– June 17, 2013
Construction – Day 1
design of boat, especially after visiting a river festival on Father’s day/ I knew I needed ten feet of
beam (width) not merely eight and at least sixteen feet of length. Twelve feet just felt a little too cozy.
Besides, you always need a little more space than you think.
So, the design was final. This meant I’d need four deck subassemblies (an old Raytheon term, when
describing anything made up of any smaller things). It took me almost an hour of roaming the aisles of
the do-it-yourself kingdom, before I made up my mind and started picking wood, tools, fasteners off the
shelf to begin my very lean, first step: the fabrication of the deck subassembly.
The deck subassembly consists of eight 2” x 4” x 4’ pieces, fastened between two 2” x 4” x10’ stringers.
Four of these subassemblies combined make up the deck. I used nails versus screws. I wanted to be
free of the need for electrical supply if I had to build like a gypsy in a vacant area near a marina. Where
I would not be bothered by security or other (paying) boaters who paid way too much for their overly
cozy boats they never hardly enjoy.
I visited six potential build sites, once I was done shopping: 1) the foot of Ferry, aka. Broderick Park
(utilizing the western terminus of the Erie Canal / Black Rock Lock area, 2) the foot of Smith Street,
owned by Rick Smith and the makeshift lagoon of Rigidized Metals home-builders, 3) the foot of XX
Street in the Old First Ward (but it had no accessible ramp and I was worried about vandalism), 4 )
Riverfest Park on Ohio Street (but they were installing another eighty foot of dock and were stalled sue
to material delays) 5) the area behind the sand dunes along the south end of the Buffalo Ship Canal and
6) the RCR Yachts Marina, just north of the sand dunes on Fuhrman Blvd.
The RCR Yachts Marina was perfect. It was expansive, quiet (except for a hundred rowers from the
charity-based organizations who compete around the Great Lakes with other charitable organizations).
There was electrical and water supply as well as plenty of room to assemble the 2” x 4” members into
something I hoped I could be proud of (and not so heavy that I could not lug in all down to the water
when I was done).
There were some key assembly lessons learned:
Take your time. Two pieces of wood, especially at the beginning of an assembly have no need to be
joined, so you have to wrestle with them. Don’t rush! If you slowly and carefully measure, mark, cut
and or pound those nails in, they will do as told, if you do it the right way.
I used nails with a twist. If there was any bend in the nail, it would spiral around eccentrically, as it
would go it, but it went in just fine!
I used roofing nails to fasten the plastic, fragile tubs to the deck, so don’t hit these hard once they begin
to get snug against the lip of the tubs they are holding. Stay away from parts of any plastic extruded
parts that are there to reinforce the container. They are not made for shock and they fracture with even
a slight blow of a hammer. I should have gotten a ball peen hammer for this.
By taking my time, I ended up with a deck subassembly without warp or weave. It made a slight drum
type sound when struck at the end of the job and members fit in snug, as if they would hold without
fasteners. Norm, of This Old House would be proud.
Also: let the Home Depot folks cut your eight footers into four-footers. If they don’t get it just right,
mark them all to the shortest item and ask them to cut again. It’s free and if you’re polite, they don’t
mind at all. Outsource!
I wish to note a few memories:
I am way out of shape! I had to break every fifteen minutes to catch my breath. It was a combination of
being so excited, worried I might be kicked out as an intruder as well as not sure what I was doing.
A small beaver came out of the ship canal to graze on the fresh cut grass. I took this as a sign from God
that life was going well, since “Natures Engineer” had taken the time to come check out my innovation.
My fiancée, Tetianna came by with much-needed drinks, during my struggle and I have to say, I would
have either started making terrible errors and/or had a heart attack and/or become so discouraged that
I surely would have quit this effort before it really got underway.
Thank you, Tati, not just for saving my butt today, but every day.
I would truly be a mess without you!
As the shadows got longer and longer, I made my last effort to fasten all buoyancy containers to all deck
members. I lifted the whole unit and it felt like a big fat gal that didn’t want to dance. I found a way
to get under the front third of the whole thing and dragged it some fifty feet to the docks. I installed
four eye bolts within six inches of all four corners and tied some plastic clothesline to one bolt. I made a
make-shift hoist / lever arrangement and carefully lowered the “vessel: into a gap between docks.
The deck subassembly plopped into the water, in an anti-=climax just after 7:45 pm.
I had spent almost ten hours accomplishing a small, but critical event. I was one quarter done with the
deck (the boring but essential part of the boat) at the end of Day 1. I was sore everywhere, but had
an emotional satisfaction that conquered my unemployment blues. It was nice to plan and execute
something, finally that came out like it was supposed to! One down three to go..then… I’ll have a deck.
Originally posted 2013-06-18 20:41:07.