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David Jost's Micro Page

yes...it goes!

Spar Making
Keel Making

Pictures from July 2000

Pictures from November 2000

    I am currently in the beginning stages of building my micro.  Check back frequently for tales and pictures concerning the building of this Bolger Boat. 

Step One: Spar making.

    I decided that given the weather in the Northeast of the United States from November through March, and that I have an unheated garage and limited basement space, that I would start with the spars. 
    The lumber for the mizzen and sprits were bought at local lumber yards that were quite helpful after I explained what it was I was trying to do with the spruce.  Sawing out the pieces for the mizzen proved a little tricky in that the mast needs to be 2.5 inches square and we all know what happens if you just glue two 2X4's together.  You get one massive 3.75 X 3.25 inch board!  I could rip the 3.75 board on the 8" table saw,  but maneuvering the 16' board on the little saw proved to be too much of a challenge for my little saw.  I then ripped it with my Skil saw.  We will call this saw #1,  because it was replaced by saw #2 in short order.  I now have bought a brand new Sears Industrial saw that has a very accurate rip fence that makes short order of the long stock.  Read that sentence as,  "It cost me $25 for the lumber and $100 to saw it up!"  "Ouch!" 
    Oh well, it was fun.  I finally got the lumber glued and then began the process of shaping the taper on the mizzen.  I strongly recommend that you do the sprits first.  I am pretty good with a block plane,  but the small tight knots and the length of the sprit were doing quite a number on my 43 year old shoulder.  However,  my 4 year old daughter was having a blast with the shavings. A kind industrial arts teacher took pity on me and set me up with a freshly sharpened 10" Stanley plane.  This went a little faster,  but I was still working profusely and devouring Advil on a daily basis.  My sister came to the rescue with the magic answer.  A brand new Makita Electric Plane.  "How did I live without this tool?"  I strongly recommend one of these to anyone interested in spar building.  It only took me 30 minutes of shaping on the main sprit,  whereas it took close to 6 hours of hard labor to hand shape the mizzen.  I will admit,  the mizzen has character in it that the sprit does not have.  However,  the sprit is a lot straighter!  I decided that I would make the mizzen round on the top section and eight sided at the partners.  My thinking was that I am going to have this boat permanently on a mooring and that the mizzen sail would come down every night and stowed in a bag.  Therefore I would use a continuous lacing with a halyard to raise it and lower it.  A smooth spar should facilitate the raising and lowering of the sail.  At least it looks cool anyhow! 
    I am now sanding and applying an epoxy coat to all the sprits,  boomkin, and mizzen to store them in the spar shed for the winter.  In good weather,  I will coat them with 3 or four coats of exterior UV resistant polyurethane. 
    I estimate that the cost of the spars when all is done will be $50 lumber,  $15epoxy, $200 power tools (do I hear a "Tool Time" grunt?) $10 polyurethane,  $10 sandpaper,  $10 brushes.  That comes to a whopping $295 for the $30 spars.  I will hide that bill from my wife as long as possible. 


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January 30, 2000
    I went to Home Depot today to dig through the pile of Construction grade spruce for 8X2's straight enough to rip the parts of the Main mast from.  I had just found a reasonably straight 16 footer that had really tight small knots that had some possibility when a strange noise occurred in the store. THE FIRE ALARM!
    I am smart enough by now to realize that probably the worse place to be standing in the middle of a fire is the kiln dried lumber aisle.  I smartly put down my new found treasure and headed for the door. (OK,  I admit that the salesclerk made me leave.)  There is always next weekend and the possibility of getting a better board somewhere else. 
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    I am now trying to find the 1/4 inch fir ply that I will need to build the bulkheads indoors during the winter.  (If I build anything larger than these,  I won't get them out of my basement door.) 

February, 2000
    Wow,  a warm day.  bought, ripped, glued up the scarfs for the 2.5 X 3.5 main mast chunks.  I have enough 1/2" stock to make the side staves.  This is one big stick,  It barely fits in the garage!  Waiting for the next warm day to glue the staves.  Time spent = 1 hour. 
the whole mast 24' (6" on each end to be cut later) in a 22' garage! 

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March 2000
    Three good gluing days have yielded 3/4ths of a main mast.    it barely fits in the garage.  I made clamps out of 6X6 squares of 3/4 inch plywood.  I made 4X4 holes in them and then will wedge the clamps with smaller pieces to fit the last piece of the main mast.  Scarphing, sawing and gluing so far have taken about 3 hours.  Or,  an hour per stave.  I expect that I have at least another hour of gluing and clamping left.  My neighbors think I'm nuts. 
    I found a micro builder who converted his boat into a micro trawler.  Thanks, Stan. and I purchased his sails, sail track, and blocks.  This was quite a savings.  $300 for all. 
    I have found a good source of lead sheet.  I think I can have a piece cut out and shipped to a friend of mine who has a loading dock and forklifts!  The lead might be free! 
    In the meantime,  I found another person who is local who has built his micro and loves it!  He said that pouring the keel was not a problem.  Just pour before it gasses.  to avoid getting lead poisoning.  Good advise.  He poured his keel flat.  I am glad to see it works.  He also used a large propane burner for his heat source,  said it worked well. 
    All I need to do is sell Diablo to finance the project and to trade my 10hp for a 4-5hp.  and I have it made. 

wedge clamp made from 2X2's and spectra braid 

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April 2000
I have ordered 10 sheets of 1/4 inch marine ply which will yield the bulkheads, transoms, sides, and double bottom.  I will order the 3/8 ply later on this Spring as the hull nears completion $400 so far in ply. 
    April 1, 2000 - I was short about 4 large clamps to finish the mast gluing, so I made mast clamps from 3/4  ply that was 6" square with 4" square  holes in them.  I then wedged in pieces of wood to act as clamps.  They worked like a charm!  I found two more spots that needed clamping, so I grabbed a couple of 2X2's and tightened them down with some extra Spectra braid that was lying around.  They work just fine as well. If I were to do this again I would probably make the mast clamps from a bunch of 1" long 2X4's with holes for 6" carriage bolts with washer and wing nuts.  Estimated cost per clamp would be about $3.00 as compared to $15 for standard small bar clamps.  I put this in bold so that potential spar builders might "cut to the chase" and benefit from my mistakes.
    Carl Noe brought down his smelter/foundry today.  It is an old water heater cut in half that should hold plenty of lead for the keel.  He has poured his Micro keel, and an Oldshoe keel with it so far.  for a heat source he is using a plumbers rose.  Now to purchase the lead!  He actually came down to try out my Diablo.  It planed with my 10hp with two of us aboard,  but it could not quite get on plane with his 8 h 
p four stroke Honda.  The Honda weighs about 85 lbs as compared to 65 for the 10 hp Johnson, but it is much quieter and smells much better. 

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    April 10, 2000

        I cannot believe that I am still involved in making the masts for this boat. 
    Today I cut the taper on the main mast and 4 sided it.  I will next use the spar gauge to eight side it.  It took 1 hour to lay out the taper and plane it down with a power plane.  I wonder how that compares to using a circular saw.  I know that the tool felt under control at all times.  Even without eight siding it is relatively easy to lift into a vertical position, unlike the Aluminum masts that I have tried this with.  I am hoping that it is strong enough!  I cannot believe this is going to work.  I hope to finish the carving this weekend and get a coat of epoxy on it to stabilize it.  Too cold (snow flurries today) to varnish or glue right now. 

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Carl's micro has sails that he made himself from Sailrite Kits.  He told me that he is very happy with them.  I bought a used set of Taylor sails from Stan Muller (of the Micro "Snow Goose") they look quite good as well.  I lucked out on this one. 

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  At long last I have started on the hull.  I am using 1/4" marine ply for most of the hull, and will use double ply to form a 1/2" bottom.  The layout of the sides was fairly easy as I have built a few boats already.  I start by laying out a grid of 1' intervals on the ply to strike a curve and use a 1/2" 16' long fir batten to strike a curve.   It becomes fairly obvious if you missed a point as the batten will not make a fair curve.   After I cut out the first side I got into a bit of trouble as I forgot to glue all of the batten and had to disassemble the batten and clench nails after I had glued it up.  I got it right on the third try.  Clench nails are incredibly strong.  I got mine from Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth New Hampshire. 

    After the glue dried I noticed that I had accidentally introduced a large 1" curve into the side.  Oops!  I thought I was going to be able to spring it out using a long piece of oak flooring, clamps and wedges.  Guess again. 

    Using my trusty Makita Power Plane, I removed the entire butt strap in less than 30 minutes and installed another butt strap and then clamped the whole thing to a straight edge while the glue set.  It is now straight as an arrow, no damage done.  The second side was uneventful.  I am currently glad I chose Marine Ply because I don't have to stop and think about what is the inside and what is the outside! 

    I ordered more bronze ring nails from Jamestown Marine on the web.  They arrived within 48 hours.  $12.75 for two pounds of #12 1" bronze ring nails.  Not bad. 

May 17, 2000

    So far the bulkheads have been pretty straightforward.  I have built the bow transom, bulkhead A, Bulkhead B, and cut out all of the bulkheads C and D plus the stern transom.  I have been using 3/4" fir decking for the framing due to its availability and the ease in which it cuts and glues.  I am hoping that it will be more rot resistant than pine.  It will be coated inside and out with epoxy and paint in any case.  This is kind of a belt and suspenders approach. 

    I am hoping to go three dimensional and get the bottom and keel constructed (not installed) by the end of June.  I am hoping that Carl lends me his foundry for that long! 

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June 9, 2000

   Ok,  all the frames are built, with the exception of the exterior motor board and the board that the boomkin goes through on the transom.  I think that this will be easier to do once the transom is fastened to the boat. 

read the following with a smile:  All potential Micro builders should be forewarned that the bow transom is a little tricky.

ok, here is another entry into David Letterman's "Stupid Boatbuilder 

Today I made the second large mistake on Micro. I had been saving the bow transom bevels and freeing ports until the last part prior to going 3 dimensional, since I knew that I had a reverse bevel on the bow transom to deal with. I deliberately saved this morning for the job since I knew that I had plenty of open time with no supervision of children necessary, no impending musical performances (just a rehearsal at 1400) and great weather. I forgot one key item. SLEEP! 
I did a walk from 1 am to 3 am to raise money for the American 
Cancer Society (hmm? "Does Polyester Resin cause cancer?" Had it once, don't want it back!) Then rose at 1800 hours at the call of the Labrador retriever. I figured, "What the heck. I'm up anyway. I might as well bevel the bow transom." 
Needless to say, I did a great job of transferring the bevels) and set the saw up perfectly for the job. Remember, "Measure twice, cut once." I then sawed the entire bottom bevel backwards! OOOPPPPSSSS. 
ouch, "That's got to hurt." After an additional 4 hours, I have a 
lovely second bow transom, that looks much better than the first, 
with two freeing ports (the lower one, a tad too high) and this one 
is even square. 
The moral of the story is: " Do not operate power tools, when 
drowsy. It is not only dangerous, but stupid and expensive." 

June 10, 2000

    I finally beveled the second bow transom successfully.  I used the Makita power plane for 90% of the work.  I roughed out the side cuts with the circular saw.  I had a bit of trouble with the last cut, with some large divots resulting from an improperly aligned rip fence, but it is nothing that a little fairing compound can't fix.  WEST system micro fibers do wonders!  The other frames were relatively easy since they were thinned in dimension than the bow transom. 

Here are all of the panels.  Ready to go 3 dimensional. 

Here is an idea of the size.  Katie is standing in the cockpit looking aft. 

June 24, 2000

    The boat is finally three dimensional!  The amazing thing is how light and strong the structure really is.  The other noticeable thing is how much room there is for a 16 footer.  This boat is shorter than the O'Day daysailor, and a Herreshoff 12.5, but it easily can accommodate a family of 4 in relative comfort for a daysail, or two overnight.  If I can convince one other member of my family of the merits of sleeping on the deck in good weather, we could all go cruising.  I hope to have the bottom well under way by July 1st.  Check for pictures soon (they are still in the camera.) 

    Alignment of the frames was relatively easy.  I started out with a taut string between the bow and the transom, and then used plywood with the straight edges lined up with all of the frames.  Frame D was 1" off, and was easy to "persuade" into place.  After the hull was shored up fore and aft, and beam to beam it was relatively easy for me to move around on skids and flip over onto the gravel driveway.  The boat is now living upside down next to the raspberries on blocks to keep it above any ground water that may drip down from the driveway.  (I also dug a trench around the boat, just like a campsite). 

    On to the chines and bottom 

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June 28, 2000

    I just put in the chines.  Well actually only one because I cracked the other one putting it in.  I had trouble getting real good wood for this and settled for a few small knots.  The break was about 6" before the biggest knot.  Oh well,  another pile of spruce to rip.  They go in fine if one does not try to rush through the process,  I used plenty of clamps, temporary sheet rock screws, and plenty of bronze boat nails and glue.  We will see how it comes out in the end.  Will try the other chine tomorrow. 

July 3, 2000

    Chines are in and the bottom is going on!  I am going with double 1/4" marine ply with single butt straps to finish 3/4" at the butt strap.  That should provide plenty of backing  for the keel batten bolts.  This is what the 450 lb keel will be hanging on, so I really want to get it right.  I have the only 5 year old in the world who can clench nail! :-).  Doing the butt straps is not that big a deal if you have help.  I already have plenty of extra copper nails from the original batch I bought from Strawberry Bank.  The second layer of marine ply will be temporarily screwed down with galvanized sheet rock screws.  This should provide a way for air to escape between the layers, and to hold until the glue dries.  Then I plan to fill the holes with WEST 505 fairing filler, and then epoxy and glass the whole boat to attain water tightness and protection from the elements.  I might not get the keel on this summer! :-( 

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July 9, 2000

   I still have not got the pictures out of the camera to scan in.  The first course is glued and nailed to the bottom with the help of my son Chris (9).  He is another clench nail expert now!  I need to purchase three more sheets of 1/4" ply to finish to bottom.  I took the curve off with a straight edge with battens clamped in place.  It was a little tricky figuring out exactly where the keel goes on the bottom in relation to the fore and aft stations since the curve comes off the bottom where not station or frame lines have been drawn.  I think that I am within 1/2" of the actual location.  Tomorrow I will begin to lay out the keel molds and actively pursue the lead to melt.  I have plenty of clench nails and plenty of help so I guess the second layer of ply will be clenched to the first with one nail every 6" or so.  It is pretty easy. 

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New Pictures  7/19/00

A Three Dimensional Micro!!!

fitting the curve to the bottom. 

 It has about 1/4" more rocker than Bolger's plans.  I have no idea why. (Yes, that is the seldom used Diablo in the background.)

Micro side view

 The keel mold in progress.

Three layers of 1/2" ply ready for fairing and assembly.  The mold will be backed up by another layer of ply and then stiffened by 2X6 framing material.  this should help keep the mold flat. 

July 25, 2000

     I should have taken one more picture.  I attached a sheet of 1/2" ply to the bottom of the mold, and then screwed a frame of 2X4 lumber to the bottom of it in conventional form with studs every 16" on center.  It is quite strong and inflexible.

     I gave up on trying to collect and melt lead.  I took the mold to I.M. Broomfield in Providence RI.  They make keels for many shipbuilding companies.  They will charge 80 cents per pound, putting the total for the pouring at about $330 US.  This is about $90 more than pouring it oneself.  This is a no-brainer for me.  it is worth the $90 t0 have this hot, messy job done in someone else's backyard!  The keel should be done by August 1st.

     In the meantime, I have been ordering more ply for the double bottom, epoxy, and bronze ring nails.  The boat won't be a gold-plater, but will be at least in the silver category. 

August 1st update

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