Thursday, 9 February 2012

Ordering Supplies

First I needed to find some wood.  John Brooks gave me lots of sound advice so I settled upon Sapele as my timber of choice.  I searched among the building supplies in Ireland, but my timing was poor - Ireland was going through a horrific economic downturn, where its construction industry had come to a complete standstill - so traditional wood suppliers were going out of business or closing down.

However, I did manage to source some nice larch and spruce for my jig and molds from a local sawmill.  He also sourced some Douglas Fir for me but only in 10' lengths.  

So at last I could get started by building my molds.

This proved to be a far more complicated process than I had envisaged.  Not having seen boat plans before nor indeed molds, I was hard pushed to understand how to fabricate the molds.  I didn't realise that the only important lines where those on the outside down as far as the sheer - anything below this could be any shape you desire and the inside shape of the molds was entirely immaterial as long as they are strong enough.  However as a first time mold builder, these now obvious questions were slowing down progress:-

To get started on the boat proper I had to bite the bullet and send in my order for the Sapele and plywoods which totaled an eye watering sum..

Nothing for it but to import my timbers from the UK - and Robbins Timber proved to be the best supplier I could find - they had everything and were used to dealing with amateur builders.

Unfortunately John's plans are in imperial measurements and here in UK/Ireland our timber suppliers have gone metric.  So I spent quite a time spread-sheeting the materials list and translating into metric equivalents.  I also bought a small software program called CutListPlus which I used to estimate what lengths of timber and quantities I needed.  The system gets you to input the parts' dimensions and type of material and then allows you configure this to optimize your layouts.  John Brooks GLWB book shows how to do this manually, but I got bored after about one night of fiddling with pieces of paper and thought there had to be an easier way.  In addition, the software translated the imperial sizes into metric. Scrap the spreadsheets.......

I spent countless hours amusing myself with this ingenious program...however after much to a fro-ing with the timber suppliers I stupidly ordered the timber rough sawn and ended up with a tonne of huge timber planks occupying my garage.  

For about a week, I crawled around this pile of wood trying to match the wood with the delivery docket.  Not having seen Douglas For before, I was still trying to figure out which was Pine/Fir - at least I could identify the plywood and Sapele.  I'm still wondering how I am going to manage the 12' lengths of 3" by 14" planks.  Yikes...there's no going back now!

Quickly I realised my thicknesser (or "thinnesser" as my wife calls it) wouldn't be up to the task, so the small saving I made from ordering the timber rough sawn was eradicated by the consequential purchase of a heavier 12" planer thicknesser.  I read all the various reviews and most of the highly recommended machines were 3 phase, which I don't have in my workshop.  A 12" thicknesser seemed to be about the largest size one can get in single phase.  Constant bidding on eBay UK and searching Ireland's version of CraigsList - failed to throw up a suitable second hand machine which everyone tells you one can pick up for pittance...

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