Cherry Stems

September 14th, 2010


Six layers of 1/16″ cherry one inch wide were laminated to the ends.  When dry, they were shaped with a belt sander, and came out pretty good.


August 31st, 2010


August 28, 2010.  75 strips, including 3 stealers.  Surrounded by power tools to protect from cement work being done in the shop.


July 27th, 2010


Beveled the bow and stern stems on a stationary belt sander.  Nailed on the sheer strips with a nail gun.  Yellow pine tags tended to split; need to cut plywood tags for spreading the force of the nail and keeping the head above the strip.  After mounting both sheers I was unsatisfied with the stern; the strips were not resting on mold 7.  I undid the stern assembly and cut off two inches after determining the intersection of the sheers.  Reassembled, reglued the sheers to the stern stem and all is fair.

The cleats at bow and stern are redone to facilitate removing the molds once the hull is complete.  Now I can get a screwdriver in between the molds and remove two screws for each mold with the driver held horizontally.  This turned out to be handy when I redid the stern.  The whole process took fifteen minutes.



Twelve strips.



Twenty strips.







August 23, 2010




August 26, 2010  67 strips.

Gluing the stems

July 21st, 2010

 July 21


Five 1/16 inch strips of yellow pine laminated.  I intend to glue on three more to get a full 1/2 inch.
Two more strips were all that were needed to bring the thickness to the level of the adjacent mold.

building board

July 17th, 2010

 July 17


Bases made from two inch oak lumbercore 16 x 28, 2×2 white oak, walnut, and pine uprights.  Casters on bases.  Building board 10 foot yellow pine 2×10 screwed to bases.  There is a slight crown on the board which needs to be leveled with a power plane.  The board needs to be extended 9-1/2 inches:  Breadboard ends will accomplish this.

July 18


Found a couple of pieces of mahogany for noses.  4 #20 biscuits attach noses to ends.   I realized they only had to support the bow and stern molds, so they aren’t full-width.  About twenty passes with a power planer took off the crown.  The molds here are simply balanced:  cleats another day.  1-3/8 inch holes on the bow and stern molds to laminate the stem pieces.  1/16″ thick strips 5/8″ wide and 32″ long in yellow pine are ready for lamination.

July 19


Molds attached to cleats and fixed in place.  I need to redo the bow and stern molds to make it easier to remove them .

Milling canoe strips

June 27th, 2010


Here is a jig for milling the edges of 1/4 inch by 3/4 inch twelve foot wooden strips with a half-round bead and a half-round cove.  It is made from two twelve foot pieces of MDF a half-inch thick.  There is a quarter-inch strip in between acting as the fence.  The two pieces of MDF are screwed together through the fence; all the screws in line to act as a hinge.  The bottom board is screwed to the bench.  The strip to be milled (one piece of yellow pine is on edge on top of the jig) is inserted in the front, snugged up tight to the fence, and a wedge is inserted in back between the boards to clamp the strip in place.  A router with a beading bit and a guide insert rides along the top against the edge.


The piece in position.


The strip routed.

Pentomino Production

April 12th, 2010


Three sets completed.  Two coats of oil/urethane, two coats of wax.  Now on etsy, pentomino wooden puzzle.


Nine boards:  three coats shellac, two coats wax.


About six sets of pentominoes, drying on pinboards made from cardboard and staples.  These pieces were cut some time ago.  I milled the edges with a 45 degree router bit, a new one with a 3/16″ diameter ball bearing, which reached much further in than the 3/8″ bearing I’ve used in the past.  New blades for a utility cutter still did not do a great job notching out the remaining corners (a masons miter).  I set up a grinder with a felt wheel and charged it with rouge, and polished the edge of the blade.  The sharpened blade made a big difference, and I sharpened the blade four times for 300 notches in 90 pieces.  Liquid hide glue cut 6:1 with water is the glue size.  The water raises the grain, the glue hardens the nibs, and the sandpaper slices them off.


To sand.  It’s a few minutes a piece.  This is the critical sanding.

A shelf

February 16th, 2010

2 more sets supersoma

February 16th, 2010






These two sets were glue-sized, sanded to 220, wiped, coated with shellac (1.5 pound cut), sanded to 320, wiped, coated again, sanded again, wiped again, waxed and polished.  The glue size raised the grain, so the sandpaper (3M alox) really cut off the nibs and smoothed the endgrain.  I was impressed with how much 220 paper could do.  I made a special effort when cutting the pieces to use a sharp blade and lots of teeth, cutting slowly, but not so slow for burns.  It largely worked, and just a few faces out of 32 pieces had any real saw marks.   The 320 paper did a good job of smoothing the shellac coating; I cut through on just one piece, the mahogany.  Very little drips; the secret seems to be an almost dry brush.  The shellac dries in seconds, so you have to work really fast and make no mistakes.  Let the pieces dry overnight, and the 320 paper turns the shellac to powder. I’m very happy with these pieces.  It’s funny, though, the unfinished pine soma cube pieces in 1966 held together better than the polished pieces in 2010.  Unfinished was more playable.  These look better, and make stacking even more of a challenge.


I made two boxes to hold the sets this weekend.  Spanish cedar, purchased in Florida about ten years ago, and brought back to NY when there was still free luggage on the airlines.

Frames to hold lunar landscape 3d prints.

February 16th, 2010


3/4 x 7/8 cherry grooved and mitered frames.  Sized, shellacked, waxed.  3/8 plywood insert to hold the 3d print of lunar landscape.  The landscape is a 50km x 70km region surrounding the Apollo 15 landing site, using a digital elevation model produced by the United States Geological Survey. ( For some more details,