Sailing, Watertribe and boat building

Building a boat : Setting up shop

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Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made.
Robert N. Rose

First, you need a place to work

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I am fortunate in spades… last year's addition of a porch to our house came with a shop underneath the screen porch. I've since laid an insulated floor, and insulated the walls and ceiling. I only occasionally use the table saw; I much prefer using an ingenious track saw system by EurekaZone. It allows you to clamp the work piece under the track securely, and presses a sacrificial weather strip edge against the cutting edge to secure that side. No wood moves as the saw passes, so no risk of kickbacks or fingers in jeapoardy.

I've built three work tables; one is a 16 foot long table specifically for this project. Two are torsion boxes and one includes a "smart table" feature (see photo) which allows cutting through a workpiece without cutting into the table top. This really helps out when breaking down plywood or long pieces of lumber. Easily replaced 1x3s support the work piece in many configurations.

You can also use routers with the track, as well as clamp at any angle to the wood. Special clamps allow cutting wood a fraction of an inch wide with accuracy and confidence. With a circular saw and a 9$ blade.

Next You Need Plans

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With a plan, you are given a materials list, dimensions and capacity are calculated, engineering is verified by experience and according to naval architectural wisdom, and performance is bound to be optimized. Furthermore, materials are expensive, and a plan will minimize wasted wood and effort. Just as one example, Va'a motu is made of seven 8'x4' sheets of 1/4 inch plywood… at about $76 per sheet, that is $532 in plywood alone!

It's time to start to gather materials and your courage. It took me a LONG time to get started: I found it much easier to make shop furniture and buy plywood than to start cutting the Okoume and committing to the build!