Tools! What do you need?

A Post From The Floating Empire... The blog of the design, construction, and launching of the vessel “Floating Empire”, an electrically driven paddlewheel boat utilizing recycled and repurposed materials and a mix of modern and 18th and 19th century technologies to reduce carbon footprint. The vessel is a tiny house barrel barge, simply built of castoff materials and easily available parts, providing an easy living space for an individual or couple

Access to Tools

In response to a couple of questions, I thought I would list here the tools we found useful in putting the project together.  Your mileage may vary, but I’d strongly recommend you consider finding yourself in possession of most of these before beginning:
Small Stuff:
Speed Square
Large carpenter’s square
Chalk line (we used this a LOT with the plywood)
722 carpenter’s pencils (because I can never put one down in the same place)
sharpie (permanent marking pen) for marking tufftex and metal
Swiss Army Knife (used for Lots of things, especially cutting the membrane and removing splinters)
Tape Measure
Carpenter’s folding rule
Straight edge
Surform plane
Japanese (pull)double sided saw (UTTERLY INVALUABLE!  These things have razor thin blades and virtually no kerf, and cut on the pull stroke.  You can get them at most box hardware stores with replaceable blades for under $30.  They are fast, silent, accurate, and can get in to trim things most other saws can’t get near.)
Hammer (well, duh)
Wood Chisel
Nailset
Tinsnips (great for both corrugated metal and tuftex)
Crimper (for electrical work)
Socket set (for nuts, bolts, and lag screws)
Pocket hole drill set (not only utterly useful, but we used the two diameter bit for setting screws into thick lumber)
Pipe (monkey) wrenches (2) both for working with the pipe and for pulling warped wood into place.
Pliers (for lotsa stuff)
Staple gun (mechanical)
Power tools:
Heavy (7 Amp) variable speed drill (Don’t make yourself crazy when trying to drill the holes for the pipe in the stringers, get hold of a drill strong enough to do it)
Heavy Circular Saw (we used my elderly 7 amp Craftsman.  Worked fine)
Rechargeable cordless drill (for most other applications, spare battery recommended)
Jigsaw (quick release blades recommended)
Air Compressor and Staple Gun (really made quick work of panelling, decking, and trim)
Angle Grinder (used mostly as a sander in this application, but also as a cutoff for angle iron)
Soldering Iron (just a simple 30W pencil iron for wiring)
Bladerunner: (this critter is a Rockwell invention, an inverted stationary jigsaw table with a pressure foot to stop vibration.  Will cut about anything up to 2”.  We used this heavily in cutting the Medallions and used it as a motorized mitre box for framing and cutting trim.  A really wonderful tool to have.  Check it out)
We used star drive screws pretty much exclusively when we could.  They don’t strip out easily and are available in non-rusting versions.  The problem is, they aren’t always available.  I wound up using t20 and t25 star drive screws, phillips screws (#2) and box head screws (#2) and spent half my time looking for the appropriate bit.  You can save yourself some effort by buying a good supply of screws using the same bit at the beginning of the build.
We used aluminum ring roofing nails with plastic washers (most of the ones I’ve seen are an obnoxious blue) for the initial attachment of the membrane, then followed that up by screwing down trim and our medallions over the edges to hold it firmly in place.
For Glues we used both Gorilla Glue and Titebond III.  We used the Gorilla Glue for treated wood (the glue is hydrophilic and can be used on lumber with a high moisture content) and where there were gaps to be filled, and the Titebond III for everything else where we could use screws or clamps to apply clamping pressure.  Both work well.  The Gorilla Glue is easier to use but foams on contact with moisture and can create a mess which you have to cut away.  It also does NOT come off of things…including your hands.  I looked like a leper for two days or so.
The Titebond is cleaner and strong, and uses water cleanup, but you have to have a clean joint and adequate spread of the glue and clamping pressure for it to work.
Other Stuff:
Sawhorses….made the mistake of getting some inexpensive plastic ones that rapidly disassembled themselves.  Get wood or steel.
Plate Vise:  (Really simple tool that can help you cut very long pieces of wood on site.  It’s just a square of metal that locks wood into itself by wedging it in at an angle.  Something we carry on the boat as well.)
Face Shield (If you wear glasses, these are faster and less likely to fog)
Safety glasses (for when my contacts are in )
Gloves (my poor hands have taken a beating through this.  Get a pair of heavy canvas work gloves for moving lumber and block and a pair of mechanics gloves to save your fingers when doing finer work.  You’ll be very glad you did.)
Knee Pads (no foolin, get a pair.  Putting in flooring, putting on floor trim, working on wiring or cabinets, tying and removing and retying the barrels (on gravel….on your knees…get the idea?)
We didn’t use a level.  The ground we were on was so uneven it was of little use, but if we had a better, more level space, a level could have been invaluable.
Disposable gloves (for working with spar varnish and glues)
Wished We’d had to Use:
(but made do anyway)
Table Saw (much better for plywood and paneling) or Panel Saw
Radial Arm Saw
Indentured servants or the modern equivalent:  Interns.
PS please check out our companion blog lifeartwater@blogspot.com……You’ll be glad you did.
Life Art Water

Originally posted 2015-05-02 16:47:47.

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