View Full Version : New Boat Shop-New Boat Project

03-27-2015, 02:09 PM
Before I get started, here's a little preview of what's to come. We'll likely bog down in the details, as I like to over-document stuff, but here we go.



That's a taste, but to the new shop...

I’ve been meaning to write about our new boat shop in Brooklyn for some time, but wanted to get underway with an actual project as a lead-in to the presentation. The “we” is Sebago Canoe Club, my home port now for over 20 years. The club itself is 80 plus years old, and we have occupied our Brooklyn waterfront (on NYC Parks land) since the sixties. I would say that we are almost the antithesis of a “yacht club”, being inclusive rather than exclusive, and exuding a downright funky charm. Our programs and activities include canoe tripping, sea kayaking, sailing, and now boat building. All of our disciplines include first rate instruction as well. Our basic sailing instruction, for example has a nearly one to one student/instructor ratio. That’s a lot of personal attention! We are all volunteer- no one is paid for any work done at the club.

Our little clubhouse in the snow.

Twenty by forty foot shipping containers comprise the bulk of our storage space. Between two of these, we left a twenty foot wide space, over which we set up an arched steel roof.


The roof goes up.

...to be continued

03-27-2015, 02:26 PM

With a lot of help, I built end walls to enclose the space, and put in big sliding doors on barn door tracks. The doors are an MDO-foamcore-MDO sandwich, vacuum bagged around a wood frame. Light but stiff, and relatively cheap. We have a dirt floor, which presents some challenges when setting up bench legs or strong backs, but you’ll see how we solved these as we go along.

Laminating curved wall plates for the arched roof.

Each plate was made from 3 overlapping sections.

Main wall studs, and door header. Both ends of the building are the same.

Sheathed with the ubiquitous T1-11 siding.

Bagging up the doors.

03-27-2015, 02:32 PM
That is a great project! In times, when more and more people can't see anything else than the the display of their smarties and tablets, there can not be enough initiatives like that. Nice illustration of the boat - I'm very curious watching a PC 23 coming together. I did some fairing on the bow section of my PC 18 today. Guess I cutted the planks a little to wide there, so they bent out a little bit along their centerline. Wanted to save some time, but now I'm spending it with the sander... Wish you a good start.

03-27-2015, 02:47 PM
Thanks WoodyB! That's a great looking 18 you have going there. I'm glad to see a builder as fussy with the details as I am. And nice little plunge saw you have. As for the illustration, I always make some renderings of the boats I am working on. The process gets me focused and psyched. I often use them too, for working out the interior layouts.

03-27-2015, 03:46 PM
I'll be watching this one. The PC 23 is a favorite of mine.

03-27-2015, 03:53 PM
Nice project!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

03-27-2015, 06:04 PM
...The container which forms one wall of the boat shop is our tool room. I recently closed my woodworking business, and brought some of the smaller machinery down to the club (I sold the 3 phase stuff). Drill press, Powermatic jointer, Rockwell planer, and Rockwell contractor table saw which I set up with a Biesmeier fence and a rolling stand, plus a small dust collector all found a new home in the tool room. I did not take my bandsaw out there. Too new, and too expensive to expose to an unheated space, so I’m looking around for another one to set up out there.

The 8" jointer is loaded into the tool room.

Back in the boat shop, I built a sixteen foot long workbench down one wall. The top is 2” thick multi ply (baltic birch), with a 4” ash skirt all around, two vises, and a bunch of dog holes. We poured footings for the bench legs, setting 4 x 4 steel clips into the footings to catch the legs. A laser set the exact height of each leg, which were notched out for the ash skirt. The skirt ends were dovetailed to the fronts, in a fit of furniturish zeal. Looks good, though.

Old doug fir cleaned up pretty nice for bench legs.

I cut the tails for the ash bench skirt on the bandsaw.

...and marked the pins.

...sawed to the line as deep as I could go.

03-27-2015, 06:32 PM
On track for legendary thread status. I really like Doug's designs. And I love your boat club, too.


03-27-2015, 07:29 PM
That's a very interesting roof structure , we don't have it in Australia to the best of my knowledge !

03-28-2015, 09:36 AM
Hi Peter, It's a semi custom roof. You give them your span and length, and they fabricate the sections to suit. Quite strong, and fairly simple to erect.

Back to the bench (We'll get to the boat soon).

I used a router to cut away most of the tail sockets, then chiseled out the rest.

This shows the multiply top and skirt end. The skirt was fastened to the top with dominos.

The two halves of the top are half-lapped and epoxy glued on site.

The dovetails were epoxy glued as well.

The whole business was glued and clamped, then moved onto the legs and ledger board.

03-28-2015, 05:40 PM
I'm in.

Wicked good, I am a deadrise kind of guy.

03-28-2015, 07:49 PM
That's one serious workbench. Looking forward to seeing more.

03-28-2015, 08:14 PM
Sebago Canoe Club sounds fantastic. Great to know such things can even still exist in the five boroughs.
Great looking work too. Thanks for sharing.

03-29-2015, 10:20 AM
Couple more shop pics, then we're on to the build. I'm quite pleased with the bench and the shop in general, and wanted to show them off.


Sara and Laura built this Skerry Skiff (The Navy) a few years ago, and she was damaged during hurricane Sandy. Here they are working on some of the repairs.

I love these bench holdfasts for stuff like scarfing. This is a section of rub rail for The Navy.

The bench is a nice length for spar work. The dog holes were not bored yet in this pic.

Leathering Mouse's fore mast.

One more thing to mention also. We have a new Brooklyn chapter of the TSCA forming at our club, with 7 or 8 National members already. We have to write up our bylaws still, but we hope the boat shop and waterfront will be a good and active home for a new chapter. If you are in the city, please arrange to stop by!


Stay tuned...
The coffee pot's on the stove!

03-29-2015, 11:48 AM
Awesome! I love container buildings/shops!! Food for thought; If you want to expand on the usability of the inner shop section, you could always cut out sections of the container wall and expand into the container itself. (with the installation of beams of course)

03-29-2015, 07:32 PM
I wish I would have known about this group when I lived in Brooklyn. Being part of something like that would have made my life there much more pleasant. Amazing stuff. Thank you for sharing.

03-30-2015, 12:43 PM
We will be cutting a doorway into to the tool room, but security is an issue, so it will be a heavy duty steel door. Most of the rest of the interior wall space is taken up with storage, or I might consider a big opening.
Potomac, This club has been my second home for a lot of years. Our bay and ocean access is nearly unheard of in this city, in a venue as affordable as this is. Its like a bit of park land.

04-12-2015, 11:54 AM
I see I am already way behind in the updates. I'm going to jump ahead slightly, to show some nice doug fir we got for the keelson, chines, and sheer clamps. Pretty tight grained, vg stuff, 20 feet long, though as we had to scarf it anyway, we cut it to 12's and 14's to make it easier to transport. The offcuts will later be used in the stem, and bulkhead framing etc.

Kids in a candy store. ML Condon's lumber.

8/4 and 5/4- $6.25 a board foot.

Keelson scarf. That's the chines and sheer clamps below.

But that's way ahead of the story. We first had to set up our strong back on trestles, secured to the dirt floor. I wanted to devise a system that would be rugged, but that would not be in the way when not actually building a boat, and which could be set up and adapted for any other boat. We went to concrete footings again, laying out three pairs of footings, about nine feet apart, put carefully in line and squared to each other. We dug holes and built 12” square forms which we lined up with a laser and strings, then poured the concrete.



...to be continued

04-12-2015, 12:25 PM
... After curing, we drilled out the concrete for threaded inserts (again with the laser for set up) which we epoxied in. This was done in sub-freezing temperatures, so we warmed the inserts in a pan on the wood stove, and set up light bulbs on the concrete, which kept everything warm overnight for a good epoxy cure.




To secure the trestles to the footings, we used 4x4 post clips, lining these up again for linear and square.


Because the dirt floor is out of level (what isn't) we measured the relative heights of each clip, and cut a custom post for each location, then secured the legs to our trestle beams with gussets. We double checked their heights after set up, and all were within 1/16" or so. This makes it easy to get the strongback and molds at the right height.


The trestles are wobbly at this point, but we'll brace it all up when the strongback goes on.

04-12-2015, 12:36 PM
Seriously looking forward to this part


04-12-2015, 08:39 PM
FYI, for future projects, you can buy drop set anchors without the need for epoxy (assuming you want threaded bores you can use repeatedly when needed. They are common NC thread sizes)

04-13-2015, 06:34 AM
I just used what I had on hand. I know there are lots of other anchor types around. These inserts worked fine.

05-03-2015, 02:02 PM
It's easy to get behind on the updates. I have o stop working on the boat to do it! We are well into the project now, but let try to stay consecutive with the posts. We picked out the best fir 2x8's we could find, jointed one edge of each, then ripped them all to 7".


We laid them all out, and picked the best ones for the longitudinals. The strong back for this boat measures 4' wide x 24' long.

The frame was nailed up and braced diagonally to the trestle bases. There's a notch in each cross piece for the center string line.


The PC23 plan comes with full size mold templates (a mixed blessing, in my opinion-you lose the joy of lofting, and all the other info that provides as well!). We had one team laying out the molds, with a sharp punch through onto our mold stock. They were careful to keep the centerline and DWL square, and accurate.


Another team then cut out the molds with a home made track saw. Not as nice as the Festool, but a good bit cheaper!


I'll continue on with the next post shortly.

05-03-2015, 02:22 PM
To stay consecutive, go back to post #23.

We laid our cross ties square to the centerline and started the set up with the midship mold.




One nice thing about steel buildings, is we can hang a magnetic laser mount almost anywhere. You can just make out the orange laser line on this mold.We carefully shimmed up all the molds such that the DWL marked on the molds came right into line with the laser. We also scribed that benchmark onto the walls at several points around the room so we could come back to the same spot to check alignment later in the process. We had some very cold weather during this process, and I was worried a little about frost heave. We had some minor shifting, due more to the fir strong back acclimating to the wood stove being off and on, off and on. A couple of weeks later some small adjustments were made in the set up.


The molds were all braced back to the midship mold, which was braced diagonally.


We sprung a batten around the set up, to get a feel for the form. Looking pretty cool!

05-03-2015, 05:22 PM
The work space got pretty small, pretty quick once the molds got set up.
Now that you have started on the boat have you considered starting a new thread called Point Comfort 23 ?
It would be easier to find using the search button.