Tuesday, January 16, 2007
A Stitch in Time
I've been having so much fun working on the boat that I have gotten behind in posting updates to this blog. I really have not kept track of time spent on the project. I thought about it, and decided not to. I have found that I enjoy the process much more when time becomes unimportant. I do have the date stamps from the digital photo files which seem to keep track of my progress in the stream of time, without the need for me to think about the elapsed or cumulative time expended. Now that I've expounded on my philosophy of the relationship between time and a recreational project, I'll move on to the 'Stitching'...
After I got the majority of the boat parts cut out and trimmed to the 'final' shape and dimensions, I was eager to see what it would look like in 3D. Plus, I rationalized my eagerness with the theory that it would be good to make sure that things would indeed fit together correctly before I started the 'stitching and gluing'. So I proceeded to prop the parts together, and sure enough, it began to look like a boat. Prior to drilling the holes for the stitch wire, I planed a small bevel along the edges of the bottom and side panels. This helps in getting the panels to align and stay without slipping apart as much.
The stitching process starts with drilling 3/32 inch holes, every six inches along the perimeter of the sides, bottom, and transom. I used a six inch machinist's rule to mark these off, about 1/2 inch in from the edge.   I started with the bottom panel, drilling the holes all around. Then before drilling the sides and transom, I propped these in place again, with the bottom panel allowed to 'sag' across the saw horses, and marked for the holes to line up with the ones already drilled in the bottom. This is to account for the curves.   If you simply measure and drill the sides every six inches, the holes would not line up with the ones in the bottom. I also spaced the holes at about three inches on the stem (front of the bow where the two sides come together). Then I cut the 18 gauge bare copper wire in lengths of about three or four inches. I found the 50' rolls of wire at Home Depot in the hardware section for hanging pictures.
The assembly sequence I followed was to start with one side at the stern end, inserting wire and loosly twisting, working my way forward.   After the hull parts are held in place, it's time to go back around and tighten the wires with a few additional twists. Now it's really beginning to look like a boat and the onlookers are impressed :)
Posted by Ron Paro