QT Skiffs - not really building, but not really not building, either.
February 16, 2013

First off, I have to apologize for forgetting the G****N SD card for my camera. I got to make a trip out to Siletz Lumber Company, my favoritest sawmill ever. It's on the backside of Siletz, on the way to Logsden. In case you couldn't read between the lines: It's out there on the edge of humanity. Kurt an Kevin run the place and they take logs - whole friggin' Oregon logs, and make lumber out of them. It's just as well I couldn't use my camera - pictures can't explain it. I don't even think you can experience it without knowing a good deal of the culture.

Anyway, that's where I got the wood we were going to be turning into wales for the Family Boat Build this year. With luck, I'll have a functional camera next time I visit them.

The first order of business was getting a layer of topcoat on the QT Skiff. We had some leftover exterior latex, and in a surprise that could have knocked me over with a feather, a little more help: Shawn, who had been a volunteer during the early stages of the Mollyhawk build, showed up. He's a good guy - I hope we see more of him.

Planning out the work sessions is a real skill - painting has to be done with a minimum of dust, but cutting wood makes LOTS of dust. We did the painting (and worked on the Clark Fork Drifter) on Friday evening, then got to making some sawdust on Saturday. We need gunnels, inwales, and skids, all 1x2s (actual dimensions .75" x 1.5" or nearly so) 14' long. I'd picked up a bunch of sticks - some nominally 2x2s but most 1x2s - with an average length of 10'. The next step was to mill them to the correct dimensions.

Step 1 was to rip them to .75" thick by 1.5" wide, then plane 3/16" off the rough edges - so the sticks are actually 1x2s in concept only. This is fine - wales don't really need to be thicker than 1/2". I really like our DeWalt planer - it's a very nice piece of equipment.

I feel really bad about this process of turning big sticks into little sticks - when selecting this lumber, I specifically selected cast-offs and short sticks because I was trying to make use of their excess wood. I told the guys at Siletz Lumber my personal concern and they laughed (in a particularly lumberjack-y way) "That's all we do: Turn big sticks into little ones!" Context is everything.

The next step was to convert the less-than 14' pieces into more-than 14' pieces, and for that, we scarf. You'll notice I don't show you my scarfing technique, and that is for a very specific reason: It's friggin' fast and friggin' dangerous. So dangerous I lost the tip of my thumb to it a couple years ago, but so friggin' fast I can't help but use it. As an ode to Mr. Schideman - my 7th grade shop teacher - I shant pass this particular technique on.

And there you have it - a LOT of work to get half the 1x2s we need for the Family Boat Build. Select - rip - plane - scarf. Next will be run 'em through the router to knock the corners off. And we still need another (14) 14' sticks to pull it off. Preparation is the key.