked up from the cut plywood.
Scrap of pine with desired bevel, cut with the accurate chop saw, is now butted against the table saw blade to set the proper angle for a bevel rip cut. Raise the blade high enough to get a good mating of the surfaces. This blade has carbine bits, so I raised the blade high enough to avoid them.
Closeup view shows a bottom bevel stick and side bevel stick, with the bevels oriented correctly according to the blueprints. I'll trim the extra on the side bevel stick with the Japanese pull saw.
The bc pine does not like to go untwisted, so I clamped each finished bulkhead or transom to the workbench to encourage the piece to take on flatness as the glue dried.
All the pieces finished and lined up in order, with the bow transom at the top and the temporary form with butt strap in the middle.


It looks a lot like a boat now

    20 May 03: Yesterday, I trimmed the transoms and bulkheads, and transferred the lines for these pieces from one side piece to the other. I found a few slight errors when I transferred the lines that locate these pieces.

    Today I assembled the hull sides to the bow, stern, and bulkheads. I had an error in depth of 1/4 inches on the sides; rather than worry overmuch about the extra, since it was uniform, I decided to build up the bulkheads that are short in height by that amount. I used a batten to see what it would look like to reduce the sides to the heights of the bulkheads, but the curve was no longer fair.

    Next step is to install the gunwales and chines, then the bottom.

    Time spent so far: Add 4 hours for trimming pieces to get ready to assemble the hull and 6 hours for nailing and gluing sides to bow, stern, and bulkheads, for a total so far of 36 hours.

    Cost so far: Holding at $127.38.

Yesterday was warm and sunny; I assembled the parts for the hull -- various chines and clamps, the pile of transoms and bulkheads, and the two side pieces. I used the 4-footx10-foot trolley that I made out of 2x4s for the Harmonica as a big table on top of the workbench. It made the hull work easier.
Wood sticks and clamps line up the two side pieces to ensure accuracy in transferring the location lines for the transoms and bulkheads.
After the lines were in place, I clamps the sides together and trimmed the ends and bottoms to match.
Today was rainy; we are to have a week of such weather now. Pic shows the temporary form in place with the sides, at the widest point of the boat. The yellow presence at the top of the pic is the Quark, now hanging form the rafters. I have three finished boats and one a-building in my shop space.
Bulkhead 2.5 sits ahead of the temporary form, with rope to pull in the sides showing at the top of the forming hull. The sheer line is largely as shown. The tendency of bc pine to warp played in my favor, since each side warped in the shape it would take permanently. The sticks I cut the other day for chines and clamps are warping nicely, too.
Ropes in place at stern and bow, and all pieces in place except for the bow transom.
The hull job is done; all pieces in place. A 10-year-old neighbor stopped by at about this point and informed me that I was building a native canoe because he had a picture in a book that said so and because my boat, which I tried to explain was a sailboat, was the same as the one in his book.
Another view of the finished hull job.
I decided that I no longer needed the services of the 4-footx10-foot trolley frame that I had put atop the workbench. Since I work alone, it took some rope work to get the hull raised so I could pull out the trolley and set it on its side along the edge of the work space.


Clamping down -- gunwales go on

    21 May 03: Call 'em gunwales or call 'em sheer clamps, but call 'em installed. The clamps went on well, and I also put stainless steel screws in the holes left by the deck screws used for installing the sides to the transoms and bulkheads. I used 3M5200 caulk to drive the screws and seal the holes. By using Elmer's glue instead of epoxy for joints, I like using more fasteners. Also, the caulk will seal the hole better than the Elmer's glue mixed with wood flour to make a putty.

    The next step is to install the external chines.

    Cost so far: Add $14.73 for glue and a 1x4x8-foot select board that is currently holding the hull in untwisted condition and later will be available for whatever, and add $15.07 for a pound of 3/4-inch boat nails and 100 1 1/4-inch stainless steel screws, for a total of $157.18.

    Time spent so far: Add four hours for the gunwales, for a total so far of 36 hours.

It only seems like overkill to use a select pine board like this. After this service, it'll be available for use, and I opted for Select grade because No. 2 pine didn't have a straight edge, which is the whole point here, at this point in the hull process. Have a pun; I have enough to go around.
Clamps hold the starboard gunwale in place while the glue sets.
Stainless steel screws bedded in 3M 5200 caulk at the corner of the stern and the side. Someone in a recent issue of WoodenBoat said that after trying several things to make driving screws easier, include the old standby of bar soap, the winner was 3M 5200. I agree. It makes the screws glide even better than soap does, and it seals with waterproof stuff, too.
Port gunwale in place and being held with clamps. The guy across the street came over to see my fleet yesterday and said he had some clamps lying around that he would give me. Can't have too many clamps. I have about 15, and I wish I had 10 more.


Upside down and done

    27 May 03: Although I have gotten behind on posting, I am moving right along on the Piccup.

    The chines are installed, and the bottom is on, and today I put fiberglass on the chine seams and other seams. Used up all the epoxy. I cut my own fiberglass tape strips because I was looking at $25 for a new roll. I liked cutting the tape from scraps of 6 oz. cloth. It wet out faster and better than the 9 oz. tape. I did a better job of rounding the edge of the bottom and chines. It was colder and cloudy today, so the epoxy resin was cloudy, thick, and granular. Still, the strips I cut were easier to process than the tape.

    The hull is still upside down, but I'll turn it over after the epoxy sets and gets a sanding.

    The next step is to sand the fiberglass.

    Cost so far: Add $30 for glue, masking tape, anothe5r 1x4x6-foot pine board, and some belt sander belts, for a total so far of $187.18.

    Time spent so far: Add 15 hours for the finishing of the hull, for a total so far of 51 hours.

Inverted hull with chines and gunwales in place. The board in the center of the boat is to maintain stiffness and accuracy.
I cut the bevel on the aft bulkhead the wrong way, so I added a shim from offcut pine that I had been saving for just such a need.
Shim is in place, and I clamped it while the glue dried.
Only a 1/16th of an inch in depth was needed to bring the bulkhead level. After I planed the chines, there almost wasn't a problem. Pic shows the shim glued to the bulkhead at the centerline.
I had a good time with the fairing of the chines and bulkheads. I use a block plane mostly and a 12-inch jack plane some. I also have an 18-inch floor plane that I used for this type of work. The block plane sits on an oak board that I reserve for fairing.
Large section of bottom glued, nailed, and clamped.
Completed bottom of hull has three segments and two butt joints.


Flipping over the Piccup

    02 June 03: I've been working daily on the Piccup, and the hull is coming along well. The other day when we flipped the boat over after I had grinded down the epoxy and fiberglass tape, I was surprised by how much the boat weighed. The Reverend informed me that I'm on my own with this one, in view of the weight.

    I have a plan, though. I'm going to made a wheel dolly so I can wheel the boat out of the garage upside down and get under to place it on the rack of the pickup. It's heavy, but not too heavy.

    Along with being surprised by its weight, I also was surprise and pleased by its size and shape. I've been wanting a good sailboat since I started building boats -- four boats ago. This one will fill the bill. It has ample freeboard in the sitting zone. I like that, too. Jim Michalak says that this boat should take water over the gunwale before the point of capsize -- a wet warning instead of a total immersion.

    There has been a lot of cool weather, and the epoxy that I put on the fiberglass stripes for the chines, and the first coat on the bottom of the hull, did not really set up until today, which was four or five days after I did the work. Sunday, I took the angle grinder to the stuff and basically had to grind off the second application, which was the dregs of the gallon of epoxy I was working from. It was cold enough that the hardener had granulated, and this was reflected in the epoxy on the hull. It was a mess on the surface from being pock-marked. I got another gallon of epoxy and will coat the skids, which I installed, and the sides, and a second overall coat on everything I grinded down.

    I'm sold on cutting my own fiberglass tape; it wetted out much better that the heavier and more expensive tape. I had very little problem with unraveling, which I was grateful for.

    After flipping the boat, I installed the second lamination of the gunwales, cut out the deck pieces, and put shims on the tops of the bulkheads, which were about 1/2 inch shy of the top of the plywood -- don't ask me why, because I don't wanna know.

    Next steps are to put a doubler strip behind the forward bulkhead, to strengthen the place where the mast partner will be bolted; mask off all the edges and trowel on thickened epoxy; to paint the interior of the forward and after air chambers; to fit and install the deck pieces; to make the forward and aft hatch combings and hatch tops; and then finish with the sailing parts.

    Cost so far: Add $30 for the half gallon of epoxy used so far; $4 for more Elmer's glue (going to buy a gallon for $10 next time); $10 for 3M blue masking tape and regular masking tape; $12 for stainless steel screws for the skids and gunwales, for a total so far of $253.18.

    Time spent so far: Add 20 hours for the work done since the last posting, for a total so far of 71 hours. NB: I work slow.

The second coat I put on the fiberglass strips was generally a mess because it was too cold and the hardener had become granulated. I'm storing the epoxy in the house now, to avoid a repeat.

The skids went on with the help of deck screws from the outside and permanent 3/4-inch stainless steel screws countersunk from the inside. The skids are pine.
Second course of gunwale glued, screwed, and clamped to the first course.
To get a more comfortable working height for what I'll be doing inside the hull, I took the hull off of the workbench and put it on my four-wheel cart.
The rocker in the forward part of the boat is more extreme than the rocker in the after section.
Bulkheads were 1/2 inch shy of the tops of the sides. I put in shims.
Shim clamped to the forward bulkhead.


Fillets for all my friends!

    06 June 03: The fillets on all the seams inside the hull look very good.

    Today I trimmed the gunwales and gave them a final sanding; I also gave the deck ply a final shaping.

    Next step is to put a fillet on the top of the external chines. This is where the Harmonica leaked on its maiden voyage.

    Cost so far: Add $27.95 for a quart of Sea Green Brightside paint by Interlux, 12 acid brushes for glue-spreading, and $250 for black plastic oarlocks and sockets, for a total so far of gunwales, for a total so far of $289.93.

    Note: I got the three items at Obersheimer's; the oarlocks were incorrectly tagged, but they gave them to me at the tagged price -- $1.50 times two. I got two sets because I need two rowing stations, for single use and use with a passenger. It was good of them to sell the pieces at the price marked. I didn't even have to ask. They deserve your business, too!

    Obersheimer's Sailors' Supply 1884 Niagara St., Buffalo, NY 14207.

    Time spent so far: Add five hours for taping all the seams inside the hull and applying the thickened epoxy, and three hours on the gunwales and deck pieces, for a total so far of 79 hours.

Fillets in place on all interior seams. Using 3M blue masking tape and newspapers made a job that required no sanding!!! If you wait to pull the tape until the epoxy is starting to set up, you get a ridge and clean edge to the fillets.
This is the top of the exterior chine. It'll get a fillet next time. I guess I should explain that most of Jim Michalak's boats place the chine on the outside of the hull, which means no notching of frames. On a displacement hull, any interruptions in the flow would be impossible to notice. The beauty in Jim's designs is in form following function.
The four deck pieces are dry-fit in place. Sanded gunwales just gleam.


Down the hatches

    10 June 03: The hatch combing fore and aft are in place, and a second coat of epoxy is on the entire hull. The combings went together well; I made lap joints for the corners using the table saw. The combings are pine. The decks are in place now, too, and are good.

    I decided to put a fillet on top of the external chine and do some more rounding in hopes of significantly softening the chine, and to ensure a water-tight joint. I did an OK job of applying the epoxy; it still took a few hours of sanding with a sanding drum to get the effect I was looking for.

    Next step is to do final fairing and then paint the exterior of the hull.

    Cost so far: Add $25 for a quart of gray Interlux primer, $10 for more Elmer's glue, $6 for more blue 3M masking tape, $10 for two-part putty, and $3 for duct tape, for a total of $343.93.

    Time spent so far: Add 10 hours for installing the combings and sanding the hull, for a total so far of 89 hours.

After installing the decks and combings for the hatch covers, I wheeled the hull outside for a photo op. The dark line above the chine is the fillet that I added for rounding and for waterproofing.
Close-up of the fillet at the chine.
Lots of room in the cockpit; its 6.5 feet long.


Prime time

    16 June 03: I've been spending a lot of time with the ear protectors on and the industrial-strength dusk mask in place, sanding the hull in preparation for painting. I've put two coats of primer on, sanding between, and one coat of the enamel, which is a dark green.

    Cost so far: Add $17.23 for four 14-foot spruce 2x4s for spars, for a total so far of $361.16.

    Time spent so far: Add 15 hours for more sanding and prepping of the hull for paint , for a total so far of 104 hours.

Hull after first of two coats of primer. The dark primer is meant to make darker top coats cover better.
The hull after the first of at least two coats of Interlux Brightside green. My hull prep work is improving; no runs or curtains from the epoxy undercoat.


Getting my oars in a row

    19 June 03: Since I'm still letting the topcoat on the hull cure, I tackled the oars today. Yesterday I roughed out a yuloh for the Harmonica, too. I've been using my new bandsaw to make the oars and the yuloh. I have a way to go before I can say that I'm proficient with the bandsaw, but it's fun to use, anyway.

    I've been saving a 4x4x8-foot Douglas fir fence post, almost clear, for a year now. I had big plans for it, but after I ran it through the bandsaw, which barely could cut it, I ended up with enough pieces to add to some spruce to makes the oars and the yuloh.

    What's a yuloh? It's a long, blade-heavy oar for sculling. Do a Google search on yuloh; there's some interesting stuff.

    Next step is to shape the oars, coat with epoxy, and topcoat with varnish.

    Cost so far: Add $10 for the doug fir I used, for a total so far of $371.16.

    Time spent so far: Add 4 hours for the work so far on the oars, for a total so far of 108 hours.

I used spruce for the center and fir for the outside pieces of the oars. I could have made the oars from the spruce along, but the piece had some back dings, and I like the two-tone look anyway. The fir also will make the oars loom-heavy, which the plans call for.
Since I have the bandsaw, I did some additional shaping before gluing up. I'm working in the basement on this stuff; it a lot more isolated that the shop but has the heavy power tools.
They look like a dog's breakfast now, but I know they will be beautiful when I'm finished.


All but in the water

    04 July 03: I've been working hard on the Piccup but not on the updates. This is a roundup of the work done in the past two weeks.

    The oars were a big job -- about 15 hours of work -- but well worth the extra effort that I put into them. They're lovely.

    The spars and mast blanks are all glued up from spruce construction-grade 2x4s from the home store.

    Hatch covers and combings are done and look great.

    Two coats of varnish on the gunwales, decks, hatch covers; two coats of 50-50 mixture of turpentine and linseed oil on the interior of the hull.

    Ditty box for rowing seat done; looks great.

    Mast partner and mast step cut out and installed.

    We're taking the boat up to the canal later today for a row.

    Cost so far: Total so far of $371.16.

    Time spent so far: Add 11 hours for the work on the oars and 20 hours or the other projects mentioned in this post, for a total so far of 141 hours.

I did the work on the oars in the basement to make use of the big power tools. I used some Gorilla Glue that I had. Elmers would have been fine. The Gorilla Glue, like all poly glues, is a holy mess. The squeeze-out looks like foam. No complaints about its strength; it's just a mess, especially if you get it on your skin.
I swear ... it took an hour to clean up the excess glue.
The oars are spruce and fir; here they show results of shaping and rounding.
The combings were a challenge. I tried to make them with some fir I had, but that just reminded me why I don't like to work with fir if I can use pine instead. You have to pre-drill all holes for nails and there still are splits. The combings on the boat are pine, and the hatch cleats are spruce.
After 15 hours of work, the oars are ready for varnish. I work slowly because I want more control over the removal and shaping of wood. I could grab a more aggressive power tool sometimes, but I'm making enough sawdust as it it, and I hate to waste good wood by going too fast.
Ditty box/rowing box. I modified the box to use shock cord instead of a rope bale.
With some poplar that I had on hand I made the mast partner, using the bandsaw mostly.
The two spars and the mast are all glued up, waiting for final shaping on the table saw. This is the yard spar, made up from two trim pieces of spruce. I like to laminate as many parts as possible, because that controls the grain better than making pieces from stock, which often will take a sudden bend as soon as it is clear of the saw blade. And since the glue line is stronger than the wood, usually, that is a plus, too.
It took a bit of work to bevel the mast step, also made from poplar, so that it would conform to the curve of the hull, which is severe in the forward portion of the cockpit.


Piccup passes put-in process

    04 July 03: The only hitch in our initial launching of the Piccup Squared was operator error. I got in backwards and rowed for pictures facing the stern ... .

    So I turned around and the Reverend took some more pictures. The boat is a sailboat that can be rowed, so it's not a burner under oars, and I need to do some adjustments to the oars and placement of the oarlocks, but it was promising. Cozy, too, compared to the space in the Weekend Skiff or the Harmonica.

    We launched at Gasport Marina on the Erie Canal. It was a nice evening.

    I'm looking forward to the sailing launch. The boat seems lively and light.

    Cost so far: $371.16.

    Time spent so far: 141 hours.

At the launch ramp in Gasport on the Erie Canal.
I think that this boat has pretty lines, much more so than the original Piccup design, which is multi-chine and hammer-headed. It may be more seaworthy in rough water, but it isn't as elegant.
Oars were in need of adjustment -- shortening the looms by about 2 inches and moving the oarlocks so I get better extension.
The Reverend took all the pix of me in the boat. This one captures the quality of golden and blue light at dusk on the canal in summer.
Ditty box worked fine.


Mast, spar partners rounded up

    14 July 03: Work is going well. Mast and supporting spars -- yard and boom -- are glued up, ripped into rough form, planed, and sanded. All the other parts that needed to be laminated -- leeboard, rudder, rudder cheek, and tiller -- are cut out and glued. The end is in sight, though it will take another 20 hours or so to finish at the rate I work, which is slow for a fairly high level of finish.

    The last bit that isn't started is the polytarp sail, though I have the materials in hand.

    I called the state Dept. of Motor Vehicles and was told that as long as a vehicle and its load are less than 40 feet long, a red flag is all that is needed to be legal. That is a relief, because this boat is a bit heavy at the launching end to get off of the rack on the pickup truck. I can put the boat inside the bed with one arm, using a hand truck jammed into the space between the bed and the tailgate. It sticks out 5 feet. Red flag. Legal.

    Cost so far: Add $5 for glue for the laminating, $4 for nuts and bolts to finish the oarlock fastening, and $5 for poplar for the tiller, mast partner, and mast step, for a total so far of $385.16.

    Time spent so far: Add 10 hours for the work on the mast, yard, and boom and 5 hours for the other projects mentioned in this post, for a total so far of 156 hours.

The spruce blanks for the boom, at left, and the yard, center, and the mast, right, are ready for planing and sanding. I ended up with a hook in the mast that I'll align fore and aft, and there's a crook in the boom, too, but it won't be a problem. Spruce 2x4s yield all the spars.

My workshop in the basement has the stationary power tools and a long bench with vice. That's where I've been working on the spars and laminations. The spar job took about 10 hours. It's funny, but I don't use my router on boat work. It would be quicker, but harder to control, and any boo-boos would be glaringly permanent. I like the irregular quality of the hand work.

The mast after sanding. It's ready to roll. The setup with clamps and the block were how I sanded by turning while running the random-orbit sander to touch up the belt sander work that came first.
All three spars are planed and ready for sanding here. I settled for eight-sided, squarish profiles for the yard and boom but rounded the mast after initial planing.
The leeboard is three courses of 1/4-inch bc pine plywood. Because I went with a larger leeboard to go with a larger sail that Jim Michalak added to the original plans, I had to use two pieces for the middle course. It won't be a problem, though.
After putting about a quart of Elmer's glue on the leeboard plywood, I screwed the whole thing to the workbench to clamp the courses and get good squeeze-out.
The plans specify a 2x4 for the tiller; I laminated two pieces of 3/4-inch thick poplar to get the blank right. I prefer gluing up to using single pieces, to avoid warping and twisting. Just pay attention to the annual rings of the pieces.


Piccup the pace: Rush to launch

    23 August 03: It's been a while since I've posted on this project, but it's done. Launched for sailing, too.

    We spent a week with family at Selkirk Shores State Park on Lake Ontario over by the Thousand Islands. I launched the Piccup Squared during the week at Salmon River Reservoir, a favorite place of the group that went on vacation together.

    The boat sails well, and I'm pleased with its performance. I had a stiff wind just short of whitecaps, and I sheeted in to see how it would handle. I felt total confidence in this boat at speed, with the rail almost buried.

    In the rush to finish this boat, and a Flats Rat, too, I haven't posted the details of finishing up the Piccup, but it went well, and I've posted a lot of pix of the finishing.

    Cost so far: Add $20 for lines, $10 for hardware, and $10 for varnish, for a project total of $425.16.

    Time spent so far: Add 25 hours for the finishing work including making the sail, handing the rudder and leeboard, and final coats of varnish , for a project total of 176 hours.


I had some fun in making cleats out of some poplar. The one in front went on the tiller.
Leeboard, rudder, and rudder stock ready to be varnished.

Toothpick plugs one of the holes from the deck screws I used to laminate the leeboard.

Piece of poplar acts as lower leeboard guard.
Upper leeboard guard in place.
It took only a few hours, on a hot and humid day, to make the polytarp sail. It helps to have a big space in which to work. If you have a big lawn, that is even better, since the sun smoothes out the wrinkles in the polytarp.
The night before we left for vacation, I finally had the boat done and the rigging tested.
Maiden voyage at Salmon River Reservoir.
Salmon Creek Reservoir is a beautiful lake, with no, I repeat, no cabins or houses on the shoreline. For New York state, that is an oddity. There is only one launch ramp, and it's a beautiful setting, too, with room to swim and lazy around.
My lanky father-in-law takes a turn with the oars. The boat rows OK, but it's a sailboat that you can row, not a rowboat you can sail.

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